WORKING ON THE INDIVIDUAL
Solidarity has to be achieved at an individual level before it can come about in society. For it is a law of nature which applies to human society, that for a tree to bear good fruit, it is the seed, not the fruit itself, that has to be improved.
Aman was riding his bicycle one day when all of a sudden his brakes jammed. He took his cycle to a nearby cycle repair-shop to have it fixed. Thinking that the mechanic would fix the brakes at the point where they were jammed, the cyclist was surprised to see him tap away with a small hammer at a completely different place. Before he was able to express his surprise, the mechanic handed the cycle back to him. “That’s fixed it. You can take it away now,” he said. And off the cyclist rode, with his bicycle once again running smoothly!
What was true of this bicycle is true also of human society. People usually jump to the conclusion that where the malaise lies, there lies the cure. But this is not always the case. Usually, the root of the malaise lies in a different place, far away from the symptoms. Until the cause is removed, the malaise itself will not go away.
For instance, there might be a lack of solidarity in society, or a section of people may be the victims of oppression. Maybe the society is beset with an atmosphere of intrigue, with the result that its voice carries no weight in the world. One who determines to right the ills of society might well think that the cure lies in calling meetings and organising conventions in order to bring people together, stirring them up with emotional speeches and passing bombastic resolutions, and so on.
But this is no way to cure the actual ills of society. One has to work on the cause, not the symptoms. While a problem seems to be afflicting one part of society, the cure lies elsewhere. If there is a lack of social solidarity, for instance, the reason for this is the failure of individuals to stand together.
It is the individual, then, who has to be worked on. Solidarity has to be achieved at an individual level before it can come about in society. For it is a law of nature which applies to human society as well, that for a tree to bear good fruit, it is the seed, not the fruit itself, that has to be improved. o