Humans are winning the battle to express themselves
January 3, 2015 8 Comments
In day to day life, one notices this attritional struggle going on between the inner reality of an individual and the filtered public person. Its there in most of us, who are daily in search of our sustenance. We touch on it jokingly in public, but in private so many of us have this regular conversation. How to express ourselves, in what we see is the harsh reality of this world?
Initially, we come into this world with only our DNA and endless possibilities. Then through our eyes, ears and cause and effect our world starts manipulating us. Most of it is the actions of our parents and siblings, but as the years progress this circle expands and continues to create filters. A demonic kindergarten school teacher must have shaped some part of my mind, as I still remember her and the indiscriminate ruler, which always seemed to find its mark. As time passes, we subtly change accordingly. Every once in a while, one of us may encounter a life changing event, which then causes a lot of filters to cascade down or go up. These generally are the tragedies of life, which hit us and force us to rethink.
Now, I am no counsellor or trained coach, but over the last two decades I have spent a lot of time mentoring people. First about career and management and then as my confidence built up, about crisis handling, life, aspirations, vision and values. It is amazing the depth almost all individuals have. I say it with shock, but have come to realise that very rarely is there an ordinary individual. Almost all of us have greatness hidden in us and even those few who are ordinary, are instructive to us, in other ways of life.
So, hidden within each individual is a greater being, just waiting to come out and be themselves. Being themselves comes in different ways. Some want to write and be heard. Its amazing the important and perceptive things people can say about the world. I look at life with my point of view and want to express it. These others want to do the same with a different view, based on their own inner being. Others can perform artistic stuff – sing, dance, act, paint etc. All these are expressions and so important to their inner being, yet mostly they hide it away from the world.
So why are these people not expressing themselves? What stops them? Some of it is our lifelong filters. Maybe its a teacher long ago, telling the kid off about a free expression in an essay. Reminds me of John Lennon’s famous quote
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Later on when you get to adult stage, it is a feeling, that people at work or the employer will frown at such an expression. Freedom is considered dangerous. Also do not fall into the trap, that this is a developing country problem. Our MNC corporates regulate personality rigidly. For all my 22 years in MNCs, I always struggled against this approach of corporatising people and blending them into one culture (most colleagues felt the same). These huge transnationals have actually got Corporate slavery down to an art form and they present it so that it sounds palatable and normal. But it is not. It is just slavery, using pleasant tools and most people are trapped lifelong.
Why do these people – just ordinary individuals like you and me – not rebel against this travesty? You can see some of the answers in the reaction to when Rahman Malik was kicked off the plane. Almost all TV anchors were against it, the politicians were against it and even the so called elites on FB were warning of approaching anarchy. And when Arjumand was fired from Gerry’s, then a lot of the reaction was, ‘see we told you so’. People are simply afraid. They are at a stage in life, when they need to earn sustenance, as they have mouths to feed. Society at large exploits this and makes slaves of them – conformity is so much easier to manage. Makes life simpler for the controllers of the world and organisations. So whether its a MNC, or a private company or a government department, people stay under the radar and conform. Some of us go back and have a more creative other life at home. However most, like me, do not even do that and learn 30 years later, that time has passed us by and we have quietly lived a life of slavery.
Fortunately, things are changing and there is more light at the end of the tunnel. The flow of information has been liberated today, thanks to the Internet. This has already had a profound effect and over the next few decades, the poor ordinary human will have the ability to fulfil their inner desires. It will de regulate society and many of my very conformist friends might even suffer because of that, but overall this world will be a better place, InshAllah, because of the change which is coming.
*pictures are from dreamstime.com, a free picture site.