To fight hate, we need utopias
21st century Weather reportThe world is reeling under the hate wave of right wing xenophobia, binaries of 'us v/s them'. The hate wave is projected to continue and expand as people turn their back on ideals of liberty and fraternity which had yielded unequal fruits for the majority in the globalised world of 20th Century. While the globalisation of 20th century opened up the barriers for free flow of money across the world, the flow of people has been artificially impeded creating great pressures at the arbitrary borders. The potential energy arising from the stalled flow is bound to turn into kinetic energy, overpowering the borders - sooner or later. And that possibility of bursting of dam obviously scares people on either side. Uncertain times, Uncertain times.
In times of uncertainty, people obviously seek certainty - Certainty of 'walls' to save their way of life. These hate filled winds have given wings to proponents of wall builders everywhere - Trump in US, Modi in India, Le Pen in France, Duterte in Phillipines. The only places where there has been no sizeable turbulence so far are places where walls already exist! Putin's Russia and communist party's China. Walls are in big demand. For now.
But it is in the nature of things for winds to blow walls away. If there is flow of money, there must be flow of people. If not, the natural forces of globalised economy will power men on one side to overpower any wall that other men might build.
The reason of existence of hate waveTo reverse the hate wave, we need to understand the hate wave first. The Trumps and Modis of the world rose to power because they gave a concrete idea of an utopia to a scared people. Trump promised an actual wall and a reversal of the system that has created inequality. Modi promised 'acche din' (good days) of hindu hegemony and global recognition. (A narcissistic nation elects a narcissistic leader. The headwind of Narcissism fueled with digital media is a major contributor to the polarisation in the world.)
Dear secularists/ democrats/ left wing/ rationalists...
Now if you try to find faults with their plan with reason and facts, in their view, you are actually only nitpicking and putting unnecessary obstacles for their great leader. You are being a nuisance in the way of their glory. YOU ARE NOT HELPING THEM IN THE REALISATION OF THEIR UTOPIA. You are being an obstacle, hence "either with us or against us" rhetoric.The 'others' have been depicted as at best distractors, at worst enemies in their path to glory. But the object of the utopia remains the same for everyone - wealth, health, community.
What good does it do to those goals if you only point out their mistakes without offering suggestions?
You must give them an alternative vision, an alternative utopia that also gives them wealth, health and community that does not come from harming the others, but from including others.
Globalisation was supposed to help in that - best and brightest of others (developing countries) contributed to the developed world. But that narrative meant that they must keep out the ones who are not the best and brightest. That kind of distinction wasn't seen as necessary when they removed regulations for flow of money. Blood money, oil money, dictator's money... all flowed together, mixing together, growing together. Why should then flow of people be seen any differently?
Meritocracy is a caste system in its own right. Artificial divisions cannot sustain naturally without violence and coercion. (Violence and coercion are the walls to sustain systems of othering.)
Devising a better UtopiaYou have your reasons why 'their' idea of utopia is flawed. Use those reasons and facts and lessons from past to build your own versions of Utopia then. Fight their utopian ideas (your dystopia) with your utopian ideas (hopefully utopia for all)... not with violent jab of facts in their bubble.
Use facts not to puncture egos... in today's age, nothing bruises as badly as an ego. and a bruised ego will only react violently, not with reason.
Use facts to help the other person see an alternate vision of tomorrow. make him/ her feel part of that vision. Make him/her feel that she is a co-architect of this vision along with you and hundreds of yous and thems.
We need everybody's utopias become utopias with everybody in them.
|Examples of utopias envisioned and worked towards by Indian Intellectuals|