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 Blooming Stars

Status of the World-1

            As a clinical psychologist, I am accustomed to evaluating patients/clients who come to the hospital, clinic, or office I worked. I assessed their presenting problems, adjustment in living, strengths and weaknesses, and cognitive and affective resources and deficits. Certain aspects or dimensions of their personality were more thoroughly scrutinized depending on their problems. A psychological report emerging from the evaluation typically contains a diagnosis or provisional diagnosis together with a treatment plan or recommendations. If a clear picture or diagnostic formulation from the initial psychological interview or examination did not emerge, further evaluation or even psychological testing may be suggested. Generally an initial, somewhat comprehensive mental status examination yields enough information for formulating an adequate treatment plan.

            Here I would like to attempt a mental status or more appropriately a status of the world. In place of the word world, the word nation or state can be substituted. Clinically I am analyzing this world as if it were an individual person – an organism. An individual that is a microcosm can reflect the universe that is a macrocosm. The health of certain important characteristics or dimensions of the world are examined. At first factors contributing to health or disease/disorder are described. When positive factors outweigh the negative ones, we have a world where well-being and growth flourish. When negative factors dominate, we have a world of disease, disorder, disintegration, and decay. Below are certain important factors indicating the status or well-being of the world.

            1.Economic factor: The world economy is a war economy. In a war economy peace is proclaimed war is celebrated. The prosperity of the United States of America, the leading economy in the world, for instance, was based on the mobilization of resources for the Second World War. The war productions, chiefly weapons, gave the greatest boost to the economy. Interestingly it is not uncommon that weapon producing nations provide/sell their wares to warring parties, in effect, encouraging, supporting, and sustaining conflicts. It is very important to note that Dwight Eisenhower, the great American general of the Second World War and later president of the United States of America once decried the American society as a great military, industrial complex that could deprive the poor of the necessities of life.

            As men went out of the country to fight war at home and abroad women began to get out of their homes to fill jobs held by men. There was a sea change in the job market. Things would not be the same again. Automation and industrialization went into full swing. Skills training became necessary. Specialization became inevitable. New jobs were created. Traditional jobs were mechanized, curtailed, or even eliminated. As workers got organized and demanded higher pay and benefits owners and managers of factories and services started relocating in regions where they could procure cheaper labor and raw materials and higher profit margin. With globalization of economy, relaxation or removal of trade barriers, free movement of farm produce and factory products, outsourcing of services, and shifting of power balances, a new world order started emerging. As men and women started getting pay checks, there was also a gradual shift in power. As women clamor for equal rights men began to feel threatened. Men began to be dislodged from their traditional job preserves. As women who used to be the traditional home-makers went to work, mothers were not at home to receive their children when they came home from school. Latchkey kids (kids from school coming with keys to open their home) became prey to abuse and neglect.

            New opportunities and freedom, greater mobility, privacy, and access to money led to unforeseen stress and tension. New relationships and alliances forged often at work or social gatherings led to extra-marital affairs, divorces, and family break-downs. Chaos, conflicts, and confusion abounded. The gap between the mighty filthy rich and the weak dirt poor widened. Earth’s resources have not been fairly distributed. Hoarding, exploitation, and corruption got rampant. With more opportunities and options, life can become better or worse depending on the choices we make. With material prosperity the quality of life needs not necessarily improve. The fast developing nations in a globalized economy marked by explosion of technology and information need to keep in mind that modernization is not westernization. They need to keep their good traditions and values while assimilating the best from the west. Going after money and material prosperity neglecting the spirit and the mind is still the scenario in the world stage at large. The overall wealth of the world has considerably increased at the expense of future generations and ecological degradation, but the distribution of that wealth has been abysmally poor. On the dimension of the economic factor related to the status of the world a negative point is scored.

            2.Political Factor:At the outset I want to mention that, in spite of the doomsayers, the present world is better than it ever has been. The evils of slavery and colonialism have mostly disappeared; the caste system and the last stranglehold of apartheid have crumbled; monarchies, autocratic governments and authoritarian dictatorships are slowly but happily disappearing. The nostalgia for monarchy in some democracies in the world is, it must be said, is still an anomaly. Deep wounds, scars, and traumas caused by oppressive regimes, exploitations, abuse, and neglect of the past will take a long time to heal. India, for instance, has not recovered from a loss of identity resulted from the colonial era or an English system of education initiated by Macaulay about 175 years ago to create a servant class for the avowed purpose of serving the British Empire. Most of Asia and Africa have been colonized, conquered, occupied, and divvied up by Europe. The entire Americas were “discovered” and the natives were decimated and contained by Europe. The entire continent of Australia was occupied and populated by Europeans.

            Again the greater portion of the land mass of the earth is enjoyed by far fewer people originating from one continent while the great majority is squeezed into a relatively smaller portion. The law of the jungle or might is right prevailed in the past, and the same game still goes on. The entire political map of the globe was redrawn after colonization, subjugation, and occupation. The United Nations (UN) created in 1945 after the Second World War to foster peace and prosperity in the world has five member nations - USA, Russia, UK, France, and China - with veto power to control and manage the destiny of the world. Yet India with more than the combined population of the four out of five veto-holding nations has no veto power. It is not that I want any nation to have any veto power. But if an organization created with the sole purpose of fostering peace and equity fails so miserably in justice, what does that tell us about the world we live in? How can UN model a world when it is so defective intrinsically? No wonder why UN is so ineffective. Here I must also note with sadness that democracy, the best form of government the world has seen, has not taken roots in some of the Islamic countries.

            Psychologically it is very understandable if the oppressed or the conquered end up adopting the values of the oppressors or the conquerors. The oppressed is likely to copy the values and master the skills of their oppressors that subjugated them with the hope that one day they can outdo their masters. The world is reveling in manipulation, power, and control, ever so subtle and sophisticated, to cajole, win over, subdue, and even arm-twist others into subjugation and subservience. The world is so muddled and confused that most of the people do not even know if they are subjects or objects, if they are using/abusing others or being used and abused. The world has made great strides, but it is still emerging from the dark Middle Ages. The goal is for all people to become sovereign subjects in their own right.

            With the pull out of U. K. from the European Union in 2016 and the election of a very divisive, autocratic, narcissistic person as president of the United States also in 2016, the world scene is very murky and unpredictable. The U. N. is impotent, and ineffective without necessary and essential changes in tune with a changed world. The U. S. that other nations look upon for leadership has lost a great deal of its moral authority with political in-fights and gridlocks within and without a moral and coherent foreign policy.Yet I strongly feel and believe that sensible people concerned about the welfare of the whole universewill ultimately triumph.On the political dimension the world has still a long way to go. On this factor I have to give a negative score.


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