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 Blooming Stars

Status of the World – 9

            Social freedom does exist only where there is equality. It does not exist where there are discriminations or privileged status on the basis of gender, race, genetic origin, caste, color, creed, nationality, ethnic origin, or class. Instead of appreciating and being grateful for diversity we categorize them into oppressive and discriminating systems of abuse and injustice. Imagine how dull and boring the whole world would be if all were of one kind, if all humans were like you or me! Certainly I would not want that. There was a time in my early years when I wished I were born in a royal family or so-called famous or noble family. Now in my present consciousness I realize I certainly do not want that. No family is specially noble. No family needs to be royal in this age of democracy. Birth does not bestow any special status to anyone.

            And if I were born in of those so-called noble or royal families, I wonder if I would ever have gotten the awareness I value so much. Of course we can keep on wondering and reach nowhere. But the reality at least for me is that I for one do not want to exchange the present consciousness for anything else in the world in spite of great inconveniences at times. When one begins to taste true freedom everything else really is an illusion and not worth anything. That is also the reason that I so passionately advocate freedom. Since we are humans bound in space and time, tied to our individual bodies and determinations, my freedom limits your freedom and your freedom limits mine. That is also the reason that we need everyone else, that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and that we need to be independent enough to be interdependent, that we need to just surrender to God and others in one total giving/oblation knowing very well that there is really no giving without receiving.

            We truly find ourselves when we lose ourselves as Christ said. It is again good to remind ourselves that when one human being anywhere is unfree the whole world is unfree. No one is appointed the keeper of this world or any nation or religious organization though some individuals in their lack of consciousness or misguided understanding of God’s will do not mind assuming that role. Even as I am writing this, people in Libya are facing bullets for their freedom against the 42-year old dictatorship of Gaddafi. All dictatorships, autocracies, and unfree structures need to vanish from the face of the earth - the sooner the better for all.

            Humanity certainly has made progress in the realm of social freedom especially in the last 65 years. Much of the progress has been in law books, constitutions, and statutes. The curse of racism, casteism, or sexism has not been rooted out of the hearts of people. The cancer of corruption among government officials has not yet seen any sign of abatement. Worse still is the attitude of the general public who has accepted it as a way of life because of their general apathy and self-defeating impotence. Corruption is so widespread that it is also not uncommon to hear persons say all are doing it. By that what they mean is all are accepting bribes or being dishonest to gain some financial advantage. This kind of attitude contributes to what may be called “learned helplessness” leading to a state of pervasive depression, depleted energy, apathy, low morale, progressive desensitization related to value system, and general moral paralysis.

            My best interpretation when people make statements such as all are doing it is that they themselves or persons close to them are doing it. Corrosion of morality mingled with fear, a deadly combination, is what led to a monster like Hitler killing anybody who stood in his way and also ethnic cleansing that involved the murder of 6 million Jews. Immorality has invaded even the strongest bastions of morality. Richard Nixon, the American president, who took an oath to protect the constitution that enshrined the best moral values, lost his presidency because of his lying. The Catholic Church was rocked by pedophilia. Some famous Christian tele-evangelists were caught in the very immorality that they were reviling against. One of the Sankaracharyas was reported to be associated with a certain murder.

            Some swamis (holy men) were recently in the news on account of alleged immorality. Ministers of central and state governments and even judges of the Supreme Court in India are accused of corruption. It may be important to note that historically changes for bettering humanity especially in the realm of equality, freedom, and justice came in spite of world’s entrenched major religions. We are more and more conscious of our rights; side by side we also need to be conscious of our obligations. In comparison to the advance in science and technology we have not made proportionate progress in the realm of the psyche and the spirit. I would like to equate freedom with God. We cannot rest assured as long as one human being suffers from the lack of social freedom, and as long as one human being appropriates to himself/herself the power he or she does not have through democratic process.


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