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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Main Aisa Kyon Hoon!

Once the basic needs were satisfied, I, like many fellow humans, started thinking about questions and subjects, which can be referred to as ‘philosophical’. Words like social justice, governance, balance, ego, paradigm, consciousness, truth, myth, etc. started featuring in thoughts, discussions and reading material. Gradually, realization dawned that these were not definitive in nature like mathematics or physics and could not be taken to logical conclusions one way or the other. I learnt to abort discussions saying that each person has and is entitled to his own perspective. Recently, while reading about Socrates, Plato, Aristrotle, I understood that these abstract subjects have been in consideration for over 2500 years. As I thought more, these were being spoken of during the times of Mahabharat as well, which is supposed to be dated about 5000 years ago. All religious texts primarily appear to be dealing with these subjects. Finally, I concluded that there is some substance in the concept of enlightenment and that answers to these questions are beyond the reach of logical understanding and communication through language. These need to be realized by one. Each person is at a different place in this journey. Communicating what I realize is meaningless, because firstly language has its limitations and secondly, the transmitter of this realization and the receiver are on different planes. Their comprehension of the same text is not the same.

Then, I stumbled upon a book about the evolution of humans. It states some very interesting research findings.
1.  Homo-sapiens i.e. the specie we belong to, first came into existence 2.5 million years ago.
2.  We are not the only species of humans. Two organisms are said to belong to the same specie if they can mate and procreate off-springs, which are fertile. Horse and donkey can mate, but the off-springs (mules) are sterile. Therefore horses and donkeys are separate species, though their ancestral roots are the same. The other human species were destroyed in due course. This apart, homo-sapiens also caused the extinction of most other species of animals and plants whenever they invaded any part of the earth.
3.  Till 10,000 years ago, human was a hunter-gatherer. In other words, 99.6% of our time on earth so far has been as a nomadic hunter-gatherer. A lot of our traits are a result of this era. Humans moved from one place to other, largely living on whatever grew in forests rather than grow something for consumption. The diet was varied and very nutritious. The requirement for being alert to dangers all the time made sure that we were physically far fitter than the fittest people today. There were no possessions and the concept of planning for future was non-existent. Needs of tomorrow were never provided for today and thus there was something to be done everyday. It did not require more than 3-4 hours of work everyday to met daily requirements, but there was no bandwidth or interest for philosophical concepts of dharma-adharma. Eliminating old, sick and weak people in the tribe, who slowed the movement and endangered others, was quite an accepted practice.  Babies were tied to mothers and breast-fed for many years so that small children did not slow down the movement of the group. Consequently, the immune system was quite strong and birth rate was controlled, keeping the population in check.
4.   With the advent of agriculture, arrived many economic issues of population explosion, nutrition loss, a relatively sedentary lifestyle, settled and thus unhygienic living conditions, acquisition of assets like land, animals leading to exploitation and many more.

I don’t want to reproduce all the book says, but there is a lot of learning from the narration.

1.  Our life-times and a 5000 year old history is just a small dot in the process of evolution. Our behavior, tastes, psychological construct, physical construct is a result of this evolutionary process. Much of our intuitive framework is a result of millennia of evolution. Even the urge to eat sweets can be traced to it. Many so called ‘follies’ of humankind cannot be attributed to the existing people, systems or cultures. Trying to making the system any different is an audacious attempt, even if planned over a few hundred years.
2.  Philosophical concepts, religions, mythology is as much a figment of common imagination as is money, government, countries and business. For 99.6% of the time, humans have existed probably without any of these. 10,000 years later, an archeologist may write history stating that there was a time when one human being considered himself as the owner of a piece of land and there was another who certified this notion. Both of them have long become extinct, but the land still remains.
3.  As individuals, group of people, civilisations and generations, we cannot claim to alter the course of evolution even a bit. Even then, our lifetimes are very much integral to the evolutionary process. To say that we have or we can cause any impact to the nature of human being or environment is hugely overestimating ourselves, but to say that our being is immaterial is equally false. Therefore, the world around us could have been no different from what it is. Then how can we term something as wrong and something else as correct?
4.   The individual self is so insignificant but to be a part of the universe is so significant!

Main aisa kyon hoon ? Because that is the only way I could have been.

1 comment:

  1. What would you say about ancient sayings like even smallest change in sun-spots leads to huge changes in universe ? Or the way one man like Buddha / Gandhi impacts the future course of mankind ? Myths ? Or the other side of story !

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