The Annihilation of Autonomy

Willy Wonka will die a sad man knowing that the Chocolate Factory is no longer the place where unimaginable magic happens. Actually, it has all been imagined, you should catch the West End play at Covent Garden, London. It’s an absolute must. Anyway, Marketing is the new king in town. The Marketing industry is where the magic now happens. You’re either a part of it, or you’re a product; both being awful choices and worth being judged for. Let the game begin.

He’s watching you. Don’t flatter yourself by thinking you’re special or anything. He just wants to know if you’re watching him. What your vanity does not allow you to observe is that he just wants to know whether or not he is being noticed. Freshly manicured nails, nose hair clipped and eyebrows shaped, he’s looking dapper in the Emporio/Giorgio Armani suit he’s wearing. Or so he assumes you’re thinking. He’s confident, intimidating, alluring…isn’t he?

What we have established till now is that he clearly cannot think because you’re already doing the thinking for him. What he cannot see is that everything has been cleverly manufactured by you- not just limited to his attire, you have created him, his identity, his ideals; everything. You smirk as his eyes linger on each pair in sight, constantly gauging reactions, verifications that he is in possession of all things desirable. He is your guniea pig and he smiles back to what he mistakes as your approval, clearly missing the sinister gleam in your eyes as you watch yet another creation of yours.

You are the creator. He is the consumer. He is your consumer. You have created everything he believes in, you have carefully changed his lifestyle, and the beauty is he will never know that. He believes it’s all him! They say ‘power cannot be innocent’ and one can only imagine the thrill of creating a SIMS character you actually love. That’s consumerism today. You create. You control.

All I ask of you is to be mindful. For, those who identify the pattern, capitalise on the chaos. Be mindful while purchasing items, and observe the identities created by others. What to wear? Where to eat? What opinion to endorse? Whom to date? Which is your spirit animal?

 Think. 

Defense Against Defence Propaganda?

Death Machines. Taken by the author at an Army base.

Death Machines. Taken by the author at an Army base.

It is God’s duty to forgive the enemies, but it’s our duty to convene a meeting between the two

Note: I am no intellectual, I am merely sharing an experience and my musings on the same with a neutral audience.

I sat through a discussion consisting of intellectual elites and of course, the regulars. Some were enthusiastic, some trying too hard to make jokes and most were just zoned out. It was quite a set up and I, running a fever, was only waiting for it to get over.

It began post a presentation on the various achievements of the Indian Armed Forces; while the oration was sloppy, it was cleverly accompanied by two short documentaries highlighting the progress made by the various wings in the past few decades. With (for lack of a better word) badass visuals of warships, fighter jets and tanks accompanied by a high tempo soundtrack, it was a great watch. What nobody will talk of is how most of the data provided flew right above our heads as we were too busy watching missile launches and other advanced defence machines in action. But, wait, that’s not even the best part.

After the introduction, came the real reason why I even sat through the damn presentation instead of recuperating at home:

  • What is the government aiming to achieve releasing such videos for the layman to watch?
  • Is the government trying to manufacture consent?
  • Why is the government spending money trying to justify it’s defence spending?
  • Why would the government dramatize the video and try to ‘sell us the idea of nationalism and patriotic ideas’?

Sitting where I was, I couldn’t help but smile as I thought of these questions myself. The same was mistaken as me blushing over, well, romantic ideas of Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Understandably, I am not contributing to discussion, so it’s correctly assumed that I have no opinion and even better that I’m dreaming about Tom Cruise and his Ray Ban’s, right? Hey, no questions raised there.

Firstly, these videos aren’t specifically made for the public. They are mostly used in presentations in Parliament and other domains where decision-making is involved. There’s no particular channel on which they’re displayed, there’s no advertisements for the same and if you still don’t agree, watch the video, one is able to understand a very small portion of what’s being conveyed. Yes, they’re made available in public domain like ALL other central government departments, maybe? But no questions raised about the spending on Railways. Not even on the day the annual Railway Budget is announced. Because, just.

Secondly, why? It’s common knowledge that a majority of the public doesn’t really know about the workings of the defence and thus would question the spending. However, if you’re claiming to be smart enough to think of propaganda, why can’t you zoom out on the map and realize the importance of having a strong and equipped force? It’s only a percentage of the tax you pay anyway.

Thirdly, the question about ‘nationalism and patriotic ideas’ arises. One has to be extremely imaginative to come up with an answer for that, correct? Why would the government try to force the military, whose job is to protect the citizens and the physical borders of the country, to make you feel towards them? Isn’t that inherent considering the nature of their job vis-à-vis yours? Obviously, they’re guilty of stealing you of your money and creating expensive content you can make movies about every couple of years.

I’m not offering solutions; I actually wasn’t fantasizing about Tom Cruise but was just marveling at the importance being given to this topic over a whole lot more that I regard as a contemporary issue.

But, what the hell, thank you, Noam Chomsky.

The Circle of Threes

NOTE: Minus the scenic photograph to gaze at, the article leaves one to reflect upon his/her own ever-changing yet monotonous life.

Each of us gets roughly six to seven decades to waste in a lifetime. The luckier ones or, depending on perspective, the unlucky ones see eight to nine. Looking back at history, we had the traditionalists versus the modernists in the early twentieth century movement. As time passed, humans evolved and so did technology; some would argue it’s the opposite. Then came the post-modern era with the modernists struggling to hold ground based on words like ‘aesthetic’ and ‘elite’. However, every dog has its day and the modernists had run out of luck, thus, emerged the victorious post-modern class, rejecting all forms of hierarchy.

However, each of us, the ones existing thus reading the article, not born in time to join one of the sides, born in the post-modern world, has shades and hues of all three thinking schools. Before you close the page and get back to the monotone of surfing, take a simple look at the citations below and make an informed decision;

–          You love the abstract but find it troubling to change the ink colour amidst writing any paper.

–          You claim to admire art and architecture yet you admit having used ‘tacky’ and ‘repugnant’ while describing any form of art you didn’t feel was aesthetic enough.

–          Your opinion regarding foreign movies/ music in their native tongues ( marks the imperialistic influence)

–          Simple everyday judgements you pass based solely on what you see.

If any of the given sentences above had your rational attention then I have achieved my purpose here. What seem like ‘likes and dislikes’ are actually our interpretations of traditional, modern or post-modern views.

However we have deviated off the topic of concern, what difference does it make in our lives, whether we choose to be from a single one of those schools or simply exist with all three affecting our judgements/ choices, from what we wear to what we choose to pursue in life?

There are three most significant events in our lives, unless you’re a Nobel Prize winner or a L-e-T terrorist, which namely are:

–          Birth ( celebrated by everybody except you and probably a jealous ex-boyfriend for entirely different reasons)

–          Marriage ( bound with one person for the rest of your life, joy)

–          Death ( can’t really say, hooray, unless of course it isn’t natural)

Of the three, I personally believe, we only decide one, please do comment if you suggest otherwise, I am all ears. Apart from these three, life as we know it, is trivial. What purpose do we serve? That is to be argued here.

If not Neil Armstrong, it would have been XYZ imprinting his sole on the Moon for eternity. However, it was him. Now we cannot compare ourselves as we do not ‘matter’ as much, unless again, you actually have made a significant contribution to the planet so the odds of you reading this are minimal. You and I, on the other hand, study out of boredom, multiply out of boredom, work out boredom and seem to think we are in control of our lives. Alright, hypothetically speaking, even if we are, then why do we all do the same monotonous things in life and be proud of it? You sense this is my post-modern thinking cap? Bingo. However, that does not answer the conundrum. We go about our lives, working-earning-spending in a constant loop until we grow old, or god forbid, the stock market crashes.

In my opinion, work is a subtle form of suicide. Oh wait, that makes us all criminals. You say you life on your own terms, however, if those ‘terms’ are repeated every single day to generate income to create substantial disposable income to thus become prey to consumerism, then you, are in seemingly post-modern rut set by the traditional society much before we were blessed with Stephen Hawking.

If I tell you to sit by me and count the stars you call it irrelevant, yet, thousands of physicists waste the tax-payers money doing pretty much the same thing. ? A phD probably combined with a vocabulary full of confusing words, cleverly combined, which just sound condescending and therefore must mean something intelligent.

“The Ministry of Injustice and Inertia is frowning upon the convulsive anal detonation and the rampant testicular suffocation.”

The matter under scrutiny here is how our six to seven precious decades are spent and how our mind, combined with conditioning and the art that is, rationalizing, provides us with a traditionalistic lifestyle even though we are living in a so called post-modern world. The so called ‘broken norms’ tie us down; every single moment under the garb of so called mannerisms, ethics and lifestyles.

Not that there is no difference between the thinking of the three schools, modernism is lost somewhere in between and even the post modern world is struggling to break out these norms so rigid that it seems almost foolish to even try otherwise.

Concluding the piece, can you imagine a world without money? I just thought of nations dealing in resources thus reminding me of the pre-currency times and the barter system. But since most of us are out of resources to barter in the first place, that wouldn’t be ideal; made me laugh.

Well, neither can I.