The Dispatches Of Hira Singh – Albert Said.

The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”………   Albert Einstein

There is not much that I can do to dispute this statement, or even to start to become a Devil’s advocate to this statement.

To be honest, while I agree with what he says, I don’t think that I really understand the full reasons for this. So, for those who are willing to start a conversation on this topic, let’s go.

Passion, I think, is what drives us.

Sometimes, this passion is manifested in “bright light”. Artists, writers, inventors through the ages have used their passion to create marvellous things.

Researchers have helped us fight disease, to understand ourselves, and the universe.

We admire heroes like Alexander The Great. We detest dictators like Hitler.

Alexander was a hero. Was he? He was a great warrior king, but could not create an empire. He was driven by the passion to conquer. This comes with killing.  His soldiers were driven by his passion.

What helped people like Hitler come to power, and to wreck the world?

Why do we, in India, remember Mountbatten, despite the fact that he did much to wreck India, and forget Lord Wavell who tried to prevent the chaos that ensued in 1947?

Mountbatten was a man of society, and related to royalty. I am sure his intentions were not evil, however, he (along with Nehru, Jinnah… ) helped unleash a holocaust that saw hundreds of thousands killed. Neighbours turned against neighbour, as centuries of friendship were broken by the hate of religion?

Why does this evil persist today?

Why aren’t there more people protesting?

Do we want to avoid harm? Do we want to get out of the way, because ‘it does not concern us’? Does fear drive us? Does indifference drive us?

Do we allow propaganda to rule us? If so, how are we better than those of 150 years back? Despite the fact that we have more information than people did have 150 years back, our behaviour has not changed all that much?

Has it?

Why do we stand by passively?

Do you have the answer?

 

29 Comments

  1. Fascinating question. I’m working on a novel now on this topic. Even after a lot of reading and thinking, I don’t have any answers. Just more questions. Some people are called upon to act because they believe they have no choice but to do the right thing despite the personal risks. There’s a sobering (and a bit shocking) list of people who are honored at Yad Vashem in Israel for taking action during the Holocaust and saving Jewish people. These righteous people from many different faiths are a small but potent minority. Why aren’t more people on the list? I think it’s easy to rationalize not taking action. There are hundreds of reasons not to take action and just 1 good reason to act–because it’s the right thing to do.

    1. You will have to educate me about Yad Vashem. However, I think we could all do our bit..
      In India, people have started to raise their voice, and this is a good start. Someday, the government will listen

  2. Rajiv, I think we look at ourselves and wonder – what on earth can a little person like me do to make things better? No one person has the answer because there are as many answers as there are people. However, Einstein was right about the biggest problem is when we do nothing. There are some very serious issues going on in the world today and if we all contribute our little input it will make a difference. We will never eliminate all of the problems of this world but if we look at it as a Relay Race each of us can carry that baton a little further. Basic human rights would be very high on my list. We may not live to see the changes however, if what ever we do inspires someone else to pick up that baton to move it forward, we will have done as much as anyone can.
    Leslie

    1. I agree with you there. When I was in the corporate world, we had a driver. One day, he chucked the plastic wrap from his lunch onto the road. He was quite pissed when my wife ordered him to pick it up
      When he protested that he, as a lone Indian, could not keep India clean, she then told him – first, he could do his bit. Then, he could tell his wife and kids. That one person could become 5….
      He imbibed the lesson. Not sure if he implemented it
      We can but try..

    1. Perhaps…. There is some stuff that I read, that poor people can’t think beyond themselves… That global leaders can, and do..

      I only partially agree with that premise

  3. The human race is incredibly dumb, so we just have to hope that things get better as it seems that intellectual evolution is a very slow process which goes 1 step forward, 2 steps back. This lack of progress is disheartening and we need a better equation, such as when they talk about a tipping point? Perhaps it will come? I hope so! I have to believe this, or else all is for nought!

  4. My Dear Rajiv, You present something very dear to my Heart!

    I cannot be bold enough to say that I have ‘the’ answer. But certainly I have ‘an’ answer. And it is: Because Mankind Likes to take the Easy-Way-out.

    But when I say Mankind, I divide it into 3 groups: Let us say 10% Good guys, 10% Bad Guys, and the rest, Indifferent. And I find that except for the Bad Guys, the rest, the 90% prefer, Yes, the Easy Way.

    The 90% get satisfied with the Scatterings, like a Bike, a Car, and a TV. If they can take the Bike/Car to post a letter at a Post Box just 50 metres from their door, they think they are Very Clever. Remember the movie: The Gods must be Crazy?

    I remember the story of the King who was So kind, he wanted to Feed the Lazy in his kingdom. But the Mantri found out that practically All the population turned up to Eat! So a special house was built for them, and when they had got in, Fire was set to the House. Just Three refused to move. One shouted for help, One blamed the King for getting them into this, and the Third told them to keep Quiet.

    Years ago We had heard of the Coming Water Scarcity, which is Now a Reality. Fifty Years ago, in India, would Anybody have thought of Water in Bottles, and in Inverted Jars of it in Offices? …Twenty Years Ago, the Climate Change started getting Talk about. Then the Dangers of Nuclear Energy. But, like that King’s Lazy fellows, We have protested Against the Protesters!

    The Bad Guys want Pleasures too, and for that, Big Money, and for that, they are ready to Toil for it.

    They Toil by Distorting what is to be Taught, like, when I was learning History, the name of Lord Wavell Never stuck to my memory. The Bad Guys churning out Poor Books, the Indifferent Teaching, the points not driven in by meaningful questions even in the exams, (they asked about MB, not this Wavell, after all), all contributed to Our Youth Not even Knowing who Wavell was.

    And on my part, History was never my favourite subject anyway, (Me taking the Easy way out in not paying attention to what I did not like!).

    The Bad Guys lead us around like a Donkey following a Carrot on a Stick, and Because of this Our Lethargy, – shall We call it Laziness, – Indifference, and, to Use my words again, Taking-the-Easy-Way-Out, Most of the people get fooled into becoming, and Remaining, Asses.

    1. History was never my favoured subject in school. However, it is fascinating.
      However, laziness – or fear of being involved – keeps us from doing something.
      Possibly

      1. …Whatever the Reasons, long ago I realized that keeping thinking, like even analyzing situations or their reasons would not get me any where, and that I would have to ACT.

        Not that I always succeeded in getting into Action, But I have done that, a fair bit of the time, With Good Results, and a Lot of Satisfaction! 🙂

  5. So many fascinating responses. Each one I read, I change my thinking. I do believe that we need passion to achieve anything. Passion drives us/people/events. However passion also destroys… think of passionate love affairs. I don’t think passion is good or bad – simply a form of energy that propels us from one situation ot the other. Mountbatten…what awful events unfolded and yet he was almost a hero to ” us Brits”. A vainglorious man, I feel.
    I love the idea of your wife… start little by little and things do change over time.
    Sadly though, indifferent to things are what the majority of us are and without a reason to change or need to sadly, few do.

    1. Mountbatten… well, it’s how history is written. When I was a kid, I too thought he was a hero, and did not know anything of Lord Wavell. Later, when I read about the Partition, I wish history had been more balances. Also, we in India, blame Jinnah for the partition. The first blame, amongst Indians, lies with Nehru (in my book) then, with Gandhi. Jinnah could have also been vetter behaved.

      We should start with small steps. However, the fear of reprisal can inhibit us. When I once stopped a chap from driving on the wrong side of the road, his buddies ganged up on me, and I had to walk away

      1. I was so surprised you said you blame Ghandi ( maybe I already replied to this as I have thought about this for days) I thought he was an Indian hero…..according to Hollywood he is!

      2. he is an Indian hero, and there is much good that he has done. however, it seems he dithered a lot when Nehru and Jinnah were having their spats, and kept invoking God. He had the moral authority to get the two of them to sit down and talk, which he did not do.
        Sad..
        Thus spake some historians

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