Sunday, November 23, 2008

World War or Evolution: What will it be?

Watching NEWS these days is a scary proposition. Religious and political strife, economic meltdown, environmental decay and stories of human sufferings assail the sense in vivid details every single day. The air is seriously a despondent one and these days and suddenly every one is scared. Almost every social gathering I have been to in the past month the discussions have inevitably turned towards the prevailing winds, of the uncertainty of the times that we live in, of the fact that in face of all that we have learnt as a species in the past five or six thousand years, in face of all our dogmas and inventions, our technology and science, we are like the all shivering like a pile of un-bound hay waiting for some unseen storm..

Capitalism, much as Communism a couple decade or so before it, lies in shambles. The pillars have crumbled and the foundation is cracked. Money, the force that fueled the world engine, seems to have run out. A friend predicted this as the onset of World War III yesterday. His prophecy has merit, the world today runs on money, there's not enough of it to go around right now and so survival instincts would naturally make you fight for it. If this is true for individuals, it is true for nations as well. Throw into this bubbling fat the spark of religious fundamentalism, distrust between nations that seems to be building up steadily over the past, insatiable greed and you shall have in your hand the blazing fire of a world that is at war with itself, a self defeating war from which no one emerges the victor to claim the spoils.

“It would be hubris to think humans as they now are God's chosen race” –Lovelock says in his book Revenge of Gaia [1]. Still the scenario that he considered in his book is just related to the environmental catastrophe that global warming could unleash. The holistic situation is even grimmer. And before you get all smug and say that such doomsday predictions almost never come true, consider that almost 99% of all species that ever inhabited earth are now extinct [2]. Among those that no longer roam the earth are bigger and meaner critters than we can ever be. And yea, humans have gone through such periods of danger. Babylonian and Roman incursions into Judea and Israel, Genghis Khan, Black Death, Arab and Turkic invasion of India, the past two world wars have all spelt not just end of life but a way of life for many. However at no time in past the skies of the entire world as overcast as it suddenly seems to be now.

In face of such overwhelming facts, I could only offer a few stammering words like God and Spirituality, but perhaps with much lesser conviction than I would have liked to have mustered. The image of the burning earth that the mention of world war conjured up in my mind, with the accompanying feeling of dread effectively put lid on anything I wanted to say. Submerged, as we get in the struggled of everyday existence, perhaps after a long time I saw suddenly how dangerously close to the precipice of extinction we had wandered to, still unseeing, still irresponsible and unrepentant…

One question burnt in my mind, is this how we are going to go? Is this the end of human species? Or are we going to evolve into something better?

Perhaps for all humanity the time has come to look within. Perhaps there is yet an answer, a way out …