JUNE 30 — It all began with a comment I made in a WhatsApp group, in response to an American friend's post about the 1969 riots in Malaysia: “Alas, a political solution is not the answer because politicians, like all of us, have selfish interests. Unfortunately, they are unable to make the connection between collective interest and their own.”
My friend then said, “Curious how a solution, though probably not originating in the political process, as it is, can not [sic] have a political impact eventually. If it doesn't, then it's not really a solution, is it?”
My #TLDR (fair warning given) answer:
Politics is part of the solution, but it's NOT the foundation or source of the solution. That was a mistake I made, hence my joining politics as a young man only to discover later that the kind of society that I wished to live in will not come about because of mainstream politics or policies.
It is Politics with a capital P that will make the difference. Which is why I moved on to education, and then soon discovered that it's Education with a capital E that needs work.
In the Vedas, there are four basic sciences: Philosophy, Education, Politics and Economics. All these sciences stem from one original premise, i.e. there is a natural order of things (Dharma) which, if we don't follow or comply with (Adharma), we will end up with bad consequences.
In Dharmic literature and culture, there is no such thing as the separation of state and religion because the spirit is infused in all things.
Indeed, it is a fundamental error to equate Abrahamic religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam with Dharmic religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, or even Taoism for that matter. These two categories of religions approach spirituality and philosophy very differently.
The solution I am referring to will mean that politics is not separate from “religion,” i.e. the basic foundation of the solution is spiritual, albeit the implementation will involve material mechanisms that reflect or align with Dharmic or religious principles.
As a former human rights lawyer and a former social and political activist, I am not ashamed to tell you that I no longer believe in human rights and democracy the way that it is presented and understood by mainstream society, whether in academia or otherwise.
Unless and until we recognise, acknowledge and accept that the fundamental nature of the universe and life itself rests on the great “unknown” — which can only be known and understood by those who bother to find out, i.e. those who managed to develop their consciousness (something that science has yet to completely figure out) — the solutions that we come up with will always fall short of what's truly needed.
For example, humanity and the rest of the inhabitants of Earth, which I call Earthlings collectively, are now facing a crisis far greater than the Covid-19 pandemic, i.e. the climate crisis and mass extinction, but the will to do something about it is far far less than what resources and attention we have put into fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Why? Indeed, even the Covid-19 problem will not be entirely solved when a vaccine is finally found because other virus will develop in the future because of the way we (human beings) live.
So what is the solution? We need to change the way we live. But before we can do that, we need to change the way we see and understand ourselves, the universe and life itself, i.e. Philosophy with a capital P.
Thus, the solution starts with Education with a capital E, which requires Politics with a capital P, with the influence over Economics with a capital E.
And for that, we need politicians and leaders who understand this essay and care enough to do something about it.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.