This is the Problem With Good Intentions and Radical Ideas

Illustration image by despardes.com

Farrukh K. Pitafi at The Express Tribune: Absolutely Anything is a 2015 science fiction fantasy comedy film in which all living members of the Monty Python crew and Robin Williams provided voices of the non-human characters. It stars Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale and Sanjeev Bhaskar, among many others. The story goes like this. A bunch of all-powerful but eccentric aliens endow a disillusioned high school teacher called Neil (Pegg) with the powers to do absolutely anything. He is kept ignorant of the fact that it is a test to prove that the earth deserves to be destroyed.

What follows is eighty-five minutes of quirky humour. But at one point, Neil realises that with these powers, he can solve every problem in the world. So he wants global warming to be reversed, everybody to get as much food as they want, and everyone to live in their dream home. But the best one is to let there be no reason for anyone to make war on anyone anymore. What do you think it results in? A utopia? Not quite. Obesity becomes a global problem. As homelessness becomes a thing of the past, the last undeveloped part of the Sahara desert is converted into a gated community. The reversal in global warming results in an ice age. And countries wage wars for no reason whatsoever. What is the moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for.

This is the problem with good intentions and radical ideas. By having unintended consequences, they can often pave the way to hell. While brave new ideas can have issues of their own, humanity’s inability to grasp the comprehensive reality, including the fallout of its actions, has proven to be its Achilles heel. While it makes reality a blind man’s elephant, even the best of ideas, over time, have the ability to first metamorphose into ideologies and then into dogmas. You can see what we have done to the ideas like socialism, communism and libertarianism. Remember this. Even Manusmriti, the book blamed for casteism in India and burnt by Babasaheb Ambedkar, must have its uses in its time.

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