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❄️ Freezethawed: The Newsletter #019 - The Backwards Law

Hello everyone!

I have spent the week at Aravind Eye Hospital as part of my peripheral observership during my residency and it has been fantastic, to say the least. Life begins with classes at 7am followed by OTs all day. I have an all access pass to see, observe and imbibe all their cutting-edge clinical, surgical and examination patterns.

For those unaware, Aravind Eye Hospitals (eye care system) are a chain of hospitals in Tamil Nadu, known best for their innovative, systematic and methodical approach to healthcare in India. Their system is one that many upcoming hospitals and ophthalmologists have tried to emulate because it has been so successful. Besides that, they are known for their interest in incorporating newer advances in eye care into their daily routines and for their high volume surgeries. On any given day they have an out-patient load of 1000+, 100+ cataract surgeries and 30+ speciality surgeries. In short, it is a Disneyland for ophthalmology residents and fellows, both practising and visiting.

The Backwards Law

This week I would like to talk about The Backwards Law, first conceptualised by Alan Watts, later elaborated on by Mark Manson.

It took me a couple of reads and several minutes of introspection to grasp what he wanted to say, so I will try to make it as lucid as possible for you.

Wanting a positive experience is a negative experience; accepting a negative experience is a positive experience.

The idea is that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.

Here are some examples:

The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you will feel, regardless of how much money you actually make.

The more you desperately long to feel beautiful and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of you actual physical appearance.

The more you want to be spiritually enlightened, the more self-cantered and shallow you become in trying to get there.

Retrospectively, I have seen a multitude of scenarios play out as positive and negative experiences by virtue of my thinking. Looking back almost two years ago, when I took my post-graduate NEET examinations, the results put me in a dilemma. I could take it as a negative experience (and consider dropping a year to prepare again for the examinations for a better “seat” at the table) or just accept it for what it is.

Ultimately doing the latter, has converted it into a positive experience. I have made the most of my residency so far, gathered a few publications and made time for all the things which would productively uplift the dormant half of my brain, like engage myself in writing about my experiences in a newsletter. I have also made time for music and my instruments, which is something that defined my childhood. Something I’ve noticed along the way is that, our perception of experiences are influenced by those closest to us, and I would be remiss if I did not mention that my parents and their support had a defining role in converting this negative experience into a positive one.

I hope that you may also be able to let go of your negative experiences this year after reading this!

See you next week!


Anujeet’s book journey

This week I finished:

  • Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Currently I am reading:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Aggregate, the weekly quote

You once told me that the human eye is god’s loneliest creation. How so much of the world passes through the pupil and still it holds nothing. The eye, alone in its socket, doesn’t even know there’s another one, just like it, an inch away, just as hungry, as empty.

-Ocean Vuong

Harmony, the weekly song

3,6,9 - Cat Power

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