April 17, 2002

Us

Why is it that we always choose the easier way out when given a choice between the tougher but being true to yourself way and the easier but blame it on someone else way? My strongest belief is that such a trait is ingrained into our nature as human beings. I have been discussing this with my friend for a while now, but I am yet to get any answers that would let me believe otherwise.

History is littered with instances where the ordinary man on the street has had the power in his hands to change the course of civilisation to one where things change for the better and individual responsibility becomes the primary means to an existence where choices are made by the individual for his own good resulting in the collective good of the society.

But the common feature in all such crossroads is that, once there, people always tend to divest this precious responsibility in someone. In other words, take the easy way out. Once the leader has the power of too many destinies in his hands, he becomes power mad, history repeats itself, the inevitable revolution follows a new leader replaces the old.

Yes, there certainly is a gradual qualitative change that comes as a result of this. But that is not my point. My point is that why do we have to consciously choose such a destructive path for miniscule relative changes, when we know that we can have something much better only if we were to take responsibility for our actions. The first reaction that most of us show when confronted with a mistake is to look for a scapegoat -- "No I did not do it!"

There are people who love to lead and others who love to be lead on. The former often get all the blame for being in the lead while reality is that the latter often consciously put their destinies in their hands and go scot free of any blame because of a supposed ignorance of their own state.

Take a look at what happened in the United States after 9/11. It is almost shameful how majority of the people there agreed to let go of their personal freedom to obscene levels provided that they could all live with their 9 to 5 jobs, eat the Big Macs and not have a care in the world. Whatever happens after that can be said as the price for that thoughtless level of existence.

In a way the US is not a very good example as far as personal freedom goes, but since it is often mentioned as the most 'free' country, I thought it would be a good example.

In daily life too we are confronted with so many instances of "I do not want to know", "It is so yuck" or "My mom told me so". We are just too willing to not find out for ourselves. It is comforting to be led on by someone, to have someone to take all the decisions in your life, blame someone else for the decisions that are made in our lives. Even when given a choice most of us will not take the opportunity to take control of our lives.

We always have the politician or the system or just good old luck to blame it all on. Very few have the guts to say "Okay this is bad, but I can make it better". And this is where I guess we fail as a social system, a nation and and as the world. Other than the genes, I cannot come up with any answers. If you know any, pelase do let me know.