In search of social system to give priority to
Collective interest over self-interest
by Pranab RayChaudhuri

E- mail:
This page has been viewed Counter times.         Click here to give your comments  


Man is a type of animal in the mammal specie. He is not capable to survive alone and very
early in his existence has chosen to live in a group for his individual survival though by instinct
he is selfish. Under the circumstances, he has to always balance the collective interest with his
personal interest. Since individual survival depends upon collective survival, he should give
priority to the collective interest over his personal interest. However, because he is instinctively
selfish, he abides by the collective rules as long as it suits him but does not hesitate to
sacrifice the collective interest as soon as his personal interest is contrary to collective interest.
Under the circumstances, social rules should be such that man is compelled to always give
more priority to collective interest than his personal interest. That means he who never
sacrifices the collective interest for his own personal interest is properly rewarded and he who
sacrifices the collective interest for his own personal interest is properly punished. For proper
implementation of such system, man must have a practical example that he, who never
sacrifices collective interest for his personal interest, lives happier than he, who acts for his
personal interest sacrificing the collective interest. Alas! In the society we only have opposite
illustration i.e. he who acts selfishly lives happier than he who gives more value to the
collective interest than his own personal interest.

In the earlier Hindu society, imagination of re-birth and doctrine of Karma circumvented the
above paradox. This creates an idea in man's mind that the present life is only a part of the
total existence and the debit and credit of bad (selfish) and good (collective) work respectively
is carried forward from one life to next and re-birth happens in consideration of the net result.
That makes a man afraid of doing selfish work sacrificing collective interest in his present life
making him believe that such work will create a reflection in his future lives. This also gives him
impetus to value collective interest in his present life. However, this theory has a loophole. The
Pap (debit resulted from bad work) and Punya (credit obtained from good work) can be
adjusted by the powerful by performing Jagnas (appeasing god) of various types. So, powerful
in that earlier society also were able to act selfishly as the adjustment of Pap / Punya was in
their hand.

However, in the modern society such imagination of re-birth will not be acceptable to any and
then also, the powerful will go scot-free even after selfish work by performance of some Jagna
of the modern days.

If we have to survive and live happily we will have to give more importance to collective interest
than individual selfish interest and for which we will have to search for a proper social system
suitable for the modern time, which will automatically reward followers of collective interest and
punish others.