Our planet looks like a tiny blue ball (because of the presence of water) or a blue dot as small as a mustard seed from 6 billion kilometres (approximately 3.7 plus billion miles). This is the home of 7 billion (seven thousand million) human populations (expected to touch 12 billion by the turn of the century) and millions of other species that share this planet with us. This life on this planet that puzzles and dumbfounds us deeply is the “biggest accident” that had occurred in cosmic evolution. There is no other cosmic design or purpose involved here as some religious bigots hold the view for their own survival in the matrix of the power game and struggle. This shows how small our planet is in the vast cosmic arena. It is like a tiny star in our galaxy that contains up to 400 billion stars (estimated). Our galaxy is further among the two trillion (one trillion is equal to ten thousand million or one thousand billion) galaxies that are estimated to exist in the universe, each galaxy containing hundreds of billions of stars and hundreds of billions of planets, separated by trillions of kilometres away. There may be even more than that number, we do not know. It is beyond our imagination and scientific inquiry. But if we realize that our planet is a tiny pale blue dot, it challenges the delusion that we hold a special place in the cosmos. The loneliest thing we have is that we are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever! Think of all those wars that have been brutally fought by the generals and emperors, besides by the modern despots in European suits. In glory and triumph, they have become momentary masters of a fraction of this pale blue dot. Think of us. We are too much bogged down in the mire of our own functional labels such as ‘I am a doctor, I am a professor, I am a lawyer, I am a politician, I am a police officer, I am an IAS officer,’ and so on. Knowledge created by such labels through which we function and think they are permanent is a formidable block in the spirit of inquiry, who we are in this vast cosmic arena. Unable to withstand the shock of knowledge we have created and in which we have been caught like a spider in its own web, we have invented all psychedelic images and symbols by and through which we are trying to seek refuge, not knowing that it is a self-created delusion. We find little time to ponder. Our little planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. And it is the only planet known to harbour life so far as the astrophysicists confirm. There may be or may not be a life in some other universes. It is only a hypothesis that can never be proved.
How to preserve the integrity of this pale blue dot planet, the “biggest accident” that had occurred in cosmic evolution that is fast fading further into brown? The speaker, unlike other social activists and spiritualists, is not demonstrating any way to cease the deterioration. He, being deeply sensitive to the core of consciousness, is presenting the predicament in which everyone, including the speaker, is a protagonist and a victim. He is not blaming any section of society or leaders. It will not serve any purpose. All political leaders, policymakers, social activists, human rights activists, environmentalists, spiritualists, and armchair speculative intellectuals in academia with no exception have miserably failed. Intellectual theories create only much euphoria, like a boom in the stock exchange markets that lasts over time and turns into bubbles, ultimately leading to busts. The speaker has seen all this euphoria in the stock exchange market-like academic institutions in which intellectuals thrive on the boom and slump of ideas, theories, and systems. Seminars, symposia, and conferences are like theatres on wheels where nothing happens creatively except playing and replaying the same story as an old gramophone record repeatedly with intellectuals acting like actors in different costumes. The speaker has no such ideas and theories, and plays much less a propagandist role, as he has realized the futility. He is only trying to awaken the sensitiveness suppressed by too much intellectual knowledge. He is only directing you to investigate it. This sensitiveness is non-concomitant to intellectual pursuits. From this sensitiveness to the core of consciousness, devoid of intellectual knowledge, arises compassion, which is the need of the hour to save the pale blue dot from fast disappearing into brown. Not love, but compassion. Love is a most abused personalized corrupt virtue invented by religious heads, artists, and institutions made into deified and used as a cover-up shield for being pretentious. The speaker is not advocating such corrupt virtue. Perhaps he would be the last person to do so. The speaker is talking about impersonal compassion that encompasses everything that is around us and beyond when extended. The adage, ‘love thy neighbour’ is to be replaced by ‘be compassionate’. Thy neighbour is not to be understood as an only fellow human being, as religious heads interpret it. It includes both animate and inanimate, flora and fauna, every creature, no matter whether small or big, whether bipod or quadruped, crawling or flying, carnivorous or herbivorous. It encompasses the entire biodiversity on the planet. This compassion is catholic. Being compassionate is being sensitive to the core.
We cannot cultivate this compassion, nor can anyone teach it to us. It has to spring from within but can spring only from the depths of sensitiveness, defined as responsive feelings with sympathy and empathy, nothing else. This cannot spring as long as we are overly ambitious in our intellectual pursuits. Academic knowledge and sensitiveness cannot coexist, they are like two poles that will never meet. If we misconstrue it, it is only intellectual. The speaker is not referring to the intellectual sensitiveness caused by intellectual knowledge, but sensitiveness that is utterly free from intellectual knowledge. Being sensitive is a humbling experience, a far more satisfying experience than the experience provided by intellectual knowledge. Only by being compassionate, we can save the blue dot from turning brown.
Dr. K.V. Raghupathi