A majority of the over six billion people on this planet do not seriously follow any particular faith. Although people say that they belong to a certain tradition, they may not necessarily be believers in their personal lives. However, they are also a very important part of humanity. When a child takes birth,it does not choose its faith. Even when the parents perform rituals, the child has no feeling for, or appreciation of these. Its mind is free from any faith and it survives only on human affection and concern. The mother’s physical touch or milk is what the child appreciates. These are very strong feelings of appreciation and human affection, without which the child cannot survive. Thus, from the time of birth, every human being seeks affection. It is also a basic human nature to be gentle – gentleness based on affection. When our mind is calm, compassionate and open, we remain healthy physically. On the other hand, constant frustration, anger, agitation and hatred, affect mental and physical health alike.
Our physical being is most at ease with a peaceful and compassionate mind and not with the mind that is agitated. Nurture is the essence of every human being, something that we seek and experience from birth. However, as we grow up and place more emphasis on the brain and the intellect, we neglect our basic human qualities. These further overwhelm our nature, contributing to the problems in the world. In the 20th century, we relied on machines, and their limitations are already there for us to see. While we promote intellectual or knowledgeable aspects of our nature, our valuable qualities, the most important of which is compassion must also increase. When we realise the impermanence of our own lives, and that of all others, while also thinking about ‘how our lives are dependent on others,’ we ensure that the brain and the heart function in tandem. That is my definition of secular ethics.
Apart from this, we must take care of the environment for the human race to have a better future. This planet is our home, and yet scientists are exploring other planets such as Mars and plan to build dwellings there. While this is not impossible, ultimately this blue planet is our only home. We must take steps to protect every living creature that makes up the planet. It is wrong to exploit the environment and disregard its natural beauty and balance for the sake of earning money. This is a short-sighted vision that will bring destruction in the long-term.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper