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Ego and civilization
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
4 min
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Acharya Prashant: Deepanshu (Questioner) says, “If everyone drops their ego, there would be no civilization and everybody would be roaming naked in the Jungle.”

We have to understand what is ego and what civilization? What is it that is meant by civilization? Civilization refers to a particular order in living. A particular system in living, an orderliness. That is the meaning of civilization. Is it clear what is civilization? Civilization refers to an orderliness in living. An orderliness, that it is not random, it is orderly.

Order can arise from two distinct sources. Order can arise either out of fear, as you see in our society. That, if people are civilized then most of them behave in a civilized way because of fear of punishment, right? Order can arise from there.

And when there is fear, there is ego. Because you are afraid of somebody else, that’s what ego is. Somebody else is dominating your mind. So, we have seen order only of one kind, civilization only of one kind which is the civilization arising from fear. That, if I behave in an uncivilized way then I will be jailed or I lose my respectability.

Hence, Deepanshu is justified in thinking that the very basis of civilization is fear. No, Deepanshu. The civilization that we see, this is based on fear but it is not necessary that civilization or order is must necessarily be based on fear.

Orderliness, civilization can come from another source, what source is that? That source is that of your intelligence. For example, we have this room and there are air molecules in this room; the molecules are not very tightly packed as well, we know the packing ratio. For every unit of the molecule, that a molecule volume, that a molecule occupies, there are many times of volume that is free space, still what are these molecules doing all the time? They are colliding with each other and there is no order. This is what you call ‘Brownian motion’, random motion.

Whereas, if this room is full of people and these people are given different tasks for which they have to move about, constantly move about. Say, a group of people has been told to white-wash that wall, a group is mopping this floor, another group is taking care of the ceiling. So, all three directions, x, y, and z. Still, these people will not collide with each other, the way molecules do. Because these people will function out of their intelligence. And out of intelligence, a certain order is born.

If we same people are drunk, if they are under the influence of liquor then they will surely collide with each other because then intelligence will become dormant.

Are you getting it?

The order comes out of intelligence but we have not seen that order. We have seen only one kind of order which comes from?

Listeners: Fear.

AP: Fear. So, Deepanshu (Q) is justified in thinking that if ego goes away, the order will go away, civilization will go away. No. The fact of the matter is, what you today call as civilization is nothing but fear. It is not civilization at all. It is just a suppression of all that is beastly within us. That is the reason whenever a man gets a chance to beat the law, he does it. That is why only three percent of people pay income tax. Whosoever get a change to defy civilization, he does. That is why there are murders and loots and rapes.

The moment there is an absence of fear, there is chaos, there is disorder. Because the very basis of our civilization is fear. You take away fear, civilization collapses. Surely such a civilization is of very little value.

Getting it?

Fear comes from the outside that is ego, intelligence is your own. There is a civilization that can come from your intrinsic intelligence.

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