The Great Institutions of the Society

July 17, 2003


  • Social evolution is the growth of social institutions.
  • Family is the foremost of them. Marriage makes family possible. Money and credit are age-old institutions. Education is a significant one. Army, government, library and a host of other institutions have made today's civilisation possible. Insurance is a preeminent institution.
  • What the collective cannot do to the Individual, it accomplishes through these institutions.
  • These institutions need physical infrastructure as well as psychological infrastructure, viz. values.
  • For the leader and the pioneer, these institutions enable them to serve the society.
  • For the less privileged and those who cannot progress on their own, these institutions are a boon when they want to rise in the social scale.
  • One cannot write a full list of these institutions easily, as they are everywhere and in every shape.
  • My purpose here is to indicate
    1. How even those who find those institutions superfluous have a use for them, a higher use, and
    2. How man ultimately outgrows these institutions.
    3. I would draw upon that eternal resource of education in the context of teaching.
  • To fully appreciate this theme, one needs to fully appreciate the present service of these institutions.
  • One who has earned a lot of money has no use for credit. Looked at from his own point of view, that is true. His excess funds can be of service to others so that they may move up in society.
  • When one is below the social average, these institutions help him to rise. When he is above the average, these institutions are the channels for him to serve his fellowman.
  • Hire purchase is a great system which enables the poor to buy with their future income.
  • The affluent have no need for the hire purchase system at all.
  • Education is the yoga of the society, but the genius has no use for schooling.
  • Insurance is a social miracle that brings all those below average to average. It is an instrument of social progress where the society takes the full responsibility for the misfortune of the Individual.
  • Affluent persons may not avail of the advantage of the society in life insurance. Even in fire insurance, conscientious people may not feel comfortable to draw upon the scheme.
  • Internet almost dispenses with the great use of the library.
  • As the individual grows in his external capacities, he generally outgrows the use of the physical social infrastructure. Similarly, when he grows in inner capacities, he outlives the need for the psychological infrastructure.
  • The school is an intermediary between the family and the society. It is in a position to help the child equip himself with most of the outer and inner endowments. Theoretically, a good product of a school of high educational standards can outgrow all such uses of physical and psychological infrastructures.
  • If the theory is valid, it needs to be reduced to a teaching assignment – a syllabus.
  • Supposing all such aids of teaching are there, it will be a more formidable task to enlist teachers who can handle such work.
  • A naughty child under a parent of dry emotions changes into a disciplined child under an understanding teacher.
  • This way the school is replacing the family.
  • It is inevitable in India as well as many affluent nations.
  • The scheme I moot is, not to replace poor, dry, refractory homes, but for children whose lives are not vitiated by such families.
  • How to give the child the various capacities so that he may not need the help of various social institutions?
  • Each child has two faculties, one lying over the other, as memory and understanding. The latter includes the former.
  • The child becomes dependent on memory when memory is fed. The child overcomes that dependence when the understanding is addressed.
  • Salaried employment needs skills to work. Self-employment demands capacities to organise, produce, create. These capacities are inclusive of skills.
  • It is easily seen that opinions are part of attitudes and motives include both.
  • He who readily risks what he has in favour of what he seeks, will not meet any risk that needs to be covered by insurance.
  • Productive skills at once raise the person above the future eventuality of poverty.
  • We know the social phenomenon of bribes and influence to secure a job. But in all these institutions we also know the dearth of talented candidates. Talents come from training. No school can train children in all talents or in many talents. But any talent is created by one skill getting fortified by the entire capacity of the Individual. To convert one skill into a talent by the general capacity, one needs that ability.
  • For example, a school teaches a language until all students acquire a full capacity in it. Grammar, composition, diction, original phrasing, oratory, repartee, ready wit, humour, vocabulary, pronunciation, etymology are the various lines in which one can acquire talents. To train the student in one line to acquire the ability to create talents is enough for him to acquire any other talent in the field of language.
  • Language expands into LIFE. The school instead of giving academic education, must endeavour to give life education where the child will have acquired the ability to create any talent life needs. It is not impossible to raise a child, or help a child raise himself to a pinnacle of a talent for which he has a natural inclination before he leaves school.
  • This is to train one for life. There is a higher opening for the teacher which need not be taken in the school for the generality of children but can be pursued at home when there is a child awaiting education. It is spiritual education. Mother calls for psychic education.
  • A child starts learning addition. Later when the child learns multiplication, the need to add endlessly is not there. Such gradations are there in all walks of learning. Initially one learns facts. Finally, one learns laws that make facts incidental. With advanced technology instruments – calculating machine, Internet –dispense with the use of the primary faculties of the mind.
  • We see a gradation in hearing, listening, understanding, assimilating, deciding, determining and committing oneself to what one listens to. Up to assimilation, it is the part of knowledge; beyond it is the work of will. A student can outgrow simpler strategies and end up in the final strategy of committing himself to the instructions he listens to. A further step is consecration, which culminates in surrender.
  • The teacher exhorts the pupil to be GOOD. The child can approach it by any of the list above (hearing, listening, understanding, etc.). Each state of receptivity has appropriate work to do and has commensurate results. Having come to the stage of commitment, if the child moves to consecration, the child becomes GOOD. As assimilation is more powerful than understanding and the child can directly assimilate what it hears, she can learn to consecrate also.
  • In listening, the child tries to understand. At each stage, the work of the child is the next stage. For consecration, the child needs to suspend understanding or commitment i.e. the child eliminates herself. It produces the result directly.
  • An attitude of consecration or surrender, it can be seen, will directly help one acquire what arises in one's mind or what is spoken to one. It is an attitude of humility of the mind to the subject he is listening or the person he is listening to. When we can listen to someone with such an attitude of humility, what he speaks becomes TRUE inside us. In extreme cases, the theoretical possibility is one can learn to be a genius listening to an idiot as the idiot is the inverted genius. One's attitude of humility makes the idiot reverse his mind to the other side of the genius which is withheld.