Atanu Dey On India's Development

A Potent Combination of Stupidity and Greed

It is hard to point to a more illuminating example of a dangerous combination of stupidity and greed (even more than the on-going global financial meltdown) than an email that landed in my inbox this morning. The subject line was “If any body delete Shiridi Sai Baba message without darshan & forwa” and it was forwarded by one Mr K R Tilak. Evidently I was the lucky recipient after a few dozen forwards, and all the forwarding information was intact. The content appeared after pages and pages of long lists of email addresses to which the message had been forwarded. The content was brief:

This is a true story, plz don’t ignore.

An officer has received 2 million dollars after sending it. Robert lost more than 2.1 millions for not sending and breaking this chain letter. Please send 20 copies and see what happens in 4 days.This chain letter comes from SHIRDI !! You will definitely receive some good news in 48 hours!!!!

One wonders why the world is in such a sorry state. Then one realizes that the world has a large number of Tilaks — people so stupid and so greedy that they will be hard-pressed to hold a logical and worthwhile thought in their heads. And yet these people vote and perhaps constitute the majority of the population.

It is wise not to make too sweeping a conclusion from such a trivial mail forward. But I think we underestimate the power of generalized stupidity. What else can explain the fact that the elected politicians are uniformly stupid and greedy if not the fact that the people who vote for them are themselves stupid and greedy?

Should the likes of Mr Tilak be neutered? It would be a good start.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  • http://cs.ttu.edu/~savellan svellanki

    Its very true that we get what we deserve, in every aspect. We don’t like to change, and we hate people pointing out that we are wrong(think of ego!) I tried telling some friends of mine not to forward such crap, and they took it seriously(dropped my name form forward list forever ;-)

  • Jayant

    Probably the “result” of 2 strangers, forced into copulation by family and friends, without any thought given to the rest of humanity. Unfortunately, in India alone, numbering close to 1,1 billion!!
    Neuter them all – is what I suggest!!

  • http://psychicmuse.blogspot.com/ yoda

    There’s a 14 yr old on orkut who circulates such letters and thinks it’s funny. Neutering him won’t help.

  • http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/~parijat parijatgarg

    Atanu, Dr Radhakrishna has said “when the wick is ablaze at the tip, the whole lamp is said to be burning.”

    We cannot point to the massive prevalent stupidity and say we must “be very afraid”. As long as we keep trying to keep the wick ablaze (or light it up if it isn’t), there is hope enough to keep fear at bay. We must ensure that there are a small but sufficient number of people who are not “stupid” and who are not “afraid” and then things might still improve.

  • http://www.mobilepundit.com/ vcbothra

    I think in the Indian context its more due to fear than greed.

    Remember that Indians are god-fearing and due to lack of knowledge or adhyatma they tend to become superstitious.

  • http://www.ssaidoor.com ctrlalteredmind

    Faith is a powerful weapon, but blind faith without higher brain function can be deadly. More often than not, this is the central theme of such insipid email forwards. I’m afraid it is also the central component of the gripping attachment that HHSS dude’s followers demonstrate.