The blog has been shuffled into the background as life got in the way, and inspiration ran dry. As KL shifted into yet another semi-lockdown, new daily patterns emerged and reflecting on the interior self became harder. I decided that I would only write if a musing pursued me, instead of me pursuing musings. And in the past few days or so, this finally happened. Musings on our hypocrisies kept returning to me in my solitary walks and I sought to find a lesson from it. Two incidents started this spiral.
The first was listening to a conversation by someone who said ‘I thank God that my family was raised in XXXX, as my children are more pious than those raised in XXXX’. To my ears, this didn’t seem like a celebration of a compassionate, loving, non-judgmental Creator but rather the ego. It was pride, it was judgment of others, and it was self-congratulatory. And I believe that the speaker truly believed in their own humility as they sought, ironically, to elevate their/ their family’s spiritual journey as being preferable/ superior to others. Another incident was observing individuals who self-identify with activism and liberal values convey aggressive intolerance for those opposing industries which stamp on such ideals. It was fascinating to observe. All manner of morality and judgment came spewing out. The self-righteousness of many of their sentiments couldn’t evade me.
And it triggered me to ask myself if I have been living true to my ideals. Quite frankly, I don’t think I have and am not sure if I ever can. When angered by the judgment of others, or when disdainful of the life choices of others, I speak in lofty ideals – that if I believed in standing up for what is right and if put in a position of choice, I would inevitably elect the more evolved path. But life isn’t always so binary is it? Is there always such blinding clarity in moments of calamity? And even if there were, are we always so sure that we are always able to take the highest road? Are we sure that we are ourselves always beyond reproach and self-compromise in the past, present and future to express such eviscerating condescension on the mistakes of others? Lately, I’ve not been able to shake away the realisation that every time I have ever been sanctimonious and highly critical of others, I will eventually find myself in a position where I may make a choice I have in the past been contemptuous of.
So what’s the big lesson here? It’s easy to say I guess to stay non-judgmental and non-moralising but realistically we carry with us a dichotomy of biases and open-mindedness, of self-idealisation and self-critique. It seems to be the common aspect of our human polarity and balancing these elements together is part of life’s quandary. How do we suppress the temptation to judge and self-idealise though? Maybe we should remind ourselves that for every individual we critique or reproach, we are in fact, no better than them. Our struggle just has a different face. One of the hallmarks of a noble individual, is someone whose word and action rarely contradict. In that way, perhaps, when reflecting on the life choices of others, it’s always more enriching to denounce less, and learn more.