Who decides what one will be? In whose hands does one’s future lie? These are the questions that sound big and ring loud. Let’s try the smallest possible question. Who decides what one thinks? Now, anybody can answer this one. And nearly everyone would come up with a wrong reply, for the most obvious answer is not quite the answer. It is not the thinker who decides what he wants to think. He is only a means to the thought. The thought itself is the product of a number of factors that are not necessarily in control of the thinker.
We have deluded ourselves into believing that we are the doers. Our thoughts and our analyses are primarily determined by our surroundings. And in that sense we are essentially the products of our times.
The fact is that I would not think the way I do if I was born in a different setting, educated differently, was taught by different teachers and had a different value system at the core of my moral fabric. So, even my smallest and most insignificant thought is shaped by a number of influences merged together in unknown proportions.
Now, there could be many who could think the same thoughts about same issues, but that does not mean they derive the same conclusion on account of same or even similar upbringing and circumstances. Only the cumulative effect of all factors is same or similar, but the factors themselves are not. Like two plus three plus two plus three is ten, and so is five plus five, but the factors that add up to the result are individually different. This is why even if two people agree on one thing at one point of time, they would not agree on everything and every issue at all times.
However, people who are brought up in the same setting and even in the same household tend to think differently, which indicates that the cloth soaks according to its own capacity, and does it selectively depending upon the material it is made of. So, what we end up being depends how our core composition responds to the surrounding circumstances, which is why the same social environment and setting has different effects on different people.
The hand that shapes us, thus, remains forever invisible.
So, I would never know what made me as dumb as I am. Alas!
First Published on my WordPress Blog on May 25, 2008