Don’t be a sheep! Reasoning is a SuperPower!

Let me start with an example :

A long time ago, a preacher was giving a discourse. A stray cat came in and disturbed him. So, he told one of his disciples to tie the cat to a post and as soon as the discourse was over, he let her go. The next day, the cat again disturbed the discourse, so again the preacher told his disciple to tie the cat to the post. This continued for a while, and everyday the preacher instructed his disciples to tie the cat to the post. Time passed, the preacher died, and his successor took over; and the cat continued to be tied to the post everyday before the discourse. This also went on for a while, until one day the cat died. So now, before the discourse everyday, the disciples would go look for a cat just so that they could tie it to the post.

What do we understand from this?

The goal of the first preacher was to give a discourse in peace. He kept the cat tied only for that reason. But, as time passed, it became a ritual or a tradition or a practice to tie the cat the post and the reason behind it was forgotten.

Now, let’s look at our lives. Do we have any such traditions or practices in our daily lives?

  • When we are invited for a meal, we usually go with some sweets or these days even a bottle of wine
  • Habit/Tradition dictates that we eat ghee/butter in our day to day diet, because that’s what grandma preached
  • We go to temples as a part of our culture, even when we are busy thinking of work or the cricket match on TV that we are missing
  • We want to score above and beyond in tests and of course, “board exams”, even if we aren’t all aiming to be doctors or engineers.

These are only some things that I thought of, I am sure if we look into our lives we will find many  such habits that we have.

Did we ever stop and notice these “habits”? Did we ever question the logic of these habits?

Again, please don’t get me wrong. It’s not at all wrong to follow traditions. We must follow them, but in reference to context.

Let’s take the example of Gandhiji. We all know how his satyagraha impacted and influenced the freedom struggle. It worked great then. So that model was replicated by most mill workers in the form of strikes. But for the mill workers, the strikes did not have the same impact. Reason?

The mill workers just thought that since strikes/satyagraha worked in the context of the freedom struggle; it will work for them in their very different context. They did not realise that with changing times “going on strike” had lost its relevance and thus did not get the mill workers the intended result.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that if we do something out of habit we must examine the logic of such a habit and more importantly, look at it in the context of our present situation. Else, we may just end up tying that proverbial cat to the post, without achieving the right quality of discourse.


Moral of the story: Examine the LOGIC and CONTEXT of whatever you do out of habit, and you should be good!



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