Inside each of us lurks a producer and a consumer, seeking satisfaction. At the elemental level, what are produced and consumed are all derived from natural resources. From them are derived our food, water, shelter, energy, comforts, health and nourishment of the soul. Within modern man, there is a huge divide between the producer and consumer. Indeed, in many people the gap may be infinite as they may have no participation in the productive process at all whereas the consumer in them is never absent. Modern economies encourage us to just produce the money with which we can consume all that we need. Thus are created the disconnections and alienation we feel within ourselves.
Reflecting further, I understood consuming less and consuming with sensitivity is also to contribute to conservation and/or production; without any measurable productive act, a sensitive consumer can contribute to production and begin to bridge the divide inside her.
Our happiness is a direct measure of the gap between our producing and consuming selves. The greatest happiness is when we are in the perfect state of being the consumer of only what we produce. While that ideal state may not be obtainable, we can increase our happiness by acts that narrow the divide. That is why gardening, cutting out mindless shopping, saving rain water, caring in any way for planet earth make us feel fulfilled – and we radiate happiness. Blessed is she in whom the creator and the consumer are within reach of an embrace.
The divide within Indians is increasing and explains the general incivility all around. And, we were a people whose producers and consumers within lived in harmony until recent times. We have today collectively decided that we must seek more money for our pockets which will suffice to attain happiness. Thus the fervour for mega mines, cheaper cars, trade over thousands of miles, convenient foods and bottled water. It was this direction that Gandhi was riling against. [Ironically, Gandhi had a more advantaged and urban upbringing than our prime minister Manmohan Singh. Yet, Gandhi wanted us to stay connected within; scholarly Singh’s ‘education’ has led him away from his origins to preach a growth that disregards environment and equity.]
Such was my quandary in 2006. Before I made any of the statements I have made in this essay I wanted to demonstrate my own personal commitment. That is why this explanation of why GoodNewsIndia is not being updated, is both long-winded and delayed thus far.
Riling against the ills around me won’t change them nor real change, the personal one, requires any special powers- only some commitment. In early 2006, I decided I would search and care for a piece of derelict land and make it productive. A small part of India where nothing had ever grown, a land that had been abandoned as worthless, an orphaned part of India as it were, seemed a good place from which to begin a new journey.
Suspending GNI for a while, I tell my tales in pointreturn.org