Degeneration and the rise of savagery

A political solution to the national issue based on devolution of power, both at local government and provincial level, will be implemented within the next two years, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said recently. The Prime Minister said this during a ceremony held to mark the 125th anniversary of Skandawarodya College, Chunnakam, Jaffna.

“We had several discussions on a political solution to the national issue. Unfortunately, we could not implement anything as we did not have a majority. However, I would like to say that we are close to a political solution. My party and I are for a political solution based on the devolution of power. We are looking at a political solution based on devolving power at local government and provincial level,” the Prime Minister added.

Wastage of resources

After explaining difficulties, the Prime Minister said the government intends to devolve power in both local government and provincial level so that there will not be any conflict between the local bodies and the provincial councils.

“Our concern is the wastage of resources that takes place when power is devolved. But I believe we can resolve these matters,” he added.

While stating that Jaffna and Colombo had been the leading districts when it comes to education in the past, he said Jaffna was famous for teaching mathematics. He said this status had to be revived. Unfortunately, Wickremesinghe was virtually repeating what some pundits say: Our concern is the wastage of resources that takes place when power is devolved but I believe we can resolve these matters.

These nitwits forget the wastage of war that began with the lack of devolution and self-rule. Democracy, at all levels, is costly not only in devolution. Yet it is vital for the civilised human existence. All human societies are united at the UNO to defend democracy in the present form. The lack of democracy in any part of the world creates the degeneration and the rise of savagery. We have let such behind.

Human nature does not change unless there is a paradigm change with a newborn for a higher species exceeding Homo sapiens. Till then it follows its familiar and cyclical patterns. However, when we go down that, the whole planet will go with us. Until then, we will be jested by fools and con artists. The technocrats and scientists are arguing that education and western civilization can turn us into rational beings other than Buddhas.

What about the corporate titans who make their fortunes off the arms, chemical, fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries that are destroying the natural world other than new high priests demanding human sacrifice? There is so far one human story. Yes, dressed in new clothing and using new tools, we endlessly relive it. If one still read philosophy, literature, history, poetry and Buddhism he would not be surprised that greed, hedonism and folly have easily defeated wisdom and reason. But because we do not, because we spend hours each day getting little bursts of illusion from electronic screens, we think we are unique in human existence. If we are unable to see the decay of climate conditions that allowed civilizations to flourish during the last 10,000 years, then it will soon be replaced by a savage struggle to survive.

Human beings have inhabited the planet for about 200,000 of its 4.5 billion years. For most of those 200,000 years, humans did not radically alter the ecosystem. But the Industrial Revolution, which began about two and a half centuries ago, saw human beings extract fossil fuels, tap into a hundred million years of sunlight stored in the form of coal and petroleum. The energy from fossil fuels provided unparalleled wealth and military superiority to the industrialised north, which used its power in general, to subjugate most of the rest of the globe to cheaply extract resources and abuse cheap labour.

Human habitation

The drain of new life helped the human population rapidly climb over 7 billion. The air, water and ice have seriously degraded under the onslaught as the planet shifts from one climate to another - a climate that will no longer be hospitable to human habitation.

The extremist greens say: “The only existential question left is how we will choose to wait out the finale. But to pose that question is to defy the cultural mania for hope, the yearning for collective self-delusion. If reality is grim, you banish it. You invent impossible scenarios of inevitable salvation. This explains how we ended up where we are.”

Most climate activists and operatives of democracy see themselves, like the wider consumer culture, as beings in the business of selling hope. Without hope, they argue, people would succumb to despair. People would not resist the looming catastrophe. But hope should come with a correct understanding of the human situation. Without meththa, karuna, muditha and upekkha there will not be a commitment to proper action. Loba, desha and moha will lead to false hope. It exacerbates despair and lethargy. It infantilizes the population. Those who sell you the false hope that we can adapt are as self-deluded as those who brand global warming a hoax.

And, at least subconsciously, the man should be aware in order to face disaster. Carbon emissions may continue to rise, the polar ice caps may continue to melt, crop yields may continue to decline, the world’s forests may continue to burn, coastal cities may continue to sink under rising seas and droughts may continue to wipe out fertile farmlands.

But the false messiahs of hope assure us that all will be right in the end. Only it won’t. We will not be able to control our future without suppressing desire.

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