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Friday, March 7, 2014

Refusing to Conform

In our childhoods, we learn to live in our society and in a world which follows a particular set of agreements. A world which, is often, reluctant to accept difference.  A world, where those who oppose its views of reality are excluded and segregated. A world that has  remained  fragmented with each community  dividing itself according to its value systems, rules and regulations. Persons were no longer human beings but they made themselves something much bigger than who they  really were. They also created an image of a god that reflected their ideals of perfection and goodness which projected their personal conception of utopia.

As a consequence, people who didn’t fit in or fell short of the right ways , and individuals   who went as far as challenging the status quo, risked being excluded, segregated, labelled or put away from the eyes of a society that had built a temple for its own self. The fate of those outside their  direct circles became the enemy - the great Satan, agents of the devil they  created in their own minds to rationalise their own evil without taking responsibility over  their own  lives.
But, then, this is not another world. This is our own. And the demons are here.

These demons we create ourselves to rationalise  the unjustifiable. actions that are happening in our own age. Actions we accept because we think that they  will shield us from the inevitable changes that are taking place around us. In our vanity we lose our humanity to all that which appears to be dangerous and we try to keep people who challenge our sense of self as far as we can. Even destroying their spirits if we can.     

Thus, those who are different than us suddenly become a threat that we must control and eliminate or, at least, “normalise”. Thus,  we segregate them, exclude them, resent them, hate them, detain them, humiliate them, defile them, dehumanise them, even murder them.  If not, we stripped them of their human dignity and treat them as non-humans. As persons who are abhorrent  to nature and to human nature. We smother their freedom, their liberty to express who they really are. 

Indeed, we treat them with contempt - not compassion. And, at times,   when we think we are performing   some act of great generosity, we often are feeding our sense of superiority and self-righteousness. When , indeed, we should reach out to the other person who may be in need as an equal - just another human being facing the same joys and sorrows of life that will end some day. To recognise  that deep insider, we both remain   the same two vulnerable human beings.

Yet, pride  also convinces us that the other is a threat to our own identities, to our own culture and ways of life. Pride works on our deepest fears that if we show compassion and accept those who we perceive as different than us, we may be changed into someone else. We might also fear that in speaking against the oppression of others, we may discover that we are also one of them. And, that our hate and resentment was actually coming from our own inadequacies and doubts about our own identities.

But many also resort to minding their own business and hoping that the nightmare will disappear on its own. They retreat in a cowardly silence as they perceive injustice around them but still  choose to pretend nothing is taking place.

This silence, not borne out of wisdom, but out of indifference and apathy. A silence, not borne out of compassion, but one borne out of pride and self-righteousness. A silence of inflated self-pride that crushes the souls of those who challenge its authority. Those who are happy living alternative ways. Those who see things differently. Those who speak from the mind and heart.

Those who really want to listen and to  understand. Those who genuinely seek to be compassionate and authentic to who they are. Those who are crushed by the forces of hegemony and an imposed normality, materialism, consumerism and hedonism.

We are, thus, left out from society. Not because we are different but because society thinks we are wrong in so many ways. We are the odd ones because we are not accounted for. We are thought to be of less value - like an inferior product. 

Even if  it’s hard, we must keep together. Even if it means we are alone. We owe it to ourselves to be authentic. To be true to our beings.

We must refuse to conform!

I know, I am one.

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