To Two Syndromes: of Dhritarashtra and Alfred Russel Wallace

अयं निजः परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम्
उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् (The Panchtantra, 5-21)
[The petty minds see the categories of ‘mine’ and ‘not-mine’ (or thine) , the broad minded persons see the whole world just as a family. ]
About the Wallace Synrome with which we suffer, I have already written in Chapter 20 (pp. 266-267). Now this Dritarashtra syndrome. We all know that the Mabharata War was caused by Dhritarashtra’s ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ notions: the Kauravas were his (‘mine’), the Pandavas were different (‘thine’). The idea that this shloka expresses is most relevant to our times in two important ways: The idea that the shloka expresses is most important for us living in the days when materialism and consumerism have made us embrace the culture of narcissism. Christopher Lasch has portrayed the state of affairs in this sort of society in his the well-known book The Culture of Narcissism (1979). He identifies our generation as ‘the Me generation’. The shloka tells us to treat all humans as the members of one family. This is our vision of ‘globalization’. For the weal of all we have always been ready to consider noble ideas coming from all sources. This shloka warns us not to create conditions under things get choreographed thus, to say in the immortal words of William Blake:
Some are born to Sweet Delight
Some are born to Endless Night
[BY Shiva Kant Jha, shivakantjha@gmail.com]

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Whether to be spiders, bees, or artists

A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its commencement.
— Karl Marx (Capital, Vol. I, Chap. 7, Pt. 1)

We are free. We can become spiders to ‘spin dirt and poison’ out of our entrails; we can become bees to act in instinctive routine, as they have done over all the times gone, for own benefits, and for others to rob, or steal, but all in a set routine; or we can become artists in order to shape our destiny with creative vision to do good for ourselves, and to do good to all others without whom we cannot exist, without whom the world would witness collective suicide by men, beasts, birds, and all the rest. We are free. We are free to ascend the dharmaratha for actions; we are free to calculate the gains and losses till we exist here, there, somewhere on the planet. We are free to become non-thinking clod, or activists with Krishna as the guide. We are free to make Krishna as our guide, or the Devil as our mentor. We are free. It is unique to be a man capable of catching opportunities by their forelock, or to merely run for profits on the marts in which vices and virtues are on sale, vices at premium, virtues at discount. We are free to hear our conscience; we are free to hear, and follow Mephistopheles. Think, dear friends: for all that happens to us, to our culture, to our planet, we are ourselves responsible. We must not forget the profoundest of all statements: we are ourselves our foes, we are ourselves our foes.