Another year end is nearing. I am a year older, closer to the finishing line, learning to cope with the changes that are an inexorable part of life’s phases. While scrolling through Facebook the other day, I came across an image of the Dodo. A flightless bird that was found in abundance in Mauritius, before it became extinct somewhere in the 1600s. It is the national bird of Mauritius.
There are many theories about why the dodo went extinct. The most accepted one being that the Dutch came to the island in the 1598, along with them came dogs and other predatory animals. The Dodos had never confronted predators before, and they were butchered and eaten, while standing around. The Dodo did not recognise the enemy before them and within no time became extinct.
The story of the Dodo is poignant and also something to stop and think about. We always talk about cherishing our friends, being grateful for those who love and appreciate us, but rarely do we speak about the importance of our enemies. We all have them, at different stages of our lives – some formidable, others benign and mere irritants. Each one of them, in our dealing with them, learning from them, contribute to our life.
People who are enemies are often identifiable, of course there are many closet enemies, but sooner or later one does confront them. More difficult are those who were once friends, but become enemies due to changed circumstances. Personal or professional, they are trickier to deal with because they know your vulnerabilities and soft spaces. They teach the long lasting lessons. Often, over time one is also thankful for the lessons learnt, despite the hurt and pain.
Enemies are not always other people, often our enemy is our own thought process, our beliefs or lack of them or even ideas that are taking the outside environment by storm!
On social media I see it so often. The most rational and wise people I know get drawn into debates and discussions that divide and force to take sides. Inadvertently, without proper knowledge, we fall on some part of the divide. And from the phone or tablet the stand taken permeates our thoughts and persona too.
With fake news, alternate truth/fact and/or post truth floating around us, and entering our lives on a regular basis, an idea or belief maybe something to be wary of. If we do not acknowledge it as such, some rational, thinking part of us sinks into oblivion and extinction. Slowly, but surely. Much like the Dodo.
Enemies – whether people, attitudes, ideas or belief are to be acknowledged and recognised. That is an interesting insight to gather as one grows older. Especially, in the media fuelled world we live in.
In all this din about cherishing our friends and loved ones, we cannot afford to forget the enemies. While the former help us grow and thrive, the latter teach us how to survive.