Sunday, July 11, 2010

Moral and Ethical Poverty

“By continually pushing the message that we have the right to gratification now, consumerism at its most expansive encouraged a demand for fulfilment that could not so easily be contained by products.” …………..Ellen Willis

“The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied... but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.” ………
John Berger

Yesterday I was listening to a very old recording of Leo Tolstoy’s story,
‘The Big Oven’ recited by the legendary comedian Danny Kaye. This used to be the favourite of my children in the 1970s. Nostalgia apart, the meaning of the story and the moral it conveyed is prophetic. For those of you who have not heard the story, I will put it in a little capsular form.

The story is about a man (in other narrations of the tale, a couple) whose house has a malfunctioning large oven. Thinking his neighbour to be jealous of his large house and large oven, the character ignores out of hand his neighbour suggestion to have the oven repaired and reduced in size. But even taking into account the ensuing Russian winter, he finds that the oven requires a disproportionately large amount of firewood to maintain a liveable minimum temperature in the house...and ends up having to tear down his fences, outbuildings, and outer rooms for fuel to keep the oven going, until eventually he is left with nothing but the oven itself and has to depend on the charity of someone else to survive till spring.

This is exactly what happens in insensitive consumerism. We are so focused on the oven (comfort level) that we forget the very environment that sustains these resources. The mind of the individual, in unbridled consumerism, is captured by a false sense of gratification as pointed by Ellen Willis, feminist, American left-wing political essayist, journalist, and pop music critic. This is a open ended gratification, by which I mean that no limits are installed as opposed to closed systems wherein there is control possible due to a defined limit. The human body is a closed system. For example when you feel hungry you eat and as we eat the satisfaction of hunger is the limit to which we are engaged in the act of eating. On the contrary over eating is driven by the mind and resultant emotions (for example you tend to over eat when you are stressed out).

At our individual consciousness level what is important is the control of the mind. While consumerism is a culture that has been promoted by the profit driven market, it is high time that every individual realizes the damage that we are doing to ourselves and the environment just to fill up some one else’s pocket. The hope is that there is increasing awareness but the system fights back to suppress evolution of the new consciousness.

David Icke, the renowned British public speaker and spokesperson for the Green Party, writes in his book
‘Tales From The Time Loop’ (2003), “most organized religions, especially Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are Illuminati creations designed to divide and conquer the human race through endless conflicts, as are racial, ethnic, and sexual divisions. He cites the Holocaust, the Oklahoma City bombing, and 9/11 as examples of events organized by the Global Elite. The incidents allow the Elite to respond in whatever way they intended to act in the first place, a concept Icke calls "order out of chaos," or "problem-reaction-solution". There are few, if any, public events that are not engineered, or at least used, by the Brotherhood in their bid to sow division and centralize power.”

We have the power of own inner wisdom, which is constantly kindled by increasing elevation global consciousness, to overcome the imposed consumerist culture. I would like to conclude this article with a famous quote of my late uncle, Rev. Fr. Tarcicius, who worked on leper rehabilitation programme for nearly 30 years of his life;
“No one has the right to be happy alone”

Love to you all


  1. The story of the 'Big oven' is very apt for this article.

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