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SOUL-SEARCHER

March 2021: Finally, here’s the world’s first kit to activate the intellect and conscience of the zombified second- and third-generations of middle-class Indians -- that is to say, citizens of post-Gandhiji independent India (born in 1955 or later), who constitute a key segment of the majority non-elites today.

 
(The term “middle-class Indian” refers to all non-elites, India’s majority middle- and lower-income groups, who have received some amount of education, and have ‘progressed’ in material-realm life considerably, relative to their own parents and grandparents.)


The following set of questions are what you, the middle-class Indian, had always want to ask of yourself but were afraid of looking them in the eye. 


You can’t afford to do that any longer, given the COVID situation, the societal meltdown, the fast-changing global socioeconomic and geopolitical scene, and the rapidly evolving possibilities of totally dystopian societies taking root everywhere. Choosing status quo is not an option anymore. 


Change – massive change – is essential and inevitable. But that would become imminent only if India’s educated working class overcome mediocrity, laziness, selfishness, greed, cowardice and resistance to change. 


The educated working class are key because they can tilt the scales either way. If they decide to stop being unwitting accomplices of an entrenched rotten system – it is a system that will bring about their own disempowerment and destruction anyway, if it is allowed to continue – then the entire majority middle- and lower-income groups will turn as well, for the better.


So, dear middle-class Indian, here is your chance to do some soul-searching.


We recommend you download the MS-Word document and answer these questions at your own convenience, in your full privacy. Just key in your answer under each question. Do not leave any question unanswered. 


Some are multi-part questions or designed to look repetitive; but they are strategically inserted into the unnumbered sequence to help you reach the core of your being, and thereby extract the most sincere answer from you, which might surprise, or even shock, you.


No one needs to know the answers but yourself. You don’t have to show or share the answers with anyone else – not even your spouse, guru, mentor, or children.


Take your time, but we would encourage you to be brutally honest, sincere, bold, courageous and conscientious. The questionnaire may appear seemingly long -- but, rest assured, when you answer each and every question honestly, sincerely, patiently and fully, you will emerge a completely different person.

 

You will likely then look back and realize this kit is easy to use, and potentially game-changing, brain-refreshing, life-transforming, and soul-uplifting.


You no longer have to be corrupt, lazy, indifferent, conflicted, greedy, cowardly, confused, apathetic, selfish, self-centred, egotistical, insignificant, uncooperative, or mediocre, merely because the system conspires to keep you that way.


These questions, written in first-person singular format -- a soliloquy, if you will -- are designed to encourage you to think, act and become conscious, conscientious, courageous, bold, responsible, wealthy, happy, peaceful, action-oriented, successful, and fulfilled in life.

 

Most Indians typically are happy to spend hundreds/thousands of hours unproductively on TV content, movies, websites, apps, cricket, window-shopping, visits to malls, food courts, bazaars, clubs, etc. Surely, beseeching you to spend a few hours on yourself and on sorting out your, your family's, and the nation's future at this critical, precipice-like juncture is NOT asking for too much? 

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"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.

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Here goes – key questions in first-person singular (or soliloquy) format:

  • What is the socioeconomic and political system (at the state, national and global levels) that I have been born into?
     

  • Do I understand the system, and its structure, format, procedures and mechanisms, inside out?
     

  • Is it necessary for me to understand macro issues? Do I need to figure out what's going on in the world outside of my domain / profession / career? Do global and national affairs have any relevance, bearing or impact on my personal, family and professional life?
     

  • Is the system fair?
     

  • Or, is the system favouring (or discriminating against) me unfairly?
     

  • Individually, am I mentally on top of the "ecosystem"?
     

("Ecosystem" in the modern sense is a term that should denote society/community in terms of popular discourse, public narratives, motives behind government policy, socioeconomic hierarchies, make-believe spin in media content/messaging, fashion, memes, trends, culture, customs, norms, practices, direction of the evolution of institutions, systems and technologies.) 
 

  • In my view, is this "ecosystem" natural, automatic, uncontrolled? 
     

  • Or, is the ecosystem determined, designed, created, manipulated, regulated and controlled by certain forces (small groups of powerful, influential people acting 'behind the scenes')?
     

  • If the ecosystem is indeed artificial or man-made, do I know who are behind this ecosystem?
     

  • If I am a parent, do I have any say in the way (or what) my children eat, drink, wear, read, study, learn, watch, behave, think, act, or choose to do (or not do/pursue) anything? 
     

  • Or, is the ecosystem in total control of their lives, choices, minds, actions? Is the ecosystem conducive to their holistic growth?
     

  • As an individual citizen, do I have any say in how the ecosystem is shaped by others? Has my view/opinion been sought? Have I been consulted by them before they determine how the ecosystem should be and how it should evolve?
     

  • If the ecosystem is "loaded" (like Shakuni's dice that were used in the gambling match against Yudhistir in the Mahabharat), can I then resist or change it?
     

  • If it is unfair even in 2020, after centuries of civilization and so-called “progress”, should I, as an individual, keep quiet, accept it, and get on with it, and rationalize my approach as wisdom, practical way, smartness or helplessness, even when it has negative consequences for myself, society and planet eventually? Am I allowing perceived mammoth scale and complexity of the "system" to intimidate me into becoming a passive or mute spectator who thinks he/she is helpless individually, and so it's best to focus on self, family, career, and try to make the best of what is available/given?
     

  • What is my role as individual in the larger system?
     

  • Am I playing such a role fully and completely, in both letter and spirit?
     

  • Was this role chosen by me consciously? Or was it thrust upon me by the system? Or, is it being perpetrated by a script written by others (the elite) and perpetuated by a self-perpetuating system?
     

  • Or, is such a role chosen by myself because it suits my own beliefs, value system, life-script and choices? Am I blindly sticking to that self-defined role and responsibility toward larger community / society, no matter what, without reviewing, redefining, revising and refining it regularly or whenever necessary, and by being totally indifferent to the context of the situation?
     

  • If I play a role vis-à-vis society as per my own convenience, understanding, preference or definition, and in doing so end up violating some self-evident truths or cosmic injunctions that can be easily intuited, then am I willing to accept the consequences of everyone else in society too adopting a similar approach or stance?
     

  • If everyone acts (in the role of community/society member) as per his/her own convenience, without any reference to standards, needs and context, then will such an approach serve society well?
     

  • In my understanding, what are the major problems that beset my community/society today? What are the causes? What might be the solutions? Am I part of the cause directly or indirectly? Can I be part of the solution? Is it my responsibility to be proactive about finding, and contributing to, solutions?
     

  • What should define my role in society and responsibility toward the larger community that I am part of?
     

  • How should I approach life, in terms of living, treating others, and relationships?
     

  • Am I really dependent on society/community? Is the relationship between me and society, Nature, planet interdependent and symbiotic? Are my views or beliefs, and the consequences of such views/beliefs, in harmony, as borne out by experiences in my own life so far?
     

  • Have I been programmed, tricked, trapped or straitjacketed into running a rat race without ever being given a choice? Is my life supposed to be just a meaningless, exhausting, stressful life-long rat race where, en route, my spouse and I reproduce one or two (or more) "rats" who have no alternative but to go on to join the Great Indian Middle-class Rat Race, and be condemned to mediocrity, selfishness, ego, laziness, cowardice, ignorance and greed that ultimately serve to perpetuate the rat race? Have I ever made efforts to realize that this rat-race model is just one of the many possible socioeconomic models that we human beings (Homo sapiens) can use to organize ourselves? Do I know that many such models have already been used and replaced through history? Am I somehow labouring an idea that this current global model is destiny, natural, fate ... life itself, even when it is posing a threat to our very existence as well as to the planet itself?
     

  • They say this whole universe, all the things and beings in it, are interconnected and interdependent. Have I thought enough about this aspect? Have I reflected on the implications of this if it were true?
     

  • What is this cosmos? What is life? What might be the purpose, if any, of life in human form? My life, the way I live, my value system, my choices, my judgements – are they honourable, fair?
     

  • In my head, what is the “model” or understanding of cosmos, life, and society based on which I live my life and conduct my affairs? What is the basis of this model? Have I chosen it consciously?
     

  • Have my real-life experiences, the outcomes of my actions/deeds and thoughts reinforced or confirmed this model? If not, have I reviewed and refined the model?
     

  • What is my value system (or set of beliefs or philosophy of life) actually? Am I consciously aware of the value system that informs and shapes my life, decisions, preferences and choices? Did I choose these values I live by consciously? What is the source of my value system?
     

  • Do I actually live by my own professed value system at all times? Is my approach to life and living and relationships in conformity with my own value system? Or, is my life creating inner conflicts, unholy compromises, denial or delusion?
     

  • Do I have any responsibility toward larger society / community, environment, Nature, planet and Cosmos? If yes, am I discharging such responsibilities in the way they should be discharged, in harmony with the context of today’s world?
     

  • Would there be any consequences (karmic or otherwise) to me and my family if I do not discharge such responsibilities in accordance with today’s context, situation and needs?
     

  • After I grew up and became an adult, and then a spouse, parent (maybe even a grandparent), did I take enough time out to review, reflect and introspect on my life so far, the choices I have/had made, the results or outcomes they have/had produced, the cause-effect sequence, if any? Have I learned my lessons?
     

  • As an adult, did I re-visit the morals, scruples, ethics, and other life-lessons that I may have learned (from Ancient Wise Words like scriptures, epics, parables, literature, etc) as a child but (wantonly or otherwise) forgotten, ignored, neglected, not reinforced, or violated later on?
     

  • As an adult, did I make an attempt to revise my own education for life that I may have received from elders, books, traditions and culture in the past, so as to refresh my own knowledge and memory in order to effect any necessary course-correction?
     

  • Have I updated my value system, beliefs, philosophy of life consequent to the rewards, opportunities, comforts, conveniences and pleasures that I received in life thanks to processes like globalization, explosion of knowledge, science and technology?
     

  • Have I also allowed the same process to update my worldview, the flipside or the dark side of the same processes?
     

  • What is it that I am pursuing in life right now? Why am I pursuing what I am pursuing?
     

  • Have I ever realized that the objects or goals of my pursuits may not entirely be of my own conscious choice but induced by the ecosystem of society (family, community, culture, fashion, etc), and that they could directly or indirectly cause misery and worse to others and the planet?
     

  • And if they do, then could my family and I get hurt now or in the future due to that (fact of my choices or pursuits hurting others)?
     

  • If I achieved “success” from some or all of my pursuits so far, have I ever really asked myself if the goals that I attained had truly given me lasting inner joy, a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction? If not, then have I paused and reviewed my choices, pursuits, goals? Or, am I still pursuing them without any review, reflection, in a zombie-like way?
     

  • If I pause, review, reflect, and introspect on my own life so far and find that my choices, decisions, actions and preferences have been responsible too in their own way for the unresolved misery and problems of this world, besides causing endless, persistent or recurring difficulties, tension, stress, strain, pain or anguish to me and my family (as well as to others directly or indirectly), then what am I going to do now to make amends?
     

  • LAST (BUT MOST IMPORTANT) SET OF QUESTIONS:

    -- Do I believe that this is a very complex world, and "to each his/her own" (or "winner takes all", or "might is right") is a valid, legitimate philosophy of life?

    -- Do I think that I am free to live my life in the way I choose to, within the parameters set by "civil society" with all its laws, rules and regulations?

    -- And, does it mean that as long as I pay my taxes, comply with laws and rules, and "mind my own business" as an individual citizen (who is not part of the Establishment, or the elite groups, or the government), I have no direct or indirect responsibility for the failure or breakdown of society due to the poor performance, corruption or inefficiency of the "rulers" (whose responsibility it is to govern well, maintain law and order, and deliver development, prosperity, harmony and peace in society)?

    -- If my “hands-off approach” (or delegation or outsourcing of big-picture responsibilities to incorrigible crooks and confirmed thugs) does NOT result in making the "rulers" responsible, accountable, performance-driven and result-oriented, but leads society into continual descent into a hell-like situation and eventually to a cliff edge, or point of no return, whereby both the future of society and myself (and my family) are in jeopardy, would it be right -- and harmless -- for me to continue to swear by my "hands-off" or noncommittal approach, blame rulers, resist change/change-makers, and focus only on my own 'little game' (of family and career/business)? 

    -- Am I willing to pay the ultimate price and go down -- that is, pay with my future, my life itself -- if that is going to be the net result of my silence, my noncommittal approach, my selfishness, my self-centered life, my diplomatic hands-off stance, my feigned ignorance, fear, constraints and helplessness, my perceived smartness (or opportunism, cleverness, intelligence, or wisdom), my professed lack of interest in worldly matters, and my projected insignificance as an individual?


EXTERNAL LINKS:

"Urban India didn't care about migrant workers...

'The (Indian) middle class has a selfish attitude'

'After migrants, COVID-19 crisis will hit (India's) middle class'

Urban India responded selfishly to COVID and migrant worker crisis


COVID-19 has savaged Rural India because of middle-class apathy

In India, neither tokenism nor panic can help counter this unique crisis

The pandemic is a portal, writes Arundhati Roy in Financial Times

Pandemic begets deeper conflicts in India

India's millennials -- read this open letter, you smartphone addicts!

Message from the virus: Our individual security and welfare cannot be divorced from the collective

 

 

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