Making Goanising Emancipative – IV

Most of us feel a strong imperative to make our goanising emancipative. There is a sense of urgency to this call. We feel that we are running late and have to come all guns blazing to save what is left of our mankulem Goy. We have seen several people’s movements embracing this noble task. To succeed in this mission we need to redeem something that afflicts us deeply. Most Goans have identified our crab mentality as a great impediment to achieve our goal. Some have become cynics and do not see any hope for us. They only see our waterloo. Our fight for Goa needs us to look at this anti-goan attitude that often prevents us from being fully pro-Goa. A Goan today cannot be the worst enemy of other Goans . We have lots to lose and less or nothing to gain. Therefore, coming together as goans is the inevitable need of the hour. Arnold Toynbee, historian of civilisations teaches that civilisations die not from outside factors but from their inner contradictions. We cannot self- destruct and lead to eventual death of Goa, Goans and Goan-ness. This is why we have to deal with what has been named as our crab mentality.

We, like other human beings, are profoundly mimetic beings. This drive for mimesis may be the fundamental cause of our crap mentality. There may be other reasons for this crab behaviour in our society. It might be founded on the trauma of colonization. This is why we seem to have played a table tennis game in our society right from the time of liberation. When one community stood for Goa, another played for merger with Maharashtra. Similarly when one stood for Konkani another stood for Marathi. We cannot simply reduce these complex positions of Goans to enactment of trauma. Besides colonial trauma caste oppression also played a significant role in these complex decisions in the past. We may also see the same at play in the script imbroglio that has hit Konkani for some time now. Here, we shall focus on mimetic desire and our crab mentality. We seem to fail to be original and wish to be copies of each other. Even in business , we become mimetic rivals. Thus, if one Goan puts a bar and restaurant the other one also follows suit. In several ways we only copy each other and compete with each other. Our drive for mimesis tends to increase our tolerance of sameness and perhaps it also decreases our acceptance of otherness and difference. This may be the reason among other things why we usually pull each other’s legs like crabs in a basket.

Maybe our crabology has become an addiction. To fight an addiction we need a different armoury. Maybe we have to heed to what philosopher Zizek says about quilting smoking. He invites us to imagine a situation in which a person is under the sway of the following order: you can smoke or not. But once you begin to smoke you have no choice. You are not allowed to end. Under this condition he says we are less likely to smoke. Humans smoke because we think that we can quit it when we wish. This possibility of stopping smoking is what he says blocks the actual quitting of smoking. He teaches that the possibility of quitting smoke, makes you feel that every cigarette is the last cigarette. So we enjoy smoking cigarettes with a special surplus pleasure of the awareness that it is our last puff. Then we indeed endlessly repeat the end. Maybe the anti-Goan attitude which is also called crab mentality survives on the possibility of us overcoming it at any time. The stance here is that the possibility of change is evoked only to guarantee that it will not be acted upon. Moreover, this sense of overcoming it in some distant day survives on a secret surplus enjoyment it provides us. Perhaps a Goan enjoys the fight with another Goan more than a fight with anyone else. We have hit the zero-point of hopelessness and can no longer have the luxury to nurture mimetic rivalry. We have to find a way of ending it.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao