Thursday, 8 March 2012

Baba Black Sheep


While this curiously titled post may have something to do with black sheep, Harley Davidsons or even Rudyard Kipling, I’m sorry to disappoint you, dear reader, by saying that I will focus on neither of the above. In fact, as I am sure the literary geniuses (and aren’t there many these days) among you must have figured out already, this post is in fact about another species of sheep, humans. Let’s face it, Plato was correct when he said most humans are stupid. We tend to ignore this basic fact about ourselves, but we are, in fact, very very stupid. All of us need to take a long hard look at ourselves, and if possible, slap each other twice on each cheek before gibbering like orangutans.

But that is beside the point.

The point being, that since humans are so stupid, they need other humans to tell them what to do. So in your school, you had your principal and in your college, you had your dean and in your job you had your boss, and at your home you had a succession of parents, spouse and kids, in that order. But that is not significant either. Because all of those have been obligations, and ones you could not safely ignore. I mean, very few people have the guts or the brains to tell their parents to simply leave them alone. In that case, it isn’t so much about free will being the victim as it is about common sense being replaced by that unctuous sense of responsibility.

What is avoidable, what makes a victim out of free will, is the now ubiquitous baba. And these are the people who can now don saffron and presume to tell you what exactly you should do with your life. They have all sorts of popular names, some even portmanteau names that can lead to many sorts of acrostic permutations. Irrespective of all of this, the one uniting factor among all of them, is that they are presumptuous enough to tell you exactly what it is you should do with your life. In order to lend their opinions- and, let’s face it, the biggest certificate they have is the testimonials of their millions of followers- any credence they must convince you of their greatness.

And this is where methods vary, often spectacularly, some resort to vile calumny while others prefer common sense advice and deep breathing to induce some sort of placebo effect. But where things get interesting is when they use scientific/ quasi scientific methods in order to convince you that there are in fact things such as impurities in the blood and little green gremlins inside the head. And let’s face it, Indians more than anyone are susceptible to all sorts of subterfuge. We are a people of extreme optimism and very limited rationalism, and if anyone asks us to do what Krishna would do, we would go ahead and do it without even pausing to consider exactly which Krishna did what.

In the end, it is the faith and belief of a billion people that blinds them to the consequences of their actions. But then again, who are we to question them or their beliefs. The only reason I can think of doing so is because one day all of this might prove tremendously dangerous, just as blind faith usually does. Sadly though, none of the people so blinded by faith would ever realize how dangerous it might eventually prove for them. So we end up with a non sequitur and a lasting regret on the failure of rationalism to actually change anything.

Oh well, might as well get some chanting done.

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