Humans, there are the conscious who know what they are doing and why they are doing so, they can trace the links of all causes and effects to the beginning of the universe; and there are those who are unconscious, they claim to know what they are doing, but can’t trace the reason beyond the fact that someone else is making them do it.
The differences between them are huge. One does it only because it is just, righteous, and in his own interests to do, and the other does it for fear of sanctions, or for incentives perceived.
There are tasks which need to get done for us to enlarge our capabilities. Such tasks are basically education, infrastructure, urbanisation, defence etc. let’s take them as prosperity and sustainability for short.
Whereas there are tasks and there need to be efforts put in towards their completion, the question arises – What will make us work towards those goals: rights or duties?
Rights or duties
The conscious people realise that whatever they do, they do because they have evolved to do so, the body the mind, have perfected themselves for the pursuit of that something to be done.
When you realise all that you are equipped with are tools for a certain purpose, all that is reasonable is a higher pursuit of prosperity, you are designed by yourself to do something, and if you don’t do this the whole design goes to waste dying a dishonourable death; at that moment there is nothing called ‘rights’ all that is there are duties.
Let me put things in a certain perspective now.
Even watching a movie is a duty towards oneself due to various reasons.
Taking a bath is also nothing but a duty, not because mom says so, nor it is just plain necessary to bath every day.
It’s not a right to enjoy one’s own life, but a duty to do so in pursuit of sustenance, prosperity and a better output which is again in a greater public interest.
Reason behind rights
The reason behind people calling life a right is definitely strong. That reason is that the larger mass of population will never realise their duties, and as they won’t see the sanctions they would merely refute all sanctions as cause and effects. Also, at higher levels of duty it tends to get so abstract that the person who is hunting and gathering food won’t have time or temperament to understand.
We humans can never accept that we are doing everything as programmed and expected by some entity. That some entity being our genome. It is difficult to accept that we do not have free will, that the free will is itself generated by our brain which depends on our internal nervous system (biology) and ultimately our genes. These things are so inter-connected and well linked that the genome can’t be perceived as a separate entity in any way, and therefore we fail to give it credibility.
The fact that we all are robots binds us tightly to our roots, and makes us empathetic about every other person. The fact that our enemies are doing just the thing which we would have done in their positions; that there are no friends and no heroes; everyone is doing what they are supposed to do; does not gel well with our current understanding of society.
To realise this is quite difficult, it is like giving away a castle you took years to build. Most of us can’t possibly understand and realise this due to limits of consciousness, which occur due to pressing practical needs, (I will be writing more about consciousness in a very short time).
And keeping life as a right (optional) absolves us of so many tasks! Life becomes peaceful; we become masters of our lives, the self becomes larger than the society. We think we are powerful and important so we must be bestowed with as many rights. We can work less than we need to because it is a right, we can leave education as and when we feel like, because it is a right, we can become useless dirtbags, because it is a fraking right!
Duty as per Oxford is an obligation, and all that one probably understands is that there must be an external authority who enforces this obligation, or else this should cease to be duty, this would become right which is optional. True, but there are people conscious enough who do not require sanctions to be afraid of for the commission of their duties, and for those who require that, for them these are harsh and immediate. Most of us do not see the sanctions as these are sometime immediate and patent, other times they are for a protracted period and latent. For e.g.:
- The punishment for not doing the duty of living is immediate death.
- The punishment for not speaking up is corruption and crimes.
- The punishment for not trading is poverty.
- The punishment for not enjoying is boredom.
- The punishment for not learning is ignorance.
And so on..
The punishments are much harsher; some of them never seem to end. The result of not doing your duty would be suffered by you definitely in your after-life if not by you. Yes, the implication of after-life is your children (if you would have them) and other’s children. For example the punishment for not learning extends till generations. My grandfather didn’t study, whiled away his time, I still have to suffer consequences.
The bitter truth is we are just cogs in the larger human machinery. We might be important cogs, big cogs or small cogs, but cogs. We’re nothing without the others. If you are a godman, you need followers, if you are the king, you need subjects to call you king. If you are a lion you would need other animals for food. We’re not actually unique, each one of us is a copy of a dozen other cogs which do the same job together: live, prosper, sustain.
Our constitution, many other constitutions, and many international charters have enshrined rights! They can’t be all wrong! They are wrong, they can’t be right just because they give what the people want. But they are not bad; they are just the need of the hour. Good or bad, wrong or right can be found here.
Through the objectives of each of all the legal and social systems we have today you can see that the larger duty of life is always compulsory, in progressive countries education is compulsory, sometime with voluntary unemployment we stop receiving benefits, taxation itself makes it sure that the people who receive benefits, work; every single moment of our lives we are doing duties, our survival itself is an adage that we are doing our duties.
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they.” – Jean Jacques Rousseau
I inferred from the Social Contract Theory that what Rousseau talks about is that we all have duties due to our social contracts. We had to give away our rights for our own good. More than the right to equality of an individual, it is the duty of the state to keep equality.
“If instead of insisting on rights everyone does his duty, there will immediately be the rule of order established among mankind.” – M. K. Gandhi
Fight for rights v. Fight for duties
The unconscious mass of people do things because they are supposed to do so in fear of sanctions, and when they have an urge to do something for which there are no enforcement they call it right.
Little do they realise that we like to do something because it is our higher duty, and there may or may not exist rights in favour of it.
The problem arises when there is something which you like to do, but there are no rights to that. Those who think that it is not their right may give up on the right without even fighting. But those who know it is their duty to do so will fight for that thing till the end of their conscience.
During the freedom struggle of India, there are so many references to “Duty towards nation”.
People with duties they know they have to accomplish their task because it is necessary for his existence and of his surroundings. Even if he doesn’t realise the importance of commission of the duties there are sanctions for not achieving the goals which doesn’t require any authority and its execution is guaranteed. People with duties do not have shortcuts they know they have to achieve a goal. In the realm of duties the even the foolish and unreasonable can’t get corrupted, but at the extremities they can become ruthless, and shrewd.
People with rights they know they want to do something because that will have some rewarding experience. There are incentives for achieving those goals. It is upto them what they achieve – the goals or the incentives first. People who directly approach incentives lead to corruption. Those who work only for incentives try to get those incentives through shortcuts, thus committing crimes.
Failsafe nature failed!
Our selfish genes are programmed with an apparent failsafe mechanism for us in a way that those who are conscious they realise their duties and they will do as the programming says, and those who are unconscious they realise pleasure and pain.
There was no intelligent design that is why there were holes in the plan and thereafter these loopholes were torn wide open by advancement in knowledge, science and technology. Old orthodox religious men were unconsciously preventing and protecting people from tearing up the plan, because they had a feeling something is Wong and they named it religion.
Later in time some people got together and created state and enforcement mechanisms because they had a feeling something is Wong again, now this time they named it law, those parts which they could not possibly explain was called Natural Law.
The problem is with the intelligent people who have it optional as rights, they may or may not work towards those incentives which nature set for us, instead they would find shortcuts by scientific empowerment. All crimes happen due to presence of incentives and shortcuts.
This is what Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa says in his book: The Intelligence Paradox.
When I say that there is no right, it also means no right to life, speech, trade, anything; but there are duties, duty to life, speech, trade, everything.
To look through the looking glass of duties one also needs impeccable logic and reasoning. Reasoning and logical mental faculty is of utmost importance if you look at everything as duties. Ideally one should be conscious to realise their duties, and just, righteous to give a proper end to it, not for fear of sanctions or incentives.
If people are to do duties for fear of sanctions, they would try to find shortcuts again!
To strengthen the link between humans and their goals we have to make sure everyone puts in efforts. Rights only make them optional. Duties make it compulsory.
For those who are conscious they can realise and happily do their duties, enjoy their life. For those who are unconscious they will face sanctions and nevertheless try to dodge them. Without sophistication in thoughts, mere interchange of rights and duties wouldn’t reap any benefits.
It is only for the smart to consider duties and not rights to stay on a sustainable path.
Keeping duties instead of rights can save lots of people from precarious positions they come across every day. I am actually serious about this. It should be a duty to protect the self and each other, rather than a right of private defence.
People internalise victimisation and remain silent because it is their right to complain, and not a duty.
 Supra note 4
 Supra note 4
- Money or Love? A mathematical computation of their necessity.
- On why you should be honest; Crimes & petty crimes; Delhi v. West Bengal