Notes on the Propensity to Knee Jerk Reactions

Notes on the Propensity to Knee Jerk Reactions
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By Fayaz Ganie

Man acts and reacts in the world. Acts are those actions which are initiated and completed on their own, without there being a stimulus, and reactions are those acts which are initiated and completed in response of stimuli. Normal actions have normal reactions though they can have abnormal ones as well. Abnormal actions have normal reactions and they too can have abnormal ones. There normally is no abnormal reaction to an abnormal action for the reason that abnormal actions require somewhat different reactions from normal ones and that is normal. As an example, the response of a slap can in most of the cases be one or more slaps. The first slap may be abnormal but the second one(s) is normal, though a different response may yield a better result.
No reaction is also a reaction (the better reaction, at times). Staying silent and saying nothing is a better response than words in many instances. In short, the reactions should be adequate to the demands of causative actions and intended to get optimum out of them. Misplaced and faulty reactions give results which fall in a land which is foreign to the desired one. The success and defeat of an individual and a nation depends upon the action and reactions that are initiated in their paths of growth and development.
Adequate and proper actions should be devised to get the reactions which fulfill the requirements and criteria of the purpose at hand. Reactions at the same time should be in accordance with the objectives of the individual and collective life. Some of the reactions need to be carried forward for only very short time before the desired result is reached and others require sustained and prolonged period of time before purposes are accomplished. If there is a mismatch, the whole purpose of reacting can be lost, and nothing worthwhile can be achieved out of reacting.
In case an action which needs a short reaction is disproportionately sustained for a longer time the entire purpose of reacting is lost and in case a reaction that needs to be sustained for a long time but is there for only a short time, here again the purpose is lost. Most humans lose in life for the simple reason of reacting in an improper, inadequate or disproportionate manner. Had the reactions been in sync with the actions, failures would have been averted.
Humans react and there are only few who fail to react to an action, there in majority of the instances is no deficiency on this account. But, deficiency occurs when people in most of the cases fail to sustain their reactions. They react and feel that by the reacting their responsibility is over and so forget to accomplish the real goal of reacting. These timely but short duration and deficient reactions are called as kneejerk reactions. In case of kneejerk reaction, as already said, a reaction is given for a while and forgotten immediately. Whether the purpose of the reaction has been achieved or not the reaction dies down after some time or after few days.
In the world of today, where everything untoward and unexpected is immediately reported to the world, the world reacts in unison and with power. But, before the authorities concerned take any cognizance of the matter, the power and unity of the people in reacting is lost. To exemplify this , no justice has been provided in the infamous case of infamous Kathua rape murder case. The culprits have still not been punished; with time , some of them might get acquitted, or may be set free after facing some minor punishment, but the peoples’ protest in the case has died down. Nobody today knows what the fate of the case is. It is not only with this case but almost in all such cases, as we have lot of them in India nowadays, the response is on the similar lines. There is a kneejerk reaction and then there is nothing.
The culprits who commit these crimes, in fact, know about this weakness of people, and they know about the collective amnesia of people that sets in immediately after an untoward incident takes place. They take full advantage of this weakness, and this amnesia. They know that they will find one or the other fault in the justice delivery system which they actually do find. About the reactions of the people they know that the reactions will die down and they do die sooner than expected. This is exactly what is happening in the Kathua rape murder case and the same is the story about all the human rights violations.
The kneejerk reactions have made us a hollow society with hollow pride; if pride is hurt, it is protested for some time and if the protests are not bringing the expected results the protests are stopped and the pride given up and another one created instead. Nobody feels any remorse and no one is ashamed about this state of affairs about the behavior of people. The vultures are on the prowl and the guardians are sleeping, if disturbed the latter may wake up for a while and will surely fall asleep again. The vultures prey during the times of sleep only.
Many a time societal honor has been desecrated and we have remained content with showing some signs of protest and nothing else. People beat their chests for a while and then there is no beating and no protests. As for the actual kneejerk reactions , the reaction stops once the pain is relieved but in these kneejerk reactions the reactions die even when the pain is there in its intense severity, some sedatives and all is forgotten.
There is another disturbing trend that has developed Here , the purpose of reacting is not the correction of the evils but something else. It is to show to the world that one is protesting and taking cognizance of an issue or problem. Once it is made explicit to the world that the protest has been made, nothing else is resorted to thereafter. No effort is made to correct the ill and provide justice to the people. In case there is another severe case of injustice another protest is held which faces the same fate.
There is a section of writers in Kashmir who write only when there happens something, and when there is a controversy; otherwise not. It seems that as if they are waiting for these painful things to happen and once such things happen, they gain all the strength, power, passion, zeal and zest to write. Some, it seems, might be praying for the untoward things to happen so that their pens start throwing the ink on the paper and the keys of the keyboards start pressing. The majority of write ups and writings these days are kneejerk reactions only and the real issues of the people are rarely touched by these writers of the modern age.
They write what is in demand and they write what is selling. No matter if the sellable items are brittle and very short lived. When everybody starts writing about the SSA teachers there is hardly anybody who writes about all the other underpaid and exploited employees. They react to the protest of these teachers and never give a thought to the worse off people who are not protesting. Tomorrow, if these underpaid employees start protesting they will start writing about that and forget the SSA teachers altogether if that has not happened already.
Writing if done sincerely is one of the greatest services humanity. It should be done to make the world better. It should be resorted to deal with those issues of importance which seem unimportant to the ordinary. It should present the real interests of the people and the country and not the fake and faulty ones. It should deal with every side and symptom of a malady that a society is beset with. And, it should be carried out to create ideal conditions out of chaos and make the society an example of order, discipline, progress and prosperity.
Writing should not be subservient to the occurrence of untoward incidents; it , rather should be concerned about how all the untoward incidents can be prevented from taking place before they take place. Writing should not be dependent upon the urgent and sellable issued; it rather should give adequate attention to those issues which are not selling anywhere and as they are not selling they remain unattended always like the issues of poverty and poor health and education. And, the vocation of writing should not depend upon the mood of the writer; it should be independent of mood and dependent on the real interests of the people and society.
Kneejerk reactions are no solution and no resolutions. They should be resorted to relieve the immediate and acute pain but also to relieve the long range and chronic pain the kneejerk reaction should be followed by a reaction which is sustained till the pain is completely relieved and the malady gets cured. Administrators, intellectual writers, social activists and governors should adopt this approach of dealing with the problems to solve them and treating the disease(s). The kneejerk reactions should be the beginning of the process of correcting the wrongs and making the world better. Let the world be made better by our actions and reactions.

The author can be reached at: fayaz.greatstep@gmail.com