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Question: Acharya Ji, what will happen to us in old age? Will we be able to manage ourselves then? My mother fell sick a few days back. Had we not been with her, she wouldn’t have been able to manage herself. Will the same happen to us in old age?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Are you like your mother?
Questioner 1: No.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Then why are you comparing? Your mother paid for a dependent life. Do you, first of all, want to be dependent?
Questioner 1: No.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Then why are you weaving stories?
Questioner 1: But my father too faced the same problems.
Acharya Prashant Ji: He too would have been dependent. Why do you want to be dependent in the first place?
Questioner 1: No, he is not dependent.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Then why does he need you? He needs doctors and nurses.
Are you a doctor?
Questioner 1: No. But then, because he has spent all his money on his children, so he is left with no money.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Don’t do that. Don’t spend all the money on five kids. Keep something for yourself, and your old age.
In old age you need medicine, not sons.
And if you want a caretaker, hire a nurse.
Questioner 1: That’s right. Both their sons live in a different city, and both my parents are living a good life.
Acharya Prashant Ji: How many sons, anyway, return from abroad to take care of their parents, sitting in some native village in Uttar Pradesh? Does that happen?
And why do you need to drag your life till ninety-five years of age? If you find that you have turned debilitated at eighty, switch it off. Do you really need to continue living till one hundred twenty years?
Live a rich, fulfilled life.
And when you find that you are on the verge of becoming dependent, then call it off.
(Addressing the questioner) Not one hair in your head is grey, and you are worrying about the old age. Why must you turn so pathetically old in the first place? I am asking you. If you are healthy, then continue to live on. Ninety, Ninety-five, that’s okay. Because you are still healthy, and strong, and on your own.
But then, the day you find that you are tied to the bed and dependent on others for every small thing, why do you still want to keep breathing? Call it a day. Done.
“Lived enough, lived richly. I can retire now. Can’t I?”
Questioner 2: Is it not a sensible decision, looking at the condition of the country, with temperatures rising, to move to a better country where population is lesser?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Climate change doesn’t differentiate between countries. Wherever you go, the battle has to be fought. You can fight it here, you can fight it there. If you think you can fight it better there, then do shift.
As far as I am concerned, I would want to be in the thick of the battle.
I would want to fight where the problem really is.
Why escape away to some land where people are already more aware, more responsible? The bulk of population growth, in the coming few decades, is going to come from countries like India. What would I do by preaching these things to Japanese? Their population is already reducing. They will extinct if I preach a little more to them.
These things need to be drilled into Indians, because this is the place from where the world’s most population growth is going to come.
Questioner 2: But Acharya Ji, the carbon footprint of India is way lesser than many developed countries of the world.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Sorry Sir. Look at the growth rates. What are you talking of? India is the third-biggest emitter of Carbon.
Source: Visual capitalist.com
You are probably talking of per-capita emissions. Why talk of per-capita thing? After China and U.S., India stands at number 3. And in terms of yearly growth, India stands at number 1.
We all want progress, you know.
And every bit of that, which you call as ‘progress’, is carbon-emitting.
Every bit of that, which you call as the ‘good life’, is carbon-emitting.
A fellow comes from a small town to Bangalore, his carbon footprint probably increases five times. But you call it ‘progress’, you call it ‘urbanization’. A fellow moves from a small house to a big house, his carbon footprint increases four times. But you say, “It’s great.” A fellow gets a higher paying job, and gets two more air conditioners. He has done his share of damage to the Earth. But he will say, “You know, this is ‘progress’.”
‘Progress’ itself is the problem, as long as there are so many people ‘progressing’. If you want the progress, then let there be a quarter of people, then there already are. Then there will be these progresses.
But you cannot have the kind of per-capita consumption of resources, that probably United States currently has, with the kind of population that India currently has.
But that is what we want. We want the population of India to be multiplied by the per-capita consumtion of U.S. And that is catastrophic.
If you want the per-capita consumption levels of the developed countries, then you reduce your (developing countries like India) population to the level of developed countries.
You cannot have the population of India, but the per-capita consumption of Germany.
Unfortunately, that is what we want.
Watch the session video: On the global crisis of population, consumption and climate || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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