A Short Cut to Peace
During all my years in the navy, what I ended up doing most often was to ‘regularise’, or to seek assistance from someone else for doing the same. Referred to by many different expressions, like tying loose ends, this is an important activity that needs to be mastered by everyone. Whatever work, one may do, unless one completes this activity, others shall not get a desirable image of it. One can therefore say, success in the professional sphere is in fact a reflection of one’s ability to dovetail this particular activity with the unfinished jobs that happen to be left in one’s charge, and that too, in a manner that does not leave a shadow on other agencies or offices. In fact one can take up and continue with whatever activity that pleases one the most, provided one can ‘regularise’ it by end of the day. And, unlike what is said in the books dealing with leadership, or management, the one who can regularise the best, is the ultimate winner.
‘Regularise’, in this context becomes an all pervasive word, most helpful to people like us who are prone to act without a well thought about plan. Sometimes it entails correction of records. Sometimes execution of certain defined process. Sometimes both. The beauty is that there is nothing that cannot be regularised.
While in navy, more so, since I was in the naval aviation where time is always at a premium, I was required to find answers to every issue that comes up in the quickest possible manner. Since speed of completion was the prime parameter, and the search for an answer involving interaction with many different agencies, such answers would have been leaving some dots unconnected. And all such instances, though of a fairly insignificant nature, needed to be corrected appropriately, especially in view of surprise inspections we were always wary of, and the short-cuts that were always inviting. Now I fondly recall, how the ‘global’ power of ‘regularising’ used to come to my rescue often. It was that activity, which made our day to day life a pleasant one, protecting us against the frequent and unwelcome surprises and other disturbances.
The above comes to my mind whenever I read about disturbances in human societies, the more menacing and radical ones being those initiated by some abstract reason. The deeper I think about it, whether it is about the commotion about different sects, religions, linguistic groups, political leanings, or economic stature, the harder, I am reminded of the soothing and calming effect, every instance of ‘regularising’ used to bring along. (And how we used to find that as a good reason to celebrate!)
I therefore feel, a strong case exists for regularising human society and the many transactions that constitute it. People can be busy for a full day, with whatever entertains them the most. And take certain corrective steps before the day ends. Since those are entirely dependent on each one’s build, human nature, I think is the first entity that deserves attention. Especially since in all kinds of social disturbance or commotion, human transaction is the only common factor.
We all know, from the time of birth, one continues with the learning process. There is nothing that is not learned, and one’s stature and capacity in life depends a lot on how good are the opportunities for this, and how well one utilizes it. Why is that we never thought of making a handbook about human nature and teaching it in a formal manner.
Let us say there was a handbook, and it contained clear instructions about one’s priorities in life. What those are, how to identify the one for one, and the ways to attain. How peaceful would have been our society while being keen, sharp, and receptive or whatever was most beneficial.
Presently, we are just continuing with imitating our past generations. As we progress with our life, everything new, we find is almost overturning some ideas we were holding as dear since long. And we happily continue with mimicking the past, but for the unavoidable changes, it might have caused. (Though those instances should have made us rethink about all other ideas we hold as gospel truth. For, such is the approach we take while dealing with all other phenomena, whether related to animals, plants, or inanimate objects. We also know, this is the reason for the progress, human race makes in leaps and bounds.)
What do we need to do? Make a handbook of human nature, specifying what it should yield, say at different circumstances.
Let us have a good look at the literature already existing on this topic, and see, whether it meets our need or not.
There are a number of perspectives regarding the fundamental nature and substance of humans, the gist of which can be as shown below. Abstract ideas about the physical body and its spiritual element emerge here, giving rise to as many divisions for each of these approaches as an imaginative mind can produce.
Philosophical approach A set of views that humans are purely natural phenomena, aided and assisted by other such phenomena to reach the present. Further, labels placed by society introduce mechanisms that can make alterations to it. The issue of free will, determinism and morality underlies much of the debate about human nature, and, this being an area open to opinions, the debate persists.
Religious views This hold that a human is a spiritual being which was deliberately created by God. Good and evil are to be decided, based on how well human beings conform to God's hopes and ideas about man. For some religions, it entails adherence to certain rules of behaviour, and for some others, it entails one to identify completely with God. The idea of an unquestionable entity is at the heart of all these, which gets evoked whenever the need is felt to end a debate.
In one case, the debate goes on with no answer in sight. And in the other case, the debate ends soon with reaffirming the omnipotence of God.
No, one will have to come up with a new one, as far as the handbook goes. Which in fact reaffirms my earlier proposition that we urgently.need to regularise all that we do. And it is a vast field encompassing all that we dream, think, plan and do. Each and every one of us has the potential to contribute to it, provided we are in possession of such a book,
I shall try to write the first and most important chapter of this book, one dealing with the human predisposition with the superlatives or the extremes.
We tend to nurture our ability or skill since it leads us to a pleasurable experience. We start enjoying it, and we use it to do things more often, as it pleases us more. As an offshoot, we get appreciated as a talented one. Sooner than later we forget about deriving pleasure from what we do, focusing only on the comparison of one’s ability with that of the rest. (The latter is much easier!) And in any comparison, what stand out are only the extremes, in one direction, or of the reverse of it. Which affects us everywhere, we losing the ability to appreciate ourselves being the immediate one. We grossly overlook the loss, especially because we tend to equate the particular ability with selfishness, which has been taught to us as an undesirable element of of one’s character. As a consequence, rather than self confidence that abounds in every human child, we all grow up with a whole lot of social needs at every stage, like that of attention, approval, recognition, and encouragement. And the surest way to gain it is to be the superlative, which also we learn from experience.
What is the result? A society that is always on the go, more or less specifically in search of the superlative. (All living beings are naturally desirous of maximising comfort) The few, those happen to be very clear about the destination, and also having the wherewithal to pursue it, tread a stable path. Others also continue this search. However, since the destination, or the paraphernalia necessary for a fruitful journey, or both, are not clearly known to them, they falter. All people of all age groups, whether they follow successfully their vocations, or unsuccessful in their ventures, irrespective of spiritual, political, or other leanings, can be divided into these two. Countries shall remain healthy and flourish when the former is in majority, and widespread unrest shall prevail when it isn’t so.
This is where regularisation comes in. From the above it is well clear that human can also have a peaceful existence in this world, provided we do something that prevents the falter. For that, whenever one happens to be unclear about the destination, or feel inability in pursuing it, a mechanism should suggest an alternate path, bringing back stability. All stable systems shall remain stable as long as the fluctuations that may happen due to any reason do not cross the threshold beyond which correction is not possible. Thinking in a similar manner, one can say, as long as human feelings or reactions do not cross a certain limit, say beyond which, one becomes unreasonable, human society shall remain stable.
Now, to regularise. I think a good way is to establish a regimen that will put in place a self-regularising human nature. If one takes a cue from the physical world, one can see, self contained systems have extensive arrangements of sensing on its own, external signals of interest and acting on it, while keeping the interfering ones away. We need to incorporate something similar in our lives. In fact such was the social life in the distant past, I think. All children were transferred to a centralised nursery, where they were given necessary lessons. (This would have been saving them from the present danger: parents, who were born in a different time, tend to confine the children to what they think should be taught to the children.) Which continued till they reached the age where they are fit to take up the roles they got assigned for themselves. Having already learned about their role and task in life, it won’t be difficult to set their priorities, which alone is enough, to self-regularise. And, unlike it is now, humans, like all other forms of life, will be engaging in activities that are helpful for living, while desisting from things that aren’t.
© 2019 ROY T JAMES