KVE301/KVE401 Universal Human Values and Professional Ethics
Chapter 9: Harmony in the Society – from Family to World Family Order
What Is Our State Today?
Let us observe our programs today in these five dimensions and evaluate whether they are leading to the fulfillment of human goal.
Education – Right Living
On this account, we have progressed in terms of taking literacy to all corners of society. Information that was limited to a selected few has got spread to the masses. We have developed means of communication to reach out to every human being. Girls and boys, both are able to attain education. But, we need to relook at the content of education and the effect of this content on the living of human beings.
Certainly, we have progressed in terms of making education within reach to all, but the programs of education have become mere programs of literacy, training, and information transfer. The real mark of an educated human being, as we saw above, is that he/she is able to lead a happy and prosperous life in oneself, and be mutually fulfilling all around. But do we see this today? We find that the education programs of today are making individuals feel more dissatisfied and deprived. In the whole process, we just learn how to multiply physical facilities, without ever trying to make out how much is needed. Training and information transfer programs, including literacy programs, are of course required. But they are a small part of the whole education process; they are not the complete education. This needs to be understood by all of us.
As mentioned above, human education ensures understanding and living in harmony at all levels of human existence, from self to entire existence. We are missing in the very first level. Do we study about our own self in twenty years of our education and training?
Health – Self Regulation
In this dimension, we have made progress in terms of reducing infant death, increasing life expectancy through medication, removal of epidemics, implanting artificial parts in the body to support the functioning of the body, and so on.
These facilities are of course an asset. But as we understand, Sanyam is basic to Swasthya. Lack of understanding of the body as an instrument of the self (‘I’) coupled with technological progress has led us to go for newer sources of sensual pleasures, irresponsible practices in living, etc. In place of being responsible for the body, we are relying more on medication. We are developing micro and nano-technologies to cure the smallest parts of the body, but we are producing new diseases day by day through irresponsible living.
Justice – Preservation
In terms of justice, we have progressed on account of bringing every act of crime to the court of law. Every issue related to relationship can now be debated in the court of law. But is the court of law the place to get justice? If we look at the situation today, we find that we have thousands of courts and lawyers and they are all trying to settle injustice in relations. Judgments are passed and punishments are given. This does not ensure justice. In justice, there is mutual fulfillment for both parties.
The fulfillment of relationship at the level of individual and family is deteriorating. TV serials depict in great detail the bad state of our affairs and are creating large viewership for such things. At the level of nations, we have rising fears of destructive wars with growing innovations in science and technology. The competition and enmity between nations or communities are on the hike, the feeling of mistrust and fear in villages and cities is slowly growing. The number of legal suits is increasing exponentially, families are breaking for trivial gains, communal violence, and conflicts between factions of society are multiplying.
Regarding Suraksha, we can see from history how we humans have fared well in developing new technologies which have a high degree of utilization for mankind. We have explored new dimensions of science to get information about every corner of nature. But due to lack of understanding, we have misused them more than rightly using them. We can see that in terms of:
- Enrichment: We have largely disturbed nature via chemicals and depletion of resources rather than enrich it. Urgent steps are needed to rectify this trend.
- Protection: the natural resources have been depleted to a large extent, birds and animals are fast getting extinct, the forested areas are on the wane, pollution is on the rise, be it air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, plastic pollution, and so on. We have produced bombs to destroy the earth multiple times while destroying even once is not desirable.
- Right utilization: again, we have fared very poorly. Today is an era of consumerism and wastage. We produce many times more clothes, electronics, cars, watches, cell phones, etc. than we need. Managing all this production has become a major problem for us today. All we are interested in is having more and more of it (accumulation). Hence, instead of right utilization, we have ended up exploiting and disposing of vast amounts of natural resources.
Production – Work
We have seen that nature is cyclic and enriching. How do we, as human beings, fare when it comes to interacting with nature? On this account, we have done very well in terms of making our production systems efficient and automated, reducing the time, material, and energy requirement in production, ability to produce a variety of complicated parts and mechanisms, reducing the dependence on natural processes, and so on.
But all of us know how we have multiplied the environmental problems in the process and how we have increased consumerism today. We have disturbed the ecological balance and our production activities have upset the cycles in nature. Let us take into account some more facts here:
Cyclic – Acyclic
While nature’s processes are all cyclic (close-ended) our processes are acyclic (open-ended). If nature functions in such a way that all resources are continuously renewed and replenished (like water, manure in the soil, etc), man’s process depletes them.
For example, when we burn coal, it is a non-renewable resource. We can never again produce the coal we are burning today. This is what we mean when we say ‘open-ended’. This is true for all fossil fuels: petrol, diesel, coal. All these are being pulled out from the bottom of the earth and being consumed by us. There are two problems with doing this:
- The utility of all these fossil fuels at the bottom of the earth is to keep the temperature on the earth’s surface in a steady state – from the heat in its own core, and the heat from the sun. By depleting fossil fuels, we are tampering with the ability of the earth to maintain its temperature. This is irreparable damage we are doing.
- When we burn fossil fuels in enormous quantities, it pollutes the atmosphere and poisons the air we breathe. And our basic need, to keep the body healthy, is affected.
Enriching – Not-enriching
Are we enriching nature, or are we not? Largely the answer is NO. Take the example of pesticides and fertilizers. It is common knowledge today that the land that has seen heavy use of chemical fertilizers becomes unfit for agriculture. And the pesticides are poisoning our own bodies and the animals and birds as well. In the process of moving towards a global economy, we have increased our technological capabilities and increased the production capacities of our industries and factories. In this process, we have managed to make extinct thousands of plant, animal, and insect species. The statistics on this are quite terrifying. We seem to be hurtling towards problems of great magnitude as we continue down the path of environmental destruction.
Exchange – Storage
In terms of exchange and storage, we have developed efficient ways of selling and buying, sending, or receiving money and investing them to multiply faster than nature could ever do. Sitting with the laptop, we can purchase commodities across the world and invest our capital in distant markets. Profits can multiply overnight, and we can enter the list of trillionaires without any physical work. We can also store hoards of currency within a digital map.
But with these rising modes of exchange and storage, the exploitation of mankind and nature has shot up. The disparities have increased, and the madness for profit has become the general motivation.
The liquidity of money has of course helped us by providing a smooth mode of exchange. But it has created more problems than solutions. These problems are the outcome of our misperception in visualizing money which is a national entity to be the same as physical facilities which are tangible and are our real needs. It needs to be remembered that money is not a need in itself but only a mechanism to facilitate the exchange of physical facilities.