Thursday, May 6, 2010
"HAZEL: THERE IS A POET IN EVERY RIGHTEOUS SOUL, AND A JOURNALIST IN EVERY SELF-RIGHTEOUS MIND
""The righteous is essentially a lover, the self-righteous essentially a preacher. The righteous is a healer, happy to help; the self-righteous is essentially a critic, content to condemn and criticize."
"WHAT IS RIGHTEOUSNESS and how does it differ from self-righteousness? Why do most of us prefer self-righteousness over righteousness? And why the self-righteous are generally arrogant and contemptuous while the righteous are full of humility and modesty? Why the righteous generally take others to be equally righteous while every self-righteous person seems to believe he is the last ( if not the only one) of the kind on God’s assembly line, and that the world is full of thieves and crooks.
Ordinarily, you can tell the difference between the righteous and the self-righteous by what each one of them leaves you feeling after a few moments with them. The righteous leaves you feeling good about yourself and about the world in general. A meeting with the self-righteous would generally leave you feeling either guilty or angry or outraged, or all three together. The righteous are like a cool breeze on a hot midsummer day; the self righteous are like ice piled on a pneumonic in the dead of December. The dominant feeling after meeting a pious and honest soul is one of an inexplicable well-being and happiness over just about everything ;a meeting with the other kind leaves you feeling you are living in a hostile and evil universe.The pious and the righteous believe that love and trust beget love and trust; a self-righteous person is by himself a proclamation that love is a failing and trust a folly. A pious man’s response to hatred is more love; a self-righteous man is wary of love and believes that hating others is safer option since most of mankind does not value love.
The righteous will always be happy and would seem to be smiling where the self-righteous would see nothing to smile about.
The picture of a saint as a miserable soul who suffers because of his saintliness is the creation of a self-righteous imagination. To the pious and the enlightened, a saint is a blessed creature who sings songs of unheard-of happiness and dances in ecstasy over finding a window to truth.
The righteous is essentially a lover, the self-righteous essentially a preacher. The righteous is a healer, happy to help; the self-righteous is essentially a critic, content to condemn and criticize.
There is a poet in every righteous soul and a journalist in every a self-righteous mind. (With due apologies to the Fourth and the most powerful pillar of society!) A self-righteous man always “knows” that there is some secret selfish design behind every act of goodness; equally certainly, the righteous person “believes” that there is some secret and noble cause behind every seemingly evil action of others.
The chief difference between a cynic and a saint is this. A cynic knows that goodness simply does not exist, and it is his self-assigned mission to expose the “fraud and hypocrisy” behind any act, deed or conduct that appears to radiates nobility of character and intent. A saint on the other hand takes nobility, piety and love as natural conditions in this universe and proceeds to explain how even a sinner has a case for forgiveness.
Both the self-righteous cynic and the righteous romantic have a common virtue: their unswerving faith in and commitment to their respective vision of reality. Both believe that there are minor, negligible aberrations in their ‘perfect world-view’: Light to one and darkness to the other is that minor aberration. To the righteous and the pious saint, sin and selfishness are minor structural flaws in human mind, there perhaps to allow his self-correcting mechanisms to be operationalised . To the cynical self-righteous crusader, protestations of love and truth and caring are tools which the hypocrites use to mislead others. At best, these sentiments ( protestations !) are mere exceptions, there merely to test the rule.
Finally, who or what would you rather your children be? Self-righteous cynics, cautious and practical in their approach to life, the world and the people? There is a clear advantage in that position: your children would never be cheated because they would never trust. Or would you rather your child be a dreamer, a romantic idealist who would come home cheated of the small coins in his narrow pocket but not of the great love in his large heart?
Would you be proud that your child outsmarted everyone including his teachers by inventing the most innovative and original lies for evading honest hard-work and instead achieved the desired result through dishonest short-cuts?
Or are you among a handful of those dreamy-eyed “truth driven” romantics who believe that they can match the feats of the noble Gurus and prophets and saints , and who would rather have their children come home defeated through defraud rather than as conquerors through cunning, Would you rather your child came home defeated but decorated with the halo of truth and honesty; or would you rather he returned victorious through wily untruths but disgraced because of his deceits?
It pays to be a cynic; you can always afford that stupid victorious grin on your face.
But it pays more to be able to come home and look your parents in the eye and humbly say: “Mamma, your son did nothing wrong or bad today. And Papa, your son is an honest man.”As for the argument between the rational and the romantic, here is Dr. S. Radhakrishanan: “ The cool, calculating people, careful of appearances, will never fall grievously low; but they will never soar high. Only the deeply sincere can afford to make fools of themselves.”