Our Great Achievements
Humanity has achieved great heights of physical and mental development, not to mention political, economic, scientific and others. We have gathered enough knowledge to make sense of and respond to any eventuality and may probably even be able to deflect incoming rogue asteroids to save earth from devastation. Despite such tremendous progress, have we been able to achieve any improvement in the livelihoods of individual humans on a global scale? True, affluence has spread into the population and even poverty has been considerably mitigated. But beneath the surface, inequality and intolerance are not only surviving but also thriving. While we are able to enroll tourists to Mars, we are unable to take food to the hungry on earth. Are the real problems faced by humans today – such as hunger, violence, exploitation, discrimination, oppression etc – intractable? Are these beyond our intelligence or capability?
We Know Everything
Our political leaders know how to run our countries. Our bureaucrats know how to run the administration. Our scientists know everything that can be known about the universe and life on earth. Our economists know how to manage our economies. Our bankers and billionaires know how to invest their billions. Our entrepreneurs know how to run businesses. Our activists know how to protest wrongdoings. Our extremists know how to destroy their enemies. Our religious leaders know how to guide their followers to heaven. Our doctors know how to cure diseases. Our parents know how to bring up children. Unfortunately, all of them know their duties and tasks so well that they have no reason to doubt anything!
They are Responsible for this
When we know the solution for every problem, then every failure is blamed on somebody else. The politician blames wealth inequality on the economists. The billionaire blames the recession on the political leadership. The parents blame the irresponsibility of their children on society. The religions blame the sins of their practitioners on temptation. Once we place blame outside, we can pursue these villains with vigour while the problems aggravate, and the recession destroys economies and livelihoods.
The Failure of Intelligence
When we are very sure of ourselves, we suffer from two conditions – self-delusion and arrogance. Both drag us into a vicious circle by hiding our own inadequacies and belittling others’ capabilities. These aggravate both arrogance and delusion leading us into a destructive spiral. When we are blaming and battling the forces outside while blind to our own shortcomings and blunders, life appears to be extremely stressful and combative. In such a scenario when a real major challenge presents itself, such as a highly contagious pandemic, we have no effective answer despite all our ‘intelligence’. Our responses are tragically frivolous and achieve very little.
Tilting at Windmills
Humans today have responded to Covid-19 by taking a plethora of counter actions. Our politicians have tightened personal surveillance and restricted our movements. In the name of economic mitigation billions and trillions are being leveraged and broadcast with very little planning or supervision of their end use. Just enough investments are being made in discovering cures or therapies with one eye firmly on the expected windfall future profits.
In the bargain the interests of the sick and dying have fallen by the wayside. The medical professionals in the frontline are being left to their own means with very few protective gear and medical equipment. The masses cooped up in slums, camps, cages, roadsides and even cruise liners and others are being abandoned without a thought while the affluent barricade themselves in their homes. None of the counter actions taken by the esteemed leaders, scientists or economists seem to make any difference.
We humans have all the means to protect ourselves. But the sufferers are forcefully kept away from the solutions in the name of nationality, economic affluence, power and inertia. This becomes apparent when we step beyond our knowing and certainty and open our eyes to reality. When we can perceive our own arrogance and self-delusion, we begin to understand the impotence of our own solutions. We see that flooding the economy with money merely panders to greed. Oppressing the masses with lockdowns in the long run fuels discontent and anger. We are merely sowing the seeds for the next catastrophe while allowing the current one to run unabated.
When we directly address the suffering – identify, isolate and care for them, we are facing the challenge head on. When we empower the professionals on the frontline with protection, equipment and effective therapy we are striking at the core of the adversary. All acts that do not in some way support these objectives are merely throwing mud at the oncoming gust. The mud will be blown back into our eyes and cause considerable suffering for all of us.
Born in the rich culture of South India and educated in English, I have been exposed to two opposing world views enabling me to achieve synergy and realize true harmony. I belong to linguistic community “Saurashtra” who were silk weavers patronised by kings of yore. Our ancestors are said to have migrated from Western part of India to Tamil Nadu in the South several centuries ago. Growing up in the country as India underwent its pangs of Westernisation, I was able to synthesise the self oriented Western perspective with the community oriented native one to arrive at a wholesome concept of self after considerable efforts and experimentation. My forthcoming book “Searching for Self – In Pursuit of Inner Peace” is the culmination of this labour.