Why We Need To Question Our Own Prejudices And Break Free From This Social Conditioning

Posted on August 26, 2014 in Society

By Pranjal Rawat:

Each of us comes from a different universe of thoughts, culture and aspirations. We, each, have an entirely different story to tell. Darwinian evolution presents us as common species wherein we share similar reproductive, social and individualist characteristics. However, our minds, paying due respect to the science of neurology, are capable of branching out far from the common minimums given to us by nature. These give rise to ideologies and philosophies that differ, almost radically. We have difference in opinion over what is beautiful and what is not. If we are pluralistic enough, we entertain differences, if not, we reject the understanding of the opposing voice. If we are crude, we beat them mercilessly till either they are dead or the voice has stopped. If we are intelligent, we place this difference onto insufficient comprehension of the other. If both voices seem to come from educated and informed sources, we cry ‘faulty logic’. All of this is incredibly normal, and the language of reason dictates that consistent ideologies cut inconsistent ones like a hot knife on butter.

Picture Credits: Alice Popkorn
Picture Credits: Alice Popkorn

What is then apparent is an easy enough victory. But withdrawing oneself back from the personal level and taking oneself to the universal is the only way to fully refute or demolish a narrative. It then becomes a challenge for the self to embark on a journey of self discovery, not of the kind sold by mainstream media, but one where ideological disparities in oneself are revealed. With these narratives exposed, it becomes easier for us to incorporate ourselves into a grander picture, a world view and a super ideology. This is important on both the micro/personal level because for the uninformed and dogmatic it becomes a means to inform oneself and to subscribe to the tried and tested philosophies of empiricism and rationalism. On the macro level, one where I choose to think of the masses as one large collective organism, it is important because large scale subjugation to mob mentality and ideological waves flooring across the minds of men, like the hindu maha-rahshtra, are unearthed.

The moment we begin to question each action and emotion that our biological being experiences, we reveal to ourselves our rationality, and more importantly, the glaring super-narratives. I wrote this note in English, while Hindi is/was my mother tongue, i.e the language I grew up with, because over time, I have had little chance to discourse or communicate in Hindi (even at home). This is a personal discovery. If taken on a macro level, with similar urban elite students like myself trying to understand this phenomenon, it will reveal the imposition of the English culture upon the student population (in various exam like the UPSC, and the western hegemony of the internet). The point I’m trying to make is not that this narrative exists, but that some super social design is influencing and causing this note to be read and shared in English. This discovery might be too obvious you say, let me unearth another one, the caste influences of the Presidency University general elections – out of the 12-13 people who stood for the panel election, only 1 or 2 were from a lower caste (disproportionately to the population). This may be a lucky correlation or a submissive causation, I do not know; but we need to ponder why this is so. This may be simply out of chance, or that caste is of no consideration in our election and that is was equally likely that converse may have happened, but this introspection is in the need of the hour.

Patriarchal and racial bias are revealed when one introspects on the social interaction between friends, lovers and strangers. Religious dogma being more blunt, may be more obvious than the rest. The language that we use limits our communication, and is riddled with influences of the victorian age (possibly?), patriarchy, racism, prejudice and bias. Words are guilty of narrative. We need to be conscious of how we communicate even in the most humdrum of discussions. As I write this, I am conscious of two things, how little this text is able to communicate to you what I truly feel about this and how much I really want to expose this to the world. The speed in which I type is limiting the thinking process, fracturing it at places where it should not be fractured. Glaring inconsistencies in our character, yelling slogans for women’s rights and at the same time objectifying them subconsciously, are revealed when we observe the motion of our eyes and scan the process of thinking and the different directions it turns to during the time we are awake.

The color of your shirt, the brushing of your teeth every night (is it a propaganda by toothpaste corporates?), the salient characteristics of patriarchy in your family, how your mother lovingly feeds you (is it the only way she can express her love now that you live away?) and the attention span of our minds (rising at award shows, and falling during a documentary); these are influenced by larger narratives and super-ideologies, cinematically and metaphorically, running through the air. Liberate yourself from the clutches of your influences, your bubbles so that you may dissent with your conformity. We conform so heavily, so saliently and so subconsciously. Let reality be exposed through a series of revolutions and colors of red, that inspire a violent change in thinking, almost forcibly. The revolution of the mind, exploding our senses and bursting the bubbles that we live in. Connecting the fragmented blips of sense you observe in this world of noise (chatter, babble, radio, laughter), will allow us to force the narrative of self into exposing itself. Your attention span has now long ended, that being my greatest limitation; I leave you with a plea – to reveal to yourself, yourself, however much of a contradiction that may sound to be. Pardon me, if this was a little new to yourself.