Archive for April 2010

The elusive and illusory halo.

April 15, 2010

A halo is always intriguing. It imposes serenity and commands subservience. Is there really a halo anywhere for anyone, a glowing crown of illumination that radiates in its magnificence a designed divinity?

A halo painted in pictures of alleged gods and saints is just the artist’s expression of admiration, respect and sometimes a belief. With photoshopping ease anyone can obtain a halo within minutes. Yet, we hardly see mortals even with amazing arrogance and pomp desiring or demanding a halo around their heads. A halo is reserved with reverence, for reverence.

What is a halo? Leaving aside the temptation to tease the circle or light that makes pictures of gods sometimes silly, a perusal of this portrayal may help us to understand our needs and desires. This rumination on halo does not trespass Thorndike’s territory of psychorambling on halo. I am not even venturing into the management linguistics of halo. This is just an introspection on the presence and absence of the ring of reverence in persons. However Thorndike has to be credited for associating the halo with attractiveness. If a halo is attractive by nature why is it not acquired with effort or sought voluntarily?

A halo in my opinion is the society’s medallion pinned around the head of a figure that can be admired from a distance, communicated with- without expectations of a response, distanced by will and held dear with a wary delusion.
Is a halo projected or prayed for? Do you pray at a halo or the persona? Why do we need the halo? Is it a guiding light in our darkened life? Is it a promise? Is it a success that we all secretly yearn and therefore observe around the object of our jealousy- a jealousy masked as reverence?

How does one get a halo? Is it for a crucifixion or for a resurrection? Is it for a martyr or a winner? Do we project our imaginations and wishes, our fears and frustrations, our incapacity’s alleged innocence as a glory on someone whom we have permitted to fight on our behalf? A halo is not only intriguing but inviting- be it scorn or surrender.

We need villains to keep our self-evaluation going high in our favour, but we need heroes more to ride along in our dreams. A halo is the invisible pat on the back ( or around the head!) that we tend to give ourselves when we see the words and actions of people who do things that are generally despised by us.

We all like to be heroes, and knowing that we shall fall in stature when we stand alongside, paint this circle of light around them so that one does not trespass the other’s territorial illusion. A hero is a God who has failed in the ultimate qualifying test for immortal divinity. Since we do not even dare to submit ourselves to such tests, we paint a lighter light around our heroes’ faces and reserve the brighter ones for those who have distinguished themselves with a divine status.
Now can a hero of a group get the universal halo? Gandhi and Hitler both vied for one! Perhaps we can now pause to wonder what made Gandhi get a halo in a country that has thousands of gods and demigods. He was projected as a honest man, a simple man and a loving man. Can we afford to have all these traits just to qualify for a halo? Is a halo worth all the trouble that voluntary suffering promises? Immortality is not about winning or losing. It is about influencing. Marx and Mao have their halo too, their reverent followers too. It is just that embarrassment of making one first among equals that prevents their followers from painting that illusory circle around their heads. It was easier for Gandhi to get that light around his head as he was not against calendar gods. And now, is a halo religious?
Religiosity is a firm belief that makes one accept that her/his will shall not prevail on the dictum handed down. Marxists are religious in their ideology and Hindus are religious in their idol based mythology. One paints the halo in invisible colours while the other is blatant and shameless in attributing a golden glow on nothing.

The halo is a tricky game. If you seek it becomes elusive. If you think you have it, it becomes illusory. It is never in your hands to paint a circle around your face. That is the job for contemporaries and posterity. Simple pleasures of life like having a chill beer and smoking time away with a book in hand, never beget  a halo, but they make  moments in life  glow with peace and pleasure.