Killing neighbours who until yesterday shared curds and broke bread together. Allowing dogmatism to overrule reason by following fatwas of Islamic clerics or Hindu extremists. Allowing ourselves to be misled by people whose moral credentials are at best suspect. Taking a minor traffic brush as a religious attack and turning rage into a serial killer on roads.
Never before has this trait, this prime differentiator between men and all other species, been needed as much or in as many. Unfortunately, never before has this ability — to think, to arrive at conclusions and take decisions that help take individuals, groups, neighbourhoods, societies, civilisations forward — been so wanting.
In cities, behind the brittle safety of our EMIs, SUVs and digital wealth, we watch this insanity streaming through TV, that while ‘taking us to the event’ pushes us further away, as we transact a vacation on Blackberry during commercial breaks. Under the imagined protection of anomie, we “dissolve restraints on the passions of humans” and turn into a mass of bodies that work, buy and have sex with one another, but remain aloof.
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