Thursday, August 4, 2011

Curing Only the Symptoms

The world has been spiraling in one long downward roller coaster ride ever since the industrial revolution. Perhaps  there have been a few breathers where we have coasted along and felt pleased at all the achievements and exhilaration, but I do not believe that the power holders have once looked forward to see where we are headed. I say world here because no country has proved to be an exception.
Undoubtedly, one may argue that it has been progress like progress never been seen before. But all the new technologies and gadgets have come with a price. We have become so consumerist in nature that most people feel that buying and owning new things can truly make them happy. It does, for a while and once the euphoria wears out, we are back for more and then for more and now we have trapped ourselves into believing that all of this is an essential part of life without which we cannot live. We are in a worse state than drug addicts, because we have no one to cure us. The rare ones who transcend are also labeled as the society’s parsimonious outcasts.
It is common crisis of the mid twenty-ists and the mid forty- ists to be unsure of where they are headed, and what would make them really happy. They all end up making a few life style/ career changes which keeps them going for a few years, and to that sporadic nagging voice murmur connivingly that happiness is after all a disciplined state of mind, and nothing more. Have we spotted the trap yet? How many people really examine the purpose of this ride? Why are we really doing the things we are doing? Ask yourself five consecutive “whys” to your answers and see where you stand.  Even while we have become so good at analyzing complicated problems at work and common mishaps, why do most people shy away from collating their own lives? I think it is because people believe there are no real answers. And that could make one feel even more discouraged than when they started. But I believe that the darker path will have a light at the end, while the seemingly lighter path really goes on forever.

And I think it is this inherent human nature that reflects on everything the society does, on everything a terrorist or a common thug does, on every bill passed and every shallow reform. I am not trying to insinuate that we as a human race are incapable of finding permanent solutions, but yes I do think that the ability is only restricted to simple and straightforward issues.  For instance, let us look at the first few news headlines of today. I am going to quote here random picks from today’s news, but you are free to add yesterday’s and tomorrow’s news to the corollary.
1.       US Debt Ceiling and spending cuts to cut costs of ~$2.1T over the next ten years- How did that solve any problem? No Congressman has had the guts to stand in front of the American people and tell them in as many words “Friends, we have been spending way more than we can afford, and unless we change this in every single home, we are completely doomed”.  Unless the problem is openly acknowledged, there is never going to be a long term solution. The reason being that people are so used to this lifestyle and wastage inherent in a capitalist society, that even the notion of examining this could careen the nation.
2.       Cabinet yet again cleared a Rs.1200 Cr bailout for Air India- This could give rise to multiple questions. First, is money Air India’s biggest problem? When people fly over 25 hours round the globe, nobody wants to be stuck in an aircraft with uncouth and rude air hostesses, perennial flight delays, baggage misplacements and dirty toilets! While the government continues to hire inefficient people based on recommendations and reservations instead of merit, there is no hope for the future. Another more pertinent question: Is it the business of the government to run airlines? Has the government in India ever been good at running or managing anything other than individual bank accounts? If Manmohan Singh is really an honest man trapped in a stronghold of corruption, why does he not dare to come forward and testify against every corrupt politician of his acquaintance? Empty statements and thoughtless policies will not take us anywhere forward.
3.       Dhoni laments tired India- ???.  I have idolized Sachin nearly all my life but this man who is supposed to be the master of all preparation has finally fallen in my eyes. He claimed back in April that everything he has ever done was all towards that moment- the moment where India would hold the world cup. Sadly, it seems he along with everyone else in the cricket team has lost sight of the goal of excellence. How would any conscientious person prefer to tire themselves playing IPL, the most deplorable form of cricket to make a quick buck, choose to sit out the West Indies tour and play test matches in England against a top English team with no preparation what so ever?  West Indies might play a vapid bunch of 11 people, and yet playing them on Caribbean grounds would have been preparation at the very least. Zaheer’s hamstring injury and Harbhajan’s abdominal tear were no accidents.  Why again, are they all playing cricket for the country? Personal pride? Money? If they asked themselves this question, they might hope to realize that national pride is not even among the answer choices.
 “Too much Cricket/too much terror/ too much competition” are symptoms of the real problems, and those need to be addressed, but they are not the causes.