Systemic change is the need of the hour

Only Systemic Change in our body-mind systems can help us survive as individuals and as a nation, says Minnu Bhonsle

The Youth

Current Scenario
The hedonistic, ‘eat, drink and be merry’ lifestyle of the youth, or ‘this is not my problem’ attitude, which has overtaken our cell-phone-wielding youth, is more evidence of the ‘comfort-zone culture’ that needs to be changed, when we talk of a ‘systemic change’.

A hedonistic lifestyle is where one chooses to avoid any form of physical or psychological discomfort or inconvenience in the short-term, and because of that cuts oneself from a desirable outcome or a long-range goal, and possibly reduces the quantity and quality of life. The personal philosophy of most of our youth states, ‘I absolutely should not have to do anything that is unpleasant or uncomfortable now, and I’d rather maintain the status quo than risk discomfort now’, as well as ‘I want to solve my problem, as long as I do not have to change anything about myself’ and ‘I should not have to think about my well-being; others should do that for me’. Such a philosophy keeps people from attaining their own goals of survival. The truth is that the rigid and inflexible insistence of short-term comfort often leads to long-term discomfort. There are always far-reaching consequences to the choices we make to ensure immediate comfort.

Today I see the youth being rudely woken up from their comfortable slumber, seeing the mayhem around them and in their lives, in their half-woken state. Far from their own conveniences and comforts, they are finding the responsibility of comforting others, being thrust on them. This new role of ‘thinking’ about their own well-being, and that of others, is alien to them. As they are being compelled to give up their ‘spoilt-brat’ status and learn quickly ‘how to survive’, they are being weaned out of their infantile comfort zones.

Some of them are simply anxiously hoping, and doing some ‘wishful thinking’ that they will be woken up from this nightmare, and all will be well again.
Some are angry with being woken up, and want to get back at those who took away their ‘comfort zones’.
Then there are others who are truly concerned, with the ‘reality’ sinking in.

The ‘wishful thinkers’ will be the hardest hit over a period of time if they do not fully wake-up to reality, because they would not have learned ‘survival’ skills during this critical period, and life will remind them ever so often that it is realism and not optimism, that aids survival. Those who slip back into ‘comfort zones’ and humour their emotional and physical laziness under the garb of ‘the spirit of Mumbai’ bouncing back, will remain infantile and vulnerable.

The angry ones, will lash out at anyone and everyone, making immature, unrealistic and unsustainable statements like ‘carpet bomb the terror camps’, ‘let’s attack the enemy’, ‘let the army rule the country’, and ‘rid the country of politicians’, ‘don’t pay taxes’ etc. They are the ones who are most susceptible to the right-wing groups in our country and those vested political interests who use the rage of the youth to fulfil their own political agendas. The angry youth falls right into their trap, much like the young terrorists [who fell into the hands of extremist organizations] they are proclaiming to fight against.
The concerned few, who realise that self-effort and maturity is the only way, will undergo the experience of short-term discomfort to learn ‘survival’ skills.

Systemic Change scenario
We need this concerned section of the youth to be ready to delay gratification at times and be emotionally intelligent. We need them to be the ones who will become the ‘alert citizens’ of tomorrow, who will arm themselves with their cellphones as a weapon to immediately report anything suspicious, who will be the alert human intelligence on the ground to avert potential terror strikes, who will create citizens groups and work in tandem with the law enforcement agencies, who will form crisis management groups to disseminate vital information quickly on the ground at a local level as well as through their social networking websites and mobile phones, so that any law and order situation can be averted. We need the youth to be more sensitised, to helping not only themselves survive, but also enabling others to do the same. They will hopefully be the truly unifying force which promotes brotherhood and goodwill between different communities and religions, because they are smart and concerned enough to know that if they divide themselves, they will be ruled by the terrorists inside and outside our country. We need a youth therefore, that believes in ‘being their best before they expect the best’.

Minnu Bhonsle
Dr Minnu R Bhonsle, PhD, is a Mumbai-based consulting psychotherapist and counsellor. She conducts training programmes in Personal Counselling [Client-centred Therapy] and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, and also workshops in Stress Management, Art of Listening, Couple Therapy, and Communication Skills. Minnu has co-authored the book, The Ultimate Sex Education Guide along with Dr Rajan Bhonsle.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here