Monday, July 21, 2014

People and human beings



In George Eliot’s novel, Silas Marner, the eponymous hero is a man who felt deceived by both god and man.  His close friend deceived him by implicating him in a theft committed by the former.  Since Marner was known for his honesty and goodness, the matter was taken to God.  The lot drawn before God after the ritual of a prayer incriminated Marner again.  The worst stab in the innocent heart of Marner was when his fianceé abandoned him to marry the man who had done the terrible injustice to him.

Marner leaves the place heartbroken and settles down in Raveloe as a solitary weaver who does not socialise at all.  He cannot bring himself to join any human company.  He has lost faith in mankind.  He has lost faith in God too.  However, when he sees Sally Oates suffering from the same disease which his mother had suffered from, the natural goodness in Marner well up.  He prepares a concoction for Sally and it heals her.  Marner becomes famous in Raveloe as a man with occult powers to heal incurable diseases.  People flock to him for medicines.  He drives them away telling them the truth that he has no such powers as they imagine.  But people are people.  They accuse him of being wicked.  They blame him for all the ills that befall them.

The novel is set in the beginning of 19th century.  Two centuries later, today, has the human nature altered anyway in this regard? 

Marner was good and honest.  He did not lose those qualities in spite of his bitter experiences.  That’s why he helped Sally Oates.  That is also why he refused to help the others.  He did not want to be a charlatan who cheated them by giving false medication.   But people did not care to understand.

That is why Robert Zend said, “There are too many people, and too few human beings.”  Diogenes, the Greek philosopher (412-323 BCE), would have walked the streets in broad daylight with a lit lamp looking for human beings even in our times.


29 comments:

  1. Hmmm , thought provoking ..but it's true there are too many people ,few human beings "

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    1. Wasn't it always so, Alka? I don't think the human nature has changed a bit in this regard.

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  2. People call it sometimes "Fate"...!

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    1. Yes. I have become ardent fan of Fate in the last couple of years. Witches haunt my dreams and tug at the innards of my body roaring like monstrous bulldozers.

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  3. a thought provoking read indeed... this post can make people to think whether they are "human beings" or not...

    this post is a gem sir...

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  4. A true eye opener. A lot of people but very few human beings, would like to say here that the you sure are a human being, the way the post is written it makes you stop and think and evaluate yourself. Sitting now figuring out, where do I feature????

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    1. It's a slow and painstaking process, Athena, this development from "people" to "human being". There are occasions when my humanity is challenged painfully and I'm faced with the temptation to succumb...

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    2. You are facing the temptation and haven't succumbed yet, with me its an every day battle and I am sure I must be faltering here and there.

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  5. I have read the novel too. And believe me I often read it again and again as Silas never fails to touch my heart. :)

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    1. I'm also reading it again and again now, Anu, since I have to teach it to class 12.

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  6. So true! People should try to become human being rather than aiming to achieve other material things!

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  7. I fully agree with you.....so many people so less human beings!

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    1. Don't you think there's something seriously wrong with our social systems if the situation is so worrying, so pathetic?

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  8. True. We need to accept the fact that there are too many people but very few human beings. We do have the habit of alienating those people who do good things to the society! We need to change and the change should start from within ourselves.

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    1. The genuinely good people are often seen as threats by the majority. One reason is that the majority feel they cannot achieve the standard set by the 'good'. Another reason may be that being good has no 'fun'. What I have observed is that most people have ulterior motives which the 'good' people don't usually support...

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  9. I truly am a believer of whatever happens is for good! I myself have faced this that when i try and not get something i am dejected but later i realise it was for my betterment! Faith gets stronger only with experience!

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    1. That 'Whatever happens is for good' is a good psychological boost especially in times of trouble. It sustains us, motivates us to go on, and gives us hope. But I don't think it's a universal natural law. Ask the thousands of Palestinians killed in Israeli bombings, for example. Or going back a little, ask the millions of Jews thrown into concentration camps by the Nazis...

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  10. I haven't read the novel, but the way you put it, I think I'll read it.
    But well, what does happen, is for the good right? Or so I believe.

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    1. I have taken this from the first two chapters of the novel. There's a lot more to the novel than this. Wish you good reading.

      I'd also like to believe that whatever happens is for good. But experience always does not corroborate that belief.

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  12. I appreciate and endorse the viewpoint expressed herein. Human nature has not altered in any manner even after passage of centuries.

    Jitendra Mathur

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  13. Thank you sir..It did help!

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