The Human Network of Mutuality

By Amos Okutse. Amos, 21, is an upcoming writer and an undergraduate student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya. Please read his essay and leave your thoughts and comments below.

In today’s society, where social media platforms are the order of the day, human beings live in a network of mutuality that is quite inescapable. The bond of socialization runs so deep, to the extent that whatever affects one individual will slowly but surely affect all individuals in the long run. This is all thanks to the current technological advancements and the internet which have made the world a global village. In this era, characterized by influential nations withdrawing to rather more nationalistic comforts such as Brexit and Trumpism, it is of essence to ask whether the challenges facing the human race are global or local. Certainly, since it is rather problematic to consider one an interloper in this generation in which information is relatively easily available just at a click of a button, then such challenges and injustices such as racial segregation, sexual harassment among others, are global rather than local. In the recent past, for instance, the hashtag me too on twitter started by actress Alyssa Milano has seen tremendous retweets, sweeping the world as women break their silence with regards to sexual harassment. An action that only began by one individual has certainly blossomed beyond ethnic and racial boundaries, affecting a multitude of people throughout the world. In line with this, Martin Luther King Jnr’s quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” bears a lot of relevance now as it did at the time of writing the letter from a Birmingham jail. The roots of socialism have deepened to the extent that matters related to social justice are no longer viewed individually, instead as an issue affecting all individuals globally.

Upon consideration of America’s heritage, which is crucial in comprehending the socio-political background behind Dr. King’s letter, Moltmann, a refined theologian notes that America entered the world history with “all the passions of political messianism, living of the vision of becoming ‘a new nation conceived in liberty’ – Abraham Lincoln.” Moreover, as a result of the American civil war, Atherton (1994) asserts that a lot of the Protestants gained confidence which enabled them to face hitches encountered as a result of industrialization. This bit of history provides a framework for understanding collectivism in Dr. Kings era, and the role it plays in his work towards non-violent desegregation. In his desegregation campaigns, Dr. King utilized socialistic techniques such as organized sit-ins and protests geared towards counteracting racism and racial segregation. In my opinion, this could have been perhaps due to his belief that human beings are

interlinked by a bond that is entirely inexorable such that whatever affects one individual affects all individuals whether directly or indirectly.

Through the course of history, it has been noted that one bad apple spoils the barrel. This statement bears a lot of significance in correlation to Dr. King’s quote. Generally, man is a social being with an inherent urge to live an associated life with others. Man needs the general public for his existence and survival. The society has the sole role of ensuring that all its individuals live a happy life. It thus creates circumstances and prospects that translate into the all-round development of an individuals’ disposition. As such, acceptance of any form of injustice by the society creates an environment in which individuals think that such kind of behavior is acceptable. This makes it quite more accessible for other types of injustices to happen, a problem which is then likely to manifest itself into various spheres of the society due to human interdependence just like one apple spoils the entire barrel. Furthermore, in this multi-ethnic world we live in, miscellany is paramount, in this sense, any form of injustice in any façade of the society we live in is detrimental to the well-being of every individual.

While in most instances we might think that any form of injustice that is not directed to us is of no significant impact to us, not speaking against it is undoubtedly paving the way for more of such prejudices to materialize. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr puts it, “an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is, in reality, expressing the highest respect for the law.” It is futile for one to expect to be treated in a just way when the society that one lives in is unjust. As a result, it is if essence that individuals speak out against unfair practices in the community keeping in mind the fact that man can never cultivate his character or personality, language, and culture by living outside the society. Without interdependence, an individual is likely to feel out of place like rain in the summer. The relationship between humans not only accomplishes their physical requirements and determines their social nature but it also defines their personality and guides the course of development of the human mind. As a result of this relationship between humans, which has been simplified further by ubiquitous technological advancements and the internet, no individual or nation is immune to the boomerang effect of injustice anywhere as it is undoubtedly likely to threaten justice everywhere no matter how slow.

In my opinion, in today’s world, in which the internet and technological advancements have increased the interactions between human beings, thanks to social media platforms, Dr. King’s argument “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” is certainly true. As I have seen from the ideas of Dr. King, I believe that man is a social being with an inherent desire to be in a relationship with another of the same kind. Such relationships are essential in shaping our personality, who we grow up to be, and certainly how we view circumstances that occur around us both locally and internationally. As such, on every occasion that we hold back from showing love and compassion by speaking out against injustices in our immediate societies, our influence weakens. These unjust situations, in the long run, are likely to magnify to various aspects of the society affecting everyone everywhere. Broadly speaking, “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” In that sense, retraction steps are certainly steps towards oblivion.

5 comments on “The Human Network of Mutuality

  1. Samwel N. on

    From your in depth arguments that are clearly and explicitly expounded, it is very true that human beings are connected by an inescapable bond. One which not even matters of race or tribe can break. I especially like the piece where you mention how social media has seen to it that this bond of socialization is strengthened.
    Indeed Alyssa Milanos #me too campaign on twitter has proved to us that humans are connected such that whatever affects one will surely affect everyone in the long run. This was an intoxicating read! Keep it up.

  2. Fredrick Musungu on

    Very well put. Human beings are very well interconnected. As you put it in your article, this human network of mutuality runs so deep to an extent that that which we perceive to be of insignificant impact to us will in the long run affect us.
    In this sense, it is important that we consider the impact of actions on other beings before actually indulging in them. Moreover, with the emerging trends in technology and social media, the world has been turned into a global village. Indeed, if injustice is practiced anywhere, it is definitely injustice everywhere as it will surely affect everyone in the long run due to the human network of mutuality. I must say that this article changed my perception of Dr. Kings quote giving it a whole new perspective.


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