The below is a rant — I’ll try to be scientific and accurate because I am unimaginably critical of myself for being wrong but I’m protecting myself from criticism by accepting first hand above that this is a rant and not an essay or an answer sheet that you have the obligation to grade and please don’t feel that you have the right to do that. Instead if you choose to read my writing below — I, the writer, am putting the obligation on you to keep any negative criticism to yourself. Just the way I think as humans, we all have the mutual obligation to be good to each other. And if you are thinking of coming back with a retort that ‘good’ is subjective, then you are exactly the kind of person who needs this lesson. Look deep down inside you and you will know the answer and if you are unable to look deep within yourself then you are utterly disconnected from your soul/yourself/who you are — whatever you believe in.
See, I am so unforgiving of myself that I have already read the above para five-six times because I don’t want to be wrong — the one who always always wants to be morally correct. What has society done to us? But we are society; what have we done to ourselves? But no, I think this one in particular is the right obligation. Because it is the base obligation for all of us to be good to each other. Kant and the Bible might have gotten wrong with Golden Rule of treating others the way you want to be treated (I have learnt this hard way having imbibed this since childhood and now realising that people don’t want to be treated the way I want to be treated because that’s forcing your own self on others. It’s true to some extent, yes; but beyond that it’s not right. Every person is such a beautiful specimen of unique details and if you want to reduce everybody to be like your own self, you don’t respect others enough.) I am fastidious about my morals and please keep your careless behaviour disguised as free thinking to yourself because I have been told that morality is a privilege and I have debated this in my head and it’s not. So don’t pull that one with me.
We all have the time to study for that one test and then other and one more and then our dream jobs, but we don’t have the time to study our own people. To spend enough time to figure out who they really are — their idiosyncracies, their habits, ambitions, needs, fears — do you know any of this about your own friends and family — the people you call your own? Why? Because the society doesn’t incentivise you to do that? Because currently we are all living (read: surviving) under the mutually accepted achievements of clearing exams, getting great jobs, touring a new country or the myriad of such things; but there isn’t really a certificate of being a good person, right? Though I wonder whether that would change things or would it just be a massively totalitarian society. China had announced a sort of citizen rating system (I’m unsure if it was a rumour or news and whether it has been implemented and like I promised above I’m not going to be perfect about this because otherwise I’ll spend time reading all about it and miss the point I am trying to make) — and it just seemed creepy — for somebody to rate your every move. I get that’s a different system and a lot to do with politics — so I’m keeping that example aside. But we are all okay being rated about our minds but not about our hearts (yes, implying the movie like syndrome of mind vs heart and not being scientifically correct)? Seems too intrusive I agree. But I am just saying that we have forgotten that it’s even important for us to be a good person. Again, if you think being good is subjective — you are avoiding facing your own self. Criticism isn’t bad, but trolling is. Crushing somebody’s soul is. And you know when it’s tough love and when it’s crushing somebody. You know. If you don’t, you are avoiding facing your own self or you aren’t empathetic. You really know nothing about the person — not what that person needs (it might be way different from what you need or what hundreds of other people have needed). The way you treat that exam or interview to be special enough to spend days, weeks, months or years figuring what that exam needs and preparing for it — you don’t spend that much time for a person. And that’s terribly sad. What went wrong with our priorities? Have they always been wrong? Maybe. Maybe it’s to do with our survival instinct, embedded in us from our forefathers — the way described in Sapiens. Has it gotten worse? Has it gotten better? I don’t know. My dad says that society has gotten bad and I tell him it’s always been this way but due to technology you know more about it now. I don’t know what’s right; haven’t read enough to have an accurate view.
Are free markets the problem or panacea? I am not sure. I personally am a centrist — I believe in the power of free markets but I think government needs to be involved. The inefficiency inherent in government processes and political intentions does incur more benefits than costs but then so do free markets. Free markets built on a society of rampant inequality are not really free (that’s why the idea of reservations is a complex one and though even I had rejected it for so many years but am now understanding the need for it. I think it needs to be better structured but I agree it is needed). So the idea of free markets in practical sense is probably as junk as government intervention — because all of this theory assumes an ideal society and no not just in an economic sense but also moral. If government intervention involves bureaucratic delays or political ill will, free market meritocracy may involve harmful practices to make the cut. It boils down to having the right intentions and actions. And again, don’t ask me what’s right or wrong and pull a pseudo intellectual philosophical expertise. My mom says — what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong and yes, that’s how simple it is. You know it. Economic development does lead to better societies (crime rates in developing countries are higher than those in developed countries) — so there is some relation. But it is not enough. There is still crime in developed countries and leave crime, not being a criminal does not make you a good person. If you want to ask me who is really a good person? I’d say the lack of clarity on this is precisely my point of society not spending enough time figuring this out.
Trampling over somebody, using people for own ends, even indifference — it breaks people down. Human beings have feelings, they are not machines. They are not meant to be utilised for own means, they are meant to be loved and nurtured. Currently we are all passing our accumulated hurt to the next person by not being kind, caring and empathetic enough. Empathy is so underrated! Why do people in organisations tend to inflict on their juniors the same bad practices/behaviours that they were subjected to? It’s not a zero sum game. By passing it down, you won’t be healed. You might actually get damaged beyond repair.
I have been told to not have expectations. And yes, I agree I was suffering from the Golden Rule and forcing my own ways on others. I do that. Instead of treating people the way we want to be treated, we need to treat people the way they want to be treated. It’s respectful of the person’s very essence. But, if I am expecting you to be respectful, kind and caring to me in whatever way we are connected in this world, I am not asking too much.
I, in full awareness of its consequences, am putting on you the obligation to be good to me. That’s the only way humanity will survive. Atleast in my own little world.