Looking at some of observations noted in my travel journals, I realize that some of them have lost much of their relevance for the present day reader, reflecting thereby the accelerated pace of growth and transformation in these areas, although a majority of them are located far off from great urban centers. However some of the issues mentioned here have gained, since the time they were written; which is at an average a decade from the present, even more importance in the minds of the relatively enlightened and concerned fraction of the public, in the explicit mission statements of the big corporations and even more radically within a community of the new small dedicated entrepreneurships, sprouting like angiosperms, all over the globe and manifest also in the writings of the those sections of the media not exclusively devoted to public sensations and the entertainment industry (Realm Thalia). The world has moved forward, the issues may have been resolved at one place, whereas at other places they have turned more acute or totally new unforeseen ones have replaced the ones I considered worth noting down at the time.
Therefore I think it appropriate to reproduce them in short form only and add anything that may be relevant from present day perspective. This I hope to do by making the more important issues as journal entries with modifications, whereas observations of a descriptive sort and of more popular nature, I hope to reproduce for the interested visitor at another place.Mushtaq Bhat
Population explosion, industrialisation and sprawl are undeniably our ineviteble "karmic", "kismet" or " a priori " givens. _ since mankind doesn't seem to be really interested in self-regulation nor able to do it in an manner and with same strategical thinking and rigor, that is exhibited in making wars, weapons and money! But maybe here too a radical new thinking and technology may help mankind to dampen its repercussions on the biodiversity of the planet. Certainly the subject should not be taboo to discuss.
At the start of this essay, I have talked about benign “predation”, as expressed by avian fauna at Galapagos and the manifestation of very specific and well-nigh divergent (to the rest of the world) behavioural traits of the populations, all because of the abundance of the primary resources and reproductive isolation. Who says mankind does not have abundance of primary resources? As a famous study has revealed, famines can also be created, have been created historically. And quite often famines are also man-made! And where they are fully nature induced, not fully fought against, as modern means of communication and state of technology would warrant.
The British and the Americans managed to transport million tons of water through a desert, in only a matter of days, where nothing like it had been accomplished in over 10,000 years of the history of the people who have inhabited these areas. The driving force however was not to bring water to peasants, but for soldiers hell bent on removing a dictator. A noble deed but a far nobler would be to accomplish something like that when a famine or lack of water is making great masses of people suffer, when natural resources, far more important for the overall survival of our species amongst others are threatened, when living beings are getting red-listed at an alarming rate or simply becoming extinct. Which brings us to the most important philosophical question of our times.
According to my opinion, and I will show further ahead some examples, it has quite often absolutely nothing to do with survival nor with the fight for resources but unfortunately with something still hidden in the recesses of the fertile mind, probably located more in the cortical rather than in the limbical regions of the brain! That is also probably the reason, that civilized and complex organized societies can exhibit a mind-boggling wantom destruction, even far exceeding that of some cannibal tribes, mentioned in some old historical accounts. One such legend exists in Africa of a certian cannibal tribe in Rhodesia, a ferocious one, who had an impulsive drive, like the Mongols for conquest and who morever ate away whole settlements after conquering them,allegedly depopulating complete villages. The tribe however seemed to have disappeared for unknown reasons, which one can presume to have been probably some kind of epidemic! But here again it seems less the need for resources, but a spiritual belief of the people to incorporate the essence of the other being in ones own self, that seem to lie behind such rituals, and therfore paradocically actually not a wanton act, but a deed of the ignorant!
Wanton destruction is the prerogative of mankind, only rarely witnessed in animals. The few exceptions being the Marten when a mother chick tries to defend her eggs too loudly (it may, kill all the hens in the barn without eating them, just for the heck of it, what normally never happens, if the chicks show no resistance against the egg-rob), a berserk-gone elephant (that may have deeper psycho-sociological reasons), sea-lions holding their harem-members in check, a killer-whale eating almost all it can (which however is still not to be considered as a wanton destruction) and of course the aggression that is associated with pairing-time, whose reasons are probably the only ones directly indicative of fight for carrying ones genes ahead, but that too is not for certain, since ritual may become so alienated from the primary survival strategies as any human being fighting for a stupid idea, the female may even favour a trait that may be detrimental to survival! Likewise you may get Don Quixote fighting the windmills for a lady, who maybe barren, non-existent or a masquerading trickster having fun with the old man! There is apparently a non-socratian Dionysian element to wanton destruction, it has irrational roots and may have algebraic structural Yin & Yang dialectic base, inaccessible to those studying brain anatomy or bio-chemistry of the neurons!
Furthermore, we have been witness to the possibility of a nation being able to exist without an army! Tibet! It did exist for a long time, and if China had been not overrun by communism, which like Islam and Christianity has MISSION, and although denouncing religion, possesses a religious redemptive character, Tibet may have been able to exist well nigh till present.
All this has to do with elements from the other world, not much about fight for resources and survival. Prestige and power norms prevalent in the world may be representative of certain archetypical pattern, present in the cosmos. I always keep wondering how almost all the people of the world, especially the men, and the woman who want to be men, wear suits and ties, especially the politicians in hot desert countries with humid climates! The tie, is the only remaining emblem and the totem with a universal appeal, all others seem to disappear when it appears! Now this is something whose answer may be found in neurobiology too, but I doubt it…
New field research done on primates may perhaps give a clue to this phenomena of wanton destruction. It may shed also light on some of the topics, which Erich Fromm debated about in his widely read book on destructive impulses in man. I have witnessed as a child, how our neighbourhood teenager gangs, would rob basement storages of vegetable vendors (they being a rather powerless class but parodoxically standing closer in hierarchy to these vandals!), destroy the fruits (they could not eat it all), smash lamps from lamp-posts even in their own neighbourhood, and one of the most wanton acts, take away the crutches of a impaired person and have a laugh at it, when the person fell to the ground. They were all males! I assume also that the hackers, virus manufacturers are rarely female. Females have often been associated with the irrational, I wonder if these acts of men are rational, no matter how perverted the prestige system in which they may be imprisoned?
Seems as if primates blessed with hypertrophied cortex-layers have made a Faustian bargain. Primates also apparently know what it means to get bored. The brain probably creates its own dynamic need, dissociated from primary biological ones, that seeks sensation. Our modern age seems also incapable of fulfilling this need, in any other way than inventing even more new sensations. Neighbourhood gangs not stopping at killing, since beating or humiliating one is not apparently enough, and weapons are accessible.
No matter where you look, behind every motivation that outwardly looks like a fight for resources, there is always a prestige system involved, and many of them fully out of tune with the times, and real politick. Although it may all be a need of the brain, it needs a social legitimation, especially for the persons burdened with an underdeveloped ego. I doubt if this guy, who snatched away the crutches of the impaired person, would do it alone or find it at all funny, if he did it in a room with nobody else to share the joke with...