Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Right Way or the Wrong Way...I say Tamato you say Tomato!

She said she was right while I said no I was right...well, so in a way we were both right.

I said she was wrong while she said no I was wrong...well, so in a way we were both wrong.

A few weeks ago I found myself in an uncomfortable situation. I refused to take a step back and understand that what I had said to a friend had hurt her and it was only when we hashed it out were we both able to come to the conclusion that our different perception about what had happened was the culprit.

Confused? Don't know or understand what I am talking about? Well, don't worry, you are not the only one stuck between black or white; right or wrong; good or bad; correct or incorrect; should or shouldn't; can or cannot...right or wrong. 

As for me, like all of you, as I have grown older I have begun to realise nothing in life is as simple as being right or wrong and black or white. But what still confuses me is what lies in between. Is everything that is not right or wrong actually grey or something else? Is there a grey at all or is it how it has always and white, the only difference lying in the eyes which perceive the distinction.

Perception says it all. Most often than not, we know what is right and wrong, thus leading us to act with supreme confidence. Human nature being what it is, has led us to believe we have a copyright on being right.

The jihadis think they are right in killing innocents because they are fighting for justice; the murderer thinks he is right in killing because he believes he was wronged; the employer sucks the blood out of his employees because he knows that is the only right way to get work out of them while the employers believe he is treating them unfairly; the businessman who evades taxes and stashes black money in the belief that he is convinced he owes no one anything, but the government who persecutes him for doing the wrong thing; the politician who revels in what he believes to be his moral right to misuse his power and position; the bully who teases another because he enjoys doing it; the corrupt who think it is their right to amass wealth by whatever means possible while the victims suffer by participating in making him richer; the teacher trusts her judgement when punishing her student but the student feels frustrated because he feels singled out and unheard; the parent who hands over the keys to motorbikes or scooters or even cars to their teenagers proudly, fully knowing it is dangerous and illegal; the biker who drives without a helmet; the driver who zooms around on the roads speeding towards nothingness, endangering himself and others, while enjoying himself, but pedestrians curse him for doing the wrong thing; the drug lord selling his wares to the not so innocent without any compunction; the adulterer who justifies his actions; the violent who think that is the only way; the rude who feel they are doing no wrong...and it carries on.

Each of us in our own minds think we are always doing the right thing, following the correct path, as is evident from the examples above. So is there really no right or wrong? Is it all just a matter of perception. 

As a parent teaching my children the difference between what is right and what is wrong and what they should or shouldn't do is a daunting task that scares me. Children are innocent and blank slates who learn from example and do what you tell them to, at least when they are really young. For them to learn from me I need to be absolutely sure first of what to teach them.

But the fact of the matter is I find myself at a place and time where I don't know what values and principles to impart because I maybe right as I perceive it but wrong as the other perceives it. As parents we try our best to guide our children towards the so-called right path. But here is where I stumble. While I tell them about and impart the values and principles I have learnt and practiced I realise most often than not that I am not certain anymore if all that I believe in holds true in someone else's world. Each day as I face the confused questions and troubles in my children's minds, I get more and more perplexed.

Do the scriptures have the answers, does religion, do the spiritual gurus know, do the politicians who make all our decisions for us, does anybody? Will my children and the coming generations find the answers.

I for sure don't have any answers. But I know this...Doing the right or the wrong thing depends largely on the individual and how he is brought up and how environmental factors have affected the way he behaves or acts. So, there is in reality nobody who governs the laws of right and wrong. 

And I also know this...If we want a better more humane and kind world as yes, I see it, we need to find the answers. We need to draw a line between right and wrong, good and bad. Otherwise we are doomed.

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