Political Theory in ArutkuRaL -1

Dr K.Loganathan   Monday, July 12, 1999

I think it was Aristotle who said that among  all the sciences Political Science is the supreme as it touches the foundation of Human Existence itself.  The third book of ArutkuRaL deals with it extensively and I want to highlight some aspects of it.  Agamic Psychology  has provided the fundamental ideas and insights  and hence you will find that the theory to be outlined here will be quite different from those agitating the world today which,  except for the Islamic, are mostly Western.

The goal of Life

Any political theory must first handle the basic question: what is the Meaning of Existence ? which is unavoidably metaphysical in nature. Is it economic well being ? Free expression of political rights? Social equality?  Acquisition of Power over others?  In casting this question  as a basic question in Metaphysics that the West so adroitly avoids, we are already differing in a fundamental way from the West.  We  also  with this move,    free ourselves from all kinds of theocracies which are mostly antithetic to metaphysics. Metaphysics , it must noted here is seen as the most fundamental Hermeneutic Science and hence it is not philosophy that is simply specualtive.

ArutkuRaL is very clear: the meaning of Existence is  ultimately Being-One-With- BEING.  Here Being and BEING are terms with different meanings. Existence in Being- in- the- world  which always comes as an X-- : as a woman, as a man, a mother , a father, a poet, a teacher , a politician and what not.  However ,  BEING is the SOURCE for the ways of Being of all people in the world. It is THAT which affords the various existential possibilities we enjoy as various forms of existence.  Under normal circumstances we enjoy/suffer various forms of existence, lead various kinds of lives  always seeking out the most authentic, the TRUE and the ultimate. For the various forms of existence that  become available to us , while meaningful and exciting  for a while, but sooner or later a profound dissatisfaction comes to prevail forcing us to seek alternatives , in the name of the really meaningful. And in this existential progress it turns out that the final form of Existence is constituted by the desire to be One-With-BEING without suffering any fissure  in that intimacy.

                 uNdupool  inRaam vaazvil  uuynthuselal
              paNtumuNdaam  paramanO  donRarku

              ¯ñΧÀ¡ø ­ýÈ¡õ Å¡úÅ¢ø °öóЦºÄø
              ÀñÎÓñ¼¡õ ÀÃÁ§É¡ ¦¼¡ýÈüÌ

The Ordinary Existence is "uNtupool inRaam vaazvu" ,  forms of living that are only seemingly meaningful but NOT genuinely. They satisfy and provide meaning only for a while,  then there comes a time when all of a sudden, as if by magic, it ceases to be meaningful and interesting anymore.  A renewed search begins for another kid of existence really meaningful now only to discover that to be One-with-BEING in a permanent rapport is THE FORM OF LIFE towards which one has been going right from ancient  times but mostly unconsciously. This is the END-IN-SIGHT of the evolutionary dynamics of existence , but of course most of the time, half conscious or even unconscious. However when this understanding bursts upon oneself , when one begins to SEE that as the real MEANING, existence becomes AUTHENTIC , the truly meaningful, that which does not vaporize into the thin air leaving you groping in the DARK again.

The Open Society

This understanding of the Meaning of Existence immediately provides us with an insight to EVALUATE  political theories and practices  and sanction some as acceptable and others as not so. For  the individual to discard his current ways living and assume new ones , the society must be OPEN and receptive of such experiments with different forms of living itself no matter how deviant they are from the standard, the traditionally well sanctioned.This does not mean there should be no control. But what is to be controlled? Everything that undermines the essential OPENNESS of the society. And this includes activities of individuals who want to establish the nation as Theocracy, as an Aristocracy or even a Dictatorship  including that of the proletariat . Openness means freedom to change one's mode of living, of being-in-the-world. The above political systems undermine precisely this freedom  in the name of standardization , prescribing forms of life GOOD for society, making individuals submit to a SINGLE AUTHORITY in the interest social cohesion  and what not.  Such systems are PRESCRIPTIVE and hence DO NOT allow the free experimentation that an OPEN society must be allowed to enjoy. A politically powerful individual who is prescriptive is still prone to UNTRUTH but something he would NEVER acknowledge for fear of loosing the hold he has over  the citizens.

                     siRRaivu maanthan ceRRida vENtu maNuvam
                 peRRanal vaazvin peeRaktu

                 º¢üÈÈ¢× Á¡ó¾ý ¦ºüÈ¢¼§ÅñÎ ÁÏÅõ
                 ¦ÀüÈ¿ø Å¡úÅ¢ý §ÀÈ·Ð

All human beings are  limited in understanding  and hence do not have an absolute understanding. He who sets himself to prescribe a model for society as THE MODEL , immediately assumes an absolutistic position that is unwarranted. He fails to note that  there are different models and some historically new and therefore unheard of. The unconscious processes that churns out different forms of living for individuals are quite often unpredictable  and  hence beyond  the possibilities of prescription.  The political leadership must be aware of the underlying CREATIVITY and infinite fecundity of the politics shaping processes of nature and submit himself humbly to it without ever trying to usurp that position for oneself and aspire through that to become demigod, to be worshipped and extolled by the multitude as God incarnate which is common weakness of all powerful politicians.

                     Izanthizanthee   ellaam adaiyum iyalbinai
                     vazimozintu selavee vaazkkai
                     ­Æó¾¢Æó§¾ ±øÄ¡ Á¨¼Ôõ  ­ÂøÀ¢¨É
                     ÅÆ¢¦Á¡Æ¢óÐ ¦ºÄ§Å Å¡ú쨸