The Problem of Other Minds - I

The most basic understanding in a civilized society is that the members are supposed to cooperate in order to achieve the common good even if it means compromising a little on personal freedom. Now the human society has grown pretty complex over the centuries and it is easy to produce counter examples to the above by showing how there exist biases in the society and how the rich, mighty and privileged ones tend to get the lion's share of the common good.
However the things that have prompted me to write this post are some common day today things which show the increasing apathy in the masses towards each other. We are acting more and more as if no one else exists around us. I don't know if this is selfishness or the increased sense of self-preservation in the highly insecure city environments but the fact remains that it is no good for anybody. Consider the following two examples:

1. Notice the headlights of vehicles driving in the city during nights. Everyone from the big trucks to the luxury cars, from taxis to motorcycles, from rich to poor and from educated to uneducated drives with their headlights in beam up mode. The effect of this is that whenever vehicles coming from opposite sides cross each other, both the drivers can see almost nothing on the road ahead and this increases the chances of accidents many times given the condition of roads and street lights. Everyone suffers from it but nobody learns to keep the lights down.

2. I went to a movie the other day. During the movie somebody got a call on his mobile. Now that is pretty okey with me cause I don't think that movies are important enough or formal enough to switch off ur mobiles while there. But this guy started talking loudly sitting right in the middle of the hall and that also when a tension filled and relatively quieter scene was going on in the movie. So everybody in the hall could hear him discussing his consignment. When he continued for around a minute, security guard shined a torch on him. The guy sulked a little but became quieter. Now my question is: he could have done the same thing even earlier. Was it so difficult for him to realize that others would be more interested in the movie rather than his consignment coming tomorrow morning?

If u look around u can come up with a lot more examples. The common characteristic of all of them is that nobody gives a thought to others around them. Does it take a lot of common sense to realize that this is actually a vicious cycle and that sometime or the other even they can be at receiving end? And these are the things that do not require one to make any great sacrifices or give up too much of one's personal space but it is these small things that show up when we talk about the character of a society and nation. We are known to be such warm hearted ppl all over the world. I hope we are not begining to fade.

So next time u drive, check ur headlights.


Anonymous said…
and the next time you go to a movie.. turn your mobile off, irrespective of what abhaga says. That habit sucks, especially with the new musical dialtones. Just some days ago we were seeing harry potter in a hall, and in one of the more gripping scenes of the movie, the mobile of the guy next to me starting blaring the 'babuji zara...' tune. He turned it off, but the effect of the scene was lost... and we were all pissed!

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