The War of Civilizations
   
 
   
  Prof. Dilip Roy
Director
Centre of Management Studies
University of Burdwan

In spite of its early start how come the Indian civilization could not dominate the world whereas the western civilization could do it so overwhelmingly? The answer lies, I believe, in the way citizens were trained to think thousands of years ago.

Indian thought process was all about conceptual flexibility whereas the western thought process was about creating well-defined structures.

Conceptual flexibility ensured individualized thoughts, put no entry barrier to thought domains and encompassed everyone in the society. But it lost something important in this process - a common intellectual ground. Since everyone was allowed to have his thoughts on everything sometimes it brought confusion, shallow ideas and ego wars.

Though the flexibility taught ancient Indians to be internally content and survive non-violently, the open entry system made them deny the past masters and want them make their own glories. Thus, every generation started from a scratch and progressed slowly.

In the western civilization, before everything else a rigid structure of thinking was invented and followed meticulously. It helped cross-domain experts to find a meeting ground. Thought domains were divided with strong entry barriers and thought jobs were distributed among the specialists. Discoveries were documented- widely and objectively. There were hardly denying the past masters. Rather generations after generations they progressed by in depth study of subjects after taking cues from whatever they had found out before. This rigidity/discipline of mind made them seek happiness from the outside. It also made them master manipulators of the physical world. The rigidity of structure bred homogeneity in the western society. And homogeneity, in turn, created unity. The downside was structural rigidity affected the internal peace of mind and thus increased the possibility of violence.

Though, it is very difficult to predict which civilization will outlast the other. But for the time being, the western civilization is ruling the world almost without any challenger in sight.

     
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