Monday, October 15, 2012

We live in a multiplayer world

We do not live in a world where there is just one bad guy / organisation / collective / country.

We do not live in a world where there is just one good guy / organisation / collective / country.

We live in a multiplayer world, where all the players are interacting with each other in multiple ways.
We can have good people fighting with bad people.
We can have good people in conflict with other good people over some differences.
And we can have bad people conflicting with other bad people as well.

Even in the collaborating side, we can have multiple parties - good and bad, good and good, bad and bad - working together.

It's simple to state, but very difficult to actually implement that in our perceptions when we come across any discussions on politics, world affairs these days.

On one such group in FB, I recently found a string of posts in praise for Adolph Hitler and advocating that all we apparently know about him is a conspiracy by the imperialist powers - that he was actually a really great leader and seriously cared for his people and wanted to liberate the world from these imperialist powers.
Seen similar arguments at various different places, extolling the virtues, the moral uprightness, the righteousness of Saddam Hussein, the Iranian government, for Gaddafi, for Milosevic, for Mugabe, for Assad... a lot of guys.
Now, I do not want to pass any judgements on the case itself (for now). However, I want to raise some questions on the intentions behind these posts.

By what logic does everyone who has ever crossed swords with the bad guy, automatically become a good guy?

Can't both sides of the conflict be the bad guys? With all the innocents getting caught in the crossfire?
So, if USA is an imperialist power that wants to take over the world, why do all the leaders they've ever fought in all of world history automatically become angelic heroes, saviours, great leaders who could do no wrong?

Do you really need every enemy of your enemy to be a good guy, in order to justify your position against your enemy?

look a little closer: they're both the same.
Just because the Allies (led by the US) fought Hitler, is it completely necessary that Hitler HAS to be an angel, only THEN can you make a case for the US (by that I mean the entities controlling the country's policies here) being evil?

Coming closer home, just to establish the Congress as a corrupt den of thieves, is it really necessary for us to treat the BJP, or even Samajwadi or CPM or any tom, dick and harry as Gods and Saviours?
Can we at least entertain the possibility that there might be multiple bad guys fighting each other for the opportunity to screw us all over?

In Gujarat, is it necessary to glorify and saint-i-fy the Congress in order to oppose the corporate takeover of the current government?

Because if we get trapped in this illusion that only black and white can fight, then we run the risk of having our own struggles exploited to only further another bad guy's vested interests.

If Kejriwal and Hazare parted ways recently, is it necessary for us to brand any one as angelically good and the other as satanically evil?

What if there is not just one major issue we need to be struggling for, but multiple ones?
If the global capitalist takeover is a pressing issue, is it necessary to brand the climate change crisis as a hoax?

And if one thing is bad, is sling-shotting yourself to the opposite end of the spectrum suddenly the answer to all our problems?

If the opening up of vital industries to big MNCs is a recipe for uninhibited exploitation of the country by foreign powers, then is putting everything, lock stock and barrel, into the hands of a bloated, unaccountable, centralised government bureaucracy, the solution?

If unregulated finance brought everything to breaking point, is making tough new laws and strictly regulating everything the answer?

If globalization and modern consumer lifestyle is threatening everything from social life to environment, then is shutting everything down and going back to pre-modern, feudal systems and the old society structures the answer?

As anyone spared a moment to think why we had moved away from the other extremes in the first place? Could it be possible that even the other extreme is a bad idea?

Is there only one way to do a good thing?
Can there not be multiple entities working in their own separate ways, towards the same objectives?

Is protesting on the streets the only way to win a cause?
Is campaigning online the best option?
Is negotiation and discussions with the government the only way?
Is non-co-operation the only way?
Is setting an example yourself without engaging with anybody, the only way?

What if we actually need all of these happening equally and at the same time??

Move on from a "number 1", single-player mindset. Stop believing that there can be only one option, or one way, or one answer. Stop glorifying one bad guy for the sake of vilifying his enemy. And for your own children's sake, stop wasting your time waiting and looking for that one strong, capable leader to lead us out of the mess that we're all part of.

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