Log Kya Kahenge


“Society exists as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals”– Oscar Wilde.

All abstractions of such order are both true and untrue. In the same fashion, it could also be said that people don’t exist. They are just a cluster of living cells. Therefore, “people” is only a mental concept and we need not worry about people. Such scientific understanding of life can seem cold and heartless but people need abstractions to make life seem simpler or to express themselves better. Like I have my poetry that few people can instantly understand and some who cannot tolerate them!

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However, this phrase set me thinking. In my previous poem on the blog “Honor”  I spoke of being torn between personal pain and tolerance for other’s welfare. The enigma of Individualism vs Collectivism- which is Wilde implication in the above line.

Collectivism is the moral stance that people should prioritize the good of the society or the group over personal welfare. Though collectivism sounds more humane, collectivism has often subjugated our rights as  individuals to lot of social evils. People are constantly classified to groups  racist, linguist, casteist) and understood and controlled as a group. Furthermore, collectivism forces us to behave, dress, speak, and behave a certain way in all important junctures of life. Though I agree that “what society will think/ Log Kya kahenge” should be not be the sole factor for decision making, it’s imperative that it is considered. We are social animals and consideration of other’s feelings is only courteous and civilized in any decision making even if it means some self-sacrifice and tolerance.

However, we all have certain non-negotiables and deal breakers. Enter individualism: Nathaniel Branden (Ayn Rand s partner) explains,   

 “Individualism holds that a human being should think and judge independently, respecting nothing more than the sovereignty of his or her mind; thus, it is intimately connected with the concept of autonomy. Paradoxical as it may seem, men and women who are free to pursue individualism and material wealth turn out to be the most compassionate of all.”

 Even Ayn Rand notes, albeit disagrees, the understanding the pursuing self-interest equates to behaving irrationally and brutally towards people in their life.

Individualistic thinking is rational, however my actions are based on collectivism- the team, the gang, the family, the society. A person with fierce sense of individualism is not reliable for any relationship. Many who are appreciative of Ayn Rand’s work are seldom individualists themselves and merely pseudo-intellectuals in awe of her literary prowess. And those brutal individualists haven’t made any intellectual achievement in their pursuit of freedom and selfish discard of other’s feelings. Individualism can be a right to be excused for, not a right that can be exploited to destroy others.

In all, I love the sense of identity that collectivism brings- a group that one belongs to. I also love my freedom. However, my pursuit of individualism has seldom been so selfish that it has been exercised without consideration of others involved. That said, I have also realized the very essence of Wilde’s abstraction above “Society exists as a mental concept”.  After every embarrassing, horrifying experience, my perception of “Log kya kahenge” has been challenged.

Society doesn’t care about you as much as you think it does.

And.

You need to care about the society more than you think you do.

 

 

 

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One thought on “Log Kya Kahenge

  1. “Society doesn’t care about you as much as you think it does. And.You need to care about the society more than you think you do.”
    As an individual, we can think of other individuals and not society on the whole.
    “A person with fierce sense of individualism is not reliable for any relationship.” – May be, May be not. For example: Being single, the society puts a lot of pressure on that person to marry or be in a relationship for many a reasons. Some say it is “happiness, responsibility, et cetera” and if the person does not follow what the society wants/expects/, then he/she becomes unreliable for a relationship. Choices are made by people and other human beings (not society) must accept and appreciate it. If something has to happen, it will.

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