The Civilised Mankind
The concept of evolution is usually taught in school and so is the history of mankind. If my memory serves me well, they start with the pre-historic man and explain how over time he invented the wheel and fire and gradually became what we are now. Over these years, it is not just man that has evolved and changed, it is also his society that has changed. I do believe that I one should not lose touch with their roots as they bear us afterall. I often wonder if the way we are evolving is heading for good or bad. Having said that, who is to tell what is good and what is bad. According to Hinduism, time is divided into four eras and we are in the fourth one called ‘Kali Yuga’. This is the period in which morals will be at their lowest and the rulers will not care about their subjects anymore; people will commit murder for no reason and still justify; people will explicitly show animosity towards each other etc. This belief is also a good prompt for me to probe into where mankind is heading, atleast in my head.
Years back, when I was in school, I remember entering a poster competition and to tell you the truth my mom made the poster and it was her idea. She drew a man just covering his modesty roasting an animal he killed to eat and another man in hunting outfit and a gun killing an animal for the fun of it. The caption was ‘Who Is Civilised?’ and it was appreciated so much and I took all the credit! So many years later, this question still bothers me.
Years back, man recognised that he cannot be self sustained as the natural resources in this world are distributed and not everything is available everywhere. He then introduced the barter system where he would exchange his surplus for something he does not have. Possibly because the value of each item is only as much as it is perceived by the buyer, he came up with the concept of money. Some say ‘God made man; man made money, money made man mad’. How true this can be, I wonder. We created boundaries for ourselves and called them countries; then created money and attached ‘value’ to it and because of this perceived value for the printed paper some countries are deemed rich and some poor. It is a shame that on one side of the world we have people getting into fine dining restaurants, social drinking and partying while several people are dying of drought in another part of the world. Somalia for instance had a thriving civilisation and the country was strong enough to fight foreign invasion four times. It was finally defeated and like most other colonies, eventually gained independence. In the name of power and in the name of development of a portion of the world population, several are left to suffer. I wonder if the world would have let such a drought happen and people suffer in the Arab countries because afterall, rest of the world needs the oil so that makes it important to ‘support’ and ‘befriend’ these countries. Is mankind moving to a state where we do something if and only if we benefit from it?
I was appalled by some news I heard while watching a local Indian channel. It reported that some elephants have been bothering a few campers in a forest in a hilly region and they have been destroying their camps and scaring away people. The students who were camping were complaining about the elephant attack. When you go to a forest, what do you expect to see other than wild animals? If they were scared of elephants imagine how intimidated the elephants would have been seeing humans in their home. We encroach their place and expect to be welcomed and this makes me wonder if humans want only human race to flourish. It is time for us to realise that it is impossible for us alone to survive as it defies nature’s laws.
I am not a scholar by any means but my understanding of various religions is that they all suggest that people should not develop hatred, instead they should love each other and be tolerant to all. It is true that over the years, mankind has made more attempts to understand nature better and using the newly gained knowledge has also made ‘inventions’ that have been beneficial to the society. However, man’s desire to explain everything with science seems to mean that some refuse to accept religion or God saying it to lack scientific explanation. A simple example from my religion is how it says one should abstain from sex with anyone other than …
The Civilised Mankind