Since I am writing this with the intention of being read, I chose to be more individualistic than commercially selling factual ideas through this platform of expression. I chose to be true to my belief. The lyrics of John Mayers, “say” come to mind: ‘Even if your hands are shaking And your faith is broken Even as your eyes are closing Do it with your heart wide open Say what you need to say.’
Back in my primary schooling days, I remember my teacher very profusely emphasizing on the importance of being honest. She even made a prayer about it, asking God to give us the grace to be ever truthful. And so we ‘prayed’ with impatient determination, to ask god to help us do the right thing and also hope that this prayer wouldn’t be as long as the last one. Because frankly, the prayer was more of an ignorant compulsion and also we had no clue what the teacher ever taught us. But we never told her.
Fast forward to thirteen years later, my good friend and I had a conversation. I don’t agree with him. But I don’t tell him that. Because if I do, it will lead to an argument, that’ll taper off the two of us not talking and none of us will make an attempt to break the ice because of our stubborn egos. So instead, I agree. Relations and maintenance – exactly why like me, most of us, adhere to opinions of others.
T.K Coleman, a popular blogger writes: “Being truthful” means we are honestly expressing how we perceive or feel about something. But we fail to do just that! Say what you believe in. Others might laugh. People always do it. So say it anyway. Being truthful is more subjective….it’s being true to yourself. It is the very essence of a person. But sadly, most of the time, it is swallowed more shamelessly than pride is. It is an individuality that needs to be sent out for the world to see. You owe yourself that much! Because after all, if we were all the same, we would just rather be tagged as machines than humans. Being truthful and being a human lie on the same scale and both measure individuality.
Kierkegaard gives priority to the act of will, in which the individual, by making a choice, “gives birth to himself”, ceases to be merely a “child of nature” and becomes a spiritual being, that determines itself. The Oxford dictionary defines human as ‘a characteristic of people as opposed to God or animals or machines, especially in being susceptible to weaknesses’. I define being human as the ability to listen to your inner voice and know at the same time that it’s okay to make mistakes. We are humans after all. But that was never a limitation. In fact making mistakes is striving to try again, till you achieve what you know you are capable of achieving. Making mistakes and getting it right is all a process, where you express your ideas, put your ideas to work and eventually succeed in being true to yourself. There is an entity in us.
Some of us call it consciousness, some call it a soul. I call it the truth.
It is the truth that we can love, that we can show mercy, that we can lend a helping hand to someone who needs it, that we need each other, that we can subside our jealousy and drop the knife and spare an innocent life, that we can forgive. But the truth isn’t always ‘set free’. To be human would mean to let it out and to behave in accordance with this entity. To be human would be living together in harmony. Because although what each person believes in is true to her, there is also another side to the coin. Having different ideas has at some point, driven individuals away from each other, being motivated by the very force of egoism and arrogance.
But as humans, we should also start accepting the fact that we need each other….that living in a world where all you do is satisfy your own selfish needs, won’t give you happiness that lasts and peace that remains. I agree with a Marxist theory that states that, “the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality, it is the ensemble of the social relations.”
It has been purged in into the minds of products of this generation that there is no ounce of humanity left in either one of us…that there is any hope of love for us. For the sake of hopeless believers like me, I refuse to believe that. I agree with Mandela when he said that, “No one is born hating another person….People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Things could be so much easier if we gave love a chance.
The truth is, that we used to do that once in a while in a long time frame. But then some of us messed it up for all others to lose faith in it. Maybe it is the time that we start doing the right thing once again. If we could just try and be true to the voice in us that refuses to die down, and listen to it, it might just be the one truth staring right back at us from the mirror. Because for all we know, we are humans.
(This story has been written by Gretchen Barretto which came to us through the submissions).
Crafted with brevity for select stories to make certain you see what others don't; sent every Friday
Two exclusive fortnightly newsletters, sent on Saturday alternately
a) Reel and Real with Rony Patra
b) Mixer with Ayush Garg