Sunday, 13 December 2015

Destruction and its place in natural order.

What role does destruction have to play in shaping our lives, and shaping our civilizations? The first civilization that crumbled miserably was that of the Mayans. They were progressing until one day, in a rather surreal way, everything ground to a halt and the civilization was extirpated in a rather mysterious way. Ever since that, many other civilizations had to bear the brunt of destruction of the highest order. Natural calamities like earthquakes and floods, to epidemics that swiped off all life, to  internal mutinies, to destruction inflicted by the enemies. While most of the civilizations succumbed, some thrived, only to be challenged again, and only to come out victorious and even stronger. And that there lies the place of destruction in natural order. 


The most ardent athletes and the most exuberant performers, have all waned and whimpered under immense personal tragedies. They all succumb to the poignancy - the destruction of all peace and happiness, and are able to remold their very conscience. Hence they deliberately not give into the enormous weight of their ordeal. Those who do would crack and either remain paltry niggards their whole lives or end up broke in an asylum. But these handful of champions would go on and take that destruction of almost all that their life stood for, with ferocious panache and intent. What's in play here - survival of the fittest!

It seems like the nature has multiple agents through which it tries dodging its beings. Natural selection is vested not only in how physically strong someone is, it's also about how sturdy and non amenable one's integrity and psyche are. Every personal loss and separation acts to destroy the balustrade of our happy pristine lives, and literally rocks the foundation of our personality. Those who are inherently strong, would wade through. Those who are malleable, would vanish to the abyss of their own despondency. Not only this. In fact just like physical traits, even psychological traits can be passed on. A soldier has to make humongous sacrifices, and yet knowingly, he'd still want his son to become another one. That built of the psyche in their lineage is their biggest asset, and nature accordingly supports their existence and their decisions. 

Now drawing parallel to societies and civilizations as a whole. Not every empire and now not every country or every state has a right to exist. Several civilizations were built on the bedrock of naturally acclaimed assets. The Indus valley civilization and Egyptian civilization for example were built on river banks and had an obvious reason to thrive. But both of them eventually vanquished. Why? Because just like individuals, empires, societies, states and countries all have a psychological character to them! 

Consider a few examples. India remained the pivot of global economy for so long and yet after some time in middle of the 16th century, the dynamics changed and we started receding into a ever deepening trough on a global scale. We still had the usual advantages, We had formidable river systems, fertile lands, natural resources and what not. But we deliberately chose to become oblivious to the fact that one's opponents can't be tamed for very long. Progressive European civilizations were marred with many wars and had humongous natural constraints they faced on their way. But while their psyche was built around dominance and progress, ours was built around conservatism. And alas, our choice proved wrong. We became the individual who negated all his physical advantages because he felt morally very superior and was complacent of his position. We were wound back 200 years on the clock because of that. And yes, once we were penetrated, we couldn't really prove strong and resilient enough to ward off any attacks from thereon. We were taken aback. Destruction had a place in our order. It was to tell us how wrong we'd been and how many vices we hid from ourselves. Caste systems, dowry, conservatism etc. all plague us even today as they did back then. Hence maybe more destruction is on its way to test us and get us rectified, or to let us know of our actual position.

Japan was attacked many times and it always barely managed to survive. Then sometime around the middle of the 18th century, Japan shut itself to the world and opened again sometime in the middle of the 20th century. It went rogue and faced the most devastating attacks that vaporized a colossal portion of its population. Hiroshima and Nagasaki till date remain the most repugnant displays of human induced destruction. A weak and a fragile nation would have secluded itself to the alcove of despair and drudgery. But Japan rebuilt itself. It was not about the government or a few companies in particular. It was about the nation as a whole. It was their psyche. Destruction had a place in Japan's history. It was to knock them out and get them to the brink of extinction. Because only when they were challenged, did they leave being a sake manufacturing country and turned themselves into the hub of electronics and automotive denizens. 

Israel is another example. The country is challenged every day, with its might always questioned and its very existence being put to a litmus test. But it fights, because the day it stops fighting, it'll cease to exist. Destruction had a place in Israel's history. It was to tell them they're small and that they would perish if they didn't use their size to their advantage. The United states not only had to bear the brunt of the civil wars, Pearl Harbor and some hideous acts of terrorism. It also had to parry off massive moves by the financial bayonet during the great depression and then the global meltdown of 2008. So while the Imperialist Britain succeeded with its psyche of narcissism and nihilist supremacy, the United states is taking down one country at a time using its expansive network of intelligence agencies, supposedly egalitarian global financial assistance bodies, and its behemoth banks. They're running on the profound psyche of extreme self-interest. Destruction had a place USA's order. It was to tell them they had to take over the world but in a more tacit way.

Destruction has a very big role to play in shaping a country's character, just as much as in carving a man's countenance. Destruction rids us of all unwanted elements and brings the puritan out of us. Destruction makes sure we are not parochial again. And while destruction does cause damage, it does more good by purging all proclivities that were bound to prove harmful. Destruction is tantamount to a clear pathway for evolution. Sooner than later, we all grow too big. We either destroy what we don't need, or we get drubbed by our own size. So while progress remains the fulcrum of how the world moves ahead, destruction acts as a silent guardian on the gateway to make sure the worthy ones never have to traipse back into the past.