‘… i remember once my elder brother had hidden a whole thepla (spicy flat bread) in an earthen paatia – wide mouth pot for cooking liquids, that he had been served at the supper time, but had not eaten then because he had intended to eat it with breakfast. that morning there was no previous night's left over. seeing him eat, i wanted a part of the thepla. he would not give me a piece from it as he had spared it from his meal. so we quarreled over it.’
-- from ‘unamerican dreams and dissent’.
the conflicts of interest is as old is the notion of the sibling rivalry. what is ignored in this is that both the siblings live in the same household of the parents -- usually the father -- either ill equipped or not quite aware of the problem.
when the interests are of the ecologically biological nature, and there is the natural balance between the need and the availability the entire populace exists peacefully as all other species do. when the availability is less due to manmade control, the people are made to fight, as do even the birds at the bird feeders. or as did jane goodall unwittingly bring the rivalry among the chimpanzees by offering bananas still connected in only one bunch, which only one chimpanzee could take it with great difficulty with its weight and trying to keep other chimpanzees from getting it. then this preoccupation with keeping others from it becomes the conflict, which obstructs the reality, that one does not have to hoard by keeping others from having what one is in reality unable to use it. this is why and how civil and across the border wars are fought.
the imperialist mode of education is what jane goodall, had brought to chimpanzees – the conflict becoming the competition to acquire the single prize, the scholarship, the desired job, the rewarding recognition of the employing agency, the commanding general, the presidency of the nation. and further yet, the learnt and rewarding competing conduct then extending to viewing the other heads of the commercial, religious and social institutions, and nations as competitors, the u.s.a., u.s.a. syndrome.
the schooling is entirely for the knowledge, and there is some biological function for the knowledge in a scripted living as a way of life, hence the memorizing part of the brains, that acquire the means and methods of sustaining living. now the knowledge, which is stored as memory forms a way of life. it is interrelated with the other elements in the habitat a creature lives in. this forms the creature’s abode, food and interactions with or avoidance of creatures not of one’s own kind; and in scarcity even within a species, and in it, the sibling rivalry. this is how the way of life of every particular species is similar. this also includes the way humans live, whether in primitive surrounding or in highly urban surrounding of the elite. what sets the urbanized humans apart from other creatures is that unlike other creatures’, the modern humans’ conflicts are scripted by humans who are taught to live up to their roles assigned to them from birth, whether a piper or a king; a tyrant looter or a victim of circumstances.
now in a staged play performed by people playing actors may look like fighting and killing for real, but soon after the curtain closes or the filming is done, all actors shed their roles and celebrate their roles and get on with their lives still as actors in the wing off the stage, only the non role playing actors, the snakes and disposable creatures do not, as they are physically killed for real. the same is also true with the combat soldiers, who fight and kill, and get maimed or killed in fighting a battle that is not theirs. they are fighting to earn a living much the same as actors act to earn a living; doing what they are told to do, even if they personally do not appreciate their roles. for that matter, anyone who earns one’s living by working for another person is acting out one’s role as defined and supervised by another person. and all actors then step into another stage of one’s choosing a role from the available list not of their making; act out as an alcoholic, a mental patient, a follower of a religious doctrine, or any of the many make believe things that may seem to enable one to forget one’s role playing acquired to earn a living.
medication or meditation is a rivalry between two persons who invented the idea of remedy without first experiencing the ailment, and without taking one’s own invented medication to find out that that is indeed the cure. the ailing person, whose brains are preoccupied with the pain and the desire to obtain a cure does not have the energy to know if the offered remedy is good, and even if the person is reliable or just a professional seeking his own socioeconomic survival.
if one reads or listens carefully to the advertisements in the media for cures for the life threatening ailments, one would not fail to observe the obvious, that the entire medical industry with all its three branches, the medical and surgical, the psychological and lately the meditation and spiritual is formed of the group of people who are treating patients as fellow actors who are seen to be playing sick. and as actors they play their learnt parts going through the motions befitting their roles. as for the cure of the real ailment, the medicine man, whether a physician or a guru is as much led to believe and make believe as does a patient, that the prescribed treatment will work. and it is all like the old saying: beginning to dig a well when the fire breaks out. at the nearing the end of the scripted roles, both the healer and the seeker of cure realize, as did krishnamurti after sixty years of talks, that “nobody got it”. and mother teresa experienced the doubt whether god did really exist. all other actors with smaller roles sway between the belief and disbelief motivated by the need and the greed.
the persons playing the lead roles may get the most attention and applaud from the people playing the audience, but it is not even the person whose role is to direct the play has a say; he, too, is a hireling. the invisible to the actors and viewers is the script writer, the playwright whose pen is motivated to play god in the world populated by characters of letters formed of ink on paper. what’s in it for the man playing god on paper or as king, dictator or just about anyone who sits a notch above others in the stepladder to nowhere? Like every other profession, roots of the penmanship of playing god are nurtured in the early days of the grade school. a teacher is as much a hireling as is immigrant farm worker tending the crops for his unseen employer. they both tend the crop, and grade the yield, as in grading potatoes. the teacher’s top graded student gets to earn his living as white collar worker, including as a playwright or as framer of country’s constitution or to amend it. the motivating factor for all these hirelings is to play the roles assigned to them, and “theirs is not to question why; theirs but to do and die”.
now a seedling or a yearling, including of the human species has the inborn will to evolve, so even in the heap of the discarded potatoes some sprout if not becoming the nutrients for the ones that sprout. And sometimes, inadvertently, some such potato gets mixed up with the graded crops. but when found out, they are ordered to exist in the confinement. when they outgrow the boundaries they are treated as outcasts. their will to survive is threat to the survival of all those actors of a particular play, whether a commander in chief of a mighty nation or the omnipotent god that lives in a believer’s mind. and grass does seem greener or the other side of the fence, so even a domesticated docile sheep’s spark of will tempts it to get a nibble of what’s on the other side of the fence. all manmade laws are made to see to it that that does not happen. all civic activities, whether directed by the state laws or managed by the church or social organizations are to keep their flocks uniformly pure. the blackness of the intruder sheep is not in its colour, but in not following the shepherd, whether he be called jesus or allah or the hindu rama, or hitler or the newly appointed head of the state.
the biologically human being treated as sheep will stay fenced only as long as one is unaware that the man playing the shepherd is no different from oneself. this is the only reason why the man playing the leader is projecting himself to be different, like the only son of god, or god’s only messiah or mahatma or guru. in this respect, the human species being relatively recent in the evolutionary cycle, has not understood the futility of the hoarding for the imaginary future lack. for in nature there is no division of time as past, present and future. and without this division, the very concept of time is meaningless. animals are aware of the uselessness of keeping other animals from food they themselves can never consume. their concern is for their immediate need within their physical sphere. so the animals in the herd of wild deer or wildebeest or any other kind graze side by side, only nudging the other who comes too close for both to feed. are the brains of the kings and presidents of states and commercial conglomerates and the rest of the super rich in every walk of life even less evolved from these creatures? and are those journalists and others who put them up on the pedestals of words in want of the better than thou worth of a staged existence any more evolved from any person they despise?
between you and me
is but a wall
of the thickness of ink imprinted of this paper
a wall of ideas
but then not even the tallest
and thickest wall made of iron
what stops people
from crossing is the pair of watching eyes
of the invisible guard
hidden in the sign
of warning posted on the ideal wall
of one’s own making
- from unamerican dreams and dissent. original in Japanese. 1970.