In the race to succeed and live a purposeful life, let’s stop and take a breath to ask yourself an important question today - are you becoming more apathetic or immune to the world around you? Whether it may be towards building meaningful human relations with fellow citizens or to empathize with other people's life eventualities. In this week’s article, the author makes us reflect on how impactful a life are we actually living.
Let’s Impact Lives!
Love and empathy are two things we seem to be losing as the modern world progresses by. Whether it’s the progress of the world from a simpler to a more complex life, or it’s just an inevitable component of evolution, the causes may be debatable. However, it is apparent that we have grown colder and numb to the plights of our neighbours and the people we pass by each day. I’m not saying that we have to plunge ourselves into the personal problems of everyone we come across, but we can all try to be a bit more sensitive and understanding to the people we interact or deal with in our day to day lives.
We are quick to judge and label those actions we deem immoral or unethical, while our own personally defined morality overlooks our own transgressions. Yes, we are hypocrites who forget the fact that we have been marked guilty many times in our own trials and sometimes in the same ways as the people we accuse. We are quick to point at the weaknesses of others, especially those in power and the limelight, ridiculing them while acting as if we are at the pinnacle of perfection. Instead of relating their humanity to our own flawed selves, we judge them marking them as “failures” or “disappointments”. When will we learn to look into the mirror i.e. our own souls and learn to identify our flaws and be able to relate with others facing the same or different issues?
We Nagas are a Christian community. Even so, we, the followers of a religion whose core principle is love, have failed to demonstrate the same, time and again. Is something wrong with the understanding of our faith? Or are we turning a blind eye to it in order to pursue our own selfish goals with the illusion of a clean conscience? Yes, selfishness might be at the core of every human being as a part of our survival instinct, but it certainly shouldn’t be the dominant trait of our character. We are definitely capable of more selfless actions if only we choose to and build ourselves on it.
In the recent years, there have been many instances where our people failed to demonstrate the love and empathy that our faith teaches. From our leaders to you and me, we’ve all failed in one way or another; from the infamous lynching (which personally horrified me), to the deaths of our two young brothers whose funerals became another spectacle for political agendas. The public perhaps suffers since those in power ignore the issues and have self-motivated interests in mind. Where is the love and empathy? Love for the people, love for your neighbours, love for the state, the empathy for the poor and suffering, for the innocents paying the price for another’s transgressions.
I keep my distance from the online social discussion pages as much as possible because the picture is even uglier there. People can anonymously spread venom and provoke others for no reason. Sometimes going through the comments on those pages makes me lose whatever little hope I have for us as a state, though yes, I know that real public opinion can never be tapped. The peace loving state that we are supposed to be, shrivels and withers up immediately when we choose to spread hate without a second thought. And there is an abundance of people who do that online on every online social discussion page I’ve come across. The wise ones usually refuse to express their opinions hiding behind likes and emoticons, while others choose the ineffective option of pointlessly arguing with such people.
The whole world is afflicted by this deficiency of love and empathy, and it has been so since time immemorial. The proposed ‘Muslim ban’ in the US, the Syrian refugee crisis, all point towards this. Countless lives are lost while the world watches by, unable to act because only a few actually care enough to do something. Yet these few may not have the power needed to achieve set goals. War and hate crimes are still abundant. Can we do something about it? Or have we completely given up?
However, things don’t necessarily end there. Progress towards the greater good is always hampered by feelings of complacency and defeat. We must always be wary of these two things as they abate the human growth, stagnating life itself. We might not be able to change the world in a second, a day, a month or year, but our every action can most certainly bring about the ripple effect that eventually covers the whole world itself. How we live our lives and the lessons we leave for our descendants matter, even if we feel that we lead rather insignificant lives. Every human being acts as a drop in the giant river of life; we are a like a collective existence that keeps changing; we pass on what we learn so the next generation knows better. Our little acts of love and empathy definitely will serve as an example to the future generations becoming an even better existence as a whole.
This quote by American astrophysicist and author Neil de Grasse Tyson comes to mind: “Humans aren't as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that we're reading, writing, arithmetic, and empathy”.