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Caste and Class

Social divisions throughout history

In looking at the world we have naturalism which sees biology as being the determining factor in life, modern humanism that sees cultural norms as the defining factor which is where we are now, yet this is based on the perception of power and possession of animalism or base survival.

The natural world isn't fair, just or kind. It’s a place where the strong dominate, exploit, use or even kill the weak because it's the natural order of life. In the race for survival, the fittest and strongest life-form on Earth are humans. The natural world is not devoid of compassion and kindness, it's just that the more powerful rule over the weaker and from a naturalistic point of view, strength helps survival and weakness hinders.

At a base level we are animals and we deceive ourselves if we think we are somehow outside the natural world because we are bound by physical laws which are completely governed by environmental biology. Most human societies while pretending otherwise function in this way, people congregate into groups or tribes in order to dominate a resource and succeed over others. In this sense, humans are little different from animals, they do what ever it takes to ensure they and their tribe succeed over others. Unlike in the animal world, human domination over life is not only achieved through physical prowess, it is also achieved through some form of organisation.

This is the foundation of corporatism and capitalism that is destroying life. Members of these tribes also create strategic partnerships by joining moral tribes to advance in wealth and power.  However social morals only apply to their own caste/class/tribe and crimes like theft and killing are permissible when they as individuals can coerce others to do the deed. Corporations use lobbying, funding mercenaries and social manipulation to acquire the property and possessions of others thereby advancing individual status.

"Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or non believing, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference." ~ Dalai Lama

Modern humanism

Since the notion of possession and wealth evolved, the competition between individuals transformed from physically stronger to intellectual reasoning in order to become more influential. Hence we have the expression 'wealth equals power' and this is something humanity has been struggling with for several thousands of years.

Instead of physical prowess, the stronger intellect that was able to use reason, to bend morals and manipulate raised individuals above the material status of the collective. This gave rise to many social, economic and political expressions, and over the past few thousand years we have seen kingdoms come and go, empires rise and fall because with each intellectual innovation there are consequences.

While the elites are committed firmly to the humanist line and promote it, they are in fact using the idea of collective well being as a tool to advance themselves. An extreme example was the 'Clinton Foundation', a fund set as a charity but almost all the funds went to political advancement and the acquisition of power.

Most humanist philosophies think we can somehow escape the consequences of our animal nature. Democracy is one that began with good intent however today those with the right to vote are deceived because political philosophies have no solid foundation.

Humans have the capacity to coordinate and work for collective survival. Like ants, bees and termites, we have the capacity to choose to cooperate for the survival of our species instead of competing over each other. Yet mankind is intent on destroying life for the sake of temporary pleasure while we have the capacity to create an existence for the welfare of all life representing the higher nature of mankind.

Caste and Class

Caste and class are consequential labour divisions in any society and began with the first human family.

Our early ancestors were hunters and gatherers and that meant that in order to survive, each person had to do what they did best so there is no point in having the best hunter gather nuts and seeds while a person who doesn't know how to hunt struggles at the task. Families and communities could not survive so a division of labour is essential to any family or communities survival which has changed as civilisation itself has changed.

In ancient India as everywhere else in the world this division of labour was perfectly normal and there were four major groups which will more easily identifiable because of the country's huge population. The highest positions were those pertaining to the management of the historic record and the overall welfare of the people. These people would be called Brahmins who spent a great deal of time researching the past and helping the population to shape its future and a meaningful and sustainable way which gave rise to what is known as Sanatana Dharma.

"The British caste system which still exists is actually worse now. I mean it really is – it’s more insidious." ~ Actor Brian Cox 

Next in line were the military whose role was to protect the Dharma and the rights and freedoms of the general population. Without peace there can be no evolution of Dharma and no elevation of the human condition.

Aside from the troops there were the workers, the farmers, builders, cooks, bakers, sweepers whose invaluable work maintains the lives of people and civilisation itself.

Last came the traders, people who sought to make a profit by providing goods and services and they come last because they do not contribute anything new to society, they simply move things around for reward.

In India this system is known as Varna and just as within any family its essential for any society or civilisation to survive. The system was always flexible because there were always children being born in prime families without the aptitude for the work and they may end up performing some other role such as tending the fields whereas it was equally possible for a child born into a family of sewer cleaners with a brilliant mind to become a Brahman. The system was not about birth, it was more about attitude to the task that was required of civilisation.

The Confucian social hierarchy was (theoretically) the social organization of China and occasionally Japan, Korea and Vietnam for the last two thousand years. It is not a caste system, since it does not lock people into an occupation based on birth (At least, not in China. In Japan, it was used as such at various points), but just as an idea of what occupations and activities are intrinsically important to society.

The list is similar to other social orders, for example the one in Plato's Republic or the Vedic caste system. However, it has some key differences.

  1. Shi are at the top of the list. These people are often translated as scholars. Their job is to coordinate projects, lead people, keep records and transmit knowledge. More important then these functions is the fact that these people keep perform the highest function of human life: showing a respect for ritual, and respect for human nature and learning. This, theoretically and often in practice, was the glue that held society together, catastrophes and wars not being able to overcome it.

  2. Nong were the peasants, although not at all in a pejorative sense. Confucianism placed a great value on the production of food, both because this was believed to be the natural order, and because "mei you nongren, mei you chi de dongxi", "If you don't have farmers, you don't have anything to eat". Being a nongren also doesn't at all suggest that a person is indentured or bounded to the land, or even poor, although in practice the nong were often just that.

  3. Gong is translated as "work", although the meaning of it actually comes closer to "craft". The gongren, the workers, produced all the nonagricultural tools and implements that people needed to survive. Mencius pointed out that if everyone had to make their own tools, no one would have time to grow food. Therefore, since peasants needed spades and scholars needed brushes, craftspeople were necessary. But since when it came down to it, a plate of rice was more important then a hammer, craftspeople were not as immediately necessary as farmers.

  4. Shang were the business people, the merchants. And since merchants didn't actually create anything, but just brought it into one place (while making a hefty skim off the top), merchants were considered to be only one step above parasites on society. Of course, in reality, it was often the merchants who were in charge of society, since they had the money, which both gave them power, and allowed their children to study to become scholars.

What is just as interesting is who is left off the list. While such categories as actors, prostitutes, criminals and the like would be expected to be left off, the exclusion of soldiers is different then most other social hierarchies. In India and Plato, the soldiers were the second class of citizens, in China they are classless, considered to be an unavoidable embarrassment. Of course, it was possible to be a member of the scholar class and lead a military contingent, but that was considered to be a scholar or administrator, not a soldier. ~ Everything2

The Western world

While India had a settled history stretching back beyond 10,000 years BC, the West was new and those original ideas that came from India were distorted through each telling. Any idea passing out of India was passed on orally to dozens of people before it reached Europe yet those ideas form the basis of Western civilisation and religious beliefs.

The hunter gathering early Europeans had the same social structure as anywhere else but outside of India the traders had a greater standing in society. Dharma was weak and the idea of the importance self more predominant therefore the power structures that developed in Europe were all about the acquisition, retaining of power and the collecting of material possessions which put the traders in the second-highest position next to the ruling class who retained their positions through absolute power and often brutality to their subjects.

In India today, Sanatana Dharma is the primary influence that maintains India as a secular country while Christian Europe condemns what it sees as India's caste system and ignoring its own.

The Western obsession with criticising India is because the British East India company was thrown out. After raping and pillaging India for a century and taking what some estimate in today's dollars to be some 37 trillion, they lost the golden goose and they just can't get over it. The Western powers along with Islam have done their utmost to destroy India and tarnish its image yet it is the Western world that is so morally and spiritually bankrupt.

China's civilisation rose concurrent with India's and was strongly influenced by India. As the Chinese population grew and they began developing their own identity, they reinvented their own class or caste system to suit their own political landscape. But the Western world dominated by salesmen remains bereft like a spoiled child always wanting things its own way and in consequence, destroying the very planet we call home.

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