Contradictions Inherent to Human Existence by mjain3391


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									Contradictions Inherent to Human Existence
Summary: Contradictions are inherent to human existence because of inbuilt
contradictions among human needs. Contradictions give rise to conflicts and in
order to keep existence, conflicts demand amicable intellectual resolution. One
should not be unduly worried about contradictions and conflicts one faces in the
due course of life.

We have been generally taught that food, clothing and shelter are basic human
needs. It is generally assumed that satisfaction of these needs is all that is
required for peaceful and happy life. This may generally be true among have nots
in resource deficient environments. But among people with sufficient material
resources satisfaction of these needs is insufficient to meet their ends.

All human beings besides having material and biological needs have other needs
in the form of interests, sentiments and relationships.

 Interests generally refer to material goals and objectives of human living and may
be rooted in other human needs for example a man in need of food is interested
in getting food. Interests may also be contextual or culturally determined as
generally accepted material entitlements. Interests may be protected by law and
then interests are known as rights. Interests may be short term interests such as
need for entertainment or long term interests such as the need to conserve
relationships, carrier, business establishment, capital etc. Quite often there may
be a conflict between short term interests and long term interests.

Sentiments or emotions are protective reflexes that direct action at a distance
and thus have a directive influence on human needs. For example sight of the
food you relish shall have a directive influence on your appetite and shall make
you act to grab the food. The best case on this point is probably parental instinct
leading to parental care and survival of species. Sentiments often influence our
decisions regarding situations we want to get into or get away from and thus have
a directive influence on our wants and desires. Sentiments are ephemeral in
character, changing with changing mood, time, place etc. Sentiments may often
be in conflict with long term interests.
Relationships are incidental to human need to live in groups such as family,
society, work organizations etc. We have a vast variety of relationships such as
father, mother, son, daughter, husband etc. Each and every relationship is unique
in being governed by particular rules of relationship. In any relationship rules of
the particular relationship prevail over self-interest and therefore a relationship
demands commitment to rules governing the particular relationship.
Relationships are long term phenomena and rules governing particular
relationships generally do not vary with time and place. Emotionally wholesome
environment (entertainment) facilitates easy compliance with rules of
relationship but any relationship can be satisfied only by commitment to rules of
relationship. Therefore in a relationship, commitment prevails over sentiments
and self-interests.

It is self-evident that human needs are diverse; therefore conflicts and
contradictions are liable to arise at any point in time and space within an
individual or between individuals. Short term pleasures can often be in conflict
with long term prudence and pragmatism. Short term sentiments and self-
interests can often run contrary to long term relationships. The opposite can also
happen that for the sake of long term interests, short term needs are sacrificed.
But one thing is certain that conflicts and contradictions are inherent to human
existence and an individual has to relentlessly negotiate through.

Conflicts and contradictions being inherent to human condition demands
provision for efficient conflict resolution mechanisms with sufficient resilience.
We can’t sleep over conflicts or indulge in self-denial or self-deprivation. Conflicts
often demand intellectual resolution to the greatest satisfaction of various
concerns. Bullying, hegemony, self-denial, authoritarianism, self-deprivation, etc.
should be avoided for the sake of mentally healthy individuals and healthy
societies. Suppression of normal needs, wants and desires is not good for long
term health of a society. Conflict resolution is a perpetual balancing act and we
have to constantly act to keep the dynamic equilibrium, individually as well as

It demands that people adopt a life style (system of living) so that it is generally
capable of meeting their short term as well as long term needs, interests,
sentiments, relationships etc. Life style should be stable, progressive, well
adapted to living conditions as well as adaptable to changing facts and
circumstances. The life style should be capable of meeting any destabilizing
influences i.e. conflicts and contradictions of diverse origin. This would also
demand sufficient resilience within the system of living. So the life style is not only
well adapted to living conditions but is also adaptable to future conditions. In any
well organized system of living, an individual conflict or contradiction is a tiny
fraction of the whole and therefore should not a cause to worry about.

There is also need to design a self-perpetuating sustainable culture which can
naturally and organically take care of various human needs. It should have
efficient conflict resolution mechanisms to ensure its adaptability to various
challenges in the face of perpetual struggle for survival. Authoritarianism,
egocentricity, will to dominate; hegemony can’t have a place in a sustainable

Lastly individuals as well as societies should not only be adapted to conditions of
their existence but should also be adaptable to ever changing conditions of their
existence. The issue is not existence of inherent conflicts; rather the issue is how
effectively we deal with them. It demands a perpetual balancing act to sustain the
dynamic equilibrium incidental to existence of an individual as well as any human

Author: Dr Mahesh C. Jain is a practicing medical doctor and has written the
book “Encounter of Science with Philosophy – A synthetic view”. The book begins
with first chapter devoted to scientifically valid concept of God and then explains
cosmic phenomena right from origin of nature and universe up to origin of life
and evolution of man. The book includes several chapters devoted to auxiliary
concepts and social sciences as corollaries to the concept of God. This is the only
book which deals with origin of nature and universe from null or Zero or
nothing. 37th chapter of the book deals with Philosophy of Living.

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