A restoration of balance

Capitalism fosters the idea of hedonism, which ultimately leads to self-centeredness


Sadaan Noor February 12, 2016

I remember being asked once in a class, “What is the one thing that you wish to be that is also supernatural in nature?” I thought about it for a long time and then rested on the idea of a 'balance'. I wished to become a balance of sorts; the idea of balance in its entirety; action, thought and emotion.

If we look around, we are surrounded everywhere by pain and injustice, which has given birth to further pains and injustices. The seemingly impeccable edifices in which we take so much pride are mostly built upon the bones of our forefathers who were victims of an imperial coloniser. We, as a country, have made little progress with regard to freeing ourselves of the chains that bound us to our old identity i.e., a colony of a ‘superior’ race.

But even as we transcend and look beyond our own grief and pain, it is ironic to see the world plagued with 'famine' on the one hand and 'obesity' on the other. If there was balance in the world, perhaps these two terms would not have existed. It is because of our acutely imperfect nature that the world is gripped with opportunists who make profits out of any situation they come across.

Ever since the end of the Cold War, all of us have benefitted on the back of capitalism, which came out as the victor against communism. But what does capitalism dictate? To utilise opportunities and give them a superior priority, even above humanity at times.

Capitalism fosters the idea of hedonism, which ultimately leads to self-centeredness. And that leads to the idea of ‘selective humanity’. It is not even a dystopia, it is a real, prevailing state of affairs; we need only gaze towards the African continent for evidence, or look at our own country a little more critically to see traces of the decline of humanity. That said, I am not censuring capitalism. Capitalism is merely an idea; it is we, the people, who give life to it.

But where is the balance in this present state of affairs? Indeed, there is no such thing as balance in this world. We may come close to it, but can never experience it in its entirety in this imperfect life. The least we can all do is struggle and try to imitate the idea of balance in order to lessen the burdens and pains of our fellow human beings.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th,  2016.

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