I can be a weird thinker at times. I have to spend considerable time in solitude. Solitude is better for me, even if I don’t like it completely. It helps my work, my calm and my thought process. But solitude is not good all the time. It can get you depressed and anxious. At that time you need some company perhaps. So today I was just thinking about human behavior in the context of belligerence.
I was thinking about a particular day in my life when I was only nine years old. I was leaving the school after the classes. I was standing at the gate of the school, where students used to gather to buy snacks and stuff for themselves. Normally there was always a bit of crescendo out there because of mischief.
As I stood there, I remember that I saw two students fighting with each other. I was in the fifth grade at that time. And the students were most probably in the tenth grade. If my memory is not defying me right now, I am sure that one of the fighters was the school head boy. So I stood by the sight of the fight where the two boys beat each other with brutality. It was a bloody fight.
I stood on a side and watched the whole scene quietly as a kid would do. The fight carried on in front of my eyes for like fifteen minutes at least. I didn’t move. I didn’t run away either. Nor was I scared. And as the fighting stopped and transformed into an exchange of abuse, I slowly walked away. I had no emotions. I was calm and mum. Although my mouth must have been half opened.
Youth is not like that. You have to take sides. Well, some people do not do that even then. But I grew into adolescence in a hostel. There were clans of students all around. You had to take sides. Or you were pretty much alienated as a feckless person.
But then adolescence is stupidity. Even in professional contexts at times, you have to pick a side. If you are not on anyone’s side, you are simply a coward, impotent and an undesirable sneaky person.
I wonder why people who are supposed to be mature have to pick sides in petty conflicts when kids can simply walk away from them. Perhaps the ego of the kid is not so well developed to address the demands of the belligerent environment.
I read in Stratfor a few years back, that sometimes the best strategy is not to have one at all. This advice was given by a writer to the American political machinery in the wake of Arab spring. To stay away and clean from the internal conflicts of the middle east.
And it has been found that even nation states find it hard to maintain neutrality in wake of looming conflict. I was chatting with Lesley Hazleton one evening and I asked her why the US had to poke its nose into every matter that is quite personal to the third world countries. She said that Americans believed in the fixability of things. That anything that needed to be fixed, Americans would believe that they can fix it and that they should definitely go out and fix it. So are the fights perhaps. If two lads are fighting, fixability perhaps requires to intervene and contribute to the fight. The nature of the contribution can depend surely on the whims of the contributor.
Youth can mean inner turmoil. A person can have the tendency to be a part of the show. A younger lad can look at the show with awe. But an older person really can have the urge to go out and be part of the show.
This reminds me of a quote from Colonel Muhammad Khan. He says in his Bajang Aamad that it is much better to be a spectator than to be a showman. He was a prolific Urdu writer.
Anyhow, sometimes you need to develop a perspective for yourself and your life in wake of what is happening around you in the world. A person with limited jurisdiction these days is blessed in some sense, he can legally keep quiet over affairs that require intervention with force.
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