Wednesday, December 07, 2005


SACRIFICE. The word which inspires, evokes reverence, brings compassion, warms your heart, and sometimes wets your eyes. The feeling of being larger than life; of being useful; of doing greatness.

But does it really exist?

Every human being has a set of thoughts and believes. She acquires it over the meandering course of her life. She starts assigning weightages to different parameters which affect her decisions. Some params are old, some are new. The weightages change. Any decision, at that moment of time, is governed by the current set of parameters and their weightages. Much like a cold-blooded foreign exchange transaction.

There come moments when, apparently, we have options to choose between. Deciding moments which will define the universe we will experience. They shape the fate which shall be cursed or thanked. And then arises the notion of sacrifice.

A set of humans put in that situation would generally choose a common option. Its their parameters, which will be mostly be same and have similar weightages, making a choice which is "popular". Yet, there will come along a person who would choose the Road Less Travelled. Disregarding the popular parameters, she goes ahead and picks the abhorred option. The generations to come, the peers who are dumbstruck, the texts which are hungry for ideals; get the rendition of a sacrifice.

The Sacrificer knows, she knows. The truth. She had no options. There didn't exist the popular option for her. Its pseudo-existence was nullified by her personal parameters being weighted differently. Her believes and thoughts could never have made her choose the popular option.

The constraints under which she is operating is different from what a set of people usually experience when they faced that situation. Was she larger than life then? She reached at that juncture influenced by uncountable earlier decisions. The priorities had already been set. The choices had narrowed down. And she chose that.

Should this be called Sacrifice? An act done because she could not have done anything else. It maybe a difficult path ahead down her choice, but she is helpless. Her governing factors leave her no choice. Its a camouflaged helplessness; created by her own value systems and preferences.

Sacrifice is an act which all of us do daily, every moment. We choose what we really believe in. There is no other way. On the contrary, when we (if ever) choose something which we dont believe in, it should be called Sacrifice. We call it Cowardice, though.

Let that act not become larger than life. Let not people forget that they chose something because of their own constraints. And we can't judge whether the Sacrificer has a superior set of constraints and weightages. She is what she is. Her act is hers. A sacrifice is nothing but a choice; acknowledging one's own helplessness.


morpheus said...

//Every human being has a set of thoughts and believes. She acquires it over the meandering course of her life.//

Neo, just one question. Why is the third person gender of 'human being' in your post a female? She, her.... I mean, I dont have problems with it, I'm just curious as to why you've chosen so. Especially since we never take as female the gender of God.

neo_loaded said...

You can say I have been influenced.

I didn't want to take male gender 'coz popular stereotypes of sacrifice, Gandhi ji, Bose, Bhagat Singh, etc. immediately flash in mind and then your mind will be resistent to receiving the ideas mentioned here.

Also, maybe its the new socio-politically correct style. :)

Id it is said...

'Sacrifice' is an act that usually lives and dies in the mind of the doer. Seldom is it recognized by the general public, unless it is of mammoth proportion such as Mother Teresa's, Florence Nightingale's, or a Mukhtaran Bibi's.

'defining moments' become so, only in retrospect. Man by nature is selfish; putting another before self is usually a matter of accident and rarely a premeditated decision.

Rather unusual usage; 'she' when referring to human beings. Incidentally, my stereotypes for 'sacrifice' are all female, hehe.
I must say that I do like the thought behind using 'she' as opposed to the normal 'he'. You swung the pendulum to the other extreme. No fear of 'reverse discrimination' I guess.

Vijayeta said...

Sacrifice...hmmm...endless thoughts, endless voices... Just thought i'd share with you one of my favorite poems by Charles Bukowski...

at their best, there is gentleness in Humanity.
some understanding and, at times, acts of
but all in all it is a mass, a glob that doesn't
have too much.
it is like a large animal deep in sleep and
almost nothing can awaken it.
when activated it's best at brutality,
selfishness, unjust judgments, murder.

what can we do with it, this Humanity?


avoid the thing as much as possible.
treat it as you would anything poisonous, vicious
and mindless.
but be careful. it has enacted laws to protect
itself from you.
it can kill you without cause.
and to escape it you must be subtle.
few escape.

it's up to you to figure a plan.

I have met nobody who has escaped.

I have met some of the great and
famous but they have not escaped
for they are only great and famous within

I have not escaped
but I have not failed in trying again and

before my death I hope to obtain my

Sairam said...

Nice thought Neo .. Reminds me of a conversation with a friend. Every sacrifice seems to be motivated by an inner urge , some selfishness ...... This urge knows that you will feel better about yourself at the end of the deed. Its just about pacifying your inner being. At the end of it .. true ..u dont really have that many options , coz you always end up doing the thing you want to do ..deep inside!

Jenny said...

Stumbled upon your blog. Rather profound. Keep writing.

mehmal said...

Loved this piece!!! Keep writing :-)

Alpha0 said...

Quite interesting blog.

Alpha0 said...

Read it again and found it quite thought provoking and intersting. Interesting because the way of writing quite matches with my argument style. I mean using maths and logic.

The question is "why" which again redirects to the purpose of an species.
Lets assume the purpose of an species is to survive.
So, at a moment when she has to choose between two options - one which helps herself and second that helps the other creatures of her own species.
I think she should choose the second.

While Adam Smith (Economics) chooses the first option, John Nash proposes the second one.


fafridi said...

sacrifice in my opinion is a real thing, charity is the dubious one i feel.
sacrifice has three dimensions to be looked at from, the doer, the one for whom it is done, and the rest of the world.
the doer does it just as an action, nothing more nothing less.
the one for whom it is done, takes it as an obligation maybe.
and the rest of the world is who gives it the term sacrifice.

Stoned Devil said...

You have earned a fan in me.. This piece is awesome..