Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reversal of Roles

Sometimes you just wonder, why our parents always do their best to make things pure and simple, and to portray the world as a this really nice place - full of joy and happiness. But only for us to realize, as we grow, that things are far from simple. Yes, I never quite understood why? Until not long ago, I still held onto the notion that I'll be a lot better off if they had just unveil to me life's realities at a much earlier age.

But now I understand.

As most of you know, my brother Greg just entered junior college and he is taking up this new subject called Knowledge Enquiry - it is almost akin to a introductory philosophy course in College. Anyways, he is sorta finding the subject tough to cope with, because the course introduces several abstract concepts that require lotsa brain work and the most dreaded part of being a student of humanities - reading. So Greg, knowing that I'm pretty into Philo asked me a few questions about some thinkers he needed to read up for his class.

First, he asked about Hegal and his dialectics, along with why is it so significant in our understanding of current events.

So I did explain to him about thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis and how eventually culminates in the end of history.

But then, the next part of the question was hard to answer, not because I did not know the answer, but I did not know how I should put across the answer in such a way I would not confuse my little brother. I wanted to tell him how Hegal's ideas formed the basis for Imperialism, Colonialism, Cold War Theory, Bush Doctrine, Manichean World View. But I just felt disturbed having to educate my brother on how the world is so artfully complicated and yes fucked up. Yes, I was suffering from major dissonance, because here was a kid I taught time tables and Alphabets, now I'm telling him that more than a hundred million people died because of this framework many of our fellow men had choose to blindly adopt and adhere to.

So, without thinking much, I watered down my explanation to the extend I sounded convoluted, not just to keep things simple, but to be able to answer to my conscience. But, alas, like how I somehow always knew there was something more than meets the eye when mum goes around in circles rationalizing a bad situation, my brother perceived the self-imposed censorship I slapped on myself.

He smiled, and he asked me, good v bad, them and us, just like how they justified the invasion of Iraq.

I was awe-struck, but I should have known. Because just as my mum had tried dancing around the real spot of trouble she was in years ago, so was I today. But she did, and I did it, because as she loved me, and I as I was concerned that I would crush that perfect world I pre-supposed my brother still believed in. But I also should have known, that like me, he also knew that things were far from simple, and that the idle world which we all once possessed, had long passed into memory.


Anonymous Jenn said...

is poetic

i like how while you're talking about your brother, you're actually revealing yourself

Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 2:53:00 PM PDT  

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