Sense And Sensibility - Are We Losing It?

September 12, 2010
It was a lazy Saturday afternoon, I was teaching my son about the role of sense organs in the human body; how a sense organ sends signal to the brain, which is then carried to the respective muscles by the nervous system. Thus the brain needs inputs from the eyes, ears, tongue or nose about the surroundings, to react.

As a casual example I told my son, "Look, our eyes are the body's window to the world. Unless our eyes see a man beating a child mercilessly they cannot send a signal to the brain to direct the body to move and save the child". No sooner had I uttered the words, than they appeared frozen and suspended in the air, as if seeking affirmation before reaching the recipient.

What had started out as a science homework of my son, soon became an avalanche, filling the mind-canvass with thoughts of varying hues.

I wondered whether in the present social milieu, our brain would command us to stop a man committing the ghastly act of inflicting injury on a child. Would a common man really make an effort to consciously stop it? Or would he rather be a silent spectator, oblivious to the agony of the sufferer?

The reply to this question is obvious. Despite knowing that hitting is illegal, we would not dare, nay, not even bother to react to the situation. Our analytical mind, under the guise of 'being practical', would selfishly ask us to mind our own business, leaving others to their own troubles.

This reminds me of a remark or rather a suggestion given by a co-participant at a workshop on 'Gender-Sensitization'. While discussing the issue of marital discord, the gentleman had remarked, rather defined the level at which, the parents of a married girl should interfere in her life - "when the violence got too much to take". Implying that while a stray slap, punch or pushing around was acceptable, anything beyond that called for help.

It was a statement that completely put me off balance. By this statement, were we, the educated middle class, the so-called torch-bearer of traditions, ethics, and morality of our society, not advocating domestic violence? Most of us have witnessed domestic violence in some form or the other, but how many of us have actually taken steps to prevent it? And how many of us have thought about complaining against it? Haven't we brushed them aside as a 'personal issue' of the sufferer? Have not our senses, our conscience and our inner voice really got subdued and diminished?

While we complain about the injustice being meted out to the people in this world, we forget that we ourselves are responsible, at some level. On the one hand we haggle over meagre fares with the rickshaw puller, while on the other we have no qualms on spending lavishly at a PVR. The insensitivity we show towards our senior citizens in buses, lifts and roads, the double standards we maintain about the well being of our own kids and that of our maid servant. In a man's world, rules are made for both the genders, though its interpretation and application are made differently....leaving one gender at the mercy of the other...

In a world that is facing looming threats of terrorism -physical, chemical biological, even mental and the lack of sensitivity towards each other, we are sitting on ticking, live bombs. It is high time we realize that we are not differentiated by our religion, language, political boundary, faith but are united by the single thread of humanity, a small creation of one superpower. What we really need to do is to look inside ourselves and identify the real reason for our existence and to ponder over the fact that life is precious but fragile and during our limited stay on the face of this planet, it is just love for our fellow beings that would sustain us through the pains and sufferings of life.

Sense and Sensibility - Let's Not Lose It.


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(This is a series of posts on women issues, pl see the label "Women issues that baffle me".)


D2 said...

For some reason, this is the very mentality of our society. Beating children and women seems like the only way for the head of the family to have any control. This is because with most of these men, this is either somewhat of a tradition or they have nothing that can earn them real respect.
Perhaps a good way to put an end to this would be to have NGOs (because similar government bodies do not exist) to homes, check the environment there and then take action if necessary. But that wouldn't go too well with the general masses, would it?

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

Any form of abuse is a crime in the first place and parents did not marry off their daughters to face such crime and hostility, the piece of their heart was to be treated with more care, this is the promise of 'saat phere'.
And as you sow so shall you reap, why do people forget it until it gets onto them?

Nice post.

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Samvedna said...

very poignant post.and last line sums it up so well.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...


Govt, NGo's can actually help cure the situation, of those ppl who reach them, ultimately, we as a family have to deal with such things.


right, thanks.



A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Samvedna - welcome to this blog! thanks, glad u liked it.


xyzandme said...

You missed the main criteria of this nervous system drama, The frontal Lobe.

The thing that says this is wrong and this is right,..pertaining to its experiences, derivation from the social order, and its own conscience (the inner voice).. of which many people misinterpret as god or the devil.

Girish said...

I agree with all that you and the others have said about the issue.
But the one thing I disagree is about the beating of children!
Don't think I'm cold-hearted. Its my personal experience.
Children don't listen to all the things you say are good! The chances of straying to the wrong path is very high!
I condemn other forms of domestic violence.
And yes, only love can sustain us through the pains and sufferings.

Very nice post :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome blog, I hadn't noticed previously during my searches!
Keep up the good work!

Mag[m] said...

must say...." y so serious @restless" but a seriously a good one

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this link, but unfortunately it seems to be down... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please answer to my post if you do!

I would appreciate if a staff member here at could post it.


Anonymous said...

After reading this I realised that even my senses have some problem..
I faced this
and I did nothing because they were my relatives and I was not sure how to handle it..

Thanks for putting this up..
I am going to do something about the problem I saw..

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ XYZANDME - good point. surely it is the past experience, conditioning and upbringing and education of a person which influences his or her decisions.

@ Girish - Girish, a little spanking sometimes to teach the child is ok, i mean ,we know it is to correct a child, and not to vent out your anger or frustration. But beating is ghastly. glad u liked the post!

@ Anonymous - thanks anonymous reader!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ Mag(m) - point noted!

@ anonymous - which link are u talking about??

@ Heyithinkthisway - am glad i could make u think, shall read ur post too. all the best!


Nalini Hebbar said...

I love those advertisements that come on TV...we should make it a point to speak up to any form of injustice. Unless women do that society will never change the way it looks at women. You have taken the role of a flag bearer. WAY TO GO!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Nalini Hebbar - Thanks! It's always encouraging to hear from a established woman blogger like you ma'm!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Anonymous said...
Awesome blog, I hadn't noticed previously during my searches!
Keep up the good work!

Hello anonymous, who left the above comment, sorry missed out on your comment, while replying.

Thanks, am glad. Yeah it's anew blog, hardly 3 months, but soon you will find it easily in searches.

Keep visiting.


Anonymous said...

Good evening

Thanks for sharing, I have digged this post

Anonymous said...

Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you

Anonymous said...

thanks to the author for taking his time on this one.

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