Around four years ago in 2016 I had published a version of this article when the world was witnessing the rise of extremists, right wing fundamentalists, dictators and undemocratic leaders in leading democracies of the world. Thus we saw the rise of such leaders in US, North Korea, Turkey, Philippines, China, India, Russia among others; rise of extreme right in Europe and rise of Muslim fundamentalists like ISIS, Al-Qaida, etc. in the Middle East.
All these leaders are driven by the desire to have extreme control and exhibit unreasonable behavior. And their actions point in the direction of creating chaos, violence and fear among the population - something akin to what took place in the world in the 1930s just before World War II. This is also fuelled by easy availability of weapons and other warlike paraphernalia made available by the industrial military complex of major industrial nations. And now the COVID-19 pandemic has provided these leaders with a god-sent opportunity to further tighten their grip on power and their countries leading to turmoil and chaotic conditions.
Why has the world moved to such a perilous thought process? And what has happened to the sane and sober voices. There are worldly and other-worldly reasons for it!
Among the worldly reasons, I believe, such behavior is an outcome of tremendous insecurity among human beings fuelled by ever-increasing greed for resources and wealth. Increased population pressures, stress of daily life, increased expectations together with the need for instant gratification adds to the fear and insecurity of the population. It is also an outcome of mass scale instantaneous communication via internet and TV which creates a need to get instant feedback on social and other media. Thus most of the times people react to events rather than thinking deeply about them. This reaction leads to irrational behavior, spreading of rumors and false information so that the eventualities are not thought of and evaluated.
Also, it seems that people with increased joblessness and poverty have very little to do and with easy access to internet and social media, easily fall prey to people with ulterior motives who want to control them. Whether it is ISIS or right wing extremists, it is only a handful of controllers who exercise great power through their financial muscle, internet and mass media. This exercise of power is fuelled by fear of losing control.
Now with COVID-19 pandemic another type of fear has come in the vision field of mankind. This fear is also being used by dictatorial leaders to further tighten the grip on events which unfortunately they are finding out are not in their control. This is leading to quite a few irrational decisions like lockdowns, etc. I however feel that this is a powerful way in which nature is telling all of us that our unsustainable lifestyle is not conducive to mankind’s evolution and thus there will be many more pandemics like COVID-19 unless we mend our ways. Nevertheless this has created havoc in the world of financial, social and political spheres with far reaching consequences for future.
The other worldly reason could be that Earth is passing through space which produces such upheavals in humans. Just like great discoveries and inventions have come periodically to humans, similarly we get these destructive tendencies and evil forces as earth passes through knowledge space which is filled with memories from ancient civilizations having the ability to produce both positive and negative tendencies in humans. This other-worldly reason we cannot control but if we mend our ways to live sustainably and help in creating democratic and enlightened leadership then our world has hope.
One worldly way out of this predicament is to make work available for most of the population of the world. ‘An empty mind is a devils’ workshop’ is an old saying - pointing towards the importance of work for everybody especially the young. Recently very interesting though intriguing data from 70-80 countries show that anxiety levels increase when there is less work. Thus, anxiety levels are inversely proportional to the number of hours people work per year. Good hard work which taxes our minds and is physically challenging will help us improve our immunity and will be good for the body and soul. This can be helped when the corporate world reduce their greed and go slow on complete automation of manufacturing and other processes. Automation makes the workers redundant and increases the profits of corporates. It is this greed of the corporate world which has brought us to this perilous state of world affairs where fewer and fewer people are owning more and more wealth and resources of the world. This greed has also fueled the unsustainable lifestyle of the super-rich which most people like to copy.
Similarly it has also fueled the ascendancy of industrial-military complex whose sole aim is to fuel wars all over the world so that their costly armaments are continuously sold.
What is therefore needed is to increase the employment of population in high-tech agriculture, service industry and in sustainable and holistic processes where man-machine interface becomes the norm so that the wealth is spread among large section of population. In addition, an enlightened legislation, which allows people to negotiate their wages, rather than be paid some pre-structured and government- controlled minimum wages, can further aid this process.