THE actions people take to fulfil their desires or implement their plans, are conditioned by the reality of their lives that provide them with the reasons for pursuing any particular course of action to the exclusion of other alternative courses. Such preponderance of secular interpretation of the causes of human action, of necessity, banished the role of virtuosity or holiness from the discourse of practical life. However, in the world of many speculative philosophers of old, human actions were not entirely driven by idle reason. In their view, human action followed its course independently of idle, dogmatic reason-'not according to abstract rules, but according to unspoken maxims'. What were those 'unspoken maxims'? Those were 'the expression of the whole man himself." And the test of good action lay in the 'satisfaction' people derived from it while that of bad action lay in the 'remorse' people felt from doing them. Hence, the cause of human action sprang from an inner depth of the will and it is exactly within this inner depth that man's virtuosity and holiness resided, at least, that is how the philosophers of pessimism interpreted human action and purpose. That was not exactly in the religious sense of the term either.
This detour of the idealistic philosophy in search of the cause of human action has no apparent relevance to the way the twenty-first century humans are doing what they are doing. What would today's philosopher make of human actions that can hardly be explained by any sane reason? What to make of the rising violence in every society, from Peru to Palestine? During the era of East-West standoff, the Warsaw Pact countries would explain the wars and the incidents of political and social violence, which were, of course fewer in number compared to what it is now, as a manifestation of the crisis of capitalism, while the Nato bloc think-tanks would say that those were nothing but acts of terrorism instigated by the 'totalitarian' governments of the Eastern front. So each of them had its own sense of goodness to interpret the cause of action of the other. Seen from the point of view of the philosophers of past centuries, political violence, social unrest and war that would target western capitalism or its crony social systems found their reason and justification among pro-Communist sympathisers, who were no less 'virtuous' in their motive of action than the pro-Western, pro-democracy haters of communism. Each of them, therefore, had their respective 'unspoken maxims' that guided their actions. But with the collapse of the socialist governments of the Eastern bloc countries, the pro-Western discourse of democracy, human rights, freedom of speech got the better of the communist argument of revolution and progressive development of society.
The interpretation has gained ground that now the world was freer, with the exception of a few trouble spots, where the wind of new change is yet to blow over. The political expression of this new change was expansion of democracy in the form of elected governments in different countries. How far the governments so formed are democratic or the elections through which they are sworn into office are perfect is again a task of the Western governments and their various watchdog bodies to determine. The economic expression of this new, freer world order is unfettered expansion of the market and growth of private enterprise everywhere. In addition, the sole protector and promoter of this 'liberated world' is the lone super power, the United States of America, with Europe and Japan playing the second fiddle. Now the past threat of the Eastern 'evil empire' is gone and no visible obstacle is there in the way of the onward march of this new order a la Americana. And as such, it is just a matter of time that the few pockets of 'old order' including the 'rogue states,' which are still surviving in the face of the onslaught of the new wave of change, would crumble down soon. It is no longer a question of if, but of when that is going to happen. Therefore, as far as the larger perspective of a better, safer and freer world is concerned, the post-cold war new order, the Western think-tanks have been assuring us, should be a better place and time to live in!
However, in spite of such assurances and lack of any serious threat to a consumerist paradise a la Americana, there is no peace anywhere in the world. The world has become a more dangerous place than ever before. The wars and incidents of violence are no more guided by any sensible reason. What is the satisfaction of the self-destructive suicide bomber? What unspoken maxims propel him to commit suicide? A divine inspiration of being rewarded in the after-life? However, self-immolation is prohibited in Islam and in many other religions! Neither the materialistic nor the religious interpretations of virtue or goodness can justify their self-destructive actions. And the actions of the democratic states? If one cannot explain the motive of those who perpetrated the monstrosity of 9/11, how can one explain the war unleashed on the people of Afghanistan? The Iraq war happened despite the fact that Saddam Hussein did never possess the weapons of mass destructions (WMDs). What a grandiose display of follies and foolishness! Nevertheless, the Iraqi people have been made to pay dearly for this absurdity of a monstrous scale! The grand liberatory discourse of freedom, democracy and human rights, which were the rallying cry of the Western oracles on the prospect of the return of humanity, is now fast receding into the distance. But they do not appear to have any qualm about that either. Undaunted by the reversals they are still justifying their actions with newly invented reasons. This is as it were a return to the fifteenth and sixteenth century Europe and the arguments put forward to justify the actions of the new imperialists would shame even Machiavelli! One of the philosophers of old, Schopenhauer, believed in unspoken maxims to withstand the weakness of the moment and give consistency to human action. But that such maxims are lost in the chicanery of the Devil.
The rise of the Mafia in politics in the shape of elected parliaments and governments in the freshly emerging world after the cold war is not unconnected with the new world order (or chaos!) being led by the old West. The escalation of violence in every society, including ours, is a representation in microcosm what it is like in the global macrocosm. The practice of chicanery and expediency in the name of representative politics and diplomacy is not an isolated phenomenon in the underdog Third World only, where internal violence is marring the prospect of a better and securer life for the common people. Sadly, there is no question of the 'evil empire' casting an evil spell on them anymore. But the western gurus are again castigating them all the time accusing them of the crime of harbouring the new cultural enemies of civilisation, the dreaded religious fundamentalists.
A steady stream of enemies of all descriptions is being constantly coming out of the western thought industry. Reasons, like other industrial products, are also being synthesised and marketed for the new intellectual consumers. The world of today does not need the help of philosophers of old to discover the causal push, whether deeply ingrained in the social and moral psyche of the people as a whole or in the consciousness of the individual. The research industries do the job with the help of embedded intellectuals. So we are all playing make-believe in this world of new order!