One of the major differences between animals and plants in the macro world is the ability of the animals to move freely compared to the relatively fixed positions of the plants. This deprives them of the opportunity to explore themselves. “That’s how nature works” is a common statement used to explain unreasonable human behavior blaming it on nature’s design. All of us have the ‘animal nature within us’, but is there something that we have inherited from the Kingdom Plantae? Perhaps it is time for us to blame the plants for a chance to explain some of our illogical behavior.
Surveys have shown that the number of arranged marriages in cities is increasing while it follows a declining trend in the villages. This simply disproves the general opinion that city-dwelling people are more open to exploring new avenues in life compared to their village counterparts.
Let’s just contradict the above statement first and define what being ‘open’ means in general. One should know that every day, cities see a massive influx of human population from different areas around them. They come in search of better livelihood and job opportunities. This has lead to people living in ‘clogged up’ slums and sky-touching skyscrapers.
This means that everyone is forced to live together regardless of their age, gender, caste, and whatnot. We humans can’t stay gregarious no matter what. We tend to socialize and hence we also learn to compromise and accept our situation and try to make the most out of it. We open up to our fellow human beings who can be our flatmate, his father, or even his kids. This is when barriers are broken and people become ‘open’ to new kinds of friendships, relations, ideas, etc and it leads to more acceptance in general. That’s why people in the cities are known to be more open than those living in the countrysides.
This also means that we can’t brand someone as being orthodox or conservative just because they want to lead their life according to what’s prescribed in their religion or custom. Also, religion was created to survive as a group- meaning you can’t survive without it. The same can be said about other customs and cultural practices as well. As established already, humans are social animals and no one wants to be separated from the group.
This separation that we are talking about here refers to freedom, free will, and anything that lets someone do what they want to do. Naturally, any type of grouping will help us grow together and at the same time, one can’t deny the fact that they restrict individual development and innovation. Religions are nothing but modern-day ideologies like socialism (not so modern after all). These economic and political ideologies get rejected by people soon, while the religious practices and beliefs, on the other hand, take their time before becoming obsolete.
This is because ideas like socialism are put to everyday use to improve our lives while those of religions do not have any relevance except for the fact that we all follow them just to feel accepted among our friends and family. It’s like using a car. You use it daily for an actual purpose and you can decide it’s relevance within a month or two, but the same can’t be said about a motivational picture that hangs on your wall. It is going to be there forever creating a placebo effect that makes you believe that its still relevant to your life.
Friends and family form our emotional environment and being emotional beings, humans can’t survive outside this designated ’emotional biosphere’, just like the plants. No matter how big they grow, no matter how strong they become, then don’t survive once they are off the soil. Similarly, it doesn’t matter how ‘open’ and ‘liberal’ one is, when it comes to decisions on life, going by the traditions is always considered to be safe.
A banyan tree with its prop roots spreads across a huge area making it difficult for us to find the base root, but it can’t cover the entire earth as not all conditions allow for its growth. This is analogous to someone who has lived in cities for generations but gets married within their religion or caste.
People who strive hard to advance in their careers often tend to avoid risks. In a country like India, going against the norms of the tradition is usually taken with a grain of salt and in many cases, it may lead to the jeopardization of one’s career. Hence, people decide to simply follow the traditional practices and thereby sustaining the cycle and inspiring the next generations to do so too. Therefore being not so ‘open’ is a common thing among the educated classes of the society as well. This here is my black swan to the ‘All swans are white’ statement.
These are not so different from the constitutions that are drafted by the present-day nations. They are seen as sacred documents that tell us how to live as a citizen of a particular country. None of us question its authority. We follow them even if it demands certain sacrifices from us. The same happened with the religious texts in the olden days. But the major difference between a holy book of religion and the constitution of a country is that the constitution is a living document.
We have the power and the authority to update it so that it stays relevant forever. Therefore even after a hundred years from now, we will still question the provisions of the constitution but not its authority as a whole. This may lead us to a future where there will be more atheists compared to a meager anarchist population which in turn might lead to the beginning of the end of religion, and other cultural practices in general. So it is safe to say that human beings are a kind of plants too that can never break away from the shackles of the soil.