Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Right Is Left

A few years back, as part of my office's annual celebrations, I had taken part in a group discussion, where the topic was, 'Right Is Left'. Since it was an on-the-spot thing, the simple meaning that came to my mind, was that there what is right according to me, maybe wrong according to another, and literally speaking that is the exact way it will be, when someone stands facing me. I interpreted it to mean, to each his own, there being no absolute right or wrong.

That is something I truly and deeply believe in. What is right to me, is unacceptable to someone else; something I think of as the norm, maybe exotic to another; my black maybe another's white. And that is exactly the way the world as we know it exists. It has been a while now, since I have come to the realisation that there is no absolute right or wrong. Everything is relative. What still remains with me though, is a feeling of disapproval that sweeps through me, when I see people who are drastically different from me.

As a very obvious and simple instance here, I can mention women who wear abayas. It is simply their life, their choice, and unlike the way I would like to believe that they suffer, they may infact be absolutely comfortable in their choice of clothing. And yet a part of me cannot but feel pity/sadness each time a woman dressed as such. It happens to many that we disapprove of things that we don't accept or agree with, when we see it in others. Often its instinctive, and makes me judgmental, because the other person does things differently or follows a different code of conduct. What is it in me that, inspite of my strong belief, of there being 'no one rule to fit all', I find certain things difficult to accept as normal, when it is different from the way I am? Is it human psychology, could I just use that as my excuse and shun it?

But then that conflicts with another one of my attitudes, which says, if I acknowledge a problem, it is within me to find a solution. Most people, I believe never change, because they never accept that any flaw exists within them. The toughest part of self improvement is possibly the acceptance of our flaws. Every human being inherently believes himself to be good, even a terrorist believe that his actions are for a reason, and he is doing the right thing. Believing we are flawed is a great step in self improvement of a person. But then comes another roadblock, that a lot of people land up in, which is an attitude says, 'Yes, that's the way I am.'. Which simply put means, the person has no intention of changing, and takes the flaws as a part of his being that do not require any actions. Only after both the issues are tackled can the true process of self improvement begin. A process which can actually become a part of one's lifestyle, and last forever.

If I know, there is a quality or attribute in my personality, which in my own view is negative, why would I not want to change it? Sometimes it is easy to just let go, settle into what comes to me naturally and easily and just go on. But that seems such a waste of the abilities and gifts that every human is born with. In our mundane existence, dealing with daily issues, these thoughts often become so distant from us, and begin to seem so far fetched. I have been that way, and have learnt that it is only, and simply a downward spiral from there on. Never again do I want to be there, I want to change and improve each day of my existence, in ways that I think are good. Which brings me back to the point, that my good maybe your bad. So what then? Even a simple thing like honesty can have many different interpretations under different circumstances. Would I tell a close friend that her crooning abilities, are bad enough to scare dogs, and hurt her emotions, or would I not? Would honesty indeed be the best policy there, or is it better to let her be happy, humming a tune now and then. Personally, honesty in such a situation is not my choice of action, because to me that would translate into being insensitive and rude. And yet again a person who would call a spade,a spade even in such situations is an upright and honest being, and is not wrong in his own way is it not? So who and how do we then decide what is right and what is wrong?

I am an instinctive person, who lives by what her heart believes in, who makes mistakes, and tries to learn from them. My rights are what instinctively come to me, but somehow I cannot apply them to everyone, except maybe not being cruel to others, animals included. What are your absolute rights and wrongs, and do you think they can be universally applied? And do you think you can judge others based on those?


D said...

This is going to be a long comment:

It's one thing to have an opinion, it's another to disapprove someone for not sharing that opinion with you. Because if you can sometimes go under the layers that make up a person, you'll realise that their opinion, just like yours, is derived from the context in which they exist. It helps to know that you think in a certain way because of where you come from and therefore to understand that someone else may think differently because of where they come from!

You may not agree with the practice of women wearing abayas, but you have to realise that it's not even a choice they make, it's just conditioning - if you know what I mean.

About what absolute right I believe in, it's honesty. I do not understand dishonesty in any circumstance and cannot approve it.

Shruti SriHarsha said...

What a lovely subject you have chosen to Blog...I wont comment on this subject, since many things is so conflicting and recently my mind is so occupied debating on this subject.

Something Which i like what you wrote " honesty in such a situation is not my choice of action, because to me that would translate into being insensitive and rude". SO RIGHT....

I have been hurt with some situations, only cos am surrounded with HONEST and people who speak very UPFRONT.

Personally I loved this subject of your post...

Rakesh said...

Wow, this post could have been totally written by me.

Though I think I understand different views and nothing is absolutely right, and everything is relative, at times I cannot fathom how can the other person be so wrong and have views that are so far from the truth !

And I love conversations where I seriously don't have an answer at times [though it seldom happens ;-)] But when that happens, that gives me so much food for thought... and possibly changes some part in me.

As to your last questions, obviously, we cannot judge any other person not only by our rules but even by their rules. But that's human nature. We love to judge issues, people, and have an opinion. I have thus decided to believe in just one universal rule and that is unless someone harms me, I be nice to every person since being nice is actually contagious and it might make that person be nice to someone else and so on.

2 B's mommy said...

I am struggling with the same questions at the moment. And I am one of those people who I have started noticing lately, is honest and upfront ( which may result in coming across as being rude). My this year's resolve is to overcome that....but then I don't understand how to avoid being used or being walked all over because people think you are dumb if you take things lying down and not open your mouth to avoid coming across as rude or to avoid hurting other person's feeling? You also realise that while you are trying to overcome your own negatives, people don't think twice before hurting your feelings. Should we let them do that ? how do you keep quiet then ? Should we keep quiet and let people think that we are too weak or should we let them take us for granted ? hmmm....lots of such things going through my mind..I hope I will be able to stick to my resolution this year.