The best kind of teacher, they say, is not one who gives you the answers, but shows you how to find them on your own. This is quite true. It invokes the curiosity to explore and not have them handed to us on a silver platter. Quite a few of my teachers were such, and when in college, a teacher asked me to read, understand and take class for a couple of chapters in a semester, I too followed a similar style of teaching that I felt to be very satisfying. But let me not beat around the bush here. I am not going to talk of teaching, but of society.
Every life is affected by society. But in what way?
Everyone has an opinion on everything, even if their knowledge on the subject is less than 0.1%. It is more prominent these days when that opinion is voiced with 101% confidence on social networks, as if they are the foremost authority on that subject. That’s just for the subjects that are prominent in society and media. It gets attention, but we’re far more affected by the opinions of society on smaller things in our life. You’re seen in a restaurant having lunch with a friend on a weekday, and society pokes its nose and wonders why you are not at office slaving away, trading your talent for money. It opens its mouth and whispers into the ear of a loved one and asks why they let it happen. After all, the high and mighty ‘society’ didn’t do it that way, so when we live our life in a different way, it feels dismayed and when it sees that we are not conforming to its whims and fancies, it goes to someone who it knows has, at one time, danced to its tune and changed. And yes, that someone will play the devil’s advocate on society’s behalf and apply pressure from a position we, at times, find difficult to withstand.
It’s like a teacher who not only gives you the answer, but tells you there is one and only one way to solve the question and find the answer. If the answer is four, it has to 3+1 and not 2+2, 1+3 or even 0+4. Conforming to that one way stops not only the freedom to experiment, interchange steps and arrive at the answer, but also the curiosity and the eagerness to ask questions about how the answer was arrived at. Rather than allow us to think differently, society tries to cut our thoughts and shape them and stuff them into the box they have been taught to.
Barking mad, I agree, but that’s what I’ve experienced society to be. And seen those around me try to push me into the same path that society wanted me to follow. I admit, long back when I was naive enough to not understand its ways, I changed to fit into that way, but I started to fight against the box after a while, the creativity that had been struggling to break free finally doing so. And that fight is another thing that is never accepted. The pressure is intense these days, and I wonder, how long can one withstand that pressure and stay away from society which runs behind us trying to change our uniqueness?
Life is no bed of roses, but it’s this pressure, this intense pressure to be part of the crowd and not different, that makes me think life is all about the thorns than the petals.
What way lies ahead… to conform and be accepted, or break free, be myself and be labeled a misfit in society’s bad books?
I know what I’d choose, but what would you?
(© 13th January 2016)