Our Flawed lives

My blood test reports have come, and I was summoned to see the doctor. Many test results were out of range. Hemoglobin should be 13, but mine’s only 11. The doctor smirked and asked me not to bother about these ‘out of range’ results, and these ranges are only for reference.

We have an appraisal system at work. The performances of the associates are measured and normalised to be fit in a bell curve with the major area of the curve (peak) representing count of ‘Average’ performing associates. This also indicates that the organization expects majority of the population to perform average. The associates on either side of the normalised distribution curve are either appreciated or admonished based on what side of the curve they belonged to.

Normal distribution is widely used to represent random data of natural and social sciences

In an attempt to explain the standard normal distribution, our statistics lecturer gave us an example of heights of males in India. The average height of Indian male is 5.5 ft. So the major male population would fit in this height range between 5.3 and 5.7 ft. It doesn’t mean that the other minority representing lesser than 5.3 feet and greater than 5.7 feet do not belong to the society. They pretty much do, except that our minds are trained to see them with a difference.

What’s common to all the above said examples is the ‘range of values’ that we humans are measured against. It is wise to be in the reference ranges so as to not be questioned against.

Now, draw a bell curve among people across colour, creed, religion, ethnicity, practices and hobbies of the people. Think about those that do not belong to averages.

Life is created out of averages. There is a sublime democratic process through which we have trained and chosen our lives. We have to live life in a certain way – go to school, get a job, get married, bear kids, buy houses, create a socio-economic status, work hard towards material betterment of lives, and die peacefully. This gives a sense of settlement in lives, and we feel physically secured. Any minor aberration causes great discomfort, because we belong to the majority herd.

Now, let us further extrapolate this normalization to our emotions. Our emotions are automated too – we live to appease society, we are pleased when praised, we are angered easily, we fear for discomforts, we hate every other thing, and holler at every single disturbance in life.

We are the best hypocrites that the society can produce.

We know our emotions are momentary but we dwell a bit too much in them. We know worry doesn’t solve a problem but we worry much. We know that life is too short to stress, but we stress much in a day to day living. We know that ‘unconditional’ happiness is the best cure for many problems, but we seldom put that to use. We know that expectation is root cause of all misery, but we expect a lot. We know from the bottom of our hearts there is only God, but we create a divide. The only reason is that the society taught us to be in that way.

We have conquered earth and other planets, but can’t control our own mind and emotions. This assures me to believe that we are using our minds incorrectly. Just like we trace back a screwed-up stomach to some bad food eaten, the screwed up mind can be traced back to bad training imparted for centuries.

Somewhere in the normalization process, we seem to have forgotten the basics of human life and have created too many ‘unwarranted’ needs. We live in perspectives created by our society. Our minds are conditioned with these perspectives for centuries, decades and years. Any deviation will be seen blasphemous.

Much said in this context, let me call it a day. I am already stressed out and have to get a good night sleep for a respite from my flawed life.

Anarchy of Democracy – Freedom of Speech

One of my most vivid memories from school, in early 90s, was that of a political science class, in which the teacher explained about Democracy. He used Abraham Lincoln’s quote that “Democracy is by the people, of the people and for the people”. It looked relevant to its time when the teacher juxtaposed democracy with that of school’s class leader election and the rules that we together conceived in the best interest of all the pupils.

Democracy was taught to be a best form of governance given its people centric principles that also protects human rights of the citizens.

The most important aspect that I enjoy in a Democratic country is freedom of speech. I enjoy speaking out my personal opinions across various platforms. While I enjoy the right to speak, am fully aware that this freedom to express comes with great responsibility. Human being is pervert by birth, and what makes him/her ‘social’ is the conscience that filters on what to speak out and what not to.

It only takes a second or sentence to instigate any one. Given this, the freedom of speech is in great danger. Current generation has easy access to social media and can blurt out any momentary impression on any subject. The social media is served to me on a platter that I am tempted to take a bite and be part of the mob that pours trenchant criticism on anything that has to be perceived as a difference of opinion. Media is playing a huge role in creating this personal agony.

Let me take a recent example – Aamir Khan has made comments about intolerance on TV. On that day, I came home after a heavy schedule at office. My regular TV routine is to skim through news channels for some time, and then move on to entertainment channels while doing my evening chores at home. The news channels are full of Aamir Khan’s comments and the reactions on this subject from various parties. I had no interest in his personal opinion and was ready to move on to other news. But these channels do not stop from sensationalising as if it is a national problem. The heated debates did not wane off even after couple of days, and at the end of third day I am tempted to form an opinion of my own and had to express it on social media. An innocent mind of mine was filled with hatred at the end of third day. The most unfortunate anti-climax is that I have forgot this whole episode to move on to another hatred based fiasco based on yet another personal comment, thus falling prey to media.

An innocent view can be a random comment or culpable to sedition. The easy access to express myself has made me vulnerable, and the fact that I can’t resist from reaching out to my smart phone even in a short gap has further proved the point.

Getting back to my school class, if my teacher asks about those that are interested to give a speech, I will raise my hand to concede my indulgence in this very system of mockery of freedom.