Everyone around us seems to be angry these days. You are walking on the wrong side of the street – people get angry; you started crossing the road a second before the light turns on – people get angry; you smile and nod to people as a notion of greeting – people still get angry! What’s wrong with people – or perhaps, we can ask what’s wrong with us?
We should do what we are supposed to do, but we can’t do that all the time. You should not walk on the wrong side of the street or should be patient before crossing the road, but sometimes we fail to manage that. We may have a rush going to the hospital, have a fight with our dear ones back at home or some other reason that no one knows. We have to be considerate. We have to give others a chance. We just can’t get angry and be obsessed with what we think is right. When you get angry, you don’t gain anything. You spoil your mental peace. You also hurt others.
Aristotle once said, “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
As it is not easy and not within everybody’s power, this is exactly what we should try to achieve in life. Famous writer J.K. Rawling said, “When you have seen as much of life as I have, you will not underestimate the power of obsessive love.” On the other hand, I shall tell you, when you are too obsessed with hatred or anger, the power becomes uncontrollable. It causes enormous damage, which you can never manage to control in the short term. However, there is always a chance to review our actions – such as anger.
The last few weeks have been eventful for Bangladesh. Restlessness about some social stigma, political turmoil, and natural disaster made us somewhat angry and reactive. We had different opinions about different incidents. It is obvious that people may have different opinions. It is also absolutely fine that we try to establish our opinions. We often engage in debates and arguments. As long as we can put our arguments straight, debates and arguments can bring good to the society. However, sometimes we go beyond our capacity and try to establish our ideology so strongly that we try to deny reality and engage in unhealthy dispute. That is the point when we get obsessed with something and we become angry which then lead us to unhappiness.
The articles I have been writing for the last couple of months have been mostly intended to define different aspects of life that contradict with the ancient concept of happiness. Once, I asked one of my colleagues about happiness. I asked him, how he manages to be happy after all these chaos in our social and professional life. He told me an interesting thing. He told me that he had built a wall of glass around him so that he can isolate himself from the chaotic world whenever he wanted. That was an interesting philosophy. I have thought about his philosophy and found out that it might work in case of many of us.
A glass wall around us to look through it and get engaged when it is necessary would be fine. It will also help us to enjoy the sunshine but avoid the pollution that is so intense and harmful. This glass wall obviously can’t be made of glass or wall! It has to make a strong position within our mind and soul.
We need to ask what we win by engaging in fight or war or dispute. There are times when we need to stand strong and defend the greatest principles of life. We can’t tolerate or accept people who kill or rape or harm others. But we definitely can accept and live with people who have different political and social ideas than ours. We should be respectful to each other when we try to make our points.
A lot of times we are driven by news published in the newspapers or telecasted in televisions. We have limited knowledge or information about those topics but we still take a stand immediately just by listening to the media. I think we should be more cautious. We should do our own research before we start fighting someone else’s war. This digital era is so confusing and full of chaos and hatred, misinformation and lies. We should not just believe what we see. We should take a step back, take a moment to realize and analyze before we can even get engaged.
Aristotle once said, “Some animals are cunning and evil-disposed, as the fox; others, as the dog, are fierce, friendly, and fawning. Some are gentle and easily tamed, as the elephant; some are susceptible of shame, and watchful, as the goose. Some are jealous and fond of ornament, as the peacock.”
We need to know and think what makes human different than others. I think it’s our soul. Our soul is like a sea. Sometimes it is calm, sometimes it is wild. Even if it’s rough and wild, when it reaches the shore, it knows how to settle down and make peace.
Plato said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”
Today is a nice, warm, summer day in Toronto. I am writing this serious note sitting down in my neighborhood where I have come with my daughter for her biking practice. I met a wonderful Canadian couple Paul and Alex. They have made peace with life. We had a long chat. Paul went to the same school as my daughter. He is now 95 years old. Alex is a bit younger and she knows about Bangladesh. We talked about the world, how it is getting unstable and impulsive. The people, the leaders and the world, itself considering nature mother! When we left, Alex and Paul were still sitting on a bench, enjoying the warm sun of summer. They were not talking much, just holding each other’s hand – probably making peace with life.
Today, I am trying to make peace with life too. I am overwhelmed with the weekend reading from different philosophers. They are all in my mind. I think to get rid of anger and obsession about ego and ideologies, we need to read and write more often.
Aristotle said, “The poet, being an imitator like a painter or any other artist, must of necessity imitate one of three objects – things as they were or are, things as they are said or thought to be, or things as they ought to be. The vehicle of expression is language – either current terms or, it may be, rare words or metaphors.”
We all need to be poets. At least we need to act like a poet, to make this world a better place we need to love each other a lot than we love nowadays. Plato said, “At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.”
I am always a great fan of William Shakespeare and my all-time favorite is his remarkable creation, an out of the world satire play ‘Much Ado About Nothing!’ He once said, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none”. I would conclude from Shakespeare and will say, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none and much ado about nothing!”
Love you all!
wise people got already engaged
Shamim Ahmed is a public health professional and a development economist. Currently, he is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto and pursuing doctoral research on Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. He is also working as a Teaching Assistant of Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Shamim is a published author. He has four well-acclaimed poetry books. Being a public health professional, he is known to be a philanthropist for his regular columns on diverse issues from politics to social science, poetry to diplomacy, and what not.