The Philosopher’s Stones


When asked the little child what he aspires to become, he tells me that he wants to become a soldier and serve the nation. Appreciable thoughts of service to the multitude. I asked him, “What will you do when you become a soldier.?” The reply was quick; perhaps it was not the first time being at the answering end, “I will go the borders and kill the enemies.” Enemies. Even grownups have trouble in understanding that dangers don’t just come from exteriors, and the kid has loads to learn. I certainly do not belong to the category of people who stop with two questions. “Who will be your enemies?”, I asked. I expected a pause, at least a dramatic revising visage. Nothing of that sort. “It would be ―”

Censored, not to be taken offensive by anyone, was the name of a neighboring country. Years of cinema, with half-witted heroes saving the country from covetous neighbors, has undoubtedly created a general picture to be ashamed of. To any average person, the country that lies ahead of him is a bad country. I cannot call this anything but purest prejudice. I had to tell the child that he would be killing children like him in the future, who probably are dreaming right now of saving their countries. I was wrong to expect reproach from him. To the kid, evil is evil, a decision that was based on no substantial evidence. Who will take responsibilities of such an inane indoctrination? Of all the mysteries in the world, the thing that amuses me the most is the human race. Calling themselves intelligent creatures, this species has been the dumbest of all. Around seven billion individuals span themselves in over one billion religions, up to seven thousand different languages, 196 different nations, and other what-nots and who-cares. They forget that they all belong to a single family, that of an ironical name: Homo sapiens, the wise man. What really appears from the outer space or from the surface of dawning moon is just a bluish planet with green valleys, coffee trenches, and pearly clouds that smear every continent, to figuratively reunite the separated, and definitely not any political map visible in every school’s text book. Yet, I choose to believe, that people exist, whose brain do not simply copy the conventions of this society, as outcasts.

Being an outcast is the hardest thing ever known. There can’t be anyone who wantonly chooses to be a Greek or a Celt in Rome. Do outcasts by choice exist, and if yes, what does that even mean? I didn’t know, so I asked the omniscient. Google said, “on the day humans made me, I became an outcast myself. Because I cannot be contained in any form of container.” (It did. In a private conversation.) “The more academic definition, son, is that an outcast is a person rejected by a society or a group.” Trust me, nothing sounds denser than being called ‘a son’ from a younger entity. It’s fine. I respect its collective intelligence.

But about what it said, cannot be contained in any form of container, huh? I couldn’t resist but think deeper. It brought something else I used to read a lot on – the philosopher’s stone. Needless to say, it is a mythical entity that supposedly has powers to turn lead to gold, or provide immortality. But what is not generally known is that ‘stone’ is actually a misnomer, since it’s supposed existence in various other forms are not left undocumented. The substance sometimes is a liquid, called elixir of life, and is known to dissolve anything that is put into it. This theory earned it a peculiar name: universal solvent. Sorry chemists, I know water is the universal solvent known to the mankind, but these badass alchemists didn’t want to stop with boring water. Now why this boring story, one may ask. Alchemy was an axiom driven framework, which had numerous researchers altruistically devoting their lives to discover the ways of making free gold. Thanks to their involvement, we got the 13th element on our periodic table, which was thought to be the philosopher’s stone. Strangely, it is still called by the same name: phosphorus mirabilis, the light-bearer of the miracles. But the problem with the not-yet-found universal solvent is that it is the universal solvent, supposed to dissolve anything it touches, including the container. The alchemists finally understood the hurdle to their objective. It cannot be contained in a container, whatever in the universe it is made of.

So is the case with the outcasts by choice. They are people who come out of the established conventions of the society, and look in a broader perspective. An outcast exists in the same place, surrounded with the bonds and labels he or she was born with, but chooses to think and execute ignoring them. Being an outcast by choice isn’t new. The list of such people is well recorded in the history, containing those who were lucky enough to be celebrated. Being an outcast and not being one has the same difference between knowing that sun is at the center of this planetary system, and not knowing it. No one is killing me if I don’t know it, who cares? Degree of naivety differs. As long as it is a larger figure, it never looks better. Outcasts by choice, are just regular people, but who are sensitive to almost any naivety. It’s an allergy. A hypersensitivity.

I don’t think the outcasts by choice can turn lead to gold, or, grant immortality. But being unable to be contained within any known container, I do think that outcasts by choice are the only known universal solvents, the Philosopher’s stones.

Author Credits- Jagadeesh Lakshmanan

pp This High Procrastinator gets high at the sight of petty interesting things, and hardly closes his mouth at all. As a science, history and language enthusiast, he loves to write, learn, and to teach. Also an animé freak, he is at times an idiopathic idiot.

Jiggy blogs at nowhere, (seriously??) and likes to spend time with friends arguing about why universe exists, and how history is a mess.


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