These are seminal times. The entire globe seems to be grappling with more fundamental changes than it seems to be realizing

History has many shades. The rich and the powerful seek to find a place in it even while they are alive. Individuals seek it, communities try for it, ideologies make a bid for it. With the passage of time many aspirations, like many dreams, wither away. That which survives is often what cannot be controlled by interventions. Thus it is that efforts like inserting a time capsule seem a wishful endeavour. Each generation has its heroes and only a few of them become trans-generational. The truth of the matter is that whereas history repeats itself if people don’t learn from it, history also has a logic of its own, beyond human manipulation. In the cacophony of ideologies of statecraft, governance, the real nature of heritage and history in the shaping of reality gets diluted and sometimes lost. Truth and historical processes are inexorable and they cannot be argued with.

Simply put, history, heritage, intellectual thought and all that goes with it are given. History is also a testimony to circumstances and providence thwarting the powerful efforts of the mighty. Recall how Fatehpur Sikri could never become a live city in spite of the efforts and the might of Mughal emperor Akbar who some people declare to be “The Great” king. History is shaped by a logical force of inheritance of resources, refinement of the intellect and the level of the material bases of culture. Thus it is that slash and burn agriculture evolved into genetic manipulation of seeds. Stone Age energy evolved into atomic energy. The type of energy base and its utilisation from burning wood to atomic fission shaped civilisations. In such a context, a retrospect of over 10,000 years of somewhat recorded history and over millions of years of human evolution have a message. The message is of some defining moments and some watersheds of time. This varies from location to location, region to region and occasionally can be a global phenomenon.

The present times are a watershed in the history of the globe. Whatever the suffering, whatever the trumpeting for a positive attitude, when the present times of anxiety, pain and uncertainty are over, the world would have woken into a new incarnation. The current reference to it is the “new normal.” No one is quite clear what the contours of the “new normal” or for that matter even its contents would be. The present trends of extrapolating the past processes of change into futurological forecasting may be passé.

A look at the possibilities may be interesting. There has been a huge tendency in the post-World War-I situation, which is about a hundred years of time, to look at human activity in economic terms. There can be no denying the fact that processes of production, throughput and exchange are basic to human civilisation. Label it economics for want of a better phrase. This is seminal to the survival of Homo Sapiens on this planet. Yet what is called economic activity may not always have human dominance at the core of all activity and developmental experience.

The time has come when other planetary resources, beings, lives including of plants and trees, will demand much more sensitive handling than they have received so far. Every resource need not be for the exclusive use of the perceived comfort of Homo Sapiens. The sheer non-renewability of resources or slower rejuvenation of animal and plant life than their depletion rate would have thrown the equilibrium of civilisation out of balance. Clearly, a new script of survival of life on this planet is going to emerge. Those who come with it are welcome. Those who ignore it will be sidetracked and indeed it will happen even with the people who would wish to resist it. This is the thrill of living in such seminal times as the present. That it will be open to those who will survive is yet another factor in the emerging reality. Unfortunately, there are no algorithms available as of today on who will survive and who will not. This situation is likely to continue to be so for the immediate future.

In the meanwhile, spirituality has come to occupy a greater space in people’s minds than ever before. As a wag once put it, “politics is the last recourse of scoundrels.” Similarly, spirituality, for many, appears, as the last recourse of helplessness. That many also have spirituality as an act of positive choice is a saving grace. In the century where the dominant theme was economics, spirituality was ignored by many, at the cost of a complete development of human civilisation. Now it is being progressively recognised that there is a critical spiritual quotient in human personality and existence.

These are seminal times if ever there were. The entire globe seems to be grappling with more fundamental changes than it seems to be fully realising. Clearly the best is yet to come.