Even though I realize the anarchic nature of what I’m about to propose, I feel that that it is imperative to get this off my chest. I was most certainly produced and conditioned by the same system that we’re all a part of and just like everybody else, I’ve learnt to criticize and oppose it just as half-heartedly as everyone else. But sadly, our critique of the system and our distaste for all that is wrong in contemporary society has become a way for us to make ourselves feel better.

I agree that I write from the limited perspective of a person who has never been exposed to people of different cultures or people from other countries. I also cannot deny the fact that my grievances and problems with the world are limited to the way I have been brought up, the social class I belong to, the education and books I’ve been exposed to, and the people I’ve met. Yet, I disagree with someone who suggests that this should deter me from pointing something out that I feel is worth being pondered upon.

If I were to be completely honest, I’d say that I feel there is something wrong with us as a society. It’s not that I don’t realize the simplistic nature of this statement. It’s just that I realize the overwhelming amount of truth in it, and so, it has to be stated. The nature of what’s wrong with us is so deeply inculcated into each fibre of our being that it becomes almost impossible to see past it.

For current purposes, some degree of categorization is important, even though I agree that with categorization, some information and considerations are inevitably lost. But for practical purposes, I would like to point towards the educated classes of our country – of which I myself am a part of – and suggest that we’ve acquired a taste for detaching ourselves from the problems that society faces. We love sitting on our high horses and blaming everything on education, while we’re still infected with the same ideological inadequacies that plague most of our country and – as it seems – the world.

Most of us would agree that violence is wrong. We would eagerly criticize terrorism and go at lengths to dissect the geo-political reasons that fuel it. But we fail to see the collective picture that we’re painting as a society. We fail to become aware of the subtle precursors of violence and sadism we constantly inculcate within ourselves and the young.

We reject change just as much as the uneducated, except we’re more rigid about our opinions because we think we know better. Instead of simply blaming external factors, if we take a collectively introspective look at our society, it becomes overwhelmingly obvious how conflicted our actions and our opinions are. It is not in the things we talk about; it is the things that we chose to ignore.

This ignorance is inherent within activities as harmless as giving our kids toy guns to play with. We simply do it because it entertains them and what could be wrong with it; after all, that’s exactly how we spent our childhood. However, once you start to remove the curtain of blissful ignorance that we’ve conveniently sown out of our pseudo-liberal ideologies, it seems sickening to see kids play at war, to pretend to kill one another, and to play so passionately with fake versions of tools which are actually purposefully designed to take life! I’m in no way suggesting that these are the root causes of chaos and violence within our country.  I do, however, believe that it says something about us as a people.

Apart from simply indicating the disparity between our ideologies and actions, it points towards how desensitized we are. What is the purpose of such an attitude? Does it serve any type of utility? In fact, when you begin to think about it, a deeper question begins to rise, why do our kids enjoy such games in the first place? Is it the fantasy of power and exerting control that excites them? If so, then why are they – and all of us – not fantasizing about acts of compassion and love? Because ultimately, all of us would agree that this is what we should aspire towards.

Another example of such behaviour is when we praise historical figures like Alexander the ‘Great’. Alexander is perhaps among one of the most distinct illustrations of narcissism in history. If history is to be believed, he was responsible for more murders than Stalin and Hitler combined. However, since he killed in the name of conquest, he is somehow pardoned from all criticism and acclaimed as a great military leader and commander. He is a prime example of how intelligence can be wasted on acquiring power, when one is convinced from birth that they are meant for greatness, and conditioned to believe that greatness only comes with power.

Moreover, the same people who reject war love to watch movies in which there is mass destruction and an explosion at every turn. The point here is not to challenge the intention of such people, but to challenge their mindset. Why do we enjoy such scenes fetishistically?  What is it about violence and destruction that makes it entertaining to us? A philosophical discussion of the human constitution would be counterproductive here, but hopefully, we have at least established the fact that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we think about the world.

Sadly, in this world, power and control are more enviable than qualities such as being nice, honest, and moralistic. It is really not surprising then that people don’t aspire to be good human beings; instead they aspire to be able to earn a lot of money, which is again, a means of exerting.

We have to revaluate our aspirations and our idols. Stop teaching our kids that men who think that they are destined to rule the world are men they should learn life lessons from, and we need to consciously challenge our predilections so we can become aware of the problems within them.

Let’s envision a world where individuality is appreciated, where people say that they want to grow up to be good human beings, where respect is built upon contribution to humanity and compassion is regarded as the most sacred of all qualities.