When a futuristic society sets a goal for humanity, people universally adopt it without much resistance. The noisy and blood stained French gave us the triple goals of liberty, equality and fraternity; and since then democracy has become the way of life for much of civilized world.
But that’s an old story. Contemporary futurism emerges from university research, corporate board rooms and interconnected media. Americans are the futurists of your times. They have taught you the power of numbers – they have given you quantitative goals. Global goal setting for your century has already taken place in your minds in a smooth and bloodless manner.
I have lost count how many times I have seen a panicked movie character run to her bathroom medicine cabinet and grab one of the many labelled small white plastic containers, open one or two of them and gulp a few tablets. It is a powerful scene that demonstrates the character’s slavery to numbers.
Have you not noticed the increasing power of numbers in your own life? Your city hoardings, internet screens, newspapers and flashy magazines are painted loud and clear: ‘Your wellness is in quantitative abundance. Go for more and go for larger!’
Let me present the evidence of quantitative goals that are all around you: increase the size of penis/breasts, lose weight, increase quarterly profit, claim a discount on grocery bill, produce more grains per hectare, increase the blood count, reduce cholesterol, eat cereals rich in protein and fibre, get faster data speed and greater mobile phone memory counted in GB, get more twitter followers! The list is endless.
The numeric goal-setting is not just restricted to businesses. Schools flaunt a growing percentage of students scoring well, cities talk about growing infrastructure, and governments talk about increasing life expectancy and growing national income.
Underlining the numbers is a belief that quantitative growth is at the foundation of human wellness. Transgressing your ethnic and political boundaries, you have all become citizens of a wider nation that I have named Republic of Quantitative Wellness. You have already accepted numbers as indicators of good or bad. You now use numbers to separate achievers from losers, and happy people from unhappy people.
Therefore, it should not surprise that a bathroom cabinet accommodating several different tablet containers, nutrition supplements, ointments, anti-aging creams, eye drops, teeth whiteners and herbal products should be a valued possession of every citizen of this number mad republic. Every citizen is also expected to possess a large variety of other tangible growth and wellness tools, such as entertainment options, vehicles, electronic gadgets, eating outs, drinks, groceries, clothes, fashion accessories and so on.
Ancient Vedic analysts have used the word ‘maya’, which can be loosely translated as ‘matrix’. Cambridge online dictionary defines matrix as ‘the set of conditions that provides a system in which something grows or develops’. Thus maya is the mindset that makes you entangled as an agent (‘karta’ in Sanskrit) with the various objects (‘karma’) of your material life, creating a fiction of duality or separatedness between you and your universe. The more you engage with the matrix smokescreen, the greater your wants and mightier your goals become.
It is possible to disentangle from this maze and consider qualitative issues of life. Stuff that cannot be measured makes life wholesome. You cannot calculate the well being caused by your ability to engage with things you like to learn and do, or by people who make you happy and those who are happy to see you, and a mind cheerful and with positive energy, and an average body that is in generally good disposition and food that your mother used to cook for you. You could gain all this, but the question is – are you prepared to become a closet disbeliever, a counter-revolutionary?