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College Park, Maryland, United States
Elusive by choice.


RIP (Religion, Identity and Politics)

This piece is inspired by what some may refer to as “Existential Angst”. George Carlin would sarcastically dismiss his thoughts on such as the “things that prevent me from making any real progress in life”. Well, someone has to address them. They are perhaps as irrelevant to our lives as social responsibility. Yet we prophesize, partake and make an attempt to keep our efforts visible.

The first stream of thought stems from a recent lecture on Market movers. We learnt the importance of first, second and third movers in the market scenario. Third movers turning the market into purely competitive and hence commoditizing products made me reflect on which market of scale was the first victim of third movers. I figured religion would make the cut. Most religions emphasize on same or similar dogmas while suggesting varied paths of attainment. Logical differentiators such as paths are necessary in pure competition.  This should have, in turn, implied that the consumers, the believers, would have a low switching cost and would derive the same satisfaction from any religion. However, the high profile market was too promising to allow such feasibility. The ones we now call “hardliners” were bred with ill construed directives to protect the market interests. The result- a radical intolerant world. Strangely, it also set a precedent for the current trend of competitive markets turning into oligopolies.

It would be unfair to end our discussions on religion without venturing a bit into “personal identity”. In the current context I find the two words being an oxymoron. Identity is not who you are anymore. Identity is a reflection of your religion, location, race, gender, orientation and other complex variables; or that is what you are made to believe. It seems more feasible to categorize a person by his “Identity” than to actually know him for who he is. The process is quite logical, with the lack of time and evanescent encounters. There is also a risk of deception and exploitation to consider. The easy path would be to ask a few questions regarding his “identity” and viola, an analyst in your head transcribes a judgment based on your knowledge, or ignorance. In an era whose jargon begins and culminates with “social networking”, gaping holes appear as the network is stretched wider and thinner.

Moving along to more relevant issues, the uprising in Egypt is being credited with a stature similar to the renaissance. The internet abounds with aspirations of similar nationalistic activities. Some are fighting dictatorships, while others, corruption and poverty. The thin networks have proven to uphold such movements. What they lack is result orientation. Egypt is still under military administration. A past evil has been uprooted from the throne while a new evil is looming large. The world is standing by, rooting for the underdog that goes by the name of democracy. The democracies are contemplating similar strategies to end corruption. The whole world is fighting for perfect governance. But when would the world open its eyes to “Power Corrupts” and realize that there is no such thing as “perfect governance”. The only possible outcome is a short-term compromise that would be exploited again, challenged again and reached again.

The views here might border on pessimism. Maybe the ones calling it “existential angst” are right. Probably it is a symptom of the newly identified “quarter life crisis”. I have reached a quarter of a lifetime, with a sizeable chunk, being ignorant to the world and its ways. The sudden awakening seems to have hit hard. Perhaps ignorance was bliss. Perhaps denial would be the new bliss. Nirvana transcends from detachment to ignorance and denial.

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