The search for social equity
The search for social justice and equity is an important topic and it was the motivation the establishment of democracy and various 'isms'. (Please note this has nothing to do with the democracy perpetrated by the USA which is a form of fascism).
So in thinking about how we should organise ourselves, we must look to how we organised ourselves in the past and even look to the social arrangements of some animal societies.
Let's take elephants for instance. Like most groups of mammals, they have a matriarchal society and present similar emotions and intelligence as human beings. We have seen through human interference that the absence of older males (that are typically killed by people) within the herd creates problems in that the juvenile males lacking in social skills run amok and damage the herd. There is speculation that this interference with the herds of mammoths contributed greatly to their extinction.
When we look in our own history, we cannot see very far back and there are many differing opinions as to what may have been the facts. Many consider that hunter gatherer societies were almost always male dominated and patriarchal in nature, however there is no real evidence of this. It seems probable that like other mammals, there would have been a subservience to the necessity for the survival of the collective and it is often the feminine intuition that plays a more important role in group survival.
We have the good fortune to be able to look at tribal groups who have been less influenced by modern civilisation and it appears that matriarchy was prevalent even if not directly witnessed by observers. The men for sure were hunters and warriors who also oversaw the education of the younger men. But it is the women who provided the staple food and had a stronger desire for self-preservation and continuity of the group.
If we look into the mythology of Bahratha, the creation story goes that the nature of existence is dual, the creative male principal lay dormant until simulated by the feminine. It was only then that the male principal became creative and produced the universe. But even today in relationships between men and women, it is almost always the female that inspires the male to act.
In this modern society of 2016, the world has become totally confused. People have been separated from each other in a myriad of different ways resulting in anxiety and reactionary violence. On a global scale we have gone from a population of a few millions to more than 7 billion which is straining the resources of the planet and adding to the stress factors within civilisation.
In addition to overpopulation, social inequity and the depletion of resources, our administrative systems of governance are becoming less effective or we could say more incompetent to deal with the increasing complexity of life. Added to this is the fact that the economic system is been broken beyond repair to the extent as reported by the world health organisation; some 62 people have economic control over half of all this planets wealth and resources.
The problems in the world are glaringly obvious and everyone has a different opinion as to how to make corrections. In small groups and natural tribal cultures we see that some tribal groups have coexisted amicably within their environment and others have severely damaged or changed their environment. However the majority of us live in large urban centres with populations in the tens of thousands or even millions in countries that have populations ranging from less than 1 million to over 1 billion in ways that totally divorce us from the natural environment.
Over the past hundred years we have seen different social experiments with fascism, communism, socialism and democracy. All of these systems have positive and negative aspects but within these systems, capitalism has been very significant to the extent that today capitalism and what is referred to as a free market economy is actually ruling the world under the guise of democracy.
Many people like this free market economy because it allows advancements in some areas of civilisation and technology. But on the negative side it has created colonialism and the military-industrial complex's that now act as the strong arm of the new colonialists.
Although we don't know very much about our origins, it is clear to see that the present course of civilisation is taking us rapidly towards complete self annihilation and the extinction of most of the life on earth.
We can look back at history and see that what people chose to believe came from their insecurities and fears, and beliefs gave people the right to disrespect other people and life in general. An example would be (aside from the atrocities of Christianity and Islam) the annual sale days in the United States where people are injured as people compete for discounted goods in department stores.
Capitalism has bred a consumer society and is discouraging people from identifying with some fundamental aspects of our reality. Course the nature of reality is another area where there are many conflicts of opinion as well as understanding the differences between actual knowledge and beliefs.
So how do we organise ourselves?
I have said several times that an ideal society would be one where there is complete anarchy and everyone agrees to co-operate. There is no doubt that this could happen within a small collective but it could never happen on a very large scale.
We have had kingdoms and some of these have been very successful because living under a benevolent leadership has worked in many instances. It is from kingdoms that we grew into nation states. We know that some kingdoms expanded and absorbed neighbouring groups through both violent and non-violent means.
In the west we can look to the history of the European states, how they grew from kingdoms into nations. But this period was associated with a great deal of violence and is associated with the development and dissemination of beliefs and a commmodification of truth. There is of course a similar story across the world with the exception in the country we now call India.
As far as we know, what we may refer to as ancient India was a collection of city states/kingdoms that extended from the south-east Asian peninsula and much of central Asia as well as the Indian subcontinent. This area of central Asia and North India seems to be the primary origin of all modern civilisations and the former out of Africa theory is collapsing in the light of modern archaeology and DNA tracking.
Thanks to advancements in archaeo-astronomy we can now identify with a fair degree of accuracy the cultural developments within the Indian subcontinent and surrounding regions. It seems fair to accept that the science of yoga was first made available about 13,000 BC and that knowledge spread to the corners of the earth.
The science of yoga is about understanding the human mechanism, what we call as the human body and mind. The primary understanding is that this physical body is a collection of the sum total of all the food that we have eaten during this lifetime. The mind also is a collection of all the impressions experienced during this and even previous lives.
I mentioned that we live in a dual universe before and the human condition is part of this duality. We have two directions, we can look outwards to experience and even manipulate our environment, but we can also turn and look inwards to understand one's own inner nature. To the outward looking person, they identify themselves as being body and mind but the suffering that they experience is mostly a product of the mind.
To what may be referred to as a more enlightened person, they have come to understand the ultimate nature of body and mind and they have come to identify themselves as an entity beyond body and mind. Another way of describing this is they know the knower of this life.
It is from this inner knowing that Indian society was shaped. Although there were terrible wars and some natural disasters, the concept Sanatana Dharma became established to create one of the world's first and most fair societies.
Yogis, the people who meditated and came to understand the nature of existence and the importance of harmony with nature spent the regions summertime meditating in the mountains and during the winter season they would travel and share the fruits of their knowledge.
These fruits included astronomical observations and calculations that have only recently been validated by modern science. They came up with the gotra system based on their perception and understanding of genetics. Even the knowledge of the atom and the component parts of an atom were known by 600 BC. So the scientific knowledge of ancient India was contemporary with today.
Things that happen to larger societies
In small tribal groups of hunter gatherers, the elderly may well find themselves doing chores and caring for small children within the village while the men go hunting and the women forage for food. There maybe no hard and fast rules and there is no doubt that in some groups, actions and duties would have been fairly flexible.
With the advent of agriculture which seems to have gone hand-in-hand with the beginnings of capitalism, or to put it more bluntly greed and unprincipled desires, the social structure became more rigid. This seems to have coincided with the arrival of patriarchy or perhaps it is the cause as it is difficult to be sure so far back.
But it seems clear from the archaeological evidence that women did much of the backbreaking work while the men had life a little more easy and we can see this reflected in today's Saudi culture that really hasn't changed much in 10,000 years.
Over time, people believed whatever was convenient to justify their actions. Remember that in the past 10,000 years global trade was gathering momentum. India and China were the most developed civilisations and what became known as Vedanta influenced the shaping of societies across the entirety of Asia. The world maps produced in India were not improved upon until the 1800s when Europeans finally began to collectivised enough to explore beyond their own shores.
Now returning to India or Bharata which is a more appropriate name at around 1000 BC.
Here we have a landscape with a relatively large and well civilised population that is connected through trade and knowledge. There is a collective understanding of the duality of life and that by setting aside time to introspect and come to appreciate the nature of existence, one could harmonise with nature and yet still enjoy the experience of being human.
With the increase of population people were assigned roles, some were farmers, some were builders, some were musicians and as societies developed in populations grew, whole sections of society adapted to fulfil different functions within what is termed varna and jāti.
Varna and jāti form the basis of what is referred to as the caste system today. In general terms the system was fair and within the concept of varna people could move through the social strata as is possible within democratic societies today. Jāti was a little more restricted and those born under this system were generally stuck within that sector of society.
So clearly varna is preferable and yet while people all over the world condemn and therefore its caste system, it is only a system of socio economic division that is present in every country in the world. Therefore anyone complaining of a caste system outside of their own neighbourhood is either ignorant, bigoted or both.
So in terms of civilisation and society, there must be natural divisions of labour based on aptitude and in terms of economics there must be provision for people to disconnect from social life and explore their inner nature.
The system of Sanatana Dharma valued and supported the holy men and women with food and clothing as needed for they needed little else. In return the people were gifted the knowledge of existence and simple yet practical ideas to improve their ease and chance of survival. It is from the holy men and women that we get language, numbers and sciences, it is from them that we get the knowledge of how to live in harmony with nature and to live peaceful and enjoyable lives.
Of all the civilisations, ancient India was the most successful but after 1000 years of invasion and colonisation, the traditions have been damaged and the knowledge in the wealth stolen. Yet despite everything the people have suffered, the traditions are still alive and vibrant.
Given the wreck of modern civilisation, the only real solution to the world's problems is to be found by taking a leaf from the book of ancient India. The world's economic system is broken beyond repair and the sensible option would be to wipe the slate and begin again.
A new world
If the world continues on its present course, by the year 2050, the population will be over 9 billion and everyone will have to learn to survive on 40% less of everything that we enjoy today. That's less water, less oxygen, less materials to produce things and the way of modern agriculture we will also have 40% less land because that would been destroyed by agricultural chemical use.
At present we have democracies which have been co-opted by capitalism to serve the interests of the global elite. If we were able to wipe the slate and begin again economically, everyone would own what they own. People who were indebted to Banks and landlords would now own their property. In this scenario, perhaps the bankers who still own their own properties may have to find new occupations because to prevent the agreement of debt, credit would have to be severely limited and here perhaps we can take a leaf from the book of Islam?
So imagine if you will world's where everyone is debt free and everyone is an ownership for the temporary length of their lifetime all that they possessed before the change. People who were engaged in various trades and services would still be fulfilling the same role. The world would see a trend towards vegetarianism and those who don't have a role to play in society may well find themselves engaged in environmental restoration.
Would be no shipping of food across the world except to meet regional emergencies due to disasters and we could have a general disarmament and the complete deconstruction of all nuclear weapons. The governments would remember that they are elected by the people to serve the needs of the communities and they would be required to put corporate masters back in their place as a new world would have no room for exploitative corporations.
We would still have all our science and technology except that the manufacturing sector would move to making goods that would last people for a lifetime and we would see the end of consumer society. In the near future and to change, probably everyone would not have a cell phone, but it is unlikely that they would ever be more than a few minutes away from a communication channel.
Modern governments are collectives of people fighting for their own survival and advancement through the social/political strata of society. The governments of the day need to be reminded of their duty to the nation and the welfare of the people. The police and military also must have their first duty to the people and their welfare.
There is no way of ridding the world of criminals, but in a world guided by Sanatana Dharma and Vedanta, we would have a new era of peace and prosperity. We have about 80 or so years left in this cycle of Dwapara yuga and if we could achieve such transformation, then the Tetra yuga would see an explosion in new technologies that may allow us to explore our physical universe in more detail.
How we create our world is up to us, but change always takes time. In the past change as most often been violent but when one dictator has been overthrown, another rises in its place. We only have to look at our world of the past 100 years, two major world wars and countless minor wars I which most were instigated and supported by corporate interests. In present day Middle East we have proxy wars and so many terrible things happening it is impossible to clearly define what exactly is going on.
We need a global plan for success and success is measured by our collective survival and happiness. We don't want to degenerate into a world as depicted in the movie the hunger games or the book 1984. We all need to remember that we are not this mind and we're not this body, we all need to remember that we are part of life and although we have a certain capacity to manipulate life, by doing so as we are we risk destroying ourselves and everything else we hold precious.
In terms of social equity, there can only be a equal opportunity because not everyone is blessed with the same intellectual capacity, but there must be equity and human rights in terms of access to nourishment, water and shelter.
If you have read thus far, congratulations. To summarise what I have just written, I am advocating that the world becomes almost entirely Hindu even though the term is more to do with the region and is definitely not a religion.
Of course should such reforms never take place, all religions and isms would fall by the wayside to be replaced by real knowledge and the appreciation of being alive.
We only have access to certain states of existence:
Ignorance and suffering which gives rise to fears which in turn causes irrational and bad behaviours which negatively impact other life.
Peace which is the foundation stone on which life can be built, so therefore what I have set out above may create conditions for peace.
Above peace we have happiness and a pleasantness in being. Above that we have joy from which we may graduate to bliss and onto pure ecstasy without recourse to harming anyone, or anything, or even any narcotic substances.