Tag Archives: caste system

Losing your free will to your beliefs

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Textbook brain

Old patterns in our working brains could use rewiring from time to time. A decade ago, pop science asked if we were left brained or right brained. Now that question has been tweaked to: is your brain conservative or liberal? Conservative ideas are connected to strong emotions and spring from deep inside the brain from the region of the amygdala. While in liberal brains, parts of the anterior cingulate cortex light up, as these areas are involved in reasoning out conflicted issues. It could be that such partitioning will always be imperfect like everything else in life. We could be conservative about some things and liberal about others.

Often I come across readers and commenters indignant when newer analyses or younger readers find older, beloved works of literature or art to be racist or sexist. The year-end Christmas special of Sherlock Holmes: The Abominable Bride was trying to make up for the original, which had mostly minor submissive female characters dedicated to the male universe of Sherlock Holmes. As a young child, I would curl up with Conan Doyle’s stories with nary a consciousness that my gender was being excluded in some way. With dawning adulthood, I realised my existence had been circumscribed by way of gender, and that I could never be a Holmes or a Watson without upsetting or upending the world in which I lived. My society had chosen for me the limited role of Mrs Hudson.

Continue reading Losing your free will to your beliefs

White by another name is fair

We like to cover up, both literally and figuratively. Out on the chaotic Indian roads, otherwise emancipated scooter-riding young girls mask their faces, necks and wear elbow-length gloves. They prevaricate, blame pollution for their protective gear. Melanin, however, is the unstated enemy. Girls reach a certain marriageable age and the sun becomes anathema. We have a euphemism for the desire to be white. It is normalised as a striving to be ‘fair’ or light-skinned. Continue reading White by another name is fair