How the West is Adopting a Caste System
This essay is not supposed to appeal to the populist. I am speaking only to a select few who would consider themselves to be ‘free thinkers’. A free thinker is simply someone who does not want to shut down views and opinions that cause offense. And it is also someone who is able to speak the truth regardless of whether or not it will offend the majority of society, leading to social ostracisation. If we were living in a Hindu caste system, then I would be speaking to the dark-skinned Chandala, the lowest of the low, the untouchables. For it is only those in the depths and in the darkness who know what are the origins, the roots, the underlying structure, that sustain and replenish the Tree of Life.
In Aldous Huxley’s prescient 1932 dystopian novel Brave New World, humanity is subjected to a silent crisis. This crisis is built into every facet of society so that its citizens participate in it and help sustain it but they do not even notice it, as if it were simply part of the air that they breathe. Humans are genetically engineered, but not everyone is born with the same level of intelligence (IQ). The people with the highest IQ are told that they are the ‘Alphas,’ and they are at the top of the hierarchy and so they have certain privileges that those with a lower intelligence do not have. There are the Betas, Gammas and Deltas, each with their own inborn and unchangeable level of intelligence and hence each have their own specific place in society. Now, this caste system exists only because certain values and ideas are indoctrinated into the population through the education system, beginning from infancy and all the way through adolescence. Infants are made to listen to a recording, day and night, repeating the words: ‘you are an Alpha, you are above the Betas, Gammas and Deltas because you are more intelligent,’ or ‘you are a Beta, you are above the Gammas and Deltas, but you are below the Alphas,’ and so on. The important point here is that corruption does not lie in the fact that intelligence, which is biological, presents a natural hierarchy onto society, but what is corrupt is the fact that society over-values intelligence, is fixated on it and creates a caste system based on it. Intelligence is not a social construction, but the caste system is a social construction, which is upheld by the people although it does not have to be. The caste system is bad because it creates a society where humans are not seen as fully human. Humans are much more valuable than a single facet of their identity can ever represent. We are much more valuable than even the aggregate of all of our social and personal identities can ever represent.
This novel is important because it foreshadows the present. I think most readers of this essay can see that today’s society over-values group identity. There is a fixation on race, gender and sexual orientation, but at the same time there is a caste system being developed based on these identities. This caste system is pernicious and devilishly subtle. The ‘modern liberal’ will say, yes, the caste system is real, and it’s the fact that white people are on top, and other ethnicities are at the bottom of the social hierarchy and are therefore oppressed and they must liberate themselves. You see, this is not a description of the caste system itself, it is in fact the narrative which is sustaining the true caste system. The true caste system, by its definition does not want revolution, it wants us to keep the program running, to keep running ‘round the hamster wheel. There is no longer any ‘racial oppression’. There is racism, but there is no longer any systemic racial oppression, but because, if say, you were born as a minority in the West, you must keep banging the drum, you must feel oppressed, and you must fight injustice wherever you find it — that is the caste to which you belong to, the caste which endlessly must fight for ‘equality and justice’ on behalf of your group identity. If you are gay you must fight homophobia, if you are trans you must fight transphobia and so on. The primary reason as to why we are being placed into castes and not anything else is because castes do not change. They are inborn and unchangeable. This is your caste and social position from womb to tomb. The hope of some kind of future or revolution in ‘gender, sexual and racial’ liberation and equality is false. Society does not want revolution, it wants stability, to keep the cogs turning, and it will create whatever kind of false narrative it can to maintain itself. It turns out that in the postmodern era, what really appeases most of us is not just panem et circenses, but instead, eternal, meaningless and pointless struggle for ‘equality, diversity, inclusivity’ etc.
No foreigner coming into the West thinks that they are going into it to liberate it. For them, the West is liberation, it is equality. And only the very naive amongst us do not see that. Children in the West, and throughout their adolescence and especially into their college/university years are taught about diversity, equality and inclusivity, meaningless words, yet paradoxically, we all know ‘kind-of-sort-of’ what they mean. Especially in the United States, the education system has become simply indoctrination into what I will call the postmodern caste system. Much like how the hypnopedia techniques in Brave New World were used to indoctrinate their citizens, we hear a similar repetition of slogans and false statements coming from any institution that is able to serve as a mouthpiece for society. White men hear: ‘you are a white man and you were born with privilege (and therefore you are at the top of the hierarchy), your role is to feel guilty about your privilege, and you must pity the castes below you,’ the white woman hears: ‘you are a white woman, you are above every other minority, but you are second only to white men because you are still a woman and women have been historically oppressed, your social role is to have ‘empathy’ for the castes below you and to fight the oppression of women by men.’ These types of statements should not just sound familiar to you. They have been repeated again and again, in a variety of ways, subtle and non subtle, to the point where the average person, unconscious of what is going on, will think that these statements ‘suddenly appeared’ in his mind, as if it were the truth, and as if they were his own convictions. And so, eventually, the caste system becomes entrenched, simply as an idea in our minds, not as an actual reality. This is not to say that race and sexuality are not realities, but what I am saying is that these things have become interpreted and manipulated by society in a crooked way. The horror and iniquity of the caste system is that it suggests that our very existence is predicated on group identity. Our humanity is being robbed from us and the majority of people do not even notice.
There is no need to despair, however, since there are pockets of resistance here and there, and as a lifelong pessimist, I still believe that what is genuinely good will eventually prevail. At the core of this issue is an ancient philosophical and religious problem regarding the soul. Only the ‘freest and most open-minded’ of us will consider the soul without any of our modern prejudices, nor do we have to take seriously the dogmatic definitions of its past. The soul or spirit would be synonymous to the modern terms, namely, life or consciousness. The point of the soul is not that it ‘continues into the next life,’ and this will never be taken seriously in modernity anyway. What the soul is, is ‘breath’. It is the breath of life, that which animates matter; in modern terms, it is that which forms, from matter, the emergence of life and consciousness. The person who sees himself and his entire being as simply an aggregate of his personal and social identities, who is aggrieved, who is fixated on these identities, can only ever be a clay figurine to be moulded by society, and a political puppet fighting for some futile pseudo-revolutionary cause. He is not truly living. He is simply a mound of psychological ‘matter’ waiting to be animated by that transcendent principle, the soul, or consciousness. Without this transcendent principle, we can only ever be matter (ie., in the physical and psychological sense). The soul or rather, the transcendent principle is concerned with what matters. It is this transcendent principle which exists beyond personal and social identity, that imbues humanity with genuine life. Only the psychopaths among us would say that a newborn taking its first breaths of life ‘does not matter’. The truth is that life matters. Our own conscious awareness, that is, our experience matters. If we continue to stratify society into castes based on collective identities, we will soon forget about the value of the soul of the individual, and consequently, we will have lost our humanity.