November 23, 2010
Stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the
whole responsibility on your own shoulders and know that you are the
creator of your own destiny.
The tides of globalization and rapid change are producing a new
class of people - confident, creative, tech-savvy and ferociously
Even so, it is worth examining how many people
believe deep in their hearts that they are indeed the makers of
their own destiny, and how many even aspire to that type of
The experience of most people is a mix of contradictory impulses.
The pull of a mixture traditions in cultures that have continuity
stretching back millennia is no small force and this, naturally,
exerts considerable influence on the thinking of many young people.
Much of this remains unconscious even though many of us imagine we
are making life choices of our own accord rather than merely
conforming to long-established patterns.
In reality, how free an
individual's choices are is correlated with how awake the individual
is and the depth of the spiritual context within which the
individual is living his life.
It is only through developing awareness and self-knowledge that we
can begin to freely determine our own destiny. This becomes
pointedly relevant when we consider our emotional, psychological and
spiritual readiness to live in a world where the defining life
condition is one of accelerating change.
Are we prepared to respond
to new challenges and cooperate with others when our survival and
evolution depend on it?
Without self-knowledge and sensitivity to the times we are living
in, we may find ourselves unable to ride the crest of the wave that
is carrying us into the future, or take advantage of the
opportunity that is now presenting itself for us to become conscious
agents of creating the kind of future that we actually want.
The European Renaissance (15th-16th centuries) was a seminal time
in the history of human development. It was followed by the
scientific and industrial revolutions and the rise of modernity.
Some critics say that this emergence was not necessarily a step to
After all, there is much to criticize in
modernity and the exaltation of the individual that it is
accompanied by. But what these critics often miss is that
individuation is in fact a further development of human interiority
- separation from the tribe creates inner space within the
individual in which self-awareness can grow.
It is only on such an
interior basis that the human being can truly become a free,
creative actor in the world and craft his own life in a way that
adds value to the whole.
While individuation can be accompanied by a loss of communal values,
paradoxically, it is only the truly individuated human who can
freely come together and cooperate with other people to create a new
culture that can address contemporary life conditions.
It is this step of individuation that most modern Indians still
struggle with. This is understandable when people live in two
worlds. In order to navigate the confusion that this might create,
we have to embrace an evolutionary perspective that can both explain
why we are the way we are, and also help illuminate our next step.
To move forward we first have to be clear about
who we are, by
exploring our cultural background and its history. It is only our
own passionate, independent interest that can provide the spiritual
fuel to penetrate through all the unexamined ideas we cling to.
The world desperately needs conscious, free individuals who can work
Those of us who have the privilege of education - which
means everyone reading this article - have to take the,
responsibility on to our own shoulders".
If not us, who will?