Climate change protests are rising throughout the world. Being part of the protests and thinking about the same, led me to seek a holistic view to the problem.
Causes are many – macro factors like deforestation, vehicular pollution, rising plastic electronic and human waste, effects of non-vegetarian food, increasing carbon foot prints, uninhibited development leading to destruction of agricultural lands and forests etc.
The micro factors boils down to us humans. Human greed is rising and has become uncontrollable. But why is that so? We all have needs and business work on fulfilling those needs. We need entrepreneurship and jobs to fulfill those needs.
Agreed we humans need money which buys resources to cater to our needs. But how much money constitutes as need is a big question? Further, defining need is also difficult as for each one of us the need might be different. A person giving jobs to people might have more need that those who are self-employed. Also how can one stop focusing on work when adage goes like ‘work is worship’ or an ‘empty mind is a devils workshop’.
The Principal of Opposites
Each and everything in this world has an opposite. One is not greater or powerful than other. Each one is essential.
Night and Day
Force and Friction
Life and Death
Soft and hard
Just like speaking and listening both are required and both are opposites. Spiritual pursuit requires quietness, solitude, looking inwards and social behavior involves company of people and dealing with them, both are opposites. At one point in time we could require each one of them.
The same has been reiterated in our scriptures as Yin & Yang or Shiv & Shakti.
Balance of Nature
Nature works in balance. Resources are required by each one of us and for that finances are required. It would be impractical to say that it is not required. However it is not the only thing that we require.
Bryan Dyson, erstwhile President and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises once said “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air…”
All the five balls in our life are important.
Work or career we all know is important as money is essential for survival. Entrepreneurship or a job gives us apart from money, creative satisfaction, social leverage and sense of esteem and achievement. This is good use of mind.
Healthy body is a prerequisite for a happy life.
Friends– Friends are essential as life can be really boring without friends.
In the five factors he mentioned, work, health and friends gets talked about a lot.
Family another essential pillar of our life. Everyone swears by their families and knows that they are the relationships closest to us. However no one wants to delve further to ask- where does family come from? Where is a child nurtured? Where do we all start our journey from and where are we going to go back at the end of the day? When all the fancy designations do not remain where is it that you take shelter? Nobody wants to answer these questions as ‘Home’ does not fall in the productivity category as money is not an outcome there. Here the outcome is happiness.
‘Home Maker’ is the most derogatory term of today. Nobody wants to be called a ‘homemaker’. However home is not specific to any gender. Either of the gender or in that spectrum of gender, everybody requires to come back home and everyone needs a family. Homemaker is not gender specific and onus of making a home is no longer with women only as all have career now. However, anyone who needs to get back home is a ‘homemaker’. Anyone who strives for his family or takes responsibility of care & nurture is a Homemaker.
The outcome of family is happiness and of work is money. Both are required.
The issue is complex, as historically, large scale exploitation of women was done as they were not financially independent. Women were/are not the preferred sex as they were seen as liability as ‘homemaker’ was synonymous to ‘unproductive work’ as no money was output there. In all the progress through the ages, to make children productive and financially independent, many condescending and derogatory words were are used for a homemaker. Also, since in countries where labour is cheap it is related to ‘maid work’ hence there is utter disrespect for the work of a ‘homemaker’.
Conditioning is to train or accustom a person to behave in certain way. When some words are repeatedly said, we tend to believe them as true facts. Similarly when so many derogatory words have been used through ages for a ‘home maker’ we tend to believe them as facts. Children who are impressionable minds get the perception that home does not require any effort and is a waste of time. This is because it is called as ‘unproductive but essential work’. Unproductive means (check dictionary) useless, worthless, valueless, pointless etc. When something which is core to our existence has been said so many derogatory things do you ever think anybody would take responsibility of it thinking it as essential?
The consequences of the same are worse as when children grow up and get married they come with the same perception. Now both the genders refuse to take any responsibilities at home as that is derogatory. As I listen to marriage counselors who are crying hoarse that making a home requires effort and time, it is apparent that perception of a home and homemaker is so bad that nobody wants to even acknowledge that it requires work.
Soul– Soul refers to the spiritual aspect of our existence. Meditation is essential for survival. Why?
Once a saint was asked by a businessman- “Why should I do meditation- It is a waste of time. I might as well put my mind in making more money.
Saint- Ok. How much money do you require to run your life?
Person- I guess right now it’s – X amount.
Saint- So when you have reached that X amount, then what?
Person- Then I will work for a larger amount of 2X.
Saint- Then when you have reached to 2X then what.
Person- Then I will work to get 3X.
Saint- So when do you stop and say this is enough for me? Will your mind ever say – that’s enough. When you reach X, it will take you to 2X and then more.
Mind never stops. As lord Buddha said ‘Rule your mind or it will rule you’.
To control your mind meditation is very essential.
The skewed Equation
The equation has become skewed like this as people just talk about entrepreneurship and jobs. The balancing act was having equal perception of the opposite – i.e. home and meditation which leads to happiness. However the perception and respect for home and homemaker does not exist. Meditation is seen as a waste of time. Mind runs amok with money as the only focus. This leads to a skewed equation towards just financial aspect of our world. It is like the famous movie ‘Avatar’ where humans were ready to destroy a complete planet for money.
Money itself is not an end, it is just a means to an end. The end is happiness and bliss. The equation is skewed like this-
Since creation of jobs, entrepreneurship requires resources where does that lead us to – an environmental catastrophe. What we see all around is balance of nature gone awry with focus just on one aspect of human life.
To create a balance and stop environment degradation– it would require to create awareness in people about the micro reasons and simultaneously work on the macro reasons. Awareness and change needs to be done at macro level for afforestation, pollution control, waste management, vegetarian diet etc. Perception of home and homemaker and meditation needs to be raised at micro level.
Life is a balancing act and both the opposites are necessary. Understanding that extreme of both ends does not work. Eventually we humans require both – happiness/ bliss and productivity.
Disclaimer – As the work of body, mind and soul coincides with the area of medicine, psychologists, psychoanalysts, spirituality etc. the author does not claim to know the intricacies of various sciences. The detailing of each aspect mentioned is large. The author is a risk management professional and a keen observer of human behavior, a fact finder and an avid reader who tries to understand various concepts in relation to how they affect every day human life.