“What We Owe To Each Other” is the title of the largest book written by Great Philosopher T. M. Scanlon written in 1998, (I came across this brilliant philosophy while watching NBC’S “THE GOOD PLACE”)
This article doesn’t discuss the content of the book which revolves around the concepts of morality and social construct largely, but the title of the book itself has led me to think about how anything good that exists, is a direct answer to it.
Taking the liberty to pose it as a question, “What do we owe to each other?”, the answer, one can argue, is pretty straightforward, that is- Nothing. We don’t owe anything to anyone and no one owes us anything.
But if that is the case, then how do we have anything good in the world?
If it’s all for “self” then how are scientists, doctors, defence forces, teachers and medical professionals, few of the most serving jobs but not the highest paid.
It’s a never ending loop of thoughts, you often end up realizing it’s a cycle of goodness and the mechanism of giving back that has kept the spring, the world and each one of us has, to keep the wheel turning.
The ability one possesses to do good for others is a privilege in itself because you try to understand what would happen if you were born on the wrong side of the tracks, and amidst the dawn of this realization one might end up asking oneself, “I want to do good, but how do I give back?”
For whatever reason charity was invented, I am pretty sure this is how it has been sustained. By the urge to give back.
But is it the only way? Again there is no straightforward answer to this but in my opinion, no. Charity isn’t the only way of doing good or giving back. There are many other ways which are equally ideal and do not disturb the order of your life.
The solution or the ultimate way to do your bit is SOCIAL WORK.
Now we shall draw the curtains on the ultimate revelation that Social is not the same as charity, but a better and evolved form of it.
Charity, however, remains the most preferred and “noble” way to give back, as it is an age old social construct. When you say you do charity, (in the first place you shouldn’t announce it, but to each its own) even though it’s very noble, it indirectly sheds light on the gap in the society, because at the end of the day, the flow of money directed from rich to poor.
But in my personal opinion, Social Work is as virtuously noble, as is charity. As it is rightly said by Henry David, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it”.
You can translate charity in Social Work by giving the money direction, by teaching, gifting books, by making cheaper medicines, giving employment, helping people to empower themselves so that they can get their requirements by themselves, without external help. Charity only makes one more dependent person and pushes them further in the grave (danger) of poverty.
From personal experience, when you start helping people, in any form, by teaching or giving food or anything you feel the following things-
- You realise that you should have started this a very long time back, (regardless at what age you start).
- The depth of privilege you’re swamped in due to dumb luck and the lack of it that exists. Like, there is no good reason I should have all the facilities I am provided with and someone else should not. Who holds the power to decide? No one does, because its just dumb luck.
- Imagine our world as one food table where only 1 of 10 eat fulfilling meals and 9 go hungry to bed. That’s exactly how our world looks right now. I can’t even begin to describe the depth of the socio-economic gap that exists. We don’t have to look too far. Look at the education that your house help’s children get in comparison to the one a child from a private school does. The fact, of how deeply penetrated class divide is in every society, astonishes me everyday.
- Social work has a domino effect- one inspires many! And the more the merrier.
- You’re not doing any favour to the world by helping it because you open one school; you shut one prison. You don’t get a perfect society served on a platter. Yes, even the first world countries suffer from class divide massively! (don’t get me started about it)
- Odds of me needing help and being on the wrong side of tracks are as good as someone who already is. Even the thought of it makes me feel so helpless.
- Finally, the best part is, we can fight this huge flaw in our society, all by ourselves. The privileged can help the ones who require it, to overcome this poverty that is bestowed on them due to the unequal class divide.
And last but not the least,
We must do it, because WE OWE IT TO EACH OTHER !
Author:- Priyanka Cholera.