SB: Individualism hits at the roots of society, only to eventually dismantle it. BUT, Individualism actually is necessary and important for a Democracy to thrive. Reason why democracies tend towards degeneracy.
Digression- Individualist (by definition non conforming) societies tend to initially do good with high impact innovation such as West. Eastern civilizations could very well have been selected for conformity though. Less conforming societies, like West, possibly has greater high IQ individuals at the right end of the IQ distribution curve, which should explain their higher innovativeness as compared to say a higher IQ Japan.
However this is unlikely to sustain:
1. Individualism is dysgenic.
2. Individualism, today, is mostly sustained by democracies.
Democracies being insecure gradually moves towards totalitarianism, stifling and even intervening innovation. Democracy, also, has no skin in the game in sustaining high impact innovations. (A bit tangential, but this is why democracy loving scientificist atheists are being delusional).
SV: On individualism, here is a note. “The first fact is the growing individualisation in the modern age. ” This is a red herring the west has put Hindus after, in absence of its own credible theories of social organization. Atomizing of individual is merely one movement, and is ultimately subservient to human nature’s more powerful aspects – man’s social animal nature, man’s craving for fulfillment, completeness and happiness (purushArtha), man’s tendency to surrender independence for fulfillment, the trade off between security and independence, the trade off between individual and collective happiness, his own conscience and so on. The west does not have a theory to learn from human nature and create institutions without organizing individuals, yet be able to, through those institutions, create a collective order. Hindus have, because rishis teach us to learn from nature, from both higher and lower layers of consciousness. And there is a phenomenal track record of success, which we still are depending on but are undermining its importance. I can cite a small example – in spite of a high rate of urbanizing and atomizing, the rate of divorce in Hindus is not as high as in urban west. In fact urban west is improving on divorce rate in areas where Hindus migrated in bigger numbers. Not because Hindu women do not have career ambitions, or because Hindus have lesser ego than the westerners. But because ultimately these aspects of nature are understood well by Hindus and that reflects in the balance of choices Hindus make. The aspects that the west failed to hone in human nature are the reasons Hindus have a different outlook. Ultimately human nature is more powerful than any hegemony, and if this is not understood any hegemony will fall and give way to emerging powers that emphasize the missed aspects. The vacuum created in the meanwhile also helps hasten the fall of the erstwhile hegemony. Which we are seeing in the west anyway – individualism gives rise to liberalism, protection of human perversion in the name of liberty and lets the perversion weaken and render the society helpless in front of emerging powers. Which is why the west is unable to take the challenge of rising east as the latter comes with a stronger social principle. There is a reason rishis emphasize human nature more than anything else. One who understands it never fails.
SB: Brilliant SV. I of course agree with you. The West despite having appropriated all forms of pagan scientific/materialist knowledge traditions(and building on it thereon), has failed to properly use the knowledge systems related to sociopolitical organization of our sister paganisms and utilize them towards gaining profound insight into human nature, collective and individual. Past efforts have been limited in scope, and whatever they were, have been rendered irrelevant (I am told Acquinas was one of the few, for example). This is not to say that we have an inferior understanding of human nature and human organization at all. Our Paganic sisters were in the throes of degeneracy (which has to have a certain degree of atomization to succeed) much worse than what we have ever witnessed. And, therefore, in sustaining a civilization, I would say we have fared much better. The West’s failure to utilize the lessons can be blamed upon Christianity. Their sociopolitical systems are all direct descendants of Christianity. Catholicism->Protestantism. And therefore express unmistakably core Christian metaphysical assumptions of the world, which is out of sync with human nature and inherently anti-civilization. Individualism is a manifestation of the same process.
SV: So again our emphasis where it is needed, such as ensuring a non-conflicting and aligning individual & collective goals through a proper social design, without having to even sound either in favor of or against the fad of individualism, isn’t very difficult if we take recourse to sAstra.
SB: And democracy is less than a perfect system to achieve it.
SV: Democracy in fact dehumanizes and commodifies the individual and helps create a coercive state. Innovation happening in a democratic open society is limited to manifest layer. There is no fundamental churn possible. Because individual’s freedom is subject to his conformance with the coercive norms of the state. One that questions the nature of human being as understood by the state or the very character of state, will be unwelcome.
AB: Part of the reason why the west is unable to view a larger group as an atomic unit and gives that position to H is due to its Semitic roots.
SB: Indeed. It is in democracy’s nature to lessen the codependency of an individual from the rest. This invariably means an individual, freed from his earlier interdependent bonds with other members of the society, becomes more reliant on the state (which is why it has a skin in the game in turning the society more atomized). Invariably making the state stronger and stronger, eventually giving rise to a nanny state. The in secured nature of democracy is because it tries to derive it’s legitimacy from the people. Easy to see why it will dictate and meddle in every aspect of your life (The more majoritarian you are, the greater is the meddling).
AB: And slowly the Indian state is going the western way. Take the example of Insurance- the family, the clans, the caste guilds were the ones in charge of providing insurance in case of any calamity. These days, individuals want none of that and are more than happy to have the state take care of insurance.
SB: Individualism in today’s time is an entirely liberal Democracy (with capitalism hopping onto the bandwagon) driven initiative. Other forms of states, not having to draw it’s legitimacy from the people, are more secured. Which is why, democracy is evil. However this arrangement exacts numerous natural costs on us. And ultimately is unsustainable. There is a reason why every single geography threw away democracy after experimenting with i.
SV: Democracy is a corollary of open society, and open society comes with inherent onus of self-preservation of society at its own expense. Unless it is an open society like H society where state takes responsibility of protecting the ways of life of people and not implementing the will of people (which it again manufactures as a consent).
SB: Exactly why an inimical secular democratic state has been so disastrous for Hindus. The democratic state seeks to “implement the will of people”, rather than “protecting their ways” as was done by the erstwhile Hindu States(Rajyas). The modern state on the other hand chooses to usurp social functions and their ownership from the society. This makes it incumbent for the democratic state to nurture and influence the “will of the people” so as to eventually secure and legitimize it’s existence. It has makes use of numerous tools for it, such as the academia, media, formal schooling etc. And it is these which are used to “manufacture the consent”.
AB: This might only be a theoretical question given the times we live in, but is it possible to subvert democracy to the advantage of Hindus?
SV: You can subvert democracy to the advantage of Hindu people but not Hindu institutions or sustainable dharma.
SB: The liberal order is very insecure about ethnocentric movements. Any such movements are always derided as “undemocratic” even when they promise to work within the democratic set up. This should give you the clue. But, ultimately in opting to work within the democratic set up, even these movements imbibe the typical un-Hindu liberal frames of reference, derived entirely from an Abrahamistic world view, so they would be but a second best option. In fundamental terms they are not going to be much different. For example, a BJP government is basically the same as any governance focused and less corrupt Congress led government. Naturally, we have hardly witnessed any revival of Hindu traditions despite a good 20 years after the arrival of BJP. The whole structure of the constitution needs to be altered for this to change.
SV: Ultimately public Hindu uprising against a state can only happen where the state appears to violate the Hindu interests in a manifest way (riots, funding etc), it is impractical and won’t happen in case of violation of H institutions like marriage or sampradayas. So the state knows that it can destroy Hinduism from under the bottoms of Hindus and Hindus are helpless in saving it.
SB: Yep. Especially with the “manufacturing consent” part at play. There is a reason why social institutions are critiqued as heavily. Anyone who thinks the state is dependent on majoritarian views to *do* something is WRONG.