Someone said to me that The Mumbai University is a great ‘leveller’. I did not think about it much then. Yesterday, over a cup of coffee, a friend suddenly said – “You know people think too much of themselves these days, it’s not that they are really good at anything in particular, but they just seem to have an air about themselves and it’s becoming impossible to communicate with them!”

So I said, may be it is lack of humility. He agreed.

I started thinking about it and could not help laughing about it. Marx would have been happiest today. He probably never imagined the effects of over capitalism or shall we say ‘over-corporatisation’ is congruous to his intended effect of equality for all, through socialism. Let me explain.

Starting from school, the best student would only be slightly higher than the mediocre ones, ‘coz the system is designed to help the dullest brains pass (no offence meant to anyone – neither the smartie nor the not so smart). Colleges, through their system of essay type examination also do the same. The guy who puts in 11 hours a day scores 10% more than the guy who maybe puts in 5. Now one may argue that maybe the guy who puts in 11 hrs is slow and dull, unlike the guy who puts in 5, who may grasp more in less time. The truth is always quite far from this assumption. The guy who is passionate to care about what he reads and tries to study in the best possible manner can never beat the guy who is not as smart but understands exactly what is needed. Maybe that’s why my friend talked about the University being a great leveller.

If one progressed beyond college to the job scenario – then again one would see a lot of levelling. The smartest guy chooses the best place for him which pays much less than a call centre (BPO/LPO) where probably only average skills are required. Therefore, to answer my friend’s question of why there is no humility left, it’s because of everything I have stated hereinabove. So people have begun to think that they are capable of earning as much as the smartest, most intelligent brain in class and therefore no deference of any kind is owed to anybody. Today in the age where everyone denounces materialism, is ironically the age of consumerism. Respect for goodness or greatness is also to be paid on materialist bases. Marx would be very happy to know that humanity is all at Ground Level Zero. One can only hope that life is not a great leveller.

1 thought on “GROUND LEVEL ZERO”

  1. This is really original and thought provoking, especially the effect of marxism despite continuance of capitalism.
    It is true. When measured up in material or even social terms, intelligence is irrelevant. A bare minimum ability to perform an assigned job, mechanically is all that is required of you today to fit the definition of success. But, one cannot hope that life is not a great leveller. Because, intelligence deserves to understand that the definition of success and happiness are not decided by the society around, but by oneself. Roark or Galt were as successful as Keating or Toohey, but their definitions of success differed.
    However, I am not sure Marx would be happy about it. I know some of his communist manifesto stuff, but I have unfortunately not read core marxist philosophy. Communism is only a particular way he applied his philosophy in given circumstances. I think there might be more to his core theories. Maybe not, but one must inquire.

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