“All lives, no matter where they are being led, have equal value.“ Simple words. Significant meaning. What makes them even more significant is the fact that these words are not of a philosopher, nor a politician or just another philanthropist. These are the words of the richest couple in the world-Bill and Melinda Gates.
All of us have certain desires blossoming in our hearts. So had this man. He made a great fortune during his career for himself, his family, his enterprise, and at a stage in his life – for people. He realized his duty towards humanity. He realized that every person on this earth had a right to live with dignity and that many were being denied this right.
We have long heard of the interdependence of men on each other. That is what forms a society. Similar people club together. There is a multitude of classification: rich, beggars, women, children and old people.
What makes us all human? The capacity of language, empathy, internal dialogue and emotions. However, before we were capable of such characteristics, we first needed to develop consciousness. It is consciousness that establishes our understanding of self and others.
How we interact with others depends on our upbringing, our inherent nature, mood and surroundings. It’s this ability to interact, in whichever way possible, that makes one capable of knowing other people, or at times helps us to be cognizant with our surroundings.
Do we really care if we see a half-clad beggar shivering in the chilly winters? Pity is what strikes the mind at this sight. And most of us pass on, leaving the thought to perish in an hour or sometimes even minutes. At the most, we would blame the system or we would give him alms.
Martin Luther King Jr has said: “We are still called upon to give aid to the beggar who finds himself in misery and agony on life’s highway. But one day, we must ask the question of whether an edifice which produces beggars must not be restructured and refurbished.”
The problem which plagues mankind today arises precisely from the absurdity that, on one side, all that is needed for a secure social life is available and yet, on the other side, social life remains what it was: a sea of dirt, baseness, irrationality and misery.
We don’t live in a perfect, utopian society where everyone loves everyone else and wants to make the world a better place to live in. There are way more reasons to cry than rejoice. It seems that even as technical knowledge expands the horizon of man’s thought, his autonomy as an individual, his imagination power, his independent judgment appear to be reduced.
Advance in technical facilities for enlightenment is accompanied by a process of dehumanization. Thus progress threatens to nullify the very goal it is supposed to realize — the idea of man. Most people cower and move within the corners of their life, as injustice sweeps its contagious evil across communities. The worst part of all is, injustice today, is being done by those who, yesterday, did nothing to stop it.
Our future as a species, with such an epidemic of behavior, doesn’t take a quantum physicist to extrapolate. If we don’t start motivating people on all fronts to activate the courage in their hearts and minds; the last conscious standing up, will still perish…by suicide. A quick look at history, and of present day situations, will cause a stress fracture on the spine of anyone with a social consciousness. But stand up we must – en masse – to share the burden – distribute the weight – to push to social momentum in the direction of economic democracy and in turn ecological sustainability. And rather despair than surrender.
“It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness”- Karl Marx. Our existence and non-existence are very much affected by how well we are aware of the things around us socially. Each of us needs to ask this question to oneself. The answer lies within.
Contributed By: Jyotika, a 20-year-old from Delhi [email protected]
In search of path, I, a crusader. In the ways of life, I, a traitor. Wrung to be where I don’t belong. Take life as it’s gifted by the creator.
Write to us with your own inspirational story or an incident which taught you to believe in the goodness of human beings. Email us [email protected]