Thursday, March 4, 2021

No dignity

In a society wherein brazenness of materialism has almost assumed the status of worship, how to one emphasise that dignity of self is more important than material development. In our material life it’s impossible to shun material entirely; here we are only trying to draw an attention towards a difference – between necessity and gluttony – prudent comforts and wicked pleasures. For any honourable person when the choice is to be made between materialism and dignity, obviously a conscientious mind will certainly prefer dignity of self over the temptations of material development. Since material life has gained complete supremacy over spiritual being, the distinction between a dignified existence and mere existence stands almost blurred. In fact corruption, the worst form of exploitation and a universal evil, in our society is almost a norm now. An individual falters from the right path; the self-apprising corrective mechanism of the society on its own comes into play to stop the rot. A question that arises here is do we still collectively believe in honest and fair means of livelihood? A self-respecting person will never ever steal or earn his/her livelihood through doubtful means. Do we have regressed to such a horrible depth that we are now absolutely oblivious of what respect and dignity actually connotes? And in case the society is relapsed to such a level, how is it possible to inculcate the value of dignity and self-respect? Do we still trust that truthfulness is the real key to successes, here and hereafter? Do we still believe that a promise is a promise and a word, a word? Hasn’t treachery, deception, and double-speak become our real temperament? In such bleak scenario how is it possible to affirm conclusively that truth is a virtue and untruthfulness, a universally condemned affliction. And in case truth has lost its real value, how could we still claim to believe in an absolute truth, the Almighty, the Omnipresent. In our materialistic society, change is not desired, virtues have lost their real impart, dehumanisation is so stark that absence of dignity is hardly felt, truth no more is a soul-elevating ideal and a most sought after destiny, collective good is compromised in pursuance of individual interests. How is it possible to convince a nation or a society in deep slumber about the gravity of fast approaching inundating disasters? In case we fail to resist the temptations of the self and fail to resist the collective injustices, we are destined to perish as a society/nation. In his article ‘What Isn’t for Sale? Harvard professor Michael J. Sandel says, “There are some things money can’t buy – but these days, not many. Almost everything is up for sale”. The main thrust of the article is that capitalism has now rendered even the human societies as mere trading tools, commodities: “Economics was becoming an imperial domain. Today, the logic of buying and selling no longer applies to material goods alone. It increasingly governs the whole of life”. Professor Sandel sums up his argument with a tantalizing statement: “We drifted from having a market economy to being a market society”. When a society stands reduced to a mere commodity, it is but natural for the lofty ideals; dignity and honour, to lose their utmost significance. Materialism, indeed, is a worldwide affliction; we cannot be condemned in isolation to a universal phenomenon. Obviously, in such a depressing scenario, it is no more possible to quantify the absence of dignity. Yet we can certainly measure the absence of inner peace. Despite obtaining every possible level of comfort, why we still remain to be discontented? Why still the strife in our lives, indicative of a deeper problem, the absence of inner peace. An inner resistance against the material temptations is a path towards the contentment. No wonder, only a mind free of temptations can recognise the absence of dignity.