A Good Life is one guided by Knowledge and inspired by Love.
Man’s nature will remain the same as long as he will remain man. he has evolved to be the best amongst all the species. His quest for knowledge has always pushed him towards the very greatness. It is his this quest that has led him from discovering fire to firing space vehicle engines. He has learnt to organise, survive and be efficient at what he does.
But it is not only the knowledge what makes him man. With great power comes a greater responsibility. An integral part of human is the emotions, the sense of belongingness, the love he feels towards his own and others. This part of his is what separates him from being just a machine. The part of his provides him the sense of living.
Usually, when there is a question of balancing two things, he struggles. It is in his nature to go extreme and prefer one over the other and neglecting it completely. So is in the case of love and knowledge as well. Man is usually not good at compassion if it is not for love. He will also not go in quest for knowledge if he gets satisfied in love. A man just reliant on knowledge and devoid of love either turns sadist or worse turns destructive. But sadly love alone can also not fulfil all his needs. Thus the eternal quest continues.
So, humans have realised that a blend is needed to live, a good life. But then what is a good life?
Though the term can have varied connotations and different meaning for each individual, it usually is one that provides with all the basic needs and gives him ample opportunity and resources to help him fulfil his higher level needs and meet any unforeseen demand or potential threats. Others have defined it in many other ways but this definition of mine surely inculcates the fact that a person gets choices in all respects upholding their dignity and continue to do the same in their future as well.
But now, how does one approaches towards getting a good life?
Learning from the past
History has taught us at many instances that knowledge thrives only under the patronage of love. Whenever there was war, there was no learning. Even during the reign of Mughals, great patronage was given to art, knowledge and love during the reigns of Akbar the great and Shah Jahan. But the constant conflicts of Aurangzeb not only destroyed the economy but also left little for great thinkers, artists and learners. This also resulted in him being the last of Great Mughals.
Going further back we find Asoka the great, who patronised learning after converting to Buddhism and ultimately giving up violence post war of Kalinga. We can take examples of Mighty Gupta’s, The imperial Cholas, The Sangam Period, The Taluvas and many such reigns and periods in history when knowledge has thrived only on the foundation of peace, prosperity established by Love.
Applying to the Present
Today in this era of knowledge, accessing or creating knowledge is not at all difficult. We are also past the era of regular uncertain conflicts mainly due to establishment of multilateral institutions post the world wars like the Breton Woods Institutions. But still what lacks is the presence of love in the society. The societies today are still full of communalism, regionalism, hatred, sexism, casteism and with time, new issues are also emerging like widespread insecurity, xenophobia, people becoming in-compassionate. We have people killing people just becoming they are indifferent. So for a good life, many of such problems need to be solved at the war footing and others gradually. Only knowledge and not love will lead us to making more and more bombs not books.
Its not that we haven’t already identified this problem. We have used this combination of love and knowledge at many instances.
In most of the political establishments today, we have political executives, who decide issues and formulate policies based on values and love for the people; and we have bureaucracy that works for stability and efficiency working on the principles of knowledge. Though thinkers like Max Weber tend to put knowledge above love but it is usually the consensus amongst scholars that a complete dichotomy can’t be achieved. A state can thrive only if it has a blend of both.
We can see the same blend even in the environmental studies. Here the empathy for nature, her beings and components is what guides the discipline. The research done by organisations like IUCN, IPBES, IPCC etc. provides the knowledge that leads the discipline. Departure from any of the two will lead to collapsing of the very foundation on which the whole discipline has been built.
Not only during studying the environment, we can see this combination in action while protect her as well. Sacred Grooves are the places conserved environmentally by the natives or mostly the tribes out of pure love for piousness and sanctity of an area and it’s components. It is this love which has led them to acquire a special kind of traditional knowledge that has helped them to conserve the environment for generations.
Need of the Hour
Taking the inspiration from above examples, it is clear that for a good life the combination of love and knowledge is inevitable and it has become a need of the hour for humanity to realise and adapt to this as well.
But then how can we inculcate the spirit of both love and knowledge, especially in present circumstances.
Change starts from Within
For an individual, it thus becomes imperative to keep love and knowledge hand in hand. Knowledge must not be confused with just literacy. It becomes essential for one to keep reading and learning irrespective of age or position. As there is no bigger fool than one who says they have learnt enough.
Love, on the other hand one inculcates from their family, the society and one’s personal experiences. One of the greatest sources of love can be the ethics. true ethics can enhance one’s morals and help them to love in in the most sad and desperate of times. These ethics can find their origin in religion, pop culture, books and even from The constitution. For a righteous person has nothing to fear and only to love.
Taking Everyone Along
Once a person finds their righteousness, they can inspire another and keeps on inspiring till billions. Along with individual righteousness, it is also necessary for institutions, especially of governance to ensure unity, equality, equity, liberty and fraternity. political advantages must be sidelined while making important policies especially on subjects like education. Because not only an individual but a nation can only thrive and have a good life only if it’s citizens are inspired by love and guided by knowledge.