1.     You recently said that I have lost confidence and though you said you weren’t sure of this, the speed with which you appeared to jump to a second conclusion (re application for citizenship) suggests that your feeling is, for you, more than an hypothesis

2.     I disagree with the position that you appear to me to have and feel I must state my position (this is what I had wanted to do when I asked for your opinion) but do not want to debate, argue, prove even though (especially because) I believe I am right. I should also say that it is unlikely that you would come up with explanations that I have not thought and re-thought, analyzed and re-analyzed

3.     Why do I want to say this? First, because I think it is a mistake to not speak in my own behalf. Among my friends and acquaintances some admire and respect what I have done with my life; others have opinions that are similar to ‘yours.’ I put ‘yours’ in quotes because I am not altogether sure of what your opinions of me are. Some feel that I am using my abilities while others feel that I am wasting whatever talent I may have. Sometimes I find the negative views hard to accept (emotionally) but only briefly. I do care but not enough for feeling to last. On one occasion a friend was particularly judgmental and negative and I asked him to leave (it was in my office at the University of Texas.) Shortly, I saw no reason to discontinue that friendship and the issue faded in importance. However, the present case is different. The issue cannot fade in importance. You are my brother and it simply the way things are that your feelings and so on are important to me – because you are important to me, because our relationship is important to me. It is not that I think ‘this relationship should be important,’ it is important without regard to what I want it to be or what it ‘should’ be. I have believed that you have believed in what I am and have been trying to do. Now I seem to have reason to doubt this. I experience this as a loss. This is the most important point. This is the reason for what I am writing. It is this, not ‘irritation’ that is my feeling. Still, I do not want to try to persuade you in any way. What I would really prefer is that you say what you feel as strongly as you can so that I have no doubt as to where you stand. As I said above, what you have said appears to me to be held by you in a more than merely hypothetical way and, if so, I want to know that. One reason is that your opinion is important to me especially since you are my brother and therefore I would rather not have any doubt about the content of your thoughts regarding the issues of concern. I do, however, as I said above feel it is important to say what I think and feel. It is of course ‘OK’ for you to feel and think what you feel and think but it is not OK (from my perspective) for me to give you one iota of a chance to think that I am in agreement with what you say. I do not even want you to think that I think that you are in a position to make evaluations of the kind that you seem to have made (in terms of understanding of a combination of understanding of psychology and its complexities and access to information.) You may of course be in such a position –I don’t have access to the proper information to surely know– but I have not yet had access to information to think that this is the case. I may, however, reasonably doubt your access to the relevant experience since, even though you have changed careers, you have remained within the career track. Additionally, we are so different in our orientations to life that judgment may lack contact with reality. (In such cases there is a way for judgment and the real to merge. It is to withhold judgment until there is adequate access to what is real in terms of both norms and variations from what may be thought to be the norm.) In importance to me the rank of this point is second in my reasons for writing what I write. Of course, human beings are complex and it is possible to combine confidence and lack of confidence in the same person. What I am I am and what I will be I will be (the point to the tautology is that I don’t want to appear to deny it.) However, I don’t think my situation has anything to do with loss of confidence. While I do have some interest (mostly of an extrinsic kind) in other work, it continues to be true that my present work allows me to devote my energy to what is important to me. What I do is not the outcome of a single valued sense of what is important but the net result of a competing system of personal values and desires. It never has been that the traditional career path has been unimportant but that other paths are more important and, I believe, hugely more rewarding (for me)

4.     What I wanted to say, then, is that I believe that I have a (self-defined / created though not necessarily unique) mission – a set of commitments that have evolved over the years, that I believe these commitments to have significance and that in my life (where you seem perhaps to see a lack or loss in confidence) I have made huge sacrifices to these ends (actually I do not experience them as huge or objectively sacrificial most of the time) and I cannot imagine the alternative being anywhere near as rewarding. Additionally, I believe that my thought has the potential (since 2002) to be a huge contribution. Thus, for me, the reward is not merely a subjective one… How many years have I spent pursuing the career option? Including school the number of years is twenty one: 1964 – 1985. Enough to lend some credibility to my estimate, as far as I am concerned, of that path – the career path; the path of what might be called ‘respectability;’ the path that is thought to be rewarding; the path that, if compensation is important to the individual, if the ways of being in society are important, if having others recognize what one is doing in an instant is important, is rewarding. How many years have I spent following this alternate alternative? Including the ‘free’ years before work at mental health, twenty: 1985 – 2005. This should be sufficient to evaluate the significance to me, enough to compare the alternatives. What is the outcome of such comparison? While, for others who know me it appears to be mixed, for me, even though nothing is 100% joy and so on, there is no question. It is my present life that has made it possible for me to achieve some of the things that I have wanted to achieve; to achieve some things which I had dreamt of but had not, until the achievement, imagined or dreamt to be possible. Of course one cannot be 100% sure and I think it is important for me to subject my thought (and life) to criticism even while I feel positively about my choices. I have always had a certain self-confidence wrapped up in some way with the opposite and have always believed in my work but the degree to which I believe my self-evaluation (of the ideas) is objective took a ‘quantum leap’ with certain discoveries that I made in 2002. Since that time I have been working out the implications of the discoveries. The depth of the discovery becomes apparent to me more and more as I continue to discover and work out the broad range of implications. The primary task regarding the ideas is to find the best way to write them. This is proving to be difficult – perhaps because I have put so much effort into discovery and the mode of discovery is different from the mode of expression (and, at least initially, less enjoyable.) Anyway, I do feel the ‘ideas’ phase of what I have wanted to do for many years to be substantially over and what remains are the other phases that I have described for you at other times

5.     In my own system of values there is no higher ideal (I do not expect everyone else to have the same values even though I am apparently judged in terms of others’ values)

6.     You said you thought I might feel ‘irritated.’ Actually, I feel no irritation. I do feel loss. Although we cannot each live all values we can participate in them (just as I enjoy your success vicariously.) As I said above I believe in what I am doing and the rightness of it – not only for myself but for the world: not in the sense of my contribution being important but in that it is important for there to be commitments of the kind that I have. So in this area, I have been feeling a sense of loss. However, perhaps I am mistaken in feeling that and perhaps you do in fact understand and appreciate what I have been trying to do. This is in part why I do not want to prove or persuade. It is because approval given freely is most valuable. I should prefer to feel a sense of loss that is based in what is real rather than feel something positive that is based in what is not real. Honesty is probably most important in such cases and not the least in that it makes me question my self (again) even if what is said in honesty is mistaken. (Challenges are useful to me even regardless of honesty; this is something I have experienced many times)

7.     I do, however, want to say something about how thoughts of the kind in question might be ‘proved.’ Why? In talking to you, when I may have disagreed with something you said (about me) you appeared to be quite ready to argue the case. I should not have an issue with that. I have said that I do not want to argue etc. as I have said above and it is apparent that it might be easy to get into such a mode with you. A reason that I do not want to argue is not because I want to avoid it but because I think it is futile. If I were to criticize the way you live your life you would realize (probably) the nature of the futility. However, since you have made certain statements and since (I suspect) the thoughts you have had are not new it may be worthwhile establishing a framework for thought. I do not expect you to agree with what I say – or to disagree (for that matter.) Regarding my personal values I believe in their rightness but not that everyone should live according to them (even though this should be obvious it is important to say it.) How might such rightness be shown? I.e. how might it be shown that it is significant for some though not all persons to assume such values? On the side of reason one would have to have a view of the world as a whole, to show that the view is reasonable and to show that the values in question follow. Rigorous proof is probably not achievable or desirable here but demonstration would still need to be reasonable and robust. From another point of view, that some persons have a sense of adventure is also probably adaptive / useful for everyone (the species.) Or, at least, it has brought us where we are and if that sense did not exist we would be different. Sometimes when you call and you ask, ‘What have you been up to?’ I may respond ‘Oh the same old stuff.’ I would feel a little odd to say ‘Oh I have been involved in the adventure that is my life.’ I do feel it to be an adventure and there are peaks and other times when the necessary preparation and ‘footwork’ feels more like a trial and at other times when you call I am not thinking of the larger picture. Another question concerns, how one might show that I am (or am not) living the kind of life that I am depicting or attempting to depict? When one goes to a therapist and says, ‘I have so and so problem,’ one of the things that most therapists do and that is a significant part of their training is to take some kind of inventory of the persons life and personality characteristics – and this might be done in terms of some school or other (e.g. Freudian) andor in terms of the therapist’s experience. I am not suggesting that you do this –of course– but am, instead, stating what may be prerequisites to accurate thought on the subject of concern

8.     Although it is not an issue of current concern, I want to address this question of ‘happiness.’ You seem to think or have had the notion that my choices in life are motivated by wanting to be happy. This whole thing regarding happiness arose when mum and dad ‘decided’ (from 10,000 miles away) that I must be unhappy. They did this on a number of occasions. In fact they decided that I was more than unhappy. When mum came to visit me at Rochester, one of her stated purposes was to help me ‘get my life in order.’ In Kharagpur, I was, as you have noted often angry at mum and dad. However, I was not, as you seem to have thought, this way all or much the time but only when I felt them to be overbearing and intrusive. I could be in error but I do think that they were overbearing and intrusive even in terms of the norms of India, 1960 – 1970. I enjoyed nothing more than doing what I wanted to do and being left alone to pursue my own interests (reading, riding my bicycle on the Salua Road, hanging out with friends…) However, as a result of my resistance to and anger at what I felt to be an over-controlling, overbearing, intrusive approach (you may disagree with me on this) they decided that I was unhappy. One time when I came second in some school exam, dad decided that I was unhappy at not being first and when I said that I was not unhappy he flew into a rage. In the early nineties when I was working at the Mental Health system, they ‘knew’ that I was unhappy. Additionally, their perception that I was unhappy appeared to make them unhappy. I saw two reasons to persuade them that I was not unhappy (in addition to the fact that I was not unhappy in the nineties.) One was that I found it irritating that they thought I was unhappy without even asking me a single question on the issue. Annoying might be a better word than irritating. And the second reason was that their misperception seemed to me to make them unhappy. So I put some energy into showing that I was happy. Of course my efforts were mostly unsuccessful although mum appeared to be pleased with some of what I had to say. The point is that the emphasis on happiness arose because mum and dad made a (huge) issue of it. For myself, of course I want to be happy but this has not been a direct emphasis. I have always wanted to do what I want to do whether at home, at school, or at a job. I have always had a fairly good idea of what I wanted to do (which has not remained fixed over my life) and have always regarded that as important. ‘Important’ does not mean justifiably important and, in the beginning, simply meant ‘important to me.’ Justifications came later. It is still true that what I want to do is what I want to do and, at present, that is to work on the various projects with which you have at least some superficial familiarity. It is this that makes me happy but happiness itself is not the explicit motive. The urge to work on ideas, to understand the world as a whole, to see what has not been seen before (at least what I have not seen or read before) is an exciting adventure for me. I should say that it is adventure that is the drive and not happiness; also, coming up with solutions to intellectual problems is rewarding but one of the factors of the reward is that the problem should be of central significance in my view of things. I am not sure what you think about this. You may think, or have thought, that for me happiness is an important goal and you may have thought that for me happiness involves avoiding certain things such as ‘career.’ If you have had such thoughts then I would have to say that I think that you are mistaken. I say ‘I think’ not because I doubt what I say but because it is respectful of truth to distinguish what one thinks from what is. Something that used to be a puzzle for me is why anyone would arrive at conclusions regarding another person’s state of mind without asking them about that state of mind. (There are, of course, routine situations where this is done without a second thought and we would be continually tripping over ourselves if we did not do this. However, I am not talking of such routine situations.) Surely, if certain things in life are important and if a person does / does not have those things then there is some likelihood that that person may be happy / unhappy. But coming to a conclusion on the basis of such general considerations discounts more specific but not less important considerations. First, nothing is important; rather, everything that is important is important to someone. That something is important, then, is shorthand for something like ‘important to most people’ or ‘usually important in view of typical human nature.’ Regarding what is important to me, I am probably no different than most people. Probably, at least as a gross generalization, the same things are important to most people. What may be different, however, is the relative importance of the variety of things. Algebraically, speaking this is trivially true because things can have ‘zero’ and ‘negative’ importance. For me, sunshine has an importance of +1; for you it appears to have negative importance. For me, following my own path is important. The path of ‘career’ is not unimportant but is far less than ‘my own path.’ Now, following one’s own path could be merely self-indulgent but when the path is based upon vision, conviction, and insight it may cease to be merely self-indulgent. I have a vision of the way the world is. I am following that vision. No doubt I stumble at times. There is no larger or established context that constitutes a guide for the path. There is no ‘career’ for what I do; the thoughts of others are, at most, an incomplete and often inadequate guide. This is not a complaint but an observation; it is in the nature of the enterprise. No one that I know or have read has been ‘there’ before; some have had glimpses; and, likely, others, whether in this or some distant cosmos, have been there but the record of their travels is unavailable to me – except in Plato’s sense that everything is memory. No matter, though, for without the possibility of error there is no possibility of being right. The foregoing is of course an incomplete analysis of the system of values –implicit and explicit– that determine my choices (as far as choices are determined by values or the sense of what is important which as I have said includes adventure in my case.) The point however was to address the idea that I have been seeking ‘happiness’ and one of the reasons that I have done this is because I want you to appreciate who and what I am – regarding which you would lack significant information if you did not know what I thought of myself. I am not thinking that that information has any importance to you. I have no real estimate of its value to you. Perhaps, it has no value. Perhaps, everything I say here is a waste of your time – or felt by you to be a waste. Perhaps not. Of course, I hope that I am not wasting your time and I am not thinking, either, that I am. What I say, I say because I think it is important –pertinent to our relationship– and, naturally, because I think it to be true. The main point that I may be making in this paragraph is not that I do not want to be happy. It is only in neurosis and other disordered conditions that one actually wants to be unhappy. The point, however, is that it is adventure, truth, understanding and so on that have been the central motivating factors in my life and that happiness in and of itself is rather to the side. I have tried to do what I have wanted to do and have addressed happiness primarily when I have found myself in an unhappy state (and when unhappy, working on what I enjoy has often been a ‘cure’)

9.     The question of the relation between how one sees oneself and how others see oneself is interesting. There appears to be a tacit belief in the modern world that self-deception is the primary deception in such evaluation. The deception arises, when it does, on account of ‘difficulty facing the truth’ and so on although it is frequently stated in Freudian terms or terms from some developed framework of human psychology. However, the situation is more complex than that for at least two reasons. Note that I did not say ‘I think the situation is more complex…’ Why? It is because I think that what I am about to say is self-evident (once said.) A first reason is that the truth of an individual’s internal or mental space is complex and the degree of complexity matches the limits of typical human intelligence and insight. A second reason is that while it may be true the individual’s ego-concerns enter into play in self-evaluation, the ego-concerns also enter into play in the evaluation and assessment and evaluation of others. This is probably the area that holds an explanation for mum and dad’s inability to go beyond their reactive assessment of their children’s situations. It is their (not necessarily conscious) perception of the child as an extension of their selves. In dad’s case, I think there was more; I believe that he may have perceived me (I do not know whether he related to you in this same way) as a ‘threat’ to his own self-esteem – both by ‘challenge’ and as a result of identification. Although these kinds of issue of perception, identification and evaluation arise in especially strong form in family relations they are, I think, universal human tendencies

10. I want to insert something here that I have been meaning to say to you and that I feel I should have said a long time ago. It is that I have been and will remain extremely grateful to you and Susan for having taken care of mum and dad in their sickness and old age

11. I said above that, although I do not object to your expressed opinion, I do not object to your having or stating it. I think I also said that I wish you would state your thoughts as clearly and as forcefully as possible so that I could know where you stand and so that you could consequently know where I stand. I also said that I believe in the correctness of my position. I am 100% certain of my position not in not having any doubts (doubt is a road to knowledge) at all but in having answered doubts adequately. I am now going to say something regarding which I am not 100% certain. It is that you do not have the life experience to make the kind of assessment that you have made. I am not saying that you do not have the intelligence (you are obviously very intelligent.) I am not saying that your experience is limited in extent but that it is limited with regard to kind of experience. One reason that I am not altogether sure of what I say is that you may have based your assessment on limited information which you took to be complete. (While natural in some ways that may point to a kind of inexperience.) Another reason is that your ‘assessment’ may not have actually been an assessment but, instead, you may have been responding to internal factors. And a final reason is that you may not have been seriously assessing but making an ‘off the cuff remark’

12. There is a minor point that I want to bring up. On a number of occasions you have pointed out the difficulty that I might face in finding a technical position. I do not at all want to argue that there is no strength to what you say but only that the considerations that found its strength are not absolute and that they are not the only relevant considerations. To say that there will be certain problems in a search for a position is not the same as saying that it will be impossible. Obviously, there are certain things that employers look for. However, not everyone attaches the same weight to the various considerations (that is the way people are) and the various considerations are not equally important in all situations. Additionally, to assume ‘impossibility’ (I am not saying that you said it would be impossible even though you appeared to come close to saying that but am taking the extreme interpretation of what you said for purposes of discussion – to make the point I want to make) is to also assume that the issues are insurmountable and that I have no characteristics, skills or intelligence to overcome them. If I may say so, your attitude seems to be unduly conservative (relative to what I perceive to be the case) and pessimistic and somewhat in the patriarchal style of thinking.  Again, I do not want to get into proof or debate but I am sure that you can imagine considerations that mitigate the factors of ‘conservatism’ and ‘pessimism.’ And it is important for me to say that I have sufficient confidence in myself (while health and mental capacity remain) to find a position when the time should come to devote more energies to a search. I recently did a little experiment. I have been telling you about documentation automation that I have worked on. Because there is an interest in it, I sought to improve it – especially the ‘user interface’ because among the staff there are some who are computer proficient but others who are not. I decided to do this at work and not at home. The proposition promised to be difficult for a number of reasons the most important one being the difficulty of switching between two very different modes – one dealing with an intense psychiatric atmosphere and the other with the analytic mode of software development. Further, since the automation is not my official duty work on it was subject to frequent interruption. I also needed to not let my coworkers feel ‘abandoned.’ However, I was successful in performing the necessary balancing act. One of the elements was to design into system a way to track and automate the development itself. Anyway, this gives me the thought that I might be able to continue to work on ‘Journey in Being’ even while working on some other intense technical duties including teaching. I feel I am doing a little proving here despite my intention to not do so. Alternatively, what I am saying may be seen as reflection on my own situation that I am sharing. I have had the thought before that I might just take the plunge into another line of work and that I might still be able to continue work on ‘Journey in Being’ that is most important to me. Formally nothing is proved and formally there has been no attempt at proof. The experience just described adds a little to the possibility. It also detracts for I found myself taking work home and as a result I have not worked on my writing very much in the last few weeks. Perhaps ideas are gestating and perhaps what seems to be not good is good. Perhaps (I am now allowing ideas to take flight) none of this is terribly important and perhaps it is inevitable that the world / universe will inevitably pass through those states of realization and awareness that I have sought but perhaps also the typical way in which it will do that is through the agency of some individual. To sum up what I have been saying regarding the finding of a technical / teaching position: as long as health remains I lack no confidence. What I do lack is full confidence that I might enjoy such a position. One final point. You have questioned the possibility of finding other positions and in my confidence. The logical conclusion is that I might as well give up and acquiesce in what appears to be my position (the kind of work I do and the low pay.) My response is that I have not given up and that, although it is not what I want to do forever, I do not accept any judgments of a negative character regarding my position. I know that our parents, especially dad, had a problem with that position and it is only respect for them / him (together with some self-doubt) that prevented me from arguing that what I have done with my life was in no way (in my opinion) less than what he had done. It was, however, not only respect that prevented me from arguing in this way. Caring, too, was involved for to forcefully argue that my life is in no way less than his might have been seen by him as a negation of his life. You might think that he was not so fragile but in fact he was. There was an episode, earlier in 1988, when I visited him and mum in Madras when he had behaved badly because he mistakenly thought I was disregarding an agreement that we had had. He decided that, apparently to show me that I was not as tough as (he thought) I thought I was (or something,) he would disregard the agreement. He said to me, ‘You think you can be stubborn but I will show you that I can be every bit as stubborn as you.’ Later that evening, per an earlier plan, I went to a restaurant, one that was reputedly renowned for the quality of its dosas, to get dosas for dinner. When I got back he had a fever. Mum and I ate dosas at the dining table. Suddenly, there was a bawling from the bedroom. Dad was crying. Actually he was wailing. I was puzzled – of course. Mum talked to him and then explained – he did not want me to think badly of him. I assured him that I did not and could not. That is true. Despite all the problems that he and I had, despite the criticisms that might be made of his intellect, I still feel that among his motives was the intent to do good things, to make a contribution. In fact, obviously, a human side had been revealed. I appreciated that but you may appreciate that I might be hesitant to give him doubt or let him think I doubted his value. And the force of his personality was such (and mine too) that to argue my self worth might have subjected him to self doubt which, no doubt, he had anyway. The thoughts that I have just expressed were not fully explicit. However, I can now say that I have not in any way ‘given up,’ I have confidence in my ability to find technical and other work when I want to (what I would really like to find and regarding which I do have doubt though not absolute doubt is that I might find a position where I would work on my true / real interests and passions) and I accept no judgment (although I am certainly willing to listen to judgment and reason) regarding my position or comparisons of that position compared to the positions of others

13. I said in an earlier communication that I love you and am very fond of you. This is not affected by what I have said here. I do not remember whether I said that you are important to me. I said above that you are and I want to repeat that statement here. You are important to me. As I said above, it is this importance that makes it important for me to write what I have written. If you were (significantly) less important to me, writing this letter, putting thought and energy into it, would not have been worth my energy or time