Being posted for http://www.isb.edu/idiya/
Violence, apathy, harassment, discrimination, abandonment, abuse – between those headings we could cover most of the manifestations of “social causes” that need attention in today’s world. In a world filled with heterogeneity, it is so easy for us to allocate the root cause of these manifestations to inequalities in social, economic or political status. Little do we pay attention to the fact that there is one common thread to all of this – an increasing intolerance to another's point of view, or their right to be different from one's self
So you want me to pick a cause? I pick the need to inculcate humane-ness that imbibes and celebrates differences in a manner that the need to harm is abolished and replaced with a need to understand and reach out.
Intuitively, our proposed solutions to issues would lie in rule and law based adherence to principles based on fear of punishment. There is no denying the need for stricter laws and uncompromising implementation of those laws, makes for a better society. But look a little deeper and we realize that laws cannot in itself make up for the lack of humanity in the society at large. There is a need to address fundamental attitudes, self-awareness and to harness emotional surges driven by macabre environmental stimuli. The training of our thought processes to let the human self to take precedence over our animal self, is like cycling – reflexive and remembered for life.
Brain research has long known that adolescence is the time of life when the sense of “self” takes shape and the development connections between reflexive, self-protective self and the communal, empathetic, rational self occurs. For most of us grown-ups it is not hard to point out that phase as the confusion ridden, grappling-with-the greys-of-the-world time where most of our opinions were shaped by parents and the larger environment.
Tying-up those two premises discussed above, arrives at a simple concept of providing adolescent counseling across all schools (or another place of adolescent conglomeration), spanning socio-economic classes and locations. When children are nurtured in that transformative phase, given the belief that someone cares, that the changes that they experience are “normal”, that their anger needs management in a productive way, we might have a society of better adults in the future – of parents who can guide their children the best, of teachers of who teach by example, of citizens who uphold laws, of politicians with a conscience, of human beings who want to make the world a better place to live on.
For a result driven rationalist, this may seem too utopic and intangible. Yes, this is an effort that will not easily lend itself to measuarbililty until after 15 years maybe -and that's not even the beginning of the hurdles for an effort like this. But there are enough publications in scientific journals, of experiences in TED, in white papers of UNICEF and WHO, to show that this has worked in African, Latin American and Carribean countries with high crime rates - for proof if you need it. But more than proof of pre-existent case studies, I commit myself to this cause and will work towards it - simply because I truly believe in the fundamental goodness of people. It may need some coaxing - but it exists…..