- The Truth About Economic Development (1) -The Illusion of Economic Development
- The Truth About Economic Development (2)
- The Truth About Economic Development (3)
IV. A Deeper Perspective on National Development
Development and progress are bandied about as the panacea of all evils of society. But what is their widest scope, the deeper implications and higher meaning, what are the psychological forces that push development? All this has been discussed and understood in a limited fashion, indeed only the surface has been scratched.
The driving force of a country’s growth is the psychological push of its people which in turn is powered by what motivates them. In the modern era phenomenal results have been achieved by the concentrated power of nationalism – pride in one’s country and concern for her well-being. An outstanding example is the transformation of Japan from a traditional medieval feudal culture into a modern industrialised nation in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. When Russia was defeated by Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century in the Russo-Japanese war, the rest of the world sat up in astonishment. No European country had been militarily defeated by an Asian one in modern times. Almost half a century later, as a consequence of the nuclear holocaust of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan was on her knees. But thirty-five years on, in 1980, Japan had one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and it was feared by some in the West that if her growth continued apace her GNP might equal or even exceed that of the US by the end of the century. That potential was never realised as her people became more self-centred with the exposure to Western modes of thinking and their main feeder of growth – intensity driven by a certain selflessness – dwindled almost to stagnation. The current PM of Japan realises that without rekindling her national spirit Japan cannot be pulled out of the doldrums.
The Western gospel of utilitarianism, a selfish concentration on narrow aims causes greater and greater dysfunction in the various parts of society. Utilitarianism has been transposed into materialism and everything is valued according to its money-making potential. The quality of goods and services deteriorates even as they become more expensive. Medical care, education etc. are costing more and more while delivering less and less. Only the leavening of the spirit of nationalism has kept Western societies from sinking completely into the mire of destructive selfishness.
Until a few centuries ago India was one of the richest countries of the world (in 1700 the GDP of India was greater than that of the whole of Western Europe) and that too after centuries of repressive Muslim rule. But political unity and based on it, the spirit of nationalism is relatively new to India. Throughout her long history she has been united culturally and spiritually but not politically. There is, however, an even greater power, more enduring and free from the ultimate evil and destructive effect of nationalism, which can fuel economic development, even though being self-sufficient in itself, not expressly concerned with it. When an individual or a collectivity can rise beyond egoism, both its own and that of a larger collectivity – a nation or even humanity – and connect to its true spiritual self and can live in it to some extent, as ancient India was able to, then the power of this greatest potential begins to act visibly in all the fields of human endeavour. Once this power is aroused in a country there are no limits to her development. Not only physical development but also a psychological growth which can be the only true basis of happiness and fulfilment – witness the widespread dissatisfaction and psychological alienation and loneliness lurking just below the glamourous surfaces in modern materially developed countries.
Indeed, the problem has become so serious that the present top heavy material development, if not balanced, is poised to destroy all civilised societies in the world. True growth and progress can only be the results of an integral spiritual growth of consciousness whether of the individual or of the society or the nation. The conditions in which people live are the result of their state of consciousness. To seek to change these without a change of consciousness is a vain chimera.
In present times, India too has sunk into the morass of utilitarianism and in a worst possible way. As a nation, as a society, she seems to have forgotten her deeper well-springs of energy and has become lost in the chaos of conflicting narrow self-interests spiralling her into greater depths of depravation of every kind. A nationlistic pride in the country and her achievements may be the lever to pull her out of this degradation and set her on the road to her true destiny – the intelligent will to live for the spirit not only individually but also collectively. Nationalism, which underpins the Modi government’s manifesto, can act as a bridge to carry India onto the path of integral self-fulfilment and enable her to play her true role among the community of nations. But, she must not forget that the spirit of nationalism, however necessary and useful at present, is just one stage in the greater psychology and has to be transcended to attain that for which India’s soul has always been striving – a progressive manifestation and expression of the Spirit in the terrestrial Nature.
“There are deeper issues for India herself, since by following certain tempting directions she may conceivably become a nation like many others evolving an opulent industry and commerce, a powerful organisation of social and political life, an immense military strength, practising power-politics with a high degree of success, guarding and extending zealously her gains and her interests, dominating even a large part of the world, but in this apparently magnificent progression forfeiting its Swadharma, losing its soul. Then ancient India and her spirit might disappear altogether and we would have only one more nation like the others and that would be a real gain neither to the world nor to us… It would be a tragic irony of fate if India were to throw away her spiritual heritage at the very moment when in the rest of the world there is more and more a turning towards her for spiritual help and a saving Light. This must not and will surely not happen; but it cannot be said that the danger is not there.” (CWSA, Vol.36, pp.503-04)
V. The Concluding Remarks – The Present Scenario and Where and How We may Proceed from Where We are
A. The Background – the Present Scenario
The discussion in the previous chapters was intended to provide a wide perspective on our present utilitarian gospel of development and its grave perils if continued any further. The important question facing us at present is that even if it is understood that a change of course is desired can we really do it? The answer is that we can and will be made to do so in spite of the fact that, at present, most of us are acutely concentrated and hell-bent on seeking somehow, anyhow, the satisfaction of our physical life nature’s natural animal appetites by the acquisition of the needed material means. This has brought the modern materialistic economic science to the forefront and all walks of life have gotten thoroughly infested with its destructive utilitarian spirit. As a result, like everything else, the politics of the country too had (for quite some time) become – in the hands of clever unscrupulous actors in the field – a means of acquiring position and money through the misuse of political office acquired by winning elections. The natural instinct of the players in the political field has been to always look at and evaluate everything from the point of view of how it may be used to help them achieve their coveted object – the political office. To such a gaze it soon became apparent that, since Indian people were deeply divided and almost prejudiced when it came to their caste, creed (pantha or religion), language and region, this matter could be used to advance one’s political fortunes by appealing to such baser things in the people. Herein lies the origin of all the phenomena of reservations and all kinds of other entitlements based on one’s identity according to the above parameters.
Before the Modi government came to power in 2014, the “reservation card” was (and to some extent still is) being played to the hilt by all the so called “secular” – a euphemism for minority appeasement for votes – parties for their despicable ends. The new Prime Minister gave the slogan of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ (economic development for everyone) perhaps, to get the country out of the muddy pit of communal and social divisions which had become so injurious to the national spirit that giving vent to anti-national feelings began to be looked upon by many as the only sure road for gaining impeccable “secular” credentials necessary for getting minority votes. Till the recent U.P. elections, the going has not been easy for the new government which – while avoiding sensitive nerves on reservation – had to place its stress on the service and development of all the poor people of the country. After the U.P. election results, the country witnessed a pervasive psychological movement anticipating the extension of the BJP’s sway to cover the whole of the country within the next few years.
B. What Now?
This booklet has been written to bring to light before all discerning eyes some of the hidden aspects of the reality of the modern materialistic concept of Development or Progress (“Vikas”) and how an exclusive focus on it is swiftly leading humanity towards its seemingly unstoppable extinction in the near future. Now, the important question is: how should the attitude of the new benevolenta Prime Minister and his government on his pet and cherished concept of “Vikas” be changed in the light of the deep and incontrovertible findings reported above about its perils? Before we proceed further on this it has to be pointed out that this question – which in our view has now assumed critical importance for the very survival of the human race – has never been relevant for us during the seven decades following our Independence in 1947. It has become relevant only now – and even assumed a great practical significance – when we face the palpable prospect of the country swiftly moving towards a psychological crystallization where an overwhelming majority of the Indian people – without any distinction of language, cast, creed or gender – will come to have trust and faith in the person of Sri Narendra Modi – something never even dreamed by most people till the coming of the U.P. election results.
The wave of nationalism that brought Sri Modi to power and has been progressively sweeping the country ever since, has been the immediate practical need of the country for quite some time but got a chance to fully manifest only during the past few years. Even more than a hundred years ago Sri Aurobindo saw the need clearly when he wrote, “With us today Nationalism is our immediate practical faith and gospel not because it is the highest possible synthesis, but because it must be realised in life if we are to have the chance of realising the others. We must live as a nation before we can live in humanity.” (CWSA 8: 84-85)
Even at that time Sri Aurobindo had seen the unsuitability of the narrower concept of nationalism – the Hindu nationalism. He wrote, “… We do not understand Hindu nationalism as a possibility under modern conditions. Hindu nationalism had a meaning in the times of Shivaji and Ramdas, when the object of national revival was to overthrow a Mahomedan domination which, once tending to Indian unity and toleration, had become oppressive and disruptive. It was possible because India was then a world to itself and the existence of two geographical units entirely Hindu, Maharashtra and Rajputana, provided it with a basis. It was necessary because the misuse of their domination by the Mahomedan element was fatal to India’s future and had to be punished and corrected by the resurgence and domination of the Hindu. And because it was possible and necessary, it came into being. But under modern conditions India can only exist as a whole.” (CWSA 8: 304)
Now the important question pertains to the true form and force of nationalism suited to India. Again we have the answer in Sri Aurobindo’s soul stirring words, “I say no longer that nationalism is a creed, a religion, a faith; I say that it is the Sanatana Dharma which for us is nationalism. This Hindu nation was born with the Sanatana Dharma, with it it moves and with it it grows. When the Sanatana Dharma declines, then the nation declines, and if the Sanatana Dharma were capable of perishing, with the Sanatana Dharma it would perish. The Sanatana Dharma, that is nationalism.” (CWSA 8: 12) And further, “When therefore it is said that India shall rise, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall rise. When it is said that India shall be great, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall be great. When it is said that India shall expand and extend herself, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall expand and extend itself over the world. It is for the dharma and by the dharma that India exists. To magnify the religion means to magnify the country.” (CWSA 8: 10)
From the above quotations, to a superficial gaze it may appear that Sri Aurobindo is contradicting himself by again returning to Hindu nationalism under the new label of Sanatana Dharma. To such a view it has to be pointed out that Sanatana (eternal) Dharma is not at all synonymous with the modern concept of religion which, due to its requirement of exclusiveness for its very survival, is a passing phenomenon in time . The Sanatana Dharma is eternal because, in it, all religions – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. – can find their just place when they can be made to rise above their exclusiveness and intolerance. The Sanatana Dharma represents an all-encompassing approach to the supreme spiritual Reality without any exclusiveness – admitting even materialism and some kind of atheism – and its spirit is almost as wide as that of the universal nature. It is in this light that we may understand the following statement of Sri Aurobindo, “Spirituality is India’s only politics, the fulfilment of the Sanatan Dharma its only Swaraj. I have no doubt we shall have to go through our Parliamentary period in order to get rid of the notion of Western democracy by seeing in practice how helpless it is to make nations blessed.” (CWSA 36: 170)
Soon after he came to power in 2014, the Prime Minister said something like this that the “Indian Constitution” (promulgated on 26.2.1950) is the one thing he worshipped and that it was sacred to him. Such an utterance must have been directed to blunt the charges that the new government was planning to significantly alter the Indian Constitution. Obviously we cannot, as free people, bind ourselves and the divinity residing in our hearts to a written document, however perfectly written, or even to a great and most sacred scripture, however sublime and divinely inspired. The time has come to boldly seek guidance from the Divinity residing in the heart of all creatures which alone can, in the present difficult conditions, save us from ourselves. The Constitution or any such machinery should be flexibly used to organize political unity but must never be allowed to fetter our self-expression which they would become if we consider them sacrosanct. For, as succinctly pointed out by Sri Aurobindo, “Constitutions can only disguise facts, they cannot abrogate them: for whatever ideas the form of the constitution may embody, its working is always that of the actually realized forces which can use it with effect. Most governments either have now or have passed through a democratic form, but nowhere yet has there been a real democracy; it has been everywhere the propertied and professional classes and the bourgeoisie who governed in the name of the people.” (CWSA 25: 400)
We have come to our present predicament because, even after independence, during the past seven decades we have allowed the West to think for us and have been progressively moving towards becoming an ill-executed and foolish copy of it. Even though the pursuit of the modern gospel of Economic Development (“Vikas”) is leading us towards a precipice, because of the progressive westernization of our hearts and minds we have never ever been able to give any serious consideration to (or even suspect) the dangers underlying such a pursuit, contrary to the genius and the soul of this country. We have been doing what Swami Vivekananda had warned us against when he said, “But mark you, if you give up spirituality, leaving it aside to go after the materializing civilization of the West, the result will be that in three generations you will be an extinct race; because the backbone of the nation will be broken, the foundation upon which the national edifice has been built will be undermined, and the result will be annihilation all round.” (CWSV, vol.3, p.153)
The modern materialistic conception of development ought to be widened and, wherever necessary, superseded by the concept of development suited to India and, at this critical juncture of her destiny, even to humanity at large. The only concept of development suited to the genius of India is the one which aims at the fullest and the completest possible development of all the parts of a human being – soul, mind, life and body – with a view to enable them to be ever more and more perfect instruments for the manifestation of the Absolute Divinitya – the one and the only true object of all manifestation.
Now, the important question is: how may we go about it? By itself, it is not any religion, philosophy, science or social and political system – not even all of these together – that can successfully carry us very far towards our object because nothing much of any enduring value can be achieved as long as man remains what he is. It is only an ascension to a greater consciousness that can enable man to change himself. It is only the pursuit of Sanatana Dharma that can enable man to ascend to a higher consciousness. The time has come to declare and succinctly formulate and effectively put forward this wider view of development before the people of India. This done, we can leave it to the genius of the spirit of India – the Sanatana Dharma – to accomplish the miracle of getting us out of our present painful predicament.
The upshot of all the above is that Sri Narendra Modi should and it is hoped will soon be in a position to lead the country towards this wider concept of “Vikas” (development) by putting the brakes on the march of the disastrous utilitarian psychological formations that have naturally gotten formed (the thing that invariably takes place) when we blindly sought for and pursued – as we have been doing ever since Independence – economic development in the modern materialistic spirit. It is a most daunting task to turn the wheels of such a materialistic march and can be achieved only by a still greater working of the divine Power than that which brought Sri Modi to power in 2014. Such a power has to enter the hearts and minds of people and bring about a concentration of the national mind and Will on this task. When this is done, we will be securely moving on the way leading to the fulfilment of India’s true mission in the world which is to lead all mankind towards the divine Reality and thus be instrumental in eventually establishing the divine Life on Earth which is the one real aim of human life on earth as declared by Sri Aurobindo in the following momentous words, “The ascent to the divine Life is the human journey, the Work of works, the acceptable Sacrifice. This alone is man’s real business in the world and the justification of his existence, without which he would be only an insect crawling among other ephemeral insects on a speck of surface mud and water which has managed to form itself amid the appalling immensities of the physical universe.” (CWSA 21: p.48)
Now, the one last point and we will be done. The past two centuries which have been called the centuries of science have been marked by the ushering of the age of progress and development under the impetus of the impressive march of the ever newer and more and more potent inventions and discoveries of science. With the beginning of the present century the pace of the new discoveries and advances in all the fields of human endeavor has reached a dizzying speed – thanks to the latest advances and breakthroughs in the field of information technology. This visibly impressive march of the advances in science and technology and their deep penetration into every walk of life has hypnotized the common man so much that an overwhelming majority of them have – in spite of being not unaware of its very uncomforting and disastrous physical and psychological side effects – come to look upon it as the one effective way and panacea for all our problems. Although, this is not the place to go into the details of the very deep issues involved in this field, still, it seems necessary to provide a glimpse into what fundamentally science can (or cannot) do for us. For this we can do nothing better than to look at the whole issue* in the light of the following soul-stirring words of Sri Aurobindo, “The utmost widening of a physical objective knowledge, even if it embrace the most distant solar systems and the deepest layers of the earth and sea and the most subtle powers of material substance and energy, is not the essential gain for us, not the one thing which it is most needful for us to acquire. That is why the gospel of materialism, in spite of the dazzling triumphs of physical Science, proves itself always in the end a vain and helpless creed, and that too is why physical Science itself with all its achievements, though it may accomplish comfort, can never achieve happiness and fullness of being for the human race. Our true happiness lies in the true growth of our whole being, in a victory throughout the total range of our existence, in mastery of the inner as well as and more than the outer, the hidden as well as the overt nature; our true completeness comes not by describing wider circles on the plane where we began, but by transcendence.” (CWSA 22: p.757-58)
The Future Possibilities and the Perils of the Movement of Modern Materialistic Science
As we have seen earlier, Science is a double-edged sword and as long as we remain imprisoned in our present level of consciousness, which is too myopic to really see its way out of the present utilitarian spirit, it can only speed up the process leading to the extinction of the human race.
Even if Science were to stop where it is – which is an impossibility, – we do not have much time before things really turn ugly enough (already very ugly for those few who can see behind surface appearances) that even the most unconscious person is faced to recognize that his/her very existence is now at stake. If the present speed of scientific advancement continues or gathers further momentum (as it has been continuously doing during the past few centuries) then, in our view, we have less than a decade before things turn really ugly – at least for a large section of humanity, especially in South Asia – and become almost unstoppable without a huge destruction of life on earth.
The above conclusion is difficult to avoid even when one disregards the possible impact of future unexpected developments in Science and takes note only of the future impact of those scientific advancements and discoveries which are already in the pipe-line.
A. The Fundamental Problem with Science
Our Rishis had realized that the greater is the level of one’s consciousness, the closer one is to one’s true Self and the greater is the fulfilment enjoyed by one. The higher is the level of consciousness, the more powerful is its control over the outer instruments. When the consciousness is imprisoned into the surface physical being, one is forced to use the outer instrumentation and one’s consciousness gets further enslaved to it.
Science is concerned with the systematic study of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment based on the power of human reason. It brings about such a concentration on our surface self that our self-knowledge is meagre and painfully insufficient. It is of our surface and apparent phenomenal self and nature only and not of our true self and the true meaning of our existence. In such a movement, self-knowledge and self-mastery are awaiting in the individual, and as a result, wisdom and right-will is also lacking in his use of world-power and world-knowledge. The more the race is enamoured and mesmerized by the discoveries and new inventions of Science, the more lacking it will be in the right use of the potencies of science. The grave moral and environmental crisis facing us may be looked upon as one of the results of such a movement in the consciousness of man. Man seems to be becoming, increasingly, a slave of the outer instrumentation of physical nature and a plaything in the hands of the powers of ignorance that have come to dominate him because of his increasing isolation from his true Self and its uplifting consciousness which alone can lead him to true Knowledge, Power and Ananda.
If this movement continues unabated without any counter balancing movement towards higher consciousness which alone can bring about greater self-knowledge, humanity is poised to extinction in the near future. As was pointed out in the first section, a reorientation of the collective psychological energies of the human race towards greater self-knowledge and world-knowledge is indispensable if humanity is to arrive at anything meaningful, or even to survive.
Nationally, we are, today, at such a phase of crisis in our evolution that we are facing a conundrum about what the much-glorified Science is doing to our civilization and culture. When we go back to the India’s spirit of looking at this conundrum, it becomes immediately clear that, as of now, our present nationalistic spirit seeking “Progress” through the machinery of science reflects not an iota of the Infinite and the Eternal of this nation’s perennial seeking, but a gross and intricate machinery to enslave us to our surface self through our passions and desires.
Under such a psychological condition, Science of today has become nothing but a bundle of vicious and ambitious circles, relying solely on outer instruments with an increasing refrigeration of inner instruments. Fundamentally, any reliance on outer instrumentation tends to draw one away from one’s soul. And the more we move away from our soul, the more we lose touch with the Ananda or the true Delight of existence which alone sustains our lives. Only a very diluted and perverted form of this delight can be found in the brute physical and vital satisfactions offered by our surface physical self. Such satisfactions imply pulling things towards oneself resulting into a dilution of one’s relationships, affinities and good-will and the spirit of service to others which has been given supreme importance in our culture to correct our self-centeredness which leads to an immense suffering in the individual and collective social existence.
B. New Technologies for Manipulation
For how long shall we keep reposing our faith in the discoveries of Science? The horizons of Science keep on expanding and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future, making available to out infantile race new technologies that can manipulate it in endless dangerous ways. Several examples of such technologies have come in front of us which, if misused by a gross utilitarian and selfish consciousness, may put a full stop to human life on this planet in the near future.
Through new technologies like ‘Big Data’ – which hundreds of companies are now making a business out of – psychological traits, emotions and preferences of people can be discerned, which can then be compiled into a database and analysed through Artificial Intelligence (AI), in order to influence mass voting behaviours, reinforce and expand commercial desires and choices of people and successfully apply it for other commercial purposes. This explains a major part of how Trump won elections – micro-targeting.
To come close to imagining the progress of AI, consider the results of a survey – “AI will be able to translate languages better than humans by 2024, write high-school-level essays by 2026, drive trucks by 2027, work in retail by 2031, write books by 2049 and perform surgery by 2053.” (Newsweek 2017). Dubai has already got its first ‘Robocop’ – a road policeman robot, the ‘world’s first operational Robocop’ – which can monitor traffic, record complains, assist tourists etc. (Fox News Tech 2017).
AI is also making inroads into healthcare. In order to find low-cost ways of dealing with people’s health problems, companies are creating a forum to connect patients with robotic doctors – all that the patients need to do is just download the application on their mobile phones and feed in their medical history.
AI is not the only such technology. Currently, new technologies of ‘brain augmentation’ are being developed, which would enable scientists to insert implants in our brains and enable them to function like supercomputers. There is nothing positive about this. The only reason we feel safe from robots is because they are machines without base emotions like us – imagine if a utilitarian, cruel human collectivity or group were to possess same intelligence and powers as robots, how it would be able to misuse it!
Already we are in a position to manipulate the smallest atoms and molecules to change the quality of the material, thanks to nanotechnology. The Human body and health could be manipulated; indeed, nanotechnology is already being used in the sunscreens we apply to our skin, there are deliberations about how to create nanomedicines that are so small that they can travel through the body and get rid of cancer and other disease cells.
And, in what is the latest source of excitement among the scientists, the Chinese have just discovered a way to use the laws of quantum mechanics to encrypt their internet communications to keep off hackers, such that every smallest disturbance on the network will be immediately detected.
Such imaginations have fired the hopes of many people, compelling them to foolishly argue that nanotechnology can cure their illnesses. This is like saying that no matter what happens, we will not get rid of our greed and selfishness – we will keep contracting illnesses through our degraded lifestyles, and we will keep making new technologies that can later manipulate our bodies and cure those illnesses. Can such a self-destructive attitude ever succeed?
Nanotechnology is also poised to accelerate the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction which nations can use against each other (known as ‘molecular manufacturing’). Imagine that the chemical weapons that nations now use would be reducible to invisible microcosms, with as much or even more potency to destroy – silent, fast and more devastating wars could be fought with concealed weapons. Imagine how terrorists and rogue countries like North Korea can use this technology.
After all, terrorists can lay their hands on any latest technologies very easily, and can even develop their own technologies. To give a recent example, when people began to happily occupy certain ISIS-vacated parts of Syria, they discovered, to their horror, that everything – taps, refrigerators, kids’ toys, beds, sofas etc. – could be fitted with ‘invisible’ explosive devices and that if you accidentally touch something, you may just die. So, the terrorists may have left from those parts, but the terror continued to prevail.
When you couple the devastating consequences of nanotechnology with the options already made available by information technology (IT) and artificial intelligence, we can start to imagine even more varied results. After all, big disasters are one thing. But what information technology is doing now and what artificial intelligence is aiding it in is a recipe for slow deaths. Google will virtually legally own the planet – it is already on track of doing so. Even if we are not active internet users, we will not be able to help getting pulled into its vortex. With the governments digitizing entire systems, users have no option but to make IT a part of their lives. This has inspired minute government surveillance for countering crimes, and, such surveillance has also been used by enemy states and terrorists to carry out attacks.
After all, technology is a double-edged sword and can be used for equally bad or much worse results. We are fast breeding future generations of youth to become nothing but lifeless, lonely automatons who are run and controlled by Science.
There is of course an important rider to these dangerous future predictions – will we even survive to see these changes? That is unlikely. The rate at which we are finishing and degrading our resources, manipulating our environment and outer space and playing with health, we won’t be able to survive even till the next decade. For manipulating our environment, we have come up with various ideas like geoengineering which will manipulate the earth’s atmosphere by limiting the sunlight reaching the earth. Even though we don’t know the consequences (except that they can do permanent damage to our atmosphere), scientists want to go ahead with it.
This exposes our double standards. In dealing with climate change, the historically-polluting developed countries want to do everything in their power to avoid bearing responsibility for dealing with climate change – they can try geoengineering, they can shift the burden to developing countries like India, they can talk about piecemeal and ineffective ‘renewables’, creating ‘markets’ for trading excess carbon and other new climate technologies which will be powerless against our impending doom. Already oceans are in a very poor shape, and within the next three decades, oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish.
It is well-known that only a very radical change in lifestyles – which cannot come about permanently without a change of consciousness – can, to some extent, stave off environmental disasters. These renewable and other technologies are piecemeal and ineffective because – look at man’s greed – men want to make a business opportunity out of the environment too, just like everything else. Again, it’s like saying, we will not change our lifestyles, we will sacrifice very little of our present ways, but we want to avoid environmental disasters by employing various technologies that can manipulate the environment or make a business opportunity out of a slow, painless transition to renewables. But whatever it is, we will not change or bear any pain. This is the utilitarian spirit in operation.
An example of a disastrous large-scale environmental manipulation already engulfing the US’s production system wholly is genetic engineering of crops where foreign genes available in various living organisms i.e. plants, animals and even human beings are being artificially transferred to the seeds to acquire certain “desired results”. Changes in the DNA – both intended and accidental – may bring about not only chemical disbalances in nature, but even irreversible biological consequences. In US, the total marketing of genetically modified food – indistinguishable from non-GM food due to poor regulations – has resulted in an exponential rise in illnesses, obesity and cancer cases. Despite the known and unknown dangers of modifying the genes of a crop, US audaciously went ahead with it. Every farmer is producing GM crops – and why not, it is a good business opportunity. It enhances the country’s GDP. This is irrespective of the fact that America’s future generations and the future of the country has been permanently damaged – what matters is that we are making scientific advancements and the GDP is increasing.
In India, the government is now dangerously implementing the same GM food formula. Despite all opposition, GM mustard was recently given a green signal. We already have hybrid tomatoes and potatoes flooding the markets. We are already getting plastic-coated cabbage, plastic rice, pasta and noodles. Soon we will have plastic wheat. Thereafter, we will have no need of an agricultural sector at all. We can just set up factories to manufacture our artificial grains. In the process, we will be using better scientific technology, contributing more to GDP and accelerating the process of mass extinctions.
And in this system underway in India, it would be futile to expect the government to do anything else, but give in to GM food or encourage farmers to grow GM and hybrid crops. This had earlier happened in the Green Revolution technology too, when the introduction of cash crops and use of chemicals suddenly catapulted us from food scarcity to food surplus and created a class of rich, powerful farmers, entirely destroying our groundwater and contaminating our rivers and surface water. In the same way, we can do this now through GM and other technologies. The food scarcity and farmer distress we are facing now will turn into food surplus – although we will be eating plastic instead of food, but then that’s the only way left to the government to avoid a food crisis, and to prevent people killing each other for food and water.
C. The Conclusion
Everywhere we see, through the above examples and numerous others around us, Science is being misused to provide justification for the way we presently are – selfish, greedy and cruel. All these examples from various fields, stated above, have a common point – we cannot repose much faith in it. Science is a double-edged sword and as long as we remain in the present state of our consciousness, it will only end up creating disasters for us.
With the way and the pace at which things are going, do we really imagine that we will actually live to see the time when our brains will function like supercomputers and when AI-based robots will take over all our works? It is a logical impossibility, as we would have destroyed a substantial portion of our population within less than a decade from now. The misuse of current inventions of Science, combined with our monstrous vital ego, are more than enough for this task of destruction.
Such parasites have we become on our materialistic structure – this mere house of cards – that we have entirely forgotten the Divine Shakti, the Infinite that has alone sustained this country since ages. We forget that the materialistic Science that impresses us so is merely physical Science. We have not even reached the borders of the sources of mind that inspired such mighty scientific creations of the past, and yet, which our rishis dismissed so easily. This physical Science, in whose unending circle we have changed into utilitarian, selfish creatures, does nothing at all but, even at its highest, observe the habits of Nature. On the basis of these observable habits, it formulates certain fixed ‘laws’ – not realizing that Nature is only made up of habits and not Laws, and that there can be no Law to bind the Divine Shakti that is manifest in Nature – a reality which the Indian spirit has always known.
Therefore, what can be the future possibility of materialistic Science? As things stand, there are only two ways out. One, in our present unregenerate state of consciousness, it will end up destroying us – this is the scenario unfolding right now, manifest in food crisis, crime rates, destruction of relationships etc., accompanied, of course, by greater so-called scientific inventions and better GDP numbers.
Two, we will have to pull ourselves out of this vicious vortex by a collective change of consciousness. If that happens, Science may face a relatively nondescript future. Certainly, all these scientific advancements will continue, but, having come out of the animality in which we are steeped today, we will no longer be bound by materialistic Science’s vicious utilitarian circle. This means that universe will keep expanding, we will keep discovering further latest applications of quantum mechanics and nanotechnology, but our change of consciousness will prevent the destructive fate that faces us today. So, the most important thing for all those who become conscious of the impending danger is to work, tirelessly, for a reorientation of the collective psychological energies of the human race.