My main interest is in finding out the truth. To me, as for Gandhiji, Truth is God. I differ from Gandhiji, though, in that I affirm that it is definitely possible to find out the truth using reason. Perhaps not all the truth, but at least in increasing degree. For finding out the truth, I believe the Mind is the most important thing one has. Therefore I call myself "A Thinker". Others might call me a philosopher. (Being a thinker doesn't mean that I am not into emotions, though. I took an on-line test a few days ago on OKCupid, and I scored 45% right-brained and 55% left-brained. The people who designed the test call me "center-brained", and add: "If you are center brained, you are likely both logical and creative, excel in the maths and sciences, and also art and philosophy." Neat.)
Although I spend my life seeking the truth, however, truth is not its own justification. Truth is only valuable insofar as it leads to goodness - more precisely, to bliss, joy, ecstasy, happiness. Since the only thing that does not need any justification is joy - since joy is its own justification - I consider enjoyment to be the best thing in life. I try to enjoy lots of things. I write books and articles, I cook, I go to performances, I entertain friends, I drive my WRX-STi car and hope to get a motorcycle, a sailboat and a rowing scull some time, I enjoy arguing finer points of philosophy and the law, and indeed I enjoy too many things to list here. I get turned on by lots of things.
As for what turns me off? Not much; but violence might be the one thing that genuinely turns me off. "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" - Isaac Asimov. Violence leads to suffering - and how can suffering be enjoyable?
Sex is a big interest in my life, and I strongly suspect that's a big interest in everyone else's life also. I take grave exception to those who think that sex is somehow bad, unspiritual or "dirty". (This, unfortunately, includes such people as Gandhiji and my Dad, whom I otherwise admire greatly.) Sex is not only something to be unashamed of, but something to actively celebrate. Indeed, I find that most people in most societies, Eastern as well as Western, and no matter how liberal otherwise, have a somewhat negative attitude towards sex. Even in this day and age, when sex is thought to be rampant on TV and other media, few people have erotic art hanging on the walls of their houses. At best, in our world sex is mostly considered to be merely neutral: not worth actual celebration. Certainly most people think that children should be shielded from talk or depictions of sex (as if there would have been any children without sex!) Even Freud, who pioneered the use of sex as a psychotherapeutic tool, appears to have been worried that his work would not find a sympathetic audience among the psychotherapy community of his day. He even urged his colleague Jung to reconsider the latter's delving into spirituality in order to find other causes for psychoneuroses, saying that Western academics and therapists would find it still harder, the way Jung was going, to take the importance of sex in psychoanalysis seriously. And even Freudians don't actually celebrate sex. I am myself greatly into Tantric sex, which I have begun to delve into recently. The only disciple I know which actually celebrates sex, and indeed considers it indispensable to attaining the highest levels of spiritual enlightenment, is Tantra - both Hindu and Buddhist. Tantra is about achieving a balance between male and female energies within the self and with a partner. Tantric sex is sexuality which directs energy toward free expression and breaks barriers internally and inter-personally, attained by elevating sex acts to a divine practice and uniting as beloveds for whom every touch and movement is considered a divine gift. It is aligning with another being and with the world through divine sexual experience. It celebrates sex as an honouring of all beings and creation; it liberates the practitioner to experience the highest levels of bliss.
Sex can be an invaluable aid to the achieving personal wholeness and harmony; and it has been recognized as such in Tantra. But it can reach those heights only when there is worship: that is, where each partner acknowledges the divinity - if one may so put it - of his or her sexual partner.
I think it follows, as a consequence, that love must be the basis of the best sex. There can be sex without love, but there can be no great and wonderful sex without love (using the words "great" and "wonderful" with the highest possible meaning they are capable of bearing). It's true that love can grow after sex, but if it doesn't, it isn't great sex. Most importantly, I believe that the basis of any true friendship, whether sexual or otherwise, is love. (Indeed, the English word "friend" is derived in the ultimate analysis from an ancient Indo-European word priyā meaning "beloved"; and the French word ami, the Spanish word amigo and the Italian word amico, - all meaning "friend" - are also derived in the ultimate analysis from the Latin word amor, love.) In seeking a friendship, I always seek primarily to love, and as importantly, to be loved.
In general, I desire honesty and openness in my friends: even if they insult me but are honest about it, I like it. I prefer to be told my faults so I can correct them, rather than live under the illusion that I have none.
And in my way of thinking, friendship is not binary: that is, "friendship with sex" (sometimes called "romantic freindship") and "friendship without sex" (sometimes called "platonic friendship"). Friendship is, rather, a continuum, in which sex may be introduced - or not - in varying degrees, depending upon the "chemistry" between the friends.
However, love can never be constrained. "Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear." - So wrote the poet Shelley, and he was completly correct. As a result of embracing this philosophy, I am polyamorous. And, I might add, not just from a philosophical perspective; I am poly by nature, and have been so since attaining puberty. I have been in love with many women, and all those with whom I have been in love, I still love: even those who have "dumped" me. (As for myself I never "dump" anyone - that's just the way I am.)
I suspect most people are polyamorous to some degree: otherwise one couldn't explain so many instances of "cheating", as those who call themselves monoamorous (or - erroneously - monogamous) refer to the polyamorous nature of their mates. I think that polyamory is the natural state of human beings, and I suspect that most people just don't face up to the truth about their sexual nature - their or their partners'. If they did, they would acknowledge the existence of polyamorous tendencies within almost all people: in particular, themselves and their loved ones.
I am an "into-me-see" (a.k.a. intimacy) junkie - I love to be able to see deeply into other people, into each one's heart and spirit, and to get to know what they really are ... and to have them reciprocate in kind with me. I myself am an open book - I have nothing to hide. I find those who are like me in this respect extremely attractive, even if we aren't alike in many other ways.
Love at first sight? My late wife fell in love with me at first sight - indeed, she even fell in love with me before we met, because she had a dream about me long before our first encounter - so not only do I believe in love at first sight but as far as I am concerned, it's a fact.
The perfect date? That's a no-brainer - one which both parties enjoy! Before, during AND after the date. (And a date doesn't have to be restricted to two parties, either.)
I like both the city and the countryside. In North America I think I should prefer the countryside, living in (preferably) a log cabin situated on the shores of a lake or river, or (even better) the ocean. But I have children who need to live in the city, so I live in a nice part of Ottawa, the capital of Canada. I can send you links to photos of my neighbourhood, if you ask me for them. That said, I have lived in many parts of the world, including Italy, England and India, and find North American cities not quite up the class of European ones. Nevertheless Ottawa is among the nicest in North America, with lots of green spaces, lovely woods nearby, and located at the junction of three, count 'em, three, rivers ... and one of them is even called Kitchissippi, which in the Algonquin language means "The Great River"! (That's kind of a powerful and sacred location, innit? If it were in India it would the site of huge pilgrimages!)
My lifestyle? I should describe it as "eclectic" - deriving ideas, style, and taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. Part of my lifestyle is my kids. I have three children, two of whom live with me, even though my two older boys are both over twenty. My youngest, a girl, is 12. They need my help every now and then - my daughter, the most - so I am not always free to pursue my own private and personal interests. But I enjoy helping them.
Vacations? My most memorable trip was a two-month time I walked all the way from the centre of Italy to the southern city of Brindisi, hiking across mountains and fields, sleeping out in a sleeping bag. I actually walked - about 8 hours a day. That was, however, more than 40 years ago. Nevertheless, my oldest son and I are planning on a walking tour of Italy for a month next year or the year after that, perhaps some time in late May and/or June of 2012 or 2013.
Money is important to me only to the extent that I would not like to be living in poverty, or even to "feel the pinch". But beyond that point I have little interest in amassing money. Money is only good because of what it can buy - and it can't buy many of the great and most enjoyable things in life. As the Beatles sang, "Money can't buy me love" - yes?
As for expectations, I don't have any. I expect nothing, accept everything ...
A VERY BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF MYSELF:
I was born in India during WW-II and spent the first 21 years of my life there, growing up speaking four languages; I then travelled to Europe where I spent about three years, most of them in Italy (with some months in Germany and England also, plus a week in France and a day in Switzerland). I became fluent in Italian, having lived mostly with Italians when I was there: mostly near Florence. I then went to Israel where I did my university studies in agriculture, having earlier dropped out of university in India after passing my high school with the highest marks in my class (because I thought university in India was crap, pardon my french). I spent nine years in Israel, became fluent in Hebrew and lived on various kibbutzim for about six years. (I am not Jewish, by the way.) After this I returned to India and worked under my Dad for eight years, helping out with his various projects, which were many and fascinating. You can get some idea of them from the links to his website (ask me for the URL if you are interested). Both my parents were close associates of Mahatma Gandhi, and I myself was given my name by Gandhiji when I was born. My Mum insisted, when I was born, that Gandhiji should give me my name, but he was at the time under house arrest at Aga Khan Palace in Poona, the city where I was born, so it was only when he was released a few months later that I got my name. For months I had no name, and was, I suppose, just called "The Baby" (or "baba", as it would have been in Gujarati - my parents were Parsis). The astrologers had said that my name should begin with an "A" (or rather it's devanagari equivalent), so Gandhiji picked for me the first name of the "jailer" at Aga Khan Palace who had been in charge of seeing to it that he didn't evade house arrest! It was Gandhiji's principle, you see, to be good towards everyone, and especially towards his "enemies". Actually, he had none. Likewise with me: I have no enemies (and it's not because "They are all dead", as the corny old joke goes. ;-) My Dad was very well known in India by everyone from Prime Minister Nehru down to the common people. My Dad's website explains a bit about him (but by no means everything, or even everything publicly known in India about him). His "Nature Cure Clinic and Sanatatorium", where Gandhiji stayed after his release from Aga Khan Palace, is now the National Insitute of Naturopathy, Pune (you can google it): my Dad gave it away to the Nation as a gift while he was still alive. In fact the room in which Gandhiji stayed (and in which he was phtographed by LIFE magazine phtographer Margaret Bourke-White - remember the famous photo used by Apple Computer for its "Think Different" ad campaign in the early 2000s?) is also the room in which I had been born a year earlier. I came to Canada in 1985 because I fell in love with a lady from Ottawa, a most remarkable woman whom I married in November of that year. She passed away several months ago. At my website you can find links to all these things: ask me for its URL, if you're interested.