Politicians, preachers, even our parents keep pushing us to conformity– trying their best that our curiosity and faculty to wonder is slain and destroyed. That we should become habituated with the triviality of mundane life. Just look around may it be global forces or businesses, or may it be local media, laws rules and regulations, they all want us to behave in a certain fashion and lead our lives the way they want us to lead.
The faculty of wonder or a new way of thinking is prohibited. This exercise starts from a very early age and strong indoctrination is given to us and our ethnicity, religious choices so much so our professional choices are defined. Diverse thinking is not allowed. The idea is to enforce our habits and culture on everyone. It’s not human nature to condone diversity but it is becoming a slave to habit and tradition that ensures that no new thinking should take place The more sweetly we adopt to the norms of the society, the more we compromise on our freedom.
How important it is to follow societal norms?
The society which punishes the ability to question and reward conformity and uniformity decays and cannot innovate or give rights to the weak, which could be women or minorities. The irony is that women who are moms are the ones who inculcate the discipline of conformity and are a catalyst in diminishing the curiosity and free-thinking of generations.
Later on, the same gender laments that they are not provided with the rights and esteem in society. While all kinds of tools from a single national curriculum to nationalism to religious slogans are being used to defy pluralism and diverse thinking. It’s a shame that even in universities or in serious newspapers (is TV and social media serious) questions are not allowed, philosophical discussions are deemed dangerous and to some extent are termed life-threatening. This environment will ensure a very hard society, a society that lacks creative thinking, hence no innovation and above all no tolerance.
While faith and discipline are important to channelize positive energies, free and creative thinking is important for the evolution of society. This will in turn trigger fine arts, scientific discoveries and technological innovations. Importantly, the myths will burst and mundane way of boring existence will be challenged and diversity and creativity will be rewarded. The starting point of this change should start by changing universities to universalities.
Why do we need new thinking patterns?
The teachers must encourage new ways of thinking and abilities to ask questions. The state should not enforce curriculums or syllabus rather students must be given opportunities to choose courses and teachers of their choice. The state should not feel threatened by diverse views counter-narratives or even questions about past mistakes because real learning will only come if students, teachers are provided with an ecosystem of free thought in all directions.
The country of this population, variety of cultures, ethnicity and political views cannot be controlled rather it should be channelized to progress and learning through non conform and free questioning environment. People should see and feel the benefits of state thinking and not be scared of punitive actions. The incentives of state policies and should be visible and thoughts should be clearly communicated with objectives in mind. The shyness to communicate should be overcome and questions must be welcomed!
Moied Javeed is a senior telecom executive in Pakistan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.