Is The End Of Western Civilization Fast Approaching?     

By Dr. Sawraj Singh

There is a talk in the western media about collapse of western civilization approaching soon. The BBC just ran an article called “How Western Civilization could Collapse”. Another article in the same vein, also just ran by the BBC, was “Sperm count drop could make humans extinct”.  It is obvious that crisis of the western civilization has reached a level where there is such talk in the media.

About 20 years ago, I wrote my book “Crisis in Civilization a Sikh Perspective”. I claimed in the book that crisis of the western civilization has reached a point that unless some corrective measures are taken it could reach a point of no return. Many people have started comparing this civilization with the Roman civilization when that civilization was near its end. There is an economic crisis on one hand and on the other hand there are cultural, ethical and ecological crises. In reality, the present western civilization does not even meet the criteria to be called a civilization.

All civilizations before this took people from lower centers to higher centers. However, this civilization has done the opposite. It has taken people from higher centers to lower centers. Lower centers are concerned with our physical survival. Higher centers are concerned with our ethical and spiritual aspects. Cosmic awareness and universal consciousness are related to the higher centers. Modern western civilization is only focused on the physical and mental aspects of life and has completely denied or ignored our spiritual self.

I feel that Globalization is the climax as well as the last stage of western civilization. The main reason for collapse of western civilization is that this globalization is economic only globalization and completely lacks any ethical aspect. It is also devoid of a true global perspective. This globalization is only concerned with production and completely ignores the question of fairness in distribution. As a result of this attitude resources of the world have concentrated in a few hands. Top 10% people own 90% wealth and the bottom 90% are competing for remaining 10%.

The growing gap between the rich and the poor is leading to social instability. This is also the main cause of confrontation and turmoil in the world today. At an individual level this leads to increased stress. Our spiritual aspect primarily enables us to cope with stress. We are hit from both ends, increased stress on one hand and our reduced capacity to cope with stress on the other hand. This situation is taking a very heavy toll on our mental health as well as on our physical health. Increased stress is a contributory factor in many diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Over exploitation of the planet’s resources has pushed us toward ecological disaster. We are moving toward a situation where we can face shortage of water, the main and basic ingredient for survival. Pollution of land with over utilization of chemical fertilizers and insecticides is another serious problem. Climate change and problems like increased emission gases and global warming are other serious challenges for us.

All these problems and challenges are reducing the sperm count. In some places, in about thirty years, sperm count has gone down more than 50%. If this trend continues then the human race can become extinct sooner than we can imagine.

In my book “Crisis in Civilization a Sikh Perspective” I wrote that the main reason for the crisis is that the western civilization is going against its own foundation. Christianity laid the foundation of the western civilization. However, it is going against its own foundation. Christianity preached austerity, moderation, humility, sharing, forgiveness and love. However, consumer culture of the modern western society promotes exactly the opposite values of these like extravagance, arrogance, selfishness, greed and vengeance.

It is interesting that we see the same problem in Punjab. The Sikh religion in Punjab played the same role in Punjab as Christianity has played in the west. It laid the foundation of the Punjabi culture and value system. However, Punjabis have become very ardent and enthusiastic followers of consumer culture which promotes exactly the opposite of what the Sikh religion preaches.

It is clear that it is not just the western civilization whose existence is on the line. The whole world and the mankind are facing a very serious challenge to their existence. We need a pro people and a pro nature alternate model of development to the present capitalist model of development. I feel that Sri Guru Granth Sahib has one such model.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at sawrajsingh@hotmail.com.


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