A Boon or Bane to Humanity
Man is a social animal. To live peacefully in the society, he follows the rules and rituals of the society. Nobody likes a nail that sticks out, as it gets hammered down. The easiest path is 100% conformity, with social norms. We start smoking, and drinking as teenagers, when we see our friends enjoying their cigarettes and drinks. We try to conform. But is conformity to social norms a good practice?
1. Smoking. All teenagers want to act like adults. A typical adult in a society enjoys smoking. Thus when a teenager indulges in smoking, he/she acts as an adult. Unfortunately, it results in increased statistical data on cancer. The society gets revenue, but at a great risk to social health. Warnings in bold letters on cigarette packs are not adequate deterrents to humanity. We need new creative ideas to check the menace of smoking in society.
2. Drinking. We link drinking with affluence, power, and a strong personality. A teenager wants to act like an adult, and indulges in drinking, to conform with social norms.
* Doctors tell us: one small peg is good for health. But how many of us have self-control, to abide by it. It results in huge social cost to society – in terms of disturbed, and violent family life.
* French poet Baudelaire wrote: ‘Get drunk by all means. But get drunk in love, in your work, and in your prayers to God.’ It will be a life long experience, without any hang over; unlike liquor, which gives a kick for few hours followed by a hang over next morning.
3. Boy-friends/girl-friends. Every teenager yearns for a boy-friend or a girl-friend, and later indulges in live-in relationships, to conform to social norms.
* We scorn upon the traditional child marriages in developing countries, but we tolerate teenagers indulging in sex in developed countries. We make free contraceptives available in schools to prevent aids, and avoid ‘unwanted’ pregnancies. A teenager conforms to social norms – a path of least resistance, and covets a boy-friend/girl-friend.
* First marriage – which is a teenager’s marriage – in developed countries, invariably ends in divorce. Stability in married life commences later – second marriage onwards. There are celebrities, who have tried 8 times, in search of stability in married life. Hope always wins.
4. Live-in relationships. Traditional marriages are on way out. The spouses – partners in the new role – prefer live-in relationships to safe-guard their financial interests. Divorces cost a lot to the wealthier spouse. The trend is fast creeping in Oriental societies, as well. The success of live-in relationships implies, lack of trust between partners – who didn’t marry and thus aren’t spouses.
* Feminism was overdue in human society. It will ensure independent identity for all women in the world. It has empowered women as equals. But, humanity wasn’t ready for this. Thus feminism has resulted in peaking of divorce rates, and broken homes, which has negative impact on children psyche, and traditional family strength in the society. We need proactive, creative, and educative media to help humanity – to have harmony between spouses along with feminism.
5. Religious rituals. Religions demand greatest conformity. Devotees of all religions sing from their holy scriptures or just sing in praise of God. Will God appreciate the devotees who sing in His honor, but don’t follow Godly principles?
* There is more emphasis on corporate marketing management to increase the number of devotees in a religion, than on qualitative improvement in behavior of existing devotees.
* We have deeply religious ISIS devotees, who will kill other religions’ devotees, to instil fear among them, and force them to follow Sunni sect of Muslim religion. God or Allah does not support violence. Unfortunately, devotees of religions know the rituals and beliefs of their religion, but their daily behavior is nowhere near Godly behavior, as ordained in their holy books.