17 June 2013

The Powers of Defeatism

There are multiple definitions of defeatism out there. Many presume that it is a negative concept and hence they define it as such. Many link it to pessimism or weakness. But there is a definition which might make you want to look at it more objectively :

- n
a ready acceptance or expectation of defeat

Let us shun the prejudices against defeat and failure for a while and look at the concept of defeatism again. Defeatism can possibly be a ready acceptance of a thwarting circumstance. Simple as that. It is nothing more than pragmatism in the face of failure. Going forward with that definition, let us look at what defeatism has to offer.

In the red corner is the ever acclaimed and glorious Struggle. The one that leads men to better their lot. The inspiration for changes. The giver of splendor. In the blue corner is the despised Defeatism. The peddler of pessimism. The asylum of the weak willed. It is hardly worth the fight to find out who would win the competition. Defeatism with it's weak will would be seen walking away in trepidation while Struggle would stand tall in all it's magnificence. Hardly a match.

But wait. All that is plain glory talk. The conventional stuff that is fed to the kids so that they can grow up to be respectable men who know what's right and what's wrong. Struggle in the face of adversity and do not give up without a fight. Right? But then we were also taught that an unbending tree topples in the storm. So is it better to put up a fight and struggle when faced with a compelling situation or simply bend, give way and move on to something else? Depends on the situation mostly. Depends on what can be compromised upon and what cannot.

It is when the situation is something you can compromise upon (and there are very few that cannot be, despite the egotistical outlook of people) that defeatism truly shines above all other traits. It lets you accept defeat as a valid result of your enterprise. You tried, you put up a fight, you lost. Accepted. You probably want to give up at this point of time and move on to something more enticing, something better if even as a prospect. Sure, go ahead. Defeatism does not pile up guilt on you like the concept of honour does. It lets you abandon the sinking ship that you have captained and seek a shore to build a new ship and sail afresh. Defeatism lets you be happy in whatever you endeavour to pursue for you pursue it not to win it over, you pursue it because you want to pursue it and you can stop whenever you have had enough. It let's you do and not care about the result. Does not the Geeta say the same?