23-Feb-2010

Everyone makes fun of idealists... What's wrong in thinking that you can change the world. A little more optimism and a little less cynicism makes the world a better place

We should care

I'm someone who doesn't actually care what other people think of me. I just do whatever it is that makes me happy. Funnily, I'm not selfish so this doesn't affect the people I care about in any negative sense. However, I do care about what people know and understand about the world in general. When the Buddhist monks were protesting peacefully in Myanmar and the junta brutally beat them up, I almost cried. I think I give back just by helping people around me understand that there is more to the world than the little safe universes we create for ourselves and someday I would like to do something more concrete. Until then, this will do.
Today I realized that a lot of people think that poverty is something that people bring upon themselves. This angers me. Yes, you can get out of poverty. My own father did. However, a lot depends on the society and country you born in. There should be something to get out to. A lot of people live the way they do and resort to the things they do, because they know of nothing better.
These days, I've been reading a lot about Africa. I read What is the What by Dave Eggers, I read Say you are one of them and watched a couple of really cool videos. A lot of countries in Africa are desperately poor and sick and are under oppressive and corrupt regimes. These are not problems they created for themselves. These are problems they inherited, when the Europeans left them with hastily drawn boundaries, insensitive and corrupt governments and newly discovered resources. Yes, every nation is responsible for its own destiny. However, the world has a responsibility too. when countries give these corrupt governments arms in exchange for allwoing them to mine, it is immoral. When nations are poor are desperate, they become breeding grounds for hatred and terrorism and we all end up paying a terrible price. We all have to care about the world. We don't have a choice.

A rant

What happens when we see or learn of something that we don't necessarily like? If we know that this new information is correct, we can:

1. shut out the information and pretend we never heard it.

2. Try to learn a little bit more, and see if there is anything you can do to change it

3. or be bull headed that the things you learn and see are correct.

As an Indian, suppose someone said that the number of dowry deaths in my country are disturbingly high and i didn't know this, before the person told me.

I can

1. pretend that this is absolutely false

2. Acknowledge the problem and see what I can do to fix it

3. or say that this is how it has been for centuries now and hence this must be right.

You would think a majority of people as highly educated and "well-informed" as a class of MBAs in a world class business school, would chose option 2. but sadly today, i learnt that well-informed or not, MBA or not, most people choose to react to negative information about their countries, societies and religion either by shutting it out or reacting extremely defensively.

What's my point? Well, nothing really. I just want people to be a little more open minded.