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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Culture of Objectification

Last week there was a deadly shooting in an elementary school in the USA. The whole country is grieving the death of innocent children. It was and is a very sad incident indeed. Now, politically, the issue of gun control has taken serious shape to address such mindless shooting.

Personally, I think such political solutions can yield little longterm effects. The reason I say that is because the entire culture is steeped in passion and ignorance. The Bhagavad Gita (BG 14.13; BG 17.19) teaches us that people in ignorance live a life of madness, and illusion. They destroy or injure others. When the entire culture or civilization is geared towards objectification, then such a culture promotes passion and ignorance. Today, everything is objectified - relationships, love, education, career, political leadership, food, and other sociological phenomenon. What is wrong with that, one may ask? The wrong here is,  as a result of objectification, the sanctity of the spirit is removed. In other words, when we see another individual or animal as an "object" of my sensual or mental gratification, then we fail to see them as a sacred spiritual being put on earth to fulfill a particular purpose. We also fail to recognize God behind that spirit. The result therefore is exploit, abuse and in worst cases kill for instant gratification.

For example, in the USA alone, approximately one million babies are aborted in the womb of the mother every year. More than 10 billion land animals and approximately 50 billion aquatic animals are slaughtered per year. These are staggering numbers. I have not even touched upon the aspect of deforestation, drilling, pollution of all kinds and other dangerous industrial practices that take the planet to a tailspin, all in the name of technology and economic development.

If we are lamenting for 20 children killed in a deadly shooting, then an honest person has to also lament for the billions of slaughtered animals and the destruction of natural resources. Why such mindlessness towards other living beings and nature? it is simply our obsession with objectification. We objectify everything thus eliminating the sanctity of the soul/spirit inside a human being, animal, or plant. This is especially visible during Christmas time where people are obsessed with gifts and completely ignoring the message of Jesus Christ.

Our inner desire and consciousness has an impact on the environment and the culture of the place. When the entire population is after "objects" and no respect for the "being", then, life or spirit in its truest sense takes a back seat. Therefore, a shooting of this fashion is but a byproduct of modern day material culture.

Therefore, unless we start seeing our fellow human beings, animals, plants and other natural resources as spiritual entities part of God's creation and approach them in a mood of love, service and stewardship, such mindless acts of violence towards humans, animals and plants will not stop!

Hare Krishna

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