In the last few weeks I’ve been discussing the issue of evil in the world, which, manifests as all the chaos we see around us in all areas of society. I’ve also introduced the idea that most people are complacent, which perpetuates this turmoil. Complacency is rooted in either ignorance or denial and, regardless of which it is, each one of us is responsible for the world we live in whether we want to accept this or not. Let me break this down in more detail.
The fact is that ignorance prevails in society as most people have no idea what the roots of the problems that humanity faces are, whether it is poverty and starvation, climate change or other issues. The reason for this is that it takes effort to learn about these issues and most people have enough challenges in their own lives, let alone concerning themselves with global issues so it is easy just to ignore what is going on.
The second reason for complacency is denial. It is easier to deny that there is something fundamentally wrong with the global institutions, namely government, corporations and religious institutions, that run our world. The reason is that knowledge leads to responsibility. Once we know that there is something wrong and we don’t do anything about it, it creates guilt, a feeling that makes most people cringe. It is easier to deny what is happening around you so not to create guilt.
This is especially true of people in the developed world who, for the most part, have comfortable lives with stable jobs, a roof over their head and the ability to provide for their families. This is not so true of people in the developing world, who face daily challenges, even at the level of basic survival at the hands of corrupt governments and multinational corporations, who only care for their own selfish greed and gain. Unfortunately, most people will not become interested in an issue until it affects them, someone close to them, people of their ethnic origin or their country of origin,
Therefore, the question now arises, how do you get people to care enough about the evil in the world to step out of ignorance and denial and start to gain knowledge and take action against it? If I had an easy answer to this question, the world would not be in the state that it is. However, I believe that it all starts with setting an example.
You see, those of you who are reading this already know that there are real and serious problems that we face as humanity and there are people in power in the world who are behind these problems. It is up to you to educate yourself by learning as much as you can about the roots of our global issues and then educate others. Self-education is the first step towards change and it has to start with a handful of people. These few people must be the beacons of light that shed that light on the darkness of ignorance that prevails in society and wake people up to the true realities of the world we live in.
How do you educate yourself? You certainly don’t do it through the mass news media, whose purpose is to obscure the truth and change perception and public opinion to meet the needs of the corporate interests who control this entity. Education must come through other sources and means and often involves going straight to the source of the issue instead of getting information from a third party. There are also legitimate sources of information out there and it is incumbent upon us to seek them out to discover the truth.
The second part of this paradigm is cultivating compassion. Self education without compassion does not lead to change because it is the compassion that is needed in order to take action. This compassion is for the suffering of those who are less fortunate than you. One way to cultivate this compassion is to actively seek out those who are suffering and these people are not hard to find. Seek out a homeless person, someone who is sick with advanced cancer, someone who has lost their job or any number of people who are down on their luck. These people are not hard to find and I’m sure that you know someone who knows someone who is down on their luck and is struggling. Reach out to that person, talk to them, hear their story and show them empathy. This is how you cultivate compassion.
What I encourage you to do now is to spend at least ten minutes of your day researching sources of true knowledge that can help educate you about the roots of what is happening in our world today. I also encourage you to seek out someone who is struggling in their life and reach out to them and listen to their story with your full attention to start cultivating your compassion. Your future and the future of humanity depends on it.
Next week, I’ll discuss the next steps to walking the path of bringing real change to this world.
Dr. Nauman Naeem