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Monday, September 28, 2015

Knowledge and Superstitions

One trait common among all individuals is curiosity. As man evolved into more and more intelligent species his curiosity levels kept going up. While others animals were content with eating, drinking, sleeping and having sex, man went a step further. Humans wanted to know, who they are and how did their existence, the existence of everything came into being.

Why did the sun exist, why after sunset there were stars and what did the stars really show. What is the moon and why did the moon exist. Then came the theory of God, someone must have created us and that's God. So humans started praying, sacrificing, worshipping etc to please god. Humans started regarding the Sun, Water and other stars and planets as gods.

Thousands of stories and blind beliefs came into existence that some demon was responsible for the solar and lunar eclipse. The demon gulped up the sun or the moon for some time and then released it. When people got frightened they started remembering their creator, about which they had heard stories from others and about whom, a lot was written by their ancestors.

Conditions got so worse that anyone questioning the things written in ancient texts was persecuted. Copernicus, when he proposed that the Sun was at the centre of the solar system and other planets including the earth revolved around it was burned to death by the Catholic Church. Galileo was jailed and not released until he apologised.

But ultimately with development in science and technology we knew that most of things that were written in old books had no basis in terms of reality. The sun was no god but a massive sphere of hydrogen nuclei in plasma state of matter, this hydrogen nuclei are constantly undergoing nuclear fusion reaction.

So this is how various superstitions regarding the universe finally disappeared. Superstitions exists in every culture , everywhere around the world. However all the superstitions are dispelled by scientific discoveries.

Superstition hold people back and instill unnecessary fears. Till today there are people who believe in astrology, now astrology was based on the relative positions of the stars that could be seen by the naked eye. Trillions of other stars exist that cannot be seen through the naked eye. Again isn't it hilarious that the universe can actually tell what is gonna happen to us in the future. But being fearful about the feature makes them belive in all the junk that astrologers tell people. 

The priests, astrologers, babas all tap into people's fears and run their business, where there is ignorance there is superstition. Such superstitions were responsible for degradation of India, from a strong and rich nation to a weak and poor nation. Till today the nation suffers because of ignorance and blind beliefs. 

The biggest detriment to India's progress has been population explosion since Independence. A simple operation could have stopped many people from having large families, but false beliefs like it may lead to loss of manhood and muscle power prevented millions from undergoing the operation and thus they kept adding kids to their family. The resources of the family was divided, the kids could not be taken care of well because of economic constraints. The result - millions of unhappy, uneducated families and poor families and they live a really pitiable life. 

Knowledge is power, the cause of all unhappiness is ignorance and the cause of contentment and joy is knowledge. Learning is not a one day phenomenon, neither it is done only during formal education. Learning and knowledge acquisition is a life long process.  

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