I thought I was. I thought mankind was. I thought we were, as a civilization.
But are we really? Events of the last several months have brought this question to the fore.
After all these years of progress, scientific advance and enlightenment, we are still grappling with things that are very fundamental. Our achievements and advancements are relative. The invention of paper, being able to fly to reach far off destinations (even the moon), and being able to hear, see and listen to each other even when separated by 1000s of miles may surely count as remarkable achievements but has all that made us smarter? And wiser, really truly wiser? Arguable at best.
Why then would a small little invisible thing cause so much havoc, uncertainty and turmoil? The situation has caused us to go to the very root of understanding our existence. As simple as that. Far from being a hobby, we are seriously considering growing crop in our backyard and become self-sufficient in food. The ultra-sophisticated global food chain that we took for granted and that provided us our food, has been brought to its knees. And we are trying to figure out how to feed ourselves and stay alive. What is more fundamental than that? The foremost experts in the fields of medicine, epidemiology, governance and policy don’t have answers for the unprecedented health crisis, and are making up rules as we go. So we know stuff ?
Added to this existential crisis is another one – our understanding and caring for each other. It appears after decades, perhaps centuries, we are still trying to figure out who we are, and why we need to support and care for each other. After centuries of tribes fighting other tribes, empires, civilizations and societies evolving, we haven’t matured as humankind, if we are still teaching ourselves how to treat one another with respect, dignity and compassion. This is wisdom ?
We have built institutions that have stood the test of time. They are there to provide structure, stability and support but these institutions are imperfect. Systems, processes put in place to establish a just society don’t function to uphold principles as one would expect in a just society. There are absolute rights and wrongs but creative interpretations have introduced fudge factors. Is that wisdom ? There is still evil in the world, perpetrated by our fellow beings. Why ?
Capitalist corporations – crown jewels of humankind are trying to put on a brave front but not able to answer many questions. CEOs have turned philosophers.
Not to sound gloomy but in the overall scheme of things, do we really know much more than the earliest dwellers on the planet ?
Are we wise ? Really really wise ?
While we ponder that question, let us make the best of what we have been given. In the time we have available on the planet, do good, help others, show love. Be responsible, believe you were brought into this world for a purpose. If it was to study, make a living, get married, bring offspring into this world, understand and fulfill these responsibilities and/or if it is to build businesses, create and distribute wealth, whatever it is, do it with poise. Become stoic. Don’t judge. Take one day at a time. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Don’t get hung up about having to be happy. Where there is happiness, there will be sadness. Just like there is no success without failure. Take one day at a time, live for the moment. Have goals and strive for them, try to create positive impact on your near and dear, your family, your friends, your employees, society and the world at large. That’s all you can do. May be you will become wise!