Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 19th, 2018

Institution Vs Individual


Institution Vs Individual

The incapacity of human beings to live alone on their own has made them live in the form of groups. The interdependence of human beings has made them interact and communicate with one another and has brought them closer. This phenomenon has led to the formation of societies, wherein people live with co-operation and assistance of fellow beings. Aristotle had rightly observed, "Man is a social animal." He can not be otherwise; therefore, there have been collective efforts in order to guarantee survival and to excel in life.

There are different forms of collective efforts in human society – the society itself being the largest of such endeavors; they may include groups, syndicates, organizations, associations, institutions, religions and many others. They can either be intentional or unintentional. The intentional ones are created by the members for a particular purpose and have definite structure and other attributes which are intentionally designed; they can also be called as formal ones, while the unintentional ones are informal, and mostly formed as the result of general social interaction and behavior.

Sociology calls most of these collective efforts as institutions; like, the institutions in sociology include family, marriage, sports, and even religion. The basic requirement for an institution, as per sociological definitions, is that the collective effort should be directed towards a common goal, and the nature of this goal may differ from institution to institution; like they may be formed for educational, economic, social, religious, recreational or political purposes.

In the modern world of ours the institutions have a very imperative role to play. The more human beings have become organized in their endeavors, the more they have been institutionalized. The institutions have assisted human beings in myriads of ways. It is because of the institutions that human beings have been able to achieve great milestones, which if had been strived for individually, could never have been achieved. The modern countries of the world have well-developed institutions that have been supporting them to a great extent.

The institutions, that are well-managed, multiply the human capacities and energy and converge them to a focal point. Therefore, the achievement of incentives becomes much feasible. It is through the condition of the institution and their mutual interaction that the nature of a society is judged to a certain extent. The economist, sociologists and political scientists in the modern world study the role and the interaction of the institutions thoroughly to understand the prevailing and the upcoming scenario in their disciplines.

Institutions basically multiplied in the European countries after the Industrial Revolution. The growing demands of the industries and their scope of work and effect gave rise to so many institutions. Further, it was not possible for individuals to control the large industries, economic organizations and political platform without collective efforts. With the rise of Capitalism in Europe the number of private companies and businesses had large strides and further added to the number of institutions existing in the society.

Today, the European countries and America are dominantly occupied by private and public institutions of various kinds. But the evolution of the institutions in Europe has not been very smooth. Every now and then, there have been critics who have vehemently opposed the institutions and their roles in the society. The earlier institutions, which lacked the modern theories of management suffered from serious drawbacks. One of the most dominant critics of the institutions of earlier Europe was Charles Dickens – the well-known English Novelist.

He through his novels, like Oliver Twist and Hard Times tried to depict the ugly influences of institutions on human character. Though it is hard to sustain the same sort of criticism for the modern institutions, there have been serious discussions regarding competition between institutions and individuals, and the influences of institutions on individuals and vice versa. There are critics who believe that the institutions are responsible for deteriorating an individual's character and seizing his/her liberty.

On the other hand there are critics who believe that institutions are meant to condition human behavior so that it must not go against the political and social arrangements in the society. They are basically meant to counter revolutions and turn individuals in to docile beings, who accept every rule and regulation without much opposition and maintain the status quo which goes in the favor of the ruling elite. In fact, there have been such institutions and there are many at the moment that can really spoil human character and ultimately corrupt human societies, but the importance of well-managed and well-designed institutions can never be neglected and must not be neglected in the countries that believe in collective human efforts. Mostly the democratic countries have the tendency to accept the institutions and nourish them to a great extend and that has been one of the reasons of their success in their social, political and economic lives.

As far as countries like Afghanistan are concerned, the institutions here have not been able to develop in the modern sense of the word. Being dominantly tribal, these countries have their institutions under the control of few individuals. The land lords, tribal and religious leaders hijack the institutions for their own self- centered purposes and institutions do nothing more than serving their demands. That is exactly what is going on in our country. The tribal leaders have the complete authority, which they mostly inherit from their ancestors.

The same attitude has even crept into our public and social institutions. Even the political institutions which claim to function in a democratic system are dominated by the individuals. The political parties do not establish their motto in collaboration with the common members of the party rather they are established by few leaders in their cozy abodes. Though the government claims that it has been formed through the votes of the people, it hardly represents the people as a whole. It just fulfills the egocentric demands of the few who are on the top. The true democracy demands that the political institutions should be run on the principles of providing maximum good to the largest number of people who are a part of it, but our institutions are just on the contrary.

It should be carefully noted that we would not be able to make achievements towards a modern, democratic and better society unless we strengthen our institutions, and make them free from individual dominance based on tribal norms and values. An institution should always be given priority over an individual as far as the greater good of large number of people is guaranteed.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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