Capitalism is a great slave, but a pathetic master. This truth unfortunately gets lost in our chase for the elusive dream. It’s the dream of being independent masters of our lives or making big bucks and of being happy-even if that happiness is being bought by money which all of them chase out there. No doubt, the West, on its part, has been fairly successful in creating material comforts a plenty. It has improved the living standard of its average citizen. However it has been achieved as a result of more than 200 years of unbridled growth and exploitation. And that is what has made the rest of the world mindlessly chase Westernism not necessarily happiness or an ideal form of society. All because the shop window looks very impressive and it has been marketed very well.
But a deep look inside the shop tells a different tale. A different world lies behind; a world that is not quite visible to the starry eyed millions – for whom the Western way of life seems to be the ultimate dream.
Thus, we have Indians dreaming to become or to get married to an NRI and Indian middle class fathers dreaming of their sons reaching the Bay area and landing tech jobs, unmindful of the second class life they end up leading in the West. What goes unseen and almost unheard is that the West also happens to be the land that is right amongst the top in terms of the number of divorces per thousand, the number of single parent families per thousand, the number of old people in old age homes, the number of suicides, homicides, and of course, the number of college/school shootouts.
And why not! After all, such societies are constantly driven towards higher profits and materialism. Expectedly, this materialism comes at a cost that the world is paying today. This is the reason why we have millions dying of curable diseases in Africa and other underdeveloped countries, while the rich grow richer. Their growth will be reduced, if they were to start thinking of the poor so what do they do to justify their greed for more? They most shrewdly propagate and market a ridiculously primitive law of the jungle for our 21st century civilian, the Law of Survival of the Fittest’!
The interesting thing about material things is that they only give an illusion of happiness; however such happiness is always momentary in nature Ergo, at this juncture, you feel you are buying your new car or flat screen TV, and just a few days later, these are the very possessions that cease to make you happy. While you chase the bigger car and spend that extra bit of the wealth, you intercept someone’s share of the daily bread and also sacrifice those who have the maximum power to make you happy-family, emotions and love. Prolonged abstinence in feeling emotions finally destroys bliss; and you do not even realize when you have become a dry-eyed cripple … and then you land up in a sermon workshop to find out the real meaning of life – or whatever these workshops are capable of explaining. The truth is that such workshops are also driven by merchants who cash in on the dejected state of the people, a state created by their own fictional dreams. But by then it’s really too late.
By then, you have made profits out of arms, and engineered wars to keep that industry alive. You have sold guns across counters at supermarkets and made more profits. You have lobbied that guns should be made accessible to the common man, and all for the sake of profits. This makes you realize one day that they are your own children who are in the line of fire against the school goer who opens fire at his schoolmates.
This is the society that finally creates an emotionless monster, who gets satisfaction in killing innocent adults and children alike for no cause no reason and for none, for himself. It is the utter destruction of spiritualism and the total focus on endless self-gratification. Where so many single parent families and divorces exist, it is impossible to bring up children or influence the killers, any better.
What does the author mean by ‘intercepting someone’s share of daily bread’?