Towards An Empathetic World
Rafid Zaman Pranto
- 1 Post
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” — John Donne
I come from a middle-income family of Bangladesh, which is a small third-world country in Southeast Asia. Lack of adequate resources for a population of about 170 million has made living tough for many of us. Since an early age, I have witnessed here the baneful effects of the lopsided distribution of assets, flagrant disparities, religious extremities, and innumerable other problems. But growing up, I have eventually come to a realization that all these problems boil down to one single thing—our “lack of concern” for others. By eradicating our evident “apathy” for the surroundings, we can readily build a better world for everyone.
Allow me to clarify my standpoint.
Two years back, a horrifying conflagration destroyed the entire bazaar at our locality in a winter night. The fire was caused by some homeless people trying to warm themselves in extreme cold. Before the devastation occurred, other residents had hardly cared about those destitute people and were the least bothered about their sufferings. Were those locals a little bit concerned about the disadvantaged people around them, such a frightening occurrence, which affected everyone of that area, could have been avoided?
Only trying to ensure our own well-being is not enough, we have to make conscious efforts to better the lives of others too. A popular proverb in Bengali says — “when the whole city burns, can sanctuaries escape the fire?” The bottom line of this saying is quite deep. Imagine that you are a very good driver having all of the required skills and fully observant of the rules. But these alone cannot assure your total safety if other drivers on your way are badly-skilled and do not obey the rules; you are likely to face deadly accidents. So, given a chance, should you not work to raising awareness about safe driving—at least in your own locality—to ensure your own safety?
Albert Einstein once said, “the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Not doing anything bad does not necessarily make one a good person. To be good, one must do good deeds.
Take the prevalent “rape culture” in my own country for example. Here, rapists escape punishments most of the time because common people are not bothered about this menacing issue as long as they themselves are not victimized. Yes, the masses are not the criminals here. However, by remaining silent despite having a VOICE, they are indirectly complicit in these crimes. What we people do not understand is that the rapists we are letting go today may someday victimize our own family and even us. The most heinous cruelty is our casual blindness to the despair of others. Who are we as human beings if we ignore the sufferings of others?
I know that we are inadequate, we are afraid of our own safeties, we think that someone else is more qualified to bring about a change. But, trust me, being ordinary is not an excuse to give up and remain oblivious of the world that runs on egocentricity, fear, and false control.
Since I have grown this realization, I have tried my level best to contribute—in whatsoever smaller scale—in making this world a better place. I am passionate about writing and have been clawing to this with more energy to change people’s particular viewpoints about their surroundings. I have reached people with my thoughts translated into words on day-to-day family problems, children with flawed upbringings, bullies at schools, social stereotypes, political unrests, and many other things that bother the “inner-me” repeatedly. I am still endeavouring to bring about that change.
Life is a priceless gift. To savour the true essence of it, we need to cooperate, not compete. We need to possess a greater sense of purpose and love the entire humanity. "Empathy” is what we need the most now, not “pity.” Our sincerest concern for others is all it takes to build a promising future.
So, what are we waiting for? Let us make “empathy” our greatest tool in marching towards a world of everyone’s dream.