Peace through Economic Development- Part 1 Laying the Foundation

India is an emerging economy with a population of 1.38 billion people.

China is the world’s fastest growing emerging economy bound to takeover US soon with a population of 1.43 billion people.

Pakistan is a country with a population of 220 million people, with the GDP 1/10th the size of India’s GDP and population 1/6th the size of India’s population. The two countries can be compared because they gained their independence at the same time from British rule. Why is it then, that India is growing and advancing technologically while Pakistan still lags far behind?

The answer is complex, because of the geopolitics and the internal political struggle that has left Pakistan’s economy bereft. While my purpose is not to delve into the wars fought and other historical struggles, if interested, it is well described concisely in the book titled ‘Prisoners of Geography’ authored by Tim Marshall.

These neighbouring countries due to their different strategic goals have clashed on several occasions. However, what can bring them together is economic development and cooperation.

In this series of articles, I am going to focus on peace through Oil and Gas Pipelines. Iran also becomes a key player. The peace pipeline has been abandoned by Pakistan and India. In present day, it is an ideal and an opportune time to revive the deal that has suffered at the hands of foreign influence and international sanctions on Iran.

US and Iran are going to engage in indirect talks to resume JCPOA- the nuclear agreement. If these countries can put aside their conflicts, i.e., Iran, Pakistan, China, India, and US. Iran can resume its nuclear agreement under international agreement and Pakistan and India can benefit by meeting their energy needs. In the process, they can create much needed specialist jobs, build infrastructure and kickstart upstream, downstream, and midstream companies in the Oil and Gas Sector. China benefits from it all as it has vested interests in Pakistan and Iran. As growing economies, they can help Iran broker the deal with US. It sounds like an easy issue, but it is an extremely difficult one. What do I gain from writing this research? Perhaps some peace in my mind that I am working towards achieving peace in an unstable region. Iran has its own troubles in the Middle Eastern region, which of course does not help. Setting aside the issues in Middle East for now, I am going to focus on Pakistan’s and India’s energy needs and demands for their long-term growth and prosperity. Sounds a bit selfish that I am just ignoring the Middle Eastern crises. What I do know is that, like everything cannot be painted with a single stroke of brush, similarly, peace cannot be achieved with stability in the whole world simultaneously. When one starts to understand the nature of the ‘Self’, a lot of clarity emerges on all issues whether they are of individual nature or collective.

The Great Reset after the pandemic has created a shift towards cleaner energy, lowering carbon emissions and safeguarding our ecosystem. I do not believe that the renewable energy sources alone can meet those needs. We live in a complex world. Even at the height of the pandemic and world wide lockdowns, oil demand fell by a mere 7 mbpd. The world can’t just kick the oil habit with a swish of a magic wand. We consume approximately 100 mbpd of oil. That is 4.2 billion gallons of oil in a single day. On the contrary, I believe that we have to do a lot to create a safer world and safeguard our ecosystem. Climate change, biodiversity, deforestation, afforestation, ocean pollution, plastic waste, whales, phytoplankton, and coral reefs are major issues we face as humankind collectively.

The optimum and safer mix of energy that each nation can create, the more it can contribute towards fighting climate change and all environmental issues mentioned above. Oil spills from VLCCs and tankers are still huge detrimental issues for the seas and oceans.

An appropriate mix of energy between the renewables and non-renewables can create an optimum mix of energy that is productive for the society. This productivity can be utilised, and funds can be appropriated to fight climate change, plant trees and progress towards building a cleaner and safer earth.

40 % of the world’s population resides in (China, India, Iran, and Pakistan) these four nations that share borders and economic ties. This region is also where the centre of the world will shift to with this reset and where perhaps the new world order will emerge once more as Ray Dalio describes in his book the ‘Changing World Order’. The peace and stability becomes even more significant for these nations in the region.

This is the reason why I believe collective diplomacy among these countries can help bring stability, better economic growth, and prosperity for the masses. Of course, State of Kashmir remains the biggest issue between Pakistan and India. As I mentioned, my aim is not to seek resolution for the thorny geopolitical issues, for which I am sure there is a solution but difficult to achieve. My aim is to boost economic ties. If there is one thing I have learnt through history, it is that merchants, traders, and economic collaboration can bring the world together.

In my view, the best way to reduce carbon emissions is not through axing petrol and diesel vehicles and electrifying all vehicles. Sure, that is a noble cause as the entire transport sector accounts for 21% of total emissions, and road transport accounts for three-quarters of transport emissions, road transport accounts for 15% of total CO2 emissions.

Aviation – while it often gets the most attention in discussions on action against climate change – accounts for only 11.6% of transport emissions. It emits just under one billion tonnes of CO2 each year – around 2.5% of total global emissions. International shipping contributes a similar amount, at 10.6%. 

Rail travel and freight emits very little – only 1% of transport emissions. Other transport – which is mainly the movement of materials such as water, oil, and gas via pipelines – is responsible for 2.2%.

Source:  Our world in data

Source: IEA

What helps us absorb the CO2 that is released in the atmosphere is whales, phytoplankton, forests, coral reefs as they help ocean & land biodiversity.

According to International Moentary Fund (IMF), the average great whale absorbs approximately 30,000 kg of CO2 in its lifetime. The CO2 absorbed gets deposited at the bottom of the ocean with its carcass. Whereas, when these whales are hunted and killed all of that CO2 is released into the atmosphere. Whales are also responsible for the growth of phytoplankton. Wherever there are whales there is phytoplankton. Phytoplankton help remove 1/3rd of the atmospheric CO2. The CO2 is absorbed into the phytoplankton shells and sinks to the bottom of ocean once it dies.

Source: BBC- Future Planet

Do you see the direction I am trying to navigate to, with this peace pipeline? Railway Emissions are lowest with oil and gas pipelines, it also saves us from occasional but costly oil spills on sea and ports. That further helps us safeguard ocean biodiversity and help increase the number of endangered whales. All of this is in addition to fulfilling the growing demand of energy, providing energy to areas where there is a lack thereof, creating jobs, boosting the GDP which is a by-product of literacy rate, infrastructure, and productivity.

In the part 2 of this post, I will highlight the energy needs of the countries in discussion specifically India, Pakistan and China.

Books worth visiting again

The physical heart, which houses the spiritual heart, beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping two gallons of blood per minute and over 100 gallons per hour. If one were to attempt to carry 100 gallons of water (whose density is lighter than blood) from one place to another, it would be an exhausting task. Yet the human heart does this every hour of every day for an entire lifetime without respite. The vascular system transporting life-giving blood is over 60,000 miles long – more than two times the circumference of the earth. So when we conceive of our blood being pumped throughout our bodies, know that this means that it travels through 60,000 miles of a closed vascular system that connects all the parts of the body – all the vital organs and living tissues – to this incredible heart.- Purification of the heart Translated by Hamza Yusuf.

Have you ever tried carrying 2 packs of water crates (6 × 2L) from the shop to your house? One pack in each hand? That’s not even close to 100 gallons of water and yet the human heart pumps ~ 2880 litres of blood 24/7 as long as there is life and soul in us. Isn’t this more than a miracle?

Anyhow I just found this fact about the heart amazing. The modern science has also gathered evidence that heart has its own neurons capable of feelings and perhaps thoughts. Ancient Chinese tradition and Judaism, Christianity and Islam all pay special attention to the state of one’s heart.

I have previously talked quite a lot about spiritual heart. I am reading this book again and this time I would like to share things I learn. This will help me perhaps better remember them.

Humans by nature are forgetful. We forget what we learn. Humans by nature are an ocean of emotions. Not all emotions we express are helpful in our pursuits. Reading this book before helped me tame my anger outbursts with the help of continuing practice of martial arts.

I am at that stage once more where I am falling back into my old self. Impulses and urges are over powering and over riding my rational self. For example losing my temper to someone who is screaming at me when I know they are just reflecting their own insecurities and low self-esteem. My retaliation brings me down to that same level.

In other pursuits not being able to exercise patience and just sitting on my hands has been proving difficult lately. I have disregarded my set of rules and principles. I have broken them only to slide down the ladder. It’s feels like I fell off the mountain that I was climbing. Funny how my subconscious and unconscious minds warned me of this beforehand.

Well at least, I am back to being my spontaneous self again. Blogging really helps put out all thoughts flowing through my mind. Although I may not always put them exactly how they are in my mind. That’s my introverted nature. Still when I read I am able to tell what exactly was on my mind. I was talking about dreams when referring to the unconscious and subconscious minds.

Anyway…. I can keep blabbering and I will forget why I started writing this blog.

I started writing it to explore the different diseases that plague the spiritual heart. This pursuit of cleansing one’s heart is an every day work. Complacency and laziness will put you back where you started. There is no finish line. It’s a constant work in progress. Or maybe I am saying that because my heart is not pure or maybe even if it was… it wouldn’t make sense if I were to say that about myself. No one knows what’s in the hearts except God.

I can only continue to work to polish it and if I fall off track, I have to pick myself back up. Get back on track…

Follow the light. Light guides and darkness leaves you wandering.

So here are the few common ailments of spiritual heart that I’d personally like to reflect on and in doing so hopefully remove these blemishes from my heart and self. Removing any of these blemishes is a difficult task. What I learnt from the book is that, protection from these blemishes is more powerful. Heavenly protection… I will still struggle enough so that perhaps, through Mercy some divine protection comes my way too.

Negative thoughts– the critic in my head. The little voice- doubt, fear and anxiety.

Anger– losing my composure and calmness for any reason

Heedlessness– not acting upon learnt knowledge. It can be applied to all fields. If you acquire some expertise or skills in any arts, it becomes imperative that you practise it diligently with focused attention. Otherwise you fall into heedlessness.

Boasting & Arrogance– I don’t think that I have these traits but you can never dismiss stuff like this because that’s exactly when it creeps back in. And even maybe if I didn’t write about it, that might have been boasting and arrogance in itself.

Obliviousness to Blessings– Being ungrateful. Gratitude is a must… there is always more to be grateful for in life. A lot of the times I forget to do it.

Envy, Rancour, Hatred- I am putting all these together because their roots are same. One amplifies the other and they feed off of each other. It’s easy to possess these traits. Just start comparing your life to others on Instagram and Facebook lol 😆 You will surely feel one of those at least. Or read the comment section on political posts 🤣

There are many other symptoms and ailments detailed in the book that plague the heart. I am going to work on these few and take time to reflect. Work on my habits and whether those habits help me with these goals.

Get back into deep meditation that should surely help. Help cleanse the heart and help live in the present moment.

Fragility

It’s very easy for me to talk about the good things that I am constantly trying to improve on and implement.

Today I want to talk about the difficult stuff. Fragility- how vulnerable humans can be? How easy it is to do away with the positive emotions that require a lot of work to build and let them be overwhelmed by the negative emotions that are quick to take over. Our survival mechanism that has been built in us, ensures that we feel these negative emotions for our own benefit. This is how we survive and thrive in the world.

To give you some context, I took up some challenges to build new habits and compound on them, all was well until it wasn’t. One of the challenges was a combo of meditation and exercise twice a day for 90 days. I meditated and exercised at least once every day for the last 50 or so days. I have skipped the last 3 days and missed some meditation sessions and/or exercise combo that goes with them, so there goes the 90 days challenge as I broke continuity. It doesn’t sound that bad writing that yeah, I missed those 3 days, but when I talk about why I missed those 3 days, it may sound that I went through a slump. In those 3 days, my mind was occupied with anxiety, worries and cues for depression seemed to be returning. I was trying to suppress those emotions simultaneously, which is the worst thing to do when feeling such way.

” It’s good to express your emotions and it’s not good to suppress your emotions”.

This is a line I repeat often in some classes I have been holding. Yet, I was not exercising this myself. That said, I don’t mean that you should scream when you’re angry or eat sugary foods when craving food. Good and wanted emotions are good to express and bad and unwanted emotions should be managed and controlled. The 3 days I skipped on all the little things I do to win the day and ingrain the process fell apart. In those 3 days, I felt a lot of other emotions too; self-doubts, feelings of being ungrateful, feelings of burn-out because I may be trying to take on too many tasks, combined with some concerns for my well-being and health and thinking how this may impact me. All of this to me, highlights how fragile and vulnerable I can be at times and, how easy it can be to get derailed. I can go into much deeper details and how my mind works but that may not necessarily be how your mind works. If you have through experiences learnt the cues for anxiety and depression, if you have learnt through reflection how to overcome, if you have learnt to not suppress emotions, rather allow yourself to feel the emotions and then overriding it with your cognitions and actions to stop these cues from returning. This is how perhaps; I think I have been able to pick myself up through slumps and periods of low mood and energy. To re-centre myself, I have to take a step back and start again at the causes and resolving those causes. The causes and cues of these negative feelings and slumps can be rectified through addressing the cause and/or reinforcing the actions that will subside these emotions and bring back the positivity and process back in sight.

3 days of slump may have seemed like a huge setback to me in my head and because of the overwhelming feelings I felt in those 3 days. What helped me is being able to detach myself from’ my Self’ and observe myself objectively. I know that I can never do this with full objectivity but what helps me is, talking about myself in 3rd person as if I am not me and am just looking at my behaviour/actions because that’s what’s visible outwardly, I then observe my emotions and try see how they are affecting my thoughts and behaviours. Wherever there is a disconnect and wherever there is a causal reaction, those areas identified then need to be rectified. It may all sound a bit fancy because of how I might be explaining things, to give an example and make a relation between emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. Consider this, which in my case, is one of the cues for depression and anxiety returning. What I want to do is wake up and carry on with my daily routine but instead, I lay about in bed. In not getting up off the bed, I start feeling lazy, this then brings feelings of being unproductive and uselessness, I reinforce these feelings through my actions of remaining lazy. The actions reinforce the thoughts in my mind that yes, the feelings and behaviours confirm that I am actually lazy, unproductive, and useless, the thoughts then turn to rumination. Rumination is a cue for depression returning. It’s not a simple process for me, thoughts, behaviours and emotions either reinforce each other or often there is a disconnect, when my feelings and thoughts lag the actions/behaviours. Sometimes it is my actions that lag the emotions. What I am simply saying is, yeah, it’s complex to explain it. Which shows how fragile and vulnerable I can be.

Once we are in the fragile and vulnerable state, our lower self, survival instincts, survival mechanism overtake our rational thinking and rational behaviour and we fall into old habits which may also be a precursor for anxiety and depression. We may feel afraid, we may become distrustful of others and/or ourselves. We may start eating unhealthy foods/ binge eat/ consume high sugar foods. We oversleep, we may lose our appetite, we may become disengaged with our surroundings and disconnected with those close to us.

Being able to reflect while going through this can be really helpful, as it can help you get back on track. I am a big believer in dreams and what shape they take in our sleep. If we try connecting to our unconscious and subconscious minds and what they are trying to tell us, we can recognise the areas where we have to give attention. I am not going to delve into interpretation of dreams. I am not an expert in the area, I feel that I am well connected with how my dreams are shaped and my ability to influence my own dreams in my sleep. Anyhow, back to the topic at hand. Reflection, allowing yourself time to feel emotions, accepting them is a good way to address the slump. Self-awareness and recognising early on the shift in your routines, behaviour and emotions is a great tool to possess too. Remembering this one line, that no soul is burdened beyond what it can bear helps me a lot. It helps me reinforce the confidence and grants me persistence and wisdom to keep working towards my goals and visions. The ability to implement even in small ways, this is the way to start working on your dreams and goals. Wishful thinking and having great ideas lead to get rich quick schemes and hoping for overnight success if you lack the courage to pursue them knowing and dealing with periods of setbacks. In modern age, our brains are more prone to instant gratification because of the impact of the social media, environment, constant bombardment of advertisements and reality TV shows.

Most of all knowing yourself and your ability to re-centre when overwhelmed is what can help you overcome setbacks. In all honesty I want to add that I don’t think I know myself well. It’s an ongoing process that perhaps never ends till you’re dead.

p.s. I do not suffer from clinical depression. What I talk about in this blog is the feelings of depression that people may feel in different stages of their lives. This is not an expert advice, just moments of self-reflection. I really wrote this to allow myself to feel all emotions and be able to reflect on them. It also helped me overcome the slump which in the moment was overwhelming. Keep a note of this when reading it. Thank you!