Progress is a wonderful thing. It enables us to do things faster, better and more easily. Traditions are also a wonderful thing. They enrich us with culture, experiences and even a way of life. Yet, ever so often we find ourselves in the desolate position of having to choose between the two. We render so many of our traditions obsolete with the onset of certain technological advance; which I suppose is right as certain things simply have to move on with time.
However, one school of thought which seems to be gaining popularity suggests that such progress is quite futile if there is no sustainability. I concur. Fastidious as it may appear, it is perhaps our only shot at redemption considering the havoc we’ve wrought on this planet. No offence to NASA but how will running away to Mars help get us out of the pickle we seem to have landed ourselves in on Earth? Besides, aren’t we always telling our young that running away from ones problems isn’t the right thing to do? Alas, we seem to have muddled around with meanings of the “right thing” and “the law”.
During the 1800’s there was and Indian leader by the name of Dayanand Saraswati. One of his most famous slogans was “go back to the Vedas”. For those of you who don’t know, the Vedas are an old Hindu text (and I cringe here for drawing reference to a particular religious group) which detail on to the perfect life- how to live it and why. It deals with not only the practical necessities of ones existence but also the more philosophical kind. Perhaps our ancestors had it right when they incorporated sustainable living in their daily life. They may not have reached Mars but they definitely weren’t responsible for hundreds of species of plants and animals going extinct.
But perhaps the most disheartening among all our shortcomings is that the people to whom we have given the power to make a difference shirk the responsibility of doing so. I could not have put it in words better myself as have been stated in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America:
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.….But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
And perhaps the people are finally taking up the rights to abolish the Governments and the leaders they thought were just, but have only been destructive in their office. Yet the question remains, can the youth of today stick to the one decision, which will effect their lives as well as the generations to come after them; or will they deflect and follow in tandem with their predecessors who continue to find comfort in political, social and economic turmoil.