Thursday, 12 June 2014

Learning Restraint

I feel terrible today.

All the months approaching the elections I was happily ensconced in a bubble of disregard and disinterest. I didn't worry about the anxious heart-on-the-sleeve debates neither was I piqued by the shocking absence of knowledge in what many friends said.

As the months went by the mood of excitement was undeniable. There was much to be argued on and there were too many people saying all the things that needed to be questioned. I succumbed to the irrestible fervour of the moment. I talked and argued. I attacked and parried. And I chose to draw conclusions on the state of the nation when all I had was paltry understanding (not a bad effort though).

The thing is, I realize I am too immature. I am too ignorant and unenligtened to have ventured so bravely forth into the world of political science. And that is what this short piece is about.

We like to be indignant about things that rankle and bite into our conceptions of the world. We defend our turf and we use all the tools and tricks at our disposal. But to what end?

How does supporting one particular side help your cause? Are we sure of our vision for the country? Have we spent time working out those demands that we as citizens are entitled to have? Is your side defining your view of life, rather than the reverse?

The trigger for this post of self-doubt is only a small consequence of the innumerous debates on the Edit Pages of the best newspapers we have. When I read the arguments I feel meek and childish. I realize my vigorous nods of approval were, at times, instinctive and unsubstantiated. I realize that a good rebuttal can shake out well-written critiques with amazing effectiveness. And I realize I didn't spend enough time to analyze the arguments as I could have.

I feel terrible.

Have you subsconsciously attached this post to refer to my stand on some issue - seeing it as a moment of personal victory? That you feel a sense of righteous justice at feeling my doubt and are therefore vindicated on your unweighted opinion?

Then you're as much a victim as I am.

I think it is time for conscious self-restraint. I think it is time to question the country we want before looking at the poor stock of merchandise on hand. It is time to restrain oneself from judging anyone so soon, positively or negatively.

I need to know more first.

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