Some Thoughts on the Question of Race, Culture and the future of sapiens.
In the wake of large scale protests across the US and Europe, the protesters with the slogan Black Lives Matter have been questioning the histories of the societies which have institutionalized systemic racism. In this short writeup, I will argue that although modern biology regards race as a trivial social construct that has no biological or genetic basis, the social belief of certain cultures being superior to others is still institutionalized in many of our political systems. The great reformation will require a broad movement like the one seen against colonialism and it will have to be directed against the evil, not the evildoer.
Race as a social construct was developed by the Imperialists in order to build their legitimacy to rule the colonies across the globe.(This is a simplistic generalisation, the history has been not as reductionist as quoted).The legitimacy of this narrative was built by the meta-theories of the Aryan race supported by the hodgepodge discourses of social Darwinism. The synthesis of Stagial views of history and the Theory of Natural evolution were clearly seen in the works of John Stuart Mill when he supported the British Imperialism based on the idea of Civilising Mission. Various Works like E.M Forster’s A Passage to India and Rudyard’s Kipling’s White Man’s Burden reflected the broad sociopolitical narrative.
In the present times, the hatred that societies have been building against each other based on myths and conspiracy theories can be criticized by academicians in their research journals. But, they will have no relevance to the social change if the popular culture is not cognisant of these discourses. Here come the challenges, how to educate human beings to become critical thinking beings? “Evolution has made Homo sapiens, like other social mammals, a xenophobic creature. Sapiens instinctively divide humanity into two parts, ‘we’ and ‘they’.”The sapiens will have to actively expand their social connectedness beyond their local communities and this can be done by following measures
- Children across the planet need to be taught Big History that will attempt to give us a Macro view of human evolution. The story from Big Bang to the End of the Universe will enable us to develop a collective purpose of our fight against entropy in this brutish universe. There can be ideological conflicts over-interpreting wars and revolutions, but the activity of pursuing scientific truth should be guided by the idea of falsification ignoring myths of societies.
- The expansion of the circle of empathy can come only by realising the Anatta. This realisation can be taught by the practice of Meditation and thus we must actively teach the practices of meditation depending on the predisposition of the practitioner.
- The governments across the planet must avoid political mobilisation by blaming other societies for the problems within their systems. Although interconnected planet does not follow national boundaries, dividing the planet will reduce our intensity to fight the problems of global commons.
The vision of a peaceful global society represented by the Motto -Team Earth working to fight global challenges collectively is still a distant dream. But, it can become a reality in this interconnected world. The Baton lies in the hand of every Individual-Are they willing to become the change that they envisioned?
Its time to revisit the words of Carl Sagan
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”