Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Norms are separate from just behaviour, or conduct that is right or virtuous. Just because something is a norm doesn't make it the right thing to do. Just because cold-hearted rationality and efficiency are trumpeted doesn't make it right to not help those in need when the costs of doing so outweigh the benefits.

Have some spine, make a stand, and take a closer look at what we've taken for granted as 'normal'. There are plenty of things we do today that seem right only because everyone follows suit. Human nature entails that we hate to stick as the odd one out. That's true and acceptable only if one has no purpose or place in this world.

Not everyone has the privilege of being able to make a difference. The poor have little choice but to do what they must just to survive, and that may mean taking up jobs that are hardly ideal. They are squeezed and are easy targets for exploitation. But people who lead decent lives without fear of hunger or danger must take a stand. If our leaders or the institutions we live in can't make things better, the collective effort of everyone else in the direction of virtue may stand a good chance. In the name of progress and betterment, more can and must be done, and it does not take a lot to nudge the boulder - all it requires is for every individual who can help it to take a stand, rather than blindly follow. Do something because it is right to you, not because you have been told this is how things are done.

No comments: