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September 13, 2019 Friday 11:12:25 AM IST

Line of Loose Control

Cover Story

We all tend to think our planet as mother Earth, an emotional, sentimental, godly entity. It is time to wake up to the reality - a rock created bya number of coincidences, physical laws and dynamics. It is not attached to any of its content -but is simply a passive, inert entity. Man has been existing underthe conviction that Earth and its nature are protective and secure. However, the stable climate of Earth itself is an anomaly. No other celestial body enjoys such a stable climatic condition for thousands of years. The physical laws governing Earth’s formation and its life ahead will simply neutralize any change in its dynamics. The evolution (if any) of stable life forms over millennia and its stability in the last few thousands of years are indicative of subtle yet detrimental variants in nature. How we got here is another question -the debate is not over creation or evolution. However, where we go from here is a significant query.

Random events surely would have impacted the different species, in its formation or destruction. Those events would have been coincidences beyond the control of earthly objects. However, in the last 10,000 and odd years, these random events definitely had contributions from one - and only one - species on the earth. The species is pretty obvious, but the impact of the random incidences that humans have created in the last millennia is nowbecoming deadly to all the life forms on Earth. It started since man graduated (or diminished) from a nomadic beast into an intelligent organized social being. The first environmental impact, though at aminiscule level, happened at that stage when humans started clearing huge forest areas, mostly in the river delta for organized cultivation forfood. Agriculture, fishing, animal husbandry and dairy - all came as food security and an escape from drudgery.

Position and possession

However, the next evolution of humans, by virtue of a more pronounced intelligence, has turned the fate of this planet. Humans developed the incorrigible, indestructibleawareness of the self.The alpha animal syndrome, naturally carried forward from the beastly instincts, deep rooted in the evolutionary ‘survival of the fittest’, turned into an all-consuming self-respecting ‘ego’. The entire history of the human kind is thus of an ego ride. The technical, scientific and social developments have its deep-rooted intent - of position and possession. No other species is in this deadly predicament. All animals concede to an alpha animal. There are occasional fights for proving that, over and above those associated with the territorial breach. However, in a pack, mostly the inhabitants stay contended. Humans, with each and everyonehaving self-awareness, are thriving till date to become an alpha animal. But different from the beastly alpha animal, which had purely a hunting, feeding and breeding hierarchy, the humans developed a number of other fields to compete, thanks to the settlements they created. The race for position and possession began with it.

Right from the initial days of farming and storing, the wealth accumulated was a direct ticket to the position. Wealth bought loyalty and dependence; expression of wealth became imperative and possession was the only way. Thus, position and possession became the two sides of the same coin. The unstoppable ‘competition’ started. The rat race of human beings stems out of this requirement - to enslave. The comfort and luxury of enslaving became a bonus. Development thus had two engines. First, an organic and inclusive one, which removed drudgery, provided security and comfort while the second was driven by possession for position. Most of the innovations were for establishing supremacy. They catered to the alpha animals, for creating a continuously superior lifestyle (this slowly took away the upper class from any interaction with nature).

Conveniences kept on reducing physical activities, resulting in lesser and lesser physical capabilities. This demanded more conveniences. Since this lifestyle was associated with the upper class, the opulent lifestyle became a bench mark for the society, to achieve and to earn for. Those innovations, used up by the upper class,gradually trickled down the society, providing conveniences and consequently, lesser physical skill sets. These conveniences, broadly classified as mechanization, provided more time forthe society, resulting in the requirement for more innovations. At this stage, the demand for comfort shifted to demand for luxury. In the last 50 years, luxurious life has changed colour from being extravagant to one of a reward for excellence. Simple lifestyles became difficult to be maintained amidst branding of success based on possession and position.


Physical work became almost nil. That gave man a lot of leisure time. An idle brain is a devil’s paradise. The karmic bliss out of physical work disappeared. In modern terms, happiness due to Dopamine and Endorphins secreted during a physical work gave way to oxytocin-driven excitements of entertainment. Thus, the entire world now haschanged into a business arena for entertainment. Convenience, extravagance, and opulence; the various interfaces of possession laced with position have simply gnawed into the social fabric. The per capita requirement of resource became multi-fold - almost 1000 times in the last few 1000 years. Technology keeps on churning out products which are mostly of no actual use, but lures the consumerist society into possession.

Governments are encouraging industrial growth without even checking the utility of their products and services. This is because the three pillars of society - politics, religion and business - have now teamed together to bring ‘development’ to ensure that the indices of development such as GDP and inflation, are their banners of progress.But these indices impact just 10% of the global population. They hold 90% of the wealth. They influence the balance 90% to consume without discretion, the process by which the former keeps on adding to the wealth. Thus, the common man unwittingly becomes a party to the man-made disaster. Out of an ego ride, created by the marketing influence of the business, the middle and lower class try to keep pace with the upper class, to achieve a status which is not only destroying the environment, but also has a bigger impact - destructions of the virtue.

Right from the organized cultivation, resulting in devastation of huge forest land, to the current mining and urbanization, rapid changes on the surface of the Earth have apparently created huge impact on the climate. Global warming, chemical toxicity and resistant micro-organisms are well documented and discussed at various forums. But what is seldom discussed and pursued is how the virtues, values and morale of the intelligent human being have deteriorated. It is a chicken and egg story. Conveniences and luxury pitch up the status of life which becomes a standard that all try to reach; then the innovation brings new products and process that become the new bench mark. How long can this continue?Lack of physical fitness has standardized these conveniences. Mechanization and gadgets have taken humans into a dream world. The loss was the spirit of life - we have to realize that we are influenced.

The way back starts here. The same one which many reformers have tried to preach and perished. Some were crucified, others shot or simply ignored. The influence of the alpha animal is contagious. Atleast in the human species. The way back is very simple. Use one’s common sense. Allow the children to think freely, but without rebelling. Any influence is bad. One has to evolve. Teachers need to teach the syllabus. But one agenda, always, should be to encourage, allow and help students to think freely. Most of the solutions lie there.  From the influenced 90% is rising the free willed 10%. The latter are orienting the world towards a more sustainable, minimalistic and selfless society. They are creating a different set of politics, religion and business -of values, sustenance and inclusiveness. But that will require a threshold that can beat billions of dollars-worth commercial brains. The way forward is to coax and unlearn these commercial brains to join the reformers and take up the task of de-addicting this world - from the influence they created - MARKET. The world will eventually move towards that direction, when most of the humans transcend their ego ride and willfully take up a selfless, contributing lifestyle. But we don’t know as to what sort of life will be there, ahead of ditching possession and position.All the great souls have asked us to do that. After all this mess that humankind has created, can we start trying?


The writer is CEO of Pelican Biotech and Chemical Labs, Alappuzha.

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