Faced with huge and complex ecological and social crises, humankind stands at a crucial juncture where it is forced to re-examine prevalent beliefs. In a very structured and logical way, the book ‘Ahead To Nature’ makes one understand the facets of the crisis at various levels and also it’s inter-connectedness. Instead of merely looking at the superficial manifestations of the problems and its differing pathologies, the book dives into the roots of these crises at psycho-socio-scientific levels. Taking into consideration the relevant psycho-socio factors, the book analyses the problems, focuses on the key factor “consumption” and puts forward a broad framework of solutions from both scientific and spiritual standpoints.
The author provides a comprehensive description of the numerous crises that we are facing at various levels. The people at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ struggle for the most basic needs like adequate food, clean water, and an assured means of livelihood. However, the greater irony of our materialist – consumerist way of life is that even so – called successful people in today’s world – those at the top of pyramid – often struggle with a sense of meaninglessness in their personal lives, difficult interpersonal relationships, and lack of time for their children and family, loneliness and various other conflicts in their lives.
Today, we find that while epidemics of cholera and typhoid are on the wane, numerous psycho–somatic epidemics like migraine, depression, asthma, spondylitis, hyper–acidity, diabetes, arthritis, eczema, epilepsy, Parkinsons and several others are on the rise. We come across people silently suffering from such diseases, with no cure in the offing.
At a social level, we have increasing crime, competitiveness, poverty, injustice, exploitation, corruption, dysfunctional socio–economic political systems, classes, fundamentalism, terrorism, war, etc. At an environmental level, we have severe problems of ecological disasters like pollution, resource–depletion, vanishing eco–systems, climate change, etc.
The Cartesian outlook, fostered by our education system makes us look at each of these problems in fragments. This book shows us how all of these problems are inter-related and deeply connected. Thus the crisis is not merely “out–there”, but the crisis outside is merely a reflection of the “crisis–within”. Hence the solution for such problems needs to transcend both the “outer” and the “inner” and hence the solution is essentially “spiritual” or “meta–physical” in essence. The author proposes that the spiritual solution, if implemented, will not ‘solve’, but ‘dissolve’ the problems at all levels. The solutions lead us to a lifestyle that helps in upgrading individuals and societies; and one that is ecologically sustainable. Such a world–view has not only a spiritual base, but a profound scientific footing as well.
The book provides a vivid description with several examples about the beautiful co–existence and mutual co–operation that exists within nature. It also demonstrates how human beings, instead of being with nature have been exploiting nature. The author analyses some of the major scientific achievements in the last three centuries, which have shaped our world–view. He shows how a ‘Newtonian’ or a ‘mechanistic’ world–view has influenced our lives and made us ‘materialistic’ and also how Quantum mechanics is moving away from its matter–based approach. The author draws several parallels between modern science and Indian philosophy and elaborates on the movement of science from ‘Dvaita’ to ‘Advaita’ i.e towards transcendence of our inner and outer duality.
One begins to understand more deeply, the meaning of Albert Einstein’s statement “Science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind”.
Dileep Kulkarni, the author, is a mechanical engineer by training. He moved from the city to a small village, Kudawale in Konkan, Maharashtra in 1993, in order to live closer to nature. He felt, “Talking was not sufficient, my wife and I felt, we should practice what we believed in”. He lives in a mud house with no home appliances, no vehicles, not even a cooking gas and the only energy-consuming gadgets that he owns are a radio and a few bulbs. He works towards eco–awareness through his writings and talks.
The book is written in simple and lucid language. The reader would need no prior background on spirituality, ecology or science to enjoy the book. It is an essential reading for everyone who is open enough to acknowledge the mistakes in the past, is dissatisfied with the present and ready to walk a new way for a better future.
Vasant Jajoo comes from a telecommunications engineering background. He is currently exploring the meta questions behind “life” and “sustainable living”. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.