‘World is not a perfect place’ is an understatement which can come not only from rich and effluent all over the world but also from middle class, comfortably settled in jobs, meals, sex and shelter without any apparent threat to most of it. Unaware of strife the billions suffering as subjects/citizens/guinea-pigs in a variety of situations. Most of educated people are unaware that presently one-third of land in the world is an active war zone. We live in comfort of ignorance shielded by our possessions and occupations, which may also include traveling to safe places. The last activity reinforcing the ‘belief’ of world being ‘just far enough’ from being perfect. This perception hardly requires any change in the world. But to those minuscule minority who can see and understand the way world is; the question of change is an inevitable reflection. Can the World change?
We have enough known and tangible history to peep into past. Before adverting to answer the above question, it would be useful to look back and see how the world behaved in past. Is there any substantial change?
Starting from Roman rulers and the governance, first question is: how was Rome ruled? Nobles were group of élite, controlling senate would appoint a CEO called Ceaser. This CEO would in subsequent years declared himself Emperor. Public had a say in whole affair but what. Perhaps to make occasional noise and applaud. This structure of governance continued to Alexander the Great’s and Napoleon Bonaparte’s world conquering missions. Right upto Hitler or Mussolini or Churchill. Now why bracket Churchill here? Because if he had his way, he would have allied with Hitler. Churchill tried his best but failed to avert the war with Germany.
After second World was two countries emerged as world dominaters. USA & Russia (USSR). While authoritarian governance of USSR is beyond debate. Political system of USA need to be inspected closely.
The universal franchise is shadowed by duty to be enrolled as elector/voter. Half the population is not registered voters. The other half is divided into two parties who are present day nobles. Elections are partially funded by State and partially by Corporations. In Rome the additional finance requirements of Ceaser were met by Protectorate States i.e. small states which were operating under Roman Flag. Now Corporations run businesses with turn-overs larger than the GDP of hundreds of nations. Senate/Congess-members are involved with corporations more intimately than the human population. If we do not count public meetings, waving and smiling as involvement, they do not interact with public at all. Support or fall of foreign dictatorial Governments is decided by need of minerals from the earth underneath the dictator, not his policies. Most non communist yet despotic Governments are/were allies of USA while USSR had communist authoritarian Governments with exception of India to show that they accepted democracy as well.
India needs special mention not because it has any dominating power but because of its leverage arising from its worst problem. Population. It’s policy to keep its market doors ajar with occasional carrots lingering out of it, works well for sharing a taste of domination. With billion illiterate electing Government the only thing Government need to do is not to upset anything major/structural either for good or for bad. People do not understand much about most issues. Most too awed to question the representatives. Voting on the lines of caste or some other mundane thing is the only logic they understand. Some educated are more caste lovers than illiterate. The point is: governance is on farce issues. Today’s emperors do what they like and get away with it. They do what they like to do, not what they promised before election. Or should I say Ceaser, because they do get rotated.
Situation is not much different in other so-called democratic countries. Citizens are so busy earning livelihood and mortgaged house that they do not have time to look into governance what to speak of foreign policy. Ceasers cease to obey voters, after being in office. Out of office, they find every one to blame except themselves.
In 2000 years, except for technology nothing has changed. Election manifesto or promises remain unenforceable. Foreign policy is played for rich corporations and wars (spending billions) are fought because an autocratic ruler walks on the picture of Ceasers’ father. Citizen/soldiers die and their children get political speeches inspiring them to join army when they grow up. Only to fight the wars invited by greed of expanding power. The dream of World domination is still alive. We will pursue till we nuke each other to death. So much for the progress. Hence the unanswered question:
Can World Change for better?
Is there any hope?
Yes. That is something which made us to get better crumbs from Government. So what can we do? It is simple. Rise above race, caste, family, kinship and country and think in terms of human and humanity. And speak up as human. While voting analyze, the working on promises not last efficient pictures shown on television. Learn to punish by voting out, while we can. Declare that connivance between commerce and politics is intolerable incest.
© Sandeep Bhalla
Thanks for appreciating but we may try to do a little as we can.
As regards the Astronaut, Zen call this awakening as ‘satori’. But that has nothing to do with observing world politics which is the same movie replayed every century, with different hero and villain.
Really a fine piece of writing, so timely for our world. I agree with your conclusion that the only hope is that we can find out “human-ness” and that is a challenge as it requires giving up the trappings of our tribal identity. A mutual friend of ours (Neuro-notes) sent me an article about an American astronaut, Edgar Mitchell who had a powerful, life-changing experience on his way back from a moon-landing decades ago. As he observed this blue orb that was his home, he suddenly was moved by a sense of his own finitude and grasped by the majesty of life. Trained in engineering and science, this experience allowed him to “think outside of the box” and spend the rest of his life pursuing what I would term “spiritual” issues. (And I emphasize that “spiritual” is my term; I’m not for sure he would have used it.)
Your grasp of history is excellent. You apply perspective in this post and that is so important. I will read this again several times.