16 October 2006

The important thing to do

It’s all right to let millions of people die from starvation, AIDS, pestilence and war – or a combination of these – while we enjoy an easy life, consuming more and more to satisfy our inner desires. After all, it’s not directly affecting us. Not at the moment. And, the way things are, it’s not likely to do so, soon. So, let’s carry on with our lives just the way we have been.

Or, maybe we should stop and listen to people like Bono (see my earlier post) and a thousand others who campaign against life’s inequalities – for others, not themselves. Maybe we, too, should have the courage and the motivation to step up to do something about what we feel is not right in this world. To think of others, and not just ourselves. Simply because, as human beings, it’s an important thing to do.

Philosophers, historians, social scientists and religions have debated over morals for centuries. And, we are still left with our own conscience. What may be unfair to us may not be so to others. Even the degree of unfairness in a specific situation – the gravity of it – may be debated. This measuring of a situation’s unfairness may divide us into those who act against unfairness and those who don’t. Or, into those who believe someone else should take action, but not us. Or, into those who intend to take action – but, perhaps, not right away.

Then again, what about our feelings? Our passions or our compassion towards another human being or another life? Or, this planet? What about our anger or our excitement at seeing something unfair or cruel happening right before our eyes? What of that? What do we do then?

What is right? What is wrong? How do we decide right from wrong? And, what do we do after that? These questions may dog our minds and take away our sleep at night, but they come later. Much later. What’s important is what we do before our powers of reasoning cloud our minds against unfairness or injustice or cruelty or suffering. Perhaps these should be motivation enough for us to take action.

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