Zuchano Khuvung, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
As a concerned individual, every time I try to ponder on the prevailing state of affairs, I find the two very basic principles missing; “being mindful of others” and “the realization that being in service, whichever profession or occupation we may have, is an obligation”. We owe each other and to the community or the society that we reside, as individuals and as being a part of the organized whole, the possible contributions that we can make. People in our society today care less about the impact of our actions or inaction on our very existence as social beings. The fact that we are social animals and need each other implies that we understand and respect each other; otherwise if we are too selfish to care and think about others then any individual as such better exist in isolation which i believe is next to impossible. Therefore, since by nature man social animal, he is subjected to the cardinal obligation to be useful for humanity.
Here the point of contention is that, the basic moral principles that we need as human beings are nonexistent. It is disheartening to observe the fact that people of our society consider ourselves as Christians, when we do not have any idea of our true identification: that is, we ought to follow the ways of our Lord and love each other unconditionally, be truthful, just and fair and above all fulfill our purpose and duties as human beings by being responsible and accountable. God revealed Himself to men as just and fair, and people are His image on earth, and so they need to be fair and equitable as well, so as not to undermine the image of God in themselves. The prime objective of declaring to mankind that people are created in the image of God on earth, is to understand that if we exist in the image of God and are created by Him;, then we have sufficient potential for performing justice and for exercising an equitable and fair behavior toward others. The primary moral principles, prescribed as a recipe for the functioning of humanity were given in God’s word in the Old Testament of the Bible. There within, mankind was given a set of moral rules in the form of commandments on how to regulate relations between family members, between young and old, between employers and workers, rich and poor, men and women, rulers and the ruled.
Talking about ethical values and moral principles, we need to impart all these to younger generation so that in the long term or near future we can have a population that possesses responsible attributes and can contribute evenly towards the community and society at large. Any democratic society must concern itself with the socialization of its citizens. For this, citizenship education is essential which entails character development and moral formation. These two domains of citizenship education focus on teaching of civics, development of citizenship skills and dispositions. Taking this dialogue further, it can be observed that the absence of these basic principles can have unsolicited repercussions in any given society. Ethical values and moral principles are crucial factors in leadership that its absence could turn an otherwise powerful leadership into a disastrous outcome.
The subject of political analysis in contemporary life today is a special matter of consistency of personal values, attitude and political practices, when the faithful is in a position to exercise power. The basic principle is that the faithful must practice leadership with integrity, and his personal values and attitudes must correspond and be consistent with his political views and decisions, even at the cost of losing the support of the electorate. The contemporary political practice shows that there are a large number of active representatives who do not understand and do not accept the significance of the moral aspects of political issues as a foundation for right and proper conducting of state politics.
Further references can be made in this regard, citing the opinions of prominent political philosophers. Utilitarianism by J.S. Mill also known as “Highest Possible Happiness principle” is a category that should be applied in politics and he believes that the happiness of the individual in a community, their safety and their satisfaction is the ultimate goal of all possible goals that legislators must take into consideration. For Plato, the moral views of the participants in the political system discover and establish the justice system and strengthen the justice therein. Without knowledge for good, hardly anyone could act wisely and fairly.
Augustine sees the source of the fundamental moral principles as founded in the Bible and set straight from God. But as such they are not simply revealed to mankind. On the contrary, in order for someone to come to correct knowledge of the actual moral principles, he must discern the true essence of faith and reach for the right knowledge about God. Augustine further says that the understanding of the knowledge of God is a reward for faith, and concludes that the knowledge of the truth of God incorporates the knowledge and principles of morality.
To conclude, it is fairly accurate to say that every society needs working principles, as a criterion for its positive laws and a system of limitation of evil and injustice. It will be desirable to clarify that being in service or for that matter, representative governance is by its very nature a selfless activity and we cannot expect selfish individuals carrying out these responsibilities. For this we need self-sacrificing, faithful, accountable and God fearing personalities.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thoughtwill delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Aniruddha, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: email@example.com.