8/07/2018

End of reason

We are living in perilous times. The streets are no longer safe. The paths are leading into jungles where forests of irrationality connive with beasts of fanaticism. The only sane thing that we are witnessing, today, is shouting.

We, Malawians, are voting next year and, again, the chaos of politics is upon us.

We are political people, of course, but in years or months and days preceding the election, our affinity to politics becomes huge. And, with it, reason escapes.

There have been a few issues so far on the table that have called us to posit and defend our political fortresses. I, being human and Malawian, have failed to hold the peace I had told myself I will hold in the run-up to these elections.

It was an accident, trust me, my commenting on the politics. I had told myself that this year and the election coming after it, I should keep quiet. I had learnt, from 2014, that nobody gets moved by the comments on social media. That, if anything, social media just ruins beneficial friendships as it makes people dig in and stick to their guns. They hear, but never listen. They read, but never understand. What is worse? Our voting trajectory is hardly influenced by the debates and biases on social media.

So, noting the futility of the social media arguments, I decided to step back. To observe from a far. And laugh at the madness.

Then, someday somebody said something I disagreed with. I could have let it go. Let it be swept away by the certainty of time. I wanted to let it go. I had let it go...

...then, I read it again. And again. And, the message was amplified. The misinformation he had made there became huge. I typed a response. I wanted to delete it all. To just forget it. To move in. I pressed on post.

That was it. I was in. Hitting him on his own Post, seeing him try to explain his fallacious reasoning, the likes I kept getting, it was fun. It was exhilarating. It added some value to my life. I was overjoyed.

From there, I went on a hunt. For other Posts. For other political mistruths. For anything I could respond to.

Before I knew it, it became a habit. The vow to self was broken.

But, nothing tangible has been achieved by those engagements. Nobody can say they got moved after reading my Post on something. Those who disagreed with me, they keep on disagreeing. Those who agreed with me, they keep on agreeing.

And, no! It is not about rationality. It is all about other things.