20 December 2012

India: Ordinary Men Vs Great Men (Society/Family)

A brilliant psychological analysis* of how the Indian society/family is designed to produce a mass of ordinary men and only a very few great men (like Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi):

"Almost all students of Indian personality have been struck by the extreme indulgence of the Indian child, principally by the mother but also by other members of the family. This gives rise to a sense of omnipotence in the infant, a feeling that is fortified by nursing practices and physical proximity with the mother for an extended period of time.

An important consequence of this is that there develops in the Indian child a strong individual ego. As a result, moral energy does not come from the pressure of guilt feelings arising from a failure to live up to the social ideal, but depends crucially on a self-cultivated individual ideal. Fulfillment of the ideals set for the individual – rather than social obligation – becomes the main drive for moral action.

This creates wide gaps in individual capacities. For the average Indian, as morality has reference to self-directed and introspective perfection, the compulsion to perform is not very great. On the other hand, the culture develops high and universalist ideals with which the creative and power-motivated individuals strongly identify: the theme that the individual itself is the Absolute drives them to ever higher levels of perfection.

This gulf between the drives of ordinary men and those of great men results in abstract concepts of duty and morality, and a personality ideal that is high and remote – realisable only by exceptional men whose authority derives from their capacity to embody virtues that are lacking in ordinary men. Hence the exaggerated role of the guru, the ascetic, the warrior, and indirectly of a hierarchy of roles, and charisma."

*Politics in India – Rajni Kothari (1970)

See Nietzsche's "Superman" Theory