Right and Wrong

We all know that 2 and 2 equals 4. We also know 5 times 3 is 15. Isn’t Maths simple? I wish life was that simple too. Consider a family of 4 – a father (55), a mother (48), a son (29) and a daughter (25) – in which, the father and the son plan on taking a housing loan to build a big house keeping in mind that bigger house attracts a better groom for the daughter, while the mother and the daughter plan on a smaller house with an earlier wedding keeping in mind the age and health of the daughter. The idea of the men delays the wedding plan, while the idea of the women reduces the chance of a wealthier groom. Would you say that healthier pregnancy is a better idea or wealthier family economy is a better idea? Of course, both are important in today’s life. Also, there is emotion apart from logic. More often, there is no clear line that separates what is right and what is wrong.

3 or 4
A common picture used to show that truth differs based on perceptions

In the above case, people from economically needy family would support the men’s views, while people with a prosperous background in terms of money, but poor in terms of health would support the women’s views. The concept of correctness depends on one’s past experiences, likes and dislikes, emotions, understanding of the situation, cultural background, genetics, etc. What seems like perfectly admissible to one person may seem like an insult to another. More to this, what seems justifiable to you today may seem unacceptable tomorrow. Haven’t we seen a lot of atheists becoming authentic theists in their later ages? Haven’t we seen narcissistic people become selfless? What appeared valuable yesterday appears unworthy today. What looks immoral today may look admirable tomorrow. Then, why do we show hostility towards people based on what we think is right now? Why do we judge people on their actions based on our opinions?

Have you heard the story of two friends, one always listening to her parents and other never listening to hers? Let me narrate it to you. There were two girls who were very close friends and were also neighbours. One of them, let us call her Meena, always did what her parents said; she let her parents choose her clothing, her food, her education and even when she slept and when woke up. The other one, say Vasuki, believed in making her own decisions; she decided everything from what type of clothes she wore to what she studied at college. But when it came to marriage, Vasuki got married to a guy of her parents’ preference. When asked why, she said she enjoyed making little choices in her life, but as this one is a very important decision, she let her parents choose the best for her. While, Meena married a guy of her preference, she argued that she had let her parents make all the small decisions in her life to give them happiness, yet this one was so important that she determined to make it herself.

It is all how we see it. The fuzzy line between right and wrong is absolutely fuzzy. Let me quote some proverbs to instill more thinking in us.

1 Too many cooks spoil the broth Two heads are better than one
2 The pen is mightier than the sword Action speak louder than words
3 You can’t teach an old dog new tricks You’re never too old to learn
4 Blood is thicker than water Many kinfolk, few friends
5 He who hesitates is lost Look before you leap
6 Forewarned is forearmed Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it

A recent sensation, I observed via my Facebook Wall, was about Sandeep and Karthik getting married by the Indian Brahmin way. There were lots of bawdy comments directed towards the couple. My guess is not everyone really thinks this is unacceptable. Some people make such remarks just because they observe others doing it. While others may genuinely feel awful by the thought of it, I do not understand why we are so keen on forcing our opinions on the couple when they do not force theirs on us. Why do we not let them live the way they want to? Of course, a century ago, women were not allowed to go out of their house (even to schools), while now we see women working in night shifts. What was considered inadmissible is now considered normal. I’m sure the day, when we accept homosexual marriages, is not far. After all, they were accepted during Vedic times and there are gods who, as per the Vedas, have done same-sex marriages.

Sandeep and Karthik, who got married in Jan’15

My request to all the human beings is to not degrade people based on what we think is right now. Please be empathetic towards fellow human beings (and all other living organisms) and promote peace. Life is not digital logic. Things are not either 0 or 1; they fall somewhere between. Life is not as simple as Mathematics. Even Math has limitations. As we know, given x2 = 4, we can’t say for sure if x is +2 or -2. Or worse, we can’t guess what 4 divided by 0 leads to, or what infinity raised to power 0 is.

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