“There are two types of people, if you look at history” The psychologist ran his fingers through his beard. How could he comment on history? I looked at him sceptically. He must have caught it, because he asked me:
“Do you think human history follows a different path from human psychology?”
I kept quiet.
“There are people with a formula and people without a formula.”
This was interesting. But I hated talking in riddles. I wanted to ask- ‘what fu###ng formula?’- But I didn’t. Long grey beards were intimidating. Besides he looked like Albus Dumbledore. What if he waved his you-know-what and made me into a rat? I meant wand.
“People with formulas have a formulaic approach to the world’s problems. People without a formula have a pessimistic view of the human condition.”
I waited. Now there was no escape. I hoped my phone would ring.
“You see- people with formulas think they have a perfect solution. Some believe in perfect forced equality and state-controlled economy. People should be happy here. Everyone thinks only about the common good.”
“Others think that books written or revealed or voiced down generations centuries and millennia ago has laid down all the rules. We just need to follow them. The formulaics know in their bones that they are right. So they have to try and propagate it. Why don’t all the others get it? They wonder.” He paused.
“So they fight among themselves, try to convert others, enforce their formulas and generally make a nuisance of themselves? But aren’t there many moderates among them?” I asked.
“Yes. There are moderates. Most are. But the extremists are willing to fight. So only they are seen. The moderates are drowned out.”
“Recent absence of continuous violent war as the only means of doing politics has made new formulas to flourish. Take unbridled capitalism and extreme liberalism as examples. The extreme liberals believe that if we leave people alone, they will behave like sweet angels on their own, without any coercion. History shows that maniacs take over and violent faction fights will inevitably follow.”
“You mean there is no formula?” I was disappointed.
“That is what these pessimistic world-view assholes think. They look at the human animal and see selfishness, variety, ethnocentrism, xenophobia etc in addition to love, fellow feeling, rational thinking and the like. Then they think- there is no solution. Just react according to your conscience and follow the mores of your age. In short, just exist. Or walk in the middle of the road.”
“But then you will get run over!” I exclaimed, distraught. “How depressing!”
“Dodge the vehicles.” He said. “Dodge them all. Dance and dodge them.”
I started to dance. Cars whizzed past, just grazing me. Formulas loomed, skidded and braked. I went dodge, dodge, dodge. An involuntary dance of survival.
“Put the music on.” I shouted. Better make the most of it.