What if I tell you that you are adopted? Don’t look behind you. There’s nobody reading this apart from you at least right now. Of course, you might scoff. But it remains that you can never be sure unless you are crazy enough to do a DNA test. You have to believe your parents (at least that is who they claim to be!) Gulp. Unless of course if you are amazing enough to remember your birth (trust me: you’re not) you are at binds. This is basically what is called: Appeal to Authority.
So, when you are a kid, if some dickhead cousin tells you that the earth is flat and that a monster will eat you up if you throw away food or that your face will freeze into gargoyle while making faces: you believe that dumbass. Eventually, the school will take over and teach you the accepted truths: 1+2=3, Grammar, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography and why those weird topics have such complicated names in the first place. (Of course, the second part depends on which school you studied in.) Anyway, you get the moot idea.
So, when I was a kid, I used to have these doubts crop up. Now our school was a sublime institution located bang in the centre of Kolkata and over 150 years old to boot. When school got over, our class teacher used to arrange us 50 uncontrollable toddlers in a line. Now obviously this was an impossible problem. But our teachers coaxed us to grab each other’s bags. So we built a mock train with our class teacher forming the engine. We were all coaches eagerly holding the strap of the bag of the one in front of us. Now obviously this wasn’t a simple task. The train would at times teeter from side to side, zig zag and then there would be this over enthusiastic soul who had somehow managed to sneak a watch at WWF (yes, at that time it was WWF, not WWE) and decided to orchestrate a similar pull on the bag in front of him. This usually resulted in the train getting torn in 2 with a lot of coaches colliding and fall on each other. But nevertheless, the engine was a delightful soul who would take the rowdy coach a reestablish order. Much like how America establishes world peace in the Middle East. Enough for about 5 minutes. But the next day there would be a duel and camps established (of course behind the teacher’s roving eyes). Anyway, when we went to the Parent’s Shelter: basically an overhyped shed where parents wouldn’t wait anyway, we were dispatched to our parents. I returned by carpool. But some rich folks had all dressed up mothers receiving their kids. Now, my mother while fabulously beautiful and all had never worn anything but a saree or a salwar. But these females wore shirts and jeans and called themselves mothers. So, I proposed a theory to a ring of passionately eager friends. The theory was that these mothers looked too young. Moreover, they did not have a tummy like most mothers with kids had had. So, there was no way a baby could have come out of that stomach. These kids were therefore adopted!
Now, one of these kids with a mother as described above was a regular bully. So, one day we called him and told him the reason why we felt that he might have been adopted. He became all pale and depressed for quite a few days after that. And I was genuinely airing my concerns btw lest I am accused of anything else.
Interestingly though I feel that these are exactly the principles on which modern science unravels. A few correct observations are made. But the deductions from these are confidently passed on as a correct explanation. And these are then fed to everyone. If the theory persists for sufficiently long, it transcends appeal because of appeal to authority. Now, not every theory is wrong or correct, but I believe we shackle ourselves waay (the extra a was intended) too much by believing everything that is told.
Questioning Authority may be the first step. But the last step is finding the answers, by yourself. There cannot be a greater satisfaction than that.
Even if you choose to believe your parents that you are not adopted that is!