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Are we in a trap?

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Addressing a dignified person as “Tu”, “Tera” in public; suggesting publicly an aged veteran politician that something may happen to him any moment, he should read Geeta now; asking somebody in public, “if you find your son hanging what will you do?”; lynching people for smallest of reasons; even MPs rushing to the Speaker and destroying documents in an unruly manner, and so on; the list is never ending. These are common news these days. Media enjoys this type of masala as it gives increased revenue.

People are very busy in social media as well by supporting one side or the other. The kind of language used these days, one can easily judge the mental state of the people. When educated people and public figures get involved in behaviours like this they find supporters, then it inflicts the society and it becomes a problem. We are witnessing this of late very often.

This is a deterioration of the society and it allows to form a culture. People exhibit this type of behaviour out of frustration. But why the gradual surge of frustration of people?

Ted Robert Gurr, the author of Why Men Rebel, had pointed out that deprivation occurs when your value expectations exceed your value capabilities. The perceived discrepancy between value expectations and value capabilities is viewed as relative deprivation. Values include welfare, security, self-actualization, and so forth. The intensity of this relative deprivation, or in other words, the perceived discrepancy between value expectations and value capabilities, leads to frustration which is potential for aggression and collective violence. 

Probably, in our case, the perceived discrepancies are getting widened and intensified of late and that’s why we are witnessing aggression in people behavior all across. It is imminent when people start losing jobs, incomes become uncertain, rules and regulations are framed which they feel won’t benefit them.

They easily succumb to the pressure of venting out their frustration by behaving violently or speaking in abusive and disparaging language, may be for smallest of reasons.  

It may be a traffic jam preventing me from reaching an appointment, a college rule prohibiting me from taking a particular course, an amorous neighborhood dog interrupting my sleep, a long queue delaying me from paying a bill, or a slow driver obstructing a narrow road, is enough to trigger my anger, which can lead to aggressive and violent public behavior. That’s why using abusive language in public, assaulting and even public lynching have become order of the day. The culture has deteriorated to such a level where a sensible person has to think twice before opening his / her mouth.

Culture percolates down from top, not the other way round. The practices – habits – behavior – personality exhibited by the public figures influence the common people; people try to follow them, even if the exhibits are questionable.

Everybody wants to be successful, that is again a natural human trait. Although definition of success differs from individual to individual, we always tend to measure ones success by ones money/wealth. Moreover, money gives advantages to acquire power. So, money and power are two toxic components and peoples’ life revolves around this.

But, ground reality is, everybody cannot make money and cannot have power. The people who have started the sprint, but, struggling to get to the destination are frustrated and they are unconsciously behaving in a way which is disgraceful to the society. So, abusing somebody, talking disrespectfully to people publicly, boasting of power, exhibiting wealth are the order of the day. People in this sprint do not hesitate to commit crimes to achieve something. Many cannot handle failure and end up committing suicide.

We have lost the art of sportsman spirit in the society, wherein, a sportsman plays a fair game, accepts victory or defeat gracefully, and move on to prepare for the next game. It is missing badly these days and trouble starts here.

Nobody is winning in this game, everybody is a loser. I hope people introspect and find out ways to come out of this trap. Doing the right practices is the best thing, because, practices become habits, habits become behavior, behavior becomes personality and collective personalities of people form the culture of the society.

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