Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Morning Musings

Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself.”(Samuel Johnson)

In many discussions in person or in Blogs, the subject of practising virtue, conscientious conduct has been sworn upon. We have deprecated the contrary virtues. Decried hypocrisy, sworn on morality and ethics .Lamented at the state of affairs of the society and the country at large. It s indeed a bad bad world out there we have cried!

We have severely admonished the fanatism coexisting with faiths. Wondered how man can be cruel as they are to other living things. Promiscuity and immoral conduct has been castigated. Corruption by the Suresh Kalmadi’s has been ridiculed and deplored with severity. Honesty has been voted as the urge that drive us. Avarice and lust for ostentatious life has been frowned upon and seen as qualities that can be done away with. Patriotic fervour bordering jingoism brings together people on every 15 th of August.

We have expressed outrage and sounded indignant of all that is bad out there. Why are people hypocrites? Why can’t we be honest, virtuous, ethical and practise those qualities rather than preach- we have asked in anguish. These have been the general summation and ask.

The inner question is how many of us will show mental prudence and strength of character in a situation where the demand for the antonym of hypocrisy is fervently asked and needed?

Is it not that decadence set deep in each of us in varied ways? And it is only that we trumpet to the contrary?


dr.antony said...

There are vices and virtues inherent to us.

Still,there are extremes around us.Every human being has the feeling of self at the fore front.It is acceptable as well.That is why the task of loving your neighbor as yourself becomes an impossibility.Christ was no fool.But,if not to the level of one self,cant we love them a bit? Is there a need to be happy about some one else's misfortunes? Can you close your eyes to some one else's suffering? Can you celebrate when your friend is being tortured and bleeding in front of you? Is there a need to steal if you are not hungry?

It is an escape to say that every human being has it.Just as the way we lament about the hypocrisy we see around us,it is hypocritical.

Jim Eliot’s famous quote still resonates as a challenge to us today, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”

anilkurup said...

@ dr Antony,
" He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep,to gain what he cannot lose"
Perhaps is nt it that we do not want to lose nothing , even if it is something that we cannot keep , and want to gain everything as well?

RGB said...

If life was a game, and all of us players, then isn't each one of us just playing out our roles (hypo-krisy)? Each of us have our own beliefs, but we use our judgement and put them to better use.

I guess we term someone a hypocrite when that person makes the act (of preaching without practicing) way too obvious, trying to attract un-called for attention!

anilkurup said...

Yes you are right about the trait hypocrisy.The askance was how many of us will show the mental character and guts to hold on to what we profess what ever be the situation and the possible ramifications.

I do not know for certain if life is a game or a play and characters enact their parts, though Shakespeare thought so.And if it were so did some one decree and control that one must be of certain vile character and the other a saint?

Balachandran V said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anilkurup said...

@ Bals

I guess you missed the basic question -
how many of us can truthfully say that we do have the strength of character to tide over a situation and not succumb to avarice, sleaze and unethical practises?And also other Qualities that we ridicule and see with contempt.
As for hypocrisy ,all of us have the element of it. It will be grossly far from truth to say no.
We mortals , most of us who feel incensed by all that is around , how many of us would desist from greasing the peons or the clerks in a panchayat office, as a little example? , Remember the shabbily clad lady in the Registrar office of whom you commented in your Post.How many of us will be content for that Spartan life and not be teased by sleaze, greed and lust for wealth?
Once I happened to overhear a discussion on a train while travelling from Cochin- it was on the sad state of corruption in Kerala and comparison between two Chief ministers. The consensual opinion was , "What did A.K
Antony do ? He made no money , did nothing for the State and did not let others make something either. Look at the Leader, when he was the CM of course he made a lot for himself but he did something for the State and let his accomplice make something as well".
This is the general mentality. And Balan how can you blame me for being Cynical? Yes I'm cynical when it comes to human matters.Experience counts ,What is seen around counts.The inflamed expression I have is not confined to corruption, it covers, human relationships be it friends, spouses, family members, relations, business acquaintances etc.. Can we deny them? I do not know if there are more good men in the world. But I believe there are a handful and that is why the world turns around .
And don't you feel that the decadence has set in?I'm a part of the system and can I be honest and truthful to my words?That is the question I asked ?

anilkurup said...


Why did you remove your comment? That was an interesting piece

Balachandran V said...

I don't know about hypocrisy, Anil. Like Samuel Johnson said, I might be unaware that there is a gap between what I aspire and what I am; to me what I aspire to be is as important as what I am. What I am to me and what I am to you might be different. In the matter of hypocrisy, the only question I would ask myself is whether I am true, honest to myself. I care a fig about what others think about me.

The issues that we have discussed here are pertinent, be it on 'Tornado' or CWG or morality of Kerala. Look at it as issues, address them. We might seem hypocritical to some - that is irrelevant. Focus on the issue. We are not swearing on morality and ethics, but we are voicing our sincere opinions about the issues that disturb us; the comments either substantiate or denigrate our views. I am yet to find a dishonest note in the writings of these blogs. There may be some writing which is not to my liking; I ignore them.

Unlike you suspecting hypocrisy in such discussions, wondering how much of it is true, I find it encouraging and positive to read these posts, especially of the younger, yet untainted youngsters. To me, it reveals the truth that there are more good people in the world than i had hoped for. I am optimistic. I hope if we can gather and gather such good thoughts and good people, we may yet make some change in the society.

Like Doc said, there might be some element of hypocrisy in all of us; but again - focus on the issues discussed and not on the individuals. And go easy on that cynicism! :)

( I made some spelling and grammar corrections and am posting the same comment!)

Balachandran V said...

Dey, I didn't miss the basic question but I went around to point out something else. When you say -
'how many of us can truthfully say that we do have the strength of character to tide over a situation and not succumb to avarice, sleaze and unethical practises?And also other Qualities that we ridicule and see with contempt' - you intend to say that there aren't any, don't you? Perhaps we move with the wrong crowd, but I believe that there ARE people like that; I know at least one ;)

But by quoting all the posts we have written or seen on such matters,you cast a shadow of doubt over all of us, including you. You made it all look sham. That is not fair; which is why i said to look at the issues.

Cynicism corrodes one's mind, like acid.

Glad that you agree that there is a handful of good people that makes the world turn around. Let us focus on them, uh? Satsang, kind of!

I don't really understand the 'decadence that has set in'. The present kind of decadence that you see or experience has always been there. Read Arthasasthra; or Machiavelli or Sun Tzu. Sleaze, corruption etc etc has always been there along with the good things. But when you experience it first hand, it is much more painful, bitter and insufferable. People like us have been there in all ages, they too have raised their voices against injustice or whatever.

What makes me feel guilty is that I am not doing enough, I am not raising my voice enough, I am just a windbag! But I will, I aspire to!

anilkurup said...

@ Bals
You also agree that you know one such person, and I said there are a handful. See we are not far apart.

Yes my question was how many of us practise what we say?Though hypocrisy is ingrained in us in varying extent.Perhaps that is special about human beings.

Machiavelli and Kautaliya spoke in their treatise about human beings about human affairs and conduct, not about rest of the animal kingdom..So I do agree that all the qualities which we mentioned are privy to human and decadence set in long ago. But with the burst of media and more interactions than before it is glaringly felt these days.

This is not casting doubt on each of us. The purpose is to introspect and see where we stand in relation to what we say.A honest appraisal in privy at least.

dr.antony said...

@Anil and Bal
Cool down boys !
There are brighter days ahead.If the whole world would be full of nice people,it would be boring as well.What do you say?

A New Beginning said...

Anil I guess each one of us is busy pointing fingers at others...once in a while if we try questioning ourselves and put our deeds to light we may find the traces of the same vice that we've been pointing at...the world would be a better place if we begin the reform from within ourselves.Getting mad at the hypocrisy around us and never looking within is about being the biggest hypocrite.
Your post is very thought provoking!

anilkurup said...

@ dr Antony

Oh well no issue. ha ha!
In any case , knowing Balan , he is more incensed than I about all that is around.He has been too polite and gentlemanly in his observations. The discussion opens up many matters don't they?

@ The New Beginning

Yes you are right. And it is sometimes good to feel the heat as many of us are confined to our selfish existence. I m no different I guess.

Balachandran V said...

@Dr Antony: Doc, don't mind our banter, we have been the best of friends for nearly 26 years! You should listen to our conversations in the flesh! :D

kaalpanique said...

i totally agree with u...'Is it not that decadence set deep in each of us in varied ways? And it is only that we trumpet to the contrary?'
every time we look outside to criticize we must place ourselves on the same platform. we have different rules for us and them... all the negativity we charge others of, let it be known they thrive in us too...

anilkurup said...

@ Bals

Let the Doc sllep well

@ Kalpanique

Appreciate your agreement.