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The Quest For Truth: [03.02] Man And Society (2)

Published: 22.02.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Emotions are individualistic, because they cannot be exchanged.
According to some sociologists, society is a matrix of relationship.
Society is a form of social relationship that sustains life. According to sociologist Greene, society is a large gathering to which every man is bound.
From the above two definitions, it is clear that relationships are established and in life it is important for every man to establish relationships.

Emotions are neither established nor are they life sustaining. They are intrinsic to man. From the perspective of emotions, man is a reality and from the perspective of life-sustenance, society is reality. There is no conflict in the realities of either of them. Man lives comfortably only with the assumption that society is real and keeping this in mind, safeguards social norms and values.

There are two fundamental principles that govern social organization:

  • Desires and wealth.
For the fulfilment of desires, social relationships develop.
Wealth is a tool to fulfil desires.

Through Dharma the social organization is worked. Of the ancient sociologists, some paid greater emphasis to desires while some others did to dharma.

Kautalya gave importance to wealth. He said that wealth was the root cause for attachment (kama) and dharma and, therefore, wealth is of primary importance.

In contemporary social organization, also wealth is of primary importance. In fact, they are based on wealth.
In such a society based on wealth, a man has no individual, independent value. Without controlling individual freedom, a social organization cannot survive. A man does not give as much importance to the feelings of others as he does to his own.

Therefore, two situations arise in individualistic social organization:

  • The need of the self and the need for others.

Obviously, it is in such a situation that crime, immorality, exploitation and corruption have grown. Burdened by these undesirable factors society tried to overcome the differences between the self and the other, through socialism.

But even after giving man the independence of individualistic social organization, this problem could not be overcome. That is why in such a situation man plays the role of a puppet in society.

Individualistic social organization creates imbalance in society. Some people become very rich and some very ordinary. The very rich are engrossed in consumerism. They are constantly worried about their own comfort and prosperity and not about that of others.

The needs of their senses increase.
They are not able to take time for anything other than consumption.
The economically disadvantaged people have to struggle very hard to get the level of comfort they desire.
They do not get the opportunity to reflect.
In this consumerist society that panders to the senses, imbalance amongst people has always existed.

The history of empires proves that this society of people, who do not have time to think or reflect, was constructed under the initiative of the very rich.
It is from this society that socialism was emerged.

Mahavira did not organize society nor did he give the vision for a social organization.
He explained dharma and gave the vision of dharma and the vision of dharma is neither individualistic nor social. It is related to the atma or the soul.
The measure of a man is his emotion and the measure of a society is exchange.
The measure of dharma is different from both of these.
Its measure is transcendental consciousness, beyond feeling and action.

  • The Quest For Truth: In the context of Anekanta by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulahraj
  • Translated by Sudhamahi Regunathan
  • under the guidance of Revered Munishree Mahendra Kumar.
  • Published 2003 by Jain Vishva Bharati Institute (Deemed University), Ladnun, Rajasthan, India

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Atma
  2. Consciousness
  3. Consumerism
  4. Dharma
  5. Kama
  6. Mahavira
  7. Soul
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