Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why it should be okay to not give up your seats on the train to the elderly/hadicapped

Have you ever felt the strong unwillingness to do your homework after you have been forced to sit in your room to complete it? Well, the problem with society is very much like this problem.

Notice how giving up our seats to "those who need it more" on public transports  is now a social obligation? It is such social obligations that is the root of the problem. These social obligations could be anything from how one is expected to treat the handicapped to how one is expected to treat the elderly to how men are expected to treat the ladies.

Because reserves seats are probably the most common topic everyone can relate to, this shall be used as the example to represent other social obligation.

The problem with obligations is that it removes the one of the strongest sentiments one can experience. Self-motivation. The greatest motive for giving up your seat on public transports was the motivation it carried due to the self-gratification one will experience upon doing it out of complete self-willingness.

What the transport provider has done by naming the seats "reserved seat" is creating an obligation for society to give up their seat to those whom need it more. Of course, these were done with good intentions. Yet because of this new obligation, we now give up our seats because we have to. We don't feel any sense of happiness. If we do, it's much less than what we should have. Heck, some of us are probably unhappy as we do it.

Where does society come in? Well, nobody really felt like it was really much of an obligation despite the reserved seats. It was society that via STOMP, twitter and discussions on the internet that made it distinctively, an obligation. We now come from a place of fear rather than kindness. We now give up our seats more because we are afraid of being STOMP-ed or even just the uneasy feel of sitting at the reserved seat(or even normal seats) while the train is packed with people staring and there's an elderly around.

Our motive is no better than before. Our happiness level has drop. In fact, those who would probably have given up their seats even without any obligations probably now still come from a place of fear and do it because it has to be done. Is our society really any better?

I know I can't stop mentioning this quote but.. "Every action is measured by the sentiment from which it proceeds". So then, is our society any better now? On the superficial level, sure. Elderlies and handicaps get their seats. On a deeper and real level? Our society is either just as "unkind" or "bad" as it was before or dare I say worse.

Food for thought. Some who don't give up their seats are better people than some who do. When you measure their "kindness" or "good intentions", they probably are equal, those who gave up and those who didn't. Yet, it is the one who didn't, that didn't let society shape oneself. This person did not act upon fear and on an individual level, is a strong person. Yet our society so readily attacks(with good intentions of course) those who fail to meet obligations created by the very attacks themselves, without realising that the person they choose to attack is no different from the person who "did the right thing" in the eyes of society. Who's the one that's really negatively affecting society here? Society itself or those who choose not to submit to pressure?

In the mind of someone who chooses not to give up their seat, they may be thinking that initially, it would be nice to do it but now because it has become an obligation, they are reluctant to do so because they feel like a slave to society. They hate to feel like they are doing so because they are "told" to do so. Just like in the homework question I posted.

Some feel their "hope in society have been restored" when they see others fulfilling such acts. Well yes their hope has certainly been restored because their hope was based on shallow thinking and isn't the real case. Their hopes have been restored not because of the action itself per se but because the action led them to believe our society still has values. Not to debate whether our society has values or not, my point is, it was based on a false thought. That really what they thought was an act of value was an act of obligation and fear.

Values is one thing that cannot be forced onto nor can it be obliged to any one person. Values come from within that an individual has to feel strongly for before having it. Obligations crushes values sometimes even after they existed in a person.

So the next time you're about to give up your seat, just remember to ask yourself why you're doing it. And give up your seat. I said to ask yourself "why" not because I want you to stop giving up seats but because I want you to be enlightened. If your true motive is really because in your heart you feel really bad for this person who needs to stand, then great. If you feel like you're looking around wondering what others might be thinking if you don't(or as you do), then you get my point. Chances are you would be wondering which it really is and that, is what society has done to itself.

Such acts should not be an obligation for it ruins society. Society should be left to do as they wish. If they come out poor in values then so be it. Either leave it or find a way to instil values into society. Not a way to get done the same act values would because it doesn't improve society one bit.


1 comment:

  1. The thing with true social graciousness, kindness, generosity and the like is that it's reward is not tangible or even appreciated to say the least. That would explain why such acts are such an "obligation" or "burden".

    I think what is wrong with the current efforts to instill values is that society is trying to teach itself when it in itself is lacking what it seeks. Society evolves when new perspectives come into play as they change the way we perceive people and their actions. That said we need to find this "new perspective" to continually grow, not just as industrious working machines, but as living humans who interact with each other and have the potential to influence each others' lives. Fortunately, our society's rich with these perspectives. We have foreigners like myself and a whole load of others from different countries. Though I should not expect these groups to really be so gelled together, we should really learn from each other when the opportunity arises. It's one way we people can improve society.