The Philosophy of the
THE SYSTEM OF CORRELATION OF MAN AND HIS ENVIRONMENT
17th. January 1963
World Copyright @ 1964 by
B. S. P. P. / G-5 / B-l / 9-64 /10,000
THE SYSTEM OF CORRELATION OF MAN AND HIS ENVIRONMENT
2 The Three Worlds
2 Man and His Society
8 The Laws of Process of the History of Society
- The System of Correlation of the Material and the Spiritual Life of the Human Society
23 The Determining Role of the Working People
- Man and His Material Environment
- Man and Socialist Planning
- The Leading Role of Socialists
36 Our Attitude to Our Own Ideology
APPENDICES [placed online in the Online Burma Library as separate documents]
Constitution of the
This is a statement of the Philosophy of the Burma Socialist Programme Party as approved and adopted by the Revolutionary Council of the Union of Burma at its twenty-second meeting. The System of Correlation of Man and His Environment forms the guide to the Burma Socialist Programme Party which considers that the citizens of the Union of Burma should know and appreciate it. In compliance with a resolution of the Central Organising Committee of the Party, therefore, the Secretary publishes it herewith.
THE SYSTEM OF CORRELATION OF MAN AND HIS ENVIRONMENT
(Translated from the original statement in Burmese)
1. We, the citizens of the Union of Burma, strive to build, by the Burmese Way to Socialism, a new socialist society of affluence where justice shall prevail.
We base our programmes, in our endeavours, on a philosophy which we have framed from a close study of the nature of man and of his society.
We go to our tasks in the deep awareness that in building a socialist society of affluence where justice shall prevail a close study of the nature of man and of his society is a pre-requisite; that our philosophy and programmes should seek to extinguish the bad and cultivate the good traits in man's moral character; that only thus can we achieve our goals.
What then is our philosophy framed from a close study of the nature of man and of the society in which he lives?
2. Our philosophy* is our world-outlook. It forms particularly the ideology of our Party, our view and appreciation of the society which is human and worldly.
Our Party's world-outlook, derived from a close study of man and the society he lives in, is as follows:
* [highlighting in official English version – DA]
I. THE THREE WORLDS
3. When we look at nature we see three worlds, viz., the material, the animal and the phenomenal worlds.
The material world consists of the whole of our material environment. In other words it constitutes the entire Okasaloka: the four principal elements of existence evincing apparently converse characteristics which on deeper anal/sis are the same-abstract Earth whose characteristics are to harden and to soften, abstract Water whose characteristics are to flow and to paste, abstract Air whose characteristics are to expand and to contract, and< abstract Heat whose characteristics are to heat and to cool; and the tangibles that we see or feel such as the forests and the mountains, the seas and the skies, the planets, the stars and space.*
The animal world consists of all living and sentient beings like mammal, bird, reptile and fish. In other words it means the entire Sattaloka
The phenomenal world consists of the entire process of nature manifested in the space-time continuum of events of mind and matter, interacting in infinite patterns -- matter interacting with matter, mind with mind and matter with mind. In other words it means the entire Sankharaloka, embracing both the Okasaloka and the Sattaloka
* The vegetable kingdom has life but no consciousness, and is therefore categorised under the material world.
II. MAN AND HIS SOCIETY
4. In the world of phenomena which also embraces the other two worlds, it is the animal world which is the most important of all the most useful of all and the most determinant of all.
Again in this animal world the human society of which we ourselves form a part is the most important of all, the most useful of all, the most determinant of all and the noblest of all, for amongst all the living and sentient beings it is only man who has the highest intellect and the highest capability to use it.
Therefore, in studying the history of society as well as in solving its problems we should proceed from the premise of man. The following are the principal features of our observations and conclusions.
We conclude from our study of man that:
(a) he is concerned with all the three worlds, of which he is an image;
- in him combine the material body with life, mind and matter in their correlation, and the ceaseless process of mutation;
- he belongs just as much to the material as to the animal and phenomenal worlds so that the study of man is the study of the three worlds of nature.
We conclude from our study of man also that:
(b) the flux of his mind depends on his aggregate of matter; his mind cannot exist without this aggregate of matter on which it must continually depend;
- while the mind, dependent as it is on matter, is not a material principle, having no stuff or substance, is nevertheless a living reality; mind is the state of consciousness as a whole;
- mind which is sentient and matter which is not are two different principles of nature and they meet in man in a continuing state of flux.
We conclude from our study of man also that:
(c) while man's mind is dependent on his aggregate of matter, it leads all his bodily, verbal and mental actions in his social life;
- while consciousness arises from contact of sense-objects with sense-organs, yet without the aid of the mental factor of advertence or attention, consciousness can neither take place nor be full;
- therefore it must be remembered that matter is not the sole source of the states of consciousness which arise from and depend on causal action of matter on the one hand and of mind and mental factors on the other in correlation.
We conclude from our study of man that:
(d) matter and mind in man are inseparably linked on the ever-turning wheel of change;
- everything that exists in nature is in a state of ceaseless change and man who is the aggregate of elements of nature is also in a state of ceaseless change and motion.
- Here we must clearly see the difference between the change that takes place in inanimate matter and that in man, the living being.
- The constant change in inanimate matter is caused by its own inherent mutability, the contending principles in itself such as of heat and cold and environment. Change in matter comes from the ceaseless struggle of the contradictory principles and also from their reciprocal actions, all inherent in matter itself.
- Man, on the other hand, in whom matter and mind exist as correlates, changes in both his elements, viz., the material body and the mental body.
- Even as mind changes with the change in matter, so matter changes with the change in mind.
- Change in matter sometimes precedes that in mind; change in mind sometimes" precedes that in matter.
- Changes in mind and in matter are interdependent and reciprocal.
- Whenever a material force is dominant it is matter which causes the given change; whenever a mental force is dominant, it is mind which causes the given change.
- In man, matter and mind change in correlation by way of reciprocity.
- In the process of change in man, however, mental flux far outstrips the material. The flight and flux of mind are faster than light which travels at 186,000 miles per second.
- Mind is a process of complex motion, and it is volitional.
- While it is generally true that mind cannot move nor create beyond the allowances and limitations of material energy, yet clearly it is the human intellect which discovers and harnesses the physical forces of the material world.
Such, in the main, are the differences between material world and the human society.
We observe from our study of the processes of the phenomena of matter and of mind that:
(e) the process develops through insignificant and imperceptible degrees into significant and striking strides;
- various conditions, happening by gradual steps in time and space, arrive at a stage when they combine, and interact by way of reciprocity, giving rise to new sets of qualities, new forms of substances, new orders of vitality, new arrangements of conditions, new shapes of subjects, new moulds of bodies, new formations and such; this way all processes operate, towards birth and growth, or towards decay and death - they come to pass, they change, and change further;
- the cause of all formations and all dissolutions is not one but many; observe for instance the journey of man from the womb to his tomb.
We observe from our study of man that:
(f) he is an egocentric animal;
- man's secondary feature is that he is also an altruistic social animal;
- he instinctively seeks freedom in which to live and act;
- human society is but an institution of human beings organized by them under their codes of law and behaviour;
- man in his fundamental nature, either as an individual or a group, as a race or a nation, aspires, in this human society, for the fulfilment of both his material and spiritual needs; we must recognize this as fundamental to the nature of man;
- man serves social interests in order to serve his own; in so serving, his instinctive spirit of freedom incites him to rise and shake off his fetters and clear his path of obstacles;
- in this way, thus, the egoism and the altruism in man, his designs and efforts to free himself from encumbrances and restraints, act as forces in correlation giving direction to the course of history of the human society.
Thus we observe and conclude from our study of the nature of matter and that of man that the Law of Correlation is forever manifest between matter and matter, man's body and his mind, man and his environment.
III. THE LAWS OF PROCESS OF THE HISTORY OF THE HUMAN SOCIETY
The Development of the Life of the Human Society
5. If we understand the character of man and the laws of his evolution we can understand the same of his society. Similarly if we can understand the character of man's society and the laws of its evolution we can understand the laws of the history of the human society.
A man's life-span runs from the moment of man's conception to that of his death.
The continual material and mental processes and their reciprocal actions which all take place throughout a man's life-span determine the fate of his life.
Similarly the material life and the spiritual life of the human society and their reciprocal actions determine the course of the history of that society.
What, then, constitutes the material life of the human society?
And what constitutes the spiritual life of the human society?
The term material life of the human society means the formation and development of material instruments and such materials as food, clothing, shelter and commodities essential for man's livelihood.
The spiritual life of the human society is a collective term embracing such entire range of development as man's desires and aspirations, thoughts and ideas, arts and sciences, policies and plans (political, economic, educational, social), knowledge and experiences, philosophies and ideologies.
The human society is therefore a unity of the material life and the spiritual life of man.
Throughout the history of the human society the material life and the spiritual life of society have evolved in accordance with the natural law of reciprocal action. They both are thus evolving at present, and they both will thus evolve in the future.
This is the law of the history of the human society. This is the law of dialectics (Paticccsamuppada) of history.
The System of Correlation of the Material Life and the Spiritual Life of the Human Society
6. In what pattern and in what way, then, do the material life and the spiritual life of the human society interact?
We observe from our study of the system of correlation of the material life and the spiritual life of the human society that:
(a) it is man's consciousness and mental factors depending on man's material body, which precede all his bodily, verbal and mental actions in his social life;
- man is one integrated whole into which interacting matter and mind and mental factors all coalesce; man of such a nature enters into relationships with others of his kind, and by his intellect and by his physical and mental energy creates and brings forth physical means and instruments of production out of his inanimate material environment;
- with the means of production thus procured man produces and consumes such materials as food, clothing, shelter, transport, and commodities, essential to his livelihood;
- this social production helps to bring forth man's such physical, intellectual and spiritual qualities and powers as thoughts and ideas, efforts, philosophies and knowledge, policies and plans, technology and crafts, arts and sciences, fine arts and literatures, systems and ideologies, cultures and institutions; in other words it is man himself who cultivates the growth of the spiritual life of the human society and nourishes it;
- the growth of the spiritual life of the human society thus cultivated and nourished by man, in turn, influences the growth of the material life of that society (the production of food, clothing, shelter and social and cultural needs of life);
- the history of the human society evolves in this way;
- it is therefore only man, the living being possessed of reason and intellect, who plays the determining role in causing the changes throughout the history of society;
- it is man's own creative imagination and efforts that lead and guide all human achievements;
- man is therefore the prime factor and mover In the development of history;
- In solving the problems of society we must adopt and go by the motto : MAN MATTERS MOST.
Furthermore we observe from our study of the system of interaction of the material life and the spiritual life of the human society that:
(b) all matter and mind, according to the Law of Impermanence, are in a constant state of change and motion, with the old ever decaying and dying and the new ever rising and growing, the whole state of flux ceaseless ad infinitum.
- in the same way the history of the human society is also in a constant state of change; all the material life and the spiritual life of that society are continuously and ceaselessly changing and moving;
- while the old social and political systems of the history of the human society are heading towards decay and death the new are in the process of birth and evolution;
- the Law of Constant Change is ever determining the history of the human society;
- the so-called "immutable" social systems and "just" economic systems which allow exploitation of man by .man (such as the slave system, the feudal system and the capitalist system) too cannot withstand the inexorable law of change;
- we who wish to promote the interests of the people should not, therefore, proceed from the premise of, nor should we rely on the social and political systems which can no longer serve society and which permit exploitation of man by man, nor on those classes and strata who are defending those systems;
- we must proceed from the premise of only such working people as the masses of peasants and industrial workers who have been serving the interests of society along the ages, and those intelligentsia and intellectuals who are serving the interests of society; on those people alone must we depend, to them alone must we be attached.
(c) In the study of the process of change in the material life and the spiritual life of the human society we must seriously study their system of correlation.
In this study it is necessary to always bear in mind the fact that man is the prime mover in both the material life and the spiritual life of his society.
Touching on the material life of that society, we wish to dwell mainly on the production and the means of production of materials necessary for human life.
In order to live man needs food, clothing, shelter and consumer goods.
To have these materials man must produce them.
In order to produce these materials man must have the means and instruments of production, and of economic life, and of livelihood.
Man must by his own imagination and efforts create these means and instruments of production. He must also have the know-how to use them. Only then can his society earn its livelihood.
Man's creative imagination and efforts form the spiritual life, and the instruments of production created by this imagination and efforts, the material life.
It is necessary to deal here with the productive forces and the relations of production.
(i) Man's ideas and imagination, his experiences and know-how, his skills and techniques, which form the spiritual life, and (ii) all the means of production which form the material life, together are termed the productive forces of the human society. These productive forces form a basic factor in the development of that society. However, their development alone cannot fulfil the livelihood of the society.
There must also exist production-relations which vitalise the development of the productive forces, because in the production of material goods man has to enter into mutual relationships.
- Man must enter into mutual relationships either by way of defined legal systems or by way of traditions and customs which are not so well-defined.
- Only within the bounds of such relations can the productive forces come to life, and the economic system of the human society operate.
- The productive forces and the production-relations Interact and are dependent on each other.
- Hence the study of the economic life of the human society demands the study of the correlation of the productive forces and the production-relations.
- In such a study we need to stress on the conditions of the production-relations, for without production-relations of man the economic life of the human society cannot exist; without social relations there can be no such thing as human society. We must therefore take an interest in the production-relations as well as the general social relations of man.
- In the study of the production-relations of man we must study two things: man's mutual relations within production on the one hand and man's relations with the means of production on the other. These two things are connected and correlated by way of reciprocity.
- Using the means of production man produces material goods not as isolated individuals but in mutual relationships, thus giving rise to relations of social life.
- What kinds of relationships does man enter into in such a process of socio-economic production which assumes the form of social relations?
Are they the relationships of the exploiter and the exploited? Or are they the relationships of cooperation and mutual help, free from the exploitation of man by man?
Who and which classes own the means of production in the economic life of the human society?
What kinds of relationships are there between those Who own the means and instruments of production*and those who do not?
The answers to these questions reveal the conditions of the social system of a given era of history.
- In any case a given generation has but to accept by inheritance the environment of both material life and spiritual life (economic, social, political, educational, customary, cultural) handed down from its predecessors.
- Man then tries to transform the environment thus inherited. By his own creative efforts he forges such changes in his inherited environment as he deems to be good.
- In this way new environments are created for the heritage of future generations.
- Whatever form or pattern the social system of a given period of history may assume, it is man's laws, traditions and customs, views, knowledge and experiences, cultures, arts and sciences, creative imagination, thoughts and ideas, policies of social relations, in brief the spiritual life of the preceding and the present periods, which leads to create that social system, and organises, constructs, and sustains it for a certain duration.
- And in consequence the material life and the new productive forces of the human society further develop.
And man's production-relations also change and develop correspondingly.
And consequently man's socio-economic system too changes and develops.
- In this way, the history of the human society, epochs in history, socio-economic systems (such as the primitive communal-land system, the slave system, the feudal system, the capitalist system and the socialist system) change and develop.
- Therefore, if we are to study the history of the human society objectively, we must do so by an analytical inquiry of the aforesaid principles of change and development.
- The programmes of our historic tasks too must be based upon such studies and analysis.
Furthermore we observe in our study of the underlying principles of the change process of the material life and spiritual life of the human society that:
(d) the changes in their condition pass from insignificant and imperceptible stages to significant and perceptible ones;
- gradual changes give place to rapid ones;
- the changes of a quantitative accumulation of causes unite in forming new qualitative results;
- in the same way, in the history of the human society, the transition of one epoch or social or economic system to another takes at? first the form of a gradual evolution, but at a certain stage of development when appropriate causal phenomena are in unity of correlation, a new epoch or system fundamentally different from its predecessor arises and grows; the old epoch dies out, and the new epoch comes into being;
- even while an old epoch or system is decaying or dying in a gradual way, there hatches and grows within its very framework, a new form (e.g., the capitalist economy has its genesis within the environment of the feudal system); such a gradual process of change is called an evolution;
- when an evolutionary process reaches a certain condition, point or stage, it passes into a revolution - a form of fundamental and entire change of dynamic momentum; historians call such changes social revolutions;
- the change called Social Revolution is thus only an effect and not a cause; whereas the evolutionary process is the cause of that revolutionary change;
- if we wish to truly understand revolutionary phenomena we must study their causal evolutions as they really are, and be able to draw lessons;
(e) It is all the more necessary here to study the change which assumes a revolutionary character.
- When the system of economic relations of a given age can no longer serve the interests of his society, man thinks of, searches for, and endeavours to establish new systems which can better serve his interests.
- Particularly, when the system of economic relations of a given age hampers the advancement of the economic status of the people, the progressive forces and those in favour of the status quo must collide in antagonism with each other, nation with nation, class with class, party with party, and state with state.
- At such times the ruling classes and strata defending the status quo oppress and restrict those who endeavour to establish new progressive economic relations.
- Then as a result, social antagonisms between the partisans of the old system and those of the new appear in various forms.
- These social antagonisms, depending on the time, place and conditions, sometimes assume a violent form and appear as violent movements.
Another instance is the basic contradiction inherent in capitalism. Huge industrial establishments, while being operated by the social labour of immense masses of workers, are owned as private property by a capitalist minority. Therein lies a basic conflict of interest and character, i.e. between the interest of the common weal and the socialistic character of the labouring masses on the one hand, and the self-seeking interest and individualistic character of the capitalist minority on the other. It is to solve this basic contradiction that the Socialist Revolution has emerged.
- Further, the problem of antagonism is solved either by a peaceful victory of a strong majority over a weak minority (e.g., the mass struggles without armed insurrections);
- or by an alliance of
the contending forces (e.g., the Romans and Teutons at the fall of the
- or by the common ruin of the contending forces (e.g., war between ancient Greek city-states, and the threat of a modern thermo nuclear war).
- In any case, in the course of a transition from an old epoch or system to a new, social antagonisms are inevitable to a greater or lesser extent.
- If we wish to solve the problems of social relations, we must endeavour to observe, and learn the causes of social antagonisms as they really are.
- Only then can social antagonisms of all sorts of a given human society, inter-class or inter-group or Inter-strata or inter-racial antagonism, be solved.
- We must not conceal social antagonisms, but seek means and ways to face and to solve them.
- Looking back on history we find that man has experienced various instances and forms of social antagonism, especially class antagonisms.
We find such distinct classes as slave and master in the age of the slave system, as serf and lord in that of the feudal. and as worker and capitalist in that of the capitalist, and also antagonisms of class interests in their economic relations.
- In the age of the slaves/stem the means of production of society were monopolised by the slave-owning class. The masses of slaves were exploited, and the fierce antagonisms that existed between the two classes roughly represented the content of the slave system.
- In the age of feudalism the means of production of society were monopolised by the feudal lords. The masses of serfs were exploited. The antagonisms between feudal lords and serfs and those between feudal lords and capitalist merchants roughly represented the content of the feudal society.
- In the age of capitalism the means of production are in the hands of the capitalist class de jure merely by virtue of the bourgeois legal system, and the class which holds no capital, i. e. the working class, is exploited. Continuous class struggles between capitalists and workers form the main feature of the capitalist system.
- In such wise, the antagonisms that exist between the interests of the exploiting classes on the one hand and those of the exploited on the other, form the picture shown off in bold relief by the history of man.
- Hence the history of man is not merely the history of states, of nations, or of wars and individuals, but also of class struggles.
- The socialist society based on justice, upon which we have set our hearts, is a prosperous and affluent society, free from exploitation or oppression of man by man, where there is no profiteering, where there is no class antagonism that threatens human welfare, and where man's physical well-being and spiritual happiness are assured.
- In a socialist society in which there are no exploiters conditions for class antagonisms will have been abolished.
- Class antagonisms will continue as long as the conditions for them exist.
- Class antagonisms must disappear ,if we abolish their conditions.
- When a socialist society is successfully established class antagonisms can no longer exist. The socialist economy is a new economic system which has the potency to abolish the conditions for class antagonisms.
Because the socialist economy will end such pernicious systems of economy as the slave system, feudalism, capitalism and fascism, which are the conditions for class antagonisms.
- The slave-owning economy and the feudal economy which hampered the progressive development of society have passed away.
- Capitalism which is in contradiction with the prosperity and progress of society has also either passed away or is dying out in some places. emerged for the
- The socialist economy has prosperity and progress of society.
- In a socialist society the character of the process of production, which is social in that the production is carried out by the social labour of the majority, and the character of ownership of the means of production, which too is social in that the ownership rests with the majority, are compatible with each other. Each is a condition for the other.
The magnitude of social production is immense, and it can only be carried out by social labour. (It is the condition of the objective life of production.)
Economic production and relations are natural only when they are managed and correlated on the policy that as labour in a production is social, ownership of the means of that production must also be social. (It is the demand of the subjective life of production.)
Operation of social enterprises by private ownership is unnatural and can only lead to social antagonisms.
- Socialism is a system of economy which is based on the correlated compatibility of the social character of the process of production and social ownership of the means of production.
- The socialist economy is planned in accordance with the economic laws of socialism, which are as follows:
(i) The Basic Law of giving maximum satisfaction to material, social and cultural needs of the whole nation;
(ii) The Law of Planned Proportional Development of the National Economy;
(iii) The Law of Contribution according to capability and Distribution according to work;
(iv) The Law of Steady Increase in the Productivity of Labour;
(v) The Law of Socialist Accumulation;
(vi) The Law of Continual Enhancement of the Standard of Living of the People along with Continual Expansion of Socialist Production on the basis of advancement in science and technology, enabling the people to enjoy in affluence the fruits and blossoms of the socio-economic system of socialism.
The Burmese Way to Socialism of our country is a way guided by these economic laws of socialism.
IV. THE DETERMINING ROLE OF THE WORKING PEOPLE
Egoism and Altruism
7. Man is egoistic and self-seeking by nature.
However, man cannot live alone.
In order to solve the problems of his livelihood and to protect himself from the forces of nature and other dangers, man has to enter into a life of social relations with others of his kind. (Here the married life of man and woman and the formation of family relations are also to be taken into consideration. Aspects of love and attachments between parent and child must also be taken into serious account.)
To serve his own interests man enters into relations with others of his kind who also have the same motive. And in so doing he unavoidably has to serve the interests/ of others and thereby to conform to the disciplines, customs, traditions and duties of his society.
Prompted by the very motive of self-interest man has the instinct, whenever opportunities arise, to free himself from the fetters of society and the difficulties of life. He also desires to live and act in freedom. This is man's nature.
The conditions of social life, in turn, however, restrain and keep within bounds man's self-aggrandizement and desire for freedom.
Just as man must serve social interests in order to serve his own, so also must he in his own interest enjoy his share of social benefits.
- Man's desire to live compels him to participate in the life of society which, after all, is but an association of individuals. Individual life is possible only because of social life.
- Self-interests and social interests are thus correlates, interacting in accordance with the principle of reciprocity.
- Our socialist economy shall be based on the dialectical unity of the individual and social interests of the citizens of the Union of Burma. Our socialist economy is a system which will achieve a harmony between the individual and the social interests of the people.
Man and His Material Environment
8 The life of social relations is dependent upon the conditions of livelihood (the conditions of the production of man's material and social needs); the life of social relations is caused and developed by production (livelihood).
- The life of man's social relations varies with the progression or retrogression of the conditions of production. The progression and retrogression of production are also determined by the positive and the negative conditions of social relations.
- Man who carries out the process of production enters into relationship with a material environment, that is, with the means of production; it is only on the basis of material means of production that man can carry out production.
- Man always thinks about, invents and creates for the betterment of the means and instruments of production and of the process of production as a whole.
- While inventing and improving the instruments of production and new productive enterprises, man does not pause to reflect what social results these improvements will lead to, but only thinks of securing some immediate and tangible advantages for himself.
- Owing to these newly invented and expanded instruments and enterprises of production new conditions of social and political life arise. Only then is man confronted with the activities of social revolution and social changes, and he is obliged to solve the problems arising from such changes.
- Just as small industries originating in feudal days had given rise to the social revolutions that brought forth capitalism, so also have expanded capitalist monopolies of production given rise to the political and economic movements (economic struggles of the working people) which demand a new system of socialist production-relations.
- Thus the changes and developments in the means and instruments of production which constitute the material life of production and those in social relations of production are correlated.
- We must therefore fully recognize that man and his material environment are interacting as correlates.
- In the process of interaction of man and his environment it is man who studies the physical laws of matter, and utilizing them, changes his material environment to his benefit. The changes in his material environment, in turn, give rise to changes, for better or worse, in his spiritual life and also, for better or worse, in his socio-economic life. And in this process of interaction it is man, the living and sentient being, who plays the prime role.
- It is the living, sentient and working people(peasants, industrial workers, intelligentsia and intellectuals) who study matter, utilize matter, and produce material instruments of production and material goods.
- It is therefore the working people who are the prime movers in the creation of the life, development and history of society.
- The main social force of humanity throughout history is the working people, and, therefore, the history of man is not the rajavurhsa of rajas (the history of kings) but the history of the working people.
Man and Socialist Planning
9. In socialist construction the significant role of man must be recognised.
- The socialist economy is a planned economy. (Planning is a factor that pertains to the spiritual life of human society whereas the means of production constitute the conditions of the material environment of that society.)
- It is man who is the author, the organiser and the implementor of socialist plans.
- It is man who has created, is creating and will create, systems of economic relations either for the good or for the bad of society. Man is the most determinant capital amongst all the productive forces of society.
- It is man who will change and transform the evil environment of a bad economic system.
- And it is man again who will create the happy environment of a good economic system.
- Socialist planning is planning which will abolish the evil material and social environment of society and create a good one instead. And man in the form of the working people is here to play the most dominating role.
- Man is the master and the captain of history. of man must
- The significance and importance therefore be fully recognised.
- Accordingly, the welfare of man shall be our main concern. The progress of man shall be our aspiration. And the material and spiritual happiness of man shall be the guide in all our activities.
- We firmly believe that programmes for the betterment of the human society can fully succeed only when all our actions-bodily, verbal and mental-are consistent.
- It is only by the united strength, initiative and leadership of those people who give precedence to the matter of man's welfare over all other things, who would do unto others as they would be done by, who base their human relations on the dignity of man, whose natural human weaknesses of covetousness, hate and pride are mild, and who are also true-hearted, that the socialist economy can be carried through.
- For good works good people are needed.
- Recruitment of good cadres is therefore the key to and the determinant of successful programmes.
The Leading Role of Socialists
10. In building a socialist society, the working people are the determining forces. So are the socialists who will guide the working people.
- It is therefore vitally important that socialists are able to lead the people in a correct way, and that they themselves remain unswervingly on the road to socialism.
- Man has a tendency to go astray. Aware as we are of such human frailties we must make our way of life a living reality, i.e. a socialist way of democratic life that can constantly check and control this evil tendency to lapse. Only then can every one have the right of using his own creative labour and initiative.
- The socialist way of democratic life brings the individual and social interests of man into harmony.
- Socialist democracy is a way of harmonising the interests of each individual and those of the society. In other words, it is a way of practice which by means of a dialectical method unites the will and desire of each individual and that of the society.
By the term dialectical method we mean an application of the practice of dialectical approach on the basis of our socialist programmes, a middle way of practice which is free from both the left and the right deviations.
- Here we may dwell a little on our socialist dialectical method.
Our dialectical method is the art of scientific approach to the phenomena of nature and society. It is an art and science of making a systematic and comprehensive study of the contradictions in nature and society such as opposite forms, opposite phenomena, diametrical extremes and antagonisms and putting them to good use.
The main functions of our dialectical method are as follows:
(i) With a heart for the general weal to honestly see nature, society, history of society, the life of social relations, social problems, and for that matter all phenomena, as they really are, with true objectivity, and analyse accordingly.
(ii) To study contradictions objectively and analytically; to study various forms of antagonism existing in contradictory things and phenomena; to avoid deviation towards either the left or the right extreme, and to systematically unite the positive potentialities of each opposite by a method which ensures progress; to study the features and forms of such unity and put them to positive use.
(iii) To formulate a guiding theory or a principle from the study of life, and test its validity by applying it to life and further developing it again on the basis of life; to maintain the correlative unity of theory and practice; to avoid dogmatism, deviation either to the left or to the right, subjectivism and bigotry.
(iv) To correlate the two different aspects of Truth-v/z. the Relative aspect of Truth, which is merely conventional but nevertheless called Truth only relatively to time, place and conditions, and the Absolute aspect of Truth, which is true in the ultimate sense, and immutable, regardless of time, place and conditions-and put them to good use.
- If socialists practise this dialectical method they will be free from making grave mistakes and going astray.
- The term socialist democracy includes the unity of the will and initiative of the individual man and group on the one hand and the centralised guidance of the society on the other. In a society which aspires for progress two features are necessary, viz. centralism resting with the State and the freedom of Initiative resting with individuals or the majority.
- Without centralism society will tend towards anarchism. Again without freedom of initiative of individuals society becomes mechanical and its progress is retarded.
- Just as centralism is essential for a stable State so is freedom of initiative necessary for individuals or groups and must be encouraged. Only then can a society progress and be prosperous and affluent.
- In encouraging the will and initiative of the people their spiritual life must also be improved.
- We believe in the maxim that wholesome morality is possible only when the stomach is full.
- The programme of the socialist economy is to establish a new peaceful and prosperous society by filling the stomach of every one and raising his moral standards.
- Just as it is true that wholesome morality is possible only on a full stomach so is it true that only when men of excellent morals are in the leadership the programme of filling stomachs (in other words the socialist programme) can be carried through.
Why is this so ? Because it is not easy to suppress and eradicate the evil tendencies of man.
In the study of the nature of man we find that man has inherent in himself inclinations towards such unwholesome volitions as insatiable greed.
- These unwholesome volitions cannot be killed by mere fulfilment of the needs of the material body.
Under the socialist system the waning and lessening of these unwholesome volitions may be possible only to a certain extent.
Even in a socialist society it is possible that men, tempted by lust and greed, enraged by hate and violence, blinded by pride and conceit, and overwhelmed with self-aggrandizement, will rear their heads as and when opportunities are favourable. This can cause the ruin of a socialist society.
The programme of building a socialist system which will fill the stomachs of the people must therefore include the betterment of the spiritual life of the people also.
- So long as man cannot control such of his evil proclivities as greed and selfishness, ill-will and violence, ignorance and folly, pride and conceit, which are inherent in the very nature of himself, Science, no matter how it strives even as a wizard or the master of the fate of the material world, will not be able to give a full and happy life to man.
- It is true that for man to be able to lead a happy life his physical needs must be fulfilled.
But this alone is not enough.
Psychical principles (such cultural values as morality, self-examination and self-criticism, treating others as we would like others to treat us and loving kindness ) which purify, control and study and examine the mind are necessarily to be extolled and nurtured.
- The socialist system must plan for the physical as well as the spiritual happiness of society.
- However keen we may be to establish good systems we must recognise that it is only by man that these systems will be established, and that sound execution of plans by man and his equally good intentions, and sound knowledge and ideas of man must play the main leading role in the construction of a good society.
- Time and again man has come face to face with those nation-building programmes which have been brought to naught by wantonness and faults of mind and mental factors.
- Here incidentally, we should objectively criticise the one-sided notions of some so-called "leftists". The notions and actions of some so-called "leftists" are subverting the socialist aim. How ? In what way are these leading towards just the reverse of the socialist aim ?
With their dogmatic views of vulgar materialism some so-called "leftists" appear to pay scant heed to mind and mental factors. Their way of thinking and doing things is wholly ensnared by their habitual "matter-matters-most" bias and outlook.
What are the consequences ?
The meaning of man is nullified. Man's mind and mental factors are devalued. They also take little account of sincerity, amity and fellow-feeling, morality and social ethics in human relations. These noble virtues have become a mere commonplace in all their mental, verbal, and bodily actions.
All these have the effect of restricting man's progress.
These so-called "leftists" at last have even fallen into a degeneracy of mutual suspicion.
Their relationships with the masses of working people who have come under their sway is nearly despotic. They restrict working masses in all their activities. They even look upon the working masses as robots.
The vulgar materialism of the so-called "leftists" is thus heading towards the reverse of the socialist aim. (The experiences of the leftist circles of Burma and of some countries may be critically reviewed to provide lessons.)
- We must ever be vigilant not to commit the erroneous left and right deviations of these so-called "leftists"
- The outlook of the capitalist class too is somewhat tantamount to vulgar materialism. The capitalists are flushed with pride of wealth, and they have come to reckon that by means of money and materials men can be made into mere pawns in their exploiting hands. They pay little regard to man's mental faculties, moral principles, will and feeling. They look upon human labour as a commodity of the market, and when they think of men they do so in terms of mere merchandise. The worst stage that this sort of capitalism will land in is fascism. This much for the capitalist vulgar materialism.
- The revolutionary ideas of socialist democracy which we have accepted run counter to the egoistic ideas and actions of the capitalists.
Similarly we must reject the left-and-right-deviative ideas and actions of many so-called "leftists" who have blundered.
- We are those who study things, one and all, with a critical eye. We accept things which should be accepted and discard those which should be discarded.
- We are just Burmese revolutionaries and socialists who are keeping pace with the life of history.
We shall critically observe, study and avail ourselves of the opportunities provided by such progressive ideas, theories and experiences at home and abroad, as are of real and practical value for the endurance of our mother-land the Union of Burma and for the well-being of the whole nation which is composed of indigenous racial groups, masses of peasants, industrial workers and working intelligentsia and intellectuals.
This is the true essence of the purpose and the
spirit of our
V. OUR ATTITUDE TO OUR OWN IDEOLOGY
The aforesaid form our ideology.
Our Party shall base its programmes and their execution on the philosophy of correlation of man and his material environment.
We do not, however, look upon our ideology as complete and final.
And for that matter , in our outlook we do not hold that any mundane idea or any social system is complete and final. Just as man has endeavoured to improve the social systems era by era throughout his history so he shall continue to do In future.
The philosophy of our Party is a purely mundane and human doctrine. It is neither religious nor supernal.
The ideology of our Party should not therefore be looked at from a religious or super-mundane point of view. It should be seen and studied only as a worldly matter.
Our Party will keep on striving to make our ideology more and more entire.
There is a beginning and an end in all phenomena: there is a beginning and an end with each and every single thing, with each and every single man, with each and every single group of men, with each and every single class, with each and every single race, with each and every single society, with each and every single nation, nay, with each and every single civilisation. All these are relevant truths.
Here we should like to present our Party's one interpretation of history.
It cannot be that man has only now acquired very high intellectual faculties and developed civilisations. Looking back on the life span of the world and its changes we can say that man has possibly attained, time and again, levels of civilisation much higher than those of our times. It is probable that the conditions that had developed and become similar to those available now must have come to ruin on account of a certain catastrophe which must have taken place in the whole world. All arts and sciences, all records, all machineries and nuclear instruments and such must have then come to rack and ruin, and those men who survived must have retrograded into the dark ages. Thereafter civilisations must have had to start all over again and progress step by step. We like to take as fables what we read about wonderful feats of engineering in ancient literature, but it is possible that these feats must have once been actually achieved, and men must have spoken about them, and hence these "fables" must have come to be handed down from generation to generation. It might be taken if we like, that man, living his life and ever aspiring on the basis of those "fables" and symbols spoken about by his ancient ancestors, and by his imagination and designs must have managed to progress to reach the present levels of civilisation.
This is only a hypothesis. We do not say that it must be true. We present ft merely as a thought-provoking idea. We present it just to bring the possibility home to our hearts that the achievements of man's civilisation can be destroyed by unprincipled vicious renegades.
We shall never as a party pass judgement, one way or another , on things which are beyond the grasp of our intellect and which do not have any bearing on our Party's, programmes.
In any case, whatever the beginning of man might be, the history of society is but the history of the bodily, verbal and mental activities, in all the three periods of time, the past, the present and the future, of man in whom Rupa and Nama (matter and mind) exist as correlates.
As for nature, however, it has neither beginning nor end. There is no division or department of time and space in nature. There is no alpha and omega of nature.
What man experiences, knows, feels, thinks, invents, designs, plans, and does are not forms or shapes without beginnings and ends. They are not absolute or ultimate truths. They are mere forms and shapes which remain true only as long as and as much as they are relative to time, place and causal conditions. They are just relative or conventional truths.
Things in this universe are transient and every period in its life Is all too brief.
Names are forgotten as fast as all things fade; history books become obsolete even as they are written. Founders of religions and ideologies, men of world renown-statesmen, generals, scientists, authors, kings-all are prone to this universal law of transience. They live and die as every other being on this earth; when they die, they leave behind a faint echo of their existence, but this echo does not resound forever. It is very unlikely that this echo will be heard for another ten thousand years. It is almost certain that it will have died out completely in another one hundred thousand years; and what an insignificant fraction of time even one hundred thousand years are ! All these, after all, are only relative truths.
Members of our Party must not therefore take the ideology and programmes of the Party to be final and complete beyond the need of amendment or alteration.
The programmes of our Party are mere relative truths. Nevertheless, for a man to work during his life-time for the welfare of fellow citizens, for that of the majority and for that of man in brotherhood is indeed a beatitude.
The Burmese Way to Socialism is the Programme of Beatitudes for the Society in the Union of Burma.
We shall constantly try our best to make the ideology and programme of the Party more and more entire. We shall constantly endeavour by critical reviews to cleanse them of errors. We shall constantly apply our minds to improve them.
Thus alone shall our Party leave to the future generations of the society in Burma worthy environments for their heritage.