There were three incidences where I tried to sell the concept of GNH to professors who came to lecture us.
The first time was a retired doctor who was there to talk about spiritual health. He said that our body has its innate ability to fight off disease and doctors merely do anything to cure an ailment. There are many scientific reports on people being able to fight over cancer or gain movement after a paralysis. How much of bodily and scientific changes that happen in our body are for the academicians to study to its bits and pieces and find out how it exactly happens down to the level of genes and amino acids. That is however inside the human body, where the same chemicals act on the brain, the organ that has made us humans.
The brain, in terms of spiritual inter-relation is a complicated network of philosophy and ideas that teaches us wisdom. What is in the outside world has an immense bearing on us, yet what is inside our skull can be handled under immense control. This was the GNH idea propagates, I was trying to convince the professor but he remarked, “The supremacy of GNH over GDP shows that our spiritual health important. It is a nice idea.”
The second instance was relatively an easy one. The Professor of Paediatrics was speaking on asthma in childhood complaining of air pollution in many South Asian countries that cause a worsening condition of the disease. She said, Nepal has a substantial amount of indoor air pollution because the people burn cakes of cow dung for fuel and asked if people used them in our country. She said, probably air pollution may not be worse because conservation of environment is one of the four components of GNH. She seemed speak of more understanding about GNH.
The third encounter was with a guest professor from some other university. He was talking about environmental pollution and its health hazards. His was a broad idea on global warming and the effects of rising sea level to island nations. The solution he discussed under social sciences was to prevent further environmental destruction because we cannot afford barely two degrees rise in temperature of the earth. The best example is how a rise of one degree over 37 degrees centigrade body temperature causes fever and feeling of illness describing the corollary ‘planetary fever’. However, to feed the growing population sustainable economic development must continue under strong political commitment and leadership.
Hearing those, I took another chance to talk about GNH. And he replied, “Yes, GNH is all about circular economy. You give others and others will give you back.” To my utter disappointment, GNH is being viewed subordinate to those classes of established current working dimensions making it even more needful for spread of the ideas and interpretations of GNH.
I feel, in the long run, the very concept of GNH will be the holy words that will save our earth. Planet earth is not only the environment, the oceans, mountains and the deserts. It is not only about America, China and Europe. Planet earth has the entire biodiversity as its custodians. It calls for harmony and co-existence amongst species with just, equitable and sustainable utilisation of natural resources to support our physical needs. Our genuine physical needs for food, energy and shelter needs to be lined by individual contentment, both spiritually and secularly.
Never in history have earthlings have come under the thought of mutual beneficence because we divide ourselves on nation states, ethnicity and religion. It will be a daunting task, but GNH attempts to offer humans a food for thought, break in a novel approach to thinking and give a few moments of thoughts to seek commonality and simplicity to survival. GNH doesn’t have a religion or a name, but if each individual thought about their own happiness and other’s alike, the world will survive the tests of all time.