Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hypocritical Me - Hypercritical Me

A collection of thoughts I feel are hypocritical about us, but they might be hypercritical.  You, the reader, are the judge.  Without further ado, here it goes...

1.  "Sir"
This one was funny to some extent.  It struck me hard and had me go meta for a few hours.  At the US consulate in Mumbai, there was a lady carrying an umbrella.  The watchmen there were checking for any prohibited items.  She promptly and uber-politely asked one of them "Where do we keep these umbrellas.....Sir?  (there was a pause).  What hit me was her use of the word "Sir".  How many times in her life would she have addressed a watchman with that title?  I have seen people being rude to others whom they deem inferior in some way or the other, or with whom they don't have a favor to ask.  I remember an instance where a lady at my work was shouting at a watchman for some petty thing.  She was in a fit of rage, almost with a frothing mouth.  What if the same lady were at the US consulate, would she behave the same way?  It's funny how people suit situations to their advantage.  How we choose to be polite or rude based on what's in it for us!  Hypocritical or Hypercritical? 

2.  "If it fits, I sits"
There's an old fable where a man is searching for something at night under a lamp post.  A passer by asks him what he is looking for, which turns out to be the former's home keys.
In essence, a man is searching for his lost keys under light while he lost them somewhere else in a dark place. He does so because he thinks that's where he will find it, because that's where he can see!.  The moral of this fable is that people tend to try and fit the problem domain within their own limited knowledge domain.  This always fails.  For example, when someone tells you he or she is homosexual, your first reaction might be "She is mentally unstable, or may be she's odd.  She is a bad person etc..".  Science says otherwise.
Or when we try and apply the same solution everywhere.  Managers are especially guilty of this.  The point is we try to fit the world in our very myopic vision.
A nation needs both Right winged and Left winged ideologies, Capitalism is not a perfect system, non-violence does not work every time and neither does violence, rich people are not always evil and poor people are not always victims etc. etc.
Hypocritical or Hypercritical?

3.  "You are not stuck in traffic, you are the traffic"
A very profound statement in my opinion.  We all honk and rage when we feel stuck in traffic, cursing and swearing.  We forget the fact that we are not stuck in traffic, we are the traffic.  This statement is a metaphor to the human tendency to feel self-pity and self-victimization.  One always thinks he or she is entitled to something special, or that he or she is going through the worst struggle in the world.  This is perhaps the cause of a lot of unjustified misery we see around.  Stephen Fry famously mentioned of a self-help book which would just have one line, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and you will be fine". It's especially amazing because Stephen Fry is a diagnosed manic depressive.

4.  "Guilty till proven innocent"
The media is especially guilty of this.  The sordid manner in which any suspect of a crime is treated is pathetic.  At an individual level, we all are guilty of judging others at a blink of an eye.  We expect others to treat ourselves fairly and objectively, but we do not spare a moment in creating a negative figure of someone we have barely met.  A human being is a sum of characteristics, and a single one of those does not define him or her.  A smoker is not always a bad guy and contrariwise.  One person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.  We see injustice around and turn a blind eye, thinking it's never going to happen to us.  This makes me recall the famous quote by Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me

Hypocritical me or Hypercritical me?