Tuesday, July 6, 2010

East & West: Perspective from Discipline point of view

During my last two journeys and also by numerous interactions with international students I realized that one of the differentiating factors is discipline. I would classify the discipline in two parts - emotional & physical.

If you see the general Indian public they are some of the laziest bunch of people on the planet with little regard for their health. The greatest contrast is seen in policemen or many a cases with normal businessmen. There is lack of physical discipline though since last couple of years there has been an increasing trend among people towards walking & running. Yet Europeans or US nationals will beat Indians by a mile. Yet so much of physical fitness has failed to keep the countries out of red during the recession or during economic turmoil! Countries like France, Italy, Greece, Spain etc. have lack of financial discipline and even though each of the countries have low levels of population they have been finding it hard to manage. On the other hand India & China's growth is a matter of envy. What makes them click?

In my opinion it is the presence of emotional discipline in the developing countries. On an average most of the Indian males/ females will have 1 or 2 relationships while in west it is a norm to have min 4-5 relationships by the time a guy/ girl reaches the age of 25. This is just the case of morally upright westerners. The adventurous ones will have gone through numerous experiences and when I asked one such person he had forgotten the count even! One of the European students even told that Australian girls can sleep with 5 guys in a night! So it seems that it might be the European benchmark. Indian males will envy for sure but many in the cities are trying to catch up! It is worrisome and that is the point where people should use there mind. Human beings are not simple objects but the emotions differentiate them from machines and sense of larger thinking differentiates them from animals. As Buddha says we become what we think. Everything starts at the emotional plane and subsequently manifests in behaviors. During my first visit to Europe I realized that most of the people who are into smoking or drinking habit do so to conform or to gain acceptance in the peer group without using much of their mind. Similar is the scenario in case of making physical associations. Guys/ girls start with a noble view of relationships but experience cheating, lies etc. In great hatred to their such kind of partners they also start behaving in the same manner and thus the vicious cycle starts & continues. It emotionally rattles them and to suppress 'questioning in their minds' they turn towards physical exercises. It tires them and to some extent suppresses such questioning but during the course of life a stage comes when they no longer can suppress these and things go haywire. Many change their career tracks abruptly and some run towards countries like India - seeking peace & salvation. Italy with a population of 60 million has a president who is known for his sexual exploits and adventurs. People are made helpless by their own representatives. France with almost same amount of population has a president who has hard time managing his wife's/ mistresses' affairs. How will he be able to manage a country when he is busy managing his partners' affairs!! Similar is the case at many other places in Europe. 

People should understand that questioning is good which was promoted by many philosophers - be it westerners/ easterners. Also the sense of freedom has been abused in western nations due to lack of sense of responsibility. It is true even in Indian context yet more so evident in European context. It seems 'the lost generation' will take a long time to come to its' senses. I wish it happens before irreparable damage is done. W all share the one world and I feel as much European as Indian. I am doing my bit by contribution by writing and hope few others do their bit in making this world a better place. Amen!

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