Thursday, February 1, 2018

Everyone has a right to their Opinion


Overheard during a shopping spree last evening – “Adha desh Aamir Khan ko India se bahar nikalne pe tula hua hai!” (Translation – Half the country is bent upon driving Aamir out of India!)

It was a hilarious and yet a telling comment.

Are we so intolerant that one person’s views makes us take out all our swords and poison arrows? Twitterati has exploded in righteous anger, LinkedIn and Facebook are trending with self-eulogizing letters to the superstar.
Why is that so? So many drivers here:
  • I am a patriot/ nationalist and he is not?
  • I am an Indian, and he is a Muslim?
  • He has earned so much, and I don’t earn as much?
  • I contribute to his earnings, and he is ungrateful?
  • He is a Khan, and he should be grateful that I not only let him live in my country but become a superstar?
He is scared to stay in a democratic country where he cannot even openly express his views. Do you blame him?

Let’s consider another scenario. You are staying in Gulf, and you are not allowed to drive/ go without Hijab, etc., etc. You crib and curse within your four walls and hate the people who put all kinds of restrictions on you, and you are scared, scared to speak in public because the regime is ‘intolerant’ of you expressing your views openly.

Would you want India to become like this country?

What is the meaning of Democracy? And what is freedom?
It is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.

What is tolerance?
To accept unconditionally another person’s right to act, speak, or think as he/ she wants as long as it is not endangering the life or liberty of other people. 

By this definition, are you tolerant?
 What is being Righteous? And Judgmental?
It is the quality of being morally right or justifiable.

By that definition,
  • Hitler felt righteous when he wanted only to support the superior Aryan race? Was he right?
  • The US felt righteous when they bombed Iraq? Were they right?
  • Scores of stone throwers feel righteous when they feel the victim has committed blasphemy. Are they right?
In the words of Eckhart Tolle, a truly judgmental person is someone who doesn't know he/she is judgmental. They are so identified with their mind that they completely believe in every thought (judgment) that comes into their head.
Awareness is the key. Most judgmental thoughts are of a negative kind, of course. So notice as much as you can your negative thoughts (about other people, individuals or groups, yourself, a place, a situation you find yourself in, something that is happening but "shouldn't" etc.) Notice the mind's tendency to find fault with people and situations, to complain, to pronounce righteous judgment.

Righteousness stems from Ego.
 “Throughout history, humans have inflicted countless violent, cruel, and hurtful acts on each other, and continue to do so. Are they all to be condemned; are they all guilty? Or are those acts simply expressions of unconsciousness, an evolutionary stage that we are now growing out of?
Jesus’ words, “Forgive them for they do not know what they do,” also apply to yourself.
― Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
And
“Built into the very structure of the ‘Egoic’ self is a need to oppose, resist, and exclude to maintain the sense of separateness on which its continued survival depends. So there is “me” against the “other,” “us” against “them.” The ego needs to be in conflict with something or someone. That explains why you are looking for peace and joy and love but cannot tolerate them for very long. You say you want happiness but are addicted to your unhappiness. Your unhappiness ultimately arises not from the circumstances of your life but from the conditioning of your mind.”
― Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
And
“If his past were your past, his pain your pain, his level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as he or she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion, peace. The ego doesn't like to hear this because if it cannot be reactive and righteous anymore, it will lose strength.”
― Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

In the end, all I can say is,
Everyone has a right to their opinion, as you do. 
They are as free or as restricted as their mind dictates, as yours does. 
They can judge as you do.
They have many biases and prejudices, so do you.
They can love; they can hate. So can you.
They are human with all their strengths and weaknesses, and so are you.

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