“Entitlement”, a voice within our minds, demanding special treatment, is within everyone of us. It is often judged as source of all evil as it leads us to acts of discrimination and voilance. However at it’s core, this voice is a stand against the indifferent universe we live in. It is a temper tantrum against universal parent demanding special treatment. It is a cry for certainty of survival. If the feeling of “Entitlement” binds with the right level of identity, it can be very useful for evolution of human species. This is a letter to feeling of “Entitlement” to consider just that.
I have been hearing from you a lot lately. From individuals and from groups, your voice has gotten stronger these days. May be you have become bolder now as the elected government leader is a flesh and body incarnation of “entitlement” in many aspects of his life and personality. You think his victory is your victory and you are no longer a hushed up voice.
However, Entitlement, this is not the first time you are coming out of the corners of human pscyche. I have seen you many times in history and not just history of a particular nation but everywhere in human history, starting ages back.
You apeal to everyone, Entitlement. You stirr up people like anything. I know you. When you speak in me or through me, I know how it feels. It feels like I am being assertive to the fullest, justified and powerful.
Your voice says
“I am entitled for special treatment because I am superior as I am ___________.”
The blank can be filled in with an instance of race, sex, sexual orientation, caste, education status, or religion.
You give me power to assert my specialness in the world, to demand previliledge. You help me justify my hate, my cruel, discriminatory actions, which without you, my compassion would not allow me to do.
You create a hell of a trouble for the other group which is target of your hate. But you cheat me, Entitlement, as you work for the other group with equal passion. You can create wars if you get your way. And of course, regardless of which side looses the war, you still win.
Entitlement, you are one interesting voice, if need be, you can change your tone from victor to victim and still insist on getting special treatment.
Your voice says
“I am entitled for a special treatment because I have been wronged as I am ______________”.
The blank again can be filled with race, sex, sexual orientation, caste, education status, or religion.
In this tone Entitlement, you give me power to fight injustice but sometimes I can use you to get benifits without having to do the necessary work on my part. You are one great responsibility avoidance voice.
You are a tricky voice Entitlement but regardless of tone you choose, I know what you are really asserting against.
You are asserting against this indifferent universe. This universe has no guarantees, no certainties. Anything can happen anytime. You may have been the poster child of healthy living but you may get cancer. You may have worked hard but someone else can take the reward. A famine, war can wipe out years worth of work. Past performance of your self, family or race does not have any guarantees for future. You hate this universal indifference, you want a fixed and certain outcome for future, you want to rig the universal game in your favor.
But you are asserting against a power much beyond human capacity and comprehension. Regardless of whether you and I like it or not, the rules of the universal game are set. Whether you think you are entitled because you are superior or entitled because you have been wronged, there is no way out of being alert and working our ways through undesirable circumstances.
A lion may be the king of the jungle, the top most predator but the lion is required to put in the work of hunting. The prey does not come and die in front to the lion saying “Your majesty, you are entitled to my meat.” No, Lion needs to work to survive. Similarly, a tree broken by a stampede, starts growing back up without demanding special assistance from the jungle.
We humans don’t like this law of nature and we think we can do better. That is why we have created elaborate societies where we can protect our efforts, our innocents and enforce our ideas of justice. And that is all good. But, Entitlement, you sneak up to rig the human society in such a way that you get what you always wanted : Guarenteed benifits without work. Benifits for who you are and not for how you contribute. You Entitlement, create classes, castes within society and work hard to preserve them and to get special reservations. And within the confines of human society, you sometimes succeed, you get what you want even if it means oppressing other fellow humans. But it does not last long, even if you wipe out one group, another takes it’s place or the original group splits in two. You stay in endless assertion and fight, Entitlement.
Because deep down you know, that the human society is still under universal rule. This universe can be like a child, working hard for hours to create an elaborate house of cards, only to blow it down in an instant and clap in glee. The universe can wipe out entire societies and species in an instant. Your cleverly designed human societies offer no true long term protection.
This makes you very mad deep down and you put up quite a show of assertiveness. Your rallies, your demonstrations are a big tantrum thrown against the universal parent. No matter what your chants are, what you want the universe to hear is this, “I matter. My life matters. I matter as I am. I matter without requiring to do anything. Why are you not giving me my special goody? My right to thrive in this world. My certainty of survival. Give it to me. I demand it.”
I am not against you Entitlement, I feel your need for survival certainty in this world; however this universe is not going budge with such display of assertive entitlement. What is worse is that it will create equal and opposite force which ironically will make our destruction a certainty.
I have a counter proposal for you. How about you work for a bigger “I”. What if you identify with humanity instead of sub group of humanity.
See, when you identify at that level, the voice of entitlement becomes bigger and says
“We, humans are entitled for high quality life experiences because we are the most evolved life form on the planet earth. Each one of us in entitled to make a good living, to contribute and be taken care of when disaster strikes. Every human child is entitled to get food, education and safe environment to grow. Human race is entitled and destined to grow and become keepers of this beautiful planet and all the life forms that inhibit it. Because every life matters.”
Entitlement, if this becomes your voice, you will have the highest chance of getting what you want: Certainty of continued survival! Because if you fire us up this way, we have all the technology, resources and means to realize such society. And no, this is no longer a ideal vision for future, it is the only vision for future left because trying to work for any other possibility is going to end up in destruction of all of us, very certainly. The universe will move on to other species on other planets, calling experiment with humanity “done”.
I hope you consider this. Thank you for listening!