Fr Carlos Luis
Plato would argue that virtues are necessary to attain happiness and that every human person strives to be happy. Plato’s student Aristotle is later said to have further developed this idea and produced his most influential work titled, ‘Nicomachean Ethics’ wherein he spoke of the theory of happiness that continues to be relevant to date.
Thus, we believe that happiness is the ultimate end of our existence. But the issue is whether we consider happiness as a subjective state of mind. It is not a pleasurable sensation that one enjoys subjectively. Rather, it is the definitive value of how well or completely have we lived to our full potential. And this living to the full potential means living in accordance with virtues.
Virtues like generosity, kindness, friendship, courage, temperance, humility, etc. invite us to make difficult choices and require us to make challenging sacrifices for which we aren’t ready at times thus leading to our impending moral maladies.
The murders that happened in Goa within a week speak of our unresolved mental conditions and traumas. All of the murders that have happened were definitely premeditated.
Thirty-three-year-old Umesh Harijan was stabbed and his finger and leg chopped at Baina. The four assailants came well equipped with swords and choppers, which means they had planned the murder. It happened because of a previous enmity that was cooking up anger in the assailants.
The Sonali Phogat case that caused an uproar in the state is revealing a murky tale. Nevertheless, the murder may have been hatched basically due to the greed for money that Sudhir Sangwan, her personal assistant, had.
Also, the Phogat case takes us back again to Curlie’s restaurant which has deep links with the Scarlett Keeling episode. The British teenager was sexually assaulted and was later found dead on the Anjuna beach in 2008. For the pleasure of some, it was the sad loss of another. Heart of heart, we know that the accused go scot-free as evidence is tempered. But will it not leave the moral conscience of the criminals guilty?
Then, appeared the story of Allan D’Souza who was in Goa to complete his visa formalities, but fate had other things in store for him when he got into an altercation. If it was just a scuffle, the prime accused would not have gotten rid of the body of the deceased nor parked the bike at the nearest distance to make it look like an accident.
Without knowing the exact cause, we cannot accuse the suspects, but don’t the actions of ‘getting rid’ tell us that there is something wrong? Even though humans cooperate with one another in the best possible way, we are also known to argue and have our distinct clashes leading to grave crimes.
Clashes between sand mine extractors were also under the focus when Yusuf Alam (23) was killed in a firing and Mohammed Sahu (33) was injured in the same incident.
According to a report on homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “A shrinking economy may be accompanied by reduced investment in law enforcement systems, leading to a state of lawlessness, in which citizens are exposed to violent crime.” Not just a reduction in law enforcement systems but also a lack of empowerment of women leading to violence against women or homicide.
Should we wait for the government to enforce laws or empower women? Should we not morally grow mature to decide our happiness? Disputes regarding property, money, and power will always happen but these disputes should not lead us to take each other’s lives.
(Carlos Luis is a priest belonging to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine) and currently the Mission Secretary of the ABVM Province, Bangalore. He comments on Literature and Films that mirror life)