I once read a quote that stated the superiority of a poor man riding his own bicycle, to a rich man driving his father’s car.
In a world that is becoming increasingly driven by materialism and power, it has never been more relevant; at a phase in someone’s life when their personality is forming, never will it resonate quite as much.
There are countless examples of this, particularly in our youth, with all its testosterone and angst. From tragic shootings to bloody fights, all over inconsequential ego issues, the one thing that usually remains static is the misuse of money and private security i.e. guards. Because our times are violent, and personal security is a luxury everyone would unarguably desire, it would be unrealistic to condemn everyone with guards. The are many families who live under extraordinary security concerns and manage their resources with discretion and consideration to others. The misuse of them, however, is a cancer that is spreading increasingly within our society. Too many adolescents and adults soar through every city of Pakistan with airs of invincibility and power. Many feel no hesitation in physically proving this power on lesser mortals.
Firstly, every action does not require a reaction; secondly, every reaction does not require brute strength; and thirdly, if brute strength is required, it should emanate from one’s own person, not by hired guns.
Unfortunately, ‘might is right’. My generation couldn’t manage to shake off the notion, but perhaps the following generations might. It was an encouraging world to live in, when young and old alike, stood up and agitated against Shahzeb’s wrongful and tragic death. It took a tragedy like his to show us that we still value life as a society, and that no one is above the law, if not of the land, but definitely of the people.
If I had anything to say to the generations following mine, I would say this;
Karma is a funny thing, it actually does come back to bite. The wrongs you commit today will haunt you, so make mistakes that don’t hurt anyone.
Being macho and cool is not about having lots of money and/or security around you, but how confidently you walk and how comfortable you are in your skin without these things.
Arrogance, like Karma, also comes back to bite you in a big bad way.
If you have more than other people, you have more to lose. Constantly live with this humility.
Walk away. Just do it. Value life, and health, and relationships. All these things are too fleeting, and violence destroys all three.
Guns are bad. If your whole generation gives them up and chooses swords as a weapon of choice, your time will be the Golden Age. Also the Game of Thrones. Finally, identify what kind of strength is important and permanent, pinpoint what impresses you, evaluate it and constantly better yourself.
Michelangelo said, at the age of 87, “I am still learning”.
So we must constantly learn, observe the times around us and decide whether we want to add fuel to the fires in which people are bombed and displaced, or decide to stand on our own feet and face the world with only the clothes on our backs, the strength of our minds and the worthiness of our characters.