Ethics, Philosophy

On Ethical Living in Nepal

The problem with trying to live an ethical life in Nepal is that you mostly won’t get help from the very people who are supposed to be close to you. Some common issues in this regard might be: superstitions, sexist taboo (eg. menstrual taboo), household child labor, corruption, cult followings, racism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, homophobia, trans-phobia, forced marriages, fornication, casteism, gotra-pratha, criminal justice, corporal punishments in schools, tax frauds and the like.

If you think something is wrong, at least some of your family, friends or relatives will be likely to commit it themselves at some point. If you think that something shouldn’t happen, the people around you wont let you live by it without you seeming like a hypocrite. Because the social structure in Nepal is ultra-cohesive (unlike the individualistic structure of industrialized nations), one simply can’t escape the society in order to fight it. They’ll be ostracized beyond recovery, making it difficult for individuals to bring about positive changes. The cohesive and intrusive social structure may be good for things like coping in difficult times, where people will by default come to help you, but if you see that some social practices are archaic or unethical and try to argue against it, you can’t escape them for the fear of being left alone.

Many will propose to abandon them, sometimes a good measure for most. But it’s not always possible for everyone to take that road. We are social beings, and we all need a niche in the society to function well.

I don’t know what the solution is for overcoming this, but one clear way is to change yourself and seek independence from the people who are close to you. This doesn’t mean we should abandon them, just that we stop depending on them for finances if we do, without necessarily disrespecting them. Financial freedom gives you a sense of control and power over your life and you can start living as ethically as possible. If the people around you can be changed – go for it, this is the best method. However, if they are resistant to change – you start changing things starting from your life and your own progeny.

I think in every society, progress starts from progressive individuals who will someday make up a progressive collective.