Deep Changes in Recent Social Structures

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By Lenko Slavov

Last year, my professor of Economics at the American University in Bulgaria gave me a copy of the Upanishads. I found it to be the greatest knowledge concerning the universe and God I had ever read up to that point. However, once the summer started, I forgot about the book. I opened a fruit smoothie bar in Sunny Beach, the biggest resort along the Bulgarian coast. Business crashed and I lost 5000 Euros. But there was a silver lining, Pandava das Prabhu, a Bulgarian book distributor out of ISKCON Sofia, sold a Bulgarian Srimad Bhagavatam 1st canto to my friend who was working at the bar. Later, at the end of the summer, while I was shutting down the business, I found that precious Bhagavatam. My brother read it first and exclaimed: “This is the greatest transcendental knowledge about God I have ever read.” Soon we discovered Bhagavad Gita As It Is and other books by Shrila Prabhupada. This knowledge just fired the spiritual flame from within. It marked a huge transition in our thinking, behavior, perceptions, beliefs and, most importantly, faith in God. For the first time we had found a practical, clear and exact method of reaching God.

Six months after reading the first volume of Shrimad Bhagavatam, Krishna arranged for a meeting with a devotee. I was searching for japa beads and I went in a small store for Indian goods in Sofia. The saleslady was also a devotee. I spoke with her for an hour about Krishna. She was very kind and gave me many different devotees and temple contacts. After this conversation I went into ecstatic bliss for several hours. What I had read in the books now became reality: “If one wants to advance in Krishna Consciousness, he should associate only with devotees”. Now that Lord Krishna is revealing His mercy to us, it is our duty to surrender 100% unto Him and develop our devotional love for Him.

Since Krishna should be glorified in every way, I submitted a paper at the University based upon my newfound understanding. The following essay is my final exam for a course called “Culture and Power”. The professor was one of the few who attempts to teach the truth as far as he can, and not just the mental speculations that constitute the bulk of modern “education.” The course was about the material illusion of Maya that we are entrapped in. We discussed how our daily lives are based upon artificial “needs” that are manufactured by and serve the interests of giant world corporations. Regretfully, throughout the course none of the philosophers we have studied gave any practical answer to the question: “How do we escape from this material prison.” This is why at the end of my essay I offered the way out to society’s woes, the only solution called Krishna Consciousness. Incidentally, the professor gave the paper a B+.

Deep Changes in Recent Social Structures

by Lenko Slavov

The traditional British social culture of the early Twentieth century, their expression of intrinsic human values and awareness of the society for “their own unimportance in the scheme of things”[1] had been weakened by multiple forces of deep structural changes. Such customary mores faltered in their transmission to the next generation. As a result, the British youth of the period developed narcissistic characteristics becoming alienated, ego-centric and confused about their future. For all their access to relative material development and “choices” they, like their parents were essentially powerless to resist the imposition of a newly-found prosperity. According to Lasch “every age develops its own peculiar forms of pathology, which express in exaggerated form its underlying character structure”[2]. In the case of the generation of the 1960’s, the social experiment for manipulation and control spread to all levels of society. This affected the young generation’s consciousness in a very destructive way causing a devastatingly moral decline.

The rapid progress of Twentieth century industrialization led to the over-production of commodities, which caused material development and implementation of “false needs” in society. Thus the powerful corporations substituted their means of labor domination with a better means of “increasing the instinctual repression”[3] through a new way of control they called consumerism. Drastic industrial and technological changes after the 1930’s unleashed a constant desire for consumption, for which “people are biologically wired to want it”[4]. In this new society, the consumer sacrifices his labor and free time, so he can achieve material comforts. Consumerism has been successfully integrated into self-identity. False promises of personal fulfillment created a new type of individual, one who suffers from pervasive feelings of emptiness and a deficiency of self-esteem.

What is more, the tools of manipulation have spread to all levels including science, education, transportation, health, public services, mass media, and food production. This control of social habits has imposed incremental changes upon society. It affects not only our way of life and overall culture, but also our minds and bodies. As a result, consumers are enticed into relinquishing control over their senses causing them to hover in a state of collective amnesia and anesthesia. Every tool of manipulation has the same purpose of imprisoning consumers into the commercial world. Like prisoners, the consumers are “allowed” to act in limited ways thinking they are free and happy, when in fact they are actually acting according to a set program of laws and regulations.

Many “progress factors” including emerging technologies, mass media, state-controlled education and even parental lack of time have diminished the role of the family and its impact upon the rising generation. The new family environment is one, where in “home is a source of stress and guilt”[5]. For recent generations, the domicile has no longer been the center, where core values and relationships are imbibed. This has resulted in the birth of a new type of youth, one that is “free” to no longer abide by any moral values that were held dear by previous generations. The results have been devastating. Due to moral decline, there have been considerable rise in crime even to the point of homicide. There has been a lowering in the age bracket rising criminals with juveniles arisen as the “most likely to commit crimes”. Innovative technology and the media are complicit in creating new kinds of disorders where in impulse is stimulated to the point that the senses appeared nearly impossible to control. “Technology is a very good tool, but a very poor master”[6] . The universities also play a key role in the destruction of the traditional family environment. As Foucault states, “Knowledge is produced by power and deployed as a tool of power.”[7] The universities stand apart from the discourse of reform. Instead of promoting intrinsic values as inherent to education, they are focusing only on extrinsic values of schooling, such as corporate ideas and views. Universities have declined in tandem with the students. They have become a market place, offering only a consumer and entertainment oriented style of education. They attract new students through appealing to their senses rather than their minds -“new dorms.., new aquatic centers and ever-improving gyms”[8].

The modern system of education system has been so busy promoting the same “false consciousness” based upon illusion that it lacks in educating the youth about their simple responsibilities as human beings. In fact, the young generation has developed such self-centered manners that everything is centered on the self. Even after leaving college, each graduate must find his own individual means of surviving the problems that will surround him. This is how the matrix works today; it is based upon on the principal of “divide and conquer”. The problem is a lack of knowledge among the youth, and unawareness of the history of their condition. They lack both a sense of responsibility as well as a “sense for social justice and continuity with earlier generations” [9]. By so doing they condemn the generations that following them to a destiny of worst degradation. As human beings, we have some responsibility concerning the survival of our biological species.

But “to live for the moment is the prevailing passion – to live for you, not for your predecessors or posterity. We are fast losing the sense of historical continuity, the sense of belonging to a succession of generations originating in the past and stretching into the future.”[10] The new generation found a way to escape from the “industrial and corporate imprisonment” through alcohol and drugs. But what they have failed to understand is that it is that intoxication is just a detachment from one “false” reality to another. The whole charade is promoted by specific corporate actors behind the façade of democracy. The social revolution of the sixties did not bring “personal growth” to the protesters, and for this reason that generation sought their “salvation” in drugs and alcohol. In reality they just “loosing (their) minds, and with it access to all the usual cognitive checks and balances that constrain the adult repertoire of behavior”[11]

Regretfully, the new generation is constantly “bombarded” by an excessive stimulation of the brain through a barrage of high-tech information. This is the first generation that is constantly exposed to all sorts of media including television, the internet and a never-ending host of new technologies. Yet since neither home nor school has addressed the crisis and character, they are subject to the consumerist and narcissistic values and habits of the previous generation, but with a new set of “false attachments”.

The “Foucault power of knowledge” evolved so much that reached “ a new form of “neuropower” and “neuropolitics” through which social and power relations become literally ingrained in human brains.”[12]. This process of constant fabrication of our reality started to gather speed in the 1950’s with the rapid proliferation of television, at which time British youth started to decline gradually. Television restricts our consciousness because the overwhelming reception of information causes a disconnection between the brain and the consciousness. As Kneissle observes, “Whoever was born before 1949 seems to have an “old” brain….and whoever is born after 1969 has a new brain”[13]. This factor never existed in the human history before and his caused the widening of the moral gap separating these two generations.

We are living in an illusory world of constant motion, excessive endeavor, insatiable desire for consumption, over stimulation of our senses and a lack of traditional family environment. What is more, we are moving so fast in our progress that “there is no plumbing the depths to which people sink”. This is why we need time to stop this constant motion to have a break for our senses and consciousness, so we can assimilate what is going on around us and find a better balance in our lives. Regretfully, since there is no real meaning to one’s life, culminating in some higher transcendental purpose, ones human virtues are left without genuine purpose. Sooner or later, we will decline mentally and morally as happened with the British youth, and as it has happened with the overall human’s history.

This is why; I will dare to propose to all philosophers and academics alike, a way by which we can free ourselves from the world of “false values”, we are now entangled. In fact, I have found a great solution for the problem called Krishna Consciousness. It is based on four regulative principles (1.) no eating of meat, (2.) no illicit sex (3.) not intoxication and (4.) no gambling. This proven process, which is based on the chanting on the holy name of God, is genuine authorized and bona fide. Through this chanting meditation, an adherent can preserve full control of his mind over the senses. And by this ancient method one may develop pure transcendental consciousness of God by which total liberation from the material world to the anti-material world is achieved. “Krishna says, Anyone who reaches that abode of Mine, which is not illumined neither by the sun nor moon, nor by electricity never comes back to this material world.”[14]

[1] Dalrymple,Theodore. The Quivering Upper Lip

[2] Lasch, Christopher. Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. London & New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1991, p. 41

[3] Marcuse, Herbert. Eros and Civilization

[4] Lacher, Irene. In New Book, Professor Sees “Mania” in US, New York Times, March 12, 2005

[5] Heulett and Luce. Extreme Jobs: The Dangerous Allure of the 70-Hour Workweek

[6] Greenfield, Susan. Greenfield, I.D. The Quest For Identity In The 21st Centur, Sceptre

[7] Foucault Foucault, Discipline and Punish

[8] Edmundson, Mark. On the use of liberal education

[9] Lasch, Christopher. Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. London & New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1991, p.6

[10] Lasch, Christopher. Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. London & New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1991, p.5

[11] Greenfield, Susan. Greenfield, I.D. The Quest For Identity In The 21st Centur, Sceptre

[12] Sardamov, Ivelin. From ‘Bio-power’ to ‘Neuropolitics’: Stepping beyond Foucault

[13] Kneissle Michael. Research into Changes in Brain Formation

[14] http://prabhupadabooks.com/.Bhagavad-Gita. (Bg. 15.6)

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