It is a chance to pause, to reflect and to reassess. Maybe, a break in the rhythm and pace opens up a fresh sky of possibilities.
Nobody listens to anybody anymore. That’s the junction capitalism, democracy and modernity has brought us at.
We have to be elaborately seduced into a world-view, which has to be reinforced through cultural carrots, punished by law and be intensely profitable to brain chemistry. Then, we move.
Here, we’re suddenly shaken on scale. We’re wondering, collectively.
If I could, I’d use the ‘break’ to insert some questions about humanity.
About the direction we’re heading in.
About the world we’re bringing our children into.
I regard Yuval Harari and Taleb, Wilber and the Game B gang as well as our wisdom traditions. All of them seem to point to the urgency of answering these moral-ethical dilemmas as we race to become immortal Gods.
So, what am I proposing we use the pause for?
Economics, obviously as a first priority.
(From here on, please read this as ‘rants of an economic charlatan’ with a whole hearted invitation to engage with these proposals)
Redirecting my spend to more local, informal economy. Tipping more for delivery and ordering more from the local eatery rather than the MNC food chain. Buying more veggies and fruit, less processed.
But spending, surely.
We need the economic cycle kicking cos a dip is well on the way.
And if that means some of our gold moves into cash to be spent, well and good.
Collectively, a great chance to move a lot of money into public goods, health in particular but also to move money into the hands of the poor, even if temporarily.
Their spend could further up the cycle. The market knows the best but i silently hope they don’t spend on data and caller tunes but on millets and organising themselves for rights.
How do we move the action to the level of communities?
Knowing how deeply religious and ethnocentiric we are, can we leverage that to move the responsibility of health care to local communities?
How do we realign incentives for health so that doctors or hospitals get remunerated on the health of their subscribers rather than how long their patients remain ill?
As goes the economics, so goes the power, so goes the administration, so goes the ‘action’, so goes the fun, entertainment and the entire business of living.
Instead of only vicarious entertainment, if more people embrace the local lives of their surroundings, donating to the Ganpati Mandals and joining the iftaars, it can be a lot of human contact of the right kinds.
Add to it some farmer markets and local vernacular newspapers (even youth-run radio stations), lots of unschooling and learning from each other….now we’re talking of a different imagination for the society.
One last ‘tadka’ (vagaar) that I HAVE to add is the culture of constant dialogue, discussion, debate….at the addas and the kattas, at the chawallas and at the newspaper stands…space for the argumentative indians to make sense of all this intergenerationally…maybe also through art and body and games not just words
It can be a life that is full, connected, where the answers to the ‘big’ questions are not found but lived….
Such a pause doesn’t come too often in history….and hence the opportunity…and hence the possibility….
To do this in any other time will need the combined energy of the 200 odd countries, the marketing budgets of fortune 500, Section 144 and more lockdowns than we ever had in history — it is unlikely to happen….
At the very least, can we start the conversation?
(end of ‘charltan rant’) :)