Radical of today

“The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.”

~Mark Twain

I’ll start with what triggered this blog: How I met your mother (Season 3, Episode 5).
(You should watch the episode by the way. Hilarious!)

First time Ted meets Lily at a freshers’ party,
he approaches her by saying,
“Hey. You a freshwomen? I never use the word ‘freshmen’. It’s sexist.”

I laughed. Then I realized it is supposed to seem dorky. Do I talk like that?

(I am so sure I talk like that. Sometimes.)

Then again, last year I had read an article where Obama said, “Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up.”

(What. Did I only turn out to be a misunderstood teen when all I wanted to be was a radical?)

When I took up Arts, after my disastrous tryst with Science, I felt liberated by all the ideas being bombarded at me. I have memories of some crazy lectures where I’ve laughed, sat stunned or even be scandalized, but it always felt free.  If I were a little more insane, I’d have been running from class to class screaming, “Freeeedddom!!!”

In my first year, I was reading Ayn Rand. In the second year, literature taught me Marxism and Feminism. I understood the pain and logic of all kinds of philosophy. I was always conflicted in my head, trying to choose what works best. However, my philosophy teacher was torture. She was everything a philosophy teacher should not be. She encouraged no argument, so I was left to counter-argue all by myself inside my head. On the other hand, my psychology teachers were freaking awesome! After the end of these three years, I still can’t choose which one of them was my favorite, the one with the apathetic humor, the condescending humor, or the anecdotal humor? About them, I’ll tell you this, if I have seen the importance of honesty in people’s writing, I have realized that ideal in real life by listening to them.

Arts swept away all the cob-webs in my head. It broke my set ways of thinking. It has made me braver. In some of the lectures, there have been times when I have reacted: ‘What? Did she just say that? Did I hear right?’  It made me idealistic once again. I am ever-so grateful for that. I have been living in inspired times!

I will graduate in a few months (that is, if the teachers’ boycott finds some truce. I hope it does.) and leave college. I worry now that I will lose this madness, that life will become sober. I hate that thought because I get the necessity of extremes!

Imagine if you never had someone pulling you towards an extreme! Then you wouldn’t have run all the way to the opposite direction. You wouldn’t even have found yourself loafing around in the middle ground trying to make sense of both sides.

I am an atheist. I think that’s because my father overdoes religion.
I am a feminist. I think that’s because I have known more dumb guys than great guys. Plus, I live in India- it’s a patriarchal party, here. Frankly, I am scared of being a feminist because sometimes, it does get a little unbalanced.
I have sat through literature seminars thinking, ‘Oh my god, am I doomed to be so bitter?’ or ‘Will I always over-analyze simple texts unnecessarily?’

See, I can feel conservatism creeping in. But I love being mad. How can I let it go?

Then I rationalize that I just need to pursue what I love and I will find people my own kind in an awesome workplace. Yes, I’m still idealistic about workplaces. Don’t burst that bubble.

So when Obama damns Ayn Rand to be for misunderstood teens, and people damn feminism to be for upset women, and when anyone damns any philosophy as frustrated, I would still like to believe that it is more than that.

Conservative of tomorrow?

Signing off,

Tame SheWolf

WORDLY WISE:

“The soul that is within me no man can degrade.”

~Frederick Douglass

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28 thoughts on “Radical of today

  1. I’ve always found the arguments raised by feminists and the oppressed black people to be very similar– full of shit. I am a man and I am not black. I respect women and I respect people of all colour. You see, I believe in equality. But feminists, most of them anyway, don’t fight for equality, they fight for extra privileges for this generation of women when it was the previous generation that actually suffered. Same with black people. I am so afraid, I feel like I need to treat black people and women with extra caution so as not to offend them in anyway. This should not be the case in an ‘equal world’ but sadly, it is.

    So, what’s the solution I suggest? Don’t subscribe to labels. If you are an oppressed person unfortunate for your gender or colour or anything else, fight for it. I might even support you. But don’t subscribe to labels that make you belong to a certain group of people you don’t even know.

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    1. The extremism is silly, but when all these movements started.. the underlying emotion was this:

      “Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation.”
      ~William Lloyd Garrison

      But yeah, I agree with your point on why not to subscribe to labels. 🙂

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    2. “I feel like I need to treat black people and women with extra caution so as not to offend them in anyway”
      I am sure that it would be very hard for anyone to be offended by anything you say. Unless they are just full of shit or something.

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    3. >But feminists, most of them anyway, ….. in an ‘equal world’ but sadly, it is.

      The problem is inherent privilege. I am not sure if you still think the same way (this comment is old). So if you don’t, you need not read this. But if you do, this is for you.

      Men have privileges over women. White people have privileges over black people. These have been drilled into our psyche over *millenia* (yes, plural) and that can’t be changed by asserting equality alone, that too in just 50 years (yes, these movements are *that* young).

      When we unroll a sheet of paper, it will try to retain its rolled shape. To make it flat again, we have to roll it in the other way. The caution and special treatment (pride movements etc) are meant to be that for the black people and women. They will help to set the paper flat.

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      1. Aamil, the rolled paper being unrolled is a beautiful analogy, I give that to you. Cheers for that. And I know this isn’t addressed to me per se, but I felt like responding nonetheless. I am with you on that rolled paper analogy.

        But some of the screechier/extreme Feminists are just Female Chauvinist Piglets … a completely analogous and complementary unit to their Male Chauvinist Pig counterparts. And they are the ones who frankly draw my ire, and earn my intolerance of their stark black and white view. They are about as set and dogmatic in their ways as most other bigoted groups on the planet. That’s the truth. So while I am totally in favor of and empathize with moderate Feminists, and even support their cause, I reserve nothing but scorn for their more extreme comrades. After all, it is unwise to respond to Bigotry with more Bigotry, albeit in the opposite direction.

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        1. >But some of the screechier/extreme Feminists are just Female Chauvinist Piglets …

          Some.

          And I don’t talk about them at all. Neither should you.

          A gardener doesn’t abandon his life’s work because of a few weeds. He just takes them out.

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      2. I love the analogy. That’s exactly what I meant when I wrote: Imagine if you never had someone pulling you towards an extreme! Then you wouldn’t have run all the way to the opposite direction. You wouldn’t even have found yourself loafing around in the middle ground trying to make sense of both sides.

        You said it better. (Applauding) 😀

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    4. As for the labels, they exist because they stand against some injustice. Take that away and there won’t be a need for any.

      The labels are needed so that we can associate ourselves with them and the people who associate with the labels. They ensure and assure the people who are fighting against injustice, that

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  2. Funnily enough, this article chimes with one I’ve just written:
    http://blogbloggerbloggest.com/2013/03/24/changing-your-mind

    Also, if you want to understand what Obama is doing when he dismisses Ayn Rand as being stuff that would only appeal to misunderstood teenagers, you might like this:
    http://craigssenseofwonder.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/critical-thinking-common-informal-fallacies

    Obama is using a classic tool of rhetoric to make us think that only misunderstood teenagers would believe in the idea that personal freedom is good and government interference in people’s lives is bad.

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  3. Good choice of quotation by Mark Twain! I like the way that you are sticking to your guns – that you wish to cling onto the ‘mad’ streak in you with the hope of finding a comfortable, secure future in the company of like-minded souls who will allow you to thrive. Although good luck with that. Conformism and Pliability is key to surviving in a world of corporate slavery. Yes, sorry to burst your bubble! 😛

    About Ayn Rand, I honestly think what Rand wrote was a one-dimensional piece of rubbish. She’s little more than a propagandist for ultra-market-fundamentalist unfettered regulation-free capitalism, which is a recipe for socio-economic inequity and aggregation of wealth in the hands of a select elite few.

    Her objectivist, individual utopia is about as practically achievable in reality, as Marx’s collectivist utopia. In fact that’s the point. Both Rand and Marx neglect the vagaries and dichotomies and complexities of human nature, in favor of focusing on singular but opposite premises, and assuming all 7 billion people on the planet share the same motivational framework. One proposes a bastion of extreme individual freedom with a view to encourage resourceful enterprise, another proposes a bastion of collectivist altruism with a view to encourage egalitarian harmony. Both utopias are equally and awesomely perfect in polar opposite directions, but guess what – both are thoroughly unrealistic. I would rather walk the middle ground, and never be an ideologically intransigent like many Randian or Marxian thinkers.

    And I completely agree with Talreja (Rishifter) on his views on Feminism. They are way too screechy sometimes! 😛

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    1. About Ayn Rand, you did not just say that.
      About feminism, you did not just say that.

      I am going to rant about this in some post now.

      Rishifter thanks people who agree with him far too much.

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      1. Sure thing ma’am. You are welcome to rant in a post, which I would be very eager to read 😛

        To build up some more Randian angst, let me present this famous satirical quote on Rand’s works (source – many/anonymous):
        “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

        I think now you are ready to blow off some awesome steam in your rant-post! 😛
        Cheers! 😀

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