It was interesting, the responses I got to the question I posed in my post about What's Mankind's Greatest Discovery?
The many brilliant answers firstly centred around physical objects: from bicycles, wheels, printing presses to aeroplanes. Once I indicated they were not the answer I sought, suggestions like medicines, gene technology, brain synapses, etc, began to flourish. Only a few answers touched upon philosophical or political dimensions of our human world (to date, no one has guessed correctly but I suspect that the 'right' answer can't be too far away).
What has struck me is that the responses seem to indicate just how important 'things' are to us humans. Of course, perhaps 'things' have been made important and we, victims of calculating and unscrupulous advertisers, have been led to believe that 'things' are vital to our enjoyment of life. Not only that but they would claim that ownership of 'things' like houses, cars, jewellery, large boats, Castles in Spain, gives us status, defines us, establishes our place in the competitive world hierarchy where, sadly, most of us are destined for economic failure. If not failures, at best we remain bottom-feeders!
Like Pavlov's dog, we have been conditioned to think in a certain way but not because the conditioners have our welfare at heart but simply because, by exploiting our gullibility, they have found a way to get their grubby fingers into our wallets. While we run desperately on the economic treadmill trying to keep up with the latest technology and save for a luxury car, they enjoy the best that life has to offer while destroying the world's environment and pressing for the continuance of war.
Gandhi, an educated man, forsook the illusion that 'things' brought happiness. He contributed greatly to the betterment of our world and his country while living a simple, austere life, the very antithesis of that which consumes the energies of most of the world's educated people. He spun the cloth (called Khadi) for his own clothes, ate basic foods, lived in quarters that most of us would describe as primitive yet, strangely, he was happy.
Many advertisers and capitalists must shudder when they think about Gandhi because if too many people began to emulate him, the goose that lays their golden eggs would simply wither and die.
But surely, things are just things and we're being sold a crock! What do you think?
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