Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why people lack values in public and personal lives ?

Let us compare human values to flowers and fruits that grow on plants. It comes out naturally when the plant gets adequate sun light, space and manure. It is a natural outcome when all these ingredients made available to plants. Likewise, values naturally would flow from individuals when he has his space in society, and when his self respect and individual dignity kept in-tact by the state governance mechanism.

Every form of government in the world is said to be aiming  at achieving this ultimate goal - - - to convert its people into enlightened, free, self respecting individuals. Pre- ample of Indian constitution too has these ideals clearly specified as the very motto of the existence of the state.

But sadly, ignoring this central necessity, governments in developing countries put all their efforts and attention in ensuring economic development of its people, completely neglecting this primary aspect of  individual growth  - - -their blossoming into complete, dignified, self respecting, free, enlightened individuals!

If atmosphere in the family determines an individual’s value system, the country does it too to its citizens!

We have no doubt about family’s role in the character formation of an individual. Then why should we have doubt about the country’s role in character formation and value orientation of its citizens?  Character of the citizen is fully depended upon the way the government behave, and treat its people. There is nothing wrong in attributing a parents role to the state in this meaning !
State is nothing but the sacred abode of the collective wisdom, reason and common sense of its people in its correct democratic sense.

Can any one confidently say keeping his palm on heart that during a visit to the nearby police station, a tax office, or a municipal, village, district collector’s office, one would be allowed to maintain his sense of dignified self at these places? A firm ‘no’ would emanate loud from one and all in the largest democracy of the world!

What is there in the pre-ample of the constitution regarding  fraternity and individual dignity  does not materialize in the day to day country administration, hence we live in a failed state in this meaning. It is there in paper, but not there in practice.

One can treat the other only the way he treat  himself

This is the central theory - -we as citizens  are allowed to keep only zero self esteem  by the state, hence we can treat our fellow citizen also with the same degree of  respect. You are just  like me, a nil entity in the country. So what is important is to safeguard my self-hood first than giving you any respect:  this is the common logic of the man on the street.

When I am treated with scant regard for my self esteem at police station, tax office, or the municipal office, I am forced to adjust my self image accordingly. Then I treat my children, my neighbour, my colleague, my class mate and my parents in the same way. It is a contagious disease.

If  analyzed this way, the root cause of  ‘terrorism’ in our present day society also can be attributed to this central cause - -people who had suffered extreme form of cruelty, or disdain  from the hands of police and the state, or indirectly come to know of such experiences from some, will attempt to give it back to the state in the same coin!  By the laws of existence, such victims would be under  extreme psychic compulsion to react this way! He can not remain at peace with himself till he takes revenge!

It is a neurotic situation, chiefly caused by the irrational, unscientific policies and attitude of the state and its agencies. One of the founding juries of the American constitution said to have  quipped- -‘state must accept the first responsibility for every act of criminality and terrorism of  its citizens because, it might have been  due to the fault, or some  act of commission or omission from the part of the state’

Also we must respect what the famous Nobel Prized writer Albert Camus said once - - a state can be said truly civilized only when it starts sending its criminals to mental asylums than jails!

 If a general impression can be created by an active media  campaign, that criminals and corrupt officials are merely mentally abnormal people, notoriety and thrill attached to it might get reduced drastically! Society as a whole must be exhorted not to respect success by any means. Media only could help the society to redefine its value system in this manner.

One tend to discard what is difficult to keep/maintain

Yes, it is another psychological fact  - - when self esteem and self-dignity is found something extremely difficult to keep and maintain in the day do day life, people just discard it, like a burdensome load. It is like some thing very fragile to carry safely in the impersonal crowd. This act of discarding one’s self gives them a special kind of freedom, the freedom of immorality! The freedom of the lumpen elements, of treating the world and its values as thrash !

By internalizing the collective dirt around, the general value-less-ness around, individual tries to become an integral  part of the similar crowd around! This way, one can learn the art of abusing the other without shame or self-hate, and even to get physically violent if needed.

A police man has to necessarily do this exercise to succeed in his job of hurting others, and a criminal novice learns this lesson probably in jail,  or from his gang mates..

 What is not expressed remains un-real for us! So we express dirt, guilt and violence upon others  to get real about it. We live it out. No one wants to send any signal of being gentle and straight in the neighborhood, or community. Every one compulsorily tries to get rough, and cunning ! This values of immorality and cunningness have become necessary tools for survival in today’s world.

Every one wears this dirt, value-less-ness, shame-less ness and cruelty as a safety armor in the valueless society! It is safe to roll up in mud and get immune to the dirt feeling if one can not avoid it any way in daily life. This is the psychology of attaining such an attitude.

All these exercises are necessitated by the kind of life that the state have devised for its people, though not intentionally, but out of apathy and ignorance towards such vital needs of human being.

Why the craze for power and authority trouble India?

Power and money are the two elixirs that could save one from the fear of loosing one’s freedom, dignity and self esteem. Hence every one craves for these two with maniacal frenzy.

This national trait of our people may be a direct result of our long years of suffering under foreign rule, and the subsequent failure of our  democratic government (peoples own government !)) to provide the much starved for ‘dignity of self’ in the new governance system.  

Whatever may be the reason, people as well as leaders hope to attain permanent immunity from the humiliation of being a helpless commoner by grabbing positions of power, or be linked with such points of power, or by amassing wealth by any available means. Both are not ends in itself, but means to avoid the miserable state of being a common citizen on the street.

Corruption is also nothing but one’s attempt to amass wealth fast and easy, and to achieve the similar ends.

It is said that most number of IAS aspirants being from  the Indian state of Bihar is due the state’s most horrible feudalistic past.  People suffered a lot under feudalism, hence  people developed severe form of neurotic craving for power and glory, which they aspire to grab through civil service. Deprivation of something leads to craving for it. It is common sense knowledge. 

Who all can help to bring-in changes in the situation?

The class of political leaders may not be able to do much in bringing forth this vital shift - - -as they are simply consumers/users of an existing system in a way that suit them best. They may not have any interest in bringing forth any change in this domain. They are like professional wrestlers - - -professional in a given game. They may not be able to devise the game differently.

We have seen that they too are mere victims of the above described deprivation of dignity and self-worth, or in many cases, those who do not want to lose their glory of the past if they had belonged to such superior economic, social or caste lobby earlier.

Media personals too can not do much. They consider their profession  like the way a state ‘executioner’ consider the oddity of his profession. Both are into something tradition imposed.
Both are into their respective professions with out any scope now, to re-define the pros and cons of it. Engaging into Its moral or social impact questions is out of purview  at this stage. Hence except the job of reporting the world, and create news for people, looking into inner working of an existing system is not part of their job.

We have recently seen copy of an 18th century news paper called ‘Pennsylvania Gazette’ It carried many ‘FOR SALE’ advertisements from slave owners.  ( ‘ Just imported, a parcel of likely Negro men,  women and children…) This news paper of that day had nothing to do with the  historical injustice inflicted upon the black people of that time. They simply acted their role in the society, as tools for the activities of the masters of the then society, irrespective of its right and wrong. Hence, like the class of politicians, they too are here for playing around with their ready made role, and trying to get the best out of it. Their current chief activity of  reporting news also has nothing much to do with mankind’s task of carrying itself forward in the ladder of civilizational progress, though their proper role and central task should have been this !


But if the media become ready to redefine their role in the society on the above lines, they could achieve the above task in  the shortest possible time than any other strata ! The medium they are bestowed with is like a giant black board fitted over our heads in the world. What ever they write on the board become class room lessons for us every day. People infer their worlds from these edicts and inscriptions !

Judiciary can do it if media create the hype !

Hence the judiciary is the only sector who could to do something on this calamity. They can be forced to act if media project the subject matter in  its deserving seriousness. 

Judiciary could intervene and ensure unconditional protection of personal esteem and dignity of individual in day to day country governance, by merely helping to implement the existing FRATERNITY clause in the pre-ample of Indian constitution. Such a step would subside the mad rush for political power and money in the long run! Our highly rational judiciary can sternly draw the attention of the law makers to get the sacred items in the pre-ample of the constitution properly implemented in the country administration.

Can the class of intellectuals do it ?

Upon close analysis, it seems they are the only one class who could achieve the said end of social revival.  Because, as we have seen above, media and the political class are merely 'users' or ' smart-explorers' of the existing system, for making a living ! They are alien and different from the real class of 'people', or even exploratory, or predatory !

So, the heavy responsibility of analyzing socio-political reality, and intervening through their observation, criticism, appeals, raising voice, activism etc. falls directly on the shoulders of the intellectuals, writers, and every one who has a place, a voice and an already set space in the public-sphere ! People usually form the impression about the world and its trends and values from their writings, speeches, books etc, of course that reaches them through media sources. 

Media are depended upon this class, especially for the 'content' requirement, and usually they do not mind their voice going out to people and the world, as they think they achieve the much celebrated tag of 'objectivity' through this act.

Here too, media's vital discretion power comes to play the crucial role; who and what stuff they should chose and publish ? Ultimately, what regularly appear in the media, whether it is tv, newspaper or magazines, that would set the general out-look, value system, and direction of the thought of people. But, there really exist a distinct class of regular writers, columnists, opinion leaders, known-thought masters in every society, and if they come together on some basics of what society and mankind needs, or if they come to base thoughts and attitudes on one universal premise about what kind of society mankind needs, the essence of their work and words will fall on similar lines. World will get a uniform taste of real intellectual and moral direction through their work.

Now, such writers exist and act as unique realities for them-selves without realizing that, there definitely exists an agreement between what they write and think at a fine bottom, universal premise about how individuals, society and institutions must exist, work and behave.

Freedom of spirit is a pre-condition for  using Reason

When one is not enjoying his freedom of spirit, such person is usually found unfit for open reasoning. His mind is closed. Reasoning needs open mind without restrictions. It is a cosmic law. Hence in countries and societies where open thoughts and free expression is restricted, people tend to become dogmatic and intolerant.

Nature wants people to be free, hence when freedom is suppressed, it compels man to revolt in her attempt to make them come out free. This cosmic law is the cause of uprisings and terrorism. The suppressed ones attempt to destroy the oppressor and achieve freedom. He is torn and disintegrated. So he attempts to tear off and disintegrate the world and its inhabitants, who, he feels, has caused his broken state.

Civil society concept originated in the world to counter this forest time trend of man, but it is still prevailing in human society in many clandestine and deceptive forms. Democracy is a good example. It was a natural evolvement of an ideal in the maturity of time in human civilization, like the evolvement of similar ideals of FREEDOM, LIBERTY etc in the world, to liberate mankind from the said forest tendencies, but it has sadly become the very instrument in the hands of the negative forces to keep the society in the old way.  

Like Reason, values too can be internalized by men only when they are free and enjoy self-esteem and dignity. So, value inculcation can never be a curative process- - - one has to first prepare the people for receiving it, by giving them spiritual freedom and dignity first.

Authored by : Abraham J.Palakudy

He is a seeker and Researcher in fields like Mind, Reason, Metaphysics, Spirituality and Polity
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( This is portion of a letter sent to Mr.E.Shreedharan, MD, Metro in 2008, in response to his initiative for setting up a ‘Value inculcation council of India’ He did reply, commending the logical strength of the argument)