the social change; an ecological perspective
in an elementary school textbook of the junagadh state in india of the 1942s there was seemingly an innocent story of the frogs in a pond. it ran something like this:
once upon a time there lived frogs in a pond. they ate, swam in the pond, basked in the sun and croaked. they all lived as frogs do. one day, a young frog wandered off, and he visited many other ponds. and then he returned to his pond. and he saw that these frogs had been living very chaotic life. he told them of a place he had visited, where every thing was in order. the food was plentiful and everyone seemed happy. "how was it different for them?" asked a frog. "why can't we, too, have such a life?” asked another frog. "because they had a king who managed every thing for them", said the frog who had returned from far.
so the frogs asked him how they, too, can get a king. "by the power of prayer," said the frog. so the frogs started praying to get the king. there came a strong wind and knocked down a dead tree; a part of it fell in the pond with a splash. the frogs dived deep, but seeing no danger, came to surface and gathered around the log, thinking that the heavens had granted them the king. so they welcomed the king and said the prayers. but nothing happened. suddenly a young frog jumped up on the log, and soon all of them jumped on the log. the log floated some and they had a little fun, but then, one frog said: "we want a king that speaks to us." so again they prayed in unison, and hearing their cries, glided down a white stork, and stood in the knee deep water. now the frog that had told others about the king, said, " since it was my idea to get a king, i shall be his minister." saying so he went near the stork. the stork bent down and picked up the frog in his beak. the others thought that the king had wanted to say some thing to the minister frog. so they all went closer to their king. and the king simply started to pick up frogs one by one. before others realized what was happening, a few were picked up. the remaining frogs dived deep.
when the evening came, the stork flew off, and seeing him gone, the frogs surfaced and decided to pray to the heavens to take back the tyrant king. since then, every evening, when the darkness falls, the frogs gather together and are croaking their prayers to the heavens.
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like the most animal stories, this one, too, depicts the human folly by portraying the other creatures to be stupid. but the fact remains ignored, that it is the humans, who, having not yet understood their place in the eco-order, have been struggling to find the right way, but still independent of the nature of things.
socialism minus the suffix is: social. so let us first put aside the "isms", which tend to generate much opinions and debates, at the end of which, all the parties engaged in debates agree to disagree, and go home unchanged. an "ism" is a thought out living in words, printed or spoken for others. but the authors of such thought out living are not known to have actually lived in one's own proposed way. in stead, all such proponents of new isms have lavishly lived in the prevalent norm of their time. marx did not live marxism; lanin not laninst ways. even mao did not practice for which he subjected others to suffer the cultural revolution. gandhi, on the other hand, experimented on ideas first , and then proposed them to others. but his west influenced disciples, nehru in particular, preferred the western notion of the leadership: “do what i say, not what i do”. so nehru’s idea of the socialized democracy for india solidified the segregation of the classes, even though gandhi's hands-on type of the social reforms were more in line with the socio-economic equality envisioned by the socialist theorists than what was practiced by the socialist states of the lanin style or the marxist style.
marx, lanin, mao, gandhi; and two millennium before them, christ, and some five hundred years before him, the budhha -- all had thought of the alternate way of living in which the elemental necessities of life were not for sale; and every one was standing on the same socio-economically equal ground as everyone else. they all proposed a classless society. but buddha and gandhi including, each one overlooked one basic element to such a living. they all had been living with a socio-economic structure that was based on the value paid in the token. and the token itself had no direct practical usage in sustaining the life. so in the process of exchanging the actual work or goods with the token, inadvertently some people accumulated more tokens than others. but as the exchange of goods and services loosely regulated by the supply and demand is not an exact science, consequently, what created the first wealthy man, makes the walten enterprise the richest grocers in the present times.
and gandhi and the buddha sustained their ashram and viharas (communal dwellings for the bhikhus- literally, the beggars) with the donations from the very people because of whom the gross suffering prevailed. budhha himself walked out of the palace life, in the manner the children of the wealthy americans, leaving their palatial homes to play poor for a short while. but unlike the "chicago seven", the budhha did not return to the palace, but nevertheless, the budhhism has become what it is because of the support of the wealthy, kings and the kings by the other name: the rich < o.h.g. reich<latin. rex :- king. the first one was a king ashoka, and the latest are the rich chinese "lay" buddhists who want to build the biggest bronze statue of the buddha, as if spending money on the image making brings any one closer to the truth. or, whether the show of who is the biggest patron of the buddha wins them the goodwill of the people in this world.
the indian buddha is said to have objected to the image making, and for the first 400 hundred years the buddhists --monks and the laity alike, lived without the statuary and all the high priesthood and pomp that go with it. but then the greek notions of the hero worship creped into what was supposed to be the compassionate co-existence of all sentient beings. so the split formed, and the rich supported laity won out. the prime example of that was tibet, where not only the dalai lama rivaled the catholic pope, but he liked the life in potala palace so much that he began to be reborn, time and again. those conservative monks who lost out, promoted the individual salvation based upon the awareness that there is no everlasting entity called self, and all there is, is but a bunch of aggregates creating a temporary illusion of a being, which being transient, must flow with the constance. and in the nature of constance nothing remains the same. so why chase the mirage of the everlasting happiness? even the 'beatles' knew it, at least, in theory, when they sang:
“ i don't care too much for money,
money can't buy me love..."
but then, like those southern buddhist monks, the 'beatles' did not know what else ends the suffering that seems to be everlasting. in japan, as in tibet, they even have the hierarchical order that enables the office holding monks to live high, eating better food and receiving services of the new monks. the theravada monks, in this respect, live on equal basis, in living quarters, robes and begging for food. no begging, no eating for every one alike.
still, over all, the theravadins accepted simple beggarhood out of the belief, that it will bring them the enlightenment. even though this enlightenment evoked different images to different monks, none of them envisioned an enlightened living here and now. the same is true with the zen monks.
thus, even though the four noble truths of the budhha -- that, 1. acceptance of the fact that there is suffering; 2. there is the cause for that; 3. there is a remedy for that; 4. the application of the remedy -- do in fact concern the day to day living, it seems that, almost from the start, the people, especially the disciples, missed the boat. is that why, the famous: gate' gate' par gate' parsamgate' bodhi swaha" (gone, gone ,gone beyond the other shore, the wisdom )? the problem the buddha must have faced is still the same: the masses are raised and trained to be subservient.
even in the democratic america. or more so in america, where education is free and compulsory from the age 6 to 18. these are the formative years of the young people, and whatever their intake, whether food or thought, shapes their adult lives. karl marx, lanin, mao, were all thinking type educated people. but before they began to think things seriously, their educational training had already molded their way of life, the stuff that the actual living is made of, and which also affects one's perception. so what the great thinkers could not do away with -- their way of life, formed the split, the duality between the thought and action. as a result, all their proposals remained possible on paper only. there is a joke made by salvadore dali, which goes like this: "piccasso is an artist, so am i. piccasso is communist, so am i. piccasso is stupid, nor am i." one meets artists, writers, actors, who have claimed to be communist, or at least, sympathetic to the idea of equality. but it had never occurred to them, that theirs was a living split in two: one, the day to day life with all its ruthless games of the socio-economic one upness; and the other, the spare time existence happening only when thinking-reading about such thoughts of other people. thus, the buddhist philosophy seems attractive to the intellectual west.
and, all the wonderful thoughts and ideas unless applied to the reality, experimented on, one would never know if they are applicable. so the soul of the socialism -- that is, socialism in print, or forced upon at the gunpoint -- remains as questionable or debatable as was the soul of the human person debated between the vedic thinkers and the buddhists.
the soviet block has splintered into pieces, and the communist china is reverting to the market economy; gandhi's decentralization of power was cremated with him simply because these lofty ideas, whether forced down peoples' throat or spoon-fed, they had never become the common sense matter. it is very likely, that had gandhi survied the fatal gun attack, he would have rejected the spiritual inequality also, and renounced the religious imperialism, the, “mahatma”-ism. a people, who have been conditioned to respond to the command for thousands of years, will always wait for a leader. and the leader comes in many different robes, but says the same thing. as jesus, he said: "like a good shepherd i will lead you towards green fields." as krishna, he said: "action alone is the right of thine, not of its fruit." an english poet, dependent upon such peoples' enlisting to fight, said the same thing thus: "theirs not to question why, theirs but to do and die." the queen victoria said to her subjects to "be contented with what you have." and the catholic church exhorted to “count your blessings”
church and state are only seemingly separate in the secular states, like america or england. there, they do not need the priest to keep people pacified. their very way of life is based upon the surrender to the authority. "the father knows best" then gets transferred to the "founding fathers" and to the chief executive officer of what the founding fathers knew best regarding the chasing of "the american dream”, “the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”.
this notion of made to order dream is why the american parents send their children to school. and the children learn to colour this black and white outline of the dream with colours of their choice, very much like what they do at the mcdonald's restaurant, where children get to colour pictures and get some incy wincy little plastic prizes. children spend nearly a third of their impressionable life in first memorizing the printed words in the name of knowledge about how things are set in motion, and then, in the "higher education" they learn to improvise things connected with all walks of life. such as, the neighbourhood general store into a walmart, a family restaurant into an international chain restaurant, a slingshot into a nuclear bomb.
another purpose of the "uniformed education" is two fold: first to standardize the products requiring every one to acquaint oneself with the preformed shape and size of things -- every thing, from the "right" time to conceive a child, to food, clothes, dwelling, work, retirement, vacation, religion, the after-death rites, and even the "counter culture" with all its modes of expression. in all these walks of life there are professionals who make their living by promoting their wares, with the missionary zeal modified with the business psychology. the second purpose is to enlist workers for the uniformed services, the military and assembly line factory work; doctors, lawyers, justices, business people, janitors, and, the last, but not the least, the commander in chief. each and every one of these works comes with the black and white outline of the work to be performed. some only have to keep copying, while others get to change the shades of the colours. thus, whether a "democrat" becomes the "president" or a "republican", neither knows how to wake up from the "american dream", how to undo things, how to not play puppet-like.
the human existence is not puppetry. though all humans are born alike, in nature only the urban human being learns to repeat things, and feels miserable doing so. excluding the creatures that are "domesticated", all other creatures in nature live with the unknown. no monkey picks the second berry in the same way for the second time, simply because the tree is not a berry producing factory. no robin packs the same spot in the garden for the second time to catch the second worm, for the worms do not pop out one after another as the soda pops from the wending machine
so if you can define and describe a way of life, and then teach it to the people, generation after generation, all you can get is a cult, which, when practiced by the people over a period of time, is called culture. the soviets and the chinese did not get to standardize the human expressions long enough to become automated, like the capitalist mode.
if you can implant a socialist dream in the world populace, replacing the american dream, you will still need a frame work, a black and white line drawing outlining the perimeters of the socialism. but that will be no different from the u.s.s.r. model or the chinese model.
soul, the state of being is not made in the factory. automated toys can do nothing out of the range of their programming. a thinking, feeling machine, if can be made and mass produced, would make the human existence obsolete. and it would not make the humans breathing life in a wholesome way.
what would, would be the absence of any device that robes the human beings of their nature given limbs and organs to function as natural humankind as does an ape, or fish or bird. this is not suggesting going back to the hypothetical cave days. it is rather to imagine a bright brain "scientist" devoid of his fear of the socio-economic survival, his desire for the best house on the block, the bigger piece of pie and to get which the ruthless competition and elimination of those who come in his way; imagine the absence of the "what if". imagine your own living without the fear of the what if?
"what if" is the thought out fear . and it creates a thought out person who will be experiencing all those fearful happenings if the precautions are not taken. the actual person, who is having those frightful thoughts, is not in danger, is in relative safety where one is not required to take an immediate action.
caution is for practical matters of fact. such as the high way signs of caution, which are followed by the cause for caution: a slippery road, or narrow bridge ahead. and, warned by the notices, one prepares for that. the imaginary obstacles do not exist in actual going. but a frightened mind makes believe in the what ifs. consequently one suffers twice; once for the preparations for the protections from the make believe misery, and once for not being aware of the actual time and efforts spent in those unwarranted preparations. when the commander in chief is motivated by the "what if" in the foreign affairs, he orders the "pre-emptive strikes" upon a country which could otherwise respond positively to friendly gestures. thus, a president nixon's admitting that what he did was a mistake, did not reverse the facts: the acts performed, lives lost, suffering caused.
now the "soul" part of the socialism. in actual terms of being a human being the human soul is the aggregate composite of the limbs and organs and their functions with their purpose -- the cause and effects, and, the counterpart elements -- the motions and responses to all that one does, be-es ( is, the present tense of 'to be'). there is the eye - sight - seeing or the love - beloved - loving, along with the same coming to one from the other; the being seen, being heard, being loved and so on. this is so because, no one exists in a vacuum. the human soul is not a thing in and by itself. it is merely an unnecessary word, except, may be, in some "intellectual" (as if the word is a compound, made up of: in:- no + tell + actual ) or thought out pursuit of knowledge. likewise, the soul of the socialism is in socializing. in interacting.
observe people relating to one another in the urban and rural cultures, even in america. in the rural area people are either related to or are some way connected with each other. they are not strangers, and hence, no apprehension of one another. many of their household things are all outside of their homes. and their doors and cars are not locked. but not the same in the city. there, one almost prides in not knowing even the name of the person who lives behind only a six inch thick wall separating the two dwellings. there is the marked desire to not to have to face the neighbour, fearing lest one would be found out to be not living up to one's own expectations of oneself; the way one would like to be thought of by others. and the neighbour feels the same. this is promoted as "privacy", which is born of the fear of disapproval, of rejection, put down, and ultimately, loss. one feels safe and secure behind the closed doors. one interesting example of this human behaviour is experienced firsthand by the non japanese who enters the traditional japanese bathhouse. there, the japanese people bathe naked in plain view of each other. the foreigner feels awkward to strip himself naked and be exposed to others for what he is, when not dressed up. undressed, man is devoid of his identity that he wears as the protection.
the sense of intimacy comes from the absence of shame, which is the fear of disapproval. thus, even though elaborately dressed, woman and man in love experience it when fully exposed to one another and finding the other as much pleased as oneself in discovering the cover to be the hindrance to intimacy. this sense of closeness is felt to the succeeding degrees lesser corresponding to the exposure, both physical and emotional, inner. thus the bond is stronger between the mother and child; then in lessening degrees between the spouses, in siblings; then friends, co-workers, countrymen, and in the human mass in case of an unknown danger.
but as stated earlier, the desire to hide, be not seen vulnerable to the strangers comes from an upbringing. and the upbringing is a cultured mode of conduct. in it the culturing agent is a way of life promoted by a handful few for whose sake the masses are raised as the sub-species. this species may contain a hundred percent genes in common with the controlling few, but these few are brought up to "rule". so as in orwell's 'animal farm', unless and until this work animal-like sub species refuses to accept the status quo, the story will keep ending in the form as orwell wrote.
the soul of socialism is held captive by the learnt fear of "what if" that has created the capitalism as a way to ward off the imaginary manifestations of the what if. it has created the insurance industry that has the "people you can count on when the going is rough". "you are in good hands" in every walk of life if you keep paying the monthly premiums. and to pay which, you have to earn for more than what you need in the now. what you pay for your future in many different ways, including saving and investing, pays for the handsome living in the now of the select few, the rich - the word, which in latin, through the old high german: reich, is rex, meaning: king. so the rich are the kings of democratic nations.
(almost ?) all white collar people are walking dead. a dead person is one whose soul has left. a dead person does not hear or see or think. it's an eternal state of limbo as far as experiencing any thing new is concerned. so is the case with the middleclass and the rich. for them the life's pattern is fixed. their senses of perception are put to sleep. there is no known technique of breathing life into the dead.
the only hope -- and not a wishful thinking -- is the children. and they, too, only if are kept away from the conditioning process that makes them "like father, like son; like mother, like daughter." given a different kind of input these young and innocent beings will learn to live without the extra baggage made of the "what if", not unlike the children of the poor, who do grow up without some things some of which aren't really missed. the soul of the socialist life grows from the right kind nourishment. and the right kind of nourishment is the one that is eco-centric in nature, not ego-centric. the ego, the me in person manifests only as a thought when feeling insecure in the imaginary time. in the eco-centric living it's all flowing with the flow of life, which is never experienced in isolation. that is another reason why, if taught, the children will grow up to live amicably sharing and caring, feeling elementally inter-related with all nature's elements.
but the children do not make schools, do not write curriculums and textbooks and set rules, their parents do. and they do it "in the best interest of the children". so who will show them a way out? deep within, even those intellectuals, who wrote the communist manifestos and other proposals for a radical change, did really wish that things change. but they did not realize the one simple thing: it is that change is not a thing. it is acting. and that, too, not in the noun form, but as a verb: to act. these intellectuals saw it only in the noun form. so they could only talk about it, write about it. children reading about any book of change cannot know how to do it, much the same as the children do not know how to make things better for the children of the 3rd world they hear about in their sociology class. as it is now, the status quo that favours the western world, was set up by the former colonizers. and the education is all for the purpose of maintaining that status quo. the populace suffers, and among them the children, whose fault it is not. if given different books written by the enlightened people whose very way of life also offers the children some alternative to their parents' living, the hope comes to fulfillment.
until then, the soul of the socialism, which is an outcome of all the human interactions taken in awareness of the interdependence among all thought, speech and action, that soul exists only as an inkling, as does a possible tree in a seed; as does a child before the moment of conception, awaiting the eco-centric interaction.