We often use words carelessly when communicating and that can lead to much confusion and even misunderstandings. Take the case of the terms ideology and philosophy which are often used interchangeably.
The ideologist believes that he or she is right and all those who disagree are wrong.
The philosopher believes that there may be differing perspectives and he or she might have missed something, or the other person has an alternate perspective, and they are perfectly within their rights to have a differing view.
The ideologist is extremely confident, the philosopher always harbours doubts.
The ideologist is intolerant and if he has no choice will at best tolerate you. The philosopher respects you.
The hallmark of a true civilisation is that there is scope for dissent, and yet be respected.
As my friend Bala Adiga says, "One can always disagree without being disagreeable"
This is clearly the philosophy of the East evident in India and many parts of Asia.
The ideologist is masculine in nature only seeking to dominate. Ideologists can easily be identified by their inflexible, aggressive, dogmatic, blunt, and tactless manner.
The philosopher is feminine in nature, passive, soft, accommodating, clever, tactful, and willing to accept another viewpoint. Femininity does not denote weakness, in fact it denotes strength even though its not easily visible. When seriously threatened, the feminine can be much more aggressive, and ruthless than the masculine.
Ideology is an imposition. It can only be deployed by regimentation and force, its based on code of legislation, and then strict and often brutal implementation of these laws with severe punishments for non compliance. Ideology is imposed on humanity in different forms including political, religious, social, economic, and cultural ideology.
Where people are bound by core ideology they are quiet and disciplined and rigid. Yet ideologists are like tinder that can catch fire with the smallest spark.
When people tend to be philosophical they tend to be noisy and disorganised while appearing chaotic and even anarchic they are restrained.
There is a difference on how man and nature view strengths and weakness.
Blades of grass can easily be trampled by man, but not all the grass can be destroyed, because there are too many and new grass grows quickly. Its more difficult for man to bring down a massive tree.
In nature its the reverse. After a massive storm, the great strong tree falls down and is easily destroyed. But the blades of grass which bend under the storm are now standing up once again, healthy and strong.
Behaviour of Ideologists usually defies logic since it is based upon absurd and convoluted arguments. That is why when questioned ideologists express outrage and even become violent. That is why ideology has to be transmitted only by unquestionable force.
Ideology, like all man made things rises and ebbs before dying out. In the beginning it rises spectacularly filling a void, an imbalance or a natural weakness. Then it begins to implode and finally collapses.
Philosophy like all natural phenomenon develops slowly and evolves gradually, taking centuries. It appears weak, but it grows and expands continuously, adapting and evolving to accommodate new inputs and successfully adapting to changing situations.
Ideology is the way of dictatorial regimes which are exploitive in nature. They suit dictatorships, monarchies, military regimes, theocracies etc.
Philosophical societies tend to be more suited to democracies. Everyone screams, protests and rants, where no two views or approaches are the same. However once a majority chooses and results are announced everyone more or less accepts the situation even if grudgingly and life moves on.
Many Indians rue the lack of a strong ideology, but they fail to see that the philosophical culture existing in a feminine environment is a strength rather than a weakness.
It has permitted India to not only survive but thrive in spite of so many social, religious, cultural and economic invasions.
The ideological approach has never produced a better, harmonious, peaceful world. One has to simply look elsewhere at the countries and regions driven and dominated by ideology and you will inevitably see a world plagued by war and misery. You will also see an environment continuously being destroyed, with lack of dignity for life and their world hurtling towards an abyss.
India is at a cross-road. If India simply copies and blindly adopts alien and masculine ideologies it will most likely destroy itself.
India can emerge once again as a major cultural, social, religious, and economic influence leader by relying on its inherent feminine, spiritual, intellectual and philosophical nature.