Converting every human misery in to an opportunity to make unconscionable profits is the darkest side of modernity. Health, education and justice for everyone intrinsically is a human right, but modernism has created graded structures. They are priced differently for different people- the quality differs from one person to another. Higher priced products and services carry a guarantee of better quality, hence better results. This creates “classes” in society: rich, middle and poor, with any number of sub-classes. It stratifies society leading to the emergence of pyramids in social, economic and political space. It generates unnecessary conflicts in society due to visible differences in opulence of a few contrasted with the penury of many.
When social harmony gets disturbed for any reason, it creates more opportunities for some people to make more money because of the resultant misery. New diseases are perhaps the best illustration of this game of ever increasing opportunities of making enormous profits quickly. In the name of specialization, patients are subjected to medical tests of doubtful necessity. When a patient can be cured by a single dose of a drug, s/he is put on a course of treatment with a view to extract as much money as possible from the hapless patient. This is the nature and character of modernity which deserve to be called a sin. Since modernity does not acknowledge “sin” (they think it belongs to the realm of religion), its practitioners carry on their affairs without any fear of God, fleecing innocent patients. After making mountains of money they look for charity. Their charity is also business- seeking solace at a pittance. They invest in charity to earn the goodwill of the people, fighting some disease in some obscure part of the world. Many of the new strains of the Modern Age Diseases are allegedly their own creations. Many of the new forms of the diseases being treated are the result of “mutation” of the germ or vector. The number of inoculations is a testimony to health hazards in modern life. Many diseases are termed today as “life style” diseases. Encephalitis, Dengue, Chikungunya, swine flu, bird flu, Aids are some of the modern diseases afflicting humanity. They have brought awful profits for pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospital chains, medical practitioners and several others.
Modernism makes people live for the future at the cost of the present. From early childhood, lessons in greed are instilled in the children. They are told to develop the habit of “saving” and handling cash. They must plan as early as possible in life for the future needs. The young people are told to plan for their retirement as soon as they land up a job. This exercise means exchanging the golden period of life for the gloomy future. This makes everybody greedy. Money needs to be earned, whether by foul or fair means. Individual and social values change. People turn smart. Emotions lose value. Relations mean nothing. Social space shrinks to extreme individualism. So long as money can provide sustenance to the individual, this culture of modernity prevails. But it is not far too long before the life style diseases catch the individual. Depression is the first to strike early in life. High or low BP, heart ailments or kidney problems are becoming common these days as the individual cannot take all the pressure of life alone.
Is modernism anti religion? Yes, largely. Religion, rituals and spirituality still engages people’s attention. While religious superstitions might have lost relevance, they have only been replaced by modern rituals like Birthday, Independence Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and umpteen such days. Hardly a day goes without some kind of a modern ritual. Religion has its own positives. Just consider the number of police complaints and court cases these days. For every wrong, we have to file a complaint with the police or approach the court of law. Life is full of violence of all kinds. Cheating, conning, beguiling etc. are so common these days that one never knows when and where he can be cheated or relieved of his valuables. The government can’t post a policeman at every nook and corner of the city or a house. The best policing can be done when people love values and behave well. Religion made that policeman inside every individual remain on 24×7 duty. It reduced the number of delinquents making it their business to con or cheat others and the few remaining instances could be dealt with by law enforcement agencies.
There was another benefit of religion and rituals. It provided emotional and mental relief to people. Life is full of struggle. A few moments spent in prayer in the company of others in temple provides an opportunity to relieve and unburden oneself. Devotion may or may not get material gains but is a wonderful free exercise to relieve and rejuvenate frayed nerves in modern fast-moving life style. Clubs, hotels, parks or parties are no match to those few peaceful moments. That is why even those of scientific temperament who reject religion and rituals have started taking to spirituality. A stressed mind gets solace without exercising too much the brain after a hectic day when the relief can come from a few minutes of devotion and devotional music. Modernism has no room for it, but it is the need of modern day life.