To Be or Not To Be?

Everything, including us, is subject to change. This is the intrinsic characteristic of Nature. One of the characteristics which changes is human behavior, in response to the circumstances and need of the situation. One can expand it starting from the need of a newborn child to the requirement of a grown-up person in the surroundings and influences in which he grows. Whether one likes it or not the biological changes in the person are inevitable; however, there are other changes that take place due to extraneous circumstances on which the person has control. Here the person has a choice to make those changes or not. These may include a variety of matters like choices in food habits, friends, studies, and learning etc. To be or not to be part of these changes is the matter exclusively under the prerogative of the individual. Animals have the capacity to adapt to the changing environment to a limited extent, beyond which they also cannot survive. These are naturally in-built in them and therefore they are not really their choices.

In the philosophical sense, a human is a being and thus he has to be there in the sense of “being” or “be it” till the time he lives in this world. It is another matter that the spirit or the soul never dies and therefore has continuity though of course at a higher plain. The spiritually advanced human being (a saint or sage), knows very well that the basic and intrinsic principle in the constitution of life is ever-permanence. Therefore, he focuses on the powers that sustain life and does not get affected by the situations around him. Thus he is not a party to any change. However, whenever situations arise he can come out of this mental framework and advocate good principles and ethics to other human beings for the progress of their lives. Though such a person is not evolving with the changes, as he is already evolved, he becomes instrumental in changing and evolving other human beings for the betterment of society. However, these persons are far and few.

Now, talking about the ordinary human beings (which make the majority), there are only two options: (a) be with the changes or (b) not to be with the changes consciously. What is meant by changes? Due to the requirements of the personal and social needs, and with the interaction of the flow of time, coupled with the multiple desires of the constituents of the social fabric, nothing remains static. According to the multiplicity of the needs, the changes come about in the lifestyle, thinking, perception, behavior, outlook, and interaction with members of the society. Carrying this process forward, the evolution of social and individual value systems get tremendously changed over a period of time. It is inevitable.

Many a time, as an individual grows and reaches a certain age, he feels that his times were better; there were better values and better people. He forgets, for the time being, that his ancestors had similar feelings when they compared them with the times they saw as they aged. So this is an ongoing cycle. However, there is a difference. The pace of change becomes much faster as compared to a previous time- due to better communication and exposure to various fields of knowledge. The gap is very thin now and gets thinner as time progresses. Perhaps, in times to come it will be tremendously faster.

In the name of development, there are changes. In the name of economic progress, there are changes. In the fields of education, technology there are tremendous changes. But the real question should be what all these changes constitute. To put it very simply, anything which helps in the sustenance of the Mother Earth and its beings, along with the changes taking place, is really positive and must be welcomed. On the contrary, anything which goes against this principle must be discarded and dissuaded.

This statement is too simple to say, but to put it in practice is very difficult. The selfishness of human beings and the desire to acquire more hinders the thinking of fairness and brings about such fierce competition among people that they forget that they are cutting their own feet. If one pauses a little and thinks about every action they take, the answer will be clear. When one overrules and blinds himself with the aggrandizement of living for oneself, ignoring the welfare of all other beings, trouble starts right there. This leads to a total imbalance in Nature and there could be a catastrophe.

One can go on citing examples of the good and the bad. But the real test of the matter is what these changes bring about. Do they help the process of sustenance or go against it? If this test is applied the answer can be found. The individual is only a minuscule drop in the scheme of things in this Universe. No one knows the boundaries of this vast expanse. It has its own laws.

We humans cannot assume that we can control everything for our benefit. In this background of contradiction, we have a duty, as a member of this Universe in relation to all other beings- to be within our limits and take from Nature only as much is required. Therefore, there is nothing wrong to “Be” with the change, but with utmost caution and care not to bring about imbalance and catastrophe for all the beings!

GREG RAKOZY EMILY MORTER

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