Rage Has Gone Berserk
The Rabbit Hole of Inversion
Rage has gone berserk.
Back in 2002, I tried to grapple with the truth about myself, as a Hindu, after reading an account of what had happened there. I was confused. Nothing in my life had prepared me for the horror of the violence, the unreason of the frenzied rage, the inversion of logic, and the sheer brutality of of hysterical mobs on rampage. We are not like that I said to myself in disbelief. No one I know would do something like that. It can’t be true. The cognitive dissonance was total, the revulsion numbing, the mind paralyzed by the hideousness of what humans can do.
I didn’t dare share my feelings with anyone. They seemed strangely out of place in the milieu of the times. The banality of the school conversations around the topic, the self imposed taboos, the aversion to facing the truth, the layers of deceit in which the truth was safely swathed and smothered; was an ominous sign that something horrible had happened. An evil that had be excised, the wound cauterized, the pain isolated, feelings purged with surgical precision, and what remained of your conscience was to be numbed, carefully deadened to the memory of events, until the memory itself could be expunged of its excrescence.
But the abomination would not leave me alone. Whenever the mind felt quiet and tranquil, the devil would pop out the trapdoor, to remind me the world is not rational, and that my assumptions about people, and society, were incongruent.
Over time, I learned to play whack-the-mole with my demon, not very successfully, but well enough to get by. Even though I had many Muslim friends, and teachers, I dared not speak to them, being unsure of where it might lead. But most of all, what worried me was that beneath the veneer of civilization, we were not what we pretended to be. There seemed to be no way to predict when a Dr Jekyll might turn into a Mr Hyde.
Years later I met a family friend, then a senior civil servant, with whom I had got on well, and who usually took my argumentation in his stride. I was on a holiday in Pune then, and we shared the joy of a quiet walk through the old Banyan trees at Koregaon Park. It was then I asked him why any Government would let a riot proceed unhindered, if not organize it.
To my good fortune, he wasn’t evasive. Governance is often an inverted world, a sort of mirror, where in the reflected image, wrong becomes right, and right becomes wrong. Administrations often don’t bother about the right and wrong of an issue; they are merely content to do whatever is necessary to maintain order; leaving it to people to sort out their wrongs from their rights. There is no morality behind the pretense of a high moral ground; just a cold calculation of what might restore normality, and life get on. The banal truth was mind-numbing.
Often, this untethering of action from truth becomes a ground for further aberrations. Govt. may well choose evil over good, and justify it in a larger context. At which point, reason and logic dissolve, and power determines what will prevail. It was the first of my lessons into the limited applicability of truth and reason, in the domain of real life. Needless to say, the conversation left me even more lonely and isolated in my misery than before. A phrase he used, “Truth is situational,” has never left me since then.
Today I cannot escape the dread and trepidation I then felt, when I watch our value system itself being upturned, as our collective conscience enters a rabbit hole of inversion. Hatred was wrong we were taught. Today it is your national duty, which you fail on the pain of incarceration. The individual was sovereign. Today she has dissolved, like some salt, into the collective of religiosity, to become invisible. Perhaps she never was.
Slowly you are being stripped away in public, of every shred of what made you the person you are, or were, until you are no more than a screaming sensibility of rage; a demon who must avenge in order to just be. Without the rage you don’t exist. With the rage, what used to be you, doesn’t exist. You are not yourself anymore.
At the press of a button, you can be part of a marauding mob, attacking homes, destroying lives, killing people you barely know; a blind unthinking machine, conscious only of the rage programed into you, by the regime’s propaganda factories. A robot whose code and instructions are delivered by WhatsApp, from a vast network of robots, not unlike yourself.
Can you find a way back to your old self? I doubt if any one of us would even be conscious of the longing to do so. Would we recognize ourselves, if we were confronted with our old selves? The rage has been transformational.
Do those who programs you know where this rage leads? Do they really control outcomes? Are they capable of switching off this terrible experimental simulation in which we find ourselves? Do they have any purpose other than to act out some medieval rage? Will all this perversion of society extinguish the fires than burn their souls on the altars of a humiliating history? Will the present negation of all that we have learned, allow them to rewrite history itself, expunging all that went wrong? Would such a false consciousness be able to hold its own in the face of facts, and the need for truth, when we turn our faces to the future again, putting the past behind us?
Are Nations born out of depravity? Does nation building require that we expunge history, and all that we have learned from it? Will the reset create a new future? If so how? I am not sure that answers to such questions can be found in the eternal truth of some arcane scriptures, that the pretenders are privy to.
Nations are built by uniting people around the vision of a shared future, of which not a shred is in evidence. Instead we are being enticed with myths of a glorious past, that never was, but will be created anew, after we have expunged our humiliating past; forgetting in the process, that the past cannot be both glorious and humiliating at the same time.
Or may be we have transitioned into a quantum world, where both the opposites, sit superimposed on the same past?
If you miss the sovereign individual in all this evolving surreal miasma of collectivistic rage, hold the thought that perhaps we never were?
Oh yes, they will still extoll John Galt, provided they can install in him the relevant Nagpur code, to ensure he is a good Hindu, and dutifully pursues his ordained dharma, to earn good karma, for his next birth. It is unlikely that they will recognize the inherent contradiction, for they could not be who they are, without the blindspot.