We live in the world where people are spending more money on killing the lives on this planet than finding a life in other planets. This situation shows how prevalent is compassion and love in our society, and where the humanity is heading. Theodore Dalrymple “How and How Not to Love Mankind” is a critical appraisal of the necessity of humanity and compassion in our society. In this article, the author points out the importance of compassion in the society by using two parallel characters: Karl Marx and Ivan Turgenev, who had similar upbringing and were pursuing same career and also facing similar circumstances. In spite of having to face similar life predicaments, they had different perceptions and opinions which displays the diversity in the way they lived their life.
The contrast in the life led by Karl Marx and Turgenev shows us how two human beings can have different stands to humanity and the welfare to mankind. Dalrymple uses the article ‘Mumu’ by Turgenev to show his respect for thoughts and feelings of individuals, and in contrast he uses Marx’s Communist Manifesto to show Karl Marx’s hatred and lack of interest in basic humanity.
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In the work by Turgenev, the author does not blame one race or class for the situation that one person has to go through. He believes that everyone could make a ‘moral choice’ by themselves (Dalrymple). “Mumu” is not a story of the emotional state of an individual but is the story of how compassion has been lost in our society. When the selfish landowner asks to kill the dog “Mumu” because the dog did not like her as much as it liked Gerasism; she asks him to be taken away and killed in later phase. This story shows how an individual could create hatred when they feel like they are not treated as importantly as they need to be treated. The landowner feels like she should be loved by everyone, even though she is not ready to invest love and respect everyone equally and patiently to get love back.
This shows us how human race can go selfish to get praised and loved. The selfishness of the landowner leads to Gerasism killing the dog. The character Gerasism is a deaf man; no one is compassionate toward this individual. He was able to find love through this dog Mumu; however, he had to kill the dog. The writer does not believe that the oppression led to Gerasism killing the dog, but it was his lack of morality that led to him killing the dog by himself (Turgenev). This story reminds me how an individual selfishness can lead to unfavorable situation in another person’s life. Turgenev really believes in humanity and compassion, so he is loved by everyone. The author mentions that people of every class were present in his funeral. Therefore, Turgenev was a worshipper of mankind and did humanely activities with his hearts. The writer talking about Turgenev reflects that a person should always spread love to get love back.
Also, the writer talks about Marx’s Communist Manifesto which conveys somewhat opposite of the message that “Mumu” is conveying. When we hear of Marx, he is termed as a hero who was in support of the ‘underdogs’ and believed that they were oppressed. He wanted to help those individual; however, he chose the path of violence over humanity. He believed in mass destruction, he believed that one could only gain justice by fighting for their rights. The work of Marx does not talk about individuality. He believes “there are no individuals, or true humans, at all” (Dalrymple). Marx is more about materialistic things than individuality; he believes in supporting a group of individuals on the basis of their possession. In his manifesto, he does not talk about the richness of mind or heart, but about wealth. For him, everyone who were rich were against him. The Manifesto is all about divisions and violence and Marx believe that he could bring equality through hatred and violence.
This Manifesto of Marx might display the message that he definetly loved the poor class and was fighting for them; however, he did this only because he thought it was important for his image and as a job. Likewise, the world that we are living in is leading to same path of selfishness where one does not do charity because they feel the needs of poor but they feel superior themselves. Marx was a selfish individual who did not care about his children, wife or father. His two children attempted sucide; his wife died and he did not attend his dad’s funeral. A lot of people did not attend Marx funeral, even the groups that he supported throughout his life time were not present in his funeral. Through describing the life or Marx and his writing, Dalrymple gives us the message that when we try to spread hatered and violence, we are not even loved by the individuals whom we claim we did good for.
The story of “Mumu” got me back to my childhood and reminded me. how inhuman an individual can be; when I was about seven years old, there was a lady in our neighbourhood. The lady hated children and she used to throw hot water from balcony whenever we used to play around her house. The background to this story is that the lady could never have a children. My mom told me how much worse we felt she was, she is a nice human after all. I never felt like she was nice to us. One day while we were playing cricket; we mistakenly broke her window glass. She then threw a big wooden box towards us. One of our friends could not dodge; and he got a serious injury in his head. The lady was charged of assault for he inhumane behavior; however, she was bailed after she paid the fine.
The boy still has some issues with coping up with the traumatic head injury he had had. Although everyone was compassionate towards the lady, she always took it in a wrong way. She felt like other lady in the block were trying to show off their kids to her by letting he play with them. She felt like everyone was being sympathetic and loved to be around her with kids so that she would feel bad for her not having a kid. I believe this was the selfishness of the lady that she thought it would be better to injure every kid in the block, just because she could never have a kid. Instead of planning on how to someone else’s kid, she could have adopted a kid in need of love from someone. This story reminds me that we human are busy in spreading hatred than love. This sort of incidences and the news that we hear everytime in the TV about wars and fights have made me lose my faith in humanity.
Incidentally, the world is going in the same path of inhumanity. We believe in mass destruction; instead of investing money to feed another individual, we create wars so that we could act superior. The world wars happened only because one country was selfish enough to be superior. There are borders, civil wars inside same country because we are not human anymore. The human race that believes to be superior to any other creation in the earth believes in destruction rather than preservance.
Dalrymple’s claims that people who seem concerned with welfare and humanity of people might not always have the same intention. Dalrymple believes that not everyone is concerned with serving the poor and there are only few people who truly care about other’s life and problem. Dalrymple mentions that “ although many people show different services to mankind, only welfare and humanity can be viewed as the most outstanding service ” that an person shows to other people who are in need (Dalrymple, 3). The whole article made me think that an individual could get a lot of situations where he can serve mankind in their life but doing it with our heart or just as a job makes a lot difference and the different forms of love expressed towards anyone might raise different reactions among them because of the way how a person has lived their life.
Dalrymple, Theodre. “How and How Not to Love Mankind,” City Journal. 2001. Print.
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