Are you blind?
Stupid question, isn’t it? You won’t be reading this if you are blind. But it is deeper than you think. Let me rephrase the question.
Do you pretend to not see the things you should?
Vision is not just about what you see through your eyes, but also what your brain interprets. Two people can see the same thing but may feel two different things at the same time. It’s the way we have trained our brain.
In our current society, people are trained to ignore lots of things which happen around them. That can be due to their introvert personality or busy schedules or simply because they don’t care. This way of thinking is helpful in most cases and will avoid lots of conflicts in human interactions. But there are many downfalls of these behavior patterns as well.
Let’s take an example scenario.
You see a guy dropping a bag of garbage by the side of the road, but you ignore it because the road is not yours and you really don’t care. Nobody will blame you if you don’t pay your attention. Let’s mimic the thought process of the witness.
In the above incident, you have two options. You can keep your mouth shut as if you haven’t seen it. Or you can politely tell that person that he has done something wrong. Most people tend to take the first and the easy option of playing blind. If you think deeply, we cannot blame the witness for being silent about it, maybe even the person who dropped the bag. The witness must think, if he points it out, will that person scold him? What if that person is a thug, it may cause serious problems. And the worse thing is, the people around will look at him in a weird way but will not support him. Since it doesn’t do any harm to the witness, people choose not to open their mouth against these types of activities. But I would rather say, “it only doesn’t do an instant harm…”.
Sometimes we have to play blind to save our lives from problems. If there is a fight in the street, most of us don’t want to get involved, because we definitely know that we might end up in the hospital or even in the morgue. Well, you shouldn’t risk your life! But there are lots of things you can open your eyes to.
Once in this bus I was traveling, there was a guy sitting in front of me, who was eating peanuts from a paper bag. I saw him dropping the seed coats around him. Then he took the last handful of peanuts and dropped the paper bag under his seat. I felt an electric shock inside my brain, and my hand went up without any control. However, I managed to convert it into a poke on his shoulder. He turned around. He looked like a gangster with a scar on his face. Now my heart was pounding rapidly. I wished if I could undo that. But then I realized, I’m not blind. I took all the courage I had and politely said, “excuse me, you dropped something” and pointed at that paper bag under his seat. He looked at me with a question mark on his face and hesitantly said “ah, yes” and put his hand under the seat and pretended to try to reach it. Then said, “it’s too far to reach.” I stretched my leg and pushed the paper bag towards him, and said with a smile, “now it’s close.” Then he frowned at me and picked it up and turned around. I heard him mumbling something. Then he turned back and asked me, “where do you live?”. My whole body went cold at once. Everything turned into slow motion, just like before a huge fight scene in an action movie. I said with a thick voice, “Panadura.” Then he asked, “where do you work?”. I said, “I’m a software engineer”. Then he snorted “huh” and turned back. Then again I saw him dropping the peanut coats around him, but this time, to show-off. And then turned back to me and said, “I dropped some of these, is that fine?”. I just gave him a disappointed shrug, because that’s the only thing that I could think of. After a while, he turned back with a more confident voice and said, “These bus owners clean these buses every night”. Somehow I managed to say, “But we don’t do that in our home, right?”. He frowned at me and turned, but never turned back again.
I may not be able to change the world, but at least I tried. If he thinks of that incident before he does such a thing again, that’s the tiniest effect I could make.
Same thing happened when we were waiting by the road for the bus to pick us up to go on a trip. An old man came and threw a big garbage bag by the road, and walked away as it wasn’t him. We said, “What you did was wrong.” That was all we said. This guy stopped and started scolding us with all the possible bad words. “You don’t know! I put garbage here every day. I’m a teacher. Who the hell are you to question me?” and so on. He was so angry.
This is one small thing we can act against. It will not just make our country clean, but it will reduce a lot of diseases as well.
There are lots of people that shout on social media, about protecting this country and saving the world. But most of them never act upon.
- Like and share posts on supporting cancer hospitals. But have never even stepped into one.
- Talk about free education, but never volunteer for workshops or projects done in rural areas.
- See a broken pipeline on the road, but that’s none of your business, even though it might take only a few minutes to find the contact number and call the authorities.
These “people,” including myself to a certain degree.
“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of a moral crisis.” a quote by Dante Alighieri that I admire. Which is also the famous quote which inspired the bestseller novel Inferno by Dan Brown.
We’re privileged more than we think. We have more than enough. The question is, how much do we give back? Are we blind? Let’s open our eyes.