02.69 – Might we be hitting the bull’s eye of the wrong target?
Cellphones, internet, robots – the technological advances in our society are impressive. Yet they haven’t made people happier, as the rising statistics of stress and depression demonstrate.
What might have gone wrong?
Gita wisdom indicates that progressing materially without advancing spiritually is like hitting the bull’s eye of the wrong target. The Bhagavad-gita (2.69) intimates metaphorically that the targets for materialists and spiritualists differ drastically: materialists strive to control the outer world; spiritualists, the inner world.
Materialists develop technology to control the outer world because they presume that the outer world is the source of happiness. However, happiness is essentially an inner state. That state is often disrupted by outer disturbance but is not necessarily created by gaining outer control. For example, not getting food on time troubles us, but getting food on time doesn’t make us happy; it merely removes the negative feeling of hunger – temporarily.
This principle applies to all forms of outer control, no matter how sophisticated the technology involved. A dysfunctional internet connection troubles us, but a functional connection – even a superfast connection – doesn’t make us happy.
In general, seeking happiness by controlling the outer world is primarily a negativity-evasion effort, not a positivity-generation effort. The more we dream of happiness through outer control, the more our frustration when our dreams remain unfulfilled, leading thereby to stress and depression.
Gita wisdom informs us that we are souls who can generate positive happiness from only one source: an inner connection with Krishna who is the source of all happiness. When we learnt to discipline all the emotions which disrupt that connection, we become happy – steadily, positively, unflappably happy – irrespective of the presence or absence of outer control.
If we don’t develop our inner Krishna-connection, all our technological advances will remain accurate hits at the wrong target.