There is a group of thinking and well-functional individuals who believe that education will solve all the world’s problems. But what they fail to realize is human nature is innately violent and capricious. Give a man the tools to create something beautiful, and he’ll fashion a weapon. We behaved this way when we were tribes and nomads; conquering the weak and destroying the fallen, and we’ll continue this way tomorrow when Elon Musk’s visions meet actuality.
War is inevitable. Crime comes from a fundamental thirst to crush. Suffering will prolong as long as the human race walks the earth. We’ll never see utopia even if some celestial hand gives us infinite means to achieve it because our reflections in the mirror only show us the façade. Beneath it lurks a untameable beast, a Christ-less abomination of hate, lust, greed and a need for control.
Just flip through the pages of history, and you’ll get what I’m saying. Every form of government – whether it’s a monarchy, a theocracy, a democracy or a communist or fascist state – has failed us. Intelligent, well-spoken people have suddenly turned into jingoistic monsters of national pride or religious fanaticism and have brought people like Hitler into power.
We’re finite, and we need something to hold. And because God eludes us, we turn to something either materialistic or quasi-spiritual; idolizing people in power, or a governing set of principles that are detrimental to other people. We work ourselves into a great frenzy. We embrace delusion like a lover. We look beyond ourselves, but we end up welcoming pandemonium. Collective hate grips us, and feverish, we herald the most repugnant revolutions. The finitude of man without a link to a good, infinite God will always be the cause for his destruction. And I mean both ‘man’ in an individual and a communal sense. When the worship of small objects ceases to satisfy, we turn to larger ones, and we change from individuals worshiping to a nation worshiping the wrong policies with unmatched vigor.
As we move towards a new age in technology and learning, we fail to see that all these leaps in knowledge are a far cry from an atom of wisdom. What’s the point in education or reading Marx, Dostoevsky, and Eliot if a twisted mental framework governs us; reducing us to mere impulsive, emotional creatures. Now, I’m not invalidating emotion. I think the capacity to feel is one of God’s greatest gifts, but some recklessness destroys even our feelings; turning them into vulgar things.
Sadly, with the rise of the right-wing in many countries, and jingoism and media policing, we’re watching democracy – which many think is good government – crumble and Fascism grow. Perhaps democracy never existed, and we only believed it did. The freedom to participate in the workings of a nation, the freedom to engage with leaders we elect, and the freedom to collectively unite gave us a sense of purpose, but now that very purpose has turned into something repulsive. We now want the freedom to eradicate people who don’t conform to a belief system. We now want the freedom to confine ourselves under dictatorial regimes that bring us national pride, which is so absurd and ludicrous. We now want the freedom to unite under a banner of wrath deeming it ‘justice.’ And the ones who speak out are deemed ‘anti-national,’ or ‘sickular,’ or ‘presstitutes.’ What we’re creating is borderline thinking of ‘us’ against ‘them.’ We might as well say (and we already are) that you deserve to die if you don’t pay your homage by thoroughly subscribing to the government’s demands, even if it goes against fundamental human rights.
The people who support jingoism argue like lawyers; berating anyone who utters otherwise. I ask like George Carlin did if nationality is even a reason to be proud. Your nation doesn’t define you. Your individuality and what you do with it shapes you. I’m not talking about what you’ve achieved, but who you are. Yes, we’re innately evil, but there is some capacity for good. There has to be. A gathering of people standing for a cause doesn’t define us either. We’re people with understanding, emotion and a will. We choose who we become. I’ll end this by saying that this period in history calls for a personal nihilism. Not a communal despairing of terrible circumstances – though I’m not against that – but an individual, introspective despair and prayers even if you’re angry with God like I am, and lamentations and a forging of a personal identity despite the burdens of censorship, hate crimes, wickedness, and lawlessness.
Find yourself through it all. That’s the least you can do.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)