When do Traditions make us evil?

When I watched “Gladiator” starring Russell Crowe, two things stuck in my mind:

  1. Russell Crowe, what an actor!
  2. How this atrocity was allowed?

Ok. The King was consumed with the lust of power and I can get why he revived the tradition.

But how could an entire generation of people support this AND

More importantly, could such similar traditions flourish in present day too???

Romans cheering for Gladiators

Crowd cheering for Gladiators

Was something wrong with the people?

They were builders of Colosseum… and they were common people like us concerned with their day-to-day activities, taking good care of their families, helping their friends, abiding by the laws. Everyone, simply, cannot be humanity-bereft.

If there was nothing with the people, we should have such tradition. Right?

We do have… WWE – Two wrestlers fighting in a fixed match and why not, smash the chair in somebody’s head while I am encouraging you.

Why take something of which we are simply a spectator? Why not something we are a part of? Something we are a lot closer to. Birthdays in hostel. You all must have experienced the thrill of hunting down the birthday boy and showering him with chappals, sandals, kicks, etc… Out of the million ways to make him feel special, we choose the trashing way. Why we are not satisfied and call others? If I were a 3,000 A. D. kid, how inhuman this celebration would seem?

More importantly, why is the birthday boy himself not happy internally unless he is hunted or beaten? (I have been there).

Ragging… or to give it a moral justification PDP (Personality Development). Is there any sense in creating more fear in a guy who is probably first time away from home, having difficulties in new surroundings, no friends? Because you want to prove you are superior? If one argues it opens up, the image of troll “Are you ____ kidding me?” Ask yourself, is this the only or best way? My friend, when he met his tech-daughter, he simply talked to her. Making her comfortable, listening to her, advising her (in the faintest hope of following) and she is quite open to him till date.


So, Why?

Answer lies in the question. We don’t ‘Why?’ Are the answers meted out by society accepted by my standard of logic? Think of it… Sati, caste system, widows are inauspicious…

Man, what we do is less atrocious in nature. I think we are equating two different things…

No one thinks we are ‘evil’. Everyone is righteous in their perspective. This not raising “Why” mindset is capable of creating evil without us recognizing it and even making us perpetuator and propagator. (Devotees becoming rioters…)


We all are logical creatures. Let’s try thinking the logic. Let’s try thinking ‘why’ in traditions. If ‘why’ is valid, bring on. Until that, old traditions will be phased out and new traditions will be established and our future generations will realize how naïve and stupid we have been and similarly they would be stuck in the same obsolete loop.

P. S.: Think about ‘Why’. (If nothing comes up, I will once again highlight a tradition in upcoming posts.)

9 thoughts on “When do Traditions make us evil?

  1. Vinit Kumar Upadhyay

    Values, norms and customs of any society, in temporal or spatial sense, are not so simple to understand. They can be viewed in a variety of ways.

    One way of looking at them posits that they are functional i.e. they help keep a society intact. These values and customs that you bracketed as traditions are representations of collectivity. In this sense, they can be seen as external constraints on Individual. They are sui generis i.e. they existed before an individual was born and will exist after him. Hence, an individual simply accepts them as a given. Changes in traditions do occur but these changes are long drawn process of struggle between pathological (not necessarily undesirable) and normal (not necessarily desirable) elements. And hence, a tradition of past (or, for that matter, tradition of others) will always look pathological to an individual.

    Another ways of looking at them brings a materialistic perspective. Two groups in a society struggle for control over resources. One Group controls resources and another is forced to sell itself to survive. Here traditions are seen as mere designs of the former group. Whether it is consumerism, birthday celebrations or Gladiatorial fights all serve to further the cause of the powerful in one way or other. They act as temporary breather or assuage the ground realities that are harsh.

    Tradition can also be seen as the complex process of assigning meaning to our action. Once we separate our own values – what we consider to be important, valuable and worthwhile – from the phenomenon that we are observing then only we can understand a social practice in space or time.


  2. Umang Agrawala

    “How this atrocity was allowed?” should have been “How was this atrocity allowed?”

    On ragging, it is wrong to look at a situation from a single rudimentary mundane point, the point many a times is not to abase but to teach to stand up and fight and learn by experiencing just a fraction of the very ruthlesness and atrocity which life presents to us hard workers, nevertheless limits must be applied on all things, even good, ragging has both, hence more caution needs to be excercised but banning it altogether has shown us the results… 😉


    1. GG Post author

      Thanks for pointing out…

      Regarding ragging, seriously how many of us take ragging to “teach” our juniors? If teaching can be given as a reason, I can give it to any of the evils prevailing…


  3. Alexis

    Hi GG,

    I’m one of the exceptions. I know you say most people consider them selves righteous, not evil. But I am the opposite. I think the great key to life is understanding our innate evilness – because it’s only then that we recognize our need for righteousness. Righteousness can only be given to us as a gift by Jesus, it cannot be obtained by human effort.

    Yes, I do have that link somewhere. I will hunt it down and give it to you!

    I was curious too, are you blogging out of India? Or do you live elsewhere?


    1. GG Post author

      “Understanding innate evilness” takes courage and what you are doing certainly requires courage.

      Yes, I am blogging from India…


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