11 November 2007

Letting Off Steam

I would wish to believe that an awful completely forgettable week, certain disturbing patterns of behaviour and a broken foot are excuses enough to allow for a mini-rant. I'm pretty sure this would seem to be terribly uninteresting (if at all coherent) reading. I am usually against blogs which end up resembling personal diaries/ letters to Agony Aunt, etc. But things have bothered me enough now and I need this to get them out of my system. What makes a doctor believe he has the right to lecture a patient in with a broken foot about sabhyata or Indian culture simply because they prefer to hop across to their office on their own? 'Self-help' apparently is a western concept (or so I was told). Our (making the usual 'us' versus 'them' division and making the grand assumption that I'm ready and willing to be included in any such collective identity) sanskriti teaches us to help others, and consequently taking help from others as well. The above, as far as I can see, is especially important for a young woman to understand in order to be cultured.** And, of course, a concept such as 'self help' is western (and synonymously a corrupting influence). For wouldn't it go against, for instance, the traditional conservative rhetoric behind helping pati-parmeshwar and letting him accept help? Wouldn't 'self help' actually then imply that women are not denied a sense of 'self' to begin with, which traditional roles of housekeeper, sati savitri seek to efface? What also gives people the right to discredit someone on the basis of their subject of interest? (Something incidentally which this particular doctor seemed to do. Missing classes is apparently not that big a deal if one doesn't happen to be a 'sciencie'.) Why must Humanities be considered inferior to the Sciences? Why must Art and Philosophy be so sidelined? Why must being a good student in school always imply potential for becoming a good engineer or doctor?

Perhaps so that doctors can make regressive statements on culture and such like? Or perhaps it benifits power structures and power hierarchies? Maybe if there are more doctors, engineers, software professionals, technicians, management consultants than thinkers, artisits, writers, philosophers, then the nature and existence of such structures os not contemplated, which perhaps implicitly perpetuates such structures? Artists and thinkers then are more important - not because they help build the world, like engineers do - but because they help explain what sort of world is being built. ___________________________________________ ** For the record, some bacteria are more cultured than I may ever be. I happen to be awfully proud of that fact.


Mike said...

"Wouldn't 'self help' actually then imply that women are not denied a sense of 'self' to begin with, which traditional roles of housekeeper, sati savitri seek to efface?"

An amazing insight--proof that you're right, that artists, writers, philosophers can see and do such important things that engineers, consultants, and some particular stupid doctors, who seem like they make inane paternalistic judgements while sitting on their asses all day, never could... Thank you for it. Hope you feel better!

Jacob Russell said...

I look forward to seeing your posts in the future. A wonderfully independent, questioning mind.

metaphysicallycomplicit said...

@ Mike: I'm glad you agree. I'm not trying to stereotype, but the most regressive, conservative statements seem to originate from doctors and scientists. Not amusing!
Am feeling much better. (The rants help.) Thanks.

@ Jacob: Thanks ever so much. Encouragement always helps.

Aishwarya said...

Why did I not know you blogged?

metaphysicallycomplicit said...

Er. It's a recent enterprise. (As I'm sure you can see.) I didn't go around advertising it. To anyone. So.