A few of the things I have learnt from teaching for a lifetime:
People are overwhelmingly silly, too silly even to know what is good for them.
Far too many people are motivated strongly by overt or subconscious malice, stemming usually from greed, jealousy, fear and frustration.
People are as ready to flatter for trivial advantage as to jeer at others who do.
Girls as a rule don’t read, and of those who do, most are utterly unaffected by what they have read. And these girls grow up to be mothers who fear their children reading as though they are dealing with rabid animals. But of course, they can kill for their children to score well in exams.
Alas, even reading a lot of books is no guarantee that one will grow up into a decent and useful human being. For a lot of people, it is just a pretty affectation.
Most people drift away after a while, even those who claim I influenced them deeply.
Most people betray their own professed ideals and ‘loves’ when the chips are down. Ideals and maxims are only for essays and speeches.
Most people have no high sense of achievement, especially of the sort that does good to others.
Most people become brain dead (and this regardless of whether they are surgeons or computer programmers or schoolteachers or insurance agents) by the time they are twenty five. And also, I find signs of brains in the most unexpected people, including those who have never had the benefit of an expensive education.
Advertizing works wonders. People by the millions actually believe that a certain tutorial will make their kids ‘brilliant’, a certain brand of pen will improve their examination performance, a certain deodorant will make them popular with the opposite sex, a certain smartphone will bring about ‘more love’.
Besides advertizing, the only things that drive them are ingrained personal habits and the herd instinct.
I believe I have understood what Vivekananda predicted more than a century ago – the coming of shudra raaj – in a sense that cannot today even be mentioned publicly without raising far too many hackles, so true it has proved to be.
I believe this is my own coinage, and I want to be remembered for it: A fool when he grows old only becomes an old fool.