The decline of empathy and rise of materialism in modern society
By Hilal Lone
Over the years, education has become more widespread, leading to significant shifts in people’s thinking. When we examine the relationships of our ancestors, when education was reserved for a select few, and compare them to the relationships of today, we can observe a notable difference. It appears that materialistic pursuits such as wealth, fame, dowries, and worldly possessions have eroded the once-prominent qualities of sincerity, love, agreement, and trust in relationships. Materialism vs Sincerity
Before, people were poor and simple. Their desire was to fulfill the rights of relationships with love and simplicity. They were not in the race of false show, extravagance, and greed. This simplicity in society kept sincerity and love for each other alive. The pleasure of the world, false show, greed for wealth, and dowry were the main reasons that destroyed sincerity and love in relationships.
The pursuit of worldly adornments and greed for wealth changed the faith of lovers with the passage of time. Relationships that are completely filled with true faith, sincerity, and simplicity are strong as rocks and lush green like fertile soil. Success, love, sincerity, and faith make other relationships stronger, more lovable, and happier, adding life to them as well.
Due to the strength of those relationships, all people get love and respect for each other. As a result, in the turban of those relationships, all affected people somehow move forward in concern for each other’s well-being. If there may arise any difference in opinion, soon they try to clear their conscience. If we talk about decades or centuries ago, at those times, there were feelings and empathy in relationships.
It is true that most people were illiterate, but the elders of the society were sincere, truthful, and God-fearing, who used to maintain peace and tranquility of their areas with the help of their wisdom and little knowledge. Their justice was a blessing for the people. The most important thing was that people used to respect elders of their society, which always protected that illiterate population from going astray. This is why heinous crimes were not observed in those times despite having high illiteracy, poverty, and hunger among the people.
The justice and God-fearing decisions prevented uneducated people from the disease of jealousy and revenge. Those elders were aware of close-door neighbors and aware of the circumstances. They were their lawyers and jurists. This is why matters were solved at the earliest without giving more chances to grow more hatred in relationships. The modern times Panchayat Raj system is a part of our millions of years old governing system to govern the people for their peace and well-being. This is why things have drastically changed everything and in minutes, prosperous relationships turn into ashes. Within no time, people become big customers of justice in the chambers of the judiciary.
People who were loved ones and sincere with each other turn into enemies. On both sides, people try to bury the truth, and as a result, after years, the judiciary fails to avail of the truth. People spend much precious time waiting for decisions of the court. On the other hand, in ancient times, people were quite simple, straightforward, and true-hearted. They used to compete with each other in hard work and sacrifice and were not caught in worldly adornments. In modern times, the disease of greed has polluted the hearts and minds of the people.
In ancient times, people with sincerity and good intentions used to deal with love, sincerity, and were always ready to help each other, due to which people used to be sweet and strong. The bitterness of poverty had almost made people empathetic towards each other. If there arose any conflict, they used to reconcile after minutes. They used to joke and tease each other, but they did not practice the evil of backbiting or attacking someone’s reputation behind their back. This revealed their true and clean hearts. On the contrary, in today’s era, it is often seen that most people show a different attitude at the back and the front. When their backbiting comes forth, it destroys everything and proves the fakeness of the relationships. These relationships impact other relationships, which ultimately results in the people involved in the relationships suffering from mental and heart diseases with the passage of time.
Modern education has also brought changes in the attitude of people. It is an undisputed fact that on one side helping others is called humanity, and on the other side, it is felt as shame. All the people in the society are advocates of their own rights and ignore the rights of others selfishly. In the thought of self-esteem, people become selfish. Deception in the adornment of the body is called wisdom and is highly appreciated. What has prevented modern people from cleaning their hearts? What has prevented them from doing good in response to evil?
There was a time when people were suffering from poverty and hardships, which made them strong, courageous, and empathetic. Greed was little, and wealth was very unevenly distributed. As a result, sincerity was maintained in human hearts. Then relationships were valued.
Unfortunately, modern-day wealthy relationships are valued much if luxuries are enjoyed in them. Rising inflation is a growing concern in modern days, which has ruined the social and economic lives of people. Not only that, it has greatly impacted our relationships. Modern relationships are based on money and glamour. If we see reality, this era is more destructive than progress, which we perceive.
In conclusion, we must cure our relationships by curing our conscience and feelings. Islamic teachings and principles that we have ignored can restore our social life. The texture of pretentiousness and greed must be eradicated. Instead of wealth, fame, and worldly pretentiousness, we must exhibit simplicity, trust, truthfulness, and pureness in the matters of life. Accept the opinions of religious scholars instead of the psychological opinions of friends and foes. Seek knowledge instead of worldly pleasure and pretensions. Do not spoil relationships in the illusion of wealth and worldly show.
Where there is no simplicity, trust, truthfulness, and sincerity in the relationship, the lifespan of relationships is short. Big temptations arising due to the desire for worldly pleasure, love for materialistic things, and false show ultimately germinate seeds of ego and insecurity into the hearts of both sides of the people and can definitely destroy human lives.
(The author can be reached at [email protected])