Pandemic-time dharma for the middle-class people:
Become wealthier, powerful and influential
Although this essay is about the vast majority of non-elite middle-class people of India, this will probably apply to all ordinary citizens who constitute the majority in any country
For long, “I”, or the ego, or the egotistical, arrogant, selfish, brash, mindless aspect of one’s being, has been called humankind’s biggest enemy.
The “I” can manifest slyly in many ways, under the radar in darkness, hence difficult to “catch”, unless brought under the light of consciousness proactively and courageously.
The “I” has particularly become a pandemic, a deadly or killer social ‘disease’ among the world’s middle-class non-elite majority, especially so in India.
While a well-regulated, managed, subdued or cultivated “I” is said to be beneficial to oneself as well as to others, in reality, the “I” manifests usually in negative, internecine ways.
The “I” as it manifests among ordinary middle-class, non-elite Indian citizens has wreaked havoc on the nation for several decades now, crimping the talented middle-income group’s entrepreneurial energies, enterprise, drive, talent, potential and evolution.
Owing to disunity created by the obsession with "I", the middle-class people have become their own worst enemies. In the process, they have unwittingly become the real villains behind India’s under-developed status for decades.
And as long as the “I” remains active and strong, India’s fate, and Indians’ fate, will remain sealed in an unopened envelope of untapped potential.
Here’s how the “I” manifests among India’s middle-class people. Herein also lies not only insight but also the key to open the door to a better future.
How to open that door? The path to a better future is riddled with ten “I” hurdles. Simply overcome, clear or jump over them. As simple as that! Just cast or toss these 10 “I”s aside.
That’s how the middle-class people, who form the majority in any country, can quickly find ways to unite, cooperate, collaborate, and co-create a better future for each one of them individually, and for everyone collectively.
That is the only way ordinary people, who have been divided, victimized, exploited, tricked and conned by the elites since time immemorial, can become richer, stronger, wealthier, influential in both material and spiritual ways.
Otherwise, if they don’t unite, cooperate and collaborate, then the elites will use high-tech, dehumanizing powerful technologies and biotech to first make “asses” out of “masses”, and then make the “asses” extinct.
Do you want to first become an ass and then go extinct? If not, then read on to realize what are the ten (10) I-hurdles you need to overcome or toss aside quickly, urgently.
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition, was not the victriolic words and violent actions of the bad people, but the appalling silence and indifference of the good people. Our generation will have to repent not only for the words and acts of the children of darkness but also for the fears and apathy of the children of light."
-- Dr Martin Luther King Jr, in his speech at the Dinkier Plaza Hotel (Atlanta, Georgia, in the U.S.) on January 27, 1965.
|| 1) Individualism || 2) Indifference || 3) Intolerance || 4) Ignorance || 5) Intransigence || 6) Idiocy || 7) Indolence || 8} Introvertedness || 9) Inefficiency || 10) Insurality || In conclusion...
Rather, “hyper-individualism” would be a more apt term to describe this negative trait prevalent among India’s middle-class people.
The sense of “I” or ego (as in misplaced, unfounded individuality powered by irrational arrogance and unjustifiable pride) is the bane of middle-class people at an individual level. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen wrote a book whose title is “The Argumentative Indian”.
We love to argue for no reason. We indulge in oneupmanship and bullying if we can get away with it. We suffer from “tope” syndrome and tunnel vision and one-track mind.
We resist the need to view an issue dispassionately from multiple perspectives. Each one of us imagines oneself to be some sort of superhero or super-achiever without facts (real-life achievements) backing up such claims of the ego inside the head.
This individualism powered by ego prevents us from being objective, dispassionate, humble, fact- and truth-oriented. Instead, it creates self-deceptions and ‘delusions of grandeur’. Mindless individualism manifesting in the form of selfishness and self-centredness prevents us from making genuine progress in life, and from evolving as a person to a higher plane.
It traps or straitjackets us in a socioeconomic box or bracket. It enslaves us to ego’s preferences, priorities, likes, comfort zone, the known, the familiar. It repels change and prefers stagnation, status quo, complaceny, stasis, slow-burn. It makes us adopt a play-it-safe approach, or be risk-averse, defensive in our outlook, or we become unreasonably, irrationally greedy and insecure. It creates a closed mind that is not open to possibilities and opportunities. (Continued...)
1) Individualism (continued)...
Not just individuals, even each nuclear-family unit among the middle class appears to have contracted the pandemic of "individualism" vis-a-vis community / society, under the influence of ego (assumed significance or exaggerated sense of importance), saturated selfishness, greed, fear, insecurity, anxiety, cowardice, laziness, get-rich-quick-and-get-ahead mentality.
What individual middle-class families fail to ask of themselves are some key questions. An example will help illustrate this point better.
1) Imagine a middle-class person / family over a period of, say, 85 years (which is the kind of lifespan one would have expected these days until COVID-19 surfaced). Let's say, this person / family consumes goods and services worth $100 over the 85-year period.
2) Next, imagine the overall cost of production and distribution of such goods and services equals $100.
3) So, over a period of 85 years, the ecosystem / society 'invests' $200 in all to keep a non-elite person / family alive and productive. That's the "investment" side. What about the return on investment? Relative to the cutting edge of science, technology, other kinds of knowledge and skills out there in the ecosystem, is that non-elite person / family producing economic and social value worth much more than $200 over the period of 85 years? If the economic and social value produced by a middle-class person / family equals or is around $200, then the investment does not make much sense for the ecosystem, in terms of returns. If the economic and social value produced is much more than $200 (say, $600), then the returns justify the investment. But, if the economic and social value contributed is, say, a paltry $20 (that is, much less than $200), then it would mean, the non-elite person/family is a parasite on the ecosystem or the dregs of society.
Does the non-elite middle-class person/family, full of ego and selfish pursuits due to the pandemic of individualism, still nurse a sense of exaggerated self-importance and self-entitlement? Do they feel the world owes them a comfortable life and respect and all the goodies, comforts, pleasures, conveniences, privileges, perks?
Or, will they invoke concepts and theories like human rights, human dignity, value of human life, price of "cooperation", "compliance" and "conformity", etc?
As a middle-class person, if you think such concepts are applicable to you, and if you also believe that brilliant geniuses are supposed to pass on the benefits of their science and technologies to you without thinking in terms of investments and returns, then don't the same rules of humanity apply to you vis-a-vis the underprivileged, the downtrodden, the poor and the oppressed?
Why then do you indulge in individualism and ego, and cite "C'est la vie", "survival of the fittest", "winner takes all", "life is unfair, tough", etc, whenever it suits you? Double standards, huh? Are you really important?
A most horrible consequence of hyper-individualism, indifference is the mind’s way of shutting out what the ego interprets as a threat or challenge to selfish interests, or personal preferences of one’s comfort zone – the known and the familiar. The mind also tends to shut out anything that the ego perceives as demand on one's time / attention for dealing with (from the ego’s perspective) insignificant or inconsequential issues.
Generally, focus is good; but when such sharpened focus becomes obsessive and fixed on selfish interests even when it ought to be shifted to bigger issues (the Big Picture), everything else appears like a nuisance, botheration, disturbance, invasion, imposition or intrusion.
And then, indifference sets in. Indifference or insouciance alienates one from others, the community and the ecosystem, disregards the interconnectedness principle and violates the fact of interdependence that underpins our very existence. When a fundamental is violated, one will pay a very heavy price eventually.
A particularly detestable form of indifference / insouciance is 'everyday diplomatic filth', which, in this digital age, takes the form of selective attention, just to appear friendly and polite. So: in a chat or on an instant-messaging app like, say, WhatsApp, you receive several messages on different topics. You bestow your attention on, and respond to, only inane, sensational, fascinating, seemingly profound or trivial messages, 'sweet-nothings', 'feel-good' content, and careless whispers.
But, either consciously or unconsciously, you remain indifferent to (or deliberately ignore) messages about society, community, nation, etc, which you fear might stir your conscience, spur second thoughts on serious, fundamental or existential issues, necessitate your action, participation, contribution or involvement that would NOT result in immediate personal gain, advantage or benefit, or may make a demand on your time, attention, energy or money that you want to reserve entirely for your own selfish interests and pursuits.
Because of individualism and indifference, any persistent efforts of others to elicit interest in Big-Picture goings-on are rebuffed through intolerance, or due to inability to reach agreement or consensus on crucial issues.
The divisive “Us” versus “Them” mindset takes strong hold in the mind. When intolerance takes extreme forms, it could, in association with other factors, lead to violence, murders, wars, or genocides. It could also lead to resistance to good change by way of non-cooperation and impatience.
“My way or the highway” attitude grips the personality.
Selfishness, self-centredness create excessive, obsessive focus on self, job, career, nuclear family, small inner circle of “like-minded” friends/colleagues (rather friends with same or similar vices, habits, addictions or value system), to the exclusion of everything and everyone else, creating walls of exclusivity that stop knowledge and awareness from informing and enriching one’s consciousness.
As a result, ignorance, especially of cosmic principles of interconnectedness and interdependence, and of the symbiotic relationship between the part and the whole (or the individual and the community / society / environment / Nature), sets in.
This in turns leads to ignorance of the Big Picture, larger systems. And when systemic flaws deepen and head in the direction of an implosion or explosion, ignorance will keep one from becoming knowledgeable and well-informed.
And during tipping-point moments at the cliff edge, ignorance and herd mentality lead to wrong decisions or bad choices.
Typically, ignorance is a consequence of excessive focus on oneself, one's nuclear family, household, domain (job / career / profession / vocation), and the 'small inner circle' of 'like-minded', same-feather "friends"/"relatives".
And in this age of super-specialization and super-super-specialization, "I am the universe", "Me and my family are the universe", "my field is the universe", "my circle is the universe" type of misconceptions are prevalent.
For example, these days, a "doctor" is no more than an "expert" on one particular organ in a human body. He considers that particular organ alone in a patient to be his concern. His/her knowledge of the organ may well be top-class, in-depth, inside-out (or not). But, these days, he/she goes about his/her job without factoring in the particular organ's interconnectedness and interdependence with other organs as well as the whole body and even other bodies. Worse, the wisdom that relief from symptoms is not the same as health, recovery, cure is lost due to ignorance. And due to ignorance, the knowledge that mental health and physical health are deeply connected, and that a doctor's 'personal connect' with the 'whole being' of the patient, marked by empathy, personal chemistry, compassion and a sense of shared humanity is disregarded. Shame!
And this shame applies to each and every profession, not just the medical field, and not just to one culture, region, geography, religion or civilization.
Except a bit of domain knowledge, super-saturated selfishness, and some superficial, hazy bits of information on key subjects, most middle-class people are ignorant, and not at all knowledgeable, of so-called weighty issues or serious topics that are nevertheless going to have serious implications and impacts on their personal health, personal life, family, personal finances, job, career, community, society, nation, environment and planet as a whole -- their very future and existence.
Yet, most middle-class people 'choose' to remain ignorant about the topics/subjects that are directly related to the quality of their lives, well-being, status, dignity, and future.
Yet, in spite of doctoral / master's degrees or similar higher education, and easy access to knowledge and other resources, and "benefits" of globalization, most middle-class people have only cursory interest in, and superficial knowledge of, such subjects
Why? Because of their obsessive focus on selfish interests and self-centredness and preoccupation with the rat race (making both ends meet, professed struggle for survival, and all that).
These are the issues that everyone should have a grip on, but unfortunately most middle-class people think these have no direct relevance to their everyday lives:
climate change; rise of authoritarian/totalitarian regimes; rise of post-truth, populist, rhetoric-happy conmen and charlatans in the guise of strongmen/dictators; rise of inhuman, dehumanizing, dangerous technologies; widening socioeconomic inequalities; the coming together of evil-minded corporates and State ("corporate State"); brightening prospects for post-apocalyptic dystopian states; environmental meltdown; lethal 'killer' combination of information technology, biotech, finance and governments; rise of cryptocurrencies and even digital currencies as legal tender; global financial system, wealth transfers from the non-elites to the elites during both regular times and crises (like the 2008-09 GFC and the 2020 pandemic), capital flows, inflation, interest rates, tax and welfare policies ...
The true implications of these developments are there for everyone to see now; they have been disruptingl our lives for last several months/years; they have disempowered, defrauded, devitalized and dehumanized us already; yet, we, the middle-class people, remain 'ignorant' because we have become excessively selfish, egotistical and zombie-like.
Middle-class individuals become hardened persons over a period of time in terms of mindset, and approach to life and living – rigid, obstinate, stubbon, adamant, recalcitrant, always refusing to behave differently or to even consider changing their attitude toward something. This is particularly virulent when they deal with fellow middle-class people (peers) who are "not like us" or "not like-minded".
This eventually will come back to haunt one because by preventing one from extending cooperation and support, intransigence weakens movements, campaigns or initiatives for positive change. And when the Big Picture scenario decays and implodes under its own weight of systemic flaws that were not fixed in time through proactive embrace of change, then even those who were / are intransigent will perish for sure.
When middle-class people focus excessively, obsessively on selfish interests and self-centredness and self-absorbed lifestyle, then the grip of evil capitalism-shaped socioeconomic system on their psyche tighens, resulting in crass consumerism, dumbing down through populist discourse, rhetoric, media narratives, entertainment.
People become zombies or automatons in spite of higher education. They also become powerless, helpless – totally disempowered as individuals by the larger system.
Combined with ignorance, idiocy results in mindless conformism, fear-based compliance, and insecurity- or anxiety-ridden greed for undeserving stability and continuity.
That is, even when the whole building is (or set) on fire, and is burning down (or is being burnt down), middle-class individuals who have become selfish idiots continue to think only in terms of their own flat / apartment, and refuse to act in ways that can first save the whole building.
That’s because, all their whole adult life, they focused on nothing but their own flat, their own selfish interests, their own nuclear family. In their head, there is only one “roap map” to personal riches, personal comforts, personal prosperity.
Their subconscious mind had got programmed to tread only that road, no matter what. Their dreams are neurally paired with that road. They are now unable to re-program their mind. They feel terrible when circumstances require them to shift their focus / attention to the larger picture. They feel the Big Picture is somehow obliged to help them go down their chosen road and reach their “destination”.
In their mind, they feel not being able to reach the pre-planned “destination” would be a terrible letdown. Not being able to do up the interiors as planned in the next three years, or not being able to renovate, refurbish or restyle their apartment as planned in the next seven years, or not being able to buy this furniture or that appliance, or not being able to repaint walls with this distemper or that paint … not fulfilling those carefully laid out plans would appear such a letdown.
But, in the grip of such thoughts, they fail to realize that when the whole building / estate itself is being razed or burned down, it is absolutely insane, foolish and mindlessly selfish to continue to think only about one’s own flat.
This applies not just to flat-/home-owners but even to tenants and prospective homebuyers. Everyone seems obsessed with one’s personal life matters and selfish interests to the utter exclusion of the larger community, society, the environment and the planet. Those “larger” responsibilities are outsourced or delegated to rascals, thugs, criminals, scoundrels, and charlatans who are patronized with tax payments whose use is not monitored nor transparent and fully accounted for.
The Western type of profit-driven, reckless, unsustainable capitalist model of socioeconomic system of the last 150+ years, spawned by the Industrial Revolution, has run its course, and is dragging the planet and the humanity toward a cliff edge.
Yet, the majority middle-class people, who are the victims along with the downtrodden and the oppressed, appear not a bit concerned or scared. Why?
Most middle-class people appear to think they are actually the beneficiaries of a flawed capitalist system, and hence prefer the status quo of capitalism. Therefore, they resist or sabotage (or don't support efforts for) change that would be positive / better for the whole, not just parts. They fancy themselves as people just one step, or a few short steps, away from becoming / joining / being accepted by the elites. And they actually believe they belong there. Such pseudo-elite middle-class jokers-cum-rascals can be easily recognized. They can be broadly classified under the following categories:
Psychopaths / sociopaths masquerading as leaders in various roles (low-level politicians, administrative heads, CEOs, CXOs of small-time companies, soul-less scientists, heartless fund managers, ruthless section supervisors, merciless 'bosses', manipulative local-level 'gurus', etc)
Climbers of the socioeconomic ladder who misuse soft skils (interpersonal charm, soft-spokenness, external polite behavior, agreeable demeanor, gentle countenance, smile-marked face, table manners, etiquette, terrific sense of attire / makeup) and have 'understood' the current flawed system, and have reconciled themselves to the convenient notion that "this is life", and so have decided to become masters of 'gaming' or 'riding' the flawed system. That is, they have learned to sleep with the enemy, the Devil; so, they don't want any change
Addicts / slaves of 'vices' / enjoyers of 'cheap thrills' or pleasures or indulgences who are able to do all that because of (not in spite of) the flawed system
Complacent, risk-averse, play-it-safe individuals characterized by mediocrity and absence of pursuit of excellence
Extremely selfish, insular individuals who think the whole exists for the part(s), so they also believe it is the legitimate right of individuals to live off community, society, environment and planet like parasites
Merit-less fellows who have benefited more than they deserve and who still want more (and more and more of everything); these toadies, cronies, henchmen, yes-men or parasites want to get ahead of even meritorious people by hook or by crook (mostly using wrong / foul / unethical means, like sucking up to, or supporting, evil-doers), even if that imperils the whole itself . . . and who rationalize it by way of untenable concepts like "survival of fittest", "new age, new mores", "c'est la vie", "life is unfair, difficult, tough, rough", "winner takes all"
Those who have an unfair and undeserving advantage over others because of loopholes at social customs or policy level, and hence want to perpetuate the "privilege", usually by resisting / sabotaging change that can transform the flawed system, expose them, be positive for the whole society at a big-picture level but not-so-good for those who would lose their undeserving "privilege" that has not been earned properly.
7) Indolence / Indecisiveness
This means “avoidance of activity or exertion; laziness.” That is, even when change is for one’s own good, and positive for community, the primitive brain’s / ego’s absolutist, context- and nuance-blind interpretation that “all change is bad” is accepted by a middle-class person unquestioningly.
Because, at the subconscious level, there is a neural association that “work not directly related to selfish interests” and “work not producing instant personal gratification / pleasure / comfort / gain / profit / benefit” as per preconceived, desired or hoped-for expectations is “pain”.
So: “Avoid pain” = “Avoid work”. Which means, a middle-class person avoids even that “work” which can save his/her life.
The converse of this is equally true. Any pleasure, addiction, mindset, attitude, strategy that has become outdated, dangerous, and could eventually result in pain / destruction / death is still persisted with, or continued to be indulged in.
That is the destructive power and adverse effect of indolence.
More often than not, indolence manifests in the form of intellectual paralysis, also known as indecisiveness.
And indecisiveness is actually lack of faith combined with shameless opportunism -- the trait of fence-sitters and "grey-zone" specialists, who believe in nothing -- neither in the light of consciousness nor in the darkness of ignorance / nescience.
Unable to make up their mind even once in favor of either this side or that, these indecisive people are always vacillating, looking at either side and moving, swinging or oscillating within their grey zone, but never crossing over, never bringing themselves to that great, game-changing leap of faith -- for want of, well, Faith, and hence always lacking in 100-percent conviction, belief, confidence and courage.
Deep within, they do know, however, what is the right thing to do; they instinctively do recognize the merit of light, the goodness, the divine, but somehow are unable to muster enough courage to shake off the temptations of the material realm, the Devil that has been manifesting in the form of the reckless, heartless, soul-deficient, manipulative, deceitful, profit-minded capitalist, corporation or company.
That gnawing "what if" doubt -- "What if goodness / Truth won't pay or triumph ultimately?"; "What if there is no God?"; "What if Evil is all powerful?" ... -- nibbles away at their faith and confidence a little every day, pushing them toward the cliff edge inch by inch.
And by sheer force of the old habit's momentum, middle-class people tend to remain stuck in the rut of indecisiveness, as they allow so-called "practical" aspects (and "priorities") of day-to-day desire-fueled life to cloud the good things they instinctively know and also learned when they were children (and even realize them to be true), but somehow lack the courage as adults now to stand by such principles, no matter what.
Maybe because of external forces’ consequests and humiliating rule for centuries, or maybe because the post-Independence rule of the Indian elites has been horrific, or maybe because they subverted democracy, and made a mockery of institutions, perpetuating dynasties and feudalism, majority middle-class people have all become introverted vis-à-vis community.
This introvertedness gets accentuated by loaded messages and secret subliminal conditioning through media and entertainment content, and by the mega scale of institutions vis-à-vis Lilliput-like individuals.
So, the ordinary middle-class educated person has low self-esteem, low self-confidence, a defensive approach to living, a play-it-safe mindset marked by a risk-averse, low-profile attitude.
All this has made a middle-class Indian introverted, shy, reclusive, small-minded, with no self-belief.
A typical middle-class Indian, if hypnotized and made to speak, will probably confess to a sense of insignificance, disempowerment, smallness, hopelessness.
All these are not brought out into the light of consciousness. Instead, the ego is allowed to cover these up through make-believe, pretense, impostor-like behavior, bombast, hyper-individualism, false pride, arrogance, show-off posturing, myths of self-importance, delusions of grandeur, self-deceptions, basking in others’ reflected glory, indifference, apathy, evasiveness, mediocrity, lack of pursuit of excellence, getting caught up in rat race and busy-busy hectic routines, thus losing sight of what can really save -- Citizenship 2.0.
These in turn lead to insecurity, anxiety, stress, fear, cowardice, which spark greed for undeserving stability, continuity, leaving little time nor inclination to look within, instrospect, find answers and "know thyself".
How to know thyself? Simple, really. Just ask the following questions of yourself.
1) Having gathered loads of experience and knowledge over the millennia, and having observed the merits and demerits (or pros and cons) of various systems over several centuries, what is really important for you in life?
Let the answer be utterly original; let it spring sincerely from within you. Let not concepts and ideas induced or implanted in you by the ecosystem through culture, media messages, entertainment, populist discourse, popular narratives influence your answer.
2) Again, having gathered loads of experience and knowledge over the millennia, and having observed the merits and demerits (or pros and cons) of various systems, large cities / nation-states / empires or blocs over several centuries, what in your view would be the ideal size of a community or society?
3) How should such a community live and go through life? How should people in such a community organize themselves individually and collectively? What should they be doing, and how should they do it?
4) Is the current life pattern and socioeconomic system helping you to experience or have what you REALLY value, cherish and want in life? If yes, you must be a happy person. If not, then what in the system is not allowing you to experience or have what you REALLY value, cherish and want in life?
5) Do you believe the current global socioeconomic system is a "natural" one, life itself, or is it man-made / artificial and can (and should) be reviewed, evaluated and discarded, if necessary?
6) If the current system is far from (or a contrast to) what you described in your answer to question 3, then how do you think we could best transition to "your system" from the current flawed system?
Attempt sincere and honest answers to those SIX questions, and you will "know thyself".
All the factors discussed above result in inefficient allocation of financial, mental, intellectual, philosophical and spiritual resources to individual matters and community affairs.
The surrender of intellect through learned idiocy induced by the larger ecosystem makes one helpless, and one is forced to accept lack of transparency and accountability in the larger system.
So, a middle-class person pays various taxes, but can’t hold anyone responsible or accountable for corrupt use of government revenues.
There is a glaring discrepancy or inefficiency in the ratio and proportion by which one’s personal (financial, mental, intellectual, philosophical and spiritual resources) resources are allocated or distributed toward individual interests and community matters.
Even in terms of time and physical energy, middle-class people’s involvement and participation in community, on which they depend directly, has become indirect and thus inefficient. This malaise -- lack of efficiency -- spills over into even personal life and job and relationships.
This inefficiency is the direct cause of the degeneration of Indian society and Indian democracy. At an individual level, the middle-class individual believes he / she is accumulating assets and prospering somehow, slowly but surely, in spite of the all-round mess in society.
But, this is not an achievement but symptomatic of an inefficient person who lands in a ditch, but keeps on digging it deeper and deeper, without having a detached, objective, dispassionate overview of the Big Picture.
Individualism and the rest of other “I”s create insularity. “No man is an island” – so goes a saying. But the middle-class Indian citizen insulates himself / herself and his / her family from the dynamics and mechanics of the larger community / society. Or at least imagines that he / she is successful in doing so.
But can an individual / family truly isolate or insulate oneself from the positive or negative effects of the community / society, of which they are part? Doesn’t insularity, which is an inefficient way of dealing with community, eventually weaken and short-change the very community without which an individual / family can’t exist?
Can a leaf, flower, fruit or branch exist if it insulates itself from the nourishing parent that is the tree? And, don’t all leaves together help sustain the tree? Isn’t the leaf-tree relationship symbiotic?
Most middle-class people have already reaped huge "benefits" from hyper economic globalization of the last few decades. Such "benefits" have been in the form of relatively better jobs, higher salaries, using which they could afford luxury lifestyles, comforts, prosperity, assets, rich experiences, and access to indulgences, pleasures, ‘sins’, vices, addictions, etc.
Middle-class people equate the paltry, ephemeral material comforts and pleasures that evil capitalism-fuelled socioeconomic system has given them with "benefits", as if they are the be-all-and-end-all of life in human form.
But the key question to ask is this: Have you really benefitted? Or, as the video above proves, have you not been tricked by the elite-operated flawed system into making unconscionable trade-offs for such paltry comforts and pleasures?
Somehow, “successful” middle-class people believe all that they have received so far in life is really "hard-earned”, and that they truly deserve all of that.
Worse, they find it convenient to live in denial and delusion, and hence ignore the fact that the same process of hyper economic globalization has wreaked unconscionable havoc on others as well as the planet, reducing the latter to “collateral damage”.
Merely because the middle-class people do not have (or do not want to have) a global perspective, it does not absolve them of part of the responsibility for the global mess that the world finds itself in today.
This is how "hard-earned" notion actually works in real life:
A middle-class person receives expensive industry-oriented skills in the name of “education” that is usually subsidized by taxpayers’ money
He/she then employs such skills and abilities by working his/her ass off in a drudgery- and stress-inducing job performed in sinful air-conditioned workplaces
Such workplaces are home to corrupted systems and practices instituted by evil-minded institutions
All this activity across various fields of human endeavor eventually adds up to inflict more sin, pain and adversity on helpless others, and devitalizes community, society, the environment and the planet.
Just look around, take stock of what had happened over the last few decades, and you will realise this to be true.
So, like it or not, all the wealth and assets accumulated by the “successful” middle-class people so far on the back of globalization are not exactly "hard-earned" nor "sin-free". Anything but.
As a matter of fact, economic globalization of the last few decades has widened economic inequalities, and resulted in lopsided, haphazard, uneven distribution of wealth, concentrating or funneling it into just an extremely tiny fraction of human population. You just need to read ONLY ONE book -- Thomas Piketty’s data-rich “Capital” -- to get the full story.
Even after the 2020 pandemic outbreak, this tiny fraction shamelessly, heartlessly and remorselessly focused on increasing their wealth manifold even as millions lay dead or dying while many more fought the coronavirus to just survive COVID-19 and stay alive.
Amid all this, as disruptions played havoc with everyday routines (“rat race”), middle-class people with accumulated wealth and assets acted no differently from the elites, at the mental level at least. Shame!
While the already “successful” middle-class people may not have been able to increase their wealth like the super-elites did – not because of dearth of intent but because of circumstances – their primary concern has been how to secure, protect and grow what they think is their “hard-earned” wealth.
This attitude is no different from that of rich, wealthy countries with gargantuan economies. Middle-class people's attitude almost mimics that of rich nations, erstwhile imperial powers, feudals, hegemons:
"We will create the mess, contribute to it, help perpetuate it, resist change by reinforcing status quo. But we will never accept responsibility nor will we proactively initiate measures to clean up the mess to make amends, even if the manufactured or (hu)man-made mess will eventually decimate everything and everyone, including us."
After destroying cultures, societies, civilizations and the environment, and having plundered the planet’s natural resources with gay abandon for decades/centuries through economic globalization, financial hegemony, political and military skullduggery, each of these rich nations and erstwhile imperial monsters adopted a policy of “My country first."
Like them, a typical greedy materialistic middle-class person, having become wealthy through economic globalization, suddenly adopted the principle of "Me / my family first." A few vulgar variants of that principle are "My village first”, “My caste first", “My religion first”, “My race first”. And so forth.
What the middle-class people need to realize and appreciate urgently is that it is vitally important to do the right thing, no matter what.
Dear middle-class person: do the right thing, no matter what. That alone will serve your interests.
First, know what is the right thing to do in any given context, and do it, no matter what. And do so even if it does not always further your personal interests immediately, even if you don't like doing it, even if you are averse to doing it, even if your ego hates such action.
Do not blindly, or by force of habit, keep on doing that which you think helped you in the past – it may not necessarily produce similar results in the present and the future.
Doing the right thing as per the context of the situation could sometimes mean doing precisely that which the ego hates, or that which appears unpleasant, uncomfortable, new, unknown, unprecedented, even risky.
Even if you have to be selfish, then at least try to be genuinely, fully (100%), sensibly selfish. Be smart about being selfish. Know the true meaning of being SELFish. Make SELF-realization your goal. You must do ONLY that which will truly benefit you.
You ought not to allow the conditioned mind's perception (or your ego's misinterpretation) of the past to shape your decisions, actions and inaction today. You can't overlook the fact that the perceived paltry "benefits" of the past came at a very heavy cost -- the trade-offs you have been tricked into accepting unconsciously have disempowered and devitalized you in every conceivable role (citizen, voter, taxpayer, consumer, employee, technology-user, student, jobseeker, service-user, etc). From now on at least, you must therefore do ONLY that which will truly benefit you and save your ass.
Ask yourself: will continued inaction, insensible selfishness, self-centredness, non-committalism, mindless conformism, spineless compliance, indifference, apathy, feathering one's own nest, play-it-safe defensive or risk-averse approach, minding one's own business, silence, fear, cowardice, ignorance, cluelessness, just biding time in vain hopes, complacence, mediocrity, ego, non-cooperation vis-a-vis peers, cussedness, intransigence, recalcitrance ... empower you now or secure a safe future for you and your family?
You have been adopting such a 'strategy' all these years. You imagine you have benefited a lot. But have you? Look at your true position in society today in all the roles you play as an individual (citizen, voter, taxpayer, consumer, employee, technology-user, student, jobseeker, service-user, etc). Also, look at the REAL (not imagined/fictional) quality of your own society and its systems and institutions. Whatever "progress" you think mankind has made so far, don't you see it has not only NOT empowered you but actually disempowered, devitalized and dehumanized you?
So, what makes you assume that persisting with that failed 'strategy' will somehow produce different, better results for you, going forward? Is it not tantamount to both irresponsible, lazy behaviour and a self-destructive death-wish?
Stop overlooking or misperceiving facts, reality, truth. See them as they truly are. If you persist with a failed strategy, your total disempowerment, destruction and extinction, rest assured, will be a foregone conclusion, a socioeconomic inevitability and a mathematical certainty.
So, quickly cleanse your heart, reprogram your mind and sharpen your focus on “doing the right thing”, follow it up with suitable, purposeful, strategic, and well-thought-out action. That will probably make you richer, stronger and more influential.
In this context alone, you must endeavor to become wealthier, powerful and more influential. There is no contradiction here, by the way. What matters really is what you do with those riches.
If you don't aspire for, struggle, make sustained and disciplined efforts, and attain more riches, then the evil-minded elites will continue to swindle humanity and plunder the planet even more.
And that will not only further widen existing enormous socioeconomic inequalities but also give them the power and means to arbitrarily determine the direction the humanity’s future will take.
Using their vast financial, political, administrative and technological powers and resources at their command, they will unilaterally decide which technologies and systems will receive investments.
Developments, recent events of the past few decades and investment trends clearly show that the super-wealthy decide arbitrarily what technologies will be our future. Such decisions do not reflect any appreciation of the ground-level reality and urgent needs and priorities of the humanity.
Instead, they smack of contempt for the masses, age-old problems, misplaced priorities. Hence, there is still poverty, under-development, poor healthcare, industry-oriented, skill-imparting "education" (and not real education that can make humans out of homo sapiens), abysmal welfare, crumbling infrastructure, harmful radiation-emitting technologies, greed-fueled crass consumerism.
As stated earlier, even during the pandemic, some of the wealthy have become super-wealthy shamelessly, with a sub-group among the super-elites even cannibalizing other elites, not just the middle-income and low-income groups and the downtrodden and the underprivileged.
The powerful regimes across the world, spanning all kinds of ideologies, cultures, religions and systems of governance, have already become so evil-minded, totalitarian, fascist and authoritarian at their secret and well-disguised core that they won’t probably hesitate to use automated, remote-controlled, high-tech robot-police, robot-military forces, drone-mounted machine guns and biotech weapons to mercilessly butcher any protestors or opponents from ordinary citizens, or to depopulate societies. They will try to perpetuate themselves and their evil rule through use of fear, deception, fiction, brute force, and technology. They will divide and rule.
So it is vitally important for the non-elite ordinary people to become richer. Because, if the middle-class people don’t become richer, stronger and more influential, then the super-wealthy will become even more richer, even more powerful, even more evil-minded, sealing our fate.
Worse, the downtrodden and underprivileged would permanently lose the opportunity to improve their lot and become the new middle class.
That should be the purpose of today’s middle-class becoming richer – they should use all the new wealth to improve the lot of the poor and the downtrodden, to focus on long-pending basic problems, to sustain and protect the environment and the planet, and to ensure wealth is used for right purposes, not to develop useless, dangerous, dehumanizing technologies and systems.
How to do that? Join NRI-Natter immediately. Let’s imagine, visualize, conceptualize, design and co-create a new world of our dreams. We can do it. Because it is doable. So, we must do it, no matter what.
But this tiny window of opportunity has to be seized now. Else, we will never again get this opportunity. Now or never. Do or die.
Let’s overcome or clear these TEN (10) hurdles, toss them aside, and build a New India / New World together, shall we? That’s the only way we ordinary people can become richer and stronger in both material and spiritual realms.
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