We all lean… towards opinions, thoughts, doctrines, and dogmas. This is the easiest thing to do. To ‘unlean’ means you may have to go through the torture of unlearning. To unlearn is to embrace a change in actions and stances that may not then remain an activity that prances about in the world of thoughts and discussions only. This is real hard work. We shun hard work. Therefore, we lean.

To lean is what we have learnt through generations.

Now the important question that my friend Sadhana Kala posed on Facebook today is: Amidst the throng of Left-leaning and Right-leaning intellectuals, we seek the Un-leaning intellectual. But were we to stumble on one such, how shall we know?

The important thing is whether this ‘un-leaning intellectual’, if one does exist, has a voice powerful enough to be heard above the din of ‘leaning’ voices… and once this voice is heard, will it emerge reasonable and worthy of attention. The paradox here, however, is that every new and powerful voice does finally tend to create a new tribe of ‘leaning’ individuals who get busy transforming themselves into intellectuals with a new perspective that. One of the corollaries obvious here is that in the sort of socio-political environment that we exist in, the left-leaning and the right-leaning concepts are merely broad indicators marking this horizon and will have the left-left or the left-right or the left-left-right or the left-left-left intellectuals adding to the din of all the options that have been created throughout the ages. I’m sure you get the drift.

It appears, therefore, that we have no choice but to go either left or to the right wing of mind-sets. ‘The only other options are to go upwards or to sink lower in the world of thoughts,’ said Specky with a smile. I said, ‘These worlds are best left for after-life, if there is one.’ However, I said to myself, the truth is that the other two directions aren’t only for the after-life and are not talking of just the world of diabolic Lucifer and demonic Satan on one side and the world of Gods and Goddesses on the other extreme. These two directions exist here in this life and so when one talks of a low-leaning, one is possibly hinting at the philosophies that support what we call corrupt practices but serve us a cushy life. So the high-leaning and low-leaning is when life is predominantly all about morals and ethics. When I told of this to Specky, she asked, ‘But isn’t it possible to have a high-left-leaning or a low-right leaning?’ Well, she isn’t one who misses out the juicy part in any discussion, I thought.

The new-age intellectual then either leans or does not lean. He is either content to go about following a direction that is already path-ready or decides to unlearn all this and look for a direction combo where no path is yet visible. It is as if each of us stands inside a circle of alternatives and has the ability or the choice to plot one’s own path towards the circumference.

‘This path need not be one straight line to the circumference,’ I said, ‘we have the choice to go zig-zag and take circuitous routes that explore the lore of each leaning and then finally reach the circumference beyond which everything is probably the same for everyone.

The truth then is that we are all un-leaning in our own special way… because we are all bumbling through the criss-cross mesh that life is all about, charting our own custom-made path out of it. So my friend Sadhana Kala needs to just look into the mirror and see the un-leaning intellectual standing right there.


Sadhana Kala_FB


Arvind Passey
24 June 2014