The Difficulty of Being Good

difficulty_curve“The only thing you have to do in this life is die. Everything else is a choice.” – Karen Thompson Walker (The Age of Miracles)

We live in a society in which competition even leads to outstrip our close ones. There is a growing quest dwelling inside us; a quest for power; a quest to invade and prevail. But what does this quest finally bring us? Inner peace? I’m not so sure! Aren’t we nurturing a society full of covetousness and scepticism? Why clipping other people’s wings, when the sky is big enough for us all to fly?

Do good, or not?

We must all have, in our life, undergone circumstances where we have done something good but in return we reap an unsolicited and startling outcome. Nevertheless this is maybe explicable in the words of Roseanne Barr – “To expect life to treat you good is foolish as hoping a bull won’t hit you because you are a vegetarian.” Whenever anybody goes ahead and does anything which is beyond what contemporary man sees in his daily life, those who do not have the strength themselves to go ahead, resent this movement. This is a fact of life. In this case, should we stop being ethical and innovative in our undertakings? Should we stop following the standards of integrity, which are about doing the right thing in the society?

A search on Google lead me to a fine hypothesis; according to the Josephson Institute for the Advancement of Ethics, “values considered essential to ethical life are honesty, integrity, promise-keeping, fidelity, fairness, caring for others, respect for others, responsible citizenship, the pursuit of excellence and accountability.” Ethics refer to the personal values or deeply held belief systems that underpin the moral choices which are made for someone to respond to a specific situation. After reading these phrases, how would you rate your ethics?

Let the action speak

Beyond this debate of good and bad, comes the acknowledged culture of throwing mud at others with the intent to prove the instinct that we are clean. This has actually become a fashion in our modern-day society – if you want to achieve something, just tarnish the image of your opponent. Agreed that it can be the easiest way to march into, but do you think it is a sustainable stratagem to prevail? History witnesses that no ethical leader in the world has ever been successful (in the real sense) by sullying and disrespecting his opponent. I firmly believe that if we have to reign, we have to bring on concrete actions rather than words. Let your exceptional undertakings and performance speak of themselves.

One current example is how Bharatiya Janta Party’s most visible leader, Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, came into the limelight. India’s agitated media and population today celebrate the ambitions of this opposition party’s nominee, and aspire to have him as the Prime Minister of the country. Modi has become an avatar of effective government, not through words, not by wasting time on blaming the ruling party, but rather by bringing huge development and modernization in the state of Gujurat during his four terms in office.

Instant judgements

Man has an intrinsic comportment of straight-away judging and tagging people – their neighbour, their relatives, people who are in the glare of publicity, or largely politicians. And that too, based on hear-says and words of mouth. Who are we to do that? How credible and trustworthy can those hear-says be? It is so much easy to sit folded-arms and form opinions. So much easy! Let’s take the example of politicians. We abuse our freedom by tagging them whenever and wherever we want. Did any of us ever think that although politicians have a public life, they too have a family? And that they too have the right of the same respect like us in the society? Do they really deserve all sorts of labels and tags given by us, who personally would not even think of getting into their job position and work?

If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t agree, argue. If you don’t like it, say. But don’t sit there and make judgements.

My World vs. Your World

I’m reminded of a short story. A frog used to live in a well, since a long time. It was born there and brought up there, and yet was a little, small frog. Of course, the evolutionists were not there then to tell us whether the frog lost its eyes or not, but, for this story’s sake, let’s take it for granted that the frog had its eyes, and that everyday it cleansed the water of all the worms and bacilli that lived in it with an energy that would do credit to our modern bacteriologists. In this way it went on and became a little sleek and fat. One day another frog that lived in the sea came and fell into the well.

“Where are you from?”

“I am from the sea.”

“The sea! How big is that? Is it as big as my well?” and it took a leap from one side of the well to the other.

“My friend,” said the frog from the sea, “how do you compare the sea with your little well?”

Then the frog took another leap and asked, “Is your sea so big?”

“What nonsense you speak, to compare the sea with your well!”

“Ha!,” said the frog of the well, “Can’t be! There can be nothing bigger than my well. This fellow is a liar, so turn him out.”

That has been the difficulty all the while.

We, the laypeople sit in our own little well and think that the whole country is our little well. The policy maker sits in his little well and thinks the whole world is his well. I believe there should be an attempt by the society’s emerging generation to break down the barriers of these little worlds, and evolve towards a common purpose.

Remember, a Common Purpose!

– KRISHNA ATHAL

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