Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Classical Society

     "Future ages will wonder at us, as the present age wonders at us now", said an Athenian leader to his countrymen when Athens was at the heights of glory. The Greek, a magnificent civilization, flourished over 2,500 years ago in a rocky peninsula of Southern Europe. This civilization was popularly known as 'Classical'. Anything which serves as a model for others and sets standards for future is called as a 'Classic'. Thus, Greece was a model for other cultures during its times of glory. 

     The ancient Greeks set a classic example for excellence. They excelled in various fields such as Arts, Science, Literature, Politics, Philosophy, Architecture, theatre performances, music, etc. They dazzled the then known world with their magnificent achievements. In fact, this civilization has highly influenced the other civilizations such as the Roman and has an enduring effect on the lifestyle of the Europe and the entire world even today. The World's quest for democracy in the 20th and the 21st century is a standing testimony. The 'rule of citizens' or the Direct Democracy (what we would call today) is the legacy of their political system. 

     In fact, their thoughts ands ideals are woven into our modern lives and we owe the ancient Greeks a debt of gratitude for shaping our modern thoughts.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Links and Differences

In my article of the law of three stages I have mentioned that the organic and the critical phases are those through which society pass in every stage alternatively discerning from the view that they are subordinate to the Metaphysical stage. Organic stages is the one in which the body social is said to be in equilibrium or simply put is stable and critical phase is one in which the body social is in a fundamental disequilibrium. The critical phase lasts for a few decades. It is the most turbulent transitional phase of the society. During this phase a new social order emerges from the death throes of the old social order.
The study of social statics and dynamics is considered to be the one that studies the progress and stability of the society. Now the confusion arises that if both the studies do the same task then why they are named different. As Lewis A. Coser puts it, “Comte attempted to formulate the conditions that account for social stability at any given historical moment. The study of social dynamics and social statics – of progress and order, of change and stability – are the twin pillars of his system.” It simply means that the study of social statics and dynamics is subordinate to the organic phase of the society considering it to be described as a phase of stability.
Social statics and dynamics are considered two separate studies. As one is the study of conditions and pre-conditions of social order and other is the study of human progress and evolution. It is essential to understand that both the disciplines go hand in hand. The study of social dynamics is of evolution or progress which as we know is a slow and steady process unlike the revolutions of critical phase. With the attributes of being slow and steady this study can only fit into the organic phase. The study of social statics is that of order which is in abundance in the organic phase.

Social Statics and Dynamics

The study of social statics and dynamics are the twin pillars of Comte’s study of social stability or the organic phase. The study of social statics and dynamics are not two distinct classes of facts but are two aspects of a theory. These studies are not separate but are complementary to each other as static is the study when society is in equilibrium and dynamics is the study of evolution which is a slow and steady process. This slow and steady process can only occur during the phase in which the society is in equilibrium and not disequilibrium or critical phase. Despite the fact that it seemed desirable for methodological and heuristic purposes to separate the study of statics and dynamics, in empirical reality they were correlative.
Auguste Comte refuses to place individuals as the base of the society. It is erroneous to derive man’s social tendencies out of his utilitarian considerations as it makes the existence of social state impossible. He places family at the base of society and allows resizing it if necessary to a couple. Family curbs the egoistic nature of a person to make him adaptable to the society this makes it the base of a social feeling causing stability. According to his thought of collective organism he places families at the level of an element, classes and caste of a tissue and cities and towns of an organ. Aware of the limitations of such analogy Comte concluded them by stating language, religion and division of labour as the unifying or binding forces of society.
He finds language, religion and division of labour as the three key factors for the stability of the body social. Firstly, language is the “easiest and common way of communication”, making it an essential tool for binding people closely to each other in a community. Language is a common mode of communication between generations. It helps impart the future generations with the knowledge and skills of the older generation, providing it with a base to progress on. Secondly, religion compensates the weaknesses of language by binding the society on the basis of a few common beliefs, acting as a “positive guide”. It ties the society by morality not letting it fall apart because of the disparities among people. Finally, division of labour binds the society together on basis of “similarity of classes” but is feared of distancing men from a larger mass as they are more driven towards their personal interests over the societies. Men in this stage become more conscious of their personal needs and feebly relate them to the needs of society.
Yet he hoped that both temporal and spiritual powers will come together in the future for unifying the society.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What should we protest for actually?

Rightly said by Dhiyanesh that the bill can focus on being pro-people and protect the victims of corruption instead of adding further burden on the economy of India by creating an independent body for investigation of corruption which does not provide enough for being corruption free itself later on. Mr. Anna Hazare should seriously consider his protest for Lokpal which might not solve the problem it focuses on instead would add to it. Considering that the body he intends to establish becomes corrupt it would end up adding burden upon the common man as he would be paying little higher than regular to keep the person added to the chain satisfied as well.

In order to eradicate corruption it is essential to protest against such cases and support people who do so. This would be easily feasible also is self-corrective in nature as any false case can be penalized. Social active people and those with high urge against corruption can come together to set up small bodies in each state to find such people who are in need of help and bring the issue to light. Youth of this country can do the same as they are seen to be really active regarding this issue.

Passing of such bills will only add to the length of our constitution and not be purposeful. No matter how much of transparency is promised, in our nation, eventually bodies end up becoming corrupt and none of us would want to set up body powerful enough of rocking the whole country by its head in hope that it would never fall into wrong hands.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

For an effective LOKPAL

The term ‘Lokpal’ is getting highly contentious day by day.  There is an urgent call for a comprehensive review of the draft bill and for incorporating some fundamental working modalities. Other than the prevalent issues like the inclusion of PM, Judiciary under the Lokpal’s ambit, its power and conflict of interest, etc., there are few other  aspects that gets least attention. For instance, take the issue of low-level corruption involving every-day bribes for acquiring driving licences, birth certificates, community certificates, patta for land ownership, etc. Specific cases of corruption of this kind are taken up for formal investigation when the harassed victims come up as complainants. However, the primary desire of the victims will be to get their grievances redressed without delay. Prosecution and punishment of the corrupt functionary have a lower priority in their perception. They would be happy if their grievances are redressed, and would willingly let the matter rest there.

It is therefore most necessary to build into the Lokpal set up an effective mechanism for grievance redress on par to punishments and prosecutions. Justice Ramanujam Committee set up by the government of Tamil Nadu had recommended in 1997 a detailed working scheme for this purpose. Unfortunately the state government shelved action on this important recommendation, merely noting that it may await central legislation on Lokpal!

The draft Lokpal Bill by the government apparently revolves around the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PoCA) in most of the aspects. Instead, it can go along the lines of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 so that it will be pro-people, focusing more on victims.

In terms of independency of Ombudsman bodies, much is debated about its freedom from political and managerial influences, which is apparent in early anti-corruption agencies. Beyond this, these bodies must have their constabulary, necessary powers for arrests and prosecution and their own cadre of prosecutors to handle cases in courts and must not depend on any other departments for their processes. Their dependency hampers their speedy and effective investigation.

The states should not be empowered to legislate their state ombudsman bodies (Lokayuktas) on their own. They should be firmly anchored by a uniform central legislation on national interest.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hierarchy of Sciences

The law of three stages and hierarchy of sciences are intimately related. The sciences also pass through similar stages in their development. The rate of development depends upon the proportion of its generality, simplicity and independence of the rest. Thus, Astronomy was the most simple and most general of all sciences as it developed first. It was followed by the development of physics, chemistry, biology, and finally, sociology. Each science in this order depends on its predecessors for its development as the hierarchy is marked by the law of increasing complexity and decreasing generality.
August Comte relates Sociology as closest to Biology. The reason for this is that just as biology studies the body parts in relation to the whole organism it also studies the social institutions in light of the whole social order. It differs from other sciences in the sense that unlike Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy it does not study its subject in abstractions as only inorganic elements are better understood that way.

The Law of Three Stages

This law was developed by the father of Sociology, August Comte, by his method of scientific comparison through time. Comte began his search for the law as a young apprentice to Saint-Simon in 1822.
The law as the title suggests is divided into three broad stages namely Theological Stage, Metaphysical Stage and Positive Stage. This law was developed by the analogy of the progress of an individual human mind through the ages with the progress of societies through time. At the first level, known as the Theological stage or Fictitious Stage, the society is considered to be a devout believer just as a child. It relates the first and final cause of all phenomenons to God. As it progresses to the next level, the Metaphysical Stage or Abstract Stage, the society is just like that of adolescents. In this stage the society is no longer a devout believer of god instead it starts to question and begins its search for the ultimate cause and effect of events. In the third and final level of the law, the Positive or Scientific Stage, the society is like an adult. It gives up the vain quest for the ultimate cause and effect instead applies itself to the study of their law- the invariable relation of succession and resemblance. To understand the law it is unnecessary to understand its sub-divisions.
To expect a new social order from the death throes of an old social order in a smooth manner would be a mistake. Thus, the society as it progresses through these stages passes through alternative “organic” and “critical” phases. In the organic phase the various parts of the social body are in equilibrium and in the critical phase the various parts of the social body are in disequilibrium. When a society remains in a particular stage for a while without turbulences that phase is an organic phase. When societies go through a lot of unrest and turbulences that phase is critical phase. The various revolutions and revolts against a particular social order in world history exist for a few generations and are good example of a critical phase. August Comte lived through a critical phase.