Systems not only exist on our fears, they also profit by them.
Look at the Medical industry, Pharmaceutical companies, Insurance business. If we were not scared enough about our future would they have prospered?
We are scared of politics, of the police, of law-courts and security agents, of drunkards and lunatics. We are terrified of schools and Universities, of banks and share markets, we are scared of our teachers and employers, of mines and heights.
And, of course, we love to be scared of religions.
Darwinian mantra, ‘Survival of the Fittest’ is in itself a typically scary reminder that we are all in a mad race to survive. And in order to stay ahead in the race you need to be selfish and cunning, a conformist and a hypocrite.
Fear and the Future are happily married to each other ever since we conceived Time. Our concept of Time has evolved from our observation of constant Change both in Nature and within ourselves. And the fact that nothing remains the same leads to uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds Fear. Fear of losing everything that we tend to take for granted; health, wealth, family, friends, job, profit, power and finally, life.
Hence, Fear is the basic resource on which everybody has decided to invest, politicians, economists, scientists, technocrats, educationists, planners, schemers, brokers, priests, philosophers and religious leaders. Even filmmakers and novelists like to explore our thrill of horror.
Generally, Fear is convenient because it helps us to avoid taking responsibility of our own lives. We can shrink our existence in a time-bound make-believe security and serve the myriad masks of authority to explore and exploit our weaknesses. Of course, all these authoritative establishments have to promote their products with the cheerful claim that they can defeat Fear. Political parties promise goodies, economists predict that with their policies in place millions of jobs will be created and the gulf between the rich and the poor will be bridged, educationists will predict that if you toil hard enough there is nothing to fear in your career, investment agents will paint a happy tension-free old age with the money that you pour in today and religious leaders can guarantee an escape route from being fried in a pot in hell if you are loyal to your faith. It is a life of Fear-management. Products and services are designed to eliminate fear but in reality they make it worse. And we like it that way. In fact, our rush to run away from Fear acts like a performance enhancing drug.
Our elders at home and teachers in school used to terrify us with dire consequences if we did not take their commandments seriously enough. ‘Life is hard out there. There is no place for failure. Cut-throat competition. You will have to somehow create your own space, no one will do it for you. The more you play with your friends the more you are destroying your future’…we were made to feel like criminals for having some fun, for being happy and playful, for not worrying too much about the future.
The problem with Fear is that it shoves us towards gaining knowledge but denies wisdom, that it pushes us headlong into relationships but denies Love, that it seduces us to explore more layers of illusions but denies Truth and that it makes us increasingly restless and denies Peace.
A Rishi had declared,
The World, listen
We are all Children of Immortality.
When the Buddha told us about the Middle Path he not only drew a line between indulgence and abstinence, or between the solar and the lunar channels, he asked us to live with and in the moment, which is the middle path between the Past and the Future, both of which exist only in our mind.
The Rishis, the Buddha and many other enlightened Masters did not try to make us brave or fearless in the way adventure sportsmen or brainwashed suicide bombers are, they had showed us the way to go beyond Fear. That can happen only when we stop identifying ourselves with the body that we have and the possessions that we enjoy. Only when we are fully aware of our Existence that can neither be born nor be dead, we actually go beyond our vulnerabilities. No system can then either threaten us or pretend to protect us from ourselves.
Systems have been designed to reverse the natural flow of human potential. Hence a search for spiritual freedom is not welcome to the mainstream mindset unless Spirituality, as an industry, can be co-opted. Which is already a work in progress. Book stores are flooded with Chakras and Yoga, Ayurveda and Accupuncture, vegetarian recipes and therapeutic healing. Yoga institutes, Wellness Centres and Alternative Treatment Facilities spring up each day to serve those who are down with ‘System Fatigue’ and have learned to become suspicious of the true intentions of those who organise the pieces on the life-chessboard.
But the aspects of Spirituality that are being swallowed by the mainstream are a more pleasing disguise of the same principles of Fear that rule our lives. Alternative lifestyle is merely becoming a more comfortable Fear to live with. For example, you refuse painkillers because you are scared of the chemical reactions in the body. Instead you do Yoga or accept other therapies to keep the pain away. In this case, Yoga, the way you practise it, does nothing to make you aware of who you are and thereby overcome all human fears, especially the ones that revolve around our concerns with mortality.
The mainstream will never choose to nurture a more honest spiritual attitude because the industry has nothing to gain by it. In fact they have everything to lose. Political convictions will sound like a joke, Nationalism will seem like a dogma of the ignorant, the Medical industry will seem like a conspiracy, the Economic system will appear to cater to the privileged, educationists will be mocked at for promoting a kind of modern slavery and religions will become totally redundant.
Spirituality, hence, will continue to be an individual option. But you can’t really be in total control of this option. Time plays a role, it takes you through a series of experiences till you begin to feel that you have had enough of being perpetually scared. You finally want to become free and take charge of your own life.