Updated: May 21
Ideology is a system of ideas and ideals propounded by few and infused into the masses.
Philosophy is an insight into elements of truth, realised by one's own experience and study.
While ideology is for the masses, philosophy is for the individual. Ideology is borrowed from the outside. On the other hand philosophy while stimulated from the outside of our being it is realised from within.
Ideology's main function is to provide cohesion and direction to a group, in pursuit of, religious, political, social, cultural and economic objectives, as defined by the ideology's founders and leaders.
Once infected with an ideology, he or she becomes a member of a mob, an assembly of irrational individuals. An ideology can be placid or even rabid, but its adherents and followers are usually so blinded by their ideology, they remain intellectual and spiritual pygmies.
The more supremacist an ideology the greater its attraction, for it offers a secure bastion for insecure individuals to achieve wealth, power and influence without merit, but by simply belonging or following an ideological group. Followers of an Ideology are generally identical in their outlook and manner, just in different shades.
The ideologist believes that he or she is right, because they have taken birth or arrived on the perfect and ultimate path or even destination. Hence closed minded and arrogant, ideologists believe that, all those who disagree with their acquired ideology are wrong. Ideologists rarely discuss, they only argue endlessly, about 'who is right rather than what is right?'.
Being a seeker and constantly evolving, the philosopher on the other hand is open minded, and accepts that there are differing perspectives to which each individual is entitled. After all, philosophy is the product of man's insights at different levels into the same truth about the same reality.
As a result Ideology is intolerant and philosophy respectful.
To be successful, ideology must enforce ignorance and dull human consciousness within its followers. Ideology is at the core of every empire and war-cult be it religious, political or economic in nature.
Ideology by nature is masculine, therefore aggressive.
This is why ideologies are essential for dictators, monarchs, military regimes, theocracies etc. to survive, where a small minority easily dominate and rule over the majority.
In ideological societies, order is imposed, by regimentation and forceful implementation of laws, and severe punishment for non compliance.
The key factor is the over reliance on the use of fear. Fear is the fastest way to achieve results.
However the use of fear as an instrument of change and control has severe ill effects.
1. Fear requires to be instilled continuously and with increasing dosage.
2. Use of fear consumes great amounts of resources to control the masses and eventually becomes unsustainable.
3. Use of fear makes the oppressor themselves fearful and insecure.
4. Gains made by use of fear are easily reversible.
This is why empires come and go all the time.
History bears testimony to the fact, that, ideology has never produced a better, harmonious, or civilised world. Ideologically run states may produce more goods and services but their people are plagued by discontent and despair. Ideologies always produce a society that disrespects the environment and humanity, hence they can and will have only one outcome, 'they will wither and then suddenly perish'.
Philosophy in contrast is feminine by nature, clever, deceptively soft and respectful.
Always harbouring questions, philosophy seeks the truth, and this forms the soul of civilisations.
This is why philosophical societies tend to be more suited to democracies, because philosophy makes each individual sovereign. Societies created out of philosophies are all encompassing and the majority of the people manage themselves without any overlords, few laws and robust institutions.
Being democratic by nature, philosophical societies are populated with awakened individuals,
who are easy to manage but impossible to drive. There is so much commotion and chaos, but there is a manner to the madness.
Such societies based on trust, respect, open minded, free flow of information are progressive and healthy.
Reasonable people equally informed seldom disagree. Once decided after much discussion and debate the pace and achievements of civilisations and democracies are slow but sure, and they are almost impossible to reverse. That is why civilisations last so long, because they are 'of the people, by the people for the people'.
While ideologies are close ended and rigid, philosophy is open ended and adaptive.
Philosophy like all natural phenomenon develops slowly and evolves gradually, taking centuries. It appears weak, but it grows and expands continuously, evolving to accommodate new inputs and successfully adapting to changing situations.
Nothing in nature is permanent, and neither are we humans. Ideologies are unnatural and short lived. However, we clever humans, keep on finding flaws in earlier or existing ideologies, and then conceiving new ideologies to replace earlier failed ones, but never succeeding.
No doubt ideology is essential for an organisation and society to function effectively.
However when ideological pinnings dominate so excessively, they drive out all philosophical and rational thought and hollow out the consciousness. When that happens that society or organisation will decline and meet its doom.
The problem is that ideological movements always make rapid gains in the early stages, and flushed by success, that the ideology becomes so ingrained, it is impossible to change.
Why is this discussion so important now?
That my dear friends and readers is the subject of another article.