Recently, one of my friend went to an event tagged as “Do the right thing”. I asked her, so what did you learn about “right things”. Answers were simple; be organic, reduce the carbon footprint, travel with locals, bike, walk, be vegan etc. I asked, this is fine, these all are businesses in some way, but what is the idea of “right thing”? Did you find if your “right” was the same as their “right”? She said, no it is only a tag line. Now, this is insightful. Although, she mentioned it as a casual remark, but it had a significant meaning.
Root or the leaves?
Today digital media or otherwise is full of variety of “do the right thing” subjects. The specific purpose may be different, but underlying idea is the same; to attract people for “support” for what they believe is the right thing. NGO’s used to be and in someway still are one of the leading face for the “right” things. Human rights, save the animals, save the birds, plant trees, down with capitalism, down with the government, save the ocean, stop GMO, save the women and many others; all different slogans to do the right things. Most often than not, if you ask these people little more details, then they are lost about their causes and motivations. Their objectives and targets fails to match, the moment you bring a different perspective. It even goes to the extent that organizations with same motive might be fighting/competing with each other. They fight for what? To do the right thing?
Mankind has always tried to do “right” things in their own perspective. It might be creating tools from stones or metals, to agriculture, to defining efficient ways, with levers and pulleys and machines. These were all in someway the right things to do to make it easier and better for mankind. We also did the right things when Moses spoke, Jesus spoke, when Krishna showed his divine image, when Buddha spread his message or when Guru Nanak went on his travels. In their mind they all did the right things, isn’t it? Little did they know what is coming next. Despite their superhuman images in which we know them today, they could not foresee how their “right way” will lead to wars, deaths and killings of thousands and millions of people.
Both are probably right
One of the simplest and probably also the most hard one to decide is to save people as long as we can or let them die. It was only a couple of hundred years ago, when almost half of kids will die before they turn adult. Only those, who were really healthy and strong would live long enough. However, somewhere between the desire to keep those kids and weak old people alive and an individual’s desire to keep living, we developed medicine sciences. Anybody who can argue against saving a child or to keep an old person alive with medicines, will probably be considered insane today. After all human life is precious and to save it at all cost is probably the biggest act of right. However, one need to look little closely on our society today to have a check, if it really is “the right” thing to do.
Do you live near any old-age home or have you been there? Have you checked lately how many old patients are “living” in hospital beds? Did you notice how many old people are in Alzheimer houses? On the the other side how many disabled kids do you see around you? Have you come across the ones who were not accepted in your school because of one or other reason? This percentage of overall population is result of doing the right thing to save human life. We keep the alzheimer person or other ill person caged in boundaries. You need only a day at such a place to see how many of them try to escape from that place. When one of them does it, the person doing the right thing might casually remark,”he thinks he can escape and be free”!!. All you need is to spend a day with an old person. Watch the person closely, look into his/her eyes. Most of the times, you see sadness. They look at themselves in the mirror and they cannot recognise who is the old, shrunk, tiny person on the other side. The face change when they realise that they have become stupid enough to remember how many people are in the house or who is male or female. They raised their children and were the authority in the house while managing everything else. Now everyone simply tells them what to do and feels ok to say “its enough!” and walks away. They cannot fathom why celebrations are different than they used to be. What are these strange devices their children or grandchildren keep on using. Why food recipes are so different than before. They are confused as to why everyone feels annoyed and frustrated of them. They see people moving around them, but not with them.
What are they thinking? They want to live? They want to live this life? Do they still believe, one day they will be better as they were before? Will their children will come home to hug them as they did when they were small? What are we thinking? We still want to see them alive, falling, forgetting, sleeping at odd places, telling them same things again, hire helpers as we do not have time, send them to old age houses because it is too risky at home? Do we stop to think if it is “right” thing or not? Or has it become just another daily ritual that we do as a routine? The same way we getup, get ready, go to work, cook food and hundreds of other target to meet. Does this also becomes just another target?
It is fascinating to see how our mind works. I am not psychologist or neuroscientist to write down technical data or put some graphs. But, we definitely seems to have immense capability to keep multiple conflicting ideologies running parallel in our mind. Somehow, somewhere deep in our mind we believe about this universal “right”, which apparently only humans can relate to. But most of the times we connect with it only at surface. What my friend said had a significant meaning. Meaning that we all love to talk about right things, good things, but at the end they are all nothing but a tag line to which most of the people are attracted to. The moment it goes a little deeper, it is an empty space. May be that’s why we intentionally or unintentionally keep it at surface.
One can see the same happening in case of smiling. When you come across people on the street, in marketplace, lots of people smile. They just smile, because somewhere, sometime they were told that it is the right thing to do. Their smile remains only at the surface, only on the lips. Their smile does not lit the eyes, the eyes still remains dull, uninterested, disconnected. Their smile does not connect to the heart, heart is still beating as before as a routine. It did not feel that smile and changed it’s pace, its warmth. I do not know what is right or what is not. But, I hope next time when you come across someone on the street and feel the need to smile, then wait and see if you are doing it only as a routine. See if you can change and connect your heart, eyes, your whole being to that smile. That smile will reach deep inside the other person and will stay longer. If you cannot, then why bother? Is it “right” or not, it is up to you.
Fortunate or Unfortunate
Once there was a man who took a ride in an airplane.
Unfortunately he fell out of the plane.
Fortunately he was wearing a parachute.
Unfortunately the parachute was not properly packed and it did not open.
Fortunately there was a haystack in the field below.
Unfortunately there was a sharp pitchfork sticking straight out of the haystack.