Social 'Shock'

Clouds are hills in vapor,
hills are clouds in stone,
a fantasy in time's dream.

' Rabindranath Tagore

Imagine the glut of 'arty' enthusiasts, who now dance ' and, yet don't have even a smattering of classical Indian music! The key is, of course, wanton self-promotion ' not search within. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, yes. But, it is the in-thing today ' because, there are no standards! 

Purists, in every field, who have spent years honing their skills with all their modesty, think of it all as blasphemy, or arrogance, but the devil-may-care-attitude of fly-by-day/night 'charlatans' has little time for such definitions! Quality takes time, and devotion, or fidelity. Art, or any creative pursuit, cannot be a part-time, or fill-in-your-ego-slot, occupation. But, who cares ' more so, because no one has the time in our present dispensation?

Most jaunts, or non-events, today, therefore, have, inextricably, become a part of our psyche ' a regular global feature. Add to that TV, and the Internet, and you've a host of contests, with prizes/gifts. Maybe, it's pretty hard for some of us to get away from envy when we look at the TV razzamatazz' So, we often go for someone else's jugular. It could be Bill Clinton and his human faults ' or, one of our own home-bred politicians with a 'flashy' lifestyle, or even a celebrity. And, there are too many of them, out there, waiting or in-waiting. You could pick and choose [or, vice versa], your own 'trump card' ' for a good copy. 

Too bad? Maybe. But, that's the way it is. Because, it is too hard to be as popular as you are supposed to be. You know why. Sigmund Freud's super-ego, or Interior Judge, has altered its requirements, in our age ' and, we just can't do a thing about it. Freud's 'benchmark' today is also insistent on early success, at age twenty-two, or twenty-five. It has changed our perceptions, and made our youth quite haughty: too proud to stand on somebody else's legs ' if not their own. So much so, they are just firing on all cylinders, and trying to attain instant fame ' not excellence. Nothing wrong with that ' or, so you thought? You maybe right!

Picture this. In the past, our conduct was dictated by one primal theme: obedience to parents, sexual 'purity,' and high morals. The super-ego, today, with some exceptions, no longer has a Mahatma Gandhi, or Jesse Owens, or Rukmini Devi Arundale, to hold its 'bearings.' The focus, instead, is on a celebrity crooner, or scantily-clad movie stars, and models in several 'adverteasements,' and TV serials/soap operas. Not that it's all bad ' a sort of 'spiritual pollution.' It's a major paradigm-shift, out there. Dangerous, too. Because, for one who isn't, or doesn't become, successful, and well-loved, punishment today is swift and ruthless. When that happens ' God forbid ' self-esteem too receives a battering from inside. 

Soon, you make it to a TV talk show and, bare it all. And, thereafter? Dud, not viola! To put the 'imbroglio' in perspective. Call it furious competition of peers or siblings, or what you may, the extension has led to a new 'template:' strive not to be good or great, but to be famous, because our community has been supplanted by TV, and entertainment. 

Hence, the big question, as scholar Robert Bly puts it: 'Where have all the grown-ups gone?' Of grown-ups who inculcate the value of good reading in their kids, and themselves, spend some time with them at the dinner table, with the TV switched off, or share a thought or two in their problems and pleasures.

Food for thought, isn't it? 


More by :  Rajgopal Nidamboor

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