Complexity in Modern Lifestyles


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

The world that we see around us is complex. Trying to live meaningfully in it is not easy, be it physically or mentally. There was a time — perhaps a generation back when we led simple lives that were harmonious and healthy and allowed us also to be sociable. But the outside world is now fairly complex and living harmoniously and simply is usually fairly difficult. Even thinking of such a situation entails major changes in our lives and adjusting to it mentally would require patience and a sense of humour.

What we conceive mentally may necessitate changes in the working of our mind also. In what we think about, there is a common question—does it have a physical reality? We can think of living in a big house, but it is not likely to be commensurate from the point of view of our resources. The house or apartment we may be residing in, may be small but it may be enough for our needs. It may just consist of two rooms and a kitchen and bathroom. Should we then be thinking of something that may not be real because it may exceed our resources?

Many people may say that we should not be deluded by grandiose thoughts — be they consist of big bungalows or be they be about high salaried jobs and our status in life.

For example, we may have a job that meets our basic requirements of life — reasonable salary, means of travel to our place of work, or our status in the office or industry where we work, etc. Should we dream about becoming the boss or at least of holding an important executive position in our job? Most people would say we should not dream of unrealistic situations and be content with what we are and what we have.

Another opinion would be that if we don’t even think about improving our position and status how can we in reality improve for the better and achieve success in life ? We should not be content in just remaining in a shallow situation but think of furthering our life and status. Thinking of a successful facet of our life would help us to explore different means, to work harder for achieving at least a modest improvement in our life and standing.

However, there is another thought — a common question of our mental attribute. How can we become kind or generous or think of welfare of people with whom we come in contact? Thinking kindly of others or being generous in our contact is not just for others’ sake but also gives us satisfaction and is mentally rewarding. Thus, making changes in our lives requires both physical and mental efforts.

Considering the above example of living in a big house, requires additional physical and monetary efforts; but we may try to live comfortably and with satisfaction even in a small house. What is required is not to be swept away by grandiose thoughts but feel at ease in their absence also.

We are advocating a simple, sincere lifestyle that makes us feel comfortable and not encourage a grandiose and unnatural ways of living. Such a simple lifestyle is beneficial from different perspectives including from the point of environment friendly angle. Our environment is deteriorating due to several factors including our lavish lifestyles that is opposed to simplicity. So let us live in a simple manner and prevent too big a pressure on our resources and the environment. This will also make us feel at ease both mentally and physically.

We may know about a group of people who live simply and meaningfully in our country — India. These are adivasis (tribal people) who take care of not only their families but their behaviour is also environment friendly. Let us follow this group of population and then we may feel that we are  also living simply and meaningfully. The complexity of modern lifestyles will then appear less attractive and less tortuous.

Fortunately, this approach is gaining strength and is proving beneficial for a large number of people. These are people who are working for example, in a university where there is less competition and greater feeling of give and take and possess a type of attitude that is not harmful in their careers. Even a generation ago, people could live harmoniously but this situation has changed. Let us strive for improvement if not perfection, in our lives and in our workplaces despite the pressures generally found in many types of jobs.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.



This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 24 Jul 2023.

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