Freedom of Expression


I have been able to write on almost any topic on this blog, and it gives me a “feeling of power” or the power to express my thoughts freely every week. Of course, I have to tread carefully when it comes to issues of race, religion, gender, or colour as people get inflamed on thoughts which could be considered as slanderous or defaming. In private conversations and freely circulated jokes, such issues come up often and get discussed. However, in a public media like the internet, writers have to exercise caution as internet’s reach is bigger and faster than print media.

Though my blog is not famous (I don’t want it to be), it is critical to edit what I write before I press the “Publish” button – it is only natural that when things flow freely from your head to the laptop, it is possible to make mistakes – these could be genuine, but then it could cause unintended consequences.

So, I have always been careful, despite being asked by some of my friends to take an assertive pose on worldly topics which matter. While I am proud of my blog and the time I am able to devote every weekend to enriching it, I also realize the critical importance of the written word. So, I do manage my “thinking” and edit my writing carefully.

This does not mean that I wouldn’t express thoughts on matters or topics which I feel strongly about. For instance, I wrote about the growing intolerance in Indian society recently, though several friends of mine did not agree with me. But then, on almost any topic, there are more than two sides of the coin in terms of positions that people can take on.

What is important ? It is the ability and competency to think through the issues and express one’s thoughts with clarity of communications, and then be able to defend the same when challenged. I do not always deliver on the defense very well, and sometimes see the flaws in my arguments, and then concur with the challenger who won the duel with me. That eventuality does not weaken me, it only strengthens me.

However, I also see folks who would not adjust their positions and have blind allegiance to a certain viewpoint. May be they have views stronger than mine, or may be they have more solid convictions than I do. But, because they are blind-sided with their passion to a particular point of view, they shield themselves from contradictory inputs. Then we end up with a real challenge as my “thoughts” make me unwelcome (not my actions). There is an expectation that if my thoughts are “socialistic” in nature, I will practice my life as a socialist, and this is not true (at least in my case). I want to think about issues, express my views and preferences, challenge others’ opinions, but may physically and socially be constrained from adopting or practicing my “thought” way of life. It is only a logical position that I take on a topical matter, it is not something that I will go out and do.

Governments in the past have associated thoughts with potential actions that can be expected, and people do the same. However, it is critical to distinguish the ability to think and the ability to execute. Thinking in itself is not a crime. But then thinkers assume powers in later parts of their lives, and have suffered early in lives because of the radicalism in their thoughts. Many scientific theories have developed over the past few centuries because of the ability of thinkers to think through and perform research to justify their thoughts. This fact is easily forgotten.

So, in conclusion, I would just like to say that “freedom of thought and expression” is the most crucial human trait which continues to progress the humankind and this world. If it is curtailed because certain people or governments do not like the thinking process, then that would lead humanity into degeneration. There are many thinkers who have been bashed up just for their thoughts over the centuries. The 21st Century can no longer afford to do that.

Let us THINK.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

7th November 2015

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One comment

  1. kousuja

    Your context of the write-up arouses visceral feelings – as it is about thinking, expression and reception. I personally subscribe that thoughts, expressed or otherwise, gravitate into energy, connecting with the world and very reversibly travel back to the source. To precipitate your point, when thoughts are allowed to be engaged in a mutual beneficial conversation, they eliminate nihilistic views to make it eclectic for one and all. I concur that condescension type of thinking should be avoided. Great read, thanks for sharing.

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