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 Blooming Stars

Deep Malaise

            This world is many times better than what it was fifty or hundred years ago with regard to equality, freedom, and human rights. Imperialist, colonialist, authoritarian, slave-trading regimes and dictatorships have mostly disappeared; racism and untouchability have disappeared at least legally. Interestingly the nations that are preaching morality and ethics are the very ones who not long ago subjected poor and unarmed (mostly developing) nations to subjugation, exploitation, and untold suffering. They often committed these atrocious crimes even as they were enjoying protection and hospitality given by hosts whom they subdued. Breakthrough in science and technology multiplying conveniences in life has been phenomenal and, perhaps unthinkable some forty years ago.

            Yet all the people of this earth has not benefited from the scientific and technological progress and material prosperity. The distance between the rich and the poor is increasing. Scientific and technological advance is disproportionately used to improve the so-called quality of life of the rich rather than meeting the basic needs of the poor. There is so much waste. While the rich waste so much food, clothing and other necessities of life, the poor have to live without these essentials. While there is over-eating (over-nutrition) in the USA there is under-eating (malnutrition) in India. The result, though, is the same: both lead to death.

            The progress in the exploration of outer space is inversely correlated to the advance in the exploration of the inner space (our psyche, mind, spirit). The real solution to our problems has to come from our inner space/self. Distrust and paranoia have waxed; trust has waned. Terrorists have triumphed, at least for the time being, because our approach to life has been that of fear and distrust. They have emasculated us. A cow-boy attitude toward terrorism is not the answer. Nothing short of fairness and justice for all will do. Serious soul-searching from everyone is called for. One event (9/11 attacks in New York in 2001) changed the whole world for the worse. Air travel has become a nightmare. The way the world is right now: everyone is a crook, a cheat, a terrorist unless proved otherwise. From the current state of the world one cannot but experience the all-pervasive uneasy feeling and moral decline (malaise) that gnaws on our consciousness and is overcast like a dark cloud.

            What can we do to change the present state of affairs? We need to believe in the goodness of human beings. We need to trust people. One in a hundred or a thousand may cheat us. On account of the one in a hundred cheating us, will we deny help to the ninety-nine good people? In the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15, 3-7) Christ speaks about the good shepherd searching for the one sheep that went astray leaving ninety-nine behind. Over thirty-five years ago when I was working in a parish in the USA as an associate pastor, the pastor (parish priest: vicar) asked me to follow a person to the bus station. He had given to this person the fare to go from St. Louis, Missouri to Tampa, Florida. He wanted to make sure that he was really going to get into the bus and travel to his stated destination and not squander the money for liquor or drugs. I was disinclined to accompany him to the bus station. My response to the pastor was: “Give the money to him if you so choose and let it go”. That still is my mentality today.


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