|Taken at Max Life Style, in City Centre II, Rajarhat, Kolkata|
Kaleidoscope wishes to discuss the question of choice which has become so much important in a late capitalist society. He teaches his students that development is the question of the enhancement of choices. One of our famous noble laureates speaks about development as freedom, Kaleidoscope like many others understands it is a freedom to choose. Therefore increasingly we are looking for more alternatives in our lives. We wish to avail services where we feel that we are having more choices. Lesser choices most frequently disinterest us.
The bigger questions are therefore:
A. Does enhancement of choice mean empowerment?
B. How enhancement of choice connects expenses, restlessness and craving?
C. What happens to those (or them) whom we do not choose (or choose to leave behind)?
D. How do alternatives enhance our freedom?
E. How the question of love, choice and alternatives connect?
Choices and individuation
The most significant gift of the civilisation is freedom of choices. What we are taught to truly value is our independent individual existence. For example while a generation earlier it was taught that one must not forget the value system of one’s “culture”, one must be dutiful towards his/her significant others often including neighbours, with the advent of capitalism the philosophy has been turned upside down. The futuristic growth model which the state and market as scholarly twins of the industrial revolution thought needed a push. In order to satisfy such a need the state intervened family matters in the court of law through the army of state machineries, market continued to send army of products which first challenged the local products and then completely wiped them out with international standard branding. Therefore, while Kaleidoscope wears a Levis Strauss jeans he can truly identify himself with his friend Jan Kaweretzke staying at Berlin. However, this was not enough to break the bond of the family and community; therefore, the twin of the industrial revolution has given another dimension, a dimension that is stronger than such “pre-modern” bonding, i.e. the power to become INDIVIDUAL.
It means that
1. Marry the person you like.
2. Leave him/her if s/he does not suit you eventually.
3. Choose from different alternatives and crave for more.
4. You do not need to depend on the family and community for basic things like food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare and of course employment.
Interestingly the individuation issue is way too opposite than what we are taught by the millions of years of evolution. We have been co-operative with each other, we lived in communities, and we evolved and become the major force of the planate because of this co-operative ability. Within merely about two centuries we are becoming independent individuals. Today while market is providing us with choices like never before, state is doing constant surveillance over families. For example in many countries the state can sue a person to a slightest of ‘negligence’ over their children. State compels you to send your children to school, can take away your child if you do not behave with them according to the legal terms of appropriateness.
Rationality as New Barbarism:
All these are done under a powerful concept of ‘rationality’, often which is backed by another heavy loaded term “scientific.” The scientific rationality in the intellectual sphere has fuelled in the process by inventing child psychology, individual psychology, discovering diseases which were not there before the advent of certain forms of life styles. With increasing specialisation in the academic disciplines we have invented and regularly updated DSMs, by the American Psychological Association and then thrse are used across the world without often thinking about the contextual and cultural richness of different places other than America. The rationality based on logic has taken away to a significant extent the vital inputs of affect and emotions. Rationality often speaks against emotions. For example with scientific rationality we can make fun out of our medieval ancestors, even to a certain extent our own parents who still believe that there is something called afterlife and work for divinity. From a purely scientific point of view we can say human life has absolutely no meaning at all. We are outcome of a mindless evolutionary game. If tomorrow our planet is blown up, nothing will happen to the universe, and it will continue to mind its own business. Hence, any meaning that we attribute to our life is a delusion.
How does it make a person feel who continued to thins his unfulfilled aspirations will be fulfilled in the next life?
How does it make you feel if you have just fall in love and your love is reciprocated?
Yes, it is gruesome, science, or for that matter rationality is gruesome exercise.
With the enhancement of choices and formation of atomic individuation we have learned another thing, i.e. indifference. In fact, our building architectures, essential life commodities teach us to become indifferent everyday.
|Mies van der Rohe Seagram_building Chicago|
|Technopolis office building, Sector V, Kolkata|
The pictures above shows indifferent architectures designed to cater the issue of space rationally. All three has amazing similarity yet are designed for different purposes. They are all air-conditioned, indifferent towards the outside world, they all reflect, i.e. simply throws back the outside world, not allowing them to enter into the inner space.
While our buildings, air-conditioned cars, houses, and offices are indifferent, we too are indifferent. What we really care about is the question of choice. While we are having many things to choose from, our mind continues to crave for more. Even what we crave for years or decades only gives us a momentary pleasure and then becomes part of our regular life, making us crave for more. Therefore, we are increasingly becoming indifferent towards the world that surrounds us, relationships that contend us to focus on our individual pursuits which are actually shaped by the strategic nexus of state, market and science. Because there is an uneasy relationship between individuals (who also crave for relationships along with other things) state, market and science our species is increasingly becoming restless, tensed and dissatisfied.
Love and the trickledown effect of choice:
While we have an enhanced ability to choose from ever increasing alternatives we have started to believe (unconsciously may be) that we can get everything we want. We have forgotten to accept the defeat. Whenever we face a defeat we tend to seek revenge. Because of our indifference towards the world in which we tend to live, we hardly have anything to care for. When the question of love comes, it is often seen that we tend to seek everything from a finite person, and when we fail to have it all we seek newer relationships. Often badly hurting the persons whom we choose to leave. Often we do not leave, we continued to stay but in a void, constantly thinking and seeking other possibilities. Kaleidoscope can still remember one of his friends saying out of frustration that he cannot find new pornographies. Many of the so called new pornographies are actually old ones and repetitive.
The two scholarly children of industrial revolution, i.e. state and market along with their best friend science is sincerely manufacturing individuals with choices to make. Increasingly state-market-science nexus in their affair with individuals is pushing people far away from the affect and love, replacing them with scientific rationality and polishing them with choice.