with no brakes…..
Growing up we used to read ideals handed down to humanity by thought leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, some of the doyens of human civilisation….. prominent amongst them were the ideas of equality, freedom, restraint, team work, living within means, elimination of greed, focus on intellectual growth rather than materialism and more such…. all important ingredients to a stable, peaceful co-existence with our fellow human beings. For decades these ideals, these ideas have served humanity well. They have helped keep us all together and helped us stay, broadly speaking, peacefully sane.
These ideals somehow are slipping away from human beings lately. Today materialism is the new God. I remember how as kids we believed that American consumerism and materialistic living was causing much strain in their lives and how a country like India would never face those problems as we are intellectual people more interested in the pursuit of happiness through the indulgence of knowledge. That was till we discovered “money” or at least a few of us did. And then we had to make more and more and more and more and more and more of the green stuff…. heck the most coveted isn’t the green one any more it is the pink one now (a 1000 rupee note). But then why talk just about India, the whole world and a majority of it’s citizens are going down this path. Family time is now being bartered just to make a few more of those green ones…. err sorry pink ones… everywhere.
Ever notice how in traffic everyone behind you looks irritated when you try to cautiously navigate around pot holes? Yes everyone is in a hurry and everyone knows better than the guy in front of him…. it may not matter that they have no clue about what lies ahead and what price they will pay for rushing into the “ahead” (a broken suspension at best a broken spine at worse). Yet we continue to rush ahead unaware and unmindful of the process. Racial discrimination in the country which so proudly proclaims to be “all about freedom” is back and how. Even the courts today rule that a black guy has reasonable cause to run when challenged by a law enforcement officer, if the policemen is a white guy!!! How much worse will it get before it gets any better?
It’s the same with religion. Most of us believe in God in some way or the other. Some say they do not and they are also right, they have the freedom to choose. But do all believers really understand God? In most cases it’s a blind faith, not questioned not challenged never doubted. It was this way all along just not as blatant, in your face, vulgar earlier. Symbolism is everything today when it comes to religion. Again go back to traffic. Almost all cars have some resident deity or the other sitting on the dashboard, preferably swinging violently from the rear view mirror threatening to crash into the windshield (narrowly missing it mostly). Pray does that reduce the number of times you have an accident? The accident figures have not gone down in ages. If anything with the growing size and gaudiness of the dashboard/rear view mirror citadels the accident figures have only climbed. It has to do with field of view being blocked increasing the margin of error.
Humanity has an ardent need to prove “mine’s bigger, better, stronger” than yours. All conflict today is a direct outcome of this urge to associate with “the best”. As a dear friend often says “BIRG” — Bask In Reflected Glory, is the end game. On the inside you may yourself be worse than a week old turd left on the roadside by a mangy dog but you project an exterior that resembles your religious leader so accurately that no one realises that you stink as a person. You differentiate between them and us so strongly that after a point it almost becomes legitimate to snuff out the thems and wipe them off the face of the earth. We forget that this hatred towards the thems gave us the most violent phase and the evilest of human beings to have ever walked this earth, Hitler. This them and us philosophy is taking us right back to the time when there was a tribe of hunters and a tribe that was hunted. The logic of “become the hunter or be hunted” is what keeps us going deeper and deeper into this quagmire of recursive hatred. Someone has to break this circle of abhorrence before somebody else pushes the button that’ll send humanity to it’s absolute end. Religion and it’s practise needs to be turned on it’s head. First understand and then imitate. The current approach towards religion keeps us from becoming the exceedingly beautiful persons we could have become had we truly understood our religions.
An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind….. turn the other cheek…. try telling that to a “with it” person today. Be prepared to be scoffed at. I often stop at traffic signals at the stop line (well other times I’m behind other cars… so). The ridicule, the eye rolling, the honking and the incredulous stares from people behind me, specially if I do not start rolling when the count down is at 8 seconds, need to be experienced to be believed. Following rules is for sissies and nincompoops, the “mard” makes his own rules, after all we just moved from one jungle to another…. concrete is the new foliage. At a much bigger stage “they cause unrest in our country, we will cause unrest in their country”…. “they send fidayeens into our country it is time we started raising our own fidayeens”. Whatever happened to graceful higher living? If they are giving you pain the solution is in finding out what the issue is and helping them fix the problem, not in giving them similar problems. That’s immature and pointless, just like a slapping match…. gets us nowhere while we feel we’re doing a lot and in the process the grass grows taller all around us.