Why YOLO is not a practical philosophy…

Yolo. You only live once.
I think this is mainly the fad amongst the GenX and the Millennials and not the GenZ. Especially, amongst the privileged. The new generation, however, has far more different ideas when it comes to this world. And perhaps they are returning to older traditions wrapped in a new package.

Anyway, back to the topic…

You will find these GenX people and Millennials posting the acronym YOLO everywhere. On their Instagram profile description, on Facebook, on Twitter, etc. It is almost ubiquitous these days, like the words Selenophile or Petrichor. But how does this YOLO or you only live once translate into our lives? The answer is – Live life to its fullest. Yes.
It’s a good idea, indeed. A very attractive one. Live and let live. Cool, right?
But is it practical?

To understand that we have to first discuss its consequences. We have to understand how these YOLO people usually behave and think.
I might be wrong, but what I have observed so far, is this –

1. Complete resignation and indifference towards what is happening in the world.

2. Complete aloofness when it comes to participating in a democracy. For example, voting. Yes, these guys won’t even show up during the voting day. But unlike a hypocrite or a cynical who too didn’t vote, they won’t even crib against the politicians or criticise the current government. At least a silver lining, after all.

3. Abdication of responsibilities towards this society and the world.

And last but not least…

4. Avoidance when it comes to taking a stand. You won’t find these people engaging in unfruitful and pointless debates. These people are highly diplomatic. Neither they will get offended, nor they will offend anyone. They live in their small isolated shell, peacefully.

All sounds very mature and good till now, right?
But here are my two cents –

Maybe these people are right. Maybe there is no life after death. Maybe there is no such thing as karma and incarnation, after all. Maybe it all ends after we die. Complete blackness. We really don’t know! But does that mean people should stop sacrificing for a cause?

Consider the example of the famous Indian revolutionary, Bhagat Singh. He was an atheist. Yet, he sacrificed his life to play his part in the Independence movement against the British.

Countless atheist soldiers have sacrificed their lives to win wars for their countries.

Countless atheist social workers (I mean the real ones, not the page 3 kinds). Anyway, countless atheist people are working and have worked for the betterment of this society and the environment.

Had these people believed in YOLO, so many nations wouldn’t have earned their freedom. Had these people believed in YOLO, we wouldn’t have defeated Hitler.

I am not saying all of these didn’t believe in a higher power. The majority of them did. But there were many others, who didn’t. And there are still such people who don’t. Yes, they don’t believe in life after death or reincarnation, nor do they hope to reserve their seats in heaven.
They know only one thing and one thing only which is better explained by a quote. I don’t know who said it or who wrote it.
But it goes like this –

“Civilization is a pact among those who have lived, those who are living and those who are yet to be born.”

A very powerful quote, indeed, right?
Yes, it is this guiding principle that drives even these atheists to sacrifice their lives for a higher cause.

So, if you are a woman, who believes in YOLO, thank the early feminists, who didn’t, because of whom you now have the right to vote.
So, if you are a man, who believes in YOLO, thank the countless men because of whom you live in a much better world.

It would have been wonderful if the whole world believed in YOLO. But you see, that’s not the case. There are so many people, i.e. the jerks who leave no stone unturned to impose their will on others. There are oppressors in this world who feel no qualms about hurting their victims.

Can a person, who truly believes in YOLO effectively respond to such threats? The answer is no! A big no!

Hell, a true YOLO believer wouldn’t even come out of his house if his next-door neighbour is under attack. But if the same thing happens to him, he would crib that others weren’t there when he needed them the most.

Like it or not. YOLO, is, therefore, an absolutely useless and unpractical concept for the simple reason that this world will always be full of oppressors.
You don’t remain indifferent to the problems of this world.
You fight these jerks and these oppressors.
You fight the narratives that are detrimental.
And this is not possible unless you shed this YOLO philosophy.

I am repeating the quote again.
“Civilization is a pact among those who have lived, those who are living and those who are yet to be born.”

Unless we discard this YOLO we will keep on abusing the environment and make this planet an unlivable place for future generations.
Unless we discard this concept of YOLO, we can’t expect others to come to our rescue, when an oppressor is making his move on us.

Now, I am not saying people who believe in YOLO don’t sacrifice. They sacrifice their pleasures for the sake of their child. Instead of going on that long Euro trip, they try to save as much money as they can for their spouses and children. Many of them are taking care of their old parents, their mentally troubled siblings, etc. But you see, their whole world is limited to that.

A true believer of YOLO, you see, is not only a political hermit but a social hermit too. He is completely indifferent to what is happening outside his little family. And that is why he can never be an ideal citizen of this world.

Humans are social animals. We can’t ignore what is happening in this world. We have to play our part to make this world a better place for future generations, life after death or not.
That is our responsibility as a human. As we signed this pact of civilization, the moment we were born. So, now there is no turning back.
We can’t run away from our responsibilities towards this society. We have to keep this world moving.

And this is possible, only if we discard this beautifully idealistic, extremely attractive, but absolutely useless and unpractical concept – YOLO. 😇

Well, on that note, I will end my rant and my spiel. Let me know what you think about it.
Thanks! 🙂

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