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 Blooming Stars

Dangerous Small Letters

             Many long, tedious, and time-consuming forms in the US and now in India have long printed stuff in small letters containing a great deal of legalese at the end of these forms. Persons filling these forms usually do not read these forms as they trust and do not suspect anything important is contained in them. So they fill the forms and sign them without bothering about the matter in small letters. Later on it was too late when they found out that they had signed themselves into costly traps. Now we are warned by knowledgeable persons to read everything carefully including materials in small prints. In this paranoid culture one really does not know whom to trust and whom not to trust. The other day a person narrated to me his sad story. He was on a long train journey across the country. He boarded the train with another person from the station of origin, and they had a nice time together for over two days. Before the train was supposed to reach the destination he asked his new-found friend to look after his luggage before he went to the restroom. When he came back his friend was nowhere to be seen; gone also were his belongings.

            Many lies result from fear, distrust, or desire for some kind of gain or advantage. Fear and distrust are the fertile breeding ground for lies. Most people are stuck in the deep debris of the bad and traumatic experiences of the past from which they have not been able to extricate themselves. They do not seem to be able to stop the self-defeating and self-pitying negative tapes that are running non-stop in their heads. Their deep hurts and wounds are not yet healed even after many years. They have not let go and let God in. Playing the victim role they perpetuate the emotionally loaded memories that consume so much precious energy. This energy is currently not available for their growth and development. Living in what may be called a repetition compulsion, their present is their past. They are emotionally handicapped. A rehabilitation program that would help them live in the present with an optimistic outlook for the future is very much needed.

            Our language needs to keep up with the changing times to describe the present realities accurately. It is still very much in the racist, sexist, casteist, feudalistic, and patriarchal times of the past. The court language especially is still reminiscent of the colonial, lord-servant, male-dominated era. A bishop, for instance, is called a thirumeni (holy body) in Kerala as was a brahmin in the past. In an egalitarian, democratic society all need to be aware all are holy bodies (thirumenis). We need to revere and respect everyone as a human being, and not just cater to the egos of a few. When we say what is on our mind, mean what we say, and do what we say, we get ready to break through our culture of lie. We need to purify our language so it can incorporate and reflect the current developments. When we become aware of our dissonance between our thoughts and speech, between our speech and actions, and when we eliminate that dissonance, the culture of lie will not have a leg to stand on.

            Truth hurts. We do not need any flowery, euphemistic language to soften the impact of truth. We do not want to hurt anyone. But persons get hurt because of which they are even though no hurt is intended. Search for and cultivation of truth is an on-going, never-ending, challenging task. We need to fill our own God-given slot, assert our unique position – because each one of us is unique – in the brotherhood/sisterhood of humanity that we are privileged to belong to. Nobody can and will deprive us of or diminish our impact or imprint on humanity unless we allow it. Our imprint is the tradition for the coming generations who after their own scrutiny adapt or adopt what will benefit them, and discard what will be of no use. They will pass on or hand over (tradere - in Latin from which comes tradition) things that become tradition for the generations after them. So life goes on and on. No tradition is so sacred as not to be able to be changed. These are challenging times, graced times for humanity. Christ warned us to know the truth, so the truth can set us free.


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