Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Legacy - An anachronism

Is cultural legacy an anachronism?

       The American declaration of Independence in  1776 was a benchmark in the evolution of mankind. It was a charter that asserted the value of equality and independence. It heralded the birth of a new religion. A religion with no legacy, but nonetheless a religion that dreamt, justified and facilitated the pursuit of Happiness.
Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his rhetoric and his policies. Since then, it has become a well-known statement on human rights, particularly its second sentence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
      Since its inception the American philosophy was free of any cultural baggage. Tradition and Culture are only as relevant as the times they are practiced. "Freedom from bondage" was as applicable to any restrictive culture, as it was to slavery. The birth of a new order was a cultural epiphany that legitimised indulgence and sanctified opulence provided they were the product of hard work. This religion taught it's followers the virtues of thinking big.
Liberty Equality and Fraternity that were the highlights of the French Revolution across the Atlantic were suffixed by America with "Faster Higher and Stronger". This society unabashedly pushed the limits of human endeavor and redefined social hierarchy based on success and wealth that was self earned. Dynasties were not lineage based. Fortunes were created, not transfered. Ayn Rand eulogised selfishness.
Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge. She ostracised  faith and religion. She preached  ethical egoism, and rejected altruism. A new age philosophy  "laissez-faire "-capitalism based on recognizing individual rights was ushered in.
A religion that did not promise  heaven in after life. It promised a heaven in this life. Just that one had to create it oneself. A religion that preaches  to dream and prods to realise it. A breeze of a new world order that fanned the embers of creativity and ingenuity. A philosophy and belief that was more physical less metaphysical. A culture that did not promise the stars but rather strove to reach for them.
An ideology   that was brutally honest and accepted that the Emperor was indeed naked. An ideology that chose to drape the Emperor rather than debate on his non-existent wardrobe.
Opulent lifestyle was not anathema so long as one worked for it. Size did matter and bigger was better. Abundance had a flip side but it reigned in a need of self restraint. Restraint was not a subject of the state and did not need legislation. A society that evolves despite being spoilt for choices.Gratification has to be transcended and not avoided. Philanthropy was proactive , a by product of indulgence. It was based on true compassion and not morality based. It was not reaction based, to generate positive Karma for successive births. Renunciation based on depravity never liberates. Renunciation post indulgence does. The monk could drive the Ferrari or sell it. He sold it. But after driving it.

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