There is a hierarchy of needs. A hierarchy might not imply one is more important than the other, but it often implies one is more urgent than the other.Roti, kapda, makaan, (survival) always gets more attention than freedom and equality.

For a society to reach a place where a “higher” goal becomes important, the “lower” goals need to be met. This is why, even amongst widespread agitation against corruption among politicians, corruption in the common man goes un-challenged. It is assumed that the common man needs corruption for survival. More accurate would be how, as people rally against corruption, that theie leader is a homophobe is not important. To them it is more urgent  to have a nation that is not corrupt, than a nation that treats everyone, even the queer, equally.

Around 60% of this country does not have its basic needs met. of the remaining, only about 10% have enough to sustain themselves and some more. only around 2%of the country can be considered “upper middle class”. Clean streets, therefore, have a lower priority than clean water.

The common indian understands this. We prioritize.

This is why all voices are important. Even that of the homophobe who fights corruption. As important as the enlightened, non-homophobic, non-corrupt, highly ethical leader. (Except that the latter does not exist. Yet) Because it takes many small voices crying out about their priority to transform a small thing into a massive movement.

This is why activists take a lifetime to get awards.

What is your priority?



6 thoughts on “Hierarchies”

  1. Random access is good for computers, but is not always benevolent for human life or for meeting the needs of the human society. Yes, a hierarchy if often there though it might not be visible or spelt out. The easiest case where one can spot this hierarchy is in arithmetic. Unless a person learns addition and subtraction, he cannot learn multiplication. Unless these three and division are mastered, NOTHING else in arithmetic can ever be mastered.

    Unless needs are met at the lower level, the society will never be whole.

    Dr. Johnson C. Philip

    PS: The two sticky articles at the top confuse the reader into thinking that you have made no posts after those dates. I once went back from your site without checking the posts below them. You need to find a better way to highlight your older articles. At present you are sacrificing the king for the queen.

    1. Unless needs are met at the lower level, the society will never be whole.

      I wish more people understood this Dr. Johnson.

      WIll adjust the top posts, thank for the pointer


  2. I Truely believe in equality and freedom. And very rightly said in the blog that ppl seek higher goals more than the lower ones. Very thought provoking article. A nice one indeed! 🙂

  3. Hmmm….very nice and reflective post. Pardon me for expressing “strong” views in a topic where I always seek balance, and often (naively?) through reason.

    I have interacted with (and been an?) activist(s) of different kinds – from wildlife, environment on one hand to health and gender on the other. I find a certain strength of conviction that is sometimes stifling to dialogue. Questioning that begins healthily ages like bad wine into sour cynicism. Moral high grounds emerge which slowly begin to see the world in an exclusive ideological reality that “judges” people and often communities as stereotypes. Silly means justify unreal ends and one reaches a point where the foundations of the activism becomes an impediment to its very goals; where scope for reason and dialogue shrink to accommodate the growing convictions. It starts to become like a religion – exclusive to those who hold higher “truth”; if you do not hold it, you are held morally inferior, not merely “technically”. This makes me all the more doubtful of “this truth” suddenly – perhaps not because of its truth value itself, but more because of the way it is delivered – again, much like religion (sic)!

    In essence, for me it is very important to base convictions on general principles of humanism (justice, fairness etc) and steer clear of these moral justices, who pass summary judgement in the name of deliverance, emancipation and oftentimes health and environment.

    1. Prashanth, I hear you and I agree fully. I too have been seeing this a lot and is one of the reasons I have shunned working with non-profits- too much ideological fervor about the details and too little attention to the big picture.

      PS: recent debates on PPP in MFC are a typical example.

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