Monday, 20 April 2015

Man's aggression and tendency of violence,an outcome of institutional oppression upon individual

Modern world is full of violence, oppression, revolts and uprisings, despite the general claim that it is open,objective, free, individual-centered and transparent ! Though the mainstream world picture these revolts and uprisings mostly as localized terrorist and anti-establishment acts, an attempt to classify all violence and atrocities in the world, whether past or present,would reveal that, atrocities and violence could be only of TWO basic types,transcending regions and nationalities:

(1) that unleashed by the powerful upon those who are under them,

(2) that of the oppressed against their oppressors. ( oppressors are the powerful, or those who talk about the establishment in power, or of the mainstream world as if they own and represent it !)

Both the above groups, or rather 'mind-sets', ( mind-set because, they are not permanent socio-economic groups, but those who adopt the same values and attitude towards other, when one is at one of the sides of the wall at any time in life !) keep very valid reasons for unleashing violence on the other. One thing gets clearly revealed here as the central CAUSE of all the violence; it is the vicious and nasty human tendency and vice of acquiring traditional or institutionalized POWER. It is 'power' of some sort, of many against one, or one's own extra-ordinary physical strength, or one or a group assuming some form of traditional or institutionalized hegemony over the rest of society.

This act of assuming Power of some sort, upon close analysis,reveals that, it was the desire to have absolute Freedom for one-self, one's group. Freedom here means, a plank to have everything one needs coming to him without the need of fight and conflict with others.As this is not the chief subject of this paper, author leaves it here for now. Those interested may refer to our blog-post:  

The rage of the powerful against those who are powerless 

1)  The despise and contempt of the powerful towards those who do not enjoy any share in  power and resources needs no explanation ! One of  the best examples is the atrocities unleashed by the higher caste-men over the lower-caste men in the not so ancient India. Few lower-castes were compulsorily  designated to take-up certain kinds of ugly and lowly jobs, like carrying the 'night-soil' ( feaces or human-bowl-excrement) of the higher caste to distant location for disposal. Lower castes were not allowed to draw water from the common well of the village, and they could be harshly punished with extreme violence and death for breach of the custom.

In the southern states of India, the low-castes were supposed to loudly chant that, 'ugly one' is approaching while on the common path, to warn the higher caste-men approaching from the opposite direction, to keep -away from getting 'polluted' by the former's physical proximity ! Their women were not allowed to cover breasts, because it was considered as a sign of assertion of dignified self-hood and freedom ! Lower caste women were not supposed to deny sex to the Brahmin ( top caste)  men whenever they demand it.Violence and death were very common for breaches of such traditions.

2) Another well evidenced example is the despise and contempt the Colonial nations meted out to the natives. The natives were as powerless as prisoners of war; an absolute property of those who held power and control over them. Every sign of assertion of freedom was brutally suppressed, and the perpetrators hanged, as allowing dissent was like allowing the seeds of freedom to sprout. Freedom-demanding slaves were the most dangerous threat to the unhindered sense of self of the masters !

Every sign of disobedience, or demand of anything resembling freedom and rights was brutally crushed at its very budding. What was most unbearable for the power-wielder was any sign of self-assertion from the part of the victims. So, the rage of the powerful against the power-less was a natural reality since the inception of man's history.

3) In the modern age, the best example of this disdain and contempt against the powerless could be cited to the dens of our Police and military forces. Whether it is in USA or in India, when a Police-man with the fierce power of the entire-state behind him engage with the 'people', the despise and contempt against them comes naturally. It is common knowledge these days that, most of the criminals in the world have acquired their criminal-mind-set from the jails. It is also now known that the seeds of the Islamic State (the ISIS) were born in the Iraqi jails, where native Iraqi men were kept, post US invasion ( more about this relation is taken-up in a below para)

While one man to another man interaction is based on the compulsions of mutual acceptance at equal footing, interactions between a representative of the state, or with any similar impersonal center-of authority with an individual citizen,  makes it fiercely impersonal and unequal, like that between a man and a non-man.

Every institutionalized power-center makes its interactions with single-citizens highly vulnerable to abuse and violations, and such victims of violation and abuse, in turn transform into violators and abusers themselves. This is the basic of every form of rights-violations and atrocity in the world. 

4) The self-hatred of those who are perpetually under compulsion to obey orders, and to please the ones in power: This is a most central aspect of VIOLENCE from the camp of the oppressor. A man, or a group of men under a powerful leader,or an institution/organization fueled by authority or power, loses, or simply abandon his/their rational and independent faculties and even the very SELF-HOOD in sheer desperation, because he/they are never let to use it as their-own! He is supposed to wait for orders from-up for his course of action. This is quite a damaging and dangerous mind-set that most men under absolute power suffer from.

The power source could be anything; say political power, power of the religious heads, power of the gang-leaders in underworld activities, or that of sheer-power of money in the corporate sector. They are often compelled to boot-lick, or show false-alliance and LOYALTY to the leader, fearing for his own life, or at least wishing for his-own special mercy, protection, and benefits from the leader/power-center. SYCOPHANCY is a modern-day ugly disease caused exclusively by the vice of power ! 

A vicious sense of self-hatred is the sure and certain psychological outcome from this situation, and these men will vent this frustration upon those who turn-up under them as 'victims' ! Violence and torture are mostly undertaken by these neurotic men, whether it is in war fields, terrorist camps or in Police stations. It is the extreme self-hatred of the abuser that gets a natural out-let when he/they torture their victims. Any one with some sense of self-esteem will find it very difficult to violate other-human beings !

The rage of the vanquished against the oppressors  

History of man will stand confused and perplexed to decide whose rage was more cruel; that of the traditional powerful over the powerless, or that of the vanquished and oppressed against their oppressors!
Violence is just violence. It has only one language, but two distinct mind-sets, as we have seen above.

But one thing is conspicuous about this 2nd type of violence; it always arise as a natural reaction to the first-type, ie. as a reaction of the oppressed against the acts of the oppressor !  

The best example of the extreme rage of the oppressed over their oppressors in recent history was that of French revolution. Common citizens sat as prosecutors and judges, with Guillotines kept-ready nearby, to execute even their oppressor King and Queen ! Heads rolled every hour of the day,while ordinary men and women of France kept counting them !

In the Indian freedom struggle also, there were many ambushes against the British soldiers enacted by the oppressed Indian citizens. Take the history, and we will find equal number of such uprising by the oppressed men against their oppressors to the oppressive acts of the power-holders.

One thing to be specially noted about the state of mind of the oppressed is that, it takes-away all his sense of humanness from him. Human-mind, though it could be kept under subjugation for long-periods through continued acts of oppression and atrocities, given a chance, it would bounce-back with equal ferocity as that of the oppressor ! Probably, it is because of the learning of this vital lesson that mankind could enact land-mark Declarations and Bills of the Rights of man after the American and French Revolutions. These bills declared and enacted that, Freedom and Liberty are inalienable,natural rights of man that no-one can take it away from him. All further political systems and organizations that man had set-up in the world were specifically meant for, and aimed at restricting the very such governmental forms from meddling with this vital Freedom of man.

But, the central question is, have the world and her vital political and social establishments, systems and institutions really adhering to the above land-mark paradigm shift in the attitude and ideology about respecting and keeping in-tact the above vital finding ?

Answer is, a sad no ! Even today, even in our most acclaimed democratic nations in the world, the freedom, personal liberty and dignity of citizens are kept only in the book ! Basically, the concept of the old POWER-STATE is what runs the show, and hence Power and Rights ( freedom/liberty/individual dignity) are two opposite poles, the status of ordinary citizen is same as its was under any other older,third-party ( rule by Kings and his likes) regimes of the past.

Whether it is in the street, jails or in various government vs. citizen interaction points, common citizens are treated like old 'subjects' !

So, whatever violence and atrocities that we have today from various parts of the world could be directly attributed to the 2nd kind that we have seen in the beginning, that is the acts of violence of the oppressed against the oppressor !

Oppression, and lack of acceptance of the dignified-self of man simply will result in plain violence if not today, at some point in future. The oppressed always gets out of his sense of reason and balance, and social order will be brought-back only after annihilation of the oppressor, or at least the oppressor too made to suffer all the humiliation, disparity and contempt that they once suffered.

A repeat look at each act of major violence  in modern world 

Take for example, the current ISIS, Boko-Haram, or the Yemeni up-rising, to see into what category above, we could classify them
 ? Are they the oppression of the mighty and powerful over those who are under them, or are they the counter-fight of the oppressed and the vanquished, against their oppressors ? A frank clinical analysis of the emotions involved in these fights and violence would enable mankind to find a clear answer.

Let us first closely look at the profile of men who typically join ISIS. Stories from post American occupation Iraqi jails say that, the seeds of ISIS, including the emergence of the so called, self-proclaimed Caliphate of the envisioned Global Islamic state-Al-Baghdadi-had sprouted from there !( We mentioned it once in one of the above paragraphs)

In a recent ( December last week,2014) article by Martin Chulov appeared in the Indian magazine 'The week', one Abu Ahmed,an IS Jihadist he had interviewed said:
IS wouldn't have emerged if US hadn't attacked Iraq, and detained and kept large number of suspects in prisons' .
Al Baghdadi, the current alleged IS leader, was a co-prisoner with the said Abu Ahmed in one of the Iraqi detaining center. The prison life enabled these men to connect with each other regularly ,and give rise to IS !
Another recent story ( in Indian Express newspaper, 15th April,2015) about Maldives, from where about 200 Jihadists had joined ISIS, reports that most of them were from the lower-strata of society,who used to indulge in 'sin'.( drugs,alcohol and street-crimes) Those who are forced to live at the peripherals of modern society anywhere in modern world, suffer from that serious symptom of 'non-belonging'; comfortable life all over the world means life with air-conditioned rooms, well-paid jobs in multinational companies, servants at home, financial capacity to send children to reputed schools, and owning of top-model cars and other house-hold articles etc. Those who cannot afford these standard comforts of modern life starts isolating themselves from the mainstream. They miserably fail to identify themselves with the so called real-world out-side, but experience the natural, existential pressure of identifying themselves with the essential oneness with life that no one can escape from. 
This irrefutable inner-pressure of each human-being to get-integrated with life in some way or other, after failing to do it with anything that exists around them, compels them to seek, first-of all, an identity with whatever they had born into, and grown-up with. Let it be the peculiar cultural-upbringing, language, religious-myths and rituals,food-habits and is a going back to the roots.No open mind can refuse to see the absolute similarity of those who join ISIS and similar other Jihadi organizations and outfits with the above said phenomenon. 

Every human-being wishes to progress, improve-upon what they have been practicing in the past. But, as said above, when they fail to do so, due to the total alien features of whatever is available around, they have nowhere else to go-back except to their roots ! This is exactly what is behind the ISIS and similar 'Islamist' movement world witness today. See the close similarity of this, with what Hindus do in India; they intent to unite together in an unprecedented way, and attain supremacy of their way of life and believes upon every other in the country, if possible, over the entire world !

Once these men go back to their roots, it is mandatory that they get indulged into all its diabolic, primeval acts and practices. If brutal assassination of human-beings was not alien to old Islamic,tribal culture, ensuring purity of blood and culture of the population by eliminating 'outsiders' was also not alien to old Hindu culture. So, assigning the cause of ISIS and other Islamist violence to the teachings and doctrines of Islam might be, to the best logical analysis, erroneous.
The root fact could be the failure of the majority world population to find 'belongingness' with the values,norms, ways, available roles, and practices of the contemporary world. It is a world where only a small  minority feel belongingness.  
One thing is doubtless: the violence and atrocities that the ISIS and other similar outfits exhibit in the modern world do not belong to the first-type of violence that we have seen in the beginning, ie. of the oppressors.These men, perhaps subjectively, perceive a kind of isolation from the mainstream world, that today, predominantly is a Western world, with all its typical symbols of development and advancement !It is well evident from the very recent, reliable statistics and research studies that, such Western-ways of world-development and advancement naturally create exclusive pockets of affluence, resulting in ever increasing accumulation of wealth and resources into fewer and fewer hands. As per latest research results,( Oxfam and Zurich University studies) almost 55% of the world's wealth is concentrated in the hands of less than 1% affluent families !Please share the emotional catastrophe of such a world of economic and socio-political order at blog-post: . 

With their exclusive claims on science and its fruits, a general abandonment of religion and spiritual-realities of life- but treating life purely in its empirical aspects etc., the western way has become the mainstream way of life in the modern world.It is now well-known that through Colonialism, what Europe had overtly intended was 'civilizing' the rest of the world, though in reality, it was naked conquest.

 Those communities and regions in the world where the above ways of the west have not yet crept-in, tend to consider it a direct,external assault, or threat to their localized beliefs, customs and traditions. For them, it is a kind of cultural assault, and even violence !  
The below paragraph, that talks about the 'subjective' aspects of both the oppression, and also being under-oppression, might throw some additional light to find right answers to the question raised above:
The subjective aspects about both of the 'oppressor', and that of being under-oppression 

  The above assertion was made with the clear awareness and understanding that, many a times, the sense of both the oppression,( from the part of the oppressors) as well as that of insubordination or dissent from the part of those who hold some or other kind of power,( the oppressor)  most often, is purely subjective. Means, the cause behind the violence unleashed by the oppressed against the deemed 'oppressor', ( the power-holder) and that behind the terror and oppression unleashed against the dissenters and trouble-makers by the power-holder or the establishment,might be purely subjective. It is the 'sense' of oppression, and also the sense of insubordination and dissent is what trigger violence and terror acts ! The fear factor, that of the ones in Power about those who are supposed to be 'under' it, concerning their adherence and subordination, and that of the oppressed about the oppressor concerning the fate of his prized liberty is the chief cause behind all the violence in the world ! Hope no one could raise any sensible objection against the above arrived crucial conclusion.

As we have arrived at a very specific classification of all the violence that takes place between two men or two groups of men in the world, now let us attempt to arrive at a similar inference, as to what causes a person or a group to put another man or group under some or other kind of authority or power, and restrict his/their freedom as it was once enjoyed by all at equal footing ? We must understand it first, because, out of the TWO types of violence seen above, it is the FIRST type that always takes place first. The second type always takes place as a reaction to the first !

Why and how early men started treating the 'other' as a threat and botheration ?

When we take-up this important question for analysis, that is, why individual man and human-societies always show tendency to keep other men and other communities under control and submission, the first answer we receive is that, it is the law of nature! There are ample evidences from our old existing jungles that might support the said view; at jungles, the physically, or the number-wise strong always hold the upper-hand in animal societies, whether in the matter of geographical space, food and water resources, or sexual mate.

In human-society also, history has full of stories about powerful warriors,tribes and kingdoms of the past conquering and defeating lesser powerful men,groups and kingdoms.

But at a final analysis, equally valid historical data compel us to discard the above 'natural-law' inference on following grounds:

1) For reasons yet unknown, it was mostly the larger and stronger animals and their species that had already vanished, or in the process of fast extinct from the face of earth. Take the example of the already extinct species of dinosaurs and similar large bodied species and birds, gradually vanishing large and strong bodied species like Lions and Tigers etc. If the hegemony of the strong was the law of nature, she wouldn't have allowed such a breach of law.

Even if we accept that, the criteria of 'survival' was not exactly that of superior physical- strength of the species but that of their capability for 'adaptation' to the always changing physical environment, let us try to see the plain falsehood of this argument: The same author argues at his blog: :

" the individual member, ( of any species) whether an animal, or a plant, is a helpless 'object' of various energies and strategies of nature. The 'member' cannot ever wish, or 'will' to 'mutate', ( to adapt to a changed environment ) so that a more developed offspring could come out of him/her. Hence, the entire responsibility to produce a better adapted offspring rests exclusively with the same NATURE ! 

The species are absolutely BLIND about the possibility of evolution. The hero, or the villain here is, the same 'nature' ! This is serious philosophical dilemma that the evolutionists must address. After all, who is the beneficiary of evolution ? If we believe modern science, the natural immunity of man,animals and plants against diseases is constantly on the down fall ! How would this empirical evidence substantiate evolution if its chief goal was more evolved, and more adapted species ? The question ' into what ultimate state evolution leads to ?' becomes very relevant here"

What adapts to the changed environment is NOT any individual member of the species ( by its 'conscious' will ) but Nature herself, as a temporary strategy to the then changed environment ! The actor or the anti-hero in the game is 'nature' herself ! 

As the subject of this post is not 'evolution' as its is, let us leave it here, and proceed with our chief objective; answering the question of why man and groups show tendency to over-power other men and groups. 

2) If we look at human history too, all the strong-men, tribes and nations of the past have perished absolutely !No reasonable remnant of the old Rome, Ottoman, Napoleon's or German ( Hitler's)  empire exists today. World, if seen at closer and clinical angles, is gradually moving towards a more and more egalitarian and inclusive kind of society in its broad sense and meaning, though it is far-away from a turning a perfect one in any sense.

So, the the hegemony of the 'strong' and powerful is the 'natural-law' argument fails on every count. 

Why then man and communities tend to hold-power and control over other men and other groups ? 

If we very closely analyse the first kind of violence, that we have concluded as that always takes place first, we will find that what tends the oppressor to oppress others is his fear of losing his LIBERTY to do what he likes, if he lets the other person or persons to do what he likes ! Own liberty and freedom is always depended upon the degree of liberty and freedom of others around. My physical space, my mate and my food would, most of the time, be considered as his space, his mate and his food by the other person too. This naturally will lead to unpleasant and even bloody fights. So, if I want to have my unbound freedom and liberty, it is absolutely necessary that I find a way to curtail the liberty and freedom of the other person !

Rousseau had beautifully explained the above existential dilemma of the primeval man, and the solution he found, in his book,' On the origin of inequality': ( p.78, The great books foundation, Chicago,1955)

" the rich man, thus urged by necessity,conceived at length the profoundest plan that ever entered the mind of man: this was to employ in his favour the forces of those who attacked him,to make allies of his adversaries, to inspire them with different maxims, and to give them other institutions as favourable to himself, as the law of nature was unfavourable.....

 "Let us join", said he, " to guard the weak from oppression,to restrain the ambitious, and secure to every man the possession of what belongs to him: let us institute rules of justice and peace, to which all without exception may be obliged to conform......... 

In short, 'such was, or may well have been,  the origin of society and law,which bound new fetters on the poor, and gave new powers to the rich, which irretrievably destroyed natural liberty, eternally fixed the law of property and inequality, converted clever usurpation into unalterable right, and for the advantage of a few ambitious individuals, subjected all mankind to perpetual labour,slavery and wretchedness" 

Rousseau had attributed it to the sinful beginning of modern civil society and government.A similar story of this author could be found at blog-post:

In the absence of any better explanation and theory, we have to share the above conclusion that, man started restraining the liberty of other men, and human-society in general, exclusively for the need of ensuring own freedom the most secure and sustainable way ! The liberty of other man in the same degree as that of mine would always be a hindrance to my own liberty and freedom ! As seen and explained in very detail in this author's blog-post referred above, institutions of permanent social divisions ( two permanent class of men,- or two mind-sets- divided between a great wall )  had occurred around the above fundamental selfish motive and emotions of primeval man. 

Our blog;, explains this phenomenon in more detail. 

Instead of excluding the other person and group from having his rights and liberty too in the life-scheme on earth, what got institutionalized in human-society was a great wall of separation between a group that always  talked in first-person about the society and establishment, while about those who are on the other-side of the wall, as 'subjects' under the establishment, or the organized society, with a fundamental obligation and duty to live under the supremacy of the former group.Permanent values and traditions got cemented in human-society of future, about the roles and obligations of whoso ever happened at each side of the wall. Like the cementing of patriarchal traditions in the man-women relation in human-society, the establishment and subject relation also got cemented in human-society permanently ! Though there occurred many loosening-up in the man-woman relation as human-civilization advanced, very little has been changed in the man and establishment tie. 

The yet unknown and unrealized kind of freedom and liberty in human-relations when both parties let each other go absolutely uninhibited and free !

The crux of what we have gathered from the above discussion and the reference materials presented 
( Rousseau's stand, and this authors blog-post)  was that, the first acts of oppression, or the act of isolating the questioning or the freedom seeking 'other' from the group was caused by the reluctance of the primeval man to be 'inclusive' in his behaviour and attitude towards the 'other'. With his animal like primordial mind, nothing other than caring the need and interests of the self was possible for him ! He could only fear, and be apprehensive of the 'other', that if he allows him to be one with the group, he might turn an enemy of his self-interest, and his absolute freedom in future. So, he took maximum precaution, to see the 'other' ousted from the group, or to be trapped under the pretext of social and political laws or norms, so that he always remain a lesser threat to his-own freedom. Simply put, the starting point of despise, contempt and even initiating violence against the 'other' was the result of primordial, animal like fear of human-beings.

When someone treats you with fear and apprehension in his mind, you can not react as if you do not fear, and have apprehension about the other too.  But if one could get-rid of such primitive fears and apprehensions about the other, with own consciously-put intellectual and rational effort, the 'other' too react the same way, the interaction and relation gets into an altogether open, free and unprecedented mode ! Self-expression peaks from both the parties, and the open and receptive mood of both, opens-up an uninhibited and free stream of exchange!
When fear escapes from the mind about the other, a kind of exceptional confidence grips both the parties, and it might be difficult to believe for those who had never experienced such free and open-exchange of minds, each one expresses in such a way that they themselves wonder from whom and where such unprecedented colours and features of own self come from ? This is especially true with intimate relation between opposite sexes; when there is no bound for self-expression, such relations reaches unprecedented and mysterious realms of self-expression ! Such mysterious sense of freedom and liberty must have been the cause behind great work of art, literature and poetry in human-history.

 'Self' is always a kind of tightness of one's nerves, a kind of resistance or armor, kept to ward of the other, or to protect oneself from others !  When one gets free, or gets liberated from the need for such armor and resistance, a free-flow of natural energies occur, and involved parties get an opportunity to experience the real power and possibilities of uninhibited human-interaction and relation. 

Prejudices, dogmas, and practices  that needed to be discarded from society to achieve such free-flowing human-exchange

1)  Pretension of one's superiority under some or other garbs: Exhibition of one's some or other superiority is nothing but a direct form of violence against those who does not share it; let it be the way one is dressed, his high-social status, his economic high-status, or his share in the political or other power-basket. 

Such all-around inequality in the general way of life, share-in the power factor, institutionalized superiority of any-one religion, language or caste, culture etc, without fail, act as disguised form of violence and abuse.

2) superstition or dogma that what one has in the form of personal bodily features, riches and special abilities are his-own make, or achievement attained by his self-effort, or that of his ethnic group/nation 

The existing myths,norms and traditions about SUCCESS in life also equally make some men superior than those who could not achieve success in the same degree. Such permanent features in society also acts as a form of violence and abuse over those who are far below in the ladder of SUCCESS. 

3) Inability to consider and accept whatever is unique about the other person/other community/group, and resistance to share whatever is common in the world as common-right of all persons in the world, or others in the same community.

Present world consider only certain forms of ability or propensity meritorious, say, the entrepreneurship skills. Unlike in the early days of direct barter, the tiller needed to accept and respect the work and profession of the baker  as well as that of the butcher, otherwise life would have become stand-still. But today, the tiller himself can act as baker, butcher and a in a hundred other roles, in his highly acclaimed entrepreneur-ship skill.Those who do not possess that skill in considerable degree are looked-down upon in modern society, in spite of his mastery in many other fields without which the entrepreneur-class can not perform well. Such institutionalized inequality about professions also acts as indirect form of violations in modern world.
4) Contempt towards the 'other' who do not own things in equal quantity with that of mine: This is the confidence and pride of the successful that they are more blessed, more chosen or 'selected' by nature as per Darwin's survival of the fittest' theory ! The other who are deprived and suffer the pains of life, undergo it because they didn't work-hard, and not acted as smartly as the former. So, it is better to leave them at nature's own mercy, while minding own-business in a practical and smart-strategy of detachment ! I mind my business, while letting the other to mind his business, forgetful of what life-situation the other person or other community live-in.

Final answer is that, if any person or community/ institution violate the sense of dignity and self-hood of any other person or group, in any manner, it will definitely result in turning such other person /community a violator and an aggressor some time in future ! 

Some clue into the ultimate principle, or law of nature about man vs man relation 

It was clearly and undoubtedly NOT the plain survival of the fittest in the world, in its physical and Darwinist sense, while judging from the evidences in history that we have once seen above. The strong and mighty always perished earlier than the weak and the meek in history, in its long-term effect. So, such a belief or theory, we will be forced to conclude that, might have been the outcome of a particular remnant of our primeval,animal propensities ! The very goal,task and process of human-civilization was to free man from such jungle values,notions and practices, and mankind had succeeded a lot in the said task. But, the task is still incomplete to a large degree...we may have to identify and realize our subconscious( primeval) urge to keep the other-man subjugated to our will, in order to free-ourselves from this jungle urge !

We could well recognize that, when one is absolutely free, ( free from subjugation to another's will) what he feel about the other, how stranger he might be, would be only a healthy curiosity to know more about him, not any jungle type fear and animosity. Therefore, to help the emergence of a new,more healthy world-order, we must find a way out to end her existing fear of the other, and man's subconscious wish to subjugate him to his will, by some or other pretext. The avenues of developing a new and more healthy, modern attitude towards the 'other' is very much there in human-capacity, and his intelligence sphere.

Recommend the following posts to know more about what has been proposed above:

Authored by : Abraham J.Palakudy
 Author is an independent philosophy, mind,reason,polity and spirituality seeker& researcher
Contact at:
Twitter: Voice of philosophy@jopan1
Blogger page link:


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Seeking origins of the notion of human 'success', and upmanship values

Seeking origin of the notion of human 'success' and up-man-ship values in the modern-world 

The existence of a realm other than the physical where the conceptual 'self' of man reside, is an irrefutable reality. If the 'body-man' reside at the pure physical realm of the world, the social-entity ( the ego) of man reside in the conceptual realm. Besides the food, sex and safe-stay needs of the physical man, human-being also needs an 'exaltation' of his person-hood.This exaltation need was usually met by being at-par with the signs,symbols and habits of the high-class men and groups that already existing in any society.

Besides his physical body and face, he also sees in the mirror a parallel self, his face and expression as he is seen and accepted in the society. He is the real entity that lives his life, unlike our counter-parts in the animal kingdom, who live only their physical lives.

The mirror image is his 'objective' identity that others see in the world ! World here is a market-place where all these multitudes of 'objective' human-beings dwell. Others not only see his physical body and features, but also his personality,ie. what he is in society. Though this 'spirit' ( in the sense that, this aspect of the self is an intangible energy )does not need food,water etc for its survival, it can not survive without its conceptual, or say, psychological needs, that is, constant reiteration from others in the form of acceptance, approval, or some or other kind of behavior in responses to its own behavior ! Such responses are the vital evidence and reiteration that, he is real and socially alive !

 'Success' is a 'halo' that every-human-being desires to wear around him in society. Society judge him on the existing criteria of 'success' prevalent in each society.

Modern man, unfortunately, due to strongly prevailing myths and norms around  'success' and up-man-ship in the world, always want to become someone-else; he always feel incomplete about himself as he is !He always tend to feel that, what is more real about life is somewhere upward in the success-ladder of society !

This was a very peculiar out-come of a particular development in Western-Society after the Enlightenment era.Science hugely aided industry to expand it's hold over world. They traveled across the seas in search of new markets. It resulted in colonization, and abundant supply of raw-material and even labor-force(African slaves to toil in the large agricultural-fields to produce abundant supply of raw-materials)

When riches of men mounted,the only one area they could show-off it was in the class-distinction! No one can consume more food and drinks to celebrate the riches.So, the only area to 'express' the wealth was to ascend the ladder to success; to have everything in possession of the traditional-men of wealth and power in society ! The practical-expression of the idea of FREE-MAN,or the 'man of total liberty' of the age, thanks to that unprecedented ideal that the great Enlightenment-era produced,thus got exemplified the way these newly rich industrialists behaved and moved in the society of that time !

Freedom got irrefutably linked with the degree of effort and labor one put. Those who failed to reach the top had to accept that, they were not as good as the best in the area of hard-work,business acumen and entrepreneurship, and hence,naturally accept the hegemony of the best in the field. Less successful, especially those who were fated to work in the factories of the rich-entrepreneurs,considered as less 'evolved' in the natural-selection theory brought-out by dear Charles Darwin !

Criteria of success in different ages 

 Criteria of assessing this 'success' differed from age to age. Remember, success is after all the ' halo' with which man desires 'others', or the world that constitutes this others, remember him with, during and after his life ! In the older days of frequent physical confrontations, smart warrior-ship' was one of those conceptual halo with which every one wanted to survive with in the present and future conceptual world. When Kings replaced the super-warriors in history, he himself wore the halo of the most-successful, the most feared and revered.The most exalted dream of each child of those ages was his/her becoming a King or Queen one day! As only one could become a King or Queen at any given time, the rest defined their success by becoming someone close to the King and Queen.

The way King walked, talked, dressed and behaved had become the ultimate reference point of quality behaviour and quality life. Though, no one might have dared to emulate him openly, at least in the dreams of all men, that was the pinnacle of everyone's imaginable success !

The ones who were in the King's  list of favorites had become Feudal Lords, or huge-estate owners. If not like Kings, these Lords also had developed their-own styles of dress, food-habits, behaviour and values of  their-own as days passed. Though the basic food stuff they ate and the base-raw material for the dress they wore too were same, the stuff they made with those raw-materials were quite different from that of common human-beings. They were eager to mark their different class,  by differentiating their style from that of the ordinary class of people. The actual difference in the degree or power and freedom ( both are always interwoven in every society, at every age !) they enjoyed in society was thus established by displaying such difference in the way of life and style.

These higher class of men spent large amount of resources/money to ensure this distinction of their class up and above from that of ordinary folks, thus making it impossible for the latter class to emulate their ways, or prohibit them by way of the restrictive cost-factor ! The real pleasure these fortunate men and women enjoyed was not the higher taste-value of the food they ate,or the value of the dress and other bodily accessories they wore, but the actual higher class distinction they had in society. Their men and women always attempted to emulate the style and tastes of the King himself, as they were the highest model for emulating !

History says, the concept of Gentlemen was thus born in Europe by cementing such traditions of dressing, foot-wear, facial-hair style, behaviour and language style etc. by these class of King's secondary line of Knightly and Lordly men and their families.

The story after the Industrial revolution 

The concept of 'success' and up-man-ship had acquired a firm institutional form since the industrial revolution. European Liberalism's most conspicuous outcome was the origin of capitalistic tradition in the world. Capitalism celebrated whatever was most prized about liberalism, the unfettered human-spirit of freedom and creativity. The new class of entrepreneurs were left free to do whatever they want to improve their lives !Men and nations fiercely competed each other for up-man-ship in industry and trade.

Industry had thrown-open a world of unnamed Royalty and Knight-hood before the new entrepreneur-class. They were able to possess everything that the then Feudal-Lords used to have in the society; big mansions, servants and even bigger capital-reserves.  It is heard that many a Knights of the day in Europe were willing to exchange their Knight-hood in exchange of  the exotic items these new industrial class had brought from strange foreign-lands !

Rule of Kings had ended, and the power and relevance of the old Feudal Lords also has subsided considerably. Industry sector has side-lined the old agriculture-centered growth and economy. The new world had bestowed  nations in the hands of the new entrepreneur class, in a dramatic shift of power and glory from the old Royals and Feudal Lords!

These new class of entrepreneurs had taken-away the mandatory blue-blood requirement to become a Lord or Noble of material success.These new men of vast-richness might-have taken all the care to  adopt the ways of the Lords and Nobles with regard to their dressing style, foot-wear standards, food habits, language and behavior norms, in-order NOT to look different from them in any degree or manner ! The class of 'Gentlemen' had arisen in Europe during this period; David Cody, Associate Professor of English, Hartwick College, in his paper 'Gentlemen' says: 

"Members of the British aristocracy were gentlemen by right of birth (although it was also emphasized, paradoxically enough, that birth alone could not make a man a gentleman), while the new industrial and mercantile elites, in the face of opposition from the aristocracy, inevitably attempted to have themselves designated as gentlemen as a natural consequence of their growing wealth and influence"

Was the ideal of 'success' merely going one-up in social-status and relevance ?

Here we directly encounter the delicate theme of this paper; ie. the concept of 'success' had been always one class' attempt to migrate into the fold of the next upper-class ! More than amassing adequate wealth for his family and his future generations to come, the chief goal attained by the neo-rich of the industrial revolution era was the uplift-ment of their class to an already existing, well recognized higher class in the society. While his actual quantitative value of wealth was confined to his own personal knowledge, his occupying a palace equal in size and pomp as that of the Nobles of the time, and his dressing like him and eating, behaving and speaking like them had transformed him and his generations to the Noble class in letter and spirit ! His kin had also internalized the ways of such upper class. Therefor, 'success' was in reality, a migration into a higher- plane of life, exemplified by clear,tangible symbols.

The economic development that followed the industrialization era was remarkable in creating different levels, or planes of social-relevance hierarchy in the world, each such level was marked or symbolized by the use or possession of certain degree of luxury dwelling units, passenger vehicles, the total value of properties and assets owned, the value and style of apparels and foot-wear they have worn, the way each class spoke, and kind of their food-style,and the quality and expensiveness of house-hold articles at their homes !

Restricting one's ambition to any certain degree or level has started to be considered a draw-back or short-coming of the values these new Lords were expected to keep. Success was a limitless going-up on the ladder. There were enough and more ready-made planes or class-distinctions in the new-world, for every such ambitious men to reach and roost. Each such higher class clearly distinguished the class-difference instantly, by the above symbols and signs each member exhibited.

An exclusive political system was built-around such economic difference in the modern society that, it measured and defined the 'progress' of their respective nations on the basis of the 'success' of these entrepreneurs. The base model of States and nations that shined in Europe and USA had become empirical example of the success of such model of growth and progress, for the entire world.

Progress of nations has started being measured on the basis of the 'success' of their entrepreneur class, though no remnant of the old 'gentleman' class distinction remained any  more. Any one acquiring the material symbols of prosperity and affluence got accepted into the fold of successful and rich men.The libertarian ideology stood for encouraging full-fledged expression the creative-human-spirit of man !

The new democratic ruler class replaced the ancient Royal class, and the new-rich replaced the class of old Feudal and Noble classes ! New class-divisions, but unchanged energy-system and norms around the base class-gulfs.  The more the things changed, the more the basics remained unchanged !

'Success' had become the new universal mantra,which was exclusively confined to the field of industrial and economic growth. Every other sector of human-activity naturally got side-lined. Fields like education and knowledge-creation etc. have become depended on the whims of the industrial and the newly emerged political class, who had clandestinely aligned with the industrial class for the above narrated one and only known model of country progress.

Today, the ambition of man goes much beyond having enough to eat, enough to dress, enough roof over the head to dwell-in, and a mate-for- life to live with.There are multiple layers of material success and style synthetically created in modern the living-system, that each person builds-up his particular desires and targets of growth and success in advance. It do not have anything to do with eat-more, dress-more, dwell in a house with more security,or marring super-woman for life etc. It is all about touching different, socially made myths of conceptual levels of SUCCESS ! Such levels of life and existence run parallel to the raw-needs and reality of life, in its existential relevance and meaning.

Every person who has attained some 'success' always looked-up to the next level,or class, as his next destination to reach. Every such class-distinction was marked by their special standard of luxury, by the kind of residential colonies they stay, the class of school they send their children, the company in which they and their families mix-up among many other such marks of their economic and social class. To enter the one-up class, what was essential was to internalize their values; the new language, the new facial expressions and body language, and possessing the new tangible objects around life.

Even the very bottom classes in every society also kept the above obsession, ie. of moving to the next economic and social ladder of success ! But, the speed-in which the top most classes proceeded to the next and next realms was unmatched for the bottom classes, chiefly because of the simple un-affordability of the kind of luxury items and symbols the former class was able to possess ! The very excessive supply of money in the market helped the top classes to reach such unattainable( for those who follow them) economic and class levels, that according to every authentic recent economic survey, more than 55% of world's wealth got landed in the hands of less than 1% elites of world population !

As the profit margins are exceedingly high while dealing in products and services for these rich class, few industries take interest in catering to the needs of the lower class. The exceedingly high-prices in the Housing market is the best example. Options for low-economic classed are almost Nil in the Housing market. Every best product and services go searching for the affluent profit-margin of the rich class, thus, pushing the inflation naturally, making even routine life needs of the bottom classes un-affordable to them !. ( Please see blog on inflation caused due to this reason,at link:

New standards of Success altered the paradigm of social-equality !

Mankind's arriving, or landing-up at such a state of, or standards of weird notions of SUCCESS has played havoc with the naturalness of human-life. It has distorted the original planes of human-activity, sense of equality and thought patterns. It has created grave issues around social-equality, as levels and criteria of equality has drastically altered. To reach such synthetic levels of success in society, men and women strive to become intentionally UNEQUAL, as at basic levels of eating, dressing, dwelling and mating, there are very limited or zero levels of showing-up one's up-man-ship, or living standards.

This is not to stand-against the paradigm of human-success and progress, but just to expose its evil and silly sides.Creativity is not limited into one or other chosen fields of human-activity. Institutionalizing human-creativity and its exalted-status in one or two chosen fields would kill the unique and universal natural gift of every person, and its overall utility towards human-progress! In other words, encouraging and propagating HUMAN-EQUALITY will not kill the creative-human spirit in any manner. It would only bring-out the sacred-gift in every human-being in the long-run ! ( Please share our blogs that depicts what kind of EQUALITY we mean for universally sustainable peace and happiness, at link:

 In animal kingdom also we observe the inherent drive for exalting and DISPLAYING one's physical prowess...male-birds spreading their feathers and dancing to impress the other sex is common. Man had overcome many of our animal traits in the course of civilization, like the perennial fear of the other, and the resultant jungle like hostility to strangers. By realizing the folly that is in discuss here, we might be able to free ourselves from this also one day ! One's excessively exhibited superiority and social-heights will stun and incapacitate those who are below-par, and unnecessarily create social tension. It alienates and separate those who below-par, into unhealthy social divides. 

Modern industry's very existence is depended upon manufacturing and catering to such different SUCCESS standards of modern citizens. Huge percentage of the total capital spending of each nation goes into meeting such higher living-standards of these elite-class, leaving bare minimum reserve for meeting the bare-life-needs of common-citizens.  The latter class still live at the basic need level of existence !

No wonder, in case world is struck by large-scale natural, or man-made catastrophe, many of its elites will find it extremely difficult to come-down to the basic-need level life, due to their dependency on artificially learned and habituated needs. Modern world has turned human-life into an altogether different ball-game !

Authored by : Abraham J. Palakudy
Author is a seeker,researcher and writer in fields of philosophy,mind,Reason,spirituality and polity
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Twitter: Voice of philosophy@jopan1


Friday, 6 March 2015

Where has LIBERALISM landed us ?

Though in paper modern world still claim her tag of being open,free and liberal,the ground reality tells a very different story ! Due to economic and political fetters around their neck,people are not able to assert their rights,liberty and individual dignity.So, they live wretched lives,with NO knowledge of any escape route.

It was unprecedented - -the tenet of human-freedom and liberty emerged suddenly in the West,despite her past dubious history of occupying other's lands in acts like Colonialism, making other human-beings under institutionalized Slavery etc ! Its first, most visible public appearance was in the American Declaration of Independence document, that stated,"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". ( Obviously we should not ignore Magna-carta treaty etc. of the previous periods!)

Why such an out-spoken declaration of the RIGHTS of man was short lived in modern world ? How the later-day ancillary developments in modern-world such as industrialization, capitalism etc, instead of nurturing the Spirit of human-liberty for betterment of mankind, had let it remain a only a paper reality ? Why Democracy like illustrious Freedom and Liberty oriented political institutions have turned a meek hand-maid of Capitalism, adopting its values, and self-defeating the purpose for which she was born ? Why world can not be called truly a free,open and liberal place for majority of her citizens ? The recent OCCUPY like up-rising of American citizens alleging that its the rule of 1% now, over the 99% happened if the world was truly free and open ? It is a serious subject to be analysed in detail.This is a short attempt to delve some-deep into the said question.

It was the most-serious misfortune that had happened to mankind, that the ideal of the celebrated European Liberalism has ended-up in a rat-race for individual success, whether it is in its direct field of commercial-entrepreneurship, political power-market, academic competition for upper-hand in the knowledge market, or in the simple social-leadership field.

Despite all the strong-emergence of the ideals and fundamentals of the rights of man, and the need of keeping the centrality of individual and his dignity as the very purpose and goal of every-human institution, the future developments in Europe could not keep and sustain its spirit !

We can say, world was a rightist-dungeon in the past, wherein it was firmly held that hegemony of the STRONGEST was natural-law, and every-one under the authority of such strongest, irrespective of such STRENGTH and its POWER coming from either physical,moral or economic source, it was the duty of those who were under the AUTHORITY to blindly obey them, their laws,whims, and wishes.

With same confidence we can say it about today also that, despite all the unprecedented emergence of the great STORM of HUMAN FREEDOM and LIBERTY in the enlightenment era Europe,it has almost totally lost its sheen today! Man, though he now know that he is supposed to be FREE and EQUAL, is not in a position to ascertain it easily without the risk of being booked under any of the hundreds of laws of modern-States. These Power-States are so concerned about internal&external SECURITY threats, that they can not let even the slightest of dissent that question their authority&sovereignty.

Or, if he is an employee under any private or Govt.master,he can not assert his freedom and liberty,or even his upright sense of self, without the risk of losing his job under some guises, like insubordination,non-loyalty, inefficiency,or dereliction of duty !

Thus, even though world boast about it as free,open and liberal, its inhabitants are not able to assert such freedom today due to the above explained inevitable, livelihood, personal-security and other compulsions.

How did all this up-side-down happen ?

If you wish to have FREEDOM from not to be bothered by others, or from not coming under the disturbing use of their will, or that of their collective institutions like governments, one need to isolate himself from such realms of life and society. Such planned isolation only will enable him afford to be independent of others, and the whims of their above said collective institutions. For gaining such independence from others and their collective institutions, one simply has to rise above every one in 'success', in whatever field he was in. At such levels of material or conceptual success, he definitely gains freedom of the kind that he had been seeking.Rousseau was very specific about personal-freedom, and its relation with being from interdependence:
"bonds of servitude are formed merely by the mutual dependence of men on one another and the reciprocal needs that unite them; it is impossible to make any man a slave,unless he is first reduced to a situation in which he can not do without the help of others" ( quoted from his long essay, ' on the origin of inequality)

 At such levels of success, he could interact at an equal footing with other equally successful men, and at the same time, stands escaped from the acts of judgment and botheration of the ordinary folks and their collective institutions !

It is impossible for someone dependent on some others, to be free by any standard. His freedom would be conditional to the wishes, likes and dislikes of such others whom he is depended upon, for leading his life ! In this sense, some degree of success was an inevitable feature of the liberal principles of old Europe.

Let us listen to what Paul Verhaeghe, senior professor at Ghent University, who holds the chair of the department for psychoanalysis and counseling psychology says :  

“Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, “make” something of ourselves”
(  Ref’ link:

Or, if you want to be free without the above condition of success, you could do so by abandoning not only success, but also the very kind of society that keeps those standards; the Hippie movement of 1960’s was such an attempt to have freedom without being a part of the above rat-race; these men and women made a failed attempt to be ‘free’, by abandoning the very society that insisted on certain ‘standards’ to be one among them. 

From the above seen pre-condition of ‘success’ behind the tenets of European Liberalism and its singular goal of ‘freedom’ of the individual, it becomes obvious that it was the Libertarian  tendencies that had paved way for modern capitalism. Free-market has become synonymous with ‘freedom’ in the European world ! When the community or the State ‘leaves alone’(Laissez-faire)  the entrepreneur, for his fullest expression of the creative wealth-creating acumen, such community or country started gaining the reputation of being a ‘free-society’. Of course, this model of economy, society and polity had paid its fruits of plentiful-ness to Europe: wealth had poured in abundance into that region of the world !

Such States and communities that put restrictions on national and international free-trade have been accused to be ‘closed-markets’, with 'socialistic' tendencies. Concept of Freedom started gaining its symbol and meaning exclusively on the basis of the freedom of its entrepreneurs. Universal freedom of human-being as an essential political and metaphysical element has lost its centrality from the modern world, and from the prime-priority status of political establishments, in an extremely unfortunate turn-out !  

Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarized the paradox of our era as: “Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless.”

Not only powerless, but people are also get accused ( especially the ones who could not make it to the top) that they were ‘losers and scroungers’’

Prof. Paul Verhaeghe continues in his article referred above:

We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers”

In a social and economic struggle by every one to become successful, it would end-up in a logically inevitable mathematical pattern : in the strict hierarchical order such growth takes place, no two persons can be at the same slot of the chain of success. One always has to be in a bottom number from the other ! This series of successful men should inevitably leave a lengthy bottom tail of unsuccessful men too, or those who could just make it NOT to get extinct from the race to survive ! Every authentic research outcome shows that, this hierarchy-line is getting thicker and thicker at the top-stretch, leaving the bottom part of the line thinner and thinner, in an increasingly distinct and clear pattern! These studies and statistics shows that more than 55% of the wealth and resources of modern world is snow-balled into the hands of the top 1% ( or even less than 1% ?) most successful, or say, the most FREE men ! Or in other words, as in USA’s OCCUPATION agitators allege, modern world is the reign of 1% over the rest 99% ! 

The slots of Freedom are open to everyone, but unfortunately, the very system of Liberalism lets only the ones at the top of the hierarchy to be more free than the ones at the bottom.

What liberalism had at bottom aspired and stood-for, has lost its element and purpose in the modern world.

In its practical application also, a truly liberal-minded man, well conscious of his rights and dignity, was more a burden and a liability to his new class of employers, and the new class of professional political-class who played around with the ideal of Democracy to occupy the seats of RULER that the old Kings had once abandoned.For the new Employer-class, what was more important to sustain his business was obedient and loyal 'order-executioners' than creatively-empowered new man. For the new States too, which was certainly in the same line of old States of the King with regard to principles of authority and power,a passively law-abiding citizen was more in need than a rights-conscious,liberty-seeking independent beings ! 

This twist in priorities of modern-world had proved detrimental to the SPIRIT of human-liberty and centrality of individual-dignity. A man with his sense of Reason intact was, thus lost his demand in modern-world. This tragedy may be seen in more detail, at following blog-post:

Author: Abraham J. Palakudy
Author is a seeker,researcher and writer in fields of philosophy,mind,Faculty of Reason,spirituality and polity 
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Twitter : Voice of philosophy@jopan1

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