Monday, December 5, 2016

Outdated lessons

When, like me, you learn anything at all under protest and with much grief at being put through the torture, it is heartbreaking to find that you have spent all that effort in learning the wrong lessons. It is not even as if it was all because of this irritating technological advances - like the way it rendered my learning of how to use the log tables irrelevant. THESE lessons I could have learned properly anyway and, instead, messed up.

I had always been told that, when discussing something, argue or oppose the point that is being said. It is not merely bad manners but also useless to be criticizing the person saying it. It also shows an intellectual lack in you that you are unable to assess and counter a point and choose to call the other person names, instead. (You see what I meant in one of my earlier posts about not knowing the right words? I could have said 'ad hominem' and made myself sound SO erudite)

I adopted that as my norm for behavior and, consequently, have converted myself into a figure of fun. True, one always expects blind believers to end up calling you names instead of arguing the logic but I did expect that I would find some acceptance with the ones with some intelligence and an open mind. That lot used to be called liberals and there were a few of them loitering around Society when I started out.

Now, though, I find that I was all wrong about the idea of who is a liberal. If you argue against a blind believer, he would call you an idiot at best and an anti-national, anti-motherhood, anti-religious, anti-... at worst. THAT I knew. What I did not know was that if someone said, "Tell me, do you also believe that pigs have wings?" instead of outright calling me a fool, it was liberal of him. To think that I had not realized that an ability to insult without having to resort to crude name-calling was so necessary to being intellectual! To further think that I even lack the ability to see that they are different! And the crowning blow is that fact that I still do not realize completely that only the wimps and wusses still argued the issue, instead of insulting the person espousing them.

I should have known better. I never SAW the people, who advised me, actually arguing the issue. It was almost always,"What can I expect from you? Your reading is still at the picture-book stage" and things like that when they are opposed by anyone. The thing was that they told me,"Do as I say; not as I do" and I followed THAT instruction blindly.

NOW, I hear people say how the world is becoming intolerant of other opinions and how the need of the hour is for more tolerance and all that. I am wise to it, albeit belatedly. What they really mean is that those other idiots who do not agree with them need their minds opened, by surgery if necessary. Not that THEY should also become tolerant of other opinions. How can they even entertain the thought, anyway, since that other chap is merely an ill-educated, unthinking bigot or an anti-national Presstitute?

After all, we now live in times when, if he is MY Mahatma, he can do no wrong and, if he is MY Hitler, he can do no right. If there are any left in the world, who still do not believe in 'If you are not for me, you are against me' with no neutral ground permitted, they are probably still in Kindergarten.

Like me, mentally. No wonder people refuse to treat me as an adult. Thankfully, though, there seem to be a few more like me - even if they do not always agree with my own opinions - and we grown-up kids can hold requiems in our own social media echo chambers.

While the world at large screams intolerantly for more tolerance.


  1. There is no doubt that we are becoming more intolerant these days.Concerted efforts seem to be trying to pummel us all in a straight line.

    1. Tolerance starts with an open mind. When everyone starts off with an firm conviction even before approaching any subject, an open mind is a pipe dream

  2. The problem is all of us at all times, need to have an opinion about everything. Social media has made that mandatory. Only a nincompoop wouldn't have an opinion, so what if there are no facts to rely on. And once you have an opinion, it's your birthright to defend it and when arguments fail as they inevitably do when enough thought hasn't gone in, name calling is the easiest recourse.

    1. Ah! THAT's my other problem. I mislearned that facts preceded the formation of opinions; did not realize that opinions dictated what are to be accepted as facts and what are to be pooh-poohed, and not vice versa :)

  3. Ah! I can only quote Obelix from one of the books - these humans are crazy.

  4. Crazy and getting crazier...

    Too many zealots spouting nonsense on all forms of media. Too much intolerance floating around. Too many tempers raised. I had thought these forms of communication would broaden minds, but it sometimes seems that the narrow-minded ones are ruling the roost...sigh... Thanks, Suresh--brilliant post as always.