In one way of looking at it, governance is all about making decisions by the Seats of Power and implementing them – the decisions on how best to lead, manage and run, sometimes in a complex framework of many layers and levels where decision processes are handled. Perhaps it will help if we try to understand the processes by asking, who makes decisions and what governs decision making? To manage the answers properly, let us narrow down our focus on two basic units of the social structure – one at the nucleus of the structure – the FAMILY, and the other at the periphery – the GOVERNMENT.
There is a third unit however, which may appear separate from the other two, but in reality closely knitted with them. This important unit is the BUSINESS ORGANIZATION (BO). The importance of this unit can hardly be overemphasized simply because of the fact that people spend most of their adult life working for the BOs – be it commercial, industrial, non-profit or state. However there is a distinct difference in the three units – in a sense how they take initiatives. The commercial and industrial BOs initiate actions by asking what makes money, in contrast to the families and Governments, who start by asking what makes sense.
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All the three units are integrated together in the collective welfare, stability and growth of a society. Problems start to creep in when mistrusts develop among the units, sometimes because of the differences in the types of stresses on them, and how they are handled. In addition, Governments and BOs maintain what seems like a fighting posture with the help of paid lawyers and security apparatus – a family, on the other hand is mostly focused on the welfare of its members. All the three units should understand these aspects to the fact that the pursuit of the social equilibrium is impossible if the three units do not function coherently. The Government as a tax collector and overseer of things is entrusted by people to do just that. If the Government’s actions hinge toward BOs at the cost of family matters, the nucleus is crumbled jeopardizing the social equilibrium.
The relationship between the Government and people is a matter of public scrutiny. But the same between the BO and the Government is mostly conducted and managed behind the scenes in private. Both the parties go to public however, but only through press releases – with materials they want public to know – not what the public want to know. Most of the times the approach works out well, but when people’s interests are sacrificed by such actions then the purpose of democracy envisioned by Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) is defeated.
On what governs decision making, let us focus our discussion on three important common denominators – finance, stability, and growth. Proper management of these three factors is very important for good governance of family, business and Government. Let us not forget however that at project management levels, decision making is governed by the efforts to balance cost, schedule and quality within a given scope.
The first factor, and probably the most important one is finance or cash flow. Lack of, or high fluctuation in cash flow rips a family apart – many tragedies happen everyday across cultures. Technological advances and cost cutting measures across the board are only likely to aggravate the situation even further in times to come.
The BOs, on the other hand, are used to the ups and downs in cash flow. Credit lines and cash reserves are some of the options they rely on to temporarily handle the lack of adequate cash flow. Continuous monitoring of the situation, together with the evaluation of growth forecasts propels them to initiate further actions – that could include bailout requests to the Government. Most ruthless and embarrassing cases appear when BOs slash jobs as a cost cutting measure while at the same time reward the executives with bonus packages. Why do they do it? Well, executive pay packages are designed to share profits and resources within a close circle, and they are highly inflated and sealed by lucrative contracts. During the times of crisis, sometimes BOs try to avoid getting rid of the executives to evade paying high severance payments to them. But a measure of slashing jobs affecting mostly the employees in the marginal communities, sadly trickle down to the nucleus of the social structure – the families.
For the Government, balancing the budget does not carry the same meaning as the other two. Unlike the other two units, Governments across cultures have the unpopular option of reaching the pockets of its citizens and BOs to raise money, or print money in extreme circumstances. The main problem with such an approach is that people and BOs have to balance their own budgets too; therefore sometimes taxation becomes monsters of repression when the taxpayer pocket is reached deeply. A significant fraction of incomes of a state or a local Government is also generated by consumer taxes – Governments taking a bite from each pie of business transactions. Instead of cutting or reducing expenditures or becoming more efficient, some Governments are very innovative in tax collection and behave irresponsibly to impose taxes in one form or another. When things happen like this, people are led to ask how a democratically elected Government is different from a totalitarian one.
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Let us now turn our attention to the stability. The stability of each of the units depends on how the stresses or forces are handled individually and collectively. The problems with cash flow, mistrusts and in-fighting between members are the main stresses a family faces. Families also need to watch carefully that money-matters do not harm relationships. This is because money has both healing and disruptive powers.
For the BOs, the threatening forces of concerns are competitions, Government regulations or over-regulations, and the last but not the least is the in-fighting between different departments within the organization.
For a Government, the forces that threaten stability are inefficiency and corruption within the administration, erosion of people’s confidence in the Government, external aggression, and internal disturbances. Some of these threats could originate from the Government’s own mismanagement of affairs. When a Government handles such threats through the principles of Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 - 1527), the problems only worsen further.
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Why growth is also important? As we have discussed in the NATURE page, the characteristic signature of nature is dynamic equilibrium, meaning that stagnation is unnatural. Let us try to think of financial and economic growths. If we consider the nucleus of the social structure, we will find that on a personal level, a person’s education, skill and experience lead him or her to grow in income levels if things are favorable. But a person’s growth has a peak depending on age and capability, after which it declines. The achieved personal growth should translate to growth or as a stimulus to growth of children and family. If this does not happen, a family’s livelihood and future are ruined.
Unlike a person or family, a BO or Government cannot afford to reach peak and decline. It must continue to grow by diversification – if peaks are reached in some sectors, it must innovate to initiate growth in others. Growth is also important to stimulate and sustain people’s confidence. But expectation of a constant level of growth is unrealistic. Developing societies have poor infrastructure – therefore, their economy grows fast if planned correctly. Unlike developed countries, their growth is driven by infrastructure development. But once developed in this sector, they will face similar problems like the developed countries to maintain the same growth rate.
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In global context - the processes of Global Governance - are similarly dependent on the factors discussed. Peace in the spirit of mutual respect, understanding one another, and accommodation of multiple opinions and interests - are paramount to Global Harmony. As global communities are shrinking faster and faster - the requirement of such understandings are becoming increasingly imperative - because in one way or another - we are all related. It implies that if someone or something are left behind - they will pull down others.
In conclusion, perhaps it is crucial to point out that the discussed questions can be elaborated and expanded further to include: how the decisions are made? And what are the consequences of decisions coming into actions? Each of these two questions together with the ones discussed earlier needs careful scrutiny. Decision making process is prompted by some perceived realities and necessities. On what basis and how the decision process is initiated – lead one to examine whether or not – the process is ill- or well-informed, well- or callously-analyzed, ill- or well-conceived. As one can imagine – the consequences of following one or the other can have widely differing consequences.
Before finishing, I like to touch one more aspect – and this is known as bubble growth. For an enterprise to be successful, it needs to feel confident in the quality of its products and services. This confidence should ideally be based on substance, but sometimes enterprises resort to marketing tactics to substantiate and defend fake claims. The practice is like creating a bubble that is likely to bust at some time. When the bubble busts, it creates ripple effects across boundaries causing substantial damage. We hear about such busts and uncertainty in the financial and stock exchange markets, which mostly rely on speculative forecasts. Because of their extensive damaging effects, Government interventions may often become necessary to oversee and prevent bubble growths.
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Here is an anecdote to ponder:
The disciple said, “Sir, I will work hard to become a powerful person someday.”
The master smiled, “Good. No surprise there! Everybody wants to be powerful, some with their own money, others with someone else’s money. Perhaps you could try to join the Government career service to become what the Chinese calls a scholar and the rest of the world call a bureaucrat.”
“Why so? If I may ask, Sir.”
The master looked at him and said, “Well, think like this. You will be part of an elitist life-time job holder that rightly gets better and better on way to seniority. You will enjoy the privilege, benefit and the power of an aristocrat in control, while your colleagues in the private sector paying your salary, will go through the hellish experience of continuous worries – of uncertainty and instability.”
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- by Dr. Dilip K. Barua, 23 June 2016
We have talked about Natural Order in the NATURE page. Millions of years of evolution have led Nature to appear the way we see it – its diversity – its beauty – the underlying balance and dynamic equilibrium in all things Nature nourishes and sustains by adapting to the ever changing conditions and circumstances. Humans are a natural born entity; therefore inherited the same quests for balance and equilibrium – all occurring as fluxes of change in the Wheel of Time – high and low – long and short. But humankind has evolved into an intelligent and rational creature with the ability to improve upon its livelihood by developing tools and methods to live with and exploit Nature to its advantage. Therefore while Nature provides humans with resources and strengths, we humans are destined to define our own future – we can either make heaven out of hell or hell out of heaven. Responsibility is ours, but things work out well only when social orders are built upon solid foundations. Let us try to understand what all these mean (a metaphorical image credit: anon).
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A country’s social order depends on many factors most important of which are its economic system, political and administrative framework, law-and-order definition and enforcement, and the progressive socio-cultural values. The prosperity and peace rely on how rational and progressive these factors are in defining a stable inspiring society. Economic and political systems have elements that could lead a society either to disaster or to prosperity based on what are promoted or pursued: mendacity versus honesty – secrecy versus transparency – authoritarianism versus democracy – exclusion versus inclusion – prejudice versus equity – freedom versus restriction – hypocrisy versus sincerity – hatred versus love and respect. In a democratic society, responsibility lies with the leaders who are entrusted by people to be courageous to lead the society in the right direction. However, there is reciprocity of relationship between people and leaders – which means that good leaders are products of a good citizenry, while reciprocally without good leaders a society could go in the wrong direction.
Something different also happen. Like Mother Earth wakes up to relieve of its stress through an earthquake, so does a society – it gives birth to a social earthquake to release its stress developed by continued repression and discontent. Courageous and dedicated leaders are born to save a society from such disasters, and they are the ones who change the course of history. Human history across cultures is full of such social earthquakes.
Also important are the roles of various media outlets, entertainment programs and advertisements. These outfits have the soft power to slowly transform a society. They can hide behind the Freedom of Expression Acts to cause great damage to the social fabric. Among these, corporate and industrial advertisements - riding on the back of their wealth and power - could and do attempt to veer social order in one way or another - while pretending to promote their products and services. People and social leaders must be aware of that. People rely on news media to know the truth about matters that affect their well-being and livelihood. If the media is biased, or plays the role of a spokesperson or as a pawn of special interest groups then things could get utterly distorted, confused and mismanaged.
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What about the roles of industry and business leaders? As outlined before, these minority wealthy sections of the society wield enormous hidden power than most people could imagine. They mostly hide behind politicians and lawyers, but are most effective in exerting pressure to frame policies and laws in their favor. Since they control most of the wealth in a society, a peaceful social order is impossible without real commitments from these leaders.
How about law-and-order? Is it same as the social order? Social order is much more broad-based, and has deeper effects than law-and-order. Social progress, peace and stability cannot be ensured by law-and-order alone. Perhaps one of the reasons is the difficulty in maintaining a relatively disturbance-free society without compromising civil liberties and privacy. When it comes down to judiciary, the justice is often not defined on actual facts of events, rather on the interpretations of arguments presented by the accuser and the defendant. The complexity of the processes makes it difficult to have a dispute free law-and-order system. If people feel that these processes are flawed and corrupted, society becomes mistrustful and conflict-ridden.
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Let us get back to stressing the roles of progressive socio-cultural values, because these social moralities are the foundations on which a society could stand tall defining its singularity. The singularity of cultures exists despite the fact that some fundamental human behaviors and values are ubiquitous irrespective of social and cultural differences. We can think of these fundamentals as the human abilities to distinguish between good and bad, the existence of common human emotions of love and kindness, of anger and hatred, or of expectations of a just system. Why are the cultures distinctly different, despite the fact that common human aspirations are the same?
Perhaps we can think of the answers like these: one commonality among the visionary Greats who contribute to the evolution of social orders is that they learn materials of social relations by observing and studying natural order, and fundamental human behaviors in actions and reactions. But individual understanding and interpretations lead to the differences we see. The understanding and interpretations themselves are the results of background socio-cultural foundations on which the Greats stand.
The second is similar to the arguments I have presented in The Wheel of Life piece. The social order is like a fluid – it takes different shapes in different cultures as does the fluid take shape of the container. It continues to evolve in time in accordance with the advances in ideas, science and technology of that society. While this argument holds in general, in modern times the growing shrinkage of national identities resulting from travel and cyber-world exchange of information is adding to some sorts of social and cultural amalgamation. While the exchange can be good and enriching, a big question looms on every society: how to protect the vulnerable people from the damaging effects of the cyberspace? The answer is not an easy one – but hope that human ingenuity and adaptation-drives will overcome the problem. In the end, those cultures built upon a strong foundation characterized by a cohesive social order of adaptability, motivational discipline, trust and mutual respect are likely to prevail.
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When a society becomes mistrustful and conflict-ridden, it is not easy to determine whom to trust. There are many who look for opportunities to cheat, to take advantage of, or to harm trusting innocent people. They could come under different pretexts and disguises. When the problem becomes acute, enhanced social instability can prove disastrous.
Who are these visionary Greats who have sacrificed their comforts and livelihood to define a society? Apart from ancient religious leaders and some past leaders in history, the Greats in modern times have names like Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948), Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968) and Nelson Mandela (1918 - 2013). These leaders have transformed their societies and the world beyond by pursuing courageous non-violent methods to get things done. In the process they saved many lives from being drawn into and devoured by conflicts. It is important that a society looks back to them again and again to get inspired during times of conflicts and crises.
We have talked about life’s equilibrium pursuits in The Wheel of Life piece. How does it work for a society? Social equilibrium starts with an individual’s peace with himself or herself and with the family. The individual peace translates to the peace and harmony in the human-family to which we all belong. This peace is the most essential ingredient to ensure social stability and progress. It translates to understanding others, to unraveling the veils of mistrust, and treating others with respect. World peace and equilibrium are only possible if individual countries are at peace within themselves.
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Should Survival of the Fittest define social order? The answer is definitely no - echoing with Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910) who once said . . . this way of life is incompatible with the much more natural law of love . . . Further, this answer implies that as a distinct species separate from other creatures, humans need to pursue a rational social policy of survival. The survival of other creatures revolves around food and mating pursuits – once availed of these things, they become satisfied. Humans, on the other hand are hardly satisfied – they want more and more of everything. If Survival of the Fittest principle governs a human society then it will unleash the insatiable human desire to amass wealth and power at any cost. The drive will end up trampling one another, breaking law-and-order and enhancing conflicts and mistrusts to disastrous consequences.
Well, what I have discussed may sound somewhat idealistic but pursuance of social equilibrium is much more important than to think otherwise. As a society, we depend on one another, and all of us share the responsibilities in defining the society we live in. However, as I have pointed out in The Wheel of Life piece, those who hold other people’s strings tight and strong share the biggest responsibilities than the rest – it only makes sense that they rise to the occasion to do the right thing. Most often things get blindsided by immediate and short-term gains without the realization that unwholesome activities have disastrous long-term effects.
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Here is an anecdote to ponder:
The disciple asked, “Please sir could you tell me whether the fundamental human social order is founded upon a just system.”
The master replied, “Do you remember how your parents took care of you while you were little?”
“Yes I do. They took care of me selflessly sacrificing their own comfort.”
“Are you doing the same to your children?”
“Of course, I am.”
“Do you see similar behavior in many other creatures?”
“How do you expect behaviors from others?”
“Nice and just behaviors to feel safe, secure and peace like the days during my childhood.”
The master smiled, “Very good my friend! You have understood the fundamental principles on which a human social order must be founded upon. The expectation is universal and is impregnated into human mind since childhood.”
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- by Dr. Dilip K. Barua, 16 June 2016
We live life every single day – working, learning, stumbling, struggling, and enjoying this great miraculous gift our parents were kind enough to give. Sometimes we ride the wheel of time as if we are master of it, but at other times we crawl along, dragged and bent down by the cruelty of time. We carry on with all the ups and downs, like one of my friends often says: Hang in there my friend, hang in there . . . Indeed we hang in there as if life’s reward is waiting for us.
Life goes on. Perhaps the writings and paintings on rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and trucks in Bangladesh and India add some flavors to the realization of life’s meaning by average Joe and Jane. Some of them have deep philosophical tones like the one saying: Burning since Birth. Similar feelings and epiphanies of people can be seen in many social media outfits on the cyberspace. Despite the fact that some are tainted with thoughtless spontaneity, these realizations are real – neither fabricated nor polished to profit from them, or to get acceptance. Sometimes words of wisdom come from unexpected sources. They are like what Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) once rightly pointed out: I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.
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One of my friends said: Come on, don’t start like that. It sounds very pessimistic and depressing. Look at life like a war or sport. The friend continued: Don’t you see V-sign or phrases like game-changer across cultures?
Yes, I do see them and they are really worrisome. Because the notion of looking at life as if it is war or sport shows how prevalent is the belief that fighting and aggressiveness are the answers for all things we do. What is more worrisome is the fact that the notion is promoted by those who are in power at the helm of things that matter to most of us. Some use this power consciously, while others just follow the cultural trait without much thinking. The problem with such promotions is that the notion permeates into every strata of society dragging all into the vicious modes of conflicts and mistrusts – adding to the complexity of life and the world around us.
Yes, I do see them. Frustratingly, the prevalence of war and sport-like attitudes tells us that the society we live in is divisive, intolerant and impatient. We rush to worship winners and resort to hating and bullying losers. Some might say: Why should we care? It is all fair and square, as long as the practices let us make money, and do business. Really, does business require to profit from divisiveness and intolerance? Let us ponder over the question at some other times.
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For now, let us try to examine what the war and sport-like attitudes mean to life. For both war and sport, the primary motive is to defeat the opponent. In a war the opponent is an enemy – and both the winning and the losing parties resort to applying ruthless methods to destroy each other. Who are the enemies in life – one’s family, one’s neighbors, fellow countrymen, everything that surrounds us, or other countries? Well, if these categories are conceived as enemies then the future of mankind is in big trouble, and perhaps we are digging our own graves.
For sport it is fun and entertainment. But sometimes the consequences may appear cruel, something like the moral from a nice little story which says: What is a sport to you is death to us. With whom are we playing games in life? With the same categories we just talked about? Well then we know the answer. But one should not forget to remember that war and sport-like attitudes are contagious that invite and provoke reciprocal reactions.
Is everything wrong in the war and sport-like attitudes? Perhaps not. The attitudes also have seeds of competitiveness and assertiveness. These spirits are useful energy sources in life. The only thing is that one should be careful not to get too obsessed with them, because it is difficult to be assertive and competitive without being brash and aggressive.
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It is encouraging to explore the wisdom of philosophers and religious leaders to find that most thoughtful characterizations of life have been suggested by them. They say life is a journey that has different phases with both gains and losses, and that life’s actions should account for consequences. The spirit, they say is to enjoy life by trying to avoid conflict with the motive of not defeating the other, but rather working together as a team to achieve a common goal and peace. In a life’s journey, there is neither winning nor losing, there is only achievement.
Sometimes we do not know what we are achieving – but things are being constantly achieved each time we put our hearts and minds in them. Reflecting on the Tathagata saying – as in the 201st verse on Happiness in the Dhammapada: Victory begets enmity; the defeated dwell in pain. Happily the peaceful live, discarding both victory and defeat.
Such leaders explain life analogous to a river – river flow to be specific – beginning the journey in the mountain – narrow in shape but high in energy. As the river enters into the lower valley it matures and broadens giving and sustaining many lives and plants. It gains water by accepting tributaries, it looses water through distributaries, it meets other rivers – but instead of fighting, it mixes with the new encounter to gain more strength. On its way the river faces many obstacles – it faces narrows and raised beds – nothing deters it – it swells and continues the journey with rejuvenated energy until it reaches its ultimate goal of reaching the ocean or lake. But if blocked by dams or interventions the life of a river is shortened. With the atmospheric circulation, the hydrologic processes make sure that the water gets back to its source again. The wheel of a river’s life is complete. Some say, the illustration is even more evident in the life cycle of a Salmon fish.
If one looks closely, life’s stories are similar to a river no matter where we live – in Asia, in Europe, in Africa or in the Americas; whether one lives in a developed society or in a developing one. It has similar songs of joy, love, frustration and struggle. One will not find the real stories of life in history books or in geographical and economic characterization of cultures, but in popular myths, folktales and legends or in one’s own experience – they all tell the similar stories.
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Perhaps there is more to it. Perhaps the Fluidity of Nature, like in a flowing river is another way of characterizing life and social relations. We are fluid in our body, in our thinking, in our emotions, in our social interactions – we constantly change in time and space. Human spirit is universal no matter where we live, yet we take the shape in physical and mental formations and growth in accordance with the country where we are born and raised, and where we live and work much like the fluid that takes the shape of its container. Like the uncertain behavior of fluid, humans are not perfect – either in understanding themselves or in social interactions. We are a bio-chemical entity endowed with emotions bad and good – and we often act and react in ways that cannot be justified.
In analogy with fluid behavior, some of us can be termed as less viscous and dense than others – we call these people light headed and shallow, lacking maturity and depth of understanding. However, within the fluidity of life, flows the energy which is the fundamental driving force behind everything we do. We all perform in accordance with the life’s energy we posses – whether it is physical or mental. But perhaps, in the end we behave like what Bob Dylan (1941 - ) once said: All I can do is to be me whoever that is. However the human quest never stops to find and define the RIGHT ME or more precisely, the fluxes of oneself in the ever changing dynamic world.
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To find the RIGHT ME one needs to equip himself or herself with life’s provisions – education, skill, right understanding of things, and a calm, loving and compassionate attitude. This does not mean however that the RIGHT ME will always have a smooth ride, but doing otherwise is likely to cause a frustrating delay in finding the RIGHT ME.
People often ponder over the meaning of life. The quest is very natural. For some, the answer is simple: to live life to the fullest, getting married and raising children. Some do it with some degree of comfort and happiness, many not so much. This is no different than other creatures, except perhaps some amounts of human elements in it. However mundane that may sound; this outlook is a very reasonable meaning of life.
Many Greats around the world, however attempted to find the meaning from different perspectives. They took the question as the driving force to study nature and human interactions discovering ideas and spearheading them. Their contributions made scientific and technological innovations and civilizations possible. It is the sacrifice and discovery of these Greats that have made a difference to move us forward in advances and leaps of human progress.
Despite having an amputated leg and being a cancer patient, Terry Fox (1858 – 1981) made history by making people aware of cancer by running across Canada. The famous painter Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) once said, the meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
Finding the gift of life is not easy however, and is difficult for some than others. Mundane or extraordinary – nothing is lost in life – demise of one reincarnates to another – energy flows from one form to the other – what is born must come to an end in the process of completing the Wheel of Life.
Whatever the goal, life’s pursuits should aim at what the Dalai Lama (1935 - ) once said, the purpose of our life is to be happy. As happiness is mutual, individual experience translates to family, to society and to the wider world. Sometimes, as inhuman as it is, one may feel vicious joy by hurting another physically or emotionally – but that deplorable joy is not the meaning of happiness, because the action is ill-motivated to victimize a person. It is needless to overemphasize that all should strive to enjoy life by being a partner to wholesome peaceful activities without getting trapped into the hell of conflicts. Happiness can be elusive but human resilience never stops going after it.
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We have talked about the principle of dynamic equilibrium in the NATURE section, and have also discussed it in the SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY section to show how scientists and engineers use the principle to find answers, and generate solutions. Similarly it is important to try to achieve the bliss of equilibrium in our thoughts and actions as we journey through the different phases of life. Reaching equilibrium is one of the toughest jobs in a divisive and mistrustful social framework. Nevertheless, it makes sense that we strive to do so without being too aggressive or too passive.
We are born poor needing help and care from our parents. We become dependent on others when we become old or disabled and ultimately dying poor – the poverty of not being able to understand what the hard-earned wealth means anymore. In between we try to conquer the world not as a loner but as a social partner. We depend on each other’s company, love, care and friendship to complete the journey. Humans are not loners – we nourish each other with our thoughts and strengths. Like in nature, the seeds of progress germinate and grow strong and vibrant only when there is inspiring positive social energy in a dignified stable framework. But in order for such healthy growths, it is important that a person does not feel strangled or constrained in freedom of thinking, in efforts of doing better in his or her pursuits.
Perhaps a line from a famous song of Frank Sinatra (1915 – 1998) is appropriate in understanding this. It says: . . . life is a beautiful thing as long as I hold the string . . . But life’s strings are many, and it is impossible for one to hold them all. Some of us hold the strings of other peoples’ lives tight and strong. Some others do so light and loose. It only makes sense that those who hold other peoples’ strings tight and strong feel responsible, and refrain from playing God.
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How shall we conclude? Perhaps like this – that life is a precious gift and we should cherish its sanctity in peace, and in social harmony of understanding and helping one another. That we should respect each individual’s right to complete the Wheel of Life (image credit: anon) in a meaningful way without interference and intervention.
Do they sound very moralistic and religious? Perhaps yes – but the alternatives will only lead us to mistrusts and conflicts.
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Here is an anecdote to ponder:
The disciple commented, “Sir, we get inspired by philosophers, listening to them opens the door of our mind.”
The master smiled, “It comes with a price, my friend! A philosopher is a person who is deeply moved by betrayal. The guy manages by escaping into the wilderness, eating less and reflecting more.”
The disciple continued, “Thank you sir. But I must tell you I hate to lose. Someday I will win, win and win . . .”
The master turned as if looking at him for the first time and smiled, “That is good my child. But be careful, you may end up winning so much that winning will not satisfy you anymore. Do me a favor, will you? Try to win over yourself first.”
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- by Dr. Dilip K. Barua, 9 June 2016