Easy villains and easy explanations

Just over a month ago, there was a huge anti-corruption campaign in India. The movement was lead by an old, Gandhian social-activist named Anna Hazare. He has been demanding a strong ‘Ombudsman Bill’, as opposed to the, so-called, weak ombudsman suggested by the Indian Government.

Within a few weeks, a lot of people from all over India expressed their support for his mission. A mass movement developed quickly. This was accompanied by widespread condemnation of politicians in general, the ruling party, Congress, in particular and the leading political family, the Gandhi family, with overwhelming focus. Facebook and twitter were abuzz with activity, everyone was sharing links to articles about how the Gandhi family has always tried to cheat the people of the country. Controversy theories came up, some old and dying ones got a new lease of life.

Although the frequency of such links went down over the following weeks, there is still the occasional share with the same familiar faces. The moment you see the picture on the side of the link, you have an idea of its content already.

I have seen some popular beliefs among people here. Some may not realize it fully but they still subscribe to them. They are,

  • Politicians are inherently bad.
  • We are not responsible for the kind of politicians we send into our parliament, even though we voted them into power. They are not a part of the regular, normal society. They come from a separate, bad group of people.
  • Corruption is not a national affliction, where most of us have a part. It is a thing perpetuated by a few(politicians, police, govt officers etc) on the rest of the poor and innocent majority.

It feels so nice to find the ones to blame for all the bad, never assuming any responsibility yourself. It is like taking drugs, you feel an instant high.

Do you question yourself?

Growth requires us to constantly question ourselves, to keep the bowl of mind empty for knowledge to flow in. I read in an article long back that most people, by the age of 24, believe they know all there is to know. Ego fills their cup. They are not ready to question  themselves anymore. Once you believe you know it all, growth stops. You become always right, always innocent, the victim of wrong rather than its perpetrator. When you break rules, it is too small or was necessitated by circumstance, when others do it, you show no mercy.

Also, since others are causing bad things to happen, it is they who have to change. The power for change, in your idea of things, goes away from you. You become helpless. You can talk about it, maybe show your support when someone else does something about it, but you cannot bring about the change you want. You wait for an Anna Hazare to deliver you.

Any perspective, when held for long, will become your reality. If you create easy villains and use easy explanations to define your problems, these explanations will become unquestionable truths for you. No matter what anyone says then, no matter what I say here, you will not believe otherwise. If you can see some truth in my words, the time to act is now, before this perspective takes root.

Choosing an easy villain will not help you in the long run. Just like drugs, you will feel good for a little while, your ego will feel satisfied. But the problems deep down will stay and will keep surfacing repeatedly. What’s more, it will keep growing in intensity with time. Your explanation will have to be modified, made more complex to explain away the hard truth staring at you through all this.

Let go of the tendency to find an easy explanation. Look for actual causes, be curious. Display courage, be willing to accept your responsibility and part in things. Be willing to change and grow.

Until next time.

Image credits: Salvatore Vuono

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