October 12, 2020

The Revolutionary Power of Diverse Thoughts

Copyright u/rasputin20 ©

You MUST watch the TED Talk given by Elif Şafak, an acclaimed Turkish-British writer and an outspoken women’s right activist. I’ll try to accommodate her talk in my denizen flavour:


Complexity plays a huge role in our lives. Governments are complex, An Amazon ad about the thing you searched for- but never wanted, is made up of complex algorithms, our body relies on complex processes to postpone death. Complexities are far and wide; It is in many ways an inevitable and intrinsic characteristic of the world we live in. Yet, when we talk about issues that plague the world, from politics to migrant crisis, we fall into a bête noire known as ‘Duality’.


Duality is simple and rarely elegant. Liberals vs Conservatives, Minority vs Majority, Witches vs Patriarchy, Rationalists vs Pagan Worshippers and so on. It is easier to choose a side, especially when the sides are trivial. But as I mentioned earlier, nothing about our lives are simple. So why do matters that orchestrates our lives take lazier guises?


Complexities usually seem indefinable. A layman cannot comprehend Quantum mechanical solutions for a Hydrogen atom. Does that make Quantum Mechanics obsolete? Simple answer, No. But if several laymen proclaim the spuriousness of Quantum Physics, it has every possibility of facing the doom or become a myth.


Elif Shafak urges us to never remain silent for the fear of complexity. Our world is undergoing rapid changes like never before. Our wish to remain grounded to a familiar reality could pose an incompatibility issue with Modernity. Whether we like or it, Modernity is here to stay. A brief juxtaposition of the past and 21st century humans show us that we are one of the first band of modern social animals. We abuse bleeding edge technologies while often overlooking the scientific contributions and the rational minds behind it.


Imagine one day, India wakes up and adapts 12th-century cultural practices. That’d be a sight to watch (for men, not so much for women). Historically men enjoyed superior status irrespective of culture, creed or race. As yet, patriarchs and MGTOW’s try to demolish the pillars of feminism at every chance they desperately procure. When society falls backs into nostalgia, women are the immediate victims.


Elif Shafak talks about Tribalism and how Demagogues abuses the collective sentiment to emphasise the ‘Us vs Them’ dynamic. Take India, for example, and it's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2020), his career thrives on ‘Divisive politics’ and ‘Hindutva vs Secularism’. From Gujarat massacre to Citizenship Amendment Act, PM Modi proves to be a soft- authoritarian. Demagogues manipulate the public by disregarding the real issues and amplify flimsy emotions. In particular, how that jackass Hitler pinned Jews for the economic downfall of Germany or how Hindutva fanatics blames Muslims for their repressive livelihood. In short, Don’t be a sheep.


Countries and borders are imaginary constructs. Race is a social construct. Identify what is real and concocted. Some things are just not worth fighting for. Guess what is authentic than nationalism? The heartbeat of a baby born seconds ago in Afghanistan. Do you also know what’s factual than Zeus? The injustice that occurred to Manisha Valmiki (Remember the Name). 


Today, we are forced (by circumstances) to live and die on earth, constrained to our borders where we enjoy our privileges or suffer. But soon, when Global disasters or Global warming and Pandemic knocks our door; which border or demagogue is going to save you? There are no safe spaces. Our collective will and kindness could be our only messiah.


Elif Shafak is a global citizen. Be like her.

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