Justify, Remorse, Numb & Norm

We live in a world today that we tend to justify our every actions because there is a need to be accountable. Accountability is a form of check and balance mechanism. For any normal human being, this mechanism is called conscience. Most of us start off with life maintaining a good conscience. At the heart of conscience is the many religions and teachings that feed and build the conscience in the human minds.

During the recent general election, our local representative shared with us how pieces of lands has been sold to representatives of the previous administration at outrageously low prices. When investigations are performed by the new administration, these former representatives said the government back then were caring of its people and have given them good rates for the lands in question. Very apparent, they show no remorse for their wrong doings.

This lead me to wonder, how can conscience be stripped so naked to a point where one does not feel any remorse for what they have done wrong. The answer did not come until quite recently.

A few weeks ago, a priest in his sermon spoke about how the norm shapes our mind. Speaking on the topic of corruption in the event of being stopped by the traffic police, it has become such a norm to settle the problem by paying off the officer. No hassle and cheaper. This is widespread and to a point has become the norm.

Indeed habits shape character and the more we do it, the more it is inscribed into our being. In time, we “forget” right from wrong or rather, the wrong becomes right. This is supported by the many justification given to oneself which is the easiest way out.

When we go for surgery, anaesthetic is most often used to numb the pain while the operation is performed. In life, justification and the norm can be seen as anaeshetic and agents for us to numb the remorse.

Referring to the corruption and injustice happening in many countries around the world especially the recent that happened in this country, the oppressors, the corrupt judges and all that have a hand in the act of injustice has chosen to silent their conscience. They have chosen to suppress the truth and their own compassion for reasons only they themselves know. The dynamics can be very different between a group of people versus an individual. In this particular case, there are 3 judges and collectively they have summoned the strength from each other to make a baseless conviction. Didn’t the Roman soldiers acted docile in a group casting lots for Jesus’ cloths? I am sure if singling one out, the situation would be different altogether.

First, a group of criminal will justify their actions and find affirmation in each other, they numb themselves with the norm and after the act, feel no remorse. The strength to suppress conscience cannot grow overnight and it needs practising as well. Because habits build character, these ruthless “professionals” must have been corrupt for a substantial period of time.

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In a split second

Though it may be a short span of time, many things can happen in a split of a second. Death can be one of those things – short time, huge loss.

A decision that determines between life and death of an alleged criminal can also be made in a split of a second. Instant gratification is always the outcome of a careless split second thought. Murder, fornication and the list goes on.

We like to tell ourselves that life is fragile and we must cherish and be grateful for what we have for within a split of a second, we might lose everything.

The thought of how swift death can come upon us came to my mind a few days ago while driving back from work. This thought raised the question whether we submit hopelessly waiting on death or use every living second to strive for a better life.

Striving for a better life always come with the need to sacrifice be it time or any other forms of resources. We may get hung up trying to figure out if it will all be worth it or simply put in business terms, will there be Return On Investment (ROI). We are always speaking in terms of benefits and returns. Hardly there is anyone in this world is willing to lift a finger without knowing full well the returns or benefits of their actions. We have become inhabitants of this planet that wants more than we give.

I am always told that “you cannot bring riches into the tomb” and I totally agree but that should not be made an excuse not to lead a purposeful life. We all have a purpose in this life and even though we may lose everything in the split of a second, living a purposeful life will help us leave this world easier – without regrets.

For those of us with children, we wish only to see them through life and do well on their own before we breath our last. That is the simplest example of purpose. Fighting to survive and see things through. We wish not to leave our children to fend for themselves in this broken world. Better still for some of us, go the extra mile fighting for a better future for our children by being activists.

When I was younger and in my carefree days, like any young adult, politics bore me to death. I couldn’t understand what was all the fuss about when there were general elections. Little did I know that a small voting ballot can cause a huge ripple and has huge implications for the community.

A vote translates into a good representative chosen.

A good representative chosen translates into good governance.

Good governance translates into a thriving nation.

A thriving nation translate into progressive community.

And a progressive community will bring about better standard of living.

Stunting and crippling a nation with mediocre education and support systems will only bring adverse effect.

All these decisions making can happen in a split second.

The speed between the moment one sets his/her eyes on a briefcase filled with cold hard cash and saying “YES” can happen in a split second. The speed between a threat to harm one’s family member and saying “YES” can also happen in a split second.

The implication of the YES however can bring greater and longer harm to the victim of such injustice.

How do we condition ourselves not to give up in a split second needs exercising of mental power. The strength to endure pain and make the best decision can only be built on top of good faith and conscience. Something that only one person have mastered and in my opinion, he is Jesus Christ.

In the split second before breathing his last, he uttered,”Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

That is how Jesus told himself that “my purpose in life is accomplished”.

If you are cornered to make an awful decision in a split second today, what would you choose? Will it be a decision for your selfish gain or you are strong enough to ensure no harm is done on another and in short, saving yourself or others?

In a split second, justice can turn into injustice.

In a split second, democracy can turn into dictatorship.

In a split second, joy can turn into sorrow.

Today say a prayer for all those that has made the wrong split second decision and living to regret it. May we all have the strength to make the right decision although painful, know  it is the correct thing to do.