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Why do we do what we do?

  • Published at 06:33 pm September 14th, 2018
Up in the air
Up in the air Photo: BIGSTOCK

We are not asking enough questions


A student of Jahangirnagar University from the physics department wrote a letter to his head of department, seeking permission to smoke marijuana.

The head of department passed it on to the proctor of the university.

The proctor gave it a thought and spoke to the media.

The writer was then accused of teasing a female student of the university.

The media thought this was worthy of news, and so, there was news.

Close your eyes and try to imagine the whole sequence of what happened, from writing the letter to writing this piece. Everything about it is so unnatural that I thought I’d try to think loudly about it. 

The boy could have very easily smoked marijuana if he had thought that marijuana was good for health. The plant is quite available in and around JU campus. He wouldn’t have sought permission from his head of department. 

Even if he had, he would have known the head of department doesn’t deal with this kind of issue, the proctor does. The proctor could have ended the matter by talking to the boy, but he informed the media about this. 

The media could very well have ignored it as one of those stray incidents, but the media men filed this as news. An insignificant writer like myself could have also thought similarly as the media and forgot about it, but I am writing about it now.

Everything is so different about it that I thought I would write about it. Did we -- all of the characters involved in this episode -- know what we actually wanted to achieve? The boy may be young; he may not have known what he was up to, but the head of department must have known what to do with the boy. 

He might not have also known what to do in such a situation, but the proctor must have known. I also agree that since the proctor had never dealt with such an incident, he also didn’t know what to do, but the media might have known. They could at least have spoken to an expert before filing this piece of news. 

I also could have consulted a researcher before writing this piece -- I didn’t; I’m simply thinking aloud and asking questions.

Initially, the boy seems a very responsible citizen when we see him asking for permission to smoke marijuana; he wants to legalize it before doing something. Then again, after a day or two, he was accused of eve-teasing in the campus.

The reason I chose this subject to write about is to point out the fact that we don’t know why we do what we do. We don’t know the purpose or the reasons of our actions. We hardly think of the outcomes of our actions.

I recently came across a young couple who are deeply in love but are trying their best to avoid a divorce. I dug into the matter and found out that the girl doesn’t want to be a mother ever in their marital life. 

On the other hand, the boy is requesting her to conceive, so that they can become parents. In my inquisitiveness, I found that there are many like this lady in our society who want a good life with their partners, but they never want to become parents. 

Now, what do they think when they come to such a decision? Do these ladies know exactly the purpose of their decisions?

Kindly allow me to cite another example. I have noticed that these days, children very often have an attitude that they don’t want to study for their class lessons. This is an old phenomenon, but I believe the trend has increased recently. 

Now, the question is: Why? Why do these children not want to study? What do they want then? Do they know what they want? Do we know how should we guide them?

The examples that I’m citing and the questions that I’m raising are subject to research rather by academics or by professionals in other fields. However, are we doing so? Do we want to know why the JU boy sought permission for smoking marijuana? 

Do we want to know why young girls are losing interest in motherhood? Do we want to know what the children these days want?

It surely is something to seriously think about, isn’t it? 

Ekram Kabir is a story-teller and a columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]

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