Written By Utkarsh Chawra (Grade 10)
Common sense is often found to be uncommon these days. Feelings over facts are the way of life everybody has adopted, denying reality in every way possible to ultimately make themselves feel better, giving value to only one-sided stories, and not practicing ‘audi alteram partem’ which translates to ‘listening to the other side.’
We live in an era where we only value ideologies and theories that complement the way we feel and ignore what is real and what is a fact. Accepting these ideologies and theories is now considered the norm; you dare not question them or try to fit them into logic because it would hurt a bunch of feelings. This is a formula for signing you up for a long-term disaster.
Scepticism is seen as evil, and following the dogma is expected. When certain information is showcased, the first thing we do is express our emotions and call it an “opinion,” whereas the response is just an emotional reaction to that information.
We have now adopted the mindset that an individual can either be on our side or the other. Anyone who disagrees or makes an argument in favour of the other side is not considered our friend. We only choose friends who agree with us and make us feel validated. Anything out of the ordinary is considered controversial or toxic. According to people, everything is subjective and nothing is objective anymore, which translates to “I believe this because it makes me happy.”.
If it makes me upset, you are wrong. Before analysing, understanding, and evaluating, we present how we feel and not how we came up with this conclusion. Having a strong stance on anything is not wrong to an extent; you must find a way to balance open-mindedness and still have quite a strong stance on a thing unless reality and your analysis of reality say otherwise.
Everyone wants to be successful but does not want to deal with the process. The process insists that you abide by reality because there is no successful person on this planet who does not have to deal with reality. When you try presenting common sense to people, it blows their minds because they are programmed to believe only things that make them happy.
We have evolved into a stereotyping society. Just because one of your views is aligned with one side doesn’t mean you completely belong to that group; it might just be because it is true, or more importantly, you know it is true through trial and error and analysis. This becomes very important to state because not many people know the truth because it’s true, but because it fits in ‘my reality’ and ‘my truth.’
Pragmatism advocates this mentality where you rely on practicalities and not on theories and ideologies to a large extent. You can still have beliefs about ideologies and theories, but that shouldn’t drive you away from what is true.
Being pessimistic in some situations is beneficial, and you might not have known this fact because it is generally considered a “negative” outlook towards reality. Pessimism, in some cases, prepares you for the worst-case scenario and pushes you to take action and save yourself from ever facing that scenario.
We live in an age where we have the opportunity to directly learn from the experiences of others by looking at history. If we observe carefully, we would find that partisanship towards a certain ideology and blind belief leads to harm because it restricts us from having our own minds and being able to question our beliefs.
Pragmatism does not advocate that you don’t question why things are the way they are, but rather asks you whether your views are aligned with reality and whether the views you hold are because they make you feel better or because they actually help you, objectively. There have been many instances where a certain fact made me feel upset and disappointed, but I acknowledged it as true, and over time, accepting it has made me happier than when I used to think otherwise.
Featured Image Courtesy – TheCollector