Authored by Vaibhav Srivastav
Mankind has not changed over the thousands of years of its existence. However, the basic human instincts remain the same. How an individual behaves in society today can be related in many ways by how man behaved in the past. There are inherent qualities of good and evil that have been carried over from our history. Fortunately, values like being good to fellow humans, falling in love, aspiring for success etc remains the same. Unfortunately, evils like greed, hate, animosity are still present. And they would perpetually be present. There are no vaccines, no medical drugs, no sure shot Bramhastra to eliminate these emotions. And God forbid, futuristic writers like Philip K Dick, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley predict that if mass attempts are made to remove these feelings from mankind, society would not become perfect, they would rather become dystopian in nature. To remove these evils, control over the human mind is required. And that can be achieved only through dictatorship. It is not hard to imagine that ‘a perfect world’ would not be good to live in. In fact, it would be impossible to live in.
So are these negative aspects of human behaviour necessary? Is it better to let things be as a change is near impossible?
Evil exists, and it cannot be gotten rid of, since evil, like ‘energy’ only changes from one form to another. Mankind has advanced, and so have increased the number of ways in which one human being can harm another. There’s a character in a Neil Gaiman comic book who is given the chance to live forever. After a few hundred years he realizes that time changes nothing, given a chance to learn from his mistakes, he has had equal opportunities to make new ones.
In that character I see a reflection of mankind as a single entity. We were born, in each age for different reasons we have been under the threat of complete annihilation. Despite this, and despite good or evil, we have survived, and sadly or gladly, we shall continue to do so. There are no minutes to midnight; there is no countdown to the end, or for that matter, the wait for a better dawn.
I bring this point forth to illustrate how futile an attempt to change the situation appears. The word used to describe a social upheaval is revolution, which in itself means ‘Coming back full circle’. This rather contradicts the whole philosophy of Readers Quotient. We aim at beginning (and, touchwood, achieving) an educational revolution. So why try? When good and evil exists in each man, not equally, but in varying degrees, eradication of social evils is not only difficult, it is impossible. There was a scientific experiment in which a study was conducted over a group of people, and it was realized that given a chance, anyone can be evil.
Already having touched many tangents, I would like to digress even further and take the example of the recent history of our country. Let us look for signs of change (and social changes, not scientific advancements). Our country gained independence on the 15th of August, 1947. The white ruler was replaced by the brown ruler. The colour of skin changed, but the colour of greed, corruption and exploiters behaviour is still the same. The plight of the weak and downtrodden is constant, and it is their pain that we wish to alleviate. So if society will always be based on human instincts, is any concrete achievement possible?
I would close this rather bleak argument of mine by pointing out why exactly should we change when it is near impossible.
If the bad qualities of human beings have not withered away, the aspirations of mankind as a single entity have also increased. There has been an exponential rise in the progress of technology, especially in the past three hundred years. And it is that desire to succeed which drives us. And it is with these feelings in mind that we wish to make this earth a better place. Our world is not dying, it is eternal, and yet it is wounded and needs healing. I would say let things be as they are, lift not a finger, think not a single thought that would disturb you or move you to action, and you will continue to exist. There would be a life, but it would be a life unfulfilled.
We are defined by our attempts, and that is why an attempt is also called a ‘trial’, it is this trial in life that we have to face. We do not live just to eat and breathe. Our existence gains meaning by our actions. Each individual is free to behave in a way he or she wants to. This is freedom, and it is the source of our power, it breeds both good and evil. And since we are free to choose our methods and our aspirations, it is upon us to try and make the change. An educational revolution will not be achieved (although I hope it does occur), but to make an impact on even a few lives is worth the effort.
So, why try?
Because, we can. Let’s hope that with the dawn of this new year at least we shall try to be good and ethical in our approach towards life,society, fellow human beings and add some values to our upbringing. On behalf of the Reader’s Quotient team, I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year.