Friday, March 13, 2009

Losing Our Way

Tagore, in one of the most beautiful prayers penned by any human, wrote:
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Alas, all good things run their course and all streams seem to lose their way into "the dreary desert sand of dead habit."

The level of fraud and deception in businesses across the world has reached that critical proportion that I think we ought to pause for a moment and mark the ending of something good that began with the rise of the Bourgeois class in Europe some centuries back. Wealth was earned, in the good old fashion - an essential confluence of hard work, ingenuity and luck.

That culture (if it ever existed) seems to have vanished. The class that seeks to make money today does not seem inclined towards the pursuit of tireless perfection. Dark souls that do not seem inspired by anything good, merely obsessed to fill their belly with more, by hook or crook, and under incredible pressure of unrealistic expectations of all around them. Madoff and Stanford may be evil criminals. But is there no culpability on part of the society that expects those kinds of returns that they provided? I believe these two and others like them are merely expression of a collective loss of our moral compass. After giving birth to a lot of good things, the Industrial Revolution is now finding itself in the dreary desert sand of habit, quite lost, I am afraid. And it is producing toxic stuff.

Legitimate profits have yielded to Ponzi schemes. More than a century of medical miracles and this civilization is now floundering in the direction of creating superbugs that threaten all humanity. Ingenuity is replaced by greed. Valor and honor seem to have been overcome by treachery and deceit.

I believe no matter how inspired any human enterprise, when devoid of God, it will lose its way. It's actually worse than that, even Godly enterprises, when they do not heed to Godly teachings in their proper context, lose their way. How inspired was Tagore to seek refuge with God from this high susceptibility we have to losing our way!

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