by Kakajan Haytlyyev

Once upon a time, people had an opinion on a subject matter. It was a time when people had enjoyed discussions. Exchange of opinions was not considered as a confrontation but rather enrichment. Just in a period of one day, people could learn quite a lot from each other.

I wonder, when did we lose it? When we missed a warning sign that supposed to alarm us? When did discussions start to transform into arguments and opinions replaced with perceptions? I tried to find answers to these questions and I failed.

Perhaps I could not find an answer because the transformation process was very slow and took several decades to achieve its current stage. The slow speed of this backwards journey did not trigger an alarm in our mind until it became apparent that regress has reached an advanced stage.

Today we can notice loudly screaming signs of it almost in every aspect of our life on daily basis. At times we think that it would be wiser to ignore it. We assume that there is nothing to worry about. We think that if we ignore it, it would just go away.

Initially I thought so too, but lately, I started to suspect that choosing not to pay attention is a mistake. I realised that the true nature of these ugly anti-cultural signs is not as harmless as it might seem. To illustrate the hidden danger, I would like to show a couple of examples.

I was going through LinkedIn for my research when I started to realise that there are an enormous number of posts that contain text which sounds nice but means nothing in the best case scenario.

One of them says

IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO LEARN,

NO ONE CAN HELP YOU.

IF YOU ARE DETERMINED TO LEARN,

NO ONE CAN STOP YOU

I saw this quote on tinybuddah.com and I assume it was introduced many centuries ago. Since then our world sustained a dramatic change and today it looks like entirely different planet altogether. Many people responded with “like” and commented that they absolutely agree with it.

It was clear that people were convinced that a choice to learn is entirely up to us. No one seemed to understand that in the Era of vividly displayed inequality, we do not have equal access to the necessary sources in order to realise such choice.

Moreover, with an ever-growing gap between rich and poor, I would assume that the number of people who would not know what to learn is growing proportionally to the wealth gap. I would also think that many of them are not even privileged to think about learning because they are too busy with few jobs just to make it to the next cheque.

It seemed that people do not understand that this quote was taken out of context and squeezed into our today’s reality and, therefore, it might not work. Since it is unlikely to fit into the modern environment, this quote could lead to grossly wrong perception.

It has real potential for some people to conclude that those who are behind, shall not complain because it is their choice. Whether those who fall behind do not stand a chance to be at par with the rest of us, will not be taken into account. The number of “like” was a clear evidence that my assumption is correct. It was apparent that people who reacted positively to this post did not understand that with social inequality it is not fair to talk about choice.

The other post which attracted my attention was about wisdom

YOU ARE WISE

WHEN YOU KNOW THE LIMITS OF YOUR WISDOM

I have to admit, I do not know who said it. Maybe because I am lucky.

Initially, I thought I misread it, but when I read it for the second time I decided to express my opinion by saying that it is not possible to be wise. Just as it is not possible to be smart. We can be wiser or smarter, but never wise or smart as every day, every hour, every moment brings something new to learn. And even if we are quick learners, by the time for us to go, we still will realise that we do not know anything.

Wisdom is based on knowledge. Since we know that knowledge does not have limits, it would be strange to assume that there are limits for wisdom. By thinking about limits of our wisdom, we declare to ourselves that we have not learnt anything.

It was surprising to me that by the time I put my comments, this post already had more than thirty “like”. People liked something which does not make sense.

Now, I know that some would argue that this message says that a person is considered wise when admits that he or she does not know everything. In my opinion, it is given. If we have to explain something which is so basic, then we shall not talk about wisdom. It would mean we are not ready to talk about it.

But the example I am about to describe solidified my view that process of the backwards movement started to accelerate. I am not even bothered to waste my time and describe comments that are simply racist.

I better highlight something which I would never think could be somehow touched by the backwards move. Something that managed to withstand time for many centuries.

It was a post with Lord Bryon’s poem that was illustrated with a dramatically beautiful picture of a view to the open sea from the edge of the rock.

The sky overcast with heavy clouds and waves produce a take on upcoming storm.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar,

I love not a Man less, but Nature more….

When I went through the comments I realised that many of them are nothing by a simple expression of politeness. In general, all of them were indicating one thing, that it is beautiful, which is actually well understood without saying.

I also felt that the last line of the poem does not give me a positive feeling and I decided to say that I actually do not see the beauty of the last line because I do not share that the nature of Man is less beautiful than a beauty of Nature.

I received the response of a person who posted it by saying

“ many thanks for expressing your kind thoughts, presenting alternative considerations,… though be hastening to add what Lord Bryon did and felt at the time of noting this engaging, entreating prose was his perception of his meant truth, which has remained unchanged … as to Lord Byron’s disposition, reality strong suggests that neither you nor I was there, so conjecture is sure to reign,….. trusting you have a great weekend, all the best” .

In response, I wrote

“I agree with you. We were not there. Therefore, we can only assume. But the way he put it suggests that I might be close in my assumption in terms of what he felt. This is a beauty of poetry. Pain can be felt even many years after. What it may teach us is this. Do not take it as a reality when you are in pain. It is not a reality, it is not the truth. It is just pain. But you will be better tomorrow.”

This is where I realised that the backwards move reached the advanced stage. People who talk about the poetry of Lord Byron, do not even feel his pain. All they could say were words that could mean absolutely anything: beautiful, “thank you for sharing”, “wonderful”, etc.

It is especially disturbing when someone who believes that he or she can talk about Lord Bryon’s creation would treat it as something ordinary. I realise that when people are not capable of seeing the depth of Lord Bryon’s poetry, they simply are not capable of appreciating other people’s opinion and respect the way they feel.

However, complete lack of understanding of such treasure as poetry is not the most horrifying part of our reality. I afraid the danger has grown to something much bigger. It penetrated all levels of our society and is now threatening our very existence.

Somehow we could not see that when we allowed perception to sand next to our opinion, we legitimised and unwillingly changed the very definition of the word “opinion”. We made Ignorance stronger. We open a door to let Ignorance to walk into our daily life. We let Ignorance to feel comfortable. Therefore it thinks that now it has the right to talk. Due to our politically correct actions and inappropriate politeness, we convince the Ignorance that it is entitled to be part of our civilised society.

We should have known that Ignorance is shameless and soon it’s best friends, Racism and Hatred would arrive to celebrate their freedom in our home that we, intelligent people have built. We should have never let these three ugly creatures to be free. We should have never opened the door.

It leads to a question for which I cannot find an answer. Is it too late?

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