Essay Paper for APSC | No Man Is an Island
No Man Is an Island
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
These lines are taken from spiritual writings of John Donne, the metaphysical poet from England who lived in the 16th century. This meditative prose conveys the essence of the human place in the world -- past and present.
Man is essentially Selfish: Incorrect General Assumption
There has long been a general assumption that human beings are essentially selfish. We’re apparently ruthless, with strong impulses to compete against each other for resources and to accumulate power and possessions. If we are kind to one another, it’s usually because we have ulterior motives. If we are good, it’s only because we have managed to control and transcend our innate selfishness and brutality. As we can see in Darwin evolutionary biology.
This belief in selfish nature has done immense harm to Humanity as seen in ravages of imperialism and world wars.
This bleak view of human nature is also closely associated with the science writer Richard Dawkins, whose book The Selfish Gene became popular because it fitted so well with (and helped to justify) the competitive and individualistic ethos of late 20thcentury societies. However modern research suggests otherwise.
Altruism and egalitarianism
There seems little reason to assume that traits such as racism, warfare and male domination should have been selected by evolution – as they would have been of little benefit to us. Individuals who behaved selfishly and ruthlessly would be less likely to survive, since they would have been ostracised from their groups.
It makes more sense then to see traits such as cooperation, egalitarianism, altruism and peacefulness as natural to human beings. These were the traits that have been prevalent in human life for tens of thousands of years. So presumably these traits are still strong in us now.
Man is a spiritual Being.
The story of creation in Genesis declares that human beings were made in the image of God. In Hinduism and Buddhism also Human beings are considered manifestations of divine only. For instance Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Expressions of the divine as intimate rather than as alien, as indwelling and near dwelling rather than remote, characterise pantheism of Bhakti Movement that revolutionised spiritualism in the subcontinent in the medieval age.
Integral humanism of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya followed the tradition of advaita developed by Adi Sankara. Non-dualism represented the unifying principle of every object in the universe, and of which humankind was a part. This, claimed Upadhyaya, was the essence and contribution of Indian culture.
Man is a social animal.
Man has a natural urge to live an associated life with others. Man needs society for his existence or survival. The human child depends on his parents and others for its survival and growth. The inherent capacities of the child can develop only in society. The ultimate goal of society is to promote a good and happy life for its individuals. It creates conditions and opportunities for the all round development of individual personality.
A person as a child depends on his parents, as a student on his teacher, as a friend on his friends to share his sorrows and joys with, as a believer on his faith, as a patient on a doctor,as a driver on transport, as an athlete on his coach and as a worker on his boss. Even countries survive through interdependency, let alone a man.
Man is a political Being.
Aristotle’s main ideology consists in that a man is by nature a political animal because he can reason and communicate with others, therefore, has the potential to alter or change his living conditions for better because he can recognize the difference from right or wrong. Aristotle is proposing that a man with reason has to base his approach towards politics on the fundamental concept of good for human beings. We see such politics practised by great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther Jr.
Man is compensate being:
Mother Teresa has said: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Recent studies of compassion argue persuasively that reject the preeminence of self-interest. These studies support a view of the emotions as rational, functional, and adaptive—a view which has its origins in Darwin’s Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals. Compassion and benevolence, this research suggests, are an evolved part of human nature, rooted in our brain and biology, and ready to be cultivated for the greater good.
We can understand this from the lives of many great leaders who have sacrificed their lives for greater good like Gautam Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi and Baba Amte.
Man is Ecologically integrated to nature:
Man is an important part of the ecosystem of nature. All cultural activity interferes with the ecological balance of the local environment, and every human society is more or less dependent on natural conditions and resources. We see nature worship in tribal cultures, their spiritual concepts like sacred groves that protect nature in order to protect and preserve mankind. Recent environmentalism of the late 20th century has brought back to centre man’s critical relation with nature.Ecological orientation of Humanity is at core of Chipko Movement of India.
Maybe we are living in one of the busiest eras where people do not take out much time for each other but, not to forget, this is the era where diseases like depression are common and at its peak. Now, why in the century, where we have almost every luxury, people face a mental health issue. According to Psychology, one of the main reasons for it is the feeble relationship ties. People spend much of their time with their phones and work where they feel physically enjoyable but emotionally isolated.
It is possible to live without the internet, in this world, but not without humans. Communication is one of the biggest assets a person holds, no matter how happy a person feels he will never feel content at heart unless and until he communicates and shares his happiness. We are all people of the same globe and if one thing happens to one person, it ultimately affects the others around him. For example, a common man might not have any attachment to his current ruler but the death or resignation of that ruler will somehow affect his life. A new ruler will come, he will change the policies and rules, and directly and indirectly, as a citizen, the man will have to respond to the new commands.