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Think for Yourself
by Shernaz Wadia

“Don’t make tragedies of trifles, Don’t shoot butterflies with rifles”.

Can you imagine someone running after a butterfly with a rifle in his hands? Won’t such stupidity make you burst out laughing? But wait. Stop and consider how often you might have done something similar.

Many of us are like the fabled hen, Henny-Penny. She lived in a forest with many other animals and birds. But she excelled in making tragedies of trifles!! One fine, sunny morning, she was busy scratching the ground for worms and grubs. Suddenly she let out a frightened cackle and scampered, wings flapping in fear. A dry leaf had fluttered down on her, but she went squawking at whoever she met, “Run, run for your lives, the sky is falling.” The other birds and animals left off whatever they were doing. Some ran helter-skelter behind Henny-Penny, shrieking warnings with her, while others scattered in different directions spreading the unfounded story that the sky was falling.

We have all come across people like this hen. They turn a flimsy rebuff into an unpardonable, punishable affront; a dog barks and they raise a hue and cry as if bitten by it; a classmate may pull a harmless prank on them but they and their parents will try to bring the school down in retaliation. Two sneezes and they drive the family frantic with their moans and groans. In such minds, a strong wind takes on the dimensions of a tornado and sadly they react as if to a twister.
The rest of us are like the other foolish creatures who did not stop to verify the truth for themselves. We make ourselves gullible to rumors and conmen. It is little wonder that people not only flock to see idols drinking milk, they also pick up weapons and stones at the drop of a hat. They shoot butterflies with rifles. They just will not think for themselves. They shelve commonsense somewhere in the attic of their minds and allow predatory spiders to weave their webs in them. Unfortunately, many don’t clean those mental cobwebs forever and a day.

Why don’t people think for themselves? Often because of mental apathy as also because they do not want to be responsible for their way of thinking, the ensuing behavior and the consequences of their actions. It is always so easy to blame it on elders, ‘them’, scriptures, politicians and everybody else. Are you amongst those who abdicate good sense to people ever eager to capture the minds of others? Don’t let your mind be enslaved by someone else. Stop, Think, Ascertain and then go ahead. Let these be the signals that direct you at every crossroad of life.

Walking through life with the mind relinquished is more dangerous than crossing a busy road with eyes closed. That does not mean we follow another extreme and rebel at every turn in our lives. Our thoughts should lead us to speak and act in ways conducive to our own good and that of the society at large. They should lead us towards the light of wisdom and sense, not away from it into darkness. Our thinking should be high, raising us to the ranks of the sensible. Let us not follow blindly the trends of fashion, life-styles, ideologies or precepts. We have been blessed with reasoning, discerning, sensitive minds. Let us make use of these faculties and be the masters of our own minds.   

Image under license with Gettyimages.com

19-Nov-2006
 
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