My two bits on what’s happening in the country With respect to the Hyderabad encounter.
There’s a lots of discussion on the motivations, legality, ethics, morality, the role of the police and the future repercussions of these happening’s on the nations psyche. But try talking about these things to people and you will find that 99.99% will look at you in shock, as if you are the one who is mad and illogical. They will say, you don’t understand the pain of rape. And on top of it, you will be blamed for siding with the rape accused.
So one needs to understand what’s happening from a different perspective. Not the same old perspective of rationality, ethics and legality. Right now there is an uncontrolled mania sweeping through the country. It’s like a mist that has fogged the minds of the populace. And, it takes the colour of any current issue and blows it up to gigantic proportions. The blowing up of any issue is the crux.
And this is followed by:
- The hyper passionate discourse in print, digital and social media
- The labelling of people according to “you are either with the narrative or against the narrative.”
- A very narrow definition of right and wrong.
This has lead to people being united into huge mobs comprising not of hundreds or thousands people, but millions of people controlling the nations psyche. What can be called as a social mania.
This mania is influenced by the following factors.
- A Strong sense of entitlement
- Toxic ideologies.
- Pre-existing prejudices and biases
- Urge for instant gratification and addiction.
- Social Media
Of the five factors, three have been in existence since thousands of years. All the three are found in varying proportions in all civilisations and cultures. But the fourth and the fifth are relatively new. Rather only a decade or two old. It has been related to the rise of the influence of technology, in day to day human life.
Urge for Instant Gratification :
The instant gratification is controlled by dopaminergic pathways in the basal ganglia (Nucleus Accumbens)connected to the prefrontal cortex. This pathway is a reward pathway, meaning when it is stimulated it releases dopamine and gives a kick or high. And this reward pathway when it becomes pathological, causes addiction. Like drugs, alcohol, video games, etc., This is actually different than the hormone serotonin. Serotonin actually promotes happiness and a long lasting happiness. Dopamine produces only momentary pleasure.
Nowadays, in just an instant people can see things, buy things, sell things, take part in online forums, post their thoughts and opinions mostly narrow and prejudiced, get positive feedback to this negative thoughts from people who may be thousands of kms away.
Social Media Addiction:
The social media likes and comments received online in an instant leads to spurts of dopamine secretion in the basal ganglia and that gives a kick or a high to these people. This “kick” or “high” is addictive. This is very similar to the addiction of nicotine, drugs or video games. And people addicted to it are on a constant lookout to get it.
Instant justice is similar to instant gratification. Justice on the tap. Where instant justice is important and not who delivers it or how it is delivered.
Social Media as enhancer of negative emotions:
Thus there is an increase in addiction to social media. Per Se that is not a problem. But the selective use of social media as per the biases and prejudices of an individual is a big problem. Which makes these biases and prejudices sharper and stronger. It is also very easy now, to find people who support your views and ideology due to the reach of the Internet.
These enhanced biases and prejudices are again fed into the social media. They in turn lead to further hardening of views creating a vicious cycle. Thus it has become a self propagating cycle which propagates hate, anger, rage, irrationality, hero worship, cult worship and toxic ideology.
Use of Social media by politicians:
The use of social media by political parties and politicians to further their political agenda, has lead to this online social media place turning into a war zone. With passions running high and trolls running amok, it has only added to the already vitiated social media atmosphere. Rather multiplied it exponentially.
Social media can be and is used to manipulate the emotions, of a large group of population in an instant. And creation of online mobs. Nowadays mobs don’t move only on the streets but online also. And this online mob also behaves like a real mob. Without any intelligence or rationality. An emotionally charged mob real or virtual, is insane and blind. And that has also added to this problem of social mania.
These online frenzied mobs are waiting for targets or issues and when they find it they pounce on it with vengeance. And this mob then becomes the police as well as the judge and defines the crime and also award punishment. Everybody is falling victim to it. The police are no exception. The question of wether their guilt was proved or were there any additional people involved doesn’t arise. The online mobs have given a judgment. The police only acted upon it.
Now on where will this lead to. This mania has no signs of abating too soon. It is going to spread wider and wider until something very dangerous or tragic happens. Rather this mania will lead the population to do or initiate something very dangerous and tragic.
Only after this there will be a reset in the consciousness of the nation. Till then one can be a part of it or criticise it or stay out of it and just watch helplessly. But there is no relief from it forthcoming. No hope that it will subside on its own.
So I would repeat again my friends, hold on tightly to your seats and enjoy the ride. There is not much anyone can do.