Saturday, October 11, 2008

Self-fulfilling Meanness

"As nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance. The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort," - George Orwell, the author of 1984.

Almost all politics and religion as practiced in today's world incites and panders to prejudices and sectarian thinking. The most powerful sects in today's world are nations and state-approved or accepted religions. These social structures bring a sense of national and religious identity that is self promoting. While praising its own merits and sanctity, national and religious identification divides rather than unifies; it pits one group as insiders against a hostile world of "outsiders." This identification is essentially based on temporary designations and mental impulses. It creates paranoia against self-exacerbated threats from "others." Such identification polarizes and creates frustration and anger. False friends and false enemies produce a self-fulfilling meanness. What it cannot produce is peace and harmony in human society.

Patriotism and religious fanaticism are similar. It's not as obvious when it's your sect rather than your flag. But as Srila Prabhupada put it, it's all skin disease. That includes today's Iskcon, Narayan Maharaj's sanga and other vaisnava groups who cannot tolerate openness, transparency and accountability. It's the tyranny of fundamentalism.

1 comment:

Sita-pati das said...

"Patriotism is a form of racism"