Social: Can’t We All Just Get Along

Couple that with the way that many view life as a chess game, where they must out maneuver their opponent and one can see where problems creep in. Mistrust, greed, selfishness and paranoia are like weeds in our minds that we must exert conscious and constant effort to remove or risk unnecessary conflict, hurt and disappointment.

It seems that there must be some fundamental problem with human communication. Wherever you turn it is not hard to find people having an argument, a conflict or one person angry or frustrated with another for some reason. But why is it like that?

I think one of the key problems for us human beings is that our way of communicating through the use of language is very limited. When one considers that we all have a different picture in our minds of how things are and how they should be, it’s a bit easier to realize the basis for so much conflict. The use of the spoken word and its lack of ability to fully convey meaning creates communication barriers for people.

For example, I have a picture about something in my mind. I try to convey that picture through words to another. That person must hear those words and then put them together into a picture in his mind. One problem lies in the fact that we create different pictures. The picture I started with might be entirely different than the one he has constructed from listening to my words.

Couple that with the way that many view life as a chess game, where they must out maneuver their opponent and one can see where problems creep in. Mistrust, greed, selfishness and paranoia are like weeds in our minds that we must exert conscious and constant effort to remove or risk unnecessary conflict, hurt and disappointment.

When two people talk to each other, these conflicting pictures or perspectives come into play. One person’s words may be kind, compassionate and forged with good intentions. Yet, the person receiving the words may think that the other is being mean, rude, manipulative, overbearing, spiteful or any other of a number of negative factors. A conflict results based on false or partially inaccurate notions. Some conflicts are obvious. Others fester in the mind of a person and come out in passive-aggressive ways. In either case, these situations can make people miserable.

Another problem stems from the simple fact that for as many people as there are in the world, there are as many different levels of awareness of any given situation. Some may have more information to work with than others. I can’t count the number of times when I thought things were one way, when in fact they were another. I can’t count the number of times that I blamed someone for doing wrong when there was some factor that I wasn’t aware of. A person’s range of knowledge is limited.

Multiply that by all the people on Earth having similar experiences and it’s easy to see how conflicts start. Is there a solution? It’s difficult to say. Without having a basic communication form that stems beyond the use of the spoken word, communication is always going to be a quagmire of complexities between any two or more people.

I feel that the situation would be better if we had a way to communicate our entire mental picture at any given time to others, complete with the emotional background and the history of what made us get to that state of mind or perspective. That is far more information than the spoken language of human beings seems capable of conveying.

One thing is for sure, in order to rise above the limitations of human language one must employ a strong character, tempered with endurance and tolerance, along with compassion and a desire to get closer to the truth of any matter. Only then can one live more harmoniously with others.

Who is not selfish in this world? Are all of us selfish? Do we always think of ourselves first? Will you call me selfish even if I donate a large part of my earnings? When will you call me a selfish person, and when will you say that I am not selfish? For that which qualities are needed in me? One more question – is selfishness bad always? Could the world have gone so forward if people were not selfish? Selfishness and selflessness, these two words can make us think about our society, our values, the world in bigger perspective, and ourselves. Let us begin.

A family earns money first to feed itself. If something extra is left, it may give a part to the society. It is for the family to decide about how much it will save for itself first and when and how much part of its surplus will it give to the society. If a family decides to save at least a year’s expenses for itself and begin donating only after that, will you call it selfish? This is very subjective assessment. Am I correct? Another family, which has saved nothing for itself but begun donating, can call the earlier family selfish, and the earlier family can advise the second family to save for the rainy days first. This all sounds so confusing.

For example let us talk of two very good friends. One of them forgets to bring a very essential thing to the examination, say – a calculator. He/she requests the best friend to lend a calculator for the examination, but the other friend refuses. Which of these two friends is selfish? The person who is requesting the calculator after forgetting to bring it, or the person who refuses to lend it? How much for myself and how much for you? This question comes at a very stage of our life. For example- parents will not know how to divide if all the children want the same piece of cake. Every one of us has his/her opinion on this subject. It is our values and emotions that govern our definition of selfishness. Some of us may think nothing of giving away our life for fellow countrymen and some of us horde so much wealth for themselves that they do not know what to do with that. One can keep on talking and presenting arguments and examples infinitum, but no two persons will agree about this subject fully, because their perceptions are different.

The world is made of good and evil people. There are some, who are nothing but emperors of evilness. Hitler was one such person. There are many like him. But we also have evil persons in our society who are generally not considered evil, but are evil. Let me give my thoughts on such people.

For me, a person who hits a stray dog with a stone just for fun is a bad person. One who gives pains to friends for no reason is a bad person. One who looks at wrong things, and decides to do nothing is evil. One who hurts feelings of loved ones is a bad person. One who lets other people sleep in hunger without doing anything about them is a bad person. One who wants bigger share of the pie is a bad person. One who shouts and makes others fear him/her is a bad person. One who never tries to understand feelings of others is a bad person. One who treats poor people as dirt, is a bad person. One who decides about characters by looks and passes judgments is a bad person. One who reads a sad story in the newspaper, without getting affected in any way is a bad person. One who shows no respect for those who work for others is a bad person. One who does not sympathize at others losses is a bad person. One who always tries to prove his/her superiority over others is a bad person. On and on I can write. What is not good is bad. That is how I call such people bad. Rather than calling them as not good persons, I call them as bad persons. All this may look quite shocking and many will protest about what all I have written above. All right, let me say, that I will not call the person a bad person, but the act as a bad act. I hope that now I am more acceptable.

Then, what is evil? Evilness is a quality in a person, whereby that person hurts others in ways that the very life is taken away. One need not kill with a sword to be called evil. At times, making false allegations on someone who never did what he/she is being blamed with is enough to kill the spirit and the body. That act is evil, and the person who acts like that is evil.