Friday, 8 May 2009

Slow down

As we sell the planet and ourselves down the river, we run in ever faster circles "chasing our tails". Here are some extracts from "The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues" by Sushil Yadav:
The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.
Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.
When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.
In ancient times verbal processing was “live” in nature—ie it happened when people actually spoke.
Today there is non-stop verbal processing inside the mind through print and electronic media ( newspapers, books, magazines, radio, television, computer etc…) as a result of which the verbal content & speed has increased thousands of times.

The speed of visuals ( and words ) has increased so much during the last
one hundred years that today the human brain has become incapable of
focussing on slow visuals /words through perception, memory, imagery.

If we cannot focus on slow visuals / words we cannot experience emotions associated with slow visuals /words.

In a fast society slow emotions become extinct. In a thinking ( scientific / industrial ) society emotion itself becomes extinct.
In small(slow)agriculture-based societies the mind used to experience a state of emotion all the time because of physical work and slow visual/verbal processing . People who do physical work experience the same good subjective-feeling which is experienced by people who do physical excercise. People who do physical work also sleep much better than people who do mental work - the quality of sleep is much better. If we read one thousand-year-old literature we will not come across the term "boredom" - the concept of boredom did not exist in slow societies. There were long gaps between different visuals and between words/ sentences - and people had the ability to experience/ tolerate the gaps - it was normal for them.
There are easy emotions and difficult emotions. Easy emotions are evoked within nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds - anger, lust, fear, pleasure, entertainment and excitement are some examples. These emotions are associated with fast breathing and heart-rate. These emotions don't require gaps between thinking to evoke, intensify and sustain. These are the emotions that can be found everywhere in today's fast society.

Then there are difficult emotions - which require ability and years of effort to develop - emotions associated with pain, compassion and peaceful states of mind are some examples. These emotions are associated with slow breathing and heart-rate. These emotions require freezing of thought - freezing of visuals and words - huge amounts of gaps between thinking - to evoke, intensify and sustain.
Our present lifestyle is destroying our Minds and Environment - the evidence is everywhere - left, right and center.

It is Science and Technology that created the consumerist Industrial Society which has led to the destruction of Mind and Nature/ Environment.

In the absence of Science, Technology, Industrialization/ Industrial Revolution the two problems of overpopulation and overconsumerism would not exist.
A thinking species destroys the planet. Animals lived on earth for billions of years (in very large numbers) without destroying nature.
This planet is on the verge of total destruction.

The cause of destruction is – overactivity.

The cause of overactivity is – Intelligence.

Intelligence is a curse - a disease - a disability - an abnormality.
People work because they cannot stop working.

It does not matter what kind of work we do - whether it is physical work or any kind of mental work. As soon as we stop working we suffer from restlessness, anxiety, uneasiness and discomfort.
For most people the choice is between physical and mental work.
The switch-over from physical work to mental work is disastrous for the planet.

Man can do the same physical work every day. Man cannot do the same mental work every day.
When we make consumer goods we kill Animals/ Trees, Air/ Water and Land - directly or indirectly.

Industrial Society destroys ecosystems - all Industrial Societies destroy ecosystems.
Most of the people living in cities are engaged in unnecessary work - making things, buying things and selling things. The switch-over from Physical work to Mental work/ Desk job has led to an endless cycle of unnecessary and destructive work.

When society switches over from physical work to mental work it starts making thousands of consumer goods. People start calling them necessities. They are not necessities at all - 90% of consumer goods that we see today did not exist 50 years ago

Food, Water, Air, Little clothing, Little Shelter - these are necessities.
There is too much discussion in modern society. Discussion is not solving our problems – discussion itself has become a problem – a gigantic problem.
There is very little discussion / debate / argument in societies that do physical work - ie, agriculture-based societies - And this is the reason why they are millions of times saner than industrial societies.
Industrial Society has collectively killed billions of Animals and Trees.
Industrial Society has flooded the ecosystems with toxic chemicals. Most of the Farm Land has been poisoned with pesticides due to Industrial Agriculture. The Land - The Air - The Water - the entire food chain is contaminated with thousands of man-made toxic chemicals which did not exist before industrialiation.
Make things
Buy things
Sell things

This is not the purpose of life.
Material things don't bring peace and happiness. Today billions of people have got things which even Kings did not have in the past. Car, computer, television, fridge, telephone - no King ever had these things. But people are still restless and unhappy.
Consumerist-Lifestyle is just not sustainable. If we do not immediately return to living a very simple and frugal life then very soon there will be no human life on earth. We would need several planet Earths to sustain the present lifestyle.
We cannot save the environment by doing something.

We can only save it by doing less of what we have been doing - much less of what we have been doing.

If we want to save the environment we will have to reduce human activity (overactivity) by 99%.
It is the human species which is the greatest threat to humans and all other life on this planet - In fact the human species is the only species which is a threat to all life on Earth.

Man has decimated all Animal and Plant species – polluted the Sky and Oceans - and poisioned every square inch of earth.

In a mere 200 - 300 years Industrial Society has destroyed all that Nature laboriously created over a period of millions of years.

Sushil seems to suggest we have to go backwards, undoing evolution. Actually we have to move forwards, evolving further, towards being balanced spiritual beings. Over a long time we evolved from instinctive creatures, to emotional creatures, and now to mental creatures. The next stage in our evolution is to become spiritual creatures - balancing our "being" with our "human". This does involve, to a large extent, switching our rational minds off. To get there we need to learn to meditate, to slow down, to stop our excessive thinking, and stop rushing around. We need to embrace nature instead of destroying it. We need to live in harmony with all other beings. We need to find once again the balance that we have lost. None of this can ever come from our suicidal old paradigm ways.

The "slow emotions" that Sushil describes (other than pain) are not emotions at all but feelings - they are spiritual in nature: love, compassion, benevolence, peacefulness, serenity, joy, bliss. We can only reach such elevated feelings by slowing down. We need to chill out, drop out of the old paradigm industrial/consumer society, and learn to smell the flowers, once again.