We exist not to exist. Now, what does that really mean? Well, in simple terms, it means we are born to die. As grim as this unwanted reality sounds, it is the basis of why people do what they do and behave the way they do. Some live to enjoy that short moment and blissfully hope it doesn’t come sooner than later while others strive and prepare for that day with the hope they make an impact and leave a lasting impression.
That lasting impression, in turn, can be for good or bad reasons – often confused by the individual. Martyrs and suicide committers, for example, tend to feel that their unpleasant actions are doing a great cause to society and though their loved ones would beg to differ, it is the individual who decides whether that impact they leave behind is a good or terrible one.
One thing one learned in earlier days as undergraduates studying economics was that as individuals, we are mostly self-consumed and irrational. Some refer to it as being emotional (the need to be loved, pampered, jealousy and the thirst glory or hunger for recognition) – but all irrational traits to what ideal? After all, that is what separates us from machines and robots!
Living for the present is an inherent human attribute that is hard to change or condition.
We have so quickly moved on to adopt artificial intelligence without mastering our own level of intellect and compassion. I am certainly not advocating for a utopian state where everyone gets to the level of Albert Einstein. Emotional intelligence, however, unlike the more numerically rigid intelligence quotient, is inherent but can be honed or learned if one is willing. The problem with its adoption is that it takes effort – something not everyone is enthusiastic about like math, chemistry or gym class in high school.
If you have wondered why significantly less than 10 percent of the world owns all the riches and why currently we still must deal with world hunger, disease, and abject poverty, you must revisit the above notion of emotional intelligence. This is because one of its inherent traits is compassion – something most of those individuals don’t have or consciously try to avoid. Though this should be one of the obvious attributes that separate us from so-called beasts, which only have instincts to help with their decision-making processes, we still struggle to use it.
So while, sociopaths, psychopaths, dictators, and oppressors are no far from beasts with the lack of compassion that would even amaze the most ruthless animal predator if they had the consciousness to see what was going on in our world, they are lacking what we basically have mythologically termed – a soul.
This piece is however not to criticize or state the obvious about such people but to try to explain why they behave as they do.
Psychologists and sociologists alike perhaps need to revisit their curricula and amend it to focus more on this very important but often ignored characteristics in both faculties but to begin the analysis from the grassroots level – from childhood. The stigma of seeing a psychologist (whether it be clinical, child or industrial) would first need to be eradicated somehow for this to happen. These professions play a much larger role in shaping the world that we live in – a lot more than they may realize.
So you see, it is when we learn to be compassionate and more emotionally conscious, that the concept of sustainability and the conservation of funds, resources and nature itself for future generations becomes a reality – and not just a buzzword.