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    Volume 8 Issue 97 | December 11, 2009 |

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The Insane Majority

Aasha Mehreen Amin

There is a popular saying that the first sign of insanity is when you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. Such conclusions defy logic and therefore people making them are considered 'not quite all there'. You would think that such mental unsoundness would be limited to only a few unfortunates who must have gone through some trauma to become like this. The disturbing truth is that these days there are possibly far more people in the 'not quite there' category.

Just look at the way we behave on the road. Instead of waiting behind the car in front of us we just have to pass all the rows, creating yet another lane because there is always a chance that we will be able to outrun the other car. The problem is that everyone is thinking the same thing so while we take that gamble of blocking the lane for incoming vehicles or the by road where cars behind us want to go left, we just don't think that our actions are going to backfire. Again and again it is the same story. Thus the government's recent, apparently strict prohibition where lanes will be divided according to the speed and weight of the vehicle and no one can cross lanes without risking a huge penalty. So far one is not sure just how effective these prohibitions will be to change old habits of groups of people who are so accustomed to break every rule in the book as long as they don't get caught. Thus you may still see the errant bus happily waiting randomly on the road, far from its designated stop, to get in a few more passengers; the rickshaws and motorcyclists coming from the wrong side of the road and the jaywalkers making a mockery of the flyovers risking life and limb, climbing over spiky grills of road dividers. All this is quite 'normal' behaviour for most of our citizens but to anyone else it would seem deviant and abnormal.

Scarier is the way we blindly support a political party. Even if we know for sure that a particular political entity has spent all his energy to extort money from practically everyone, from tycoon to mudir dokan owner, to fatten huge foreign currency accounts abroad, or that the head of state has turned a blind eye to the gross sins of her sons, or when her loyalist thugs go around on their battering and bullying spree on campus despite the promises for 'change', we will still think that they are the ones who should have the power to decide our present and future. Such faith is not admirable; it is just plain devoid of logic. Why for instance would party workers want to be led by individuals who have razed the party image to the ground through nepotism and blatant thuggery? Would it not make more sense to revamp a party weakened by bad leadership, by selecting a fresh set of leaders who will look out for not only party interest but also the interest of the nation?

Again, after all the doom and gloom spelt out by environmental experts because of dramatic climate changes that threaten the very existence of large chunks of our planet, how many of us are willing to forgo the luxury of driving in a car or having a fridge or an air conditioner or flying off to a distant land as the world around us becomes warmer because of these very things?

It is that same syndrome again where people believe something different will happen even if they do the same thing over and over again. What's 'insanity' we say, when everyone's in the loony bin.


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