Human Development

Just because these things do not affect us directly does not mean, in any way, that we should not take it upon ourselves to fight for it.

June 29, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -2 June 28- 2013 (Ashad 14, 2070)

With the world moving in different directions, various new ideas and priorities appear. Georg Hegel, a German philosopher and a major contributor to the German Idealism, stated that there always existed a struggle between ideas in society. He stated that there was a dominating idea called a “thesis” and other minor ideas called the “antithesis.” History, he stated, was an effort to overcome this struggle, and when a compromise was reached, it would become a “synthesis” of the two. And so, Hegel said, this circle would be carried on and on until we reached an ideal world.

Some may say that our world today may seem like the ideal world. We have the technology, the development, the infrastructure, the luxury, and the privileges. Science has taken discovery and experiment to another magnitude. Superpowers have emerged to take the economy by the throat and wriggle it enough to extract buckets full of money. However, in another point of view, today, society couldn’t be further away from being an “ideal” one. I believe that level of compromise to reach the synthesis is yet to be accomplished.

The first and foremost example that comes into mind is the state of feminism in our world today. The other day, I came across a blog called “A Curious Fancy” by a woman named Ragini Nag Rao. She emphasized, amongst other things, the horrors of the simple task of travelling alone in a country like India, how her mother had scolded her for wanting to wear a dress when she was a little girl, and how she felt uncomfortable wearing skirts and shorts even when she became a full-grown woman with a degree from the United Kingdom. Fashion came to define her, while society looked down upon her for showing too much skin. After battling a case of anorexia, she gained a lot of weight and started a fashion blog and became more confident. When looking at such an example, it is important to ask ourselves: does weigh dictate who we are inside? Does feminism only refer to skinny, tall women? Do we, as females, whether fat, skinny, short, tall, or overweight, get to express ourselves through what we wear?

Environmental issues are another aspect of our lives that we don’t give much importance to, which is surprising as we are in the second richest country in water resources. When I fly in from Delhi twice a year, the beautiful mountain range that is in view just before we land never fails to leave me in awe. The beauty and tranquility that Nepal has to offer is something rare and should be protected. However, once we are flying over the valley of Kathmandu, there is a certain change in the air, a thick embodiment of smoke and pollution, and a sight of a dirty city. Just driving around town, it doesn’t take the greatest of observers to notice that the rivers are slowly turning into thick, trash-filled streams or that the piles and piles of garbage and sewage aren’t not being taken care of. What is happening to the Kingdom in Himalayas? Who is doing anything to stop this? Where the appreciation of nature gone? What happened to preserving national treasures?  

Unfortunately, these questions are still hard to answer. While annual gatherings and protests, like the Slut Walk, happen all over the world, we, as supporters of fat people and thin people and chubby people and tall people, should help mobilize the community we live in. We should try to convince those who are unwilling to accept that women can be fat and fashionable. We have to point out to others that the danger that our environment is in is a growing issue that should be addressed soon, before we come to regret it.We need to start caring for things other than ourselves. Just because these things do not affect us directly does not mean, in any way, that we should not take it upon ourselves to fight for it. Because we are all trying to survive in this single Earth, and amidst all the technology and development, we need to find space for empathy, for acceptance, for open-mindedness. As of right now, science and technological advances have outgrown us, as human. It is our responsibility to grow as humans and develop key characteristics that the modern world requires. Only then can we reach the level of “synthesis” Hegel talks about. Only then can we possibly hope to become an ideal society.

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