Control, out of control

Dr. Sudhirendar Sharma
If you need to spot a diabetic friend on the sprawling lawns at a marriage reception, all you need to do is to stretch your sight to the section serving ‘desserts’. Ten out of ten chances are that you will find him savoring one or more of the forbidden ‘sweet’. That is how (Indian) men are made of, be it a forbidden apple or an impermissible sweet.
It isn’t a chance factor but somewhat of a ‘compulsive (dis)order’ in men which perhaps cannot be cured so easily. The question, however, is: why ‘temptation’ is so tempting that it makes it hard for most men to apply ‘control’ even if they claim to be disciplined? Do men lack self-control, a trait that seems uncommon in women? Don’t get me wrong for my gender bias, but I haven’t heard anything on the contrary to be dis-proven.But before the other half resorts to rejoicing for being a shade different, let it be made clear that research has yet to acknowledge a lack of self-control as a deficiency one is born with. The ability to control one’s behaviour and adapt it to new situations is something one can learn. That men do not apply it in certain matters is a matter of choice. Women are no different, they let go control out-of-control in matter of shopping for cosmetics and jewelry.
Some are tempted to spend more; many get tempted to avoid regular exercise; few can’t avoid the temptation of cheating; and still others can’t avoid being tempted towards women. Temptation to indulge in undesirable actions is considered ‘masculine’ or ‘courageous’. I say this because our society is much more forgiving of men who give into ‘temptation’ than it is for women. Guilty pleasures are like cheese reserved for men, so they say, because ‘temptation’ like opportunity may knock only once.
Not sure if applying ‘self-restraint’ makes more sense than allowing oneself to be susceptible to ‘temptation’. Given that self control is a limited resource that needs to be used intelligently and, to some extent, even economically, it is up to you to make a choice. What must be known is that to practice ‘self-control’ makes us all the more susceptible to ‘temptation’.
Could market economy survive without ‘temptation’? No surprise, therefore, Adam & Eve were ‘tempted’ to promote market economy. An apple a day keeps ‘control’ under control!
(Dr. Sudhirendar Sharma is the DirectorofEcological Foundation, New Delhi)