Monday, June 21, 2021


Even the Buddha, today, would probably find his enlightenment in the shadow of social media, I suppose. (Yeah, I mean a prince can leave his palace, wife and all even now but leaving social media may be a sacrifice too far as a lot of people who try to take sanyas from it have found out. Like the Prince who did leave behind his royalty, though not his wife and kids, but finds the attraction of media impossible to resist.) So, it is hardly surprising that even I find it there.

Before your mind starts boggling, let me hasten to add that it is not realization with the capital 'R'. You know, the sort of thing that encompasses the whole universe, your purpose in life, life after death and so on...(even the way you ought to dress and what you eat etc etc, according to some.) Nope, it is merely a realization with a small 'r', the sort of thing where you go 'Ah! NOW I get it. 2+2 IS 4' sort of thing.

The other day, there was this news item about how a few kids were playing loud music in a train and a couple of men were enraged when the kids refused to tone it down despite multiple requests. (The sort of news which makes headlines on Social media, I tell you. Israel and Hamas may be going hammer and tongs at each other, but the headlines on my Timeline will be about a mother who did not invite her kid's bully to a birthday party and such like things of earthshaking importance. Unless, of course, some actor or sportsperson tweets about this Israel-Hamas conflict. Then the TWEET becomes NEWS!)

Where was I? Ah! Kids playing loud music on a train. Yeah, the comments on that post were illuminating to say the least. It started off with, 'These modern day kids...' to which some, presumably, kid retorts, 'The problem with the Boomers...' and from there on it built up to a really GREAT meeting of minds...minds that either met on one side of the fence or the other. But, of course, the twain grew farther and farther apart from each other.

That is when it struck me that on helluva lot of problems were being created merely because we like to generalize about things rather than react specifically. I mean, if you just commented that 'These kids should have had more consideration for their co-passengers', you'd probably have found a lot of the 'modern day kids' aligning with you in their opinions. The moment you started off with this 'These modern day kids...' and made the issue about ALL modern kids and not just those specific kids, you started a ruckus. THAT sets them off defending those kids and their actions, even though they may not themselves agree with them. To say that 'But all kids do not act like that' not only makes them look like wusses but also invites the 'other party' to start cataloging all the other things that kids do DO. I mean, come on, do you really think #NotAllKids is an impressive hashtag, really?

The problem is that generalizing is such an important thing to maintain your dignity. You complain about a couple of kids in a bus or your own kids, it is too much like whining. Now YOU look like a wuss. On the other hand, if you talk of 'These modern kids...', you are merely discussing dispassionately the pros and cons of modern parenting.

Likewise with, say, a troublesome neighbor. If you complain of him throwing garbage in front of your gate, you are a whinging coward. If, on the other hand, you say, 'People of this community...they have no sense of hygiene', it's a learned discussion on sociology.

So, end of the day, people WILL generalize. And, thanks to that, 'Othering' WILL continue. Come rage, come Hate, come War, come what may.

And we will all sit around and talk piously about how hate is evil and it is love that makes the world go around.

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