Ethics and Morals in Our World
Navin B. Shah – Kenya
We are all generally prone to look at the bygone years, and especially the school days or our childhood experiences, as the best years of our life. It is like the ‘Golden’ period that we wish we could live all over again. The past is looked upon with nostalgia and sweet memories and we wish the present and the future that is to come to be the same. But someone rightly said that for one to have ‘Golden Age’ one must first forget the gold (mineral) that many are blindly chasing throughout their life.
Our world, with its modern materialistic society has witnessed an erosion of ethics and morality in even those whom ordinary men and women would look up to – teachers, doctors, priests and professionals in different fields. With a few exceptions it seems that the majority in the society have been gripped with this ‘have more’ and ‘grab’ syndrome. Greed, a basic instinct, has overcome our concern for the common man. What happens to him is not our concern as long as I can serve myself, however unethically.
This behavior has been helped by the ‘next door neighbor’ attitude. If my neighbor has new furniture then I should have it too and so forth. In other words there is nothing like ‘enough’ when it comes to earning and owning possessions. Man has thus become a weakling and does not draw a line where he should stop. This is the only life, he thinks, and therefore he feels he must make the most of it. One forgets, in one’s happier (healthier and wealthier) days that the present life is but just one ‘bus stop’ in our long journey to the final destination.
The above situation is extended to the community, national and international level. The two great Wars fought within a space of less than twenty-five years and many more since then are yet to teach mankind, and especially the leaders, the need for peaceful co-existence. History and old prejudices rear their ugly heads from time to time in different corners of the world. The leaders are drunk with power and instead of being tolerant of ethnic and religious differences in societies, they have played on the emotions of the helpless and innocent citizens to rise in the name of superiority of their own ethnic and religious groups to carve out bigger kingdoms for themselves. To ‘take’ and not ‘give’ is the order of the day. The presumptuous ethical behavior and upholding of democratic principles by self-appointed individuals, societies and nations is nothing but strengthening of one’s own position. The hypocrisy that is witnessed in all transactions does not go unnoticed even by the simplest and the lowliest citizen in any society. But he is helpless to do anything because he does not have the position to influence any decision. He is simply a spectator in the whole drama.
It pains one to see that even as we are now in the second decade of the 21st century mankind is sliding faster toward ignominy. The passions which were allowed to run amok in the former federation of Yugoslavia and Rwanda bears witness to the untold suffering of innocent citizens – especially the helpless women and children. The ‘democratic world’ has found it convenient, in the name of non-interference and letting the parties sort out their own problems, to stand by almost unconcerned. The sufferings, be these in Somalia, Sudan, or the drought-stricken regions of Africa one watches on the television has drawn tears from many eyes and makes one think about what is happening to this world. No man is an island to himself. We are all part of the big global village. What happens in one part of the world has an effect on the other part too. It has been said that even the plucking of a flower and the movement of a blade of grass on earth has its effects on the most distant star.
So the question remains:
‘What is the answer to planting of a ‘Golden Age’ in our modern society?’