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Stages of Social Change

(4)Social evolution is for convenience sake divided into four stages of Survival, Growth, Development and Evolution.

Studies, observation, analysis, a new finding from old facts, fatally new conceptions, organising the available data in a new fashion, introducing an organisation are mental activities. The two main functions of the Mind are mental activities. The two main functions of the Mind are

  • 1. Dividing
  • 2. Organising

To a simple-minded onlooker that one is at the age of twenty, society is a mass of men, an amorphous mass of action at random. As he grows to observe, to his surprise he finds what an amorphous conglomeration was before, now emerges into some relief. He sees sectors of activities all over - trade, government, education, etc. They intermingle rapidly for a definite purpose of their own. At the bottom a family is discovered. Even the family discloses an individual member. He sees even in the short period of his growing years society visibly grows, changes, new aspects are thrown up. He hears that what was there 20 or 30 years ago is no longer there but an utterly new thing has displaced it. When a systematic study is to be undertaken, we see nations are considered separately and within nation's nationalities, classes and castes. It is a necessary classification. Our study is Social Evolution. Evolution implies new forms of growth or radically new structures from the old. It also implies that there is a force from inside the society that supplies the energy for such an evolution. To us, for this study, society means the entire organised humanity on earth. Innumerable facts about the social existence have come to the surface. But they are isolated facts unconnected with any other phenomena. If related they are so related to one or a few other aspects of the society.

Society, by itself, exists in several types of division. They are essential for its function. Society or social existence is an organised existence. In common parlance, the word social denotes many people coming together. We know many early societies have not survived. Other societies have grown to a vast extent and decayed. Some of them developed new ways of functioning. Rarely do we see a new society evolving out of the old society. This is seen on the global scale and it exists on the local dimension too. The study of Man takes us to the animal and vegetable kingdoms and from there to Mother Earth who gives birth to all these.

As we have termed this as Social Development, we have restricted its scope to four well defined stages.

  • 1. When a social form takes shape it struggles to survive. It is survival.
  • 2. Once a society survives, it extends horizontally, i.e. it grows as it is initially constituted as agriculture spread all over the world.
  • 3. Man develops new ways of agriculture by introducing irrigation, other crops, manuring, etc. It is development.
  • 4. Out of the ways of agriculture living arise trade, urban living, manufacture, etc. Now we say the society has evolved from one stage to another. The evolution can be the creation of education or Money or any new form of living, partial or whole.

For this study, Survival, Growth, Development, Evolution are the four stages of Society.

(5)        Each of these four stages within their own territory has the four stages.

Any division has its subdivisions. Any structure has substructure. Often the units may vary from the original or repeat the original in a small scale.

Here we say to be explicit, that in the stage of survival, there are stages of growth, development and evolution. To be exact or precise, if I may say, survival also is a stage in survival. To continue the argument in the second stage earmarked as growth, we find first 1) the stage of survival, 2) the phase of growth, 3) its way of development and finally 4) the seeds of evolution. So, we can repeat the argument for development and evolution. A comprehensive treatise will have each of these 16 phases well pronounced, defined, described and an example of each way of life in its positive and negative aspects in its higher and lower levels of consciousness and substance. Of course it will be a long article or a small book. Let me illustrate at random if it is necessary.

India has won freedom and adopted a democratic constitution. The very first question in the first decade of Freedom 1947 to 1957, the question is whether this freedom will be secure and this incipient democracy will survive. In the 1952 elections the majority of the Indian National Congress in the Parliament was abridged and in Madras Presidency, as it was then styled, the Indian National Congress was voted out of power. The strength of the communist party rose considerably in Bengal and Kerala. So, the Congress stole the thunder from the communists by introducing land reform all over. Still in 1957 elections both the states, Kerala and Bengal elected communist governments. And in 1962 came the Chinese attack. Leave alone the Non-aligned Movement which was sacrificed in seeking military help from USA, India had to struggle for survival after winning freedom. It is in 1951 India constituted the Planning Commission and launched her First Five Year Plan. It was an effort at growth, growth of agricultural production and industrial production. During the same period, on the advice of international experts India founded 16 Research Laboratories all over the land. It is a work for development. Nehru conceived the idea of the Non-Aligned Movement and led it. It is a way by which India would evolve into a leading political power. After a short stint of exuberant work, it died its natural death as soon as China invaded Tibet.

Every country, every society, every phase can be so detailed to document the validity of the above statement. What is written about India is of one single decade. From 1500 to 2000 AD Europe can thus be presented to illustrate the idea. The growth of the Greek, the Roman civilisations, the expansion of Chengis Khan, the spread of the Spanish Empire, the phase of the French Revolution, the rise of USSR and its fall, the ambition of Germany through Bismarck and Hitler and its fate will well serve to illustrate this point.

In the growth of the human body, in the constitution of an organisation, in the creation of a family or a community, all these four stages in all the four major phases can be explained. Even in a minute detail one can see the existence of this principle. English has been vastly expanding in the post war years, adapting its purity to the world-wide needs, even compromising its spellings, idioms, etc. in its process of emerging as a world language. All these phenomena can be seen there and everywhere in the Existence.

story | by Dr. Radut