Nature should be at the centre of everything and humans are a part of it, he said
Eminent economist Prof Abul Barkat said the Covid-19 pandemic is nature’s wakeup call for a complacent civilization.
He said the pandemic has its good and bad sides; Covid-19's good side is that “we are learning what coronavirus is for us and everybody in the world. I do not want to get into the politics of coronavirus, but this is truly nature's wakeup call for a complacent civilization.”
“I think we need to understand our development, our conceptions and efforts, not just from the viewpoint of human beings but from nature's point of view. So nature should be at the centre of everything and human beings are a part of nature, just like other animals or plants in the world,” he said.
Barakat, also chairman of the Department of Japanese Studies, Dhaka University, said this while moderating a virtual discussion on “Japanese Society and Culture” on Thursday.
Dr Ashir Ahmed, associate professor, Department of Advanced Information Technology, Kyushu University, Japan, was a guest speaker.
Prof Barkat said the word "lockdown" in Bangla means and sounds like a person has done some criminal offence and is being punished for it behind bars. “Covid-19 has changed many things, and maybe the pandemic is changing the language of communication also.”
“The media today has become an instrument of consent manufacturing. We are driven into misinformation or surplus information and we do not know what to do with that information. There is no mechanism to filter that information to suit our own purposes,” he said.
Ashir said: “I have learnt how information is created, processed, and delivered. So in this process human beings are different from other animals. They create, generate, and process information. So, in processing information, we can add value in a certain way and can produce misinformation.”
“The media always plays with information; sometimes they do it intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. But they can play a very positive role. So, we (society, or people who develop platforms/policies for information) have to encourage the media to deliver the right information,” he said.
Discussing the culture of Japan, Ashir said the primary similarities between the cultures of Japan and Bangladesh are their common habit of eating rice and fish, and that both nations are very hospitable to their guests. The main difference between the cultures of these two nations is their education system, he continued.
Mariko Mugitani, a senior official of the Asia Centre at the Japan Foundation, also took part in the virtual discussion, among others.