{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Loss of innocence.

I read it some where about the loss of innocence, "You will never realize till the time you have lost it". Looked like a Catch-22 situation. Hence some pondering here.

Loss of innocence is a universal feeling which all of us have been through sometime, to some extent in life. Not everyone can exactly recall that moment when he realized that the world is not as pleasant a place which he had thought of before, but nearly everyone has a vague idea of it . Its like a bad ending to a childhood fairly tale.

First of all, lets see the what innocence means. According to Dictionary.com, Innocence is :The state, quality, or virtue of being innocent, as:
a) Freedom from sin, moral wrong, or guilt through lack of knowledge of evil.
b) Guiltlessness of a specific legal crime or offense.
c) Freedom from guile, cunning, or deceit; simplicity or artlessness.
d) Lack of worldliness or sophistication; naiveté.
e) Lack of knowledge or understanding; ignorance.
f) Freedom from harmfulness; inoffensiveness.

First thing to notice is that it may come from lack of knowledge but it is a state of freedom from sin, guilt, deceit and worldliness. To be innocent is to be simple and artless. And we usually associate innocence to children and the young. Also, being innocent is being harmless.

Then what is Loss of innocence. Does it mean its a process of moving from childhood to adulthood or a state of mind..

To start with, during the early days our notions of good and bad are still in formation. As told by parents/teachers we consider them so. Our circle of friends and acquaintances increases and we try to change overselves according to the notions of the society. Also we think ourselves about various aspects of life and form opinions. These alterations rephrase our ideas about ourselves and others. Now we have two blurred pictures about life, one of the ideal one and the second is the the real one. The ideal picture has everything in black and white. Real picture is harsher with crude realities about life like you need to earn good to lead a decent life, there is competition waiting for you in every sphere of life, people are not always what they say, you cannot afford to be true to everyone, and being a human being you have your share of worries, guilts and responsibilities. Clash starts between the two. Most of the times the real view emerges as a winner but all this tussle results in cracking of the ideal picture, even if not fully but beyond use. This marks the beginning of loss of innocence. For some ppl it may take lots of time. For some it may not even break to a unusable state.

In cases where it breaks, it is painful and as any genuine pain, it lingers on for whole life.

Now some questions which arise are "should we save innocence", "Is innocence meant to be lost", "can we be innocents as we grow up, i.e. Can an innocent survive in society", "Can loss of innocence be associated with realization of truth and progress on urge to learn, work, and act upon the necessary needs for survival".

These question will require some pondering, and there are strong argumnets on either side. On the first view, the idea of innocence seems too romantic to lose , but after some thought it appears too vulnerable to break anyway. The loss may be confusing, and even painful but seems very important for the discovery of the true human nature and the so called 'real world'.


Prasanth said...

Hi Anurag,

Innocence == ignorance of how the real world is.
What is the good thing in being 'innocent'?
You ask, "should we save innocence". Why should we save it?
You also seem to think that an innocent fellow is somehow 'good'. Can't a person be moral without being innocent?
The world is as it is, and wishing that one can retain ones rose-tinted view of it is very sweet, but quite useless.
You also ask,
"Can an innocent survive in society"? I would think no. Check out Dostoveosky's "The Idiot", where he tries to create the perfect 'innocent'. As you can imagine, he ends mad.
I just read this comment and it seems very harsh, so let me restate: I think 'innocence' is a very nice and romantic idea, but disagree with its glorification.

anurag said...

So you mean to say what is not real, cannot be glorified, I don't concur to that. Also if you mean to say its bad to be mad, I don't concur to that too. Also I don't feel that I have glorified the idea, what I have said is that it is sort of an ideal, artless, and ignorant approach to life and it cannot, in most of the cases, go for long. Yes, sticking to ideal picture of life and being artless can turn ppl mad in the real world but we cannot blame the so-called mad ppl for their state.

I haven't read 'The Idiot', just has read about it and a discussion about it. Myshkin is not a bright or educated character, can be seen as a weak character, but he is artless, good, honest person and is living with his innocence. Blaming his innocence for his condition is not the right thing. Dostoevsky also puts the same question 'Can an innocent survive in society' or rather ' Can society let an innocent survive' and sort of says 'in a crazy world, a sanatorium is the only place for the innocents' but does this deglorify innocence?

Anonymous said...

so what does loss of innocence means?
i got confused.

Anonymous said...

so.. wha? loss of innocence = guilty?

Anonymous said...

hey im doing a project on loss of innocence and i was just wondering if you knew any songs,poems,short stories along the lines of loss of innocence

Anonymous said...

I am 59 years old. I have been losing my innocence all my life. Each year brings us closer to the truth. Knowing the truth is what matters, ignorance is not bliss. Innocence cannot prevail.
It is not always a pleasant journey. Waking up to realisations and more revelations of truth can be annoying, painful, unhelpful. You seem to be attempting to define the moment of transition from childhood innocence to adult sophistication. No such moment exists.