The Lord even went to the extent of saying, ‘If you are struck on one cheek and turn the other cheek also’. Tolerance, forbearance, humility, forgiveness are qualities which make up for the social wellbeing of the society.
One cannot live in isolation. Men were savages in the Stone Age; then they began living in a family; families came together and formed a village community, then grew the towns, the metropolises; states, countries, continents and thus goes the tale of the world society.
Now when people have begun to live together, the society has become their focus of communion ship and commonality. Man has now to develop a spirit to be able to live with others and living with others bestows upon him if some rights then a lot of obligations too.
He cannot escape from this situation. We as individuals have our own life to live — there is freedom to live in whatever manner we choose but even that freedom has to get fettered when society and the concept of the society steps in.
A.G. Gardiner has rightly pointed out in one of essays —’Liberty is not a personal affair, it is a social an accommodation of interests’. This only that your personal liberty gets qualified by your social being. You have the liberty to sit within room and play upon your guitar at full volume but cannot do so at the dead of the night at the roof of our house, when there are neighbours wanting to enjoy an undisturbed sound sleep. Your liberty gets restrained by a social consideration. You can be undressed in your bedroom but cannot walk on the road in that manner. There are social inhibitions that forbid you from doing so or behaving in that manner.
‘Man is born free but immediately thereafter he is in chains’ — so goes a saying. That is why when one walks on the road he is required to walk on the pavement meant for the pedestrians or at least walk on the left’ as a general rule.
A.G. Gardiner in his essay on the ‘Rule of the Road’ tells of an incident how Austria got freedom and an old lady with a basket moved in the middle of the road. When asked to get aside she at once remarked ‘Well my country has got freedom and I can walk wherever I please’.
Gardiner takes up this instance to explain how if she chose to walk in the middle of the road, the cab driver could as well say he was free to trample her over. If such would be the concept of ‘freedom’ then everyone would be going over the other and the result would be a total chaos.
Rules have to be made only for guidance to keep the social life at peace. We, as human beings are apt to or and we are still not angels. That is why, to quote A.G. Gardiner once again, ‘Policeman is the necessary symbol and law is the necessary institution for a society which than the angels.’
There are dust bins in and around a colony, garbage depots, garbage carriers, drains around the houses sewage system, antipollution drives — all to keep the living conditions for people clean, the municipalities, the corporations have to be created only for the social well being of the people — all these are symbols of man’s obligations towards the society, otherwise things could have gone on and life would have been all a muddle and a confusion. It still is, inspire of all these conveniences created only because man has still not learnt the ‘social obligation’ lesson. There are violations at every level, law-breakers, and law-makers, courts, High courts and Supreme Courts — all to protect the rights of people in the society.
The concept of a ‘Society’ enshrines within itself the concept of living with others and living for others. Where this concept goes missing, the social set up falls in shambles. There are conflicts and quarrels, riots and assaults. Man has been endowed reason only to enable him to think and this thinking has to be developed on the right lines if the ‘thinking man’ feels his obligations to the society.
When the good is followed and the bad is rejected only then can the society be made worth living. Rationality has not to turn into irrationality, self-interest has to be tempered with the consideration of the interest of others — that is what an orderly society means.
We make friends only to be able to get from them the much-needed help, solace, comfort when we most need them. ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’ But what is generally found is that people become friends to fulfill their own ends or form themselves into gangs rather than groups of cordial comrades. A true friend is judged only rind a moment of crisis; otherwise there are ‘fair- anther’ friends in galore who would hang around in prosperity but desert in penury.
Such friends are no fiends at all. Love and affection only makes a man to win the privilege of being cultured and civilised, which we claim ourselves to be. But how many really live up to this ideal — hence so much of anarchy, suffering and sorrow in the society.
Self-interest has become such a dominating passion which has even dismantled our joint- families. I, my wife and my child — that concept has become the rhythm of the social song. Family ties used to be the binding bonds which now have got dismembered.
Neighbours have no time for you, hence at the moment of any distress or need one finds oneself as a sinking boat without any savior or succor. Even parents have lost their sense of the old parental attention and the child goes astray as a Youngman in the absence of due care and attention at home. That is an everyday scenario in metropolitan cities where Youngman would knock the bar-table of a restaurant past mid-night and if not served would shoot the bar-maid at point blank. They seek solace or refuge from neglect at home by grouping in for drinks, and dance and what not.
Man, all and everyone, wherever he be, at whatever Peace, or position, circle or circumstance must know what his obligations towards the society are, if he wants to live a life worth its value given to him as a gift by God.
That sense of obligation goes missing, life loses its Waning, and the so-called civilized man reverts back be a savage of the stone-age.