Having finished leading the morning prayers, the master threw the assembly open for questions. This was the time when disciples could ask him whatever occupied their minds.
Students had all kind of questions, relating to meditation techniques, sitting postures, moral dilemmas, emotional blockades however one question seemed to linger with master as he stayed silent for a long time before answering it. The question that was asked was “Master you talk of renunciation and giving up of material pursuits by individuals however what is your thought on the direction that mankind is taking in general. How do you compare society of today and say a few hundred years back”?
After his long pause, when the master spoke, he said thus:
“When you visit a mad house what strikes you the most? The inmates there are uttering gibberish as well as their actions are disconnected from reality. They exist in a make believe world of their own. However if you ask them, they will tell you that they are normal and you are mad. To me, society today, appears to be an open source madhouse. The lunacy which was fringe in yesteryears’ societies is now mainstream and growing”.
The disciples were all taken aback by this indictment of modern societies as this was not what they expected. They kept silent as they strained to hear what the master had to say next.
“Look around and you will see greed being instutionalized in name of capitalism, competitiveness being promoted under the label of free markets, consumerism being eulogized as a marker of happiness. Go anywhere and you will not be able to escape this message of have more, use more and covet more. Isn’t it sheer madness when a society eggs its residents to material excess regardless of the costs involved.
The outcome of this make-believe world is that we have more calories, less nutrition; bigger houses disjointed families; more entertainment and lesser play; more outreach but less connect; more information and less wisdom. The kicker though is that we still think we are wise and those who oppose this way of life as fools. If you are convinced of your sanity, normalcy is just another propaganda”.
“Sir aren’t we better off than yesteryears in hundreds of areas. Isn’t life more comfortable, longer and prosperous for large number of people today” One disciple wanted to know.
“Quantitatively we seem to be better off. Damning proof that this is not the correct perspective is that this numerical abundance itself is not sustainable as its cost to environment is suicidal. Then again, a longer life is not necessarily a happy one, comfortable life not really a meaningful one and prosperity, when not widely shared is socially divisive. So as you incorporate other qualitative factors to analysis of modern civilization, picture changes considerably. The glamour of progress in numbers, fades on the face of human realities.” master concluded.