Some of us have enough spare time on our hands to ruminate about what goes on around us in this world, sometimes without any “education” or any formal process that forms the basis for our lines of thinking. I know it is a waste of time, but there is something intriguing about the search. I have enough time on my hands that I even created this blog a few weeks ago musing about what it is all about.
But sometimes, when you see what is going on around you in the real world in real time, you can be shaken out of this somewhat disconnected and disjointed state of mind, the state of mind where you feel like generally talking about things in the abstract. There is specificity. And your mind screams – really, is this what we are capable of? Events that can evoke that kind of a response are happening all around us all the time. There are certain aspects of human reality, and of the nature of human unkindness, that make you want to scream – what is wrong with us? Is it our true nature to be cruel and unjust? Does it take a truly supreme effort for us to get away from our basic instincts? I fear that this could be the real truth.
I do believe that if I were left to my own devices I would end up revealing the true nature of the cruelty that I myself am capable of. I can sense it in myself, feel it lurking somewhere in the background. And I know that I have even revealed this innate element of my character to people who I have interacted with all my life. Family, friends, relatives, and even other creatures of this earth (watch that mouse that you have trapped, or the cockroach that you have squashed, die!), have experienced it. A process of learning, forgiveness, and maybe even forgetting, can perhaps help deal with this state of being, especially as you age, but the process never ends, and some memories never go away.
But does one not have to at least try to learn that because of the nature of this society that we inhabit, because of the nature of this interconnected and interdependent world that we have built up, we need to at least try rise to a different level, and we need to work to uplift everybody around us, not just ourselves, in order to survive? Could being good also not make you feel good?
I am in this frame of mind because of a story I read in the newspaper yesterday. This is not an isolated story. Cruelty and injustice happens everywhere and everyday. Most of these stories do not affect us directly, but I tend to have a gut reaction and respond sometimes when hearing such stories. Here is one such reaction I had in the past. We can try to close our eyes because something does not affect us directly, but ultimately these things say a lot about us, and what we are willing to accept.
If you are inclined to follow the link I provided but are not inclined to read the entire article, the videos will provide you a shorter synopsis of what this particular story is all about.