Thursday, January 29, 2009

corruption, contracts, marriage, society

Random ramblings on corruption, trust, marriage. The goal of this post is to not make any sense. Mindful mindlessness! Or is it mindless mindfulness? :)


If we take our contemporary usage, corruption indicates a 'loss of integrity' – whether of individuals or of your database.

How do we evaluate corruption in different cultures?

So I will try to place before you the ideal. In each nation, man or woman represents an ideal consciously or unconsciously being worked out. The individual is the external expression of an ideal to be embodied. The collection of such individuals is the nation, which also represents a great ideal; towards that it is moving. And, therefore, it is rightly assumed that to understand a nation you must first understand its ideal, for each nation refuses to be judged by any other standard than its own.

Evaluate within the same cultural standard.

A person taking a bribe in India is not corrupt. He delivers on his word. That is integrity. 

...... those who take the bribes do keep their word and deliver the goods. In the absence of legally enforceable contracts, the relation of corruption can flourish only on condition that there is impeccable integrity among the corrupted. This integrity is of an ‘impeccable’ sort because (a) there are no other ‘witnesses’ to the act of corruption outside the participants and (b) there is no need or possibility for any kind of legal mechanism to enforce the ‘agreement’. Corruption as a social phenomenon is possible if and only if both parties impeccably observe the ethical rule of keeping the promises. 

In Indic Traditions, a person who breaks his word is corrupt. 

A certain degree of trust is required for any system to work. The corruption that we see in India persists percisely because of the tremendous trust built into the system based on Indic Traditions - that a person delivers on his word.

Every functional system needs trust. Any form of relationship needs trust. Systems are built on relationships.  Trust takes a long time to build and is broken by one inconsistent act. The so-called corrupt structures in India - have gone through the trust building phase. They can't be broken.

Words are contracts in India. No legalese is required. The social structures ensure that promises are kept.

Question: how does one build broken trust?

Trust in the West is built/enforced by legal contracts or regulation. Words are NOT to be trusted. Marriages have pre-nups, marriage contracts and the all powerful Govt enforces alimony and child-support. Negative enforcement - a system built on NOT trusting each other. This tries to keep marriages alive, with not much success.

You Western people are individualistic. I want to do this thing because I like it; I will elbow every one. Why? Because I like to. I want my own satisfaction, so I marry this woman. Why? Because I like her. This woman marries me. Why? Because she likes me. There it ends. She and I are the only two persons in the whole, infinite world; and I marry her and she marries me -- nobody else is injured, nobody else responsible.

Your Johns and your Janes may go into the forest and there they may live their lives; but when they have to live in society, their marriage means a tremendous amount of good or evil to us. Their children may be veritable demons -- burning, murdering, robbing, stealing, drinking, hideous, vile.

The West is individualistic. They hold the pursuit of temporary individual happiness in high esteem. The feeling of being in love.

We are married sometimes when children. Why? Because the caste says: if they have to be married anyway without their consent, it is better that they are married very early, before they have developed this love: if they are allowed to grow up apart, the boy may like some other girl, and the girl some other boy, and then something evil will happen; and so, says the caste, stop it there. I do not care whether my sister is deformed, or good - looking, or bad - looking: she is my sister, and that is enough; he is my brother, and that is all I need to know. So they will love each other. You may say, "Oh! they lose a great deal of enjoyment -- those exquisite emotions of a man falling in love with a woman and a woman falling in love with a man. This is a sort of tame thing, loving each other like brothers and sisters, as though they have to." So be it; but the Hindu says, "We are socialistic. For the sake of one man's or woman's exquisite pleasure we do not want to load misery on hundreds of others."

There they are -- married. The wife comes home with her husband; that is called the second marriage. Marriage at an early age is considered the first marriage, and they grow up separately with women and with their parents. When they are grown, there is a second ceremony performed, called a second marriage. And then they live together, but under the same roof with his mother and father. 

What happens to the feeling of being in-love? (let us, for the moment, ignore whether it is love, or what is love)

... Alas, it was but an illusion by which we were tricked into by signing our names on the dotted line, for better or for worse. No wonder so many have come to curse marriage and the partner whom they once loved. After all, if we were deceived, we have a right to be angry. Did we really have the "real" thing? 

The western society has no vested interest in marriages, add to it the pursuit of in-love experience, resulting in: Forty percent of first marriages, sixty percent of second marriages and 75% of third marriages end in divorce. 

The in-love experience does not focus on our own growth nor on the growth and development of the other person. Rather, it gives us the sense that we have arrived.

Those who are in pursuit of the in-love experience are setting themselves up for major trouble. Its only gonna get worse each time!

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