The topic consistency has been roving around in my mind for a long time and I would like to take the opportunity to discuss and share with others through this blog. Here, I do not want to discuss the literal meaning of the word but its applicatory part in our normal life especially its use in the projection of our personality to the outside world.
I used to wonder whether I am one of the few or there are more that understand and believe in consistent behaviour in interacting with others in our day to day life. I understand that consistency and inconsistency both are two parts of our personality. However, if the degree of inconsistency is very large and illogical in our personality, then it may create unrest and put us on an emotional roller coaster due to the backlash from the outside world. Nature is in harmony with its creations, as such keeps balancing whenever any inconsistency occurs. Therefore it is pertinent that we humans should also remain consistent in our thought process and resulting actions, otherwise the resultant impact may be damaging, personally as well as socially. Sometimes, it is beyond the control of the human mind to manifest its own ravelling inconsistent behaviour in a positive way. This results in conflict of our own nature vis a vis the outside world.
I am appalled when I see people changing their words, behaviours or commitments frequently. Sometimes they are nice and gentle and sometimes rude and indifferent. Sometimes they are forthcoming and sometimes they are completely withdrawn. Sometimes they are generous and sometimes miserly and self-centered. Sometimes they present themselves as an educated person and sometimes in the contrary. Sometimes they are religious and other times not afraid of their actions. Sometimes they pose to be spiritually enlightened and other times act or behave contrary to the spiritual philosophy. Why do people have such duality?
Is it the inborn nature, character, or the background that works? Do we call this a mood swing or the inside work of the Ego? In case of mood swings, there are symptoms to identify the cause that a person is in a bad mood or had a bad day. To some extent, the mood swing and the resulting inconsistency in behaviour is understandable, but what about the ego? Is it the ego which makes us generous, kind, friendly, sober, religious, virtuous or in contrary? If it is virtue, then it should have stayed with our personality consistently, as virtues are either inherited or earned.
Is it possible, in the first place, to identify the egocentric people who may be very inconsistent or in other words unpredictable in their behaviour or responses? I do not condemn the presence of an ego in totality but certainly at times, it is hurtful to a fellow human being. Being an earnest advocate of consistency, personally I wish to see egocentric people have some consistency in public discharge of their ego.
I remember a story in which a snake used to bite every passerby for no reason, and as a result, there was terror in the surrounding area. One day, a saint passed that road and he saw the snake coming towards him. The saint had divine powers, and so he gave a sermon to the snake and the snake decided to become humble and gentle by giving up biting. After that, whenever a passerby crossed that road, the snake sat coiled and did nothing. Seeing this, village boys started poking and stoning the snake for fun. After some time, the saint passed by again and he saw the badly hurt snake with blood oozing out of his body. He was surprised and asked the cause of his wretched condition. The snake narrated to the saint that, ‘you preached me to be good and kind to everybody therefore I stopped biting, and the village boys took advantage of the change in my behaviour and stoned me whenever they passed. This is the reason for my plight’. Upon hearing this, the saint said, ‘I told you to be good and kind, but I never told you not to hiss and frighten the attackers.’
Therefore as per the moral of the story, some ego is necessary to protect oneself from harm or loss of respect, but again it should be proportionately consistent with the personality, background, education, social position etc. A king is not supposed to act like a commoner and the problem comes when a commoner starts acting like a king. The problem arises when we transgress this natural instinct and character. If we all could understand this mantra, then I am sure this will make us nice human beings.
I am writing a poem freshly baked out of my mental oven for you to enjoy:
Whenever I see people with their weird responses
lack of courtesy and magnanimity
my mind ponders and thought bounces
Is it the character or the background that works?
or the selfishness, self-centredness
or the ego that lurks?
Why can’t a person be kind and generous?
simple and virtuous
The answer lies in our mental clemency
persistence in good thought,
and generous actions with consistency
Suman Saran Sinha
I would like to invite your comments on the topic in order to enlighten myself as well as our readers with your thoughts and perceptions.