Curing cancer

Abhishek Paul
2 min readFeb 4, 2020

I don’t have cancer NOR am I finding the cure for it, but we tend to (re)act like it. We take sh*t way too personally or give way too many f***s. Maybe the Buddha was onto something when he told us to stop giving a damn (or maybe it was Clark Gable, I often confuse the two). I used to think that this applied to all the negative sh*t that gets thrown at us, but what about all the lovely things people tell about us — “You look good / lost weight / did a great job/loved your talk/ you write well ….”?? Aren’t we being intellectually dishonest when we throw away one and embrace the other? Now I’m not saying one shouldn’t feel happy (although I could make a case for that as well), but the happiness it generates should be treated as lightly were the same person to say you ain’t all that special or that you suck.

I realized I didn’t actually want to talk about any of this — I began by talking about cancer and not finding a cure for it. A wise man told me that “it’s all in the mind” and I laughed at him — I miss laughing with him. I wanted to talk about perspective and how we don’t even realize that we lack it, we are the 2 young fish wondering, “What the hell is water?”. Now don’t misunderstand, I don’t have it either (though I act like I do), but I atleast don’t dismiss it now, the awareness is creeping in and dragging me in kicking and screaming. I need to relearn it the hard way almost everyday.

All of this isn’t about building a case for cynicism, nihilism or selfish indulgence but about choosing exactly what you actually want to give a damn about. This includes both the “cause” and the “people” — too many of us give a damn about too many or the wrong things/people. Being indifferent is not the answer, it is an overcorrection and stupid — don’t be stupid.

Give a damn, give it a whole lot more if you want but only to what matters or if you’re curing cancer. For everything else remember what Clark Gable said.

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