Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Play by the Line

We see ego different than us. We treat ego as something that needs to be controlled and restrained. What we fail to realize is that ‘We are our Ego’. Everything that we identify ourselves with, name, family, education, body, looks, car we drive, job we do everything becomes part of our Ego and everything becomes part of us. Ego, though, is always built on our past. We believe what we are today is because of all that we have done in the past; not realizing that past doesn’t exist. It only lingers in our memory and sticks to us as ego. If we are our ego and ego is us then we are not living in the present but are a mere shadow of our past.
Apart from past we also tend to heavily rely upon our future. The promise of the future is very lucrative and enticing. We believe that whatever we are not today we will become tomorrow. Undoubtedly it is an act of ego to remain dissatisfied with the present and remain in a never ending quest of ‘becoming’ not realizing that future doesn’t exist either.

If we disassociate from the past and thus from our ego and also kill the future, what remains of us? Whatever remains of us will we be able to accept it? No baggage of the past and no anticipation for the future! Does this thought scare us? What would that state be like? Ego is perennially thirsty for more and we are perennially hopeful of our future – if both come to an end – do we become more alive or do we become dead? Do we really ever accept the current moment? Or are we busy sizing up the entire time-line?


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Double Jeopardy

A modern society has been constructed. It is promoted as a panacea for all the major problems that plague mankind. Also, right from abolition of slavery to invention of cutting edge technology, has all been attributed to be fruits of modern society; the obvious question that arises is that, how does a modern society differ from a traditional society? While this might not find a very convincing answer, however, for ease of differentiation and ease of explanation it is largely accepted that a society constructed on the tenets of industrialization is a modern society and a society that is still based on agrarian economy is a traditional or orthodox society. The sole aim of a modern society is poverty alleviation.

Poverty is considered as the biggest curse to mankind and also the root of most evil. Alleviating poverty has been identified as one of the key markers of a modern society. Industrialization, due to its capacity to employ people in large numbers and due to high productivity, is suggested as the most effective method to fight poverty. European countries (read Great Britain) were the pioneers of industrialization and contributed vastly in the construction of a modern society. Anti-thesis to this is an agrarian society or a society based on agriculture. As agriculture is a low productive activity, it is considered incapable of addressing poverty.  Hence, the west has developed a modern society on the basis of rapid and large scale industrialization. Such is the belief of West on this form of society that, it is portrayed and promoted as a ‘model’ for all other non-industrialized countries to follow. 

An Industrialized society is highly dependent on availability of natural resources. Natural resources include – oil, gas, coal, water and man power. Also the economy of an industrialized modern society is very complicated in nature. With the discontinuation of the Gold Standard post WW II the modern society largely relies on complicated calculations by central banks in deciding how much money should be in circulation. Circulation just sufficient enough to
keep the economy growing but keep cost of goods within acceptable limits. It is absolutely essential for the economy of a modern society to keep growing; this ensures a constant increase in jobs and more opportunities for people earn their way out of poverty and at the same time they could help in sustaining growth.

Interestingly ,the observation across the world has been that, the massive industrialization undertaken by a modern society has led to an unsustainable growth pattern. The growth has put stress on natural resources. The excessive use of natural resources is causing irreversible impact on the atmosphere and supposedly contributing to climate change. Another observation about industrialized economies is that it is not only money in circulation that decides growth or robustness of an economy, but also who is spending. Excessive government spending leads to imbalances that often reflect as fiscal deficit and excessive spending by private sector leads to increase in prices; finding a balance has proven to be tough and stressful.  To strike a balance many governments go on an austerity drive, many private organization go on the course of retrenchment. Both of these efforts have adverse effect on jobs and leads to massive unemployment. Unemployment fosters poverty. In some instances extreme poverty also becomes root cause for crimes. 

Thus the vicious cycle continues. A quest of modern society to be able to fuel growth without jeopardizing natural resources or the environment and yet cater to the needs of the growing human population. Inspite of millions of years of existence and couple of centuries of industrialization mankind has not managed to wipe out poverty. In some instances it almost feels that poverty is an essential aspect of human existence just to prove that human spirit can triumph over any adversity. Also with the new levels of requirements (greed) getting added to Human needs, poverty itself is becoming a moving concept. So the well-off of yesterday could be the new pauper of tomorrow! Without even analyzing the merits of a traditional society, I just wonder how sustainable is this modern society and by rapid multiplication of human population and following industrialization as an essential method of poverty alleviation, whether mankind has failed itself.

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