“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”

Lockdown: An opportunity to turn away from our world & understand ourselves better.

This quote of Albert Camus, a french philosopher, author & journalist, who is the second-youngest Nobel prize winner (in literature), reminds me of the present-day situation amid COVID-19 (we will cross this bridge when we come to it). How? Let us explore…

‘World’ has a very organic meaning attached to it, which depends on different perspectives of a different person, or the same person at different times. Like for a child, his world could be his parents while for an astronaut, her world could be the whole universe. The need to understand this world usually arises out of curiosity for thinkers, for publishment by publishers, for spirituality by saints, & many others like that. But, why one has to turn away from it on occasions? For this, we need to understand what is ‘turning away’.

‘Turning away’ from your world, in simple words, means opening up to the bigger outer world. How will this lead to understanding of your world ? Let us see it through examples.

A new born baby, whose world is he himself, get to know about himself, even his name, when he opens up to his family. On other hand, a soldier, serving his duty in the borders, better understands the importance of a ‘family’, being far from them. Similarly, a leader, whose priority changes to nation as his world, could better formulate policies for his nation only after turning towards policies of foreign nations. Hence, instead of world’s definition changing for a person from ‘individual’ to ‘family’ to ‘nation’, in order to understand it properly, he has to turn away from it at times. Now, let us look into the world from social perspectives.

A person in joint family, whose world is his house members, understands the importance of joint family only after coming to nuclear family. Likewise, a raped woman, whose world reduces to the stigma, society & suffering, could give better meaning to her world only after turning away from the ill-minded society. A rapist, on other hand, whose world is full of lust, women & desire, can only understand his mistake after turning into the civilised society. Apart from this, the same thing even applies to people living in different geographical conditions.

A forest dweller, if brought to a city, can understand the importance of nature, trees & peace, which were his world. Likewise, a creature residing in water, say fish, understands his world in those few seconds of splash in open air. Even we humans understood our world, our earth, only after turning up to Sun & other parts of universe. Many more examples from industrialists to scientists to students, etc can be stated. But our priority should be to grasp the importance of ‘turning away’ from our world in present situation.

Current lockdown in many parts of world & complete lockdown for 21-days (possibly more in coming days) in India, a preventionary measure taken against COVID-19, provides us an opportunity to turn away from our world, in order to understand ourselves better. After all, in order to serve a men better, one has to hold them at a distance for a time. So, pull yourself together & bite off more than you can chew.

The answer is clear.


Pranjay Mishra

Pranjay Mishra

Studying in IIT (BHU), Varanasi {2017-2021}

Pranjay Mishra

Studying in IIT (BHU), Varanasi {2017-2021}

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