Once upon a time, but not in distant past, there was a small village in the middle of dense forest. A river flowed through the village. River flowed from east. No one cared to know where the river was coming from as it flowed all round the river. Some said its source is in the mountains and it springs out the hair of Lord Shiva. Some said it springs out of a crater made by the Sword of a demon. No one cared to explore as they had plenty of fresh water to drink and water their fields.
The village had 300 families but the old man living under the tree said village was a single family like a tree with 300 branches with leaves and he was the oldest leaf ready to wither. Others do not think so. they say ” That leaf does not wither even in winter. – very stubborn leaf!” He told people all kinds of stories from the past and they all thought they were true as no one else is old enough to verify.
The village was self-sufficient in all ways. They grew their own food, made their own clothes, had a school with a school teacher who also doubled up as village doctor. They recycled their waste and made manure for the fields.
Everything was going well until one day they find that there is an extra person in the village who does not have anything to do. There were no fields left where he can work. There was no other place he can lend a hand. The village council calls everyone for a meeting. The old man asked “How did this happen?” He was very worried but what happens to the village. He told the village council that, ” when similar thing happened 100 years ago, one of the elders went into the forest so as to not disturb the balance of the village. No one listened to him.
The Village Council created a resolution “This is a very serious situation which we never faced in our life time. We cannot have a non contributing member in our village, this will disturb the balance. We have two proposals
1. Everyone to contribute a share of their food and other essentials for the extra man.
2. Cut down part of the sacred forest to create an additional land to till.”
COMMUNISM or CAPITALISM
The village council was undecided and called for a referendum. This was the first time, the village had voting. The old man wanted to third choice added to the referendum – voluntarily allowing any one villager to decide if they wish to live in the forest. But the council was adamant. The village had to choose between Communism and Capitalism!
Voting day arrived and lot of the villagers are still confused what to choose and uncertain of the consequences. Voting finished and the results were out.
It was a tie with each getting 50% vote. The villagers got emotional about their choice and villagers were divided into two groups. One fine day there was a big fight between the two groups and many were injured. The women tried to stop it but to no avail. The village got divided into two with river being the border. Common resources were shared, relatives separated, friendships broken..
Seeing all these, the extra person went into the forest but the damage was done and here to stay.
WHAT WORKS BEST?
If we have enough food and space, the settlements are self-governing. They need protection from external elements.
If number of humans increase or their basic needs increase and there are limited resources to be shared, there arises the need for some system. With the system, there comes rules and responsibilities. The system to be successful needs full support of every member. Any kind of system works as long as it is fair and transparent.
The more the disparity between Demand and supply of material, emotional and other needs, more pressure on the system. There is no system that is perfectly suited for this as some section of the society will be unsatisfied and vulnerable for interpretation.
We have experienced what an imbalance can do in Germany before World War II. Did Herr Fuehrer Hitler brain wash people into embracing Nazism? He merely channelized the angst brewing in the people due to sky rocketing prices and food shortages. And many of us have experience through movies what horrible things Hitler made his followers do and what price the world had to pay for one man’s foolishness.
Arab Spring is another perfect example of an over strained society with either increasing needs of the people or growing population. It’s not the growing awareness or education or the internet that was the main cause but the growing unrest (numbers or needs) that was channelized into an uprising. But what they got after the uprising did not fulfill their needs. The terrorist organizations, the world over, are channeling this unrest into creating more. Now ISIS is mobilizing the disenchanted population of the whole world into committing atrocities against their fellow humans!
China, though successful in arresting rapid population growth, could not cap the growing needs of the people. Its economic growth is remarkable. USA, the largest consumer of goods and resources of the world, is a perfect example of the success of Capitalism in generating wealth and prosperity, but needs of the people keep growing and it’s not environmentally sustainable. The growth is limited by the availability of resources, climate change. The climate change deniers will refuse to acknowledge until the water wets their pants.
It’s hard to decrease our numbers rapidly but for turning this world into more peaceful, sustainable and environment friendly, human consciousness has to grow and they should become aware of needs of the planet to keep supporting life. That sounds so utopian but we cannot wait until nature takes corrective action!
If Socialism, Capitalism, Communism were born because of people’s longing for a better society, If Buddhism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism were born because of spiritual longing in us, If Terrorism, Maoism is born out of radical thoughts, Its time for PRAGMATISM and HUMAN-ISM.
And an update on the warring villages – The dam they constructed upstream to cater to their growing needs was breached during a flood and both the villages were wiped out and along with it, their differences too….