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The new Epicureans

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The new Epicureans

East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet. That was Rudyard Kipling in his ballad of the East and the West written some time towards the end of the 19century. Times have changed. More than time, society has changed. Obviously, because the century, the millennium, and the milieu, too, have all changed. Globalisation and technology have exposed cultures to such an extent that it is almost a reverse recast. At least the East is no less than the West and rightly so. The West was always the reference group.Particularly, for the whole of the Medieval Era. So looking west-ward was the desire, the direction and the disposition. The craving seems to be doing the trick as social media becomes the new arbiter of societal norms. With the addiction of the young India to the social media threatening to reach alarming proportions situations reflect a new aggressive mood, a new attitude, that is: To hell with the world! Not that it was not there earlier. But that was more as an exception. It is now the rule, the new normal. Narcissism and the resultant couldn’t-care-less attitude are the hallmarks of a whole new generation brought up under parental indifference or nonchalance. This non-interventionist parenting is often reflected in excessive pampering. The result is a bloated ego and a precocious mind due to unbridled freedom and exposure that leads to over indulgent children who mature before they age. They know more than what they should and are curious enough to explore. What follows are experiments with untruth of the libertine young boys and girls. The outcome what was once seen during the 70s at Worli Sea Face of Mumbai at the twilight hour is common sight at public places of small sleepy towns. And why towns. Even moving auto rickshaws exhibit such scenes if there are no passengers and the dusk provides the cover. Film director Subodh Mukherjee had made Love in Tokyo in the late 60s. Had he been around we could well see Love in Tempo. Pleasure principle or hedonism is the new trend as we see the return of the Epicureans. Pure gratification of the sensory is the norm and the cravings have reached alarming levels. Young students, boys and girls alike are guided by epicurean philosophy of eat, drink and make merry. The first casualty is the basic work- their studies. Rather than studying they are posting their status on social media. And only they understand what they want to say, and to whom and for how many. So Don Juan is still around. Relationship is no longer passion. It is fashion. Desperation, too, because if you don’t have somebody you are nobody. So you fall for the first available person. No time to choose. It is all quick. There is no grammar. They propose fast. And often dispose also fast. Shuffling friends is like shuffling cards. The kings, the queens and the jokers keep on exchanging places. But it is not a question of what ought to happen. It is about what is happening. Little wonder, classic literature is being replaced by non-serious stuff in literature courses.These are digital times. Technology has outdated love letters. Dating without waiting is the norm.There are no right or wrong beats. These are just tunes of time. And for the time being the trend is to continue as Epicureanism is on the rise. So stay tuned, stay connected.

The writer is a professor of management and public

Speaker,he can be reached at ppathak.ism@gmail.com

 
 
 

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