Cultural impatience: Growing concerns of civil life

Though impatience becomes a physiological factor, it has a great impact on the social practice that effects human relationships. In psychology, it is studied as the most essential motivation of social beings. Unlike other motivations, impatience grows out of social disparity i.e. economic or cultural. A much generalized adage about human learning is often marked as: God likes a man of patience. But on the contrary, nowadays, impatience is the most reflective trait of in our social behavior which breeds a number of disorders including theft, corruption, unethical practices, and of course, parochialism. Certainly, the tendencies of rape, molestation and torture on the weak have been a serious byproduct of humans’ unbridled power-practice.

 In ancient times, the level of tolerance has been notoriously low because most people used to measure social status in terms of individual strength. Accordingly, the behavioral approach towards the person relatively weaker had been belligerent. In modern times, education, moral learning in particular, has dramatically changed human behavior and people’s approach towards a mutually undertaken society. This society is generally called a knowledge-based society. In the present century people have agreed to label it the ‘age of reason’.

However, education plays a remarkable role in reducing the temperament and contrary attitudes. Certainly, moral responsibility is what distinguishes humans from animals. If our negative tendencies are allowed to persist for a long time, it may create social disorder including fanaticism and fascism. In many countries such social and political upheavals had been in place for a long time and have made the living situation unbearable.

A major portion of our population are

 juvenile and their healthy future depends 

on the teaching they are assigned. If we

 fail to perform the duty right now we will

 be held responsible in history

While having a difference of opinion with others is very common and something that should be cherished, it should not lead to conflict. If one has differing opinions from another person, he or she must proceed with logic and rationality instead of quarrelling. Truly, history of mankind progresses with the dialectical synthesis of contending opinions. So, heterodoxy beliefs are always welcome for all social composition. But it appears to be terrible when such skirmish affects the culture of patience.

Recently, Bangladesh has been on the nodal point of social climax. Social intolerance and individual intoxication engulfed age-old tradition of Bengali culture. This is the culture of endurance and self-control. However, the atmosphere has been changed drastically. As a result, people are gradually losing interest in their daily lives. In politics, very few individuals are found to be patient. The culture of endurance and flexibility are rarely found amongst these people.

It is undeniable that we are now in a very unhealthy society where austerity has been replaced by greed and insatiable desire and of course coveting becomes a common culture in modern society. Humayun Azad, in his famous essay ‘Bangalee Ki Ekti Rugno Jati?’ (Is Bangalee a sick nation?), mentions a number of social and individual characteristics of Bangalees that is supposed to be the real picture of the nation. Bangladesh, he contends, is made of short-tempered individuals who raise their voices at the slightest provocation, instead of using logic to solve a problem.

Nirad Chandra Chaudhury similarly accuses Bangalees for their behavior as well. Nirad is an infamous historian for his anglophile character yet he deeply contemplated Bengali life. Nirad takes a number of examples from history and highlights their impolite disposition.

However, it is found in history that Bangalees sacrificed their lives for his country, for their ideals and for their neighbors. Bangladesh is a rare country which has history of making sacrifices for their independence.

The first question that comes to mind is: what is the genuine cause behind this present social discomfiture? It is thought that there must have been at least two factors working together to let it happen---one is the lack of ‘state responsibility’ and another is ‘personal bankruptcy’.  Following the change of global order after the last decade people started thinking of themselves as free; free from society and their commitment for collective responsibility. Capitalism teaches man to be free and compels us to be competitive. Perhaps, this so-called competition makes us unbridled and as a result, we have been thrown into an unhealthy atmosphere. This creates disparity and social unevenness. To be sure, value and moral teaching along with the law can change the situation. A major portion of our population are juvenile and their healthy future depends on the teaching they are assigned. If we fail to perform the duty right now we will be held responsible in history.

Dr Siddhartha Shankar Joarder is Professor and Chairperson, Department of Philosophy, Jagannath University, Dhaka.