Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Unhappy people

It was but natural for Karl Marx, the father of socialist ideology and author of Das Kapital to predict that “capitalism contained the seeds of its own destruction”. Stretching this proverbial statement further, it will not be an overstatement in case it’s claimed that modernity contains the seeds of destruction of entire human civilization. What that is new is modern. For a caveman the discovery of fire was modern. Or for that matter the invention of wheel, the most far-reaching innovation some may claim till date, was modern. The process of evolution is as old as beginning of life itself on the planet earth, modernity in that sense certainly is a continued process of evolution. In case process of evolution is a natural phenomenon signifying progression then how come progress contains the seeds of destruction? Let us not confuse natural process of evolution with that of modernity induced by the industrial revolution. The era after industrial revolution has hardly left any aspect of life untouched. The period after post industrial revolution underlines a successful story of an unprecedented development. Yet it is a chronicle of wanton destruction also. In this backdrop it can be safely assumed that modernity contains within itself the seeds of human destruction also. The gratuitous desire for progress has brought to fore a deep conflict between development and conservation. No doubt development has radically advanced the comforts of life; still at the same time an ecological disaster too is looming large. Even few decades ago our state was reeling under utter poverty. The people of this state slowly but steadily have succeeded in breaking the fetters of historic backwardness. Ongoing process of progress and prosperity has radically altered the entire outlook of our land; overall conditions are not as harsh as it uses to be even five decades before. Indeed we have progressed and progressed in leaps and bounds; explaining the obvious is of no use. But at what price! The ecological costs are quite high; the development process has caused irrespirable loss to Mother Nature. The greens have been turned into a jungle of concrete, fresh streams of water stands fully polluted. The conflict between nature and development is not unique to us alone, it’s a universal phenomenon. Man has caused irreparable loss to the environment; the erratic weather patterns need no further scientific evaluation that nature is angry with man. Climate change is an established fact; human-induced global warming has been raising the overall temperature of the surface ocean, by about one degree Fahrenheit since the 1970s. Ever since the Industrial Revolution humans have warmed the planet about 0.8°C and as a result the ocean rose about eight inches in the last century. In the pre industrial revolution period, man and nature lived in complete harmony; existence of life on earth fully protected the fragile ecosystems. However post industrial revolution in less than few centuries what we describe as modern period the material greed of man has deeply imperiled the future of life on the earth. Today the massive energy craving is the reason behind global warming. The more the ecological footprint, the more the chances of global warming! The higher energy consumption insures high-end comfort for the citizens of rich nations. Yet do these societies live as happily as the material-comforts they possess? It is a big no. In fact in the Happy Planet Index 2020, Finland was declared the happiest country out of 156 countries ranked by per capita income, social support networks, healthy life expectancy, individual freedom, philanthropy, and the absence of corruption in government and business. None of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations were in the top 10 of the happiest countries. “Our secret is in our nature, very literally,” claimed the official tourism agency of Finland in a campaign website. “When others go to therapy, Finns put on a pair of rubber boots and head to the woods,” it said. It can be said that with the kind of knowledge that man has acquired presently, he has been broadly able to overcome the curse of hunger and disease. Still despite tremendous scientific outreach, man has fully failed to find a fine balance between development and nature. However that’s not the only predicament, in spite of the indiscriminate exploitation of the nature, man still lives unhappily.