Sadhguru’s Ideas For A Better Post-Pandemic World
Sadhguru: A few years ago, when I went to the World Economic Forum, everyone was in deep depression because the recession had just hit. They gave me a subject to speak on: “Recession and Depression.” The room was full of people, and everyone wanted to know how to beat the depression. I said, “Recession is bad enough, you don’t have to get depressed too.” The way we have structured our economic system and are driving the economic engine on this planet, if we do not succeed we will be depressed. If we do succeed we will be damned. So I said, “I prefer that you are depressed.”
The Living Planet Report says that if the 7 billion people on the planet achieve the lifestyle of an average American person, we will need 4.5 planets. But we have only one. We have spent too much time fixing the world. Usually, to fix something means to improve it . But we have fixed it in a destructive way, to a point where if we continue in a “business as usual” mode, there is going to be a major disaster in twenty to thirty years.
At least this virus has pressed the pause button, and this is a chance to fix the economic engine. When the economic engine is running, we cannot fix it. But now is a good time to fix it and start thinking how else we can run this world.
Right now, manufacturing is constantly expanding. But where is it expanding to? We should definitely relook at the very idea of what development and prosperity is. Prosperity does not mean simply more and more. There is only one planet to live on. We cannot continue endlessly with more and more. Societies have to look at how to generate wellbeing for everyone within what we have.
For example, in a country like India, forty percent of the people who buy smartphones use it only for one year. There are over five hundred million smartphones in India which are not being used. They are lying somewhere in people’s homes because they bought the new model.
Why haven’t we made a law that if you buy a phone, you must use it for a certain period of time? Or if it breaks down you must surrender the broken phone. Similarly, if you buy a car, you must use it for a certain period of time or for a certain mileage. We also need to put such curbs on manufacture of the raw material – steel and aluminum – where nations cannot enhance their level of manufacturing for the next twenty-five years. Developing countries can be given a little leeway but once they reach a certain point , they must stop there. Otherwise our consumption will become more and more wanton.
There was a time when everyone was having six to eight children. Today everyone has come down to one or two. Many are choosing not to have any. When we can do this with children, why can’t we do this with a phone or a car and everything else? If we do not do it now, we will run for another twenty-five to thirty years and then hit a place that will be worse than this virus. When climate change issues go out of control, the pit that we hit will be much worse than this virus.
Of course, people will say, "Sadhguru you are adding insult to injury. We do not know how to manage our industry, we do not know how to provide employment. Now you are rubbing it down that we must reduce production." Not me, nature is rubbing it down. It is better that we heed the message.
The Evolution of Education
Schools and the methodology of education today is a serious flaw in human society. It is because of that flaw that many other problems have arisen. Right now, right from kindergarten, children are being told “You have to be number one.” This is a destructive process because there can only be one number one – that’s you. This means you are a megalomaniac. Unfortunately, this destructive process is going on everywhere. Essentially, it is manufactured in the school and then finds expression in the world in a much larger proportion.
This “mass education” program began in the West somewhere around two hundred years ago, to feed the industrialization that was happening. They came up with an education package that is common for everyone, not recognizing the individual sensibilities, uniqueness and genius of every human being. They came out with a mass extruder, where everyone will come out as a product that will fit into the economic process or the larger economic engine.
Even when I was in school, I could not understand why everyone comes and sits in a room and listens to one man reading a book. That is why I rarely went there. I could never fathom this activity so I always sat outside in the garden. How many millions of square feet of buildings have we built to educate people? At one time, we thought it was necessary because we were in the mode of mass production of everything, whether it was industry or education. But today, knowledge and information is available everywhere. What you need is someone to inspire human beings to strive towards something that matters to them in their lives.
Education should not just mean a heap of information in our heads but an overall development of the human being. Right now, enhancement as a human being and widening of horizons is not happening. Largely, education is about gathering information, passing examinations and getting a job. The economic status of most of the world a few decades ago might have been such that getting a job was the primary focus of education. But now as economic prosperity comes, that idea must change. Education is not just about acquiring a job but about enhancing a human being.
A 10% More Conscious World
Let me give some perspective on how we are living right now: Every day, nearly 8000 children die of malnourishment. To feed the 800 million people who go to bed daily on a hungry stomach, it would take about 9.7 to 9.8 billion dollars a month. And that is how much the world spends on video games every month. The world’s expenditure on alcohol, tobacco and drugs is nearly as much as the expenditure on food. People in the world are not going hungry because there is no food. It is because we have become distorted in our heads.
We are resource-rich like never before. We are technology-rich like never before. We are competence and science-rich and knowledge-rich like never before. Today, we have the necessary technology, resource and capability to address every issue on the planet. Never before in the history of humanity have human beings been as capable as we are today. The only thing missing is human consciousness. We need to create a conscious humanity, a conscious planet. If we function at least ten percent more consciously than the way we are functioning right now, the post-COVID world will be a fantastic world. We as a generation are sitting on this possibility – will we translate this into reality is the big question.