Society & Lifestyle
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The Civil Lies
|by Vivek Kaul|
Now, now, allow me to raise a question that's been asked so far only through meaningful glances and under-the-breath mutterings: Isn't skin deep, deep enough? That, which lies in the eyes of the beholder, interestingly, hits far down below the eyes and, more often than not, becomes the key deciding factor for matters more than just corporal.
These instincts dictate most of what we say or do in our lives.
Before you jump on me and term me as a Freud loyalist, let me ask you this: Why did the concept of living in communes as responsible "commune-ists" fail so miserably? Why do people try every possible way to circumvent the regulations, no matter how crooked a path they have to tread? Why do we kill and die to safeguard our religious beliefs, our geographic boundaries, our societies or our tribes? If this does not convince you, a quick look at the annual sales of x-rated literature, alcohol, tobacco etc. -and other items supposed to cater to our 'baser' needs- should. Despite negative publicity, these things thrive. It is arguably the largest and possibly the most profitable business (a 1997 estimate had put the annual business of around 15-20 Billion USD worldwide!)
As we transformed from quadpeds to bipeds, we started looking ahead, quite literally. That gave us the false impression that we are longer connected to the ground, at least not as much as the creatures whose company we had left. Having freed our hands from the ordeal of carrying the weight of our bodies, we started growing restless. We picked up stones and banged these against each other resulting in a spark, and the rest, as they say, is history. With one thing leading to the other we started building dams , skyscrapers, roadways, cars and railways and, of course, pin-striped suites (to mask our true forms) !
With neck-ties dangling from our necks, we suddenly started feeling that we are not THEM! We started using lofty words and phrases, formed new rules for a new world and declared: we are the creatures of the reason (I think, therefore, I am)! The dissenting voices of hedonistic thoughts were muffled successfully as we became 'civilized'! We were ordained to behave in a fashion contrary to the way we were supposed to. We were asked not to delight ourselves at the misery of the others. We were decreed not to love our neighbors' wealth or other assets. (as if to compound the torture we were asked to love the neighbors themselves!).
Trapped as we were in the cobweb of our own pronouncements, we started accepting all the diktats that go in the name of Humanism. It was precisely then that someone from amongst us announced that beauty, among other things, is not skin'deep. Wrapped in a tight-fitting apparel of civilization, the savage in us started gasping for breath. Then we realized, to our utter dismay that the slip was badly showing! Ethnic cleansing, torture, mass killing, reveal our true selves too often for comfort. On a subtler plane the same is reflected as jealousy, hatred, bad-mouthing, greed, fraud etcetera. Hide howsoever we may, our truer selves are revealed time and again much to our chagrin. Despite our 'civil-ization', our basic needs are, and remain, the same as that of a dik-dik, or maybe that of a pye-dog. To camouflage our true desires and our purposeless existence, we try to form pseudo-purposes and then try to fulfill these. We turn into architects, nation builders, mountaineers, writers, scientists, artists, corporate magnates and what not. We climb mountains, we write fictitious stories, we waste our lives to find a solution to what ails us, we create the need to build the Eiffel Tower and then proceeding grandly to build one!
We did not stop here, we went on to take all this to ludicrous heights'we started asking people to stop killing beasts, stop polluting the environment, abolish capital punishment and what not. Civilize we must, even if that would mean giving up our skin. One dreads the day when we, the entire mankind, would turn into vegetarian, non-violent, docile mass of people, too eager to turn the other cheek around or maybe return a smile .Whatever happened to our true selves? The prudes would have loved to have us born fully clothed'.all in the name of civility! Thank God we are born nude!
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