Philosophy for today

2001: A Space Odyssey is a movie people see many times. Viewers get a new perspective every time they see the movie not only because the movie lends itself to re-interpretation but also new life experiences enable a new perspective.

As we look at the daily news and things happening around us, one can’t help but think of the story line of the movie where a bunch of apes are living a primitive existence and slowly evolve to travel space.

The question today is not about our evolution. We have evolved and become capable of shaping our environs to suit our needs and to invent and discover new things.

The question instead is about where we are headed and if we are the masters of our destiny as the human race. Being the most intelligent species on the planet, we owe it to every other life form on this planet.

Over the last decade the recurrent theme in the news has been:
o Global financial crisis of some sort or other
o Natural calamities
o Environmental disasters and climate change
o Recalls of things ranging from cars and medicines to toys
o Some scientific or technological breakthrough that promises to revolutionize the future
o Violence: Criminal as well as ideological
o Mass human migration from areas of conflict and economic despair

Our world of nations continues to preside over these phenomenon, each nation focused on their own interest. At a micro level, it seems logical. Every nation state has to focus on what is good for their people. However, at the macro level, there is a distinct lack of unity of purpose. This comes basically from ideological, cultural, political and religious differences.

Unfortunately, we have only one planet and without a unity of purpose, we are hurtling with increasing momentum towards an unplanned future. This begs the question if we are really an intelligent race as we claim to be? Will there be a sudden miracle when we are at the edge of the civilizational precipice?

What would be involved in forging a way towards unity of purpose? What is the probability that compromises will be made towards that end? Do we need to fundamentally alter our value systems and social, financial and political terms of engagement? Who will take the lead and what is the probability that others will follow?

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