I came across an interesting concept called ‘Hobbesian’. It is an interesting looking word, where you are bound to mistake for the first few times. Thought it was interesting to share.
Are Hindus Hobbesian? Hobbesian is a situation in which you believe the world is against you and you are out there alone. Ours is the only religion in the world which doesn’t have temples with congregational space, which means one on one versus a large group of people. Our religion tells us that our individual relation with God is the most important, which encourages activities like Yagna- which basically transcends to offering something to God in exchange for something having taken away from somebody else. This also encourages those merciless queues/crowd/mob (including stampede at times) that we have in our temples to have our 2 second moment with the God’s idol and whisper a prayer to them. Hindus are perhaps Hobbesians. This also explains our behaviour in traffic. Our billionaires don’t really want to give their wealth away. It is not the society that we seek our mutual benefit from, it is our own luck, our own faith and our vertical relationship with God, as opposed to our horizontal relationship with the man (the mankind) and different people in the society.
So we shouldn’t be surprised if we find a lot of people breaking rules on the road, going on the wrong side; and not wanting to take responsibilities of our own thing. Like Sachin Tendulkar refuses to pay duty for his Ferrari, seeks tax exemption and asks the government to pay for it. He is an amazing cricketer, of course. But it can’t be a Normal behaviour to expect the poor to pay for your luxuries. But this is the way we are, and we can’t point this to individuals. It explains are behaviour at the RTO and other government offices where we try to bribe (on multiple levels), use our contacts to skip queues, treating it as our birthright. It also explains our bad relations with most of our neighbouring countries. While it is normal to believe that there are problems with all of them, it won’t go against us to wonder there is perhaps somewhere we are going wrong too, and that even if we are not, we could be a little forthright, being the larger nation. It also explains the feeling that everyone who questions something in our religion or our country is a traitor or ‘anti-national’. It comes largely from our Hobbesian faith.
Of course, we have all the good things that our people, religion, mythology and society teach us but there are some peculiar things like these, that separate us as a society. Also, this is not an exclusive reason for all our problems.
(Concept discovered via Aakar Patel’s podcast called ‘Ask Aakar’ on Audiomatic, and he used the word ‘Indians’ in his podcast, while he’s speaking only about Hindus. Hence “Hindus” in the title. However, the responsibility of bringing the audio into words with my own interpretation and adding points of my own is solely mine. You can ‘Like’ if you liked it; and ‘Comment’ if you like or didn’t like. You can Subscribe if you ‘Liked Very Much’, so you’ll get updates every time I post 🙂 )