Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Enlightenment-era ideal of human-progress&freedom.redundant today?


This is an attempt to show that, though the emergence of Western-notion or model of human progress and free-man with ‘in-alienable rights’etc was an unprecedented and unique development in the world, the immediately followed emergence of the modern-industry and the neo-political system of Democracy, could not support its sustainability, by its default (evil) world-view, and the same (evil) values of those two institutions.

The picture of the above model of 'free man' had no ambiguities. He was free to choose his way of making wealth, a necessary means to procure what he desired. He had all freedom to define his way of being happy. He insisted on having such a govt. that do not create hurdles on his such liberal ways of being happy in any manner. The role of govt. was to ensure, that no intervention from its part, and from the part of any other person create any hurdle in the above aspiration of individual man. 

About the ideal of progress too, similar clarity was there. Progress was understood as man's constant win over nature; its set speed of travel between places, communication between two or more people sitting at distant [places, overcoming the vagarities of extreme climate that hindered comfort and pleasure and fighting illness and diseases. Man was able to travel fast, in the land, air, and water to distant places and even distant continents,(also distant heavenly bodies!) invented fast and efficient communication technologies and devices such as the telephone and computers, improved medicinal science to treat diseases of all kinds. He was able to build permanent dwelling units with protection from the assault of extreme climates. He was able to create a synthetic world for himself, very different from what Nature had originally bestowed upon him! 

But was he able to sustain the tenets of unbridled human freedom?

Though every nation and its institutions in the world now claim, quote, and stand by the ideals of RIGHTS, LIBERTY, and DIGNITY of the individual man, the true fact is, that the rights and dignity seeking citizen is rather a burden than a blessing in modern-world, under the mastery of neo-polity and industry.

So, one could see the emergence of many movements, struggles and up-rising from many corners of the world today, a rising phenomenon of seeking alternative ‘self-identity' by citizens. The entire world was under the happy imageries of the rights and dignity of man for so many years, or even centuries, especially under the strength of United Nations Declaration of Human-Rights in 1948.

 But, in real life situation, all the nations now under great compulsion for achieving Economic-development by promoting Industry, could not keep the above great ideal at center-stage. As a result, that great and unprecedented ideal had a natural-death long-back!  Man came under the same old Feudalism-like socio-political-economic hegemony of a breed new Masters! Feudalism has gone, but a new, a more dangerous calamity has emerged! Man is once again NOT FREE and LIBERATED, yet again!

Modern states, whether despots ruled or democratic, are more cautious about their own safety and security. They are obsessed with these aspects more than that of protecting that of their citizens, the very END for which they had been instituted. Even in the USA, the most coveted Nation in the world for human rights and Liberty is now increasingly criticized for her police atrocities. She said to have the largest number of the jail population in the world! ( 1/4 of the total, 25%)  

About the above- narrated concept of 'progress' too, it reached only a limited percentage of people all over the world. Due to the policy of liberalism and free-trade, the few who strived hard were able to have all the above- referred gadgets of progress and comfort, leaving the rest majority in the same natural state of life they had been living since the beginning. The inequality factor was grave! Despite centuries of the said tenet of freedom and progress reigning in the world, its real fruit was able to reach only 30-40% of world population. Wealth and resources, in most cases, snow-balled into the pockets of a few hundred people and families ( less than 1%)
In USA, people's class recently had an unsuccessful agitation called the 'OCCUPY' agitation, claiming, it is the rule of 1% over the rest 99%.

In short, while the fruits of the said progress and freedom did not reach the majority population, there were murmurs about the very category of the said signs of progress.The index of human happiness did not rise in right proportion to the rise of his increased comfort of life. It strained relations between human beings, communities and also within families.  Wealth and possession ruled minds of the man than pious emotions. 

Let us take hereunder, a few real-world examples of how many localized-cultures reacted towards the onslaught of the said western -model of the freeman, human progress and culture: 

 Annihilation of localized cultures as a result of the assault and conquest of Western-Model

1) The Islamic-world

This conquering of the entire world by the Western-Culture, her consumerist and market-oriented 
(Globalism) culture, has created a never-heard identity crisis for men,  and also for many communities.

As evident from the authentic-statistics and recent research reports, very small percentage of the world get to enjoy the full-fruits of all western innovations and high-end life-amenities of modern-world. A minority elites, and we could say the new 'middle class', consists today's mainstream world. Though this middle-class is able to enjoy most of the life-amenities of modern-world, they always are engaged in a 'success' tug-o-war with each other, for proving who is better-off than the other! In short, world- population, say up to 99% as claimed by the US citizens in their recent OCCUPY-WALL STREET agitation, get to lead a life of 'accessories' for the 1% elites, who actually own and run the world!

The 'self-rooted' (
'self-interest' as wrongly claimed by Adam-Smith as base nature of man, now corrected as 'self-rooted  at blog-link: ) nature of this 99%, especially those who live far-away and alien to the affluence, individual-freedom of the said Western-way of life, for example, the Muslim world, greatly suffer from the pangs of ALIENATION from the mainstream. They get to watch on TV and other media sources, the sky and earth difference between their life, and the life of people at the other part of the world, which is portrayed as the 'mainstream'. They fail to connect themselves in any sensible way with the said mainstream, even remotely. Their life-under the Monarchies of the Arab-States offer little social and political maneuverability in their lives.

Their way of life is not reflected or projected in the above-said mainstream, modern-world!

This 'alienation' adds-up to the religious rigidity in their personal lives, thanks to the orthodoxy that still exists in their state religion, Islam. Due to the existence of 'Mullah' system, the system of having local religious-priests attached to every Mosque, going away from the small-village community to individual freedom and its ways is almost unthinkable. It could be done only at great risk of social and religious ostracism. So, it was either direct conforming to religion, or losing of social membership and even loss of life! For almost 100% Muslims in the world, it is either conforming to religious ways or getting out of community and life!

While the Royal families and the powerful members in politics and business have their Western ways, with frequent travels abroad, the life of ordinary Muslims got confined within the strict walls of separation from the mainstream-world, that they are so blatantly accustomed and exposed to at TV channels and social media outlets.The self-rooted human-beings, as we have seen earlier, cannot live long with such lack of belonging-ness with his external world. If allowed to live-in such circumstances for long, he will get spiritually split and broken. His internal pressure to self-express himself in the mainstream, and claim his space in the world will be uncontrollable!

Here, as no meaningful way exists to be part of the so-called mainstream world, as it was so alien and remote to him, the average Muslims in the Arab-world had no other means but to withdraw into his own small world of native Islamic piousness and purity. While every human-being is existentially willing to come out of his native cultural shell, and expand and bloom in whatever way, but if such new avenues do not admit him fully, or if he finds it too alien to his native thought-frame, he will always draw-back to his roots. Without a sensible and rational oneness with one's idea of the world, he starts feeling unbearable alienation and existential self-divide.

From this cocoon, the other world of West was irreligious and Godless for the Arab-Muslims, a rational cause for declaring them as enemies of their world and God!

Of course, the attack on Iraq, a part of the Islamic world had added-up to this vital self-rooted-ness. It was naturally treated as an attack on-their-own culture and religion. One of our specific blogs delves into this special case of Muslims, at link:

A world without any meaningful participation of Islam and its people was plainly unacceptable to them. And there was no other idea or notion of the world too, other than the westernized world in existence anywhere in the Globe! This was a real existential and identity issue for the Arab-Muslims, billions of them, to up-rise against the enemies of their culture and their God, who had destined them to be the way they are!

Terrorism is the natural strategy of every less-powerful group, who nurture a sense inequality, alienation, and who consider their enemy as much stronger for considering a direct encounter. The surprise element is their main weapon and strategy.

2) Naxalism, Maoism etc in India

Out of the 600 plus districts in India, more than 30% districts suffer from various kinds of anti-State up-rising, mostly from Tribal belts of the country. The natives of these districts still are unwilling to come out of their hamlets, and be a part of the mainstream. This poses a real hindrance to the highly industry-aspirant State, as these tribal belts are abundant with various metal, mineral and coal mines. Moreover, the geographical areas under their occupation are highly potential industrial-locations too. Re-locating them to other areas will give high-commercial gains to the State, in the form of great industrial development.

Here, it turned a real clash with basic 'self-rooted' nature of man and the self-interest driven industry and her partner in the game, State. An article from a Delhi University professor Karen Gabriel would give good insight into this phenomenon:

3) Hindutva, the new surge of Hindu pride in India 

Like Muslims, Hindus were there in the world for multi-centuries. Hindu society was caste-ridden, and the hegemony of the upper-caste was complete.But the British colonization and the subsequent emergence of India as an Industrially developed nation in the lines of her one-time Western masters was not able to transform Indian society into one of uniform-modern culture and dignified self-identity of one and all. What had happened was a plain handing-over of the old social-hegemony from Feudal Lords to the new industrial masters. The new democracy that was established in 1947, after freeing the nation from the British too, thoroughly failed to provide the people of India a uniform new dignified national self-identity. While a new industrial sector flourished, along with her ancillary bureaucratic class and a moderately well-off middle class, maximum population of the country had to suffer inequalities and socio-political discrimination at several fronts.

They had already been detached at least partially from their old Hindu social-norms, but when the new-world-order didn't offer them a better-self-identity and social reality, they were living with the similar mindset of the Muslim population in Arab-world, neither here, nor there. When the Hindu-Political party, BJP, came to power under PM Modi in 2014 after the party's elaborate electoral propaganda elevating the old Hindu pride and identity with the mission of wooing their votes, many a countryman in Hindu dominant India (80%) fell in the trap, and the electoral success of BJP naturally raised a sense of a revival of Hinduism in the country.

The false notion of superiority enjoyed by the majority population in the Arab world, and also in Muslim Pakistan over the citizens of other faith was taken as an example by the average Hindus, and they eagerly desired to adopt the same hegemony of the majority religious groups in India too, to elevate their losing self-identity in the anonymous sea of  the Western-culture dominated country. The Hindu religious groups and leaders found their suddenly renewed importance and relevance in the country, and they worked hard to unite all their grass-root units to ascertain domination and hegemony of Hindu culture in every nook- and corner of the country in no time.This lead to the new war-cry of Hindutva in India, the rising-up of Hindus to celebrate their regaining of their almost lost self-worth, relevance, and dignified self-identity.

4) The frustration of Americans also is visible, in their increasing support for the Republican presidential candidate Mr.Donald Trump, a fascist and divisive figure 

Leave rest of the world and take the example of recent America too. Newspapers and thinkers are worryingly amused and wondering how US citizens, with all the best in the world at their feet, now clamoring for a divisive figure like Mr.Donald Trump! He is clearly not liberal-minded, as evident from his uttering. He wanted to ban immigration of Muslims to the US, and stop outsourcing US jobs to outside countries like India. 

We need to mention here the latest BREXIT story too, wherein majority British citizens have opted to quit the European Union, and keep the uniqueness of British-ness intact! It is quite evidently a sign of abandoning the Globalization ideal of Free-Market. 

A new trend in the world is clearly visible.They stand against the tenet of liberal western culture, that stand for treating every man as equal. Not only that such an equality of status of all men has taken root in the world, but it has caused old-social structures to break-down.In India, the western-values and way of life were limited to her cities and urban areas. The vast rural population of India, now alienated and averted to western-culture, are too impressed with the stand of Mr.Trump, so they recently celebrated his Birth-day with fanfare and religious ceremonies meant towards ensuring his electoral success! 

When a new institution fails, people tend to go back to the past with more vigor and enthusiasm, for identifying with something solid and great. Man's SELF, a stuff that depends upon some other stuff, or object to RELATE TO, here gets into action mode. He seeks out something or other to relate to, and FEEL his sense of existence and reality. 

The newly observed general xenophobia in Europe, especially the UK, can not be seen outside our above explanation.Without a clear self-identity, as mentioned above, no man can find peace with himself. It is Nature's law.The western model was unprecedented, but it failed in its sustainability factor. 

So, modern world, we could say, is in cross-roads to invent a new model of self-identity to its inhabitants.


n all the above examples, what appears common was the uprising of various individual-culture and religious groups, who had got drowned in the anonymity of modernity and Globalism, in its market and consumerism-oriented culture.In the said modern culture, only those who had economic or political power had relevance and noticeable identity in society. The rests were a mere accessory and ancillary entities in every society.

Those who were not in the rat-race for economic or political success and up-man-ship had to resign to their life of total anonymity, lacking opportunity for any creative self-expression.The generally materialistic and consumerist western-culture has got the human-beings longing for spiritual identity, the natural urge of every self-rooted man!

Look anywhere in the modern world, and there was the reign of this western culture oriented lifestyle, preferences, norms and belief-system everywhere. It was a culture of men who aspired to live their lives just for the sake of it, finding total self-expression of their native abilities and tastes, and relishing life like a delicious candy.But only a very few could go fully into this kind of life, style, and worldview, as the majority of men and women had to play their role as mere accessories and ancillaries to such a system.

The existential energy that prompts the entrepreneur to go wild with his creativity and individual-achievement spirit is the same kind that a Terrorist, an anti-social or a criminal shares; it is equally wild and terrific! The latter despise and show contempt towards the achiever the same way the achiever despise the non-achievers and unsuccessful.The latter wish to give-back whatever personal humiliations, injustice, sense of wretchedness the world has given them through their acts of terrorism and vandalism. The non-belonging-ness towards the world and life the Terrorist and the anti-establishment men experience is similar to a degree that his so-called oppressors experience as love for life and gaining success!

The golden-law that derives from the above existential facts about life and society is that,one can not afford to go up and up on the ladder of success in life by causing any sense of non-belonging-ness, inferiority, or injustice to any other man, or group, whether it is personal life, institutional activity like industrial entrepreneurship, or modern political POWER business.The newly emerged science of ECOLOGY should be eye-opening for the world in this regard, that neglecting or not-caring for anything in the environment, whether it next-door man or entities and forces in nature, one should be ready to face equal and opposite consequence. Evolving a new philosophy of life for running personal lives, as well as our various collective institutions is inevitable.( see details of this at link:

The rise of the tenet of individual liberty in West was an unprecedented event is human history.But,it has lost its sheen and spirit immediately thereafter.Its revival and nurturing to new levels should be the urgent agenda of every one of us, the men of the mind, reason, and sense of responsibility for mankind's future.

The world badly needs an alternative ideology, a new model for the development of man.The western model stands almost failed and out. There is no other model in sight too. Unfortunately, no top intellectual, writer or university today is acutely aware of the above phenomenon. So, the world goes on and on, in a perplexed and confused way.

Authored by; Abraham J. Palakudy
An independent Philosophy, mind and polity researcher and seeker.
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