Mankind’s basic questions

Why is there so much friction in the world today, when we have so much technology and thousands of years of wisdom behind us?

A friend’s FB question (on a different line) prompted this philosophical content. When man started off, he lived in small groups, not more than 150 when they tended to drift away. We can safely assume that this was his ‘natural’ state of being, as nature made the first version of man thus. All property was shared. The cave, the stones, the tools, the bones (of animals killed), the animal fur used as clothing, everything. No husbands, no wives. Only a community. Some natural affinity must have existed between specific pairs, otherwise raising kids would have been a problem. But that was it. Since food was always a problem to find, man had no time to think of anything else. (Reflections of these situations are found in today’s world problems).This went on for tens of thousands of years. Man was perfectly well suited to it, and then came development!

Agriculture – settlements – surplus food – birth of law, morality, marriage – and the whole concept of a tribe growing into a settlement, into a village, into a city, and into a State. [ a very notable exception remains – the Indus Valley civilisation that was agriculture based AND urban, at the same time! ] Communism saw the inherent problem of resources getting cornered by a few talented. That is how nature perhaps made it. So Marx brutally cut everything down to communal ownership where talent would take the individual only thus far. This appalled the West, which had never heard of such brutal downsizing of individual greed motive. Hence, the aggressive posturing of 20th century capitalist expansion. India through its assimilation based approach made a constitution best suited to its situation. It is worthwhile to note that Mao Tse-tung had 20,00,000 landlords murdered in his communist zeal post 1950, and his Party is now resurrecting the very same model of large farms, pressed hard by the need to raise productivity levels. The mother of all irony indeed!

For a nation so diverse, obviously the perfect solution does not exist. Main questions that need addressing:

  • Can man ever avoid resource concentration, in the present surplus economy
  • What is the ideal population of this world where everyone will have everything they need and a lot of what they want?
  • Do we need nations?
  • Can we not cut down all military and save trillions of dollars (enough to achieve the above goal)?
  • Do we need separate governments, or one single world government is good enough?
  • Should the trade philosophy of WTO (zero tariffs, free movement of men, capital etc.) be spread to the social-political sphere through UN?

Now imagine a future (and I feel a certainty maybe 200 years from now), when man starts colonising Mars (or any other planet, or the Moon). How would you set the ground rules there for the next 10000 years of humanity to follow?I guess the core issue finally remains : What is man’s nature all about? What does he really want? Where did he come from, and what does his perception of the world through his 10 senses tell him? Vedic and Upanishadic thinkers beautifully addressed many of these core questions, till the material forces took over.What route we take from here, is precisely the question the protagonist Neo posed to the audience at the end of the first of Matrix trilogy, when he took flight.


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