Epicurean hedonism and startup life

I have been mostly blogging at my other blog (UrbanTurbanGuy) for a while now. But I thought it would be good to cross post this one here. 

About a year ago my roommate introduced me to Epicurean Hedonism. It seemed very different from what my perception of the word 'Hedonism' was. I realized that for a fact only after I spent an in this last year working at a startup and inescapably becoming an Epicurean hedonist.

Before we go in to the story, here are three Epicurian principles for happiness:

1) Friendship: "Of all the things which wisdom has contrived which contribute to a blessed life, none is more important, more fruitful, than friendship"

2) A thoughtful life: "It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly."

3) Moderation/Subsistance: Epicurus advocated living in such a way as to derive the greatest amount of pleasure possible during one’s lifetime, yet doing so moderately in order to avoid the suffering incurred by overindulgence in such pleasure. The emphasis was placed on pleasures of the mind rather than on physical pleasures. Therefore, according to Epicurus, with whom one eats is of greater importance than what is eaten.

Now coming to the startup life:

Well the third point on moderation is easy to understand, since you only make enough to live life in moderation ;). There is the expectation of the big exit, but till then you are working or what you can survie on and you make the best of it. Somehow it is in these resource scarce situations that you I have had the most fun in life. (Those are the stories for later posts.)

Coming to the point of why I wrote this post-
Friendship and a thoughtful life are the two epicurean ideas that stuck with me as emblematic of a bay area startup. You live and die with 5-15 people you work with. You spend countless hours fighting over ideas and then implementing them. There is no escape from understanding each other at a level that you become best friends, if you want your startup to succes. ( In other words if you are not in a dysfunctional startup you will end up with lifelong friends :) ).

More importantly with funding being the constrained you every decision you make has to be well thought through. You are in the game of making bets where the stakes are very high, you feel like Tom Cuise where others think you are writing checks that your startup cant cash (literally and metaphorically). The only way this can work is if you think through every decision deep and hard. Oh and by the way, all the thinking needs to have been done yesterday.

This sense of pleasure, I think, can only be had in the startup world of the valley. ( Especially if tech. is where your passion is.)

- Image via Pottery fan on Wikipedia.


I have no shame in being such a hedonist. 
The question is though is this just a startup thing or just a frame of mind that will manifest in other ways in different life situations?

Keertan Experiment

Some might call it blasphemy. I respect your opinion, but i assume i am not hurting anyone here.

I have been hanging out with a bunch of godly people here in bloomington, who love to create music. For the last few days I started playing keertan with them; even though everyone loved the sounds & music - but no one really knew what I was singing, because they dont know punjabi/hindi/braj.


I thought why not translate (to the best of my ability) and then sing. Translation is one thing - but translation to fit in to a musical rhythm is another. Here are few lines of translations that I have been singing. ( they are more of an inspiration from gurbani than translation itself.)
If you get which shabad they are from then probably I have been able to do a decent job, if not then please send across better version that could be sung.

1)
Truth is always, with me, o my heart
Remember and cherish it constantly. (main)

Always remember the true praise (my heart),
ur body (/friends) shall never go astray.

lord, all what u do is, so, sweet
Your name, should be all that I need.

(inspired from shabad )


2)
Some traded in merchandize, (while) some traded in medicine
Saints trade in the lords name, that is our vocation
We are the, Traders of the Name.
(This) precios Gem when one finds, (all) worldliness is lost.

(inspired from this shabad)


3) Tall buildings and beautiful girls, without the lords name i am gonna loose.

I Will upload the recording of these keertan/jams soon. but till hen enjoy some good music that we created a week ago:
Jam at the cellar by gagan

Panth ?

Beware: totally random post - no real conclusion. Just wanted to get something off my chest.

Last year and a half has been very interesting for me as I have been living in Bloomington, IN. far away from any gurdwara and the overly self-important sikh community. But I have been following the happenings from the outside - the usual ones - excommunications, Calenders, Dasam Granth, Sarabloh granth, RSS honors to Jathedars and SGPC elects.

As I have distanced myself from the "gurdwara" bound activities, life has become much simpler - less bound by shackles of the limited vision we have for the world . As I go out and share the word of Nanak with people of other faiths, no faiths and complicated faiths , they seem to love its simplicity. Everyone seems to rejoice at the idea of getting rid of stupid rituals, but alas i cant show them our gurdwaras :). ( by word of nanak, I mean - the truth teachings I learn from the Guru Granth Sahib only. no stories, no strange dramas , no character sketches :) )

Where am I headed with this argument ? well the point I wanted to make is that :
Pnath: according to gurbani means - "path" , "road" and not the "group", "religion".

I have realized by more experimentation that the more I am away from the gangs-of-new-sikhyork , the better it is for my health . ( the greatest pain though has been the loss of real sangat that discusses gurbani - hope to get over that this semester through "skype-veechar".)

btw : just getting the feel of the shabad:

ਗੰਗ ਗੁਸਾਇਨਿ ਗਹਿਰ ਗੰਭੀਰ ॥
ਜੰਜੀਰ ਬਾਂਧਿ ਕਰਿ ਖਰੇ ਕਬੀਰ ॥੧॥
ਮਨੁ ਨ ਡਿਗੈ ਤਨੁ ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਡਰਾਇ ॥
ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲ ਚਿਤੁ ਰਹਿਓ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਗੰਗਾ ਕੀ ਲਹਰਿ ਮੇਰੀ ਟੁਟੀ ਜੰਜੀਰ ॥
ਮ੍ਰਿਗਛਾਲਾ ਪਰ ਬੈਠੇ ਕਬੀਰ ॥੨॥
ਕਹਿ ਕੰਬੀਰ ਕੋਊ ਸੰਗ ਨ ਸਾਥ ॥
ਜਲ ਥਲ ਰਾਖਨ ਹੈ ਰਘੁਨਾਥ ॥੩॥੧੦॥੧੮॥

Its feels better to be a free agent of truth than a so called panthic agent of hipocracy.

There its off my chest.
enjoy.

sat kartar.

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