A civilization in retreat: An Asian perspective
by Janaka Goonetilleke on 27 Apr 2013 8 Comments

The news of today, whether it is the bombs in Boston, gang rape of a young woman and her demise in India, or the continuous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, the violent demonstrations in Egypt, and the continuous security checks, are a reflection of the dehumanisation of the present society, a failure of trust, and a reflection of the insecurity of society and its leaders, a clear indication of regression.


It is time we understood the reality of this present world order and understand the mindset of the rulers who have imposed this new world order on an unsuspecting humanity. Be it Barack Obama, George Bush, Saddam Hussein or any other present leader, be it in a democracy or dictatorship, all have lost the right to give moral leadership to this world. In the eyes of society, they are all corrupt and untrustworthy and lack the charisma and leadership qualities necessary for a peaceful world order. They are there because there is a large void in men with charisma, morality and humanity. However, society gets the leaders it deserves or the quality of the leadership is a reflection of that society.


Evolution of the human brain geared to civilization


It took millions of years for humans to establish a social etiquette for harmonious existence with each other. Recent advances in neuroscience have confirmed that the Big Brain or the neo-cerebrum has been developed to cater to the social interactions in society. On the other hand, the primitive brain, the site of fright and flight, is the centre for the protection of self.


Human development has resulted in civilization where the insurance of protection of the individual was a social responsibility rather than an individual task. Hence an organized system of social utilities was created to protect that inherent value system. That is not to say that sometimes when societal controls are deficient humans are not forced to resort to safeguarding one’s self. Religion and philosophies were geared to spirituality to enhance this communal life style with the ultimate aim of liberation of one’s self so that life is trouble-free.


Civilization thus was a commitment for the benefit of the many as against self-indulgence. Nevertheless it will be hypocritical to believe that self-motivation was absent amongst the ruling classes, but it usually never reached an extreme. This inherent value system was firmly implanted in the genetic makeup of individuals sustained by the transfer of emotional elements by nurturing mothers and the environment in which they lived. That an Asian mind is different from a European mind is proved by research in Michigan. All this is reflected in the thought process and these thoughts run the world. Highjack the thoughts and one highjack’s the world. This thought process has been hijacked by the present world order, circuiting the brain from societal responsibility to self-indulgence.


Monopoly money fuels it and hijacking of thoughts maintains it, creating illusions of grandeur; the result is the gradual dismantling of society aided by wide discrepancies in wealth, which accelerates this process.


Dismantling of society: Failure of motherhood


Nurturing the future society is in the hands of mothers. They are the once who inculcate social responsibility and help in the emotional development especially of male children. Today motherhood has been relegated to a secondary role; the primary role is to earn money. Elizabeth Warren in her lecture on the bankruptcy of the middle classes, compares two families of equal status in 1970 and 2005. She finds that in 1970 most households had only one earner, but in 2005 both had to work. In 1970 they saved 16% of the income and in 2005 none was saved. Of greater concern is the fact that a 16-year-old had a better chance of the mother being at home than a 6-month-old baby in 2005.


Most children are nurtured by a number of surrogate mothers in nurseries, who are unable to give a stable emotional environment that a mother can give. Today we are seeing a community of young void of maternal influence. They are emotionally deprived and suffer from increased incidence of disrespect for women, as reflected in the increased incidence of rape, which are filmed and shown on the Internet. Family bondage has been replaced to a fair degree by self-centered behaviour, the social consequences of which range from increased divorce to abuse and disruption of society.


Re-circuiting the brain by media and new technology


Consumption economics is the name of the game created by slave labour in poor countries.  A mindset of instant gratification is created by continuous media advertisement which subconsciously seduces the consumer. A 16-year-old in the US sees 360 hrs of advertisements in one year, completely brainwashing him to yearn for labeled products. In the process these consumers buy items that are not absolutely necessary. This drives them into debt and bankruptcy. An illusionary state of mind is created, bordering on addiction and mental disorder, and sold to the consumer as the economic growth, ignoring the depletion of resources, effect on the environment, waste of energy, and overall inefficiency.


Computer games, social networking sites, e-mails have made communication faster, but without emotional content in the interactions. This has desensitized people and enhanced self-interest at the expense of human responsibility and morality, a phenomenon that could explain inhumanity as reflected in high school shootings, rape, bankruptcy of the banking system etc, all of which is made worse by the failure of motherhood. This anti-social behaviour deprives humanity of the cohesion and morality needed in society to maintain a civilization.


Urbanization, Environment and Pollution


Mass migration of rural people to urban areas is another phenomenon characteristic of the present world order made necessary by the widening wealth gap. Another phenomenon created by an illusionary form of modernity and development firmly implanted in the minds of the rulers, all assessed in the proxy of monopoly money. It is said that 27% of Indians live in slums. The middle classes are forced to live in apartments, which are confined spaces, like fowl pens. People living in a claustrophobic environment find it difficult develop social interactions with their community, thus encouraging self-centeredness, an element that rural communities never faced before.


The ruling classes encourage this as modernity, but on reflection it may well be a form of slave camps geared to enslaving the masses. There is no doubt governmental violence and increased military spending are geared to local controls and not foreign invasions. This is certainly not a civilized form of governance. This has been seen in the Spring uprisings in Arab countries, in Spain, Greece and now Cyprus, so called democratic countries where the corrupt hijacked governments on the pretext that you cannot allow the system to fail but the price is paid by the workers, pensioners and the poor - a modern form of slavery.


Environmental changes due to consumption economics have created agricultural failures and lack of water resources. In China alone, 28 rivers have gone dry. Their effects on rural societies are immense. Health care and medical problems have taken a toll. In China there are a million premature deaths per year due to environmental changes. The new world economic system has created such great morbidity that is not accounted for in the assessment of economic growth. This creative accounting has misled the populace to the reality of the so-called economic progress.


Russia’s agricultural output has gone down by 19% this year; and in some other countries by as much as 50%. This rural deprivation has further accelerated urbanization and that has not improved the quality of life of rural people. No civilization can survive when the population is deprived of sustenance and is subject to disease.


Poor governance and a debt driven economy


Today the world is run on valueless paper money, mainly dollars, printed willy-nilly and circulated through a corrupt banking system that lacks accountability. The pensions of workers are stolen; countries are living on debt ably supported by the IMF and World Bank, with monopoly money. Thugs, drug dealers and criminals have infiltrated the ruling classes and no day passes without an exposed scandal of corruption. (Predatory governments are hell-bent on stealing from the masses).


Banks legitimize the ill-gotten wealth of corporatists, politicians etc., resulting in an incestuous relationship between politicians, bankers and corporatists to steal from the masses. Mainly the poor and future generations have to pay the price of this mayhem. It is ironic that Greece is selling its beaches and palaces and valuable assets to pay debt incurred by the rulers in the name of development, globalization, open economy, free world and democracy.


The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and the damaged environment would not be able to sustain humanity for very much longer. In Sri Lanka, imported fertilizers have polluted the north central province with arsenic and 10-15% of the populace is inflicted with kidney disease. The poison threatens the whole country through agricultural products. Till today, no one has been held to account.




A civilization run by the corrupt One Percent that has created a web of corruption and virtually enslaved 99% of the civilization is unsustainable. We in Asia believed in harmony, cared for our environment, but have now been brainwashed to believe in a hubris that humanity is in control of the environment and that the environment has to be maximally exploited for the benefit of a few using the rest as slave labour.


The present civilization is in retreat. No civilization which lives in an illusory world sustained by violence and immorality has the right to survive. We as Asians should lament that we have abandoned our age-old principals and accepted an immoral system that will be to our own detriment. The Himalaya, mother to all civilizations in Asia - Indian, Chinese, and many sub-civilizations - is at death’s door. We will follow unless we have leaders who are honest, moral and with the wisdom to correct our errors of the past. A radical change! Will the ruling class have the wisdom to carry it out?

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