April 14, 2013

How fast do we want to get rich?

We all yearn to be well-off for having a comfortable life. In the past, this was achieved through time and toil. Now there is a major shift towards getting rich fast. This is a necessary consequence of our capitalist world where industrial production is carried out without conscience -- as to whether there was a necessity for all that production. We deplete our earth, our seas, and pollute our environment without conscience. Proponents would argue that the more that is produced, the more the have-nots will have. Opponents would argue that it is not true; the industrialists' concern is the bottom line. At the end of the day the motive is to have the maximum income for the producer, at whatever cost to our environment; the vision is surely only for the short term. Our politics too is no different, destructive and vision short term.

Thus in this rush for production and wealth generation through the market mechanism, and in the groping for power in politics -- pandering to the ego of the human being - we lose sight of the old adage "necessity is the mother of invention" . While this has its vestiges still relevant but ever since the invention of the capitalist model taking hold, the motive has always been to maximize profit and get rich quick -- by selling the products mostly to those who don't really need these. Thus the birth of the "throw-away" culture of our modern times. The marketing profession has made it their perfected art to sell to the gullible customer what they don’t need – through the sweetness of the marketing jargon and images they conjure up to deceive the buyer. We see this every day on our television sets, on the bill boards outside and at social events that draw mostly the youth, whom the industries see as most gullible. Who needs the killer cigarettes or the expensive coffees and cars or the designer clothes?  What would happen to ourselves if we don't have them? Certainly we will be healthier in mind and body. We will be less competitive and divisive and be a more sharing community. But the ego doesn't listen to all that. It makes us believe that the competitive spirit within us is legitimate and best for us. The little voice inside us of the primeval conscience we were born with has the "chance of a fireball in hell". That means absolutely no chance at all! 

So the advert on television wins our hearts. We want to be the Marlboro man or take that exotic trip on the Camel to ill health or death. How foolish we are is realized only too late when death and destruction meet us in the end. 

So this getting rich quick is the source of the evil that we see in our world today and no doubt in our Maldives society too. It has upset the whole apple cart of our mind and we are seeking to blindly find our balance again but not finding it in this turbulent sea of materialism, selfishness and greed. We yearn to get rich quick and then live the rest of our lives in hedonism. What is then the future of the next generation?  Will we give space for it to grow or will we – those who control the power strings of our lives --strengthen the vantage further? Aren't we thus short circuiting the cycle of human social development?

Our nation has been thrust into this tumult headlong. And in Maldives, as a small nation of people, these new ideals which were hitherto alien to us, catch on like wild fire and it can burn our house down only too fast to be aware of what is happening. Let me tell you that this sinister process is happening even as we sit ensconced in our luxury and asleep to these socially toxic vibrations that are ever growing. In the absence of a vigilant public, the Trojan horse of promises we make to our gullible public has the potential for sweeping damage in what we are attempting to call a democracy. We need to be thinking of capacitating ourselves for a sustainable future as a nation; not just be overjoyed at the presents we are being promised or receiving. Please, we should not be sleeping in this present state of social inebriation.


Anonymous said...

You have some very interesting posts here... It's nice to see genuine concerns for our society.

As we can see the list of problems in our society goes on and on,.. Unfortunately, some of these issues aren't localized to just our society, this is pretty much happening universally. So, what's the actual solution to all the problems? What's the root cause of the problems? Could it be due to the collapse of society's building blocks (families), don't have enough money? Too much money? World’s gotten too small? An individual’s purpose of life? Lack of education, or rather lack of beneficial education?

All we know is there are people out there trying to address issues in different ways. But, are we really seeing an improvement? What's it we are missing? We certainly have more knowledge and more money than any of the past generation had before, the irony is that they were wiser and happier than us. We are aware of the consequences of our actions, but it doesn’t stop us from doing what we do. Although, surprisingly enough, it’s possible a boy might throw away the cigarette he was smoking the moment he hears or sees his father coming. Fear of his father made him throw it but knowing all the harms of smoking didn’t make him throw it! So, could it be the fear of the Authority that made the older generation better human beings than us? gave them a deeper purpose of life, stopped them from doing wrong, harming oneself and one another, show sincere concern for people and things around them. The fear the boy had made him stop for a moment, also made him hide his wrongs. So instill both love and fear of the Authority in our hearts--faith. Could this be the missing ingredient?

Abdul Sattar Yoosuf said...

Dear Anonymous, thanks so much for your very thoughtful response. Just as you say, the cause of our social concerns are many, embedded in our past and bubbling on in our present moment. Faith in a belief and the responsibility that arises thereof, I would say too makes for a huge part of the character that helps an individual become a good citizen -- one who is aware of the many others he/she has to live with and sees the need for being a community. I like your example of the fear of the parent. And I like it particularly because as you say it is not just plain authority that is the mover here, it is also the love for his.her parent that makes for the child's "fear". So in this regard, the home perhaps is the breeding ground for the good citizens of tomorrow. I hope many more can be involved with this kind of a dialogue. Many thanks again. I would be delighted to have you reveal yourself to me and be a part of our under the tree discussions.