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Do you feel free, punk?

Let us talk about the illusion of free will.

“Hukabakuchinukamakazire”
One of the most important quotes that humanity would ever come across – words by one of the first homo-sapiens to walk on the face of this godforsaken earth! (Fact check – I can’t prove it but you can’t disprove it either! Following the same strand of logic on which religions are based upon!)

A Dose of THCWorld’s largest democratic nation India just celebrated its 69th Independence day just around a month ago (15th August). The birthplace of “Kamasutra” didn’t even notice the lovely 69 sign and even chose to remain teetotallers for the whole evening just because the “dry day” was government enforced. (Brought to you by – Incredible India campaign)

Independence day reminds me of freedom and democracy (or if need be – Democrazy!). People are often led to believe that democracy (America’s favourite war weapon as well coincidently) is synonymous with freedom. I am reminded of the recent events that have happened in Gujarat state, the ban on cellular internet connectivity for six whole days in the biggest city of Gujarat – Ahmedabad. Access to internet and information remains to be one of the basic rights required by humans if we are to call this age as “Information Age”. Actually, its interesting how a democratic government can actually direct citizens on what is right and what’s wrong. Ban on beef, liquor, homosexuality, marijuana and other items deemed to be immoral and dangerous is a stand that is quite a concern when addressed with regard to personal freedom and independence.

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For decades, various philosophers, sociologists and political activists have debated over personal freedom and government’s role in the same. Government intervention can be extended in a free and democratic society (in the sense of legality and judiciary of course) only when humans are being dangerous for other humans, and a fair and just body is required to take the judgement for the larger benefit of society. There is a need for clear demarcation to be drawn between Euthanasia and Murder (both of which are illegal). Again, another example would be the debate on “Life or Choice” which is in relation with a woman’s decision power on abortion, on choosing whether to let a baby live (even if it faces a lifelong contempt for the simple mistake of being born).
Let’s talk about legalization a bit more. Let’s brush up our history, shall we? At one point of time, this same so-called advanced civilization of talking animals was governed by a government which enforced Slavery, racism and even genocides as legal actions. So never set your moral compass to the laws coughed up by your government, just set your safety compass towards the same so as to not get stuck in a jail cell over smuggling a freaking quarter of rum in Gujarat.

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Since the first homo-sapien to walk on this face of the Earth (yes, the same one who gave us the quote stated above!), one thing or rather one question has remained unchanged. Be it the great depression or atom bombs or Modi, humanity has struggled and at times gave up on this question of – Why the heck am I here? No, unbelievably it hasn’t trended on twitter yet but nonetheless, this question has troubled the best and worst amongst us. Very often we give in to our lovely capitalistic society and choose money and religion over the search for this eluding purpose. We distract ourselves with reruns of sitcoms full of people distracting themselves by watching reruns of sitcoms! Some of us break the shackles and become activists and mouthpieces for the ignored and oppressed. While others reluctantly join the masses, kill the curious cat and cherish the short term purposes of life that they self-assign.
The sole reason which often reinstates my faith in humans, however short-lived, is the unpredictable behaviour and aspirations they plant and nurture inside their tiny heads. The current generation of two-legged mammals that walks on this planet has such avenues of gathering information and even generating the same and still the biggest innovations that we cite are all decades old!
There are two ways of looking at this, either everyone has become so individualistic that while searching for their personal purposes, the civilisation as a whole has stopped progressing or there are forces which restrict humanity to grow in harmony with each other. I believe the latter is the highly probable one considering the juggernaut of capitalism that has given way to innovations being restricted to viability and instant monetization. This isn’t one of those usual rantings against capitalism and the stupidity that trickle-down theory is, but it’s a seemingly patronizing piece on how a relatively advanced species capable of doing insane things with the neural network inside its head, still considers itself to be somehow “free and independent”. (Just a reality check – you’re a mere speck in this cosmic dust that we dwell in!)

A Dose of THC – Divya Bhaskar a newspaper daily in Gujarat starts an initiative of “All positive news Mondays”! An equivalent to Happy hours found in other non-dry states where people would love to remain in a state of denial albeit for a short period of time.

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We keep fighting over how this political party is better than the other. We also pride ourselves at every damn opportunity over how our nation is so much cooler than other countries. We participate in popcorn patriotism on sluggishly boring days such as Independence and Republic days. We follow the trends and criticise the ones who criticise the trends. We constantly look for people who are better off than we are and hail them as our Gods due to their immaculate dresses and ability to speak and not sound like a monkey (Refer to Mann-ki-baat). We live in moments, going crazy after something for few minutes and later dumping them as the greatest garbage producing civilization that we proudly are. We talk to strangers online while ignoring the smiling face in front of us in reality. We plan an unorthodox life and lead a typical life and cover up the monotonous life with products which claim to be unorthodox and typically serve the same purpose, leading to same monotonous lives.
Coming back to the elusive question of “What the heck am I doing here?” I can’t of course tell you the answer for it you idiot, but what I can tell you is – Even if you know the damn thing, it’s not viable and realistic enough to follow up on unless your father has several oil wells! (Lack of financial freedom buddy!) So I ask again, as I have many times to many bipeds before, the one question you should really ask yourself, “Do you feel free, punk?”

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

About Mehul Kanodia

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