Progress. Funny word. What is it exactly? I have been pondering on this fact since I arrived in the UK. I know the world measures it in several contexts like economic growth, GDP, scientific & technological discoveries, infrastructure etc, but I'm beginning to think progress has a lot to do with the people of the country, their intellect, tolerance, world awareness, mentality and mindset.
I mean, can you really call a nation a progressing/progressed one when the people in it know NOTHING about anything apart from their country? Can you say a country is a super power when most of the people that come from there are super ignorant? Can you be proud of the fact that your country is diverse and caters to all cultures when most of the people are actually really racist? These are signs of progress of one kind, and deterioration of another, and hence the so-called progress is nullified. This is not progress, it's more like work in progress.
Since we're talking about ignorant people, I HAVE to mention some things I heard from people in Manchester. If you think ignorant is bad, try combining it with racist, and voila, you have their DNA. These are some of the random thoughts they had about India as a country, they're quite offensive, but some of them just crack me up, when I think people from a 'progressed' country can be such imbeciles.
- They claim to know a lot of facts & statistics about what India is lacking, and how it's rubbish. (Funny, they also mentioned never setting foot in there)
- One stated that every city in the country he's from is 'clearly', 'obviously', 'surely' better than ANY Indian city. (I repeat, he has never been to India)
- I dropped a one pound coin by mistake, and one person burst out laughing saying "Go on, run for your life, go get it, that's probably worth a million in India."
- I was shown the stupidest comedy clip in the world, and because I didn't find it funny, I was told "You probably didn't get it, because you're Indian."
- One weird person told me that they thought the only time Indians have sex in their lifetime is to reproduce. He finds it hard to imagine that people in India are people, and not animals. That is, we have sex for recreational purposes. (Someone needs to tell him where the Kama Sutra comes from)
"The greatest form of ignorance is rejecting something you know NOTHING about" - H. Jackson Brown
I mean, out of ALL the people I've met, the people who are from the so-called 'third world countries' seem to have travelled way more, seem to have superior knowledge about the globe, know a lot of languages, and know as much about other countries and cultures as their own country. Basically, they are the ones who seem to have a sane non-ignorant brain.
Opposing to that, the people from the 'world leading' countries and super powers seem to know as little as they can possibly about everything around them. When I stated this obvious fact to them, the response received was, "Well, we don't NEED to know about your countries, but you sure as hell need to know about ours. We are the world leaders after all, you know." That, is a progressive mind, from a progressed country talking. We better take notes. We lack in the obnoxious, ignorant and stupid department. We haven't made any 'progress' there yet. We still seem to like being intellectual, informed and non-judgemental. Third world country thoughts. We don't know any better. Silly us.
This just brings me back to thinking, is progress really how we measure it, or does it have more to do with mental progress, or do they both go hand in hand? I mean, surely it doesn't make sense when a country claims it's education system to be amazing, and one of the best in the world, but when the 'bright' students are asked how many states India has, they don't even know it has any. There is something wrong, and I can't quite point it out clearly, but it's disgusting to see people from world leading countries being so backward in their thought process, being so racist and so intolerant. They might have the best education and technology in the world, but someone forgot to teach them about culture, acceptance, diversity, unlearning, open mindedness and just plain old common courtesy! They need to understand their progress doesn't really give them an edge or upper hand. It's not progress, it's make-believe progress. In the words of Sydney J. Harris, it's false progress!
"The greatest enemy of progress is not stagnation, but false progress." - Sydney J Harris
Countries don't mean anything. Borders are just for geographical purposes now. We don't need to learn about certain countries and economies. We need to learn about the world as a whole, and global economy & progress. We need to be aware that progress is much more than just speaking better English and having good infrastructure. We need to be tolerant before we progress, we need to embrace other cultures like they're our own, we need to focus on the positive things about others rather than pick out and point the things that are wrong all the time. We need to take off our horse blinders and use our spherical vision for a change. We really need to stop pushing the snooze button on our alarm clocks and wake up once and for all! We need to make progress and this time hopefully, real progress.