How you treat children defines you

We can learn a lot about a society by observing the way it treats children (after all, these children will be the future). A society which treats children as inferior beings who must obey adults and have to be “taught stuff” might have a lot of abusive families and corruption. A society that sees children as “investments” might have a lot of stress due to expectations from children. A society that doesn’t care about children’s books and films might become less imaginative and less empathetic.  A society which treats children as equals, might see a lot more gender equality, peace and happiness. Parents who believe that they have a lot to learn from their children, parents who respect their children’s opinions/intuition might live a more meaningful life. Ultimately, it all comes down to how you treat someone who is less powerful than you.

P.S. Maybe this is the reason why Finland is one of the most happiest countries in the world. It has an education system that respects children.

Why I don’t listen to Michael Jackson and Why Johnny Depp is not my favorite actor anymore

There was a time when I used to force myself to keep the artist and the art separate. My heart always felt that it was wrong but somehow, I used rationality to convince myself to listen and watch artists who have been accused of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc. But now when I listen to the English retro station and hear Michael Jackson, I immediately close the tab or my ears. Whenever I hear praises about Johnny Depp (Who was my favorite actor at one point of time) or Woody Allen, I cringe. It’s true that the art is always greater than the artist but it is kind of impossible to separate the two. Art is not rational and human beings are emotional beings.

You might ask, “where is the proof? How do you know that the accusations are not false?”. My answer is that it’s okay if I miss out on one of the greatest pieces of art because of the accusations. Humanity is more important than art. A piece of art that has been created by a man/woman who has done some inhumane things is anyway not worth my time.

Parents are not Gods

“Worshiping your parents” is dangerous because it discourages us from questioning our parents (which is REALLY important). It is dangerous because the kids grow up and expect their kids to worship them. It is dangerous because it enables many parents to abuse their children. It is dangerous because many parents manipulate and emotionally blackmail their children. It is dangerous because many parents bully their children. It is dangerous because it turns parents into narcissists. Our parents are not Gods. They are human beings with flaws and limitations. Respect and love your parents but don’t be fanatical about them!

We are in an abusive relationship with society

Society gaslights us into believing that we are worthless. It tells us that the only way to get love is by changing our mind, body and soul. It swings between rewards and punishment, between love and abuse, and leaves us forever confused. We start believing that there’s something wrong with us, when in reality, it’s the culture which has unrealistic expectations from us. We are forever walking on eggshells, trying not to disappoint the society. No matter how much we achieve, it is never enough.
The only way to get out of this abusive relationship is to realize that the problem doesn’t lie within us. Abusers are never satisfied and nothing that we do can be good enough for them. The day we realize that we don’t have to prove our worth to anybody, we will be free from the abuse.

The problem with using ‘uneducated’ as an insult

I often hear people using the word ‘uneducated’ as an insult during debates.  First of all, not everyone can afford to get quality education, so it’s not someone’s fault if he/she is not educated. Secondly, education cannot really stop anybody from becoming an asshole (Many highly educated men have been accused of rape). Sure, it can impart the right values but I’m skeptical about our education system doing this job. Our education system is mainly designed around obedience, conformity and jobs, so teaching the important things definitely take a back seat. And even if the education system is doing a fabulous job, using the word ‘uneducated’ as an insult is like mocking someone for not knowing English. 

Why society is afraid of solitude

Society is afraid of solitude. A solitary individual might find truth, beauty and happiness and he/she might come to a conclusion that most of the things/activities in the society are not necessary. He/She might start questions like “what is the meaning of life” or “why am I here?”. Society is made up of people who have second-hand answers to these questions and it is afraid of being challenged by individuals who are not satisfied with these answers. So society designs a strategy: it shames loners and thinkers. It fills up people’s time with endless activities so that they have no time to think.

Expecting others to change…

Until the last few months, I believed in changing myself ​instead of trying to change others. It is a nice philosophy but I now realize that it has a lot of limitations. This philosophy makes you responsible but you end up blaming yourself for something you are not responsible for. I now realize that the problem is much more complex and that the philosophy is pretty dangerous. If you were raped or sexually abused, you will end up blaming your clothing or your behavior! If you face sexism at your workplace, you will end up doubting your talent.This attitude will also affect your mental health. Hence, it is important to question others’ behavior when it is necessary. There’s nothing wrong in expecting others to change (at least when it comes to social issues). As long as this expectation doesn’t harm us (and as long as the expectation is not unfair), we should push for change.

Rape jokes are not funny!

 Reducing rape to a joke trivializes the crime and desensitizes the society. We have evolved in many ways but our brain is still pretty primitive. We still make the most simplest of associations: when we hear rape jokes, we tend to associate rape with something ‘light’. So think twice before laughing at rape jokes.

Using rape as a metaphor is equally dangerous. The ones who do this are trying to define someone’s harsh reality through their imagination.

‘Purity’ in art

Before you judge an artist for his/her work, it’s good to remember that we all need money to survive. Getting paid for your creativity is both a boon and a curse: On one hand, you can do what you love but on the other hand, you have to ‘manufacture’ ideas like factory workers. The idea of ‘purity’ in art (i.e. art unaffected by commercial stuff) is noble but human beings are not perfect. Let’s celebrate artists who dedicate themselves to excellence but let’s not burden them with our obsession with perfection.

The problem with our reactions to sexual harrassment allegations

What is common between Woody Allen, Donald Trump, Casey Affleck, and Arunubh Kumar? All these men are famous and all of them have been accused of sexually harassing girls/women. We still don’t know whether they are guilty or not but what’s frightening is some people’s reactions to the allegations. Some people have dismissed the allegations saying that the women who have spoken up are doing it for ‘publicity’ and ‘destroying’ careers of talented men. I would like to ask these people to just look at the facts. Have these allegations destroyed any careers? Donald Trump is the president of the US. Casey Affleck just won a fucking Oscar. Woody Allen is regarded as “one of the greatest filmmakers of all time”.

Some have commented asking why these women didn’t speak up before. These people need to understand that speaking up against sexual harassment is not easy. And when the person in question is a powerful man, the odds are completely stacked against the woman. So please think before commenting about sexual harassment and invalidating a woman’s sexual harassment story.