March 24, 2013


The West invented modernity. It’s a contraption of a way to live that surrounds one with the ease of living and the luxuries of life. Modernization was linked to prosperity for the people. But that prosperity was fuelled  by the sense of competition and the invocation of human desire towards selfish ends. The production boom from the industrial revolution was underlined by the paradigm of materialism and later refined as capitalism. The goal was to get rich - as individuals and as nations - as nation states began to rise as a concept. The nation state also may be said to espouse the same sensibilities of the economic paradigm couched as the need for human freedom. That notion of human freedom nicely fitted with this underlying push for materialism - for it was attractive; i.e. it jived well with the needs of the ego for wanting to be better off than the other person. And so competition could become a mainstream fuel that drove the process. The promoters of it needed only to keep the idea of competition alive by giving attention to this innate and hugely attractive idea of each one having the ability to be better than the other person just by having more. Slowly this world view began to prevail as the reason for our being - slowly forgetting the more spiritual dimensions that behooves us to find meaning in our being.

This was a great and engaging recipe for modernization, whereas before, the comfort and luxury was only available for the kings and queens, while the servile subjects had to contend with the mere handouts. It is naive to imagine that the subjects didn't harbor secretly burning desires to have what they didn't - that glitter of life that was for the taking by kings and queens. The industrial revolution and its aftermath of capitalism provided the flowering for those secret wishes. And the modernization movement began. But still, given the innate human wish to be noticed, or better still to invoke the notion of relativity, the rich could not tolerate a complete absence of the poor. They had to be maintained in sufficient numbers or in sufficient mental state so that the rich could feel that sense of difference. What rich person would like everyone to have the same wealth? There has to be a difference to feel the difference.

So modernization does not really make us better off as a society unless these achievements are made share-able to all. But to find the governance that will enable this equitable sharing is like the search for a needle in the haystack. But we can if we as a society wakes up to this reality. But then how many people will think to this level of specificity working through the intricacies of cause and effect to reveal to oneself the truth of this reality. I would say very, very few and so the chances of this very few to make the change in the mindset of the huge numbers of voters in a nation are bleak indeed. We may have to be bracing ourselves for bearing with a century or more of such hardships before we see the light in the tunnel. But then that too is a chance in a million. But this can be different. If only we follow that superlative handhold we have in the spiritual truths we have in our midst.

That can save us!    

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