Yearend thoughts…

Sasi Kumar

2021 has been an extraordinary year for all of us. Our world is inundated with many major issues that challenge the equilibrium of humanity. The pandemic is raging like a California wild inferno fuelled by the Santa Ana winds overwhelming many millions of people in the world. From pandemic to climate change-induced disasters, we are in the midst of undue pain and suffering.

Weather-related disasters prompted by climate change are wreaking havoc in our world: earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and tsunamis are becoming more frequent and disastrous. Melting glaciers, increasing ocean levels, recurring heavy floods, and avalanches are gaining prominence Yet, drought is killing crops, and famine is at the front doors of many impoverished countries. Thus, in many ways, we are our enemies: man-made catastrophes caused by mining, fracking, factory farming, and deforestation are killing our environment. Our never-ending quest for fossil fuels and over-consumption of every natural resource is one of the tickets to global warming and climate change.

Our world is never in a state of equanimity. There are several levels of unrest, and they are the products of armed conflicts, geo-political-cultural disgruntlement and other strange and silly struggles between opposing factions of fundamentalism and extreme ideologies. These conflicts inflict devastating pain, suffering, deaths and destruction on people, cultures, and nations. Tragically, innocent bystanders and children become the victims of senseless activism.

The challenges human beings face in this world are trying at times and can over-power the equilibrium we built over the past many years. The poor have to fight for their existence while the rich get richer despite socialistic or democratic practices. We see countries struggle to ward off internal and external threats to survive. No one is happy with democracy, autocracy, theocracy, socialism, or communism. People are divisive and demanding: satisfaction is elusive, and always there is an insatiable demand for something else.

Of course, there are the external and internal struggles of the religious kind. One religion is at odds with another then turned around and fights another one. There are also internal fights between different sects: all in the name of God.

We passionately talk about freedom, justice, peace, and compassion, but fail to act on those words, and neglect the downtrodden ones, and ignore the pleas of people who suffer from injustice, and persecution. Our philosophy is goodwill to all, but we cherish a win at any cost. Win-win philosophy is elusive.

We are a demanding bunch. Our wants and needs are wantonly and indiscriminately used to encroach into fellow beings' assets. We have no qualms in insulting, injuring, maiming, and even destroying others to our gratification. We engage in shoddy practices to self-enrich our greed. We are the only species that kills another species for our enjoyment and to satisfy our acquired palates. We have no reservations, guilty feelings, or regrets to harm other living things, then turn around, and ask God for forgiveness.

These days the newspapers and social media play a role in propagating negativity as they realize the gullibility of the common people. Sensationalism sells news thus they carry many stories on conflicts, atrocities, terrorism, calamities and other agenda-driven news. Conflicts are due to greed, hatred, and divisiveness deep-rooted in the fundamental beliefs, ideologies, and inherent biases. The sobering scenes of mayhems and pandemic aftermaths, terrorism casualties, faces of famine, and poverty-stricken children pains us momentarily.

However, there is hope for our future.

We know that the world isn't perfect. However, these imperfections make living a challenge and make it worthwhile. Despite the chaos around us, we enjoy relative peace and stability in this world. When compared to World War times, we are enjoying a relative calm, as there are checks and balances in international relationships. Society has been evolving for ages through a greater cultural understanding due to an interconnected world. It is truly a global village as we are instantaneously affected by current events and issues happening across the world.

More and more nations are hoisting the flags of democracy as the autocratic despots and religious zealots are failing or being shunned by the masses. Despite the heightened activity in religious fundamentalism, educated youths are absconding religion via more rational thinking.

The fields of medicine, technology, communication, agriculture, manufacturing have improved vastly with new research, methodologies, and techniques that are helping humanity share and care. Hunger and poverty have subsided across the globe with advancements in food production and distribution. High-yielding products and high nutritional value foods are catering to a healthier society.

With the advent of new vaccines and other prevention techniques, many deadly diseases have disappeared from the face of the earth. With advancements in medicine, biomedical engineering, surgical techniques and diagnostic processes people are living longer and leading healthier lives. Compared to previous times, the current pandemic is less perilous due to our ability to fight the virus with bleeding-edge technologies. What took ten years to develop a vaccine has taken just six months. A big salute to researchers, medical practitioners and scientists who dedicate their lives to the betterment of others.

The Covid-19 pandemic is writing a 'new normal' for us. Despite the bad, we have become a sharing and caring society. Race-colour-caste-creed-gender biases are gradually diminishing. Equality and human rights issues have risen to the forefront of our actions. Thus, somehow, we strive to maintain our sanity and stay together as one humanity with hope and resilience for a better tomorrow.

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