Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Rose tinted glasses

Everybody wears glasses. Figuratively, if not literally. We view the world through the prism of our biases and values. That is all fine. But what I cannot fathom is why this is rose tinted.

We think of the past as some long lost Utopia. Notice , how often the phrase "good old days" is bandied about. Certainly old, but good ??? I suggest not. The past is actually closer to hell than heaven. After all we have "progressed" ; haven't we ? So progress must equate to betterment. So, why the rose tint ?

Nowhere is this more evident than in US politics. Everybody waxes eloquently about the founding fathers and swears by the Constitution that was written a few hundred years ago. The founding fathers have been elevated to sainthood. Balderdash. They were as roguish as the present lot. They had slaves and it was perfectly OK to shoot a fellow Senator. The Second Amendment begins as "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State ...... " - The National Rifle Association which has an orgasm every time it quotes the Second Amendment would do well to remember that the most enthusiastic adherents to this philosophy are Afghanistan, Somalia and Congo.
Closer to home, its not very different. Even the sainted Mahatma Gandhi would not have survived the breathless (how come they don't asphyxiate themselves)  news anchors of today on the sexual experiments he did. Life was idyllic then, right ? Wrong. Everything was rationed, even rice, there was no TV or telephone, you could expect to contract polio or small pox and die in childhood, and the caste system was much more deeply entrenched than today.
Same is with businesses. We all had jobs for life. Great  The only problem is that the old dinosaur in the next office had stopped productive working some 15 years ago. Your take home salary was Rs 1646.43 - Ramamritham dutifully doled out the paise. Everything took extremely long to do.And good companies were few and far between. You needed an industrial licence from the government to do anything. Government decided what you produced and when.
So why the rose tint ? Maybe because the human mind has to have something to cherish. Passage of time accentuates the good and suppresses the bad. If that were not so, nobody would have children. The human spirit is fragile. It needs constant nourishment. Even from the "good old days". Especially from the "good old days".
This blogger is no exception. My glasses are so rose tinted, that they are almost red :) I have mentioned Mary Hopkins and her immortal song more than once in this forum.  My head says the rose tint is all bunkum. My heart is asking it to shut up.


Sriram Khé said...

Yep, nothing to disagree ... There are very few reasons for me to go back in time. I as in personally.
If I were a Dalit or an African-American, I know for sure I don't ever want to go back in time ...
The "bad old days" get vastly distorted into "good old days" as we get older ... which is why we have to undergo cataract operations to clear our vision ;)

Appu said...

Why does the post seems so philosophical? :P :D

Vinod said...

Thought provoking as always.A very pensive at that.Pray share.

The Million Miler said...

Wonderful. There is this respectful, nay, almost reverential tone when folks tend to speak of how 'great' our forefathers were, how glorious the good ol days were etc. I have always been suspicious of this approach - it simply flies in the face of the theory of evolution. Personally I think we assume our next generation is a bunch of idiots but in reality it is this 'next' generation that makes the world a better place to live. This infantile fetish with the glory and greatness of the past gets my goat. Colonialism, Slavery, Racism, The Caste Connundrum, Monarchic nonsense are progressively on the wane. Hopefully oneday this religous bigotry and fundamentalism and the opium that is fed to the masses in the name of god by godmen/godwomen dies out.

Ramesh said...

@sriram - I was expecting that comment from you :)

@Zeno - Waxing philosophy is an occupational hazard of growing older !

@Vinod - Thought provoking is the best tribute you can give to me. Nice to see you here.

@Kiwi - As always, you say directly and in few words what I ramble on for a whole post.

Deepa said...

Beautiful post! I am wondering what inspired this one!

Ramesh said...

@Deepa - Oh nothing in particular. Just an idle muse :)

Sandhya Sriram said...

Maybe, there is nothing wrong in doing that. take our own daily life. we know, our own LATE family members, we tend to always talk about the good things they did. we seldom talk about the their negatives even though we knew they had it in them.

again, i go to the 73rd Pulikesi movie where Vadivelu gets people to write nice things about him to live in history for people to rever him in his future and i guess, thats what most rulers did. tampered with history well enough to create rose tinted students like us today.

but as deepa says, there is definitely something deeper to what made you write the post. hmm....

Ramesh said...

@sandhya - Oh there's nothing wrong in whitewashing the bad and accentuating the good. Its just not factual, that's all.

Nice idea to get people to write nice things about you. Commenters on this blog - are you listening :)

Asha said...

No disputing your body paragraphs . But to keep ourselves happy, it is best to forego the hell to keep ourselves in heaven albeit superficial. So right there, most of us listen to the heart just like you and indulge in nostalgia or believe in 'Good old days' to keep ourselves happy.

but what is funny or worrisome is that even children as young as tweens or teens think of the 'Good old days':) Nostalgia on a fast lane.

Ramesh said...

@Asha - Apologies - "Lost" your comment in the deluge of spam and hence the very late response. Nostalgia on the fast lane is so so true. But then, even we did that in our childhood :)

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