October 12, 2018

Building a moral society

From our infant childhood, making people like us is the model that groomed us into adult life.
This is the essence of being good in a moral way. We don't have to be seemingly good to those
who are bad or criminal or deceitful but the real meaning of good stems from being acceptable
to those with moral values. So the basis of being good is morality. Being a good citizen is also
about being good and acceptable to the people that populate that community. That we don't
behave in a way we disrupt aggressively the ways that society has chosen to live by. True, big
changes happen from iconoclastic events, but we all know that these when engineered in selfish
and too bold an aggressiveness may totally backfire whereas when nurtured  assertively, can
work beautifully to transform society. Perhaps this is what the famous adage means “an idea
whose time has come”. This coming is not merely a temporal but a mental one too. We are
always, even subconsciously, matching our ideas with the ways of society so that we can
expound it in ways that society accepts these with only little defensiveness. Even saying
something as simple as proposing a different view at a gathering is fraught with such mental
play. We are strapped into this mental mould of fear or a yearning for approval.

For Maldives the restaurant sanitation culture legislations of the 1980s were appropriate for
a push for a healthy change because of the cholera epidemic in Maldives in 1978 that struck
us from the blue. Or the mechanisation of the fishing boats in the 1980s when it was
imperative for economic reasons, to move from the sail to the engine. We can bring to mind
many such moments. Yes we can also create our moments by building towards these in a
planned way without waiting for a natural progression of events to happen or for a devastating
strike from the blue.

Building society is an art. We learn the methods from formal schooling at colleges and
universities; but the real schooling that makes us wise and useful human being is what we
reap from the school of life; learning from our own and other’s experiences by being in a
state of open mind to listen or accept others views and reflecting on it for its truths or follies,
whatever these maybe. This awareness is what orchestrates knowledge and action into social transformation. And this is what every budding leader should know. Knowledge, character
and wisdom must come together in a shared oneness. True leaders who transform society
bring with them these pristine human qualities.

There is a mental element to this too. Good character comes from conforming and acceding
and respectful deference with the realization that this behaviour stems from strength of
character rather than from an innate weakness of the self. And that is just what it is even
though society in its wild form sees aggressiveness as strength.

May Allah SWA Bless Maldives!!

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