In a random discourse among friends about who would you rather be if you were given the option to become a Greek god, they always think of me to choose to be Prometheus. It is not because i am morally incorruptible or sanctimonious when justice requires deliverance, but because I keep fangirling about Prometheus and his path to enlightenment. Because I am one of those chaps, who are ostensibly forthcoming of high standard virtuoso but lacks heart at doing actual good!
In my most private moments, when all the time in the world is available to let a man reflect upon himself, my mind floods with such thoughts. Paves ways for such convictions where it questions my integrity. Where it asks if what I try to uphold is a bunch of millennial BS. As if whatever good I try to do is comparable to only an outranged blindfolded sense of self-enlightenment cowering behind inexplicably valueless rage! Or in simpler words, a powerless Ares, the god of war with no prowess but the ability to do subtle mimicry of others! Not so long ago, such an event unfolded before my eyes. I had the opportunity to do something noble, yet when push came to shove me in front, I actually resisted like those 99 other simpletons satisfied in being a bystander.
To give a little bit of context here, let me tell you a story. A tale of morons in control.
I'm a big consumer of worthless entertainment. I Like watching these short make-believe youtube where you can see random ordinary individuals saving the day. Like this guy, who was standing in front of a lift when he heard somebody crying inside. Without even hesitating, he did exactly what needs to be done. From god knows where he took out a crowbar and saved this old lady who had acute asthma and severe claustrophobia. Or in another instance, this extremely obese bus driver saving this suicidal teen standing atop a bridge. While driving by, he saw this kid who was about to jump. With kind and warm words, he astonishingly saved the kid! Later on, he was even awarded for that, but his answer had nothing special in it when asked how he did it. Proof of how being a good guy might only come from within. My mentor and the rest of the world, who are undoubtedly wiser than I'll ever be, repeatedly stand by this idea of how it's our choices are what makes us who we are! But the question that keeps popping in my mind is, how do we choose what is good? How do we differentiate right from wrong?
A few moons ago, I went to service our bikes along with some of my friends. The shop was around this big warehouse that sells steel bars. And this place alone is enough to show you this substantial discrepancy between the actual one percenter and the rest of the world. A stout owner, gold chains around his neck, the fattest wallet I have ever seen, most expensive car in my country parked beside his glass dome of an office, yet behaves around his workers who wear ripped and dirty clothes as if they are his slaves! As if he owns them.
Workers work there for a few bucks a day. Some are drivers, but most of them are there to provide physical labor. They carry these big thick steel rods on their shoulders and load it into the trucks.
So, the generic millennial I am, I was waiting outside by the road with a smoke in my hand while they service my bike and observing how these workers were working in a very hazardous environment. No safety measures and pieces of equipment were provided to them, yet they risk everything! And even before I could finish my thought, a random long transit commuter bus runs over this worker and stops a few hundred yards away! Seeing this, I ran towards him. But even from afar, I could see the did was done! There is no saving a guy whose cerebellum lay outside his body. What followed is pure chaos. A few overly enthusiastic people, including me, started to beat the life out of that driver. As if we were avenging the poor kid seeking to make a few bucks to provide food for his family! As if our punches and stomping would correct all the wrongs that had occurred.
As the police drag the half-alive driver away, the fat owner comes to tell his workers to get back to work! To describe how the thirty or so minutes the work has been in standby has cost him thousands! Yet, the most shocking thing was we, the enthusiastic few were now silent. Because the owner wears thick gold rings and is as powerful as a member of the parliament!
The thing is, in this corrupted dystopian scenario of nonsense, who is actually the guilty one? The poor kid whose only crime was to be born poor! Or the driver who was driving 20 or so over the speed limit? Or the owner who didn't provide enough safety measures?
If you chose any one of the three, you would be a part of the actual problem. Because we are the ones who are the real perpetrators. We let a guy like those in power commit macro injustices repeatedly and let it pile to be equivalent to actual war crimes, but say nothing because it is not happening to us! Only to validate what Edmund Burke has told a little more!
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing
My initial query still remains! How do we differentiate good from evil? As Marcus Cicero said,
The function of wisdom is to discriminate between GOOD and Evil
But are we ever wise enough? We are humans, the only conscious creature under the heavens, and there is seemingly nobody to look us in the eye and correct our mistakes. After all, we create bombs in the name of peace! Or perhaps, I am just another nameless nihilistic cynic!