As human beings, it is very desirable that we adhere to the principles of reason. By adhering to those principles we can have a more peaceful life, and the prospect of better relations with others. At the same time, a realization about living by reason must be admitted: When reason alone becomes the overriding pursuit and the underlying foundation of all human thinking, there is the grave danger of ascribing reason to all human actions.
We differ on how we reason, and we cannot all agree on how others reason. Had that been the case, reason would have been the sure instrument and measurement to find truth. Is it? The many reasonable, intelligent humans through the centuries failed in establishing a “social truth”, if there is such a thing at all, within the realm of human possibility on earth!
It is time to recall some of the ideas expressed by the Prime Minister on the eve of the New year, December 31/2016, when he enunciated the effects, steps, beliefs, and hopes connected with the step of demonetization. Reproduced below are some of the ideas, as provided in the linked HT article, English transcript:
In God’s creation, humans are endowed with fundamental goodness.
With time, the distortions of badness creep in. People feel suffocated in a bad environment, and struggle to come out of it. Corruption, black money, and counterfeit notes had become so rampant in India’s social fabric, that even honest people were brought to their knees.
Usually, when people’s movements have arisen, the people and the government have been at loggerheads.
In this fight against corruption and black money, it is natural to debate the fate of the dishonest. What punishment will they get? The Law will take its own course, with its full force. But the priority of the Government now is how to help the honest, protect them, and ease their difficulty. How can honesty gain more prestige?
This Government is a friend of good people. And it aims to build an enabling environment for the dishonest to return to the path of goodness.
Do the words quoted above sound like the speech of a politician? What do those words, if you did not know who the speaker was, mean to you?
These are expressions of a confidence in humans, in God’s creatorship of mankind – not Indian humans, or American humans, or humans of any other nationality – divisions at the superficial level. Yes, humans do have a fundamental goodness. When injustices continue for a long time, they do erode the will to hold on to and express that basic goodness. Over time, evil and badness seems normal, logical, and even true…it grows!
Why this step to demonetize Rupees 500 and 1,000 currency notes for the said beliefs is so appealing to the common people is because, they want to share this belief and vision. The decision came from the government, but it expresses something that is not material, or limited to economics, or policy. There is a deep, underlying, “ideological confidence”. That confidence in honesty and goodness has been expressed through philosophy and through old religions, and it continues to persist despite all the things that have happened in this world. It is that confidence that is indomitable. Those who adhere to that confidence, share in the indomitability of the idea! A bullet or a bomb cannot destroy this idea.
It simply so happens that, a leader from a particular political party, so many years after independence has shown the courage to make a reform. However, the ideas of honesty and goodness are not bound to a party or a person. Yes, the practical step and its implementation are bound to the BJP and Mr. Modi, and that is how history is poised to remember it.
Would governments in other countries succeed in doing what India has attempted? To be prudent, the step of demonetization, the subsequent government policies and programs, and the overall social application of the process is still taking place. The idea is a basic success from the start, the implementation is an ongoing struggle. It is appropriate to commend the government, and the people who have stood by in a display of great patience. However, there is a need to be reminded, to never enter into a state of unawareness, blind trust, and idolizing anyone. The day when, people become equipped to understand individual ideas and apply them with personal precision is, yet desirable and distant.
The day when, people become equipped to understand individual ideas and apply them with personal precision is, yet desirable and distant.
The balance of the idea – the shrewdness of the leadership, balanced with benevolence
There is no rosy picture of human society, but the vision for the future is surely better than the reality we have become used to seeing. The critics surely look down upon the idealism, or the impossibility of the vision coming true. In doing so, they forget a very fundamental truth about humans. Humans do need idealism, and the glory of vision to feel motivated to do what exceeds normal, mundane, everyday actions. Should it be criticized on the grounds of being over-ambitious? Anything and anyone can be criticized, but the critics should themselves be asked to offer a viable alternative to what they criticize. This has typically been the historic line critics fail to cross, and even show an unwillingness to cross.
It is understood, not all who echo great ideas are really going to embrace them. They would even pretend for a while, and those with knowledge of the deep corruption can even afford to laugh at the hypocrisy. The shrewdness of the leadership has been seen in, keeping its own intentions secret but also keeping knowledge of those who have continued to persist in corruption despite opportunity. The wisdom is in knowing hypocrisy, but not being one! When there is a balance of the sort we have seen, it is possible to have confidence. Once again, the ideas of honesty and human goodness enshrined in the process started by demonetization is an indomitable idea…it is basically, a success.
People now are hoping, the benevolent results for the honest and needy would continue to materialize. In this, it is important to evaluate the expectations by the yardstick of sustainability and reality. It simply cannot be that, a human government can ensure prosperity to a population as vast as over a Billion people. If earthwide prosperity is attempted, it will hurt the planet and all other life on it. A sustainable and realistic expectation can be, to meet the basic needs of all. Social inequality, economic inequality will continue, and should not be understood as continuation of injustice.
Social inequality, economic inequality will continue, and should not be understood as continuation of injustice.
The society of humans is made up of unequal members, just as the human body is made up of parts that are unequal in importance and function. Even the body of a man and the body of a woman are unequal and different. This natural difference is just, and it is essential for the functioning of life.
The discussion of demonetization was likened to removing blood from a living body. Despite the intellectual dissection of the step and looking at practical implications with a keen eye, one only has to appreciate the frustration in the hearts of the people to have embraced demonetization and its subsequent processes with such patience. People have been given hope, and hope lets a human survive where nothing else could. The same way, hope can let a society of a nation or societies of many nations survive. The hope has to be supplemented with action.
Could men do what God alone can – to change the hearts of people? Men cannot change hearts, and God does not change hearts. People change their own hearts on the basis of belief, on the basis of hope. It will always be, there will be people who believe in honesty and goodness of humans. When this belief is dead, the world would have lost all reason and justification for continued existence. Some are awaiting Divine judgment for precisely such a possible situation!