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Development of Consciousness

(35a)    Development is development of consciousness.

To us a prospering town, a well-fed population, a thriving market, an educated population are symptoms of development. Rather to us they are development. In addressing a new batch of IAS (Indian Administrative Service) students Nehru asked, "What is development?" Several unsatisfactory answers came. Finally, he answered "Development is development of consciousness." He is the only political leader who had that view which was a vision. Behind all human activities lie,

  • Human endeavour.
  • That endeavour is energised by his initiative.
  • Behind that initiative is his motive.
  • That motive is determined by his consciousness.

Foreign aid has done a great work all over the world. But at what expense is least seen. Aid was received at the expense of self-respect and self-esteem. The major accomplishments of people who received aid were

  • Developing an intense hatred of the aid - giving nation.
  • Losing their political status.
  • AID destroys the consciousness of the population.
  • Aid may have restored material prosperity, but nowhere has AID raised the consciousness of people who received it.
  • The East European countries that were under political subjugation, having received AID of sorts, used it only to break off from the USSR.

In a stratified society as in Europe of the 19th and 20th centuries, social development was raising the standard of living of people, mainly of the upper classes.  It did not develop the consciousness of the entire population. If it did as in the centuries between 15th and 19th, it directly led to emigration as they sought to develop their consciousness.

In America, not only their prosperity was developed but as people the Americans developed a ‘consciousness' of their own which is the reason for their success. It expressed itself in many ways.

  • They felt there was no insoluble problem for them.
  • They felt they could stand on their own legs.
  • They never gave up any problem as insoluble.
  • They even took up a non-problem of going to the moon and accomplished it.
  • One reason why America is outstanding today is as a people their consciousness is developed, the consciousness of being American.

(35b)    Society accepting the Pioneer and willing to follow him is development.

It is true society subconsciously prepares the Pioneer as the tree puts forth its fruit. Life, of which plant life is a part, is infinite in more than one way. The infinity of life does not normally express itself. When it expresses it is not noticed or at least benevolently brushed aside. It carries all the significance an event can. The fruit that arises in the season sometimes peeps out in the non-season. It announces that fruit setting cannot be confined to the structure of seasons. This small act is significant. The small and significant act shows one's life is not confined to limitation. Should one take the right clue out of such an event, he must understand it is a call of Infinity. Society is ruthless, merciless. It does not wait for the early Pioneer to recognise his infinite role. When he fails, society destroys him. It is a certain maturity of the Society to recognise the appearance of the pioneer and accept him. We call it the development of social consciousness.

Pioneers appearing ahead of Time are usually crucified, molested, tyrannised, and destroyed. When the pioneer appears ahead of time, common sense may say, society should accord a greater and warmer welcome to him. Should it do so, it will pass for a right action. Why does the society mete out cruelty to the early pioneer? Is there a law governing that behaviour?

Today society is less cruel than before, but, it is not human in its impersonality. It is still like Nature. A sheet of water drowns one who does not know swimming without offering him a warning for the first time.[*] Though ours is a human society, it has not yet acquired humane qualities at least where we meet it impersonally. The individual consciousness having acquired compassion, morality, justice can pass it on to the society at large. Even the individuals in the society have not yet acquired them in sufficient measure. The question of society being human or rational does not arise. Paul Johnson's biography of leading intellectuals of the world covers over a dozen, such as Marx, Tolstoy, Russell, Rousseau, etc. All are eminent men on any showing. But in their personal lives no one has exhibited any rationality which they magnificently express in their writings. It takes time for a certain faculty or property to move from the mind to the emotions. Man thinks with his mind. He acts in his emotions. To be rational he needs to be rational in his emotions. It does not seem to have happened. So, we do not raise the same question about the wider population. Society's life is beyond human life. Therefore society acts as it is presently constituted. Its non-human response is indifference. When its response comes from the fact it is a FORCE in action, it simply crushes as a falling tree crushes the victim.

Therefore when the society appreciates the emergence of the Pioneer and happily accepts him, it shows a certain maturity which we denominate as development. A distant echo of this phenomenon is seen in Pride and Prejudice when Jane and Mr.Bennet were skeptical and critical of Darcy's proposal instead of welcoming him with open arms. In this respect Jane and her father represent the neutral society in that neither of them know anything of Darcy - his proposal or his kindness by condescension to Lydia.

(35c)    Development renders all existing behaviour, belief, and functioning, etc. obstacles.

Development is defined as the creation of new forms in the same plane which is not a mere multiplication of the existing structure - Growth.

Aristocrats were employing tutors at home to educate their children. From a few of them doing so, in a certain period most or all the aristocrats did so. That is simply a growth in education.

A time came when schools were started to which children were sent. It was no mere growth, it was a wider or superior method of education. We call it development of education. In these days schools are trying to guide children to learn more by their own mental effort rather than taking the teaching material from the teacher. We say the methods of education are evolving as this approach has nothing to do with any previous forms centred on the teacher and memorisation.

To distinguish development in each field from mere growth will be a major task we set to ourselves.

The cell phone is not a growth over the existing phones. It is a development clearly. The lines that connect the phones now will serve as an impossible obstacle. The pre-nationalisation policy of Indian Banks not to lend to agriculture had become a bar after nationalisation which aims at serving the rural population. Distance education which is a development over the previous one, certainly finds the classroom lectures an obstacle.

During war periods when goods are to be delivered very fast, workspots found all their earlier methods were cumbersome obstacles.

When men and women take to employment, the joint family structure is clearly an obstacle.

A town acquiring a new airport cannot send its bullock carts and horse carts from the railway station.  Any development dispenses with the existing facilities as obstacles.

One who takes to typing on the computer finds his typewriter and pen and paper otiose, obstacle, a bar.

Tractor replaces the bullock drawn plough.

Viva voce is a superior method of examination which dispenses with pen and paper.

Once the counting machine came to the bank, the expert counters are now superfluous.

If you try to retain either of the old methods they serve as obstacles.

  • Development is distinctly different from growth or survival.
  • It has the capacity to render the older tools and methods otiose.
  • The British system of administration has become an obstacle in the years of Freedom.
  • They do so the tools, methods, strategies, rules, customs, etc.
  • Credit card renders paying cash superfluous.
  • This happens at every stage when it moves from survival or growth or even development.

(36)      New consciousness expresses as a change of attitude.

New consciousness appears as radical while change of attitude appears as something within our reach.

  • Change of attitude is as difficult as change of consciousness.
  • New consciousness cannot be expressed except through a new attitude.

At a certain time it was discovered that authoritative behaviour towards the subordinates does not release their energies. A Manager was sent for training in the new attitude. He came back and behaved as before and at the end repeated the slogan from his training "By the way, how is your mother?" Habits die hard; attitudes refuse to change.

What is an attitude?

Man functions by an understanding, say it is prudent to save.

This is not an understanding he accepts on the first hearing.

His family teaches him. He sees them being prudent by saving.

It is by practice and precept he gets it.

On entering life, he may not directly take to it.

Faltering several times, he is reminded of savings and starts to save.

He acts on an understanding.

His acts are based on experience.

He acquires this advice as an opinion.

His vital emotions may or may not endorse it in the beginning.

On the emotions endorsing his opinion, he gets the attitude of saving.

Attitude formation takes a long time as it involves the formation of an opinion which must be endorsed by his vital sensations and emotions.

In effect, an attitude comes into being by an emotional sensitivity emerging.

What is new consciousness? How does it express though a new attitude?

When the society changes or one's mind is open to new ideas, the Mind over a prolonged period dwells on the new idea and comes to accept it as an idea.

It takes time for that idea to become mental consciousness.

Mental consciousness is partial as it covers only the Mind.

Attitude is in the vital consciousness.

Mental consciousness matures as mental opinion in time.

It does not mean the new opinion is endorsed by the emotions.

After the new opinion is formed, the work will remain undone as the new attitude is not there.

Vital may accept, mind may accept, but without the one endorsing the other, and forming a new attitude, the new consciousness may not express itself.

The miser, having decided to bequeath his property on his nephew, having written the Will and signed it, can be seen taking his purse and safe-depositing it in his vault, casting a furtive glance at the heir to whom he endowed the property.

Consciousness - understanding - opinion - emotional consent to the act - endorsement of the opinion by the emotions which is the birth of attitude are the links in the chain.

(37)      All new economic progress begins with this changed attitude to lifestyle.

Experts on caste, race, and nationalities say the difference is mainly felt in food and rituals. The hardest of orthodoxy gives way not slowly, but readily, to a new style of living.

  • A new style of living is a social revolution.
  • It is economic progress that lies at the bottom of it.

Most men value themselves by how well they live. It is important how much they are respected and valued in the society. That depends upon how well they live at home. The quality of dishes on the table, the perfection of their dress especially in Britain, the standard of their entertainment as in Paris does matter. There was a time in Italy and Europe when they sent their shirts to be laundered in London. That is the value for dress in Europe. At the bottom it depends on how affluent you are. London and Paris were the world capitals of fashion and prestige. French was spoken all over Europe as a matter of prestige. Students from all over Europe came to German universities for education as from all countries students go to America for higher education.

  • One can safely say the last twenty centuries were centuries of increasing prosperity in a general way, in spite of the several setbacks in Time or Space.
  • That increasing affluence was always directly reflected among other things, in the changed way of life.
  • When American unemployed labourers came to the workhouse for free feeding, it was noted that they came in their cars and it was commented upon in the history books of later decades.

Lifestyle does matter.

  • We can emphatically say that there can be no marked economic progress without an equally marked change in the style of living.

Mind is impelled by native curiosity to know. The God-fearing tend to solitude and silence in their endeavour to attain to heaven. The body itches for work, especially the work in which it has skill. Where there is scope for acquiring new skills, it is difficult to restrain the body from action. Life, social life, which we style as vital life urges for higher standards of living. A French writer said that while the French wife was organising a HOME, her American counter part was busy ordering her kitchen with new fangled kitchen utensils. Whichever is desirable, today all over the world kitchens are modeled on the American household. America rules because she has a higher style of living.

(42)      Life develops by consciousness and consciousness develops by organisation.

To be conscious is to be aware of. For us to develop in life we need to have an organisation whether it is transport, government or education or anything else. Without a national as well as local organisation sports will not develop in a country. We cannot think of a field of life that will develop without an organisation. It applies to army, shipping, trade, music, library, family or folklore.

Before an organisation springs up in the field, people must be conscious of it whatever the field. There was a time when people were NOT conscious of religion at all. In those days, there were no religions. Even 200 or 300 years ago people were not conscious of the values of education as they are today. Time is a great ingredient of development. Time is Money. In rural parts of Asian countries, and generally all over the world rural folk are less conscious of Time than in urban towns. In America where space is no problem, people are not space conscious. People in Holland where there is a denser population per people are conscious of space. The American bathroom is half as big as the Dutch home. It goes without saying that life develops by consciousness. How then does consciousness develop? What is the meaning of consciousness developing? An organisation helps develop consciousness. You may be conscious of punctuality. In the absence of an organisation punctuality cannot yield its result. If people are not conscious of the nation, her freedom, it is impossible to defend the borders. No army can be easily or effectively raised in a nation that is not conscious of her freedom. Well, the nation is conscious; millions of youth have volunteered to fight. How are we to fight. An army comes into existence as an organisation, by organising the mass of men into companies, regiments, battalions, etc.

The more advanced countries are conscious of civic discipline and have civic organisations. Those who are fighting for the abolition of nuclear arsenal complain that the vast majority of the population in the world is not conscious of the danger. About 100 major and 1000 minor organisations world over crusade for its abolition. But in the absence of the earlier requirement of CONSCIOUSNESS, their voice vanishes in thin air.

  • Consciousness is the first requisite.
  • Organisation is the next.
  • Development is development of consciousness and organisation.

(43)      Development is stalled when the understanding inverts cause and effect.

A man fails in business and is depressed. It is universally understood that failure led to depression. Those who knew him will say the other way about:

His attitude of depression led to his failure.

It is quite common to reverse the cause and effect in development. When we know the true cause, remedial measures are possible, otherwise not.

  • To see the great dynamism of the Americans, one feels like saying that because he is rich, he is dynamic.
  • We received foreign aid as we are poor is a common conception.
  • One most popular illusion is in Soviet Russia life is cruel because she was under communism for 70 years.
  • A newspaper is justified in feeling that they attract few ads as their circulation is poor.

These are a few examples where cause and effect are inverted.

  • It is easily forgotten that America became rich because uniformly all over America as a universal rule the Americans for several centuries exhibited an infectious dynamism. That made them rich.
  • Nowhere today is it realised that foreign aid saps national energy, national self reliance which makes the country poor and makes them dependent on aid forever.
  • Russia of Ivan, Peter, Catherine was traditionally cruel, violent, and tyrannical. And that was why proletarian dictatorship succeeded there.
  • What makes an ad move towards a newspaper is primarily the fact that that ad will reach its customers. It means the paper is organised enough to attract ads which leads to enlarging circulation.

It is possible to exhaustively list all the concepts directly related to development under this head of cause and effect. Should they be reversed there will be a burst of development activities. Government programmes are seen as development. Wherever people have a FELT NEED, they at once move to fulfill it. It is development.

= The cause of development is the felt need, not

    the government programme. No programme

                in its absence will succeed. Any programme

    will succeed if the felt need is there.=

[*] Even inanimate Nature has its way of warning, not by a human voice. One entering a dilapidated house about to fall will be ‘warned' by a stone falling, if only he can understand it as a warning.


story | by Dr. Radut