Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Forbidden Map

“The century maybe dying but the hope of a better world is not.”

Max Neef has the remarkable ability of getting his readers to question their existence: ‘Why are we here?’, ‘Where are we now?’ and ‘Where do we go from here?’ trying to get them to navigate their correct path from knowledge to understanding.

WHY ARE WE HERE? Life is an unending sequence of bifurcations. The decision I make implies all the decisions I did not make.

We hardly ever hear history described as infallible these days. We are well aware by now that history makes mistakes, that is gets distracted, falls asleep and loses its way. The official history is a mutilated memory, a long ceremony of self praise of those who call the shots in this world. Their reflectors just illuminate the peaks but leave the base in the dark. We chose to live in fear in Machiavelli’s perception of the world rather than love in the world created by Francis of Assisi.

The civilization that confuses clock with time also confuses nature with postcard. We have exploited Nature and just dwelt on a single aspect of science. Science is not only physical but also involves spiritual maturity of faculties such as feeling, imagination and intuition.
Pico della Mirandola, Bruno, Francis, Goethe may have been invisible but the usual invisible beings form part of the scenery of history, like Bollywood extras. It is they, the actors in the real history, the denied, hidden protagonists of past and present reality, who embody the splendid fan of another possible reality.

We are so disillusioned in our present mundane world that the hope of a Utopian world does not astound us but we rather look at ways of escaping into a prison of only virtual realities.

WHERE ARE WE NOW? We have arrived at a point in our human evolution where we know a lot but understand very little.

The progress we have made in the last century has been remarkable, yet we function mainly as machines, trying to guzzle down as much knowledge as we can, thinking its going to fill the void we feel inside. Knowledge itself is not enough. We have to learn how to attain understanding in order to achieve the completeness of our being.
We have been enslaved by the rising economic liberalism and before we realize it, the shackles maybe too difficult to break.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? There is a tendency to perceive ourselves as members of a successful culture. However, the truth is that no matter how much we extend the concept of success, we are still incomplete beings, materially overdeveloped and spiritually impoverished.

If we are ever to feel complete again, maybe we should

‘ dive into the depths of time,
And bring from out the ages that have rolled
A few small fragments of those wrecks sublime
That human eyes may never more behold
And let the guerdon of my labour be: my complete self ’

Maybe the miracle that we all have been waiting for is us; to open our eyes and take the road less traveled.

Mitsu Shah

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