English and Communication Department, MLCU
We speak of the uniqueness of a particular culture, for we assume to have understood the attitudes, the beliefs and behaviour of a people. We have the greatest admiration for any culture, especially one that is adorned extravagantly with colours, those which are not resistible. We observe, we get close, we touch, we seduce. Are we not being human for satisfying a craving for momentary pleasure? But of course, that is short lived. If we go back in time to reflect on that one particular act, or on the many individual acts of a similar nature, we would in all probability realise, that we have risen to power simply because we have overpowered. It is the sheer absence of rationality, in the presence of an overpowering mental and emotional drive, that arouses in us, the compulsion to act. It is an act where the conscience is suppressed, only allowing it to prick hopelessly, into that half a fraction of what may be left, of our rationality. The craving is satisfied, the moment has been lived.
When the act is compulsive, then the struggle is between the powerful and the vulnerable, the strong and the weak, the haves and the have-nots, the developed world and the developing world, the developing world and the static world. But who is to say what ‘development’ is? But who has the right to label a ‘static’ people as ‘under-developed’ and thus ‘backward’? The culture of a people is how they behave on account of their attitudes and believes. In the absence of rationality, we act on who and what we perceive as the ‘underdeveloped’, irrespective of where a people come from. However, that irrational mind, utilises that half a fraction, to try make sense of that not so peculiar a behaviour, and to make some sort of justification, even amidst being driven to make amends for what many would understate it as ‘damaged’. Yet again, the conscience is suppressed, and the act becomes a chronic illness.
Lunacy seeps in and becomes rampant within the cultures of old. Their identity stripped, their rights deprived. Anarchy reigns over the age old structured political, social and economic system. Their philosophies questioned; their roots in their religious beliefs shaken; spiritualism more an idealism. Nothing speaks to them anymore. Decades of traumatic experiences have hardened the senses of a people. Wordsworth often reminded and warned his readers of this great loss. Our drains are clogged, our streets congested, and our only way forward is to look back in time to reflect not on our unacceptable behaviour, but on what it could have been, if a craving for a momentary pleasure had not got the better of us. Our forests and minerals are depleting, the water table falling, our source of life is gradually drying for we have exploited what has been at the heart of our way of existence: The earth under our feet has been exploited; hope seems bleak for any sort of rejuvenation. But who is to believe this when food on our table is still being laid? We still wear the best of the kind that fashion house can produce. There is no remorse, we have had our moment.
It is inevitable then, that we will be driven no longer by a conscience, but by hunger. We shall plead insanity in our state of guilt. We will be insane in our struggle to regain what was and what could have been. We victimised and now we have become victims of a disorder that we ourselves have created. The vicious cycle is complete.