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Who do We Belong to?

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Institutions. Organisations. Committees. Councils. Boards. Groups. Gangs.

It would come as no surprise if nine out of ten who read this editorial belong to one of the above, be it a social work organisation or a business house committee, a residential association or a chat group on the internet. Apart from the functional usefulness, human beings, by and large, are gregarious by nature and with technology having narrowed the distance, there is not just the accessibility factor but also almost an unspoken compulsion that one must ‘belong’ to something a little more specific than the human race. Earlier religions gave man that sense of belonging but that no longer seems to suffice and is too large a segment – one would still be lost in anonymity. But today, one can easily find a footing by hook or by crook and become affiliated to a smaller pack of individuals, no matter what one’s status within that may be, and seek from it a source of comfort, support, identification.

The question we ask is this: when we join any system which is already in place, what essentially is the criterion for doing so?

It is true that in order to become attached to something, we must obviously be attracted to it and find it appealing to our nature. The organization for instance has to draw us magnetically and if it does, it can be said that it has inspired us to come within its folds. Thereon, the organization has to take on the responsibility of further growth by creating an acceptable environment in which the individual’s potential is allowed to flourish and is adequately harnessed. If the organization fails in this, then it has only been a waste of precious resources, time and effort.

But that is not where it ends. For the next step is even more important and worthy of careful introspection: can the individual signing up say with complete conviction that he or she is capable of contributing to that organization?

If on entering an established order, we remain simply as another number in the records, there is nothing to be gained by either the individual or the organization (barring such mindless groups which revel in the numbers of members) but if, on the other hand, we enter with the belief that we can indeed take the institution a notch higher than where it now stands, then and only then can it be fruitful for both.

Even a simple chat group at the end of the day has to find a driving force or a meeting point – one joins in, exchanges ideas, learns a little more. But if a day comes when that learning stops, signing in and out becomes routine, it is a clear indication that no more can be gained and one must have the courage to leave. In the case of more serious organizations, if one is unable to facilitate in making the group take a step forward, then once again, it is best to not waste time and leave that spot vacant, so that someone else who has the capacity for doing so can fill in.

Man may be gregarious by nature but he can also be honest. If each of us can be sincere in our self-evaluation (as independent entities as well as the group that we represent), we may help in reducing the frightful increase in general apathy on the part of individuals and those to whom they are affiliated, thereby enabling the human race as a whole to move that one step forward.

As far as ‘belonging’ is concerned, the instant one realizes that there is only One to whom one can truly belong, surrogates for this purpose will cease altogether.

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  • http://Website Hema Rajan

    Thought provoking!