Evolution of Human Social Life!

We always talk of scientific evolution, industrial revolutions and progress of sciences. Evolution of human thinking about life and the way it is lived, is probably equally or more important. My thinking is based on practices followed in Hinduism. During initial thinking, a couple of thousand years back, life was divided in three parts; Obligation, Success, Pleasure. I am not talking of Ashramas as discussed in Hinduism. Later, freedom was added to the thinking. In Sanskrit, these are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. I feel that addition of freedom, was necessitated due to social changes, in parallel with changes in science and technology.   

I am trying to understand life style evolutions, going hand in hand, with scientific evolutions. I was wondering why the Moksha was not included initially as a part of human life. I think, that not many people really reached the age of freedom or Moksha.  

Dharma or Obligation was about doing the right things. This involved creating the right thinking in human mind; don’t become selfish, think about others. When we live in a society, the societal norms and etiquettes need to be followed. These have evolved over a period of time. In this phase of life, it is our duty is to learn societal norms. During this phase, humans also get married. Marriage is not only coming together of two people but it is about coming together of two families. This involves readjustment in your lives. This phase has undergone a major change. In olden days, marriages took place between bride and groom, who lived in the same vicinity and whose families were known to each other. The marriages took place at an early age. From time immemorial, there have been hierarchies in our society based on caste, creed and many other parameters. Ones station in life was decided by these parameters. Marriages also took place initially, dictated by hierarchy. King’s family did not marry a commoner. Have these things changed today? It is both yes and no! 

There is a typical Hindi word बिरादरी, which means fraternity. Marriages still take place within fraternity, caste and so on. But there is a big change; people now do marry outside fraternity, different castes, different religions, they can be from far off places, or from different countries. With more education, people tend to get married late. Our thinking is slowly adapting to these changes. This is major social evolution or even an upheaval.  

In adulthood, one gets established in life, simultaneously while establishing in a job or business, but both are equally important. This is the success phase. Over a period, in this phase, now there is a big change. As late as 50 to 70 years back, one finished education, got a job, got married, procreated and retired from the same job. A few years after retirement many simply died! Now post education, someone may start a business right away. On the other side it is no more surprising when people continue with their education till early 30’s. By the age of 30, I had a six-year-old son and had a work experience of 6 to 7 years. This changing trend has its own pluses and minuses. But system does evolve itself.  

Trends in the stable phase of human life are also changing. This is now a phase where people procreate, work, travel and have fun. This goes hand in hand with their professional work. Now we see many cases where both husband and wife work. People tend to be busy 24/7, 365 days doing various things in life. The trend of buying homes and big cars, as soon as possible, is also coming in vogue. Adding to these changes, another important aspect that has changed is, from joint family structure, we are switching over to nuclear family. Money in plenty is available but home support is diminishing. Our society is adjusting to these changes too! Crèches, home staff, drivers become your “family” for support. When people live in foreign countries, their parents go and live for months together for support; but in the end parents do come back home. Nuclear family of old parents is also becoming a norm. This recent trend is mainly because of globalization and IT industry proliferation. 

I feel that pleasure and freedom phases have merged and these phases start a little late in life because the medical revolution has increased longevity. People live much longer than before; life expectancy was 31 in 1947 in India now it is 66. This indicates that larger proportion lives much longer after retirement. By the time of retirement, major family responsibilities are over. Financial commitments are lesser and finance availability is much better. This is the time when pleasure phase is in top gear plus freedom to do things, that were not possible during busy phase. I have an argument which may be, a bit controversial. In olden days, after the productive phase, Moksha or merging of soul with cosmic soul was thought to be final phase in life. During those days, there was hardly anything else to do than to follow the path of Moksha and try to achieve nirvana. Hence the term merging of soul with cosmic soul was used. I have nothing against trying to give up so called pleasures in lieu of bhakti or following the religious practices to achieve moksha. But now moksha is an option, not like olden days when it was the only option.  

Large number people travel, follow their dreams, maybe start a new venture in this phase! This social change is happening rapidly due to advent social evolution in tandem with ease of travel, ease of knowing about far off places. There are online courses available for photography, learning new languages, gardening. There are facilities to learn details about Bhagwad Geeta and there are special religious tours arranged for senior citizens. This reminds me of a joke. A guy tells his friend that he was about to book a religious holiday package for his family with parents. When he went to ask his parents, the father said, ” Sorry son can’t make it! We have booked a holiday for Bangkok and Pattaya!” Social change, anybody?  

Moksha is liberation from cycle of birth & death. This is taught by our religions but religious thinking which is part of social fabric also undergoes changes, along with technological changes! When no other option is available we adopt to existing conditions. But current social changes in pleasure and freedom in life can be considered like migration of young people looking for better options! So, Moksha or evolution, what is your take? I will prefer Moksha in St Moritz or Gangtok anytime! Come join the new Moksha brigade!  

 

True & False -Smart & a Half Species!

What is truth? It is a real question that has to be looked at the way our Universe performs. Whatever Universe does is flawless. Why it is flawless, because it always follows rules, it always follows the path of truth. Do we see any accidents in the Universe as we see on our own earth? Do the Sun and the Moon ever ram into each other? At the end of every day, you always get the night and never a day! Why? Because rules are followed to the last T! Do birds wake up at midnight? Never because they follow the rules. They go “home” at the pre decided time which is set by the nature and go to sleep to wake up early morning again as per rules set by the nature. In winter I see birds flying back to their nest maybe at 5.45 in the evening but in summer they fly back at 6.45 in the evening, again following the rules of nature as the days are longer in summer. Classic case of nature’s rules being followed is by Polar Bears. It is a recorded fact that all the Polar Bears in a certain area go into winter hibernation sleep exactly at the same time on the same day!

If we compare adjectives “True” and “False” then true fits the Universe and the only species that fits false in this Universe, is the human race. Truth depicts the Universe and Falsehood depicts the human race. The Universe is existing for millions of years and the time for which the human race exists is blip on that time scale. Human race has evolved from the same eco system as the Universe. But why the human race is so different in comparison with other species!

Is it the evolution of brain? Is it the evolution of physical attributes like being able to walk on two limbs! Is it because humans are the only species who can make use of thumbs of their hands. If we think of brain and body coordination monkeys are way ahead of humans. But what is it that has made humans different- not better! What is the reason behind human deceit? How this attribute is so much developed? From where has this trait evolved? I am not an anthropologist but I am sure studies have been made to study the evolution of human attribute of deceit.

Survival of the fittest has been the motto of the Universe. Right from the beginning, there have been fights on “ownership” of the Eve, later on other “assets” came into picture. In all other species, this is decided by fighting amongst each other to decide. Human society has evolved over a period of time, and has created a system of marriage (trying to follow rules?). Yes rules are broken in the marriage system also but maybe the percentage of rule breakers is still manageable. How do they manage divorce in monkeys or lions? Or they don’t have system of divorce!

Human race has made great progress compared to other species. Is falsehood the attribute needed for progress? I know of attributes like drive, passion, thinking out of box that help one to go ahead of others but human species has a special attribute of falsehood or deceit which is not present in other species. Humans deceive, cheat and in general try to break rules where possible. A lion catches a deer as his prey and will eat till his stomach is full. He will walk away once he is full. A cat will drink milk but when it is done, it will just walk away. We humans also follow rules in initial phase of our life. A child will normally never over eat. The child just refuses to eat when full. But the mother of the child will always think that the child is eating less, and she will force more food than needed. End result the child will vomit.

What is it with breaking of rules? Humans will break rules while driving, while paying his taxes, while he is wooing his fiancée, in short at every stage in life if possible rules are broken. In some countries this percentage is less because Government is more vigilant! We really don’t know if it is necessary to break rules to achieve something. A businessman friend of mine, once showed me the calculation how he could make a lot of money by cheating on paying income tax. A month after this discussion, his whole family was raided by income tax department at 7 am. I met him a couple of days after the raid. He was very sad, naturally! After some time he said that he was very sad. I said that I can understand. He said he was not sad because of the raid. “Expense” for raid was budgeted for. But he was sad because his mother asked him a question, “When we have so much why you are cheating?” He had no answer and that made him sad. Ultimately we have to answer to HIM if not to your own mother (who anyway is GOD), is it not? I always keep on thinking how the world will be, if nobody breaks rules? Is it my utopian thinking?