The Tarzan’s Theory of Relativity

A short monologue on relativity to explain that sometimes the best practices are not the best and what is best is just the comparatively best though the best is to immerse ourselves in what we do and what we believe in, even better it is, if we can afford to be judicious 

What is the best thing to do in our life?

Maybe the question would evoke an idea of vacation and what we would love to do in an exotic location but if we re-listen, the question is as vague as the equations of Albert Einstein are to a mathematically-challenged person like me.

It has been posed to highlight that there is nothing in this world that is the ‘best’ or the ‘most’—especially when we are considering human beings and human societies. For instance, what is the best political ideology? Just as the first question in the beginning, this one is also not only unclear but meaningless as well.  

I have come to this realisation after meeting several confident people, who really seem to know the best form of government, the best ideal of a life, the best approach to make a financial investment, the best way to do the best and so on. Good for them but there is no specific formula to choose that government, neither a measurement tool to determine the idealistic qualities of life, a rule to pin down the investment programme, the ways of going about in life and so on. In the end it’s merely relativity that makes us what we think of.

Besides, if we talk about life, many of us would attribute some meaning—not necessarily consisting of anything absolutely best or logical—and out of that attribution we form an idea about the purpose of living, which is only ‘relatively’ the most practical and not even the most meaningful. It’s contextually related but let’s leave Kierkegaard’s levelling for some other day.

The subjectivity becomes more nuanced when a person of authority tries to impose his/her belief system. Of course, there are exceptions else how can we talk about a rule? For instance, when we are seeking to achieve an organisational objective, a few elements like experience and best practices will count but it is not definite in essence, albeit it might be for a particular goal of the organisation. However, forget about management wisdoms, even scientific laws are not robot-proof.

best practice    a set of guidelines, ethics or ideas that represent the most efficient or prudent course of action (Investopedia)

On some occasions such an approach of finding relativities can be reduced to as jumping to conclusions, or JTCs, particularly when we don’t explain it or have insufficient idea to express it or simply we have just been reading too much Camus or watching too much Beckett. In a similar way, that person of authority’s imposition, howsoever with logic and command, can be considered to be a protracted JTC as we know there can be multiple routes to the projected destination, some overlapping and others completely divergent from each other.

Come over to my hometown. The United Friendship Organisation, which is endorsing a sort of Meitei/Meetei cultural revolution, is of the view it shares the same destination as that of the armed rebels, but that only their approaches, like its emphasis on Meitei religion and non-violent ways, are diagonally different. Both of them have already put forward two ideas and a third group of people, and quite contrary to them, never believe that Manipur would regain its sovereignty—or rather believe that we are better off with the existing political establishment.

Still more, there are also a fourth group, the fence-sitters known by their nickname of a political dumbfuck, who join in the fray—joined in, because they are also human beings and we are talking about human affairs here—though many of them would say they hate politics. So, from and amongst these first four groups that come to my mind, I stand by my word that there is no one that is on the highest level.

The group that will come to power or become an authority is not the ‘highest’ or ‘truest’ but the one who has used deception and aggression wisely in terms of realpolitik. Alternatively, if you have the Leon Trotskys, then there is an equal number of Edmund Burkes; and similarly if you have the Than Shwes, then there is an equal number of Aung San Suu Kyis. 

From another perspective, you might be Okram Ibobi but you cannot make me believe that the Congress party is the best political organisation even if it is articulated well from all the factors, like its record number of years as the ruling government, its role in getting back the sovereignty from the British Raj, its loyal member like the late RK Joichandra’s contribution in our assembly constituency and beyond or whatsoever.

Nevertheless, there is a difference in believing with your heart and in being a fanatic. I should also admit that this whole issue about the paucity of the best and the rest could not be the truest thing; though in the same breath, it is will be a return journey to focussing on our interest and conviction that shape our world views. The more you know your surroundings, the better it is for you and everybody.

PS: The concept of ‘best practice’, which develops in the West, has been made concrete by its machines and assembly lines in which the parts and processes can be measured in Planck units. However, in a conflict zone like my hometown, where it takes a day to travel a 200-km highway, it is a totally different world of measurement.  



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