Whatever is happening in the society is an act of balancing out?

A typical friday afternoon. I am sitting with my regular lunch-mates and breaking bread. Normally conversations revolve around easy topics which do not challenge personal opinions on particular topics - "What did you do yesterday?", "What are the plans for the weekend?", stuff, stuff.

I had attended a talk by Sunitha Krishnan yesterday and was really affected by her talk. I say affected because I get affected by a lot things - documentaries on various issues, discussions on various topics. I get moved. I had updated my status on facebook/twitter with my feelings after hearing the talk.

Well, someone's feelings especially about a social issue - it definitely is not a lunch topic. It is not easy. It cannot be digested easily. It is open for a debate which is definitely not light hearted. So one of us just tested the waters and asked "So how did your life change after the talk?". Knowing fully well, discussing this at length would be entering uncomfortable territory - even for me, I avoided the question. But a friend picked up the cue and said "Samaaj mein jo bhi ho raha hai acha ho raha. In the end everything balances out".

Well, that definitely was not right according to me. And that was a soft trigger. I am not very confident of my skills when it comes to bringing people around to see my point. Another reason could be many people are already as old as me and have already made up their mind about how the world is. But I still prodded on and said "No, what is happening in the society or world is not right".

The conversation took on from there. Both, my friend and I have very opposite opinions of what is happening in the world and equally strident in supporting our opinions. But without going into the content of what I discussed with my friend, I would like to cite certain things that run in my mind all the time about our attitude as a denizen of the society. Much of our attitude stems from the environment we have seen throughout our life.

First attitude is "we cannot change anything". I have often heard people saying this. Even I say and think on these lines many times. But I think the reason we say this and believe it is because we are not ready to sacrifice. We are not ready to leave the selfishness behind and say that a cause is bigger than self. Someone asked Sunitha yesterday, "How can we help?"."If you consider the girl affected by trafficking to be your own daughter, you will not need to ask me this question? You will know what you need to do". Though it does leave room for some subjectivity, the message is that "you should not always wait for someone to hand hold you into doing good". If you really want to make a change, leave the inhibitions behind. And most importantly, come with an attitude that "you can make a difference".

Second attitude is "the world is like this only". It is closely related to the above attitude. Behind the garb of our inability to fight our own ghosts, we brand the whole world as beyond redemption. We say "this is how things work" here. We forget that we refused to make even small changes to our attitude and start refusing even the small wrongs. The world which is like this, is made by people like you and me. And more than anything, what is troubling is the resignation we display towards the situation.

Third attitude is that of "denial". I have seen this attitude in many of us including myself. When we are not able to make a positive change, we soothe our soul by saying, there was nothing wrong. "Why did you not help that kid study?" "He did not want to study". "Why did you not rescue that prostitute" "Well, it seemed she was there out of her own choice"."Why did you not help that person cross the road?""I was in a hurry and I think he lives here only so he should be able to manage". "Why did you not donate to the cause""All NGOs are fraud". I keep on hearing these generic ready-to-serve statements which smack of escapism. Many times we know we are making an excuse and many times we are so properly camouflaged by our excuses that we do not realize what they are - excuses.

Lastly the "being a crab". We feel so bad about not doing anything ourselves, that we feel someone else who may be doing something good most probably has an ulterior motive, will fail because no one has been able to bring about a change, is not the right person to do it, blah blah.

We have been doomed by Newton's law of inertia. A mass in a state of rest will remain in a state of rest unless an external force causes it to change. Another law of physics dooms us. When at rest bodies have something called static friction; however when a force tries to move a body, the static friction changes to dynamic friction which increases in an effort to deter the force from moving it (of course the dynamic friction can increase only to an extent). So when some leaders and some good people try to bring about  a change in the society, the dynamic friction in us causes us to deride them and discourage them so that we can respect Newton's law. But of course, when a force big enough comes then everyone, including Newton, has to give way.


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  2. Very well put...this, perhaps worse is man's state of mind. Sadly, it is is each one's individual journey to the realization and the faith that each of us can make a huge difference by just a shift in our attitudes, will come only when an individual decides.

    Aish, this was an inspiring read!

  3. Thanks Ipshita :) You are always a support :)