Saturday, September 10, 2011

On how revolutions flatten the world

Reading 'life is elsewhere' by Kundera; a poet's story through a revolution ( and vice versa. Kundera's oeuvre is as if the story of his disillusionment with the czech revolution)
In the progression of the young Poet towards manhood, he rejects his earlier muse and strongly subscribes to the narrow view of socialism to his own art's detriment. In his rejection, he is abandoning his richness of divergent views and narrowing his thoughts through the constricting prism of socialism. 
This act of believing in something passionately, made me think of the nature of a revolution.

I wonder, wouldn't any revolution be essentially oppressive? A revolution is centered around an anti status-quo point of view regarding something. For a revolution to be effective, it has to have a strong large base of people believing in it. and unfortunately, the nature of believing is in the narrowness of the thought, in rejecting the many strands and holding on to singularity of a thought, to be bathed in the glorious promise of a singular thought, to hope in a 'final solution'. 

But that very essentiality creates the condition of intolerance towards divergent views, towards the minority. Its a game of gathering 'enough' ayes. a game of majority building. with globalisation, the scope of the majority is global. This in turn necessitates flattening of differences. 

Is this the world we really want? Large revolutions, large scale changes and narrow views with homogenous beliefs? or would you rather have this little planet to hold many different worlds, small scale beliefs and hence richer and divergent views.

Caliphates and christian crusades bathed the world red in their quest for domination of their belief. The blind juggernauts razed much richer cultures in its path. Now consumerism is razing any other thoughts from our minds. The nature of consumerist world is to turn our eye inwards, rejecting the outside world by drowning us with self-centered thoughts of consumption. (if you spend so much of ur mindspace on questions of which restaurant to go to, which shampoo to buy and so on, when can u really be involved in thoughts of mountains, of rivers, of nothingness and of everything-ness. that mind needs to be vacant too at times, u know? its cathartic)

Through the consistent razing of thoughts, i wonder what we will be left with soon? Histories, stories, cultures razed. all we will have is a soda bottle.  nothing else. is that what we want for our children? we are eating richer food now and sitting on more comfortable cushions, but we are feeding our souls much much filthier and sparse beauty.

perhaps it means to create some sort of walls around us. It would be  a better world if the walls are confident walls of self-sustained cultures rather than them being reactionary fundamentalist walls.
For the former to come about, we need to start appreciating differences, to start seeing the world beyond our shampoos and to not expect 'service' when you step out of your home.


  1. so would you like to see everyone believe that revolutions are bad/ flattening/ unwanted? wouldn't that flatten the world in favor of this particular argument? If you don't want that, what is the point of this "opining"? a much needed personal vent?
    would you say everybody should respect human rights or life in general? treat their "neighbors" with friendliness if not love!? do you agree? because some people don't. they segregate between us and them and want to dominate the others. at times by "culling" them. how would you like these people to continue their thoughts/existence and subsequently actions? I know you'd draw parallels between this and any revolution. but if you acknowledge the existence of such people and don't want them to prevail you MUST "flatten" the world on your plane of thoughts. cut the strands you don't want. either that or remove yourself to more solipsistic ground. where, again, this concern of something affecting something has no place! if you choose to act on what you "believe is right" (which includes this post), how are you any different than any revolutionary/ crusader/ reagent. do you have the "moral high" to judge anybody?

  2. and then, you go altogether in different direction! going from a greedy/ consumerist/ shortsighted/ selfish world to a "self-sustained culture". that would take a revolution don't you think? :P
    you want a wall of your own that's fine. but a wall saying walls are bad? :O

  3. i saw 'firaaq' yesterday. its about godhra riots. There's this one scene where a eyewitness tells that there were pamphlets given about denigrating muslims of Sarkhej and unreasonably labelled them as extremists and mini pakistan n what not.
    It is this imaginary threat that fundamentalists engineered in more mainstream hindus, who then having instigated enough hatred in them, went around killing, looting, raping muslim in that neighborhood.

    You see how a 'normal' 'reasonable' people turned blind zealots due to 'revolutionary' and false communication by fundamentalists?

    That's the cost of revolution. that's the cost of flattening of world view.

    I am talking from a point of view of an individual amidst a revolution. I am not removed to another plane of pure observation. so what i am trying to instigate is individual distrust towards the revolutionary ideas. I am asking for people to remain aware and employ their good sense instead of believing in revolutions blindly.

    and that is possible only if we construct strong enough walls around us. walls so that changes happen gradually, not suddenly. walls so that changes are small and contained.
    Walls so that changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

  4. yes i get that. and i am practicing your preachings by thinking about what revolution you are trying to bring about. the revolution of walls and slow changes. as opposed to the established order of running behind more and more. down with them big corporations and things which pretty much define this world right now! lets bring about a revolutionary change and have a smaller world. or do you want that change to happen slowly too? coz that my friend is going to take a long long time. probably long enough for no one to realize that change was made.