I have always wondered if I actually understood words like Liberalism, Marxism, Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Anarchism, Conservatism and the listing goes on and on indefinitely. It actually becomes increasingly difficult, especially when this one word is a façade to such diverse ideologies and beliefs. A dictionary is quite incapable to allude us to a full understanding of the matter and hence it is advisable to resort to your own definition after extensive reading on the subject.
One such word is ‘social’ and only recently did i become plainly sensible of its use in religion, politics and economics. The word is excessively used in different context in various fields of study. For instance, Marx uses terms like social conciousness, social ideology and social relations to explain his theory of historical materialism.
Would these terms hold the same meaning if we drop the word ‘social’ from each of them? No, because it instantaneoulsy deviates the subject from an individualist to a collective point of view. What happens is that ‘I’ starts being evaluated in relation to ‘We’ and also, the dictionary meaning is completely aligned with this argument. The dictionary defines ‘social’ as-‘an interaction of organisms to mutually co-exist within a laid down framework of conduct’. Moreover, in order to mutually co-exist, the framework of conduct has to incorporate the attitude and behaviour that take the interests, intentions, or needs of everybody into account. Man is a social animal, and thus it leads to the formation of communities and tribes.
When ‘the collective’ becomes large, no single person can play any role in defining the idea or the principal without the consent of a greater part of members i.e the consent of the majority. The order of the society, that itself borrows from the word ‘social’, is dictated by the majority.
It is a pity when the views and ideas of the majority is upheld as the truth and how everything suddenly becomes ethical and right if it has the approval of the majority; whereas the minority is always forcibly pushed aside to breed on its own. For instance, homosexuality is practised only by a minority and I need not say more about how it transcended from being a blasphemous act to a mental disease and why it still remains unacceptable in many communities. Most of the times, the larger people comprising of the majority are immature and unbending. They just walk behind a certain class of leaders without showing any emotional or intellectual development to appropriate the right side for themselves.
The present task is to explain how the genesis of our societies, that were based on particular ideas and beliefs, borrows the word ‘social’ as a key to the heart of the majority and how it diminishes the freedom of action for individuals over the collective.
I say, that all the intolerable traditions and customs that abides to the ideologies of our society, which were based on the best interest of the majority, have been propogated at a point in history and have withstood hundreds of unforgiving years and are still widely persistent? The majority has ruled us since time immemorial. It has created boundaries to separate us from the queer non-believers; ‘society’ we like to call it. What is a society, if it is not an aggregate of civilised people coming together to the beck and call of the majority?
Though one might feel strongly of the judgement of the majority but wait until your view herds only a minority and then see for yourself- your very ideas turned into sin, no matter how right you felt about them, and every opinion, that you had until a few moments back, turned into an unforgiving crime in your own eyes. That is the power and influence of the majority. Most of the times it is dreadful to see majority at its play. For instance, our clothing that we put on is believed to insulate our bodies from the harsh environment but it is no less a social norm. We would go bonkers seeing a nude person sit next to us in the class or teach us for that matter. Your driver or possibly your boss prefers to wear no clothes to work. How accepting would you be to this kind of bizarre behaviour? I am fully confident that in the eyes our community, that includes you and I, qualifies this outlandish conduct as abnormal and it will be completely unsurprising to outcaste anybody who prefers to wear no clothes.
Further, when we have to live in a society we have to adopt its traditions, customs, morals and rules. So, we become a member of a society only when we are prepared to adopt its ways of living. But the most important aspect of being accepted is sharing the same belief. You will never fit into the puzzle otherwise.
What I am getting at is the fact that we have been a part of this society for as long as we can remember, and it has been a long journey for sure, from an innocent child to an answerable adult. Over these years, whatever we are are from our experiences of our surroundings. These customs in our society have had such an expanse of time to slowly trickel down into our minds that we have lost our tendencies to the society we live in.
Tendencies are not consciously examined, rather they follow no logic because they are involuntary, instinctive and unconcious. We are not perceptible of their existence. Hence we dont even realize that some of our actions were tendencies that had no reasoning to support the act.
Unconcious is what we truly are. It’s the veil to our true selves and the rest is nothing but a farce. Imagine your unconcious will in control of the society, which is futher in the hands of what the majority thinks is right. We are all busy taming our conscious self but we forget that our unconcious mind is bound to everybody around us.
I believe that someone who can question his tendencies is one step closer to enlightenment. Questioning your own tendencies isn’t truly that easy if one may think, even if that question relates to an answer you learnt long before you remember.