We live in times, where the war of narratives simply refuses to die down and no sooner that one fire of warring narratives is doused we have some other narrative rising up some where else, given the connected global collective future that we all share as humanity, what more can be more important then to take a pause and try to understand how did and why did we arrive where we have today, and why have narratives become so driven, compelling and sacrosanct, that without a daily does of “breaking news” we simply refuse to recognize that a new day has arrived and there can be a day without a “breaking news”! Join me here as we explore this space and try to make sense of the gross nonsense floating around us and take a moment to think what is that we can do to stay on the right side- or should I say, the sane side, as much as we can! So here we go!
Never before have societies across the world, found themselves to be dodged and challenged each day on some or the other issue, whether that is a social problem confined to a limited area, society or a nation, or whether it is a global challenge which touches areas of international trade, commerce, public policy, diplomacy or the so-called space of the new-age climate change fanatics! All these arenas have one thing in common and that is the compelling urge for the whole of humanity to take a position on each and every issue that comes their way- either you are for something or against something, even when you think that you would like to stay neutral and not join the fools’ bandwagon for meaningless pursuits, you are soon labelled by both ends as being a coward, incompetent or still worse a human wreck!
Humanity, as it evolved always had to battle and put forth one new age thought over the other and that is what the essence of progress and development has always been and will always be, but never before was anyone compelled to take a position like each one of us are required to do so- call it social conformation bias, societal pressures or simply a social model, if you don’t belong to something or someone, you belong to no one, that is what the human race has sadly come to be! But how did we reach this place? Why has it become so necessary and qualifying to take stands and demonstrate ones’ likes’ dislikes’ ideological affiliations such a pronounced way? What is really unfolding in all this space? Read on!
Our disconnected world, was perhaps more unifying and collaborative in the sense of being able to bring together the finest of human minds across varying fields- arts, sciences, innovation and that is what has been the hallmark of the modern age renaissance across the world through the 16th century onwards! Unique thinking was debated, discussed and either adopted or left alone, but never was the beholder of that thought vilified and neither were the people who rallied around exponents of different thoughts were made to pledge their allegiance and choose one of the many or the choices that lay in front of them! This is what empowered the free spirited and unabashed, care free thinking and experimentation!- A foundation on which all human development and progress- even until this day stands on! The fact remains that, the fabric of stretched space and time and space between developments gave enough time for people to think through a much required calibrated pause and that further went on to enrich the original ideas and made them stick like nothing else ever has! In fact many of the modern day marvels of engineering, appliances, gadgetry are nothing but an example of in depth pursuit of an original idea, followed up by continuing improvisation as the changing times would have called for!
Paradoxically enough as this boom of ideas began to get more and more predictable and routine, through the 18th century and the earlier part of the 19th century and as humanity began to exhaust, the meaningful pursuit of ideation breakthrough’s for “need to have” aspects of our lives and began to move towards “good to have” spaces, things soon began to get complicated! This complication stemmed from “the rewards that were being offered to come up with a new way at looking towards old things!” Well, needless to say in no time, narratives, competing statements and ambiguity began to replace- simplicity and clarity and once this approach starts to take a strangle hold on the ways of working of societies, all your intellectual ammunition thrown at it to bring in some much needed sanity, is almost always misused and thrown back at you, further aggravating an already worsening problem and in no time- the ground is set to create two powerful sections and segments within a society “With” or “Against”. This is the very moment which gave birth to what we see manifest around us, every now and then with an ever increasing instance, this compelling greed of wanting to control, wanting to belong to “x’ or “y” or “z” and wanting to just rant off “it’s only mu way” all the time is what sets the tone to further drive the divide even more further and at times make it wide enough, so that no meaningful bridges can ever be built, even if someone later would want to!
It is this modern day, madness that urges people to see things in the binary, or of either being black or white, for or against them, and situations like these is what makes humanity really color blind in the real essence of the definition of being color blind! It is this modern day approach of wanting to push through a specific narrative, direction, way of life, way of existence, way of belief, way of going about is what really ends up creating a sharp divide among humans- within families, friends, societies and nations- add to this a layer of “intelligence gone berserk” and on a trajectory of “wanting to control” and you have a recipe for disaster- which is what our modern world is more or less all about!
This menace of wanting people to see the world around them in a “black or white”, “my way or your way” kind of binary set up is perhaps the most un serving aspect of humanity as it stands today! If the digital age has done something to this space, it ahs gone further to add to the chaos and ensured that the dumb become more dumber and the wise become more sly- enough to ensure that the ambiguity and confusion is spread and sustained more rapidly and with more driven intentions, to further shirt serve people, societies and humanity at large! The digital age has indeed become one potent weapon of mass destruction- which if harnessed meaningfully can add colors and vibrancy to the lives of millions around the world, but as the few strive to retain control over the many- needless to say- this magical digital world- often ends up being an extension of compelling narratives and a larger then life intellectual graveyard in its own sense! So what is the way forward, is there something that you and I can do about this? If yes, what is that we can do? Read on!
Sure enough, there is no one size fits all solution to this overhanging menace of our modern times, simply because all situations and contextual realities are almost always different even though they seem to be similar enough, they are never the same. Having said that, the only meaningful way to deal with this compelling pressure of living in a binary world is by allowing yourself to see your life through a prism! Just like the prism splits white light and leaves us awestruck with the array of the rainbow colors, we too can arrive at meaningful inferences, rejecting the compelling binaries that are thrown our way! There certainly will be times when binaries may be true and correct, but unless things around you are made to pass the test of the prism, you can never be certain about what colors are hidden in the plain light that is shining your way! Now you may be wondering, what is this magical prism all about!
Well that magical prism is the prism of your intelligence which is anchored on the pivots of wisdom, rationality and humanistic realities! You see, no matter who says what, unless science develops to a very advanced level, this third rock from the Sun is all that we have got and if you think escaping a situation was a great act, you will be gravely mistaken, for some other contextual settings may soon entrap you and compel you to solve some problem which is not even yours’ to begin with! This is the truth of our connected world, problems come from some odd pocket, created by few actors residing some where else and the consequences being faced by yet another society!
Unless you and I don’t make that extra effort to behold the sights and sounds of our fleeting world through the prism of discernment anchored on values and attributes that serve the greater good of the society that we are in, everything that you and I try to do will always be seen to be either “for” or “against” and we risk being entrapped into the binary world and end up being the unwitting contributors furthering a meaningless pursuit!
I leave you with these thoughts for now, urging you to bring in your prism to behold the life around you so that you see the colors hidden away in the ordinary looking light that comes your way! Life is certainly beyond binaries and the competing narratives that we are always left to play around with! The real essence of life and meaningful narratives only thrive once you are able to see beyond the binaries and are able to take a stand which does not necessarily mean a choice between “for” or “against”!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another one! Until then stay safe and stay wise!