Going beyond familiarity

Witoubou Newmai


There is a common phrase that says “familiarity breeds contempt.” What does this phrase imply? With utmost urgency, the question needs meticulous examinations.


For most of us, it is quite an absurd argument to say that ‘familiarity’ is a bad idea.


In fact, ‘familiarity,’ after having established, lays the ground for better co-ordinations between colleagues or easier handling of things in many areas. And yet, it also in one way, retards advancement or produces a sense of indifference.


What we are too familiar with today are issues such as ‘corruption’, ‘Naga political issue’, ‘environment’, ‘unity,’ ‘peace’, ‘our rights/their rights’, ‘reconciliation’, etc., etc. These issues have become too familiar with our society today, and as such, this sense of familiarity has also become a retardation agent of our progress in one way.


Since there is always a human proclivity to fall into the “deceptive wiles of familiarity,” this editorial is a reminder to be wary of such tendency.


“Unexamined familiarity” will prevent people from looking at the Bible, opined author and ‘collegiate missionary’ Peter Krol, reasoning that, “Such familiarity crowds out curiosity, [and] it imperceptibly stiffens necks, hardens hearts, and deafens ears.” 


It may lead people "to assume things that are not in the text, and it may blind people to things that are,” Krol further elucidated.


In the case of our society, the peril of this familiar tendency persists, risking the razing of the issue to the collective monotony.


Another problem of familiarity is the issue of ‘taking for granted’ with the people around you or loved ones. If we are to extrapolate this ‘loved ones familiarity’ to the premise of the ‘Naga family,’ the issue seems to hold good, too.


We may not elaborate much about problems which crop up when one takes things for granted. Just a case to drive home the argument---the most common thing is ‘not listening’. Instead, the ‘talking at the other’, and not the ‘talking with each other’, becomes the ambience of the room.


There is not much choice of measure to nudge when a society becomes indifferent.


Coming to address the problem, one nearest panacea is to consider that, “it is not those people who disappoint us, but it is our expectation we put on those people that disappoints us.” So, considering this notion, we need to take responsibility, while not trying to argue on who are those ‘we.’


It is also quite prudent to remind ourselves that “the minutes you start expecting somebody to make you happy, you are in a pitfall.”


This is one way of nudging ourselves and going beyond the 'familiarity” syndrome. Once this becomes our culture, there is a chance of an indifferent society being ‘redeemed.’


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