are we?

are we inherently mean and selfish?

I don’t believe we are. Its an age old argument reflected in the views of Hobbes and Rousseau.

it goes something like this…

Left to our own devices:

A – humans will be in conflict, a sort of dog-eat-dog approach to life and fight for themselves or me and mine, OR;

B -they will care, show compassion and work cooperatively.

It’s simplified but bear with me … Which do you think is most accurate?

I’m reading humankind – a hopeful history, he challenges the theories that suggest we are individualistic when pushed into a corner and argues that we’re more likely to work together and help each other.

Sound Utopian?

He debunks the dominant stories, the research, established theories and especially what we hear through the media, reinforced through word of mouth that we default to ‘I’. His view is that we default to ‘we.’ ie we care rather than fight.

We follow what we’re told and learned to accept, rather than think for ourselves.

Here’s one example:

William Golding wrote a fictitious story : “Lord of the Flies’ about young boys shipwrecked on a deserted island and how they behaved. What happened? As you might expect, they fought for themselves ganging up against each other. The result was mayhem leading to death.

This has profound implications.

By contrast, Bregman discovered a true story of shipwrecked boys. The result, was the opposite, as they co-operated and worked together to be able to survive.

Which story had you heard?

Most of my day to day experiences in life demonstrate people think about me and mine rather than showing care for another but it doesn’t have to be that way. Manjula (OK, I’m biased) was an exceptional example who throughout her life was faced with tricky uncaring people being selfish and antagonistic but she never let it stop her caring for and loving others. She was inherently kind.

I think much of our problems in society and the damage we do to each other and the planet is because of this mistaken belief and because our systems reinforce particular ways. These allow the powerful to dominate and keep their unfair share. So this way of thinking benefits some people more than others and that’s why it continues. It’s like ‘Lord of the Flies’ and this is maybe why we’re in the mess we’re in.

I believe it was Malcom X that raised the question: What’s the difference between Illness and Wellness?

It’s I and We.

Cool eh?

It’s actually our choice

Our guests often ask..

Why is there so much rubbish/litter/garbage in the street?

fact is we don’t know but as always we have a view….

There is no simple or easy answer.

We offer the following to help sort the wet from the Dry! It’s in no particular order and it’s taken from what we’ve heard and experienced. Non of it represents the official view of the management.

Elitism. There’s Always someone else lower in the pecking order to clear up after me, it’s beneath me.

Options. There aren’t any. There are few bins, what’s to do? Oddly enough bins have suddenly appeared in the most unlikely places. Like here at the bathing ghats.

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Easy. We have a daily collection, a shrill whistle informs us he’s coming and to put the rubbish outside. If we miss him then it easy to walk up the street and dump it. People don’t like storing rubbish at home. It’s dirty innit?

Ignorance. People just don’t perceive it as a problem. The middle classes might blame it all on the lack of education.

keeping up Human behaviour can’t keep up with changing technology. For example: Chai was previously served in terracotta cups, meals were on a leaf. These were thrown down and those materials were biodegradable, it created no problem, except the unsightly mess. Nowadays we have plastic but we behave as if our waste will disintegrate and safe to just through down. It’s not, obviously!

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Insignificant there are so many other things to worry about, people don’t have a long term view and don’t see it as a problem

it’s always been like this. One interesting connection is to do with race and culture. Travellers or Gypsys in the west may have originally travelled from north india hundreds of years ago. There might be a connection. They are scrupulously clean inside their caravans (here’s Manjula outside a traditional one in the UK) but just outside it’s a complete mess. Maybe there is a cultural aspect that we don’t understand.

But hang on, look how clean this site is.

P1070840Individualism. Me and my own patch. I’ll look after my own home and doorstep but beyond that, nothing matters.

Blindness. It’s not noticed. Its out of sight out of mind.

Careless?

it’s a real issue locally. Just recently there has been a sterling effort by the city corporation and their teams to keep on top of the rubbish and clear it away within the day. But still people just carrying on dumping…. To make matters worse some people are forever setting fire to the rubbish in the streets.

OK it’s a big problem but change is possible, otherwise we’d still have to tolerate the Brits!

Here’s an interesting take from a blog comparing the north and south. Click here

Before anyone gets all smug. It’s been a worldwide problem. The U.K. had a campaign sixty years ago to keep Britain tidy. The logo is still used today here in India. There are moves afoot, local and national campaigns and citizens taking action.

So let’s leave the final word for a campaign group based in Bangalore. Click here…. it’s worth a look and take part in their mini quiz ..

So its not true that…

Water

We all need water, obviously.

Lucie has a regular stop in a ‘paddling pool’ at a neighbours house. Jains in particular will leave out water and food for cows, birds and dogs.

One of our big problems locally is there just isn’t enough water for drinking or agriculture, let alone industry. So you’d think we’d be a tad more careful with it? Nah….. The re is a massive dispute with the neighbouring state. The Kaveri river passes through Karnataka (our state) before reaching Tamil Nadu, there’s insufficient water so do we find a way to share the problem? Nah, we’re first in the queue so we take what we want. This is a worldwide problem, look anywhere: California, Australia, wherever, same problem.

What is is about us? We know the problems, we know we need to act but do we, not in any significant or meaningful way. As highlighted in this insightful book our empires collapse for many different reasons but almost always because we do t recognise what’s at the end of our collective noses and do something about it.

Water is of course a massive problem around the world.

Same here in Mysore.

Close to where we live new borewells are being drilled because that house needs it, of course. Let’s look after our own.

So who cares?