– by Aditya Sihag
Perhaps, at a very elevated planar level one may regard the complexity of earthly events as an internally seamlessly structured gestalt; as a self-defining, self-existing and self-perpetuating entity. Viewing such a structure would be analogous to an omniscient ensconced in an eyrie a good ‘very many’ dimensions above this aforementioned gestalt. My attempt at carving out this mental imagery of sub and super-structures is only to facilitate the idea I wish to bring to bear in this write-up. I attempt to tangentially question what truly the word liberal connotes, and its potential significance in today’s world that is imperceptibly rushing headlong towards disaster, with wool pulled over its eyes.
In the abstract, one might consider the problems that beset humankind as manifesting from a prolonged hysteresis of poor choices made for the aggregate. From the very outset of human existence and concomitant thought, erroneous conclusions have been reached that were rooted in turn in inherently fallacious reasoning. Take something as easily identifiable as religion and all that accompanies it in the form of values, a belief in (and a fear of?) a superior force, and a broad comfort zone. Man has incessantly strived to understand systems, and in this continual process has had to confront with the imperfections in his ability to conjecture and reason. Think of the early pagan obeisance to entities such as the God of Thunder, the God of Fire et cetera. Cutting a long story short, these processes were demystified through the evolution and progress of science, and so did man adjust his concept of God to a more generic omnipotent creator and destroyer; to whom he appeals to in times of dire need, to whom he expresses gratitude in times of bounty, to whom he imputes all that is arcane, to whom he tacitly owes for all that is understood, to whom he disregards when he blunders, to whom he repents in guilt. What followed was an antagonistic confrontation between competing schools of religious indoctrination and propaganda, insofar as each believed its own version of this superior force to be the superlative truth. Think of the Crusades for one, and now think of the present global terror scenario as a warped version of an extended modern-day Crusade.
The point of this exercise was to demonstrate through example how the present scenario is simply an intermediate step in an ever-evolving finality of consequences. Paradigms are amorphously amoebic over time and are by construction bound to be incorrect, largely due to the inherent weakness in human reasoning. It’s almost as if we started out at a point which in itself was spurious, and this point in its own turn spawned more points, so on and so forth. Think of these points spreading out in due course, forming a circle as they hypnotically chant in unison ‘Ring-a-ring-a-roses’. Now we all know how that ends, don’t we? We all fall down…
To cut to the chase, we are all (tragically unconsciously) living malaises of our own doing, failing to realise that there’s a cause for celebration in the conspicuous fact of existence per se. We are so obsessed with our immediate man-made concerns (most of which are variants of one-upmanship), that we unwittingly smite our very selves through the aggregation of our individual endeavours. Our problems are entwined and sprout from the same hybrid seed of pettiness, apathy, malice, cant and mendacity. What follows is a snowballing, or, put more acutely, a metastasizing of these envenomed seeds in the very system we proudly vaunt as civilisation.
It has been said that the hand of fate is moving, but what is of paramount importance is that the finger points at us, together as one and all. The hand is, of course, guided by the minds of men, and it is in this sense that the fate of man is written. To misuse an Economist’s jargon, we are all price takers (the price taking behaviour is abstractly indicative of our willy-nilly acceptance of the system in which we operate) in a competitive environment, and as ‘the circle’ assumes higher dimension, we are all ill-fated in the aggregate.
Though arguably, a liberal mindset is necessary to diagnose the systemic puckers (the infinite points that constitute ‘the circle’), I am apprehensive of its sufficiency to iron them out. This inadequacy is again attributable to the inability of man to ratiocinate holistically. In the aggregate there will always be elements that succumb to a misapprehended mission – a calling for retribution and coercive proselytizing, to extend the previously used example of religion. I am afraid that both in principle and in effect, human beings are organised in a vast plot of balkanisation – selfishly unaware. The Human race commenced on a false start, and now it’s too late to restart.
Perhaps, one day, we finally will understand that ‘je ne sais quoi’ of yearn that underlies all human activity, needling us on to greater consciousness? That confirmation and reaffirmation that we are all human in body, mind and spirit?; that feeling of longing, but we can’t pinpoint what we crave for? Until then, we must all respectively draw breaths of resignation, and solemnly come to terms with the present reality of each one to his own, as he may contrive. Incidentally, isn’t that precisely how we define anarchy? Today’s trials, tomorrow’s tribulations…