This is strictly between us. Though the whole world might know!
The World is doubling its population (since 1974) today! We will now be 8 billion despite all the genocide, Murders, Wars, ill health, and natural and unnatural calamities. This means that the candle is burning at both ends and one end has a taller flame. Right? But is it also a coincidence that this news follows Indian Children’s Day celebrated every year on Nehruji’s Birthday on Nov 14? Might have forgotten recently though.
Nehruji’s Great Grand Children do not enjoy his legacy (his children and Grand Children did!), and in fact, are castigated for it, but the Children who celebrated his birthday – they no longer do because they have grown up and it is out of fashion perhaps – certainly did, rising through society’s strict social barriers because of employment in the government and public sector, making a livelihood through it, and in some cases beyond it! This is a natural phenomenon, because like Current Affairs are far more important than History, contemporary heroes outshine those of the past. If this is now, then what will our children do to our legacy – if we leave one – good or bad?
By 2100, the world’s population will rise by 50% to 10 Billion, if the world does not end by then – and there are both pessimists and optimists in this regard. But both agree, that if it does end and we end with it – kind of like winner takes all – then why should it matter to us?
So why not drop the bomb? The only thing missing in the trail of human destruction is a nuclear conflagration, which is quite likely given the mental health of our political leaders worldwide and their administrative assistants! But that is unlikely to tilt the balance in favour of a smaller population. Remember Covid? Why? Who wants to remember that? Maybe only WHO does! We all want to forget it until we get a new mutant ninja coming our way.
So it must be that there are many more children coming in than we think. They have dried up in some parts of the world and in some communities for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is stress. Really, all kinds, but mainly the stress of bringing up children in an asocial, highly competitive, material world where the only education possible is about money – Money for Nothing and Money for everything! That’s deep. Reflect on it till your money dries up!
So plenty coming in. Children. Some welcome it; they say it’s our future – Not the child’s! Some are concerned about this influx: if it’s not one of theirs. They are concerned about where they are coming from and how it will affect them. Is it about another mouth to feed and another competitor for scant resources? Or is it because it might alter demographics, metamorphose society, and take them out of their comfort zone? Well, that’s what they have been doing themselves so far right? Why restrict another? Ah, that’s because it’s not theirs. But what is stopping them from doing the same? That is the question to be asked. Concern for the world or for themselves or is it something else? If they can, then why…
That brings us to the question, does the current generation need to hand over a better world to their children – the next generation – than the one they live in? That’s the study of Inter-generational ethics. It differs from ethics among contemporaries because of the asymmetrical influence the present generation has over future generations. You do something now, and your great-grandchildren may benefit and there is no connection between you and them but a thin DNA thread, like in a cobweb. It’s the same dilemma all Indian Parents face, not so much the Parents in the Western World. How much of their happiness, and material comfort should they sacrifice so that their children may have theirs, not of the child’s own making, but of the parents? It kills two birds with one stone – It gives the parent job satisfaction, and makes the child happy, often unaware of how that happiness (or rather pleasure; happiness goes beyond) was brought about!
Will we give up our cars so they may be able to use one? Or our Acs’ so they may be able to use one? And what will they give up? An iPhone? Some doubt whether intergenerational relations can be evaluated in moral terms at all. That fundamental doubt pertains particularly to actions that affect persons in the far future, such as the disposal of radioactive waste that remains hazardous for millennia…But we still have to dispose of it, because we use it. And we can’t give up its use because it makes our lives comfortable.
You have heard of a round table conference, right? – it’s ideal for this subject because in a circle there is no end – only a beginning! So we must do what we do, to broaden our comfort zone, in the hope that it will broaden theirs! And if it does not, well they will find a way, for they are far more intelligent than us. Even an infant can operate an iPhone these days! In future….
So, all in all, the lesson unlearnt is that whether it’s 4 Billion, 8 Billion or 10 Billion, it does not matter. If we can’t fit in here, we will go and settle on the moon or even Mars. That’s what we are preparing for. Space will never be a constraint Just like when a town couldn’t expand horizontally because it was surrounded by water, it learnt to build skyscrapers!
Every generation finds a way to solve problems for its contemporaries. This might create problems for future generations, but they will be resourceful enough to find solutions to those problems in ways we cannot imagine today – because we don’t have their problem. We have our own. It is exactly why the mobile phone was created and see the problems it is creating for the current generation! But they will find a way. They may have already found one in fact – the smartwatch! and coming soon is the smart ring. Not the wedding ring though. That may take another 10 generations, by which time it will become redundant, I guess!
So don’t worry, be happy Bobby McFerrin says!
“Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life, we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) be happy
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry, be happy”
Until next week!
This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.