Saturday, February 05, 2005

Societal evolution and the bicycle

I learned to ride a bicycle a long time ago during late primary school. A simple machine which I was excited to possess. So my beloved bicycle served me traveling to school and back. However, among those I know, there are not that many takers among young adults of middle-class Indian families who are willing to accept the bicycle for its worth.
In our beloved country, the influx of jobs and people has led to wealth, wealth concentrated among a few. The result, a sudden increase in consumer power. So quite naturally, the market is flooded with consumer goods. Now a show of goods and hip-ness and status is spreading. We are becoming prisoners of this psyche and a flock syndrome ensues. People buy goods and flaunt them, then become addicted to them. But why should we take to this?
Date back to the early years of human evolution, the phase when man was fighting to survive. He wanted a female who was good-looking or attractive. He wanted to attract her with his strength and survival tactics. Hence, there was a need to bare the teeth as it were. As the years have passed, human survival instincts lead them to show things which increase their desirability. The wallet-heavy guy is an attractive proposition for a girl. So both sexes feel the need to maximize their lifestyle and behavior. A small consequence are the things like bicycles which may be wise to use but for reasons above are not desirable.
Now, we know human life is changed. But the crucial part of this change, and the one that has made us so successful as a species is the social bonds between people. The interdependence on each-other. Man cannot be separate from society. Mutual help and community strength is the backbone of our lives.
Simplicity is an essential virtue in life. This is the level when people can connect with one-another. We all have our gifts - talents, wealth, good-looks. Would a world be full without each one fitting into the big picture? What have we inherited alongside the great luxuries in life? Insecurity? Mistrust?
So there is a higher way of thinking. A greater truth of living, namely simplicity. People who think like this are a minority. Flock syndrome. What is that? It is people following a trend en-Masse to such an extent that they engage in things they would have found unreasonable when in a clearer stream of thought. So as we grow, we will mature to see the strength of simple things in life. Love, sacrifice and humility have several forms. Letting go from deep within is the power plant of great lives.

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