We are a reflection of everybody. The people we meet, the personalities we love, the teachers who taught us, the parents who gave birth to us, are all reflected in our personality in one way or the other. We have a choice to hang out with the people we care about, to have ideals we like, and these ideals and people actually imprint on us not only their thoughts, they define our ways of thinking, they define our morals, our habits and each and everything that we do in our lives. Once I read this verse of Iqbal:
The individual is firm by nation’s coherence, otherwise nothing
The wave is only in the ocean, and outside it is nothing
I didn’t understand its meanings. But now I understand it, now I know that a wave cannot be outside the ocean. It is always inside. An individual’s life can not be, it must be in communion with others. The whole of the universe is in communion with itself. What purpose do you think it is fulfilling? It is I believe working for us, working for us humans.
There is however another aspect to it as well: Freedom. Freedom from merely reflecting the society, allows us to create, imagine and think of things that are not there in us and in fact they take us to another level of reflections. This apparent non conformity can be achieved if we have knowledge that is not shared by our society. This foreign knowledge enables us to be free from the shackles of norms. If this apparent non conformity is strong enough and it gathers enough support it can alter the course of history. Apart from knowledge, it is the will to seek more than accepted realities, that frees us from the reflections of the society.
These reflections are said to be of our soul, our rooh, our God. There is a presence of a soul in everybody that feels, it is not just a neurological machine that does all the thinking without a presence of something greater, something more human. This soul is what connects humanity together. That lets us feel the pain of people across the globe without any boundaries. The soul that tells us that this is right and this is wrong. This concept of right and wrong is not much different in different cultures and civilizations. It is the same. The grand unity of humanity will only result when we begin to hear more to our souls, to the part of our body that feels. Only then all the sufferings can end and humanity can move on to fulfill its destiny.
Is it then, the right behavior to non conform to a society we have been made from? The answer to this question provides us an insight to the problem of individual’s rights and collective responsibility. Both are necessary for the human life to continue. It is the inherent need of the human to non conform to the dogmas of the society, this freedom unleashes its potentials, while this freedom does not grant an individual the right to obstruct communal life of the society. True freedom will actually help both the society and the individual to grow. I think it is a bit confusing. But I think this is what Iqbal and some other scholars have agreed to and I am myself inclined to this idea.