We live in a time where never before have people been so consistently, globally connected; yet in a snap, we can feel so lonely, and god forbid if there is no network connection we are crippled. That feeling of isolation in a crowd is the most distressing of all.
Even in the age of unimaginable speed and mediums of communication it is possible that at the blink of an eye the identity, existence of a person, of a 350 member passenger flight can be wiped out with no evidence to track back, and it is possible to starve an entire town of men, women, children, and babies with not the slightest hint to the outside world. This fear that such heinous crimes are still possible in the 21st century is nerve-racking.
Humans understand how painful it is to be at the receiving end of pain. A quality that perhaps cannot be attributed to an animal. Surprisingly this unique ability to vicariously feel and understand a gamut of emotions brings out the compassionate side and the evil side of a human.
An animal, on the other hand, fights for its food, its territory, its mate and to protect its clan. In its world, an act of violence is triggered by the instinct to survive. Nothing less. Nothing more. Looking back, it must have been pretty much the same instinct that guided the course of a human life thousands of years ago until humans stopped hunting for food and instead began forming settlements, cultivating food and domesticating animals.
Once humans found a way to sustain the food supply, survival was guaranteed. But now they didn’t want to survive. They wanted to live. It was not long before humans realized that it is not just their stomach that is hungry; there was the mind, the heart and the soul that was hungry too.
Humans turn mad if all they got to do was to eat and sleep. The intellect and spirit need constant nourishment too. Humans need the company of other humans to interact, to share thoughts, feelings, and emotions to preserve their sanity. Humans are not wired to survive isolation.
And somehow, in gaining this understanding of interdependence came along a transformation in human quality — of (being)either the compassionate, benevolent human or the evil, jealous, selfish human and worst of all: the sadist.
The idea of punishing an individual for wrongdoing and to instill the fear of wrongdoing in rest of the society has been a widely accepted act of law and order in civilized societies. [There is a school of thought that considers an individual’s action of wrongdoing as the society’s failure to provide that individual with sufficient care, support, and know-how of right and wrong. Hence, according to them, punishment is a wrong approach.]Further, capital punishments and solitary confinements were devised to inflict pain as a punishment for heinous crimes committed.
Throughout the history of humanity, nothing is as chilling as the massacre of hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of innocent men, women, and children for no crime of theirs. Their only offense was being born into a particular faith, caste, religion or inheriting a dark skin color — all the features that are not in an individual’s control to choose from when they are born.
A few individual’s hatred, jealousy towards a community, country and the need for territorial supremacy for economic, political leverage has resulted in the worst of pogroms, genocides and mass shootings wiping out generations off the face of the earth. What can be the psychology behind killing everyone in your way to gain maximum territorial control when all there is left to rule are piles of dead bodies?!! When countries are annexed after a war, somebody has to provide food, water, shelter, healthcare, education to the people under the victors rule right?! How long can the madness of killing people continue? How much of bloodshed does it take to quench the anger and revenge that foster people were resorting to arms, guns, and bombs?!
Surprisingly within all this madness, there are still many compassionate, loving, caring, selflessly serving, empathetic and sympathetic humans living among us who are the only remaining hope that humans can always aspire to be better than their evil, selfish, barbaric versions. There are a number of Wildlife Conservationists, Climate change activists, Humanitarian aid workers working at the global and community level, reminding us that it is definitely more challenging and humbling doing tougher jobs such as providing healthy food, clean water, shelter to homeless and orphans, uplifting them from poverty by giving stable employment, health care and education than doing easier jobs as to picking weapons, destroying each other at the slightest provocation and ultimately choking our planet with toxic pollutants thus exterminating entire species of flora and fauna without giving them a chance to survive, adapt and evolve.