Obsession over Superiority - the Root of All Hatred
SOPHEA URBI BISWAS
Let us imagine taking a step into the savannah region in Central Africa in the heart of a winter season. Two distinct gazelle families stand erect face to face in front of the last remnant of the essence of autumn- a promising patch of green grass. The dark and bright hues of green send sparkles of ecstasy into the eyes of the baby gazelles as their parents prepare themselves for the ensuing battle. Their horns tilt in position, pupils dilate and muscles tense. Dust engulfs the intense air, the drumming of the hooves sound the battle cry as they charge forward in supersonic speed. Their horns clash with colossal force, striving to throw each other off-balance. However, neither party seems intimidated. The scuffle continues for a while. The situation is as taught in physics - two forces of equal magnitude opposing each other gives no resultant force leading to a stationary position, or in this case a stalemate. Both parties enervate as time lapses. Both forces tentatively take a few steps backwards, remaining vigilant to every gesture of their antagonist. Their urge to claim the pasture fades as they contemplate the consequences of a prolonged fight. Both parties warily retreat, ending up nibbling in the grass from different directions, not getting in each other's ways.
Now let us imagine the same situation by replacing the gazelles with two countries that are neighbouring, the pasture with a territory enriched with deposits of oil and natural gas falling in the boundary of the two countries, and the time being a time when the fossil fuels are running out fast, a time such as now. The territory promises an opulent future with ever rising export earnings with a chance for the country to earn the highest GDP in the world. The neighbouring countries sit at a conference trying to reach an agreement while both countries present their adamant views on why they should own the territory entirely. The talks end in failure. Now the question is do they contemplate the consequences of an armed battle and retreat?
Is it not fascinating that the answer seems so obvious? The countries engage in a ghastly battle. Fingers tense on the triggers of rifles as unpinned grenades bloom a vortex of explosions. Borders are breached, men of opposing forces shot, women of vanquished territories abused, innocent children stranded to starve to death. Why could they not nibble on the resources without getting on each other's paths just like the gazelles? Some might say because of their human nature. I specify because of their obsession over superiority. The humans have a preposterous urge to establish their dominance and prove their superiority. Is it not the reason why interstate conflicts over resources persist while they could be easily resolved through equitable sharing? Isn't obsession over superiority the reason why people misinterpret their own religion's messages and grow a feeling of hostility and intolerance over other religions? Is it not this condescending attitude the reason why males dominate and women are subjected to acts of violence and harassment? We are so blinded by this obsession that we do not even perceive our duty of protecting our own species from our own selves. This urge to dominate has led us to establish a food chain within our own species where the affluent and the powerful feed on the feeble to survive. I congratulate the Homo sapiens for attaining the title of the most loathsome species on earth!
In my opinion, this obsession over superiority is the root of all hatred, conflict and acts of aggression in today's world. This obsession is a part of human nature itself; as long as humans survive, his urge to attest his superiority will. Yet, it is the degree of this urge that can be controlled to prevent acts of aggression and violence and create a tranquil world. We should develop an attitude of sharing rather than snatching, of caring rather than dominating, and of living in harmony rather than inducing a fight. As Erin Gruwell once said “I realised if you can change a classroom, you can change a community, and if you change enough communities you can change the world.”
“Hate” is a strong word, they say. In a country where so many trifle matters are considered taboo, it is ironic that “hate” still isn't considered one. We start learning to hate from our early childhood. We learn to hate that street-kid wearing filthy tattered clothes. We learn to hate that spoilt brat who refuses to study unlike us. We learn to hate the rich snobbish kid in school who has ten times as many Pokémon or duel masters cards as us or the “nerds” who don't have a life. We learn to hate the teachers who grade us poorly. Growing up, we start hating people who don't share the same ideologies or even support the same football club. We learn to hate the system. We learn to hate everything.
“Hate” indeed is a strong feeling. It is high time we replaced “hate” with “help”. Hate begets hate. This is not just applicable for our country; rather the world as a whole. John Lennon urged us to imagine the world living peacefully and as one. Today we harmonize to his songs and put on his signature shades as one while we even forget to leave each other in peace. The world is torn between war and diplomacy. Neil Armstrong thought that his steps onto the moon were “(a) small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind”. Little had he known that every leap forward would turn to a plunge into the darkness. We cannot help but ponder, “is the world living peacefully even an option?'
With the recent rise of global terrorism, the option seems highly unlikely. When the countries aren't at each other's throat, they are busy fending off terrorists conducting cold-blooded mass shootouts or bombings as spectated with horror lately in Dhaka, Munich, Paris, Istanbul etc. to name a few. The essence of world peace is truly realized in these circumstances. So the question stands, whether achieving world-peace is possible or not. Surprisingly, the answer is yes, it is!
As Economics tells us, “Resources are limited; demands are unlimited”. In Philosophy and Psychology's perspective “wants are never satisfied”. Therefore, mankind will never be completely satisfied. But it is imperative that this unquenchable want be harnessed for the greater good instead of declaring war on each other. Sitting in the 21st century, we fortunately see infrequent incidents like these. The more threatening talking-point of the current tide is the influx of terrorism generated from conflict of interest and intolerance. However, just two mantras can solve all the problems:
“Don't hate” and “Care about lives over self-interests”
Instilling these two values is of utmost significance. A man guided by these codes always has his conscience showing him the righteous path. Even all the superheroes that we obsess over try to preach us these values.
Hatred is the root cause for deviance. Religious extremism, fascism, sexism et al. are generated from severe hatred towards dissimilar ideologies to the point that one loses all moral grounds. This is when one gets indulged in hate-crimes and terrorist activities. Only if the hate could be entirely erased, the world would be a far serene place.
As citizens of the world it is the duty for each one of us to take up the mantle and find a solution to intolerance and violence. Considering the statistics that 30% of our country's population is constituted by youth, it is hay time for our effervescent youth to take charge of the nation. Unfortunately, more and more of this demography are getting derailed from the path of illumination. This deviation mostly results from isolation, lack of human attachment or worse, being bullied. So it is our responsibility to ensure that our siblings, friends or relatives don't suffer from mental depression. No matter how different they are, they are one of us. We need to let them flourish and grow ourselves in the process by nurturing them with affection. This can be done by motivating each other to achieve goals and chasing noble causes. We need to approach those who don't know how to connect and let them know they are not alone. We can implement the “buddy-system” campaigns through digital media or even better, personal initiatives.
No matter how small an entity we are in the world, we can all make the world a better place together by doing everything in our part to enlighten our generation and the next. We need to shed off our hate and reach out to those in need of salvation. WE ARE ONE.
Let's mind our own business
We are more than familiar with influential figures beginning their speeches with clichéd lines which reminds us of how today's world is plagued with conflict. We are told to stand together and unite; we are advised to forget our divides and live in harmony; but is it that easy to stop complaining about what others do which affects us in no way?
More often than not, we end up finding the causes of conflicts; some arise for our social stigmas. Some arise when we are prejudiced and can't help our urges to make a baseless comment at particular people; others are much more elaborate cases such as resource deficits or deteriorating diplomatic relations between countries. Let's not get into that and stick to the social issues.
Be it in the more liberal or more conservative nations, social divide is prevailing and does not seem to stop increasing. Hatred is discernibly on the rise when the world desperately seeks for love. It is about time that someone came up with a legit idea to bridge the divides in our community to establish peaceful coexistence. I'll take that opportunity and present what I have in mind.
My philosophy orbits around the core concept that, we, humans are really terrible at minding our own business. Take the recent hate crimes for instance and put yourself in the shoes of the ones who have a problem with people expressing their 'opinions'. Now stop and ask yourself, “do I really have to go on the offense or can I let them be? Do their opinions hurt my livelihood?” The frequency of hate crimes can really slump if we realized that someone's opinion, sexuality, race or lifestyle does not affect us. We can live in harmony if we chose to fend for ourselves, not for others.
I am not asking the society to love and respect others right now. I believe that the build up to a peaceful coexistence is a multi step process and that 'minding your own business' is the first step we must take; love and respect is too much to ask for now. It is a shame that today we find it difficult to live a day without making a needless judgment towards individuals whom we barely know. If a man decides to wear, let's say, yellow pants in a gathering, no matter how much it may bother us, we must keep in mind that it does not hurt us in any way possible and therefore refrain from passing a baseless comment at him just to show him down. There is simply no need for it.
This brings us to analyzing another major aspect of my ideology; a paradox maybe. Although my call is to let people be, there are cases in which we need to take an initiative to meddle in what others do. Such cases arise when a specific few deliberately act against the establishment of social harmony. We nose in circumstances which are not important and back out whenever attention is needed. We often see people getting jacked or women being harassed in public while bystanders simply stare. It is really not a rare scene. There are certain ones who find amusement in observing something unpleasant happening, for some odd reason. That is a perception we need to reform. It is vital that everyone builds up a willingness to act against vulgarities, which can inspire ten others to do the same. If such a multiplier effect is attained, dreaming of a society without divide will not be farfetched.
Lastly, it is more than essential, especially in more conservative nations such as ours, that we change the ways we bring up children. Not just in primary schools but also in homes. Instead of pointing out flaws of other faiths in front children, we should instill within them the importance of mutual respect Instead of shutting them down when they speak out, parents should encourage free speech. This is, of course, a long term execution but is definitely necessary for a social reform.
To sum up my plan for sustainable societal peace; we need to stop butting in others lives or go on the offense unless it harms our livelihood. Next we must take a stance against acts which disrupts peace and communal respect, inspiring others through the course. Finally, teach or enlighten the future generations about the importance of harmony, establishing a positive multiplier effect.
Keep in mind that if we start today, we can make tomorrow brighter.
I would begin this article with a story of an ancient Indian King who was obsessed with the desire to find the meaning of peace. What is peace and how can we get it and when we find it what should we do with it were some of the issues that bothered him. Intellectuals in his kingdom were invited to answer the King's questions for a handsome reward. Many tried but none could explain how to find peace and what to do with it. At last someone said the King ought to consult the sage who lived just outside the borders of his Kingdom:
"He is an old man and very wise," the King was told. "If anyone can answer your questions he can."
The King went to the sage and posed the eternal question. Without a word the sage went into the kitchen and brought a grain of wheat to the King.
"In this you will find the answer to your question," the Sage said as he placed the grain of wheat in the King's outstretched palm.
Puzzled but unwilling to admit his ignorance the King clutched the grain of wheat and returned to his palace. He locked the precious grain in a tiny gold box and placed the box in his safe. Each morning, upon waking, the King would open the box and look at the grain to seek an answer but could find nothing.
Weeks later another sage, passing through, stopped to meet the King who eagerly invited him to resolve his dilemma. The King explained how he had asked the eternal question and this sage gave him a grain of wheat instead. "I have been looking for an answer every morning but I find nothing."
The Sage said: "It is quite simple, your honor. Just as this grain represents nourishment for the body, peace represents nourishment for the soul. Now, if you keep this grain locked up in a gold box it will eventually perish without providing nourishment or multiplying. However, if it is allowed to interact with the elements - light, water, air, soil - it will flourish, multiply and soon you would have a whole field of wheat which will nourish not only you but so many others. This is the meaning of peace. It must nourish your soul and the souls of others, it must multiply by interacting with the elements."
Peace-a small word with a deeper meaning attached to it......different interpretations, different perspectives and different understandings yet the meaning is one but for one's own self. Setting a yardstick about what peace means to you is your own way of looking at it. When I hear this pure, magical word the first thing I see is a satisfied soul and not just a quiet that has prevailed. But when quiet prevails, it maybe for mourning a death or even remembering someone great or just a quiet night sleep. And as Oscar Romero says-
Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.
Peace is not the silent result of violent repression.
Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.
So peace implies as something quiet yet good-from within and for something outside…..
Stillness is one of the most important attribute of peace and not just it leads to a quiet environment around but makes us quiet from inside. To obtain this peace is not easy.
There is a constant fight going on inside you….. White versus Black, Good versus Evil and when we obtain control over our ourselves we can win this war. Consequently, when good prevails over evil within us, can we spread peace to our external elements. Peace comes from living in the moment and looking for the good in others. Peacefulness comes from facing our fears and letting them - trust that things will turn out all right.
While it is true that the world has become so complex and so technologically oriented that individuals no longer believe that they count or that they can do anything to affect world events, it is precisely the opposite. For only when individuals take total responsibility for their own lives, find within themselves calm and power of ‘good’ and live in peace with their neighbors and environment, only then will forces be set in motion that will eventually bring about world peace.
Nations go to war, often quoting peace as the reason. We must realize peace is a journey, not an end. Yet, in our efforts to obtain peace, we often do the most unpeaceful things. Instead of seeking inner peace, we seek to enforce peace on others. And that just doesn't work. Peace is a gift you can give to others and to yourself. If you seek peace with a sincere heart, you can find it.
Peace has the power to move mountains. Mahatma Gandhi had spread peace to the world and this was his power or else how could a frail man like him get India its freedom and Indians their rights.
The quality of life depends not upon external development or material progress, but upon the inner development of peace and happiness. We all wish for world peace, but world peace will never be achieved unless we first establish peace within our own minds. Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible. We can send so-called ‘peacekeeping forces’ into areas of conflict, but peace cannot be imposed from the outside with guns. Only by creating peace within our own mind and helping others do the same can we hope to achieve peace in this world.
We can see from this that if we want true, lasting happiness we need to develop and maintain a special experience of inner peace. The only way to do this is by gradually reducing and eliminating our negative, disturbed states of mind and replacing them with positive, peaceful states. Eventually, through continuing to improve our inner peace we will experience permanent inner peace, or ‘nirvana’. Once we have attained nirvana we will be happy throughout our life, and in life after life.
When a baby is born, he is innocent and believed to be the purest form of god in this materialistic world and when he dies he ‘Rests in Peace’. The unpeacefulness is in between these two stages of human life as he gets trapped in the materialistic trap of this world………
So, look for peace in you and not when no two nations are at war, or when you are relaxed because you are your biggest challenge and once you win over the evil inside you, no matter whatever happens outside you, you will surely be peaceful…….
by Mani Makkar of Class-9
THE ART OF LIVING
Hi, I am Mansi. I am a 16-year-old girl. Let me tell you an interesting story.
A man walked on the roof of a forty-story building. He accidentally fell off the roof. As he passed the seventeenth floor, a person inside the building yelled out a question: “How’s it going?” The man answered back: “So far, so good!” We may find this story amusing because we know what is coming—the ground. One moment, he will be alive, and the next moment, he will be dead.
My point in telling this story is we are all falling. The ground is coming for all of us. One moment, we will be alive, and the next moment, we will be dead. This is probably the most sobering fact of conscious existence. The key to happiness in our lives is to learn how to enjoy the trip. To do this, we’d better learn to master the “art of living,” that is, staying in the moment.
I love to surf the net and explore. Once, I came upon a few words said by Sri Ravi Shankar-“What is the Art of Living?
“Be in the present moment.
If you live fully now, tomorrow will take care of itself.
If you are happy now, the past will not torment you.
That is the art of Living.”
How true! Happy is a person who knows what to remember of the past , what to enjoy in the present and what to plan for the future. One of my friends once messaged me as follows-“When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss the fun of getting there. Life is not a race, so take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over”. I feel that there are five keywords to learn the art of living.
Firstly, one needs to acquire peace of mind. Everyone seeks peace and harmony, because this is what we lack in our lives. From time to time we all experience agitation, irritation, disharmony. Unhappiness permeates the atmosphere around someone who is miserable, and those who come in contact with such a person also become affected. Certainly this is not a skillful way to live. We ought to live at peace with ourselves, and at peace with others. The technique of self-observation, is what is called Vipassana meditation, helps to develop the peace of mind. In the language of India in the time of the Buddha, passana meant seeing in the ordinary way, with one's eyes open; but vipassana is observing things as they actually are, not just as they appear to be. We become liberated from misery and experience true happiness.
Secondly, one must always learn to be happy. We become unhappy when we find someone behaving in a way that we don't like, or when we find something happening which we don't like. Unwanted things happen and we create tension within. Now, one way to solve this problem is to understand that if the pressures in life are crushing you down, think of the crushed grapes that produce the best wine. Let the pressures in life bring the best in you.
Thirdly, one must learn to forgive and keep going on and on. We love ourselves even after doing many mistakes. Then how can we hate others for their one mistake? Seems strange, but true. Think before you hate someone…. The power of a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring has the potential to turn a life around. Next, keep yourself going on. When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, when the road you are trudging seems uphill, when stress is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must but never quit. Anyone can give up. It’s the easiest thing to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.
Fourthly, one must always keep a positive outlook towards life. Life is a movie you see through your own eyes .It doesn’t matter what is happening out there. It‘s how you take it that counts. Hope yours is a blockbuster. One should never forget that –“If Winter Comes, Can Spring Be Far Behind?” Remember, smooth roads never make good drivers .A problem free life never makes a person strong. So, never ask life’ Why Me?’ Instead challenge it and say ‘Try Me’. Faith makes all things possible, hope makes all things work and love makes all things beautiful. If you believe you can, you will. If you believe you can’t, you won’t. Belief is an ignition that gets you off the launching pad. Believe in yourself!
Last but not the least, set your goal and work hard to achieve it. Use our thoughts about the future to set goals and make plans. Then return to the present to carry through with our plans. Let not your aim be like a garden, for people to walk over it, instead let it be like the sky, which everyone wishes to touch.
LEARN THE ART OF LIVING AND DO YOUR SHARE TODAY!