Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why so much correctness?

This post is inspired by Anirudh's comment on my last post. He said that the question I had asked was very difficult to answer.

Le me stray aside a little bit. When I came to IIT, I was quite a naive fellow. I still am, I don't deny that, but even the dumbest manage to pick up some wisdom. The thing I learnt over here was something that people called political correctness. Now, people may choose to define political correctness in the way they like, however, the consequesnce that it had for my life was this. I have never again been able to speak even one sentence without a long list of expanations.

Let me take a simple statement like - "IIT is a good college.". As soon as I make the horrible mistake of saying those harmless words, my intelligent audience (someone like Anirudh) would immediately interject - "That depends on what you mean by good.".

Of course I know that. I am well aware that good is a subjetive term and its very difficult to define it. That is why we don't define it. We go on using it in our everyday parlance and never define it. But as soon as I start talking to these so called "intellectuals" I have to define it. They wouldn't let me live without it!

The point I wish to make here is not that what these people demand is unreasonable or illogical. Quite the contrary. However, have we ever paid attention to the fact that how cryptic and tedious conversations become when you have to explain each and every statement you make. It becomes downright boring.

I long for those good old days when you could be biased without fear. You did not have to carry the burden of being "politically correct". After all, can you ever be that. I don't think so. You can only try and you'll probably fail miserably because everyone is inherently biased. That is the nature of human consciousness. And besides, being unbiased all the time is also a bias in itself.

Getting back to Ani's comment. I wish someone would have given some answer to my questions, even if a biased one. It's lot more fun to hold opinions, have debates, try to justify them, modify them, test them rather that just shrugging and saying - I don't know . . . It's very hard to say . . .

I've used too many italicised words in this posting. This normally means that the posting was not well written and the writer had to resort to visual cues to emphasize his point.

Update January 20, 2010: It is so embarrassing to read posts from the past. This was written almost 5 years ago! Note the pretentious language: "I was quite a naive fellow", really? But it is interesting to see my first tryst with political correctness. And to note to what degree I have internalized it now. It does take a long time for your views to change.


  1. Your link should take people to my comment but it takes them to my blog. Which isn't bad, of course. :)

  2. I agree. A biased or politically incorrect opinion isn't wrong. When a person asks you to define something, however, he's probably trying to understand what you're saying, better. "IIT is a good college". Sure it is. But in what way, in which sphere?

  3. But I agree, sometimes one should throw logic to the dogs and just talk.

  4. Yes, what I was trying to say was that after a while you just begin doing it out of sheer habit. Sometimes people do it just to show their erudite. I have no real problems with either of them other than that it seriously hampers smooth conversation.