On Toxicity, Intoxication & Toxins…
There is generally a shed of doubt as to the fact whether poison is palatable. We have received an answer to this in 2018. No wonder that a leading English-language dictionary has chosen poisonous or toxic as the ‘word of the year’.
Perhaps, toxic is the most suitable adjective that goes with the current global situation. The time is important, as the word was used in English for the first time in the middle of the 17th Century. And for the next three centuries, the word was used only in literally sense. The word – toxin – originates from the Greek phrase – ‘toxicon pharmacon’ or ‘poison arrows’. Although ‘toxicon’ originally means ‘arrow’ in Greek, the English-speaking people started using the word in place of poison.
The people used the word as a metaphor only in the first half of the 20th Century. However, the metaphoric use of the word was very limited at that time. Usage of the word in a metaphorical sense took place in the 21st Century in great abundance, precisely in 2018! It is inevitable because everything – from nationalism to manhood to environment to personality (or egotism) – have become toxic this time.
Toxic – which has become so powerful in recent times – has started posing a serious threat to the civilisation. An online survey has revealed that the adjective, toxic, is still being used most in literally sense, with chemistry. However, manhood has secured the second position (as far as the number is concerned). The ‘#MeToo’ campaign has helped us realise how toxic (or poisonous or harmful) is manhood (or masculinity) and the patriarchal social structure. The manhood uses the power to crush the women’s long struggle against the patriarchy.
A section of people recently slammed French President Emmanuel Macron for delivering a rebuke against rising Nationalism, as he called it a “betrayal of patriotism”. The president reminded the global community that ultra (toxic) nationalism destroys the ethics of the nation. The critics of Macron know the importance of the toxin. They also know that ultra nationalism, like religion or opium, can keep a huge number of people intoxicated for a longer period. Such intoxication isolates some people near the Mexico border, breaks the structure of the global trade and triggers wars in different parts of the world. At the same time, it maintains the social equilibrium in favour of the rulers.
India has realised how ‘politics’ can destroy the ‘secular’ fabric of the society (which has been the essence of the South Asian country for many years). Religious extremism is also toxic or poisonous…. Once, the Indians felt ashamed for expressing their ‘communal’ views or sentiments. And now, they ‘celebrate’ this feeling! Now, all aggressions are being celebrated. Indians are well aware of the fact that ‘politics’ and ‘state power’ are trying to project this toxic culture as the essence of the cultural mainstream. The global community, too, has experienced the same.
Is there any other adjective available that can go with the contemporary global situation? Perhaps, the answer is ‘NO’!
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