-: dr. siddhartha shankar joarder :-
it is hardly denied that human being, by nature, is a communal creature and perhaps this tendency adheres to the higher animals more prominently than the lower responsive animals usually do. and, this communal feeling is psychologically prominent than any other motivations we have. in howrah station, kolkata, last month when i was in a hurry to catch up the connecting train of jadavpur university, one of my little known bangladeshi gentle men, with whom i didn’t talk ever in my smal town, suddenly hugged over with extreme joy. his sudden approach to me was not quite unnatural, i understand; but on the contrary it was the expression of the most fundamental human character that is supposed to be powerful.
kolkata is an unknown place to both of us but he thinks me dear to him, in spite of having little acquaintance, among al other unknown faces. as a result, i became much desired to him in an ocean of unknown darkness. indeed, emotion sometimes subjugates the barriers of personality. this happened not once in my life but i come across time and again with the experiense when i usually find many people of my home town including rickshaw puler in dhaka city. one day, a poor rickshaw puler declines to take the fare when he came to know that i am a man of his hometown. this happens of course in many people’s life, i believe, in different places of the world.
this feeling is sometimes caled empathy or fellow-feeling. the question is thus importantly discussed in human psychology: is this feeling of excessive inclination towards fellow citizen appears to be bad? at once, it follows more critical question: is nepotism unjust?
number of banners, festoon, advertisement, and processions are often seen in a every big city in the name of local welfare committee namely harinakundu students welfare samitee, borura chattra kollan samittee etc., which is aimed at gathering together to inventory the common feelings they hold. in most of the cases, this kind of attitude is named “nepotism” which is basically considered to be the worst form of undemocratic ideals of human mind. so, if the kindness to others is thought to be humanely justified then what is wrong with the semester “nepotism”?
to answer the question, let’s move to recents event in united states. donald trump is favoured by the american origin and extremely chided by al the floating people come to live there. although america is a land of immigrants however, xenophobia is supposed to be common in american society. so, if this is happened and reflected in the election held last month; what should be the reason to pul him down? in his pre-election campaign he warned al the recalcitrant immigrants to kick out from his homeland. in spite of having serious vulgarism in approach donald makes the comment which, in fact, most people in the world hold and practice in their daily life. it becomes a common character in present day world that people are now more individualist than ever. this happens either in europe or asia or africa or even in the place of lord buddha where he preaches peace and universalism.
but, communalism in a broad sense is criticised in democratic society. equal attitude and even opportunity for al regardless of their origin and belief are seriously solicited in al democratic nations. barak obama soon after his election told a young girl, “we don’t have enough empathy in our world today, and it is up to your generation to change that.” importantly, by empathy here he means for al the people living in the world not exactly for the black, white or hispanic etc.
sometimes, if not always, empathy has been in serious problem that finally leads to act unjustly. judge in bench never acts on empathy because it never permits him to be compassionate during writing judgment. a good father in spite of having excessive compassion in heart never feels trembling to hang his own son after judgment. opposition party in politics always vociferates and criticises the ruling party not to favour their own men for undue opportunity. so, who wil be favoured? the answer is none. everyone should be equal before justice. what do we understand by equality? al people are not equal in merit or talent. wil not someone be favoured for his talent?
this is obviously a big problem for man: which one is better for them — empathy or antipathy? there are certain reasons to be kind to others but not to favour unduly on the question of opportunity in a given circumstance. on the contrary, unkindness is possibly the worst form of human disposition that takes ever. obviously, it makes a serious issue for the present day, why people are gradually losing the ground not to make shift with their kind and humane character or why the people of present day lack empathy? on the other hand, people of the present time are much more portioned and deliberately involves in selfish track.
obviously, “compassion” and “empathy” are not synonymous what peter singer says in his interesting column, “the empathy trap” in the project syndicate. he indicates that to be against empathy is not to be necessarily compassionate. paul bloom a psychologist of yale university writes in his famous book against empathy about the differense between these two. he learns that compassion meditation is “a warm positive state associated with a strong pro-social motivation.”
however, it stil makes us disturbed in some ways that how people can get rid of their communal attitude. communalism in many ways disturbs human progress. among many others, religious communalism is terrible. it takes away al good senses of human being and destroys democratic ideals. in addition, color , gender, regional communalisms are also fatal in some degrees. human societies around the world are really exhausted with al these mental misappropriations.
to conclude the essay i need to add more essential paragraph here to address the problem. the tendency of communal disposition is fundamental or psychological and obviously it is impossible to dislocate it from the mind. despite the fact, it needs another thing to consume this primary tendency and this is ethical and non-communal studies. and it can only meet the problem and it can make our mind resilient. human reason should take over the charges to guide the essential human desire.
dr. siddhartha shankar joarder is chairperson, department of philosophy, jagannath university, dhaka. email: [email protected]