Personality and The Butterfly Effect

Published: 05.08.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015

The relationship between an individual and society is like that between a drop and an ocean. According to the philosophy of anekant, the relation between the individual and society is so close that it cannot be severed.

Shaking a finger results in shaking the whole world. When a cloth is torn, some of the atoms thus released may travel thousands of kilometres and may even cause ripples in a sheet of water if they strike it.

This encapsulates the entire theory of the environment. Everyone and everything is so closely related. We need to experience this all-pervasive universal inter-relatedness. It applies to the individual and to society.

The true understanding of and reflection on the individual and society is possible only by a proper understanding and application of the language and methodology of anekant. Every individual has special characteristics. Individuals do not belong to society and so are altogether individual or personal. For instance, it is the individual and not society who has a body.

Similarly, thinking, feeling and action all belong to the individual. Qualities like tolerance and modesty are also entirely personal. Thus a person's individuality or personality means a harmonious combination of his characteristic traits. Individuality shows itself in the form of behaviour, which is the external manifestation of inner special qualities. Behaviour acts as a binding agent of society.

If society is a portrait, human behaviour is its canvas. An individual is assessed on the basis of the quality of his behaviour, his speech, thoughts and feelings. What else is society but the final outcome of individual behaviour? Inter-personal behaviour shapes society. The latter cannot exist if each individual were an island unto himself, non-interactive and non-reactive.

Tolerance, unseen, becomes manifest in behaviour. If a man stays calm and unruffled and does not retaliate even in the face of abuse and ill-treatment, it is not difficult to infer that he is well-bred and cultured.

Lord Buddha kept laughing in the face of invective accusation. Someone asked him if he did not feel anger. His reply was - if someone offers you something and you do not accept it, the thing offered remains with him who offered it. Invective not accepted belongs where it came from. The behaviour got modified as a result of tolerance.

Once, Jain acharyas entered into a controversy. Should ascetics wear clothes or not? Those who thought clothes were dispensable made out that they represented the acme of virtue. One of the acharyas following anekant said that practice differed - some people using one, some two, some three dresses and some others no dress at all.

Using dress was no vice, not using any also meant a certain special spiritual effort. Neither was to be looked down upon. It is good if someone fasts, but those who do not should not be regarded as being inferior. No room should be given to self-conceit.

There is something remarkable in having neither disdain nor conceit, in neither self-glorification nor decrying others, in neither one-sided insistence nor false belief, but in believing in an integrated anekant methodology.

Perhaps it is the best principle of building personality.

Share this page on:
Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharyas
  2. Anekant
  3. Anger
  4. Body
  5. Buddha
  6. Conceit
  7. Environment
  8. Tolerance
Page statistics
This page has been viewed 1739 times.
© 1997-2020 HereNow4U, Version 4
Home
About
Contact us
Disclaimer
Social Networking

HN4U Deutsche Version
Today's Counter: