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The first step in understanding Human Development is, understanding a HUMAN BEING and it’s environment, the NATURE, in which a Human being lives.

THE HUMAN BEING :

In a systems view, a complete human being is the sum of two distinct set of elements/sub-systems like the Tangibles and the Intangibles, where the Tangibles of the Human System refers to the BODY and the Intangibles refer to the SPIRIT, reflected by the Mind and Intellect of man.

Again, we need to understand the environment with which Man lives, the NATURE.

We can never understand the Human Race, in isolation, isolated from it’s NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, as it can not survive without the environment.

Now the NATURE is also composed of a set of Tangibles like Water, Air, Fire, Earth, sky etc and the Intangible is the Supreme Spirit / soul, reflected by the Principles, which govern the functioning of the world possible, like the relationships between the Earth, Water, Air, Fire and sky, which makes the season change, the day and night to happen.

Now looking at Man and the World from a Systemic perspective, Man is a sub-system, where NATURE is a System.

Thus to understand a HUMAN BEING completely, we need to understand,

  • a) the Human Body (tangible) and Soul / Spirit (Intangible) and
  • b) the relationship of Body and Spirit / Soul in a MAN,
  • c) the elements of nature like Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Sky etc. and the Supreme Soul / Spirit, reflected by the principles, which govern the functioning of the World.
  • d) the relationship between the Earth, the Fire, the Water, the sky (containing the gases) and the Supreme Spirit.
  • III. e) the relationship between MAN and the WORLD.

Relationship Matrix

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Any person in pursuit of knowledge can appreciate the large number of sciences (branches of knowledge) he has to study to have an in-depth understanding of the elements listed above.

When the Medical Sciences helps us understand primarily the dynamics of human body the sciences like Psychology, Philosophy etc. makes the man understand the intangible areas of human existence like Mind, Intellect and spirit etc

The sciences like Geography, Astronomy, Environment Sciences etc gives us insight about the tangibles that constitute the world, where as the Great Epics like the Geeta, the Vedas, the Bible, the Quaran gives us the knowledge about the Supreme Spirit and it’s relationship with the Spirit (life force) in a Man.

DEVELOPMENT (Human) :

“Development” is a word, which is commonly confused. From the Chambers* Twentieth Century Dictionary one finds the meaning of the word “Develop” as,

  • to bring out what is latent or potential in,
  • to cause to grow or advance,
  • to exploit the natural resources of (a region).

The above meanings of Development are not complete and workable.

Therefore, I would prefer to define Development as the “process of improvement in the QUALITY of LIFE or STANDARD of LIVING of the Human-beings”.

What is quality of Life ?

The Quality of Life of Human beings can be defined by relating it to the needs of the human beings.

Refering to the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where,
5th: the Self Actualization Needs : Self-development and Realisation.
4th: the Esteem Needs: Self-esteem, Recognition and Status,
3rd: the Social Needs : Sense of belonging, love,
2nd : the Safety Needs : Security and Protection,
1st : the Physiological Needs of Hunger, Thirst . (Food, Shelter, Clothing,)

In a conventional sense the level of Human Development is as per the level of the need satisfied in the need hierarchy.

Now if we look at the hierarchy of needs, the needs at the bottom of the hierarchy are satisfied by Tangible means like Food, Housing and Clothing, which can be bought by MONEY. The upper portion of the hierarchy can be satisfied by INTANGIBLES like Recognition, Status, Love, Sense of belonging etc.

Therefore it can be broadly said that the Human Development is possible through fulfillment of Human Needs, which can be achieved through a set of Tangibles and a set of Intangibles as discussed above.

Tangible vs Intangible needs.If we compare the Tangible and Intangible needs, we will find,

1. The tangible needs are common with animals and man, where as Intangible needs are unique to MAN.

2. The tangible needs are TEMPORARY, where as the Intangible needs are permanent. For example, after the food is eaten hunger is met for a given time, but after getting love, recognition, the need for love and recognition does not die, rather it may grow.

3. The tangible needs(Hunger) are satisfied through Tangible resources(food), where as intangible(Self-esteem) needs are satisfied through both Intangible resources (respect) and Tangible resources(sense of security from money).

4. The Tangible and Intangible needs are interchangeable depending on the VALUE SYSTEM of the concerned person .For example, for a given person with a given Value System, Intangible needs like Love and respect etc may be more important than good food, for another, good food and good dress may be more important than love and respect.

If one asks a question like,

Are the Intangible inputs for Human need satisfaction called for after the Tangible needs are satisfied ?

My answer to this question is a flat NO. This is because for a human being these needs in the hierarchy are all essentials ALWAYS, but only they are prioritised on the parameter of Resource Available for “survival” and the “Value System” of the person at the other end.

Mostly the needs are inter-changeable through the modification in the Value System within same resource available.

These Resources are a mix of Tangibles and Intangibles, but the Tangible content is higher at the lower end of the need hierarchy, which is close to the ANIMALS, with a lower expectation of Intangibles and the Intangible needs grow with the rise in need hierarchy.

Tangible and Intangible Resources.As the tangible needs are met with Tangible resources like food, housing, clothing etc which are commonly measurable with MONEY and which are available to man through MONEY, we can say that the Tangible needs are met with MONEY.

But the Intangible needs like, Social needs (love, sense of belonging), Self Esteem and Self Actualization are met through the SOCIETY.

Now one can appreciate that the Economic Systems in the world are developed around Monetary System as the Medium of Exchange for transaction of goods and services for satisfying tangible needs and Social Systems are developed to satisfy the Intangible needs of man, where the social transactions are conducted through the Social Value Systems.

Thus for Human Development through satisfaction of human needs (Tangible and Intangible), we have to focus on the Economic System and Social Systems simultaneously as both these systems are inter-changeable and inter-related.

Inter-relationship of the Economic System and Social System :
(a hypothetical case)
There are two Companies named X and Y.

Both the companies employ 100 employees and undertake same business and operate in same market conditions. Summarily, both the companies have similar Economic Systems.

But the difference is in terms of the Culture / Value System of the employees of X and Y. When in X, the culture is Positive reflected by Commitment to Company Goals, Mutually supportive relation, trust etc, the Culture / Values in Company Y is Negative, reflected by no respect for Company goals, no trust in each other.

The result, in Company X,

the Cost of Production is low, profitability is High, creating more employment, resulting in more respect for the employees in the society and re-inforcing more positive values.

In company Y, the result is, high cost of production due to absentism, theft, poor quality, breakage etc and ultimately the company goes in loss and loss of employment, labour un-rest. creating many other social problems like theft, crime etc.

Thus Positive Values re-enforced Positive Values through positive contributions to the Economic Operation, where as Negative Values, re-inforced Negative Values through negative contributions to Economic Systems.

Thus we can conclude that Positive Value Systems, is primary and crucial to the total Human Development Systems. Thus the Social System is primary to Economic Systems.

Thus the total human development is a composite whole of the developments those accrue in the physical forms through the exploitations of the natural resources and the understanding the abstract areas which are essential for human existence as well as the nature. The critical issues here are the relationships, the relationship between the physical form of the man with the physical aspects of nature and the spiritual aspects of man with the spiritual aspects of nature.

The sum-it-up the total human development as a system is linked to the universe as a total system. Thus for a comprehensive understanding of human development one has to appreciate,

a) The dynamics of human system
b) The dynamics of the universe
c) The relationship between the human system and the universe as a system.

The human system and the system of universe constitute to fundamental sub-systems
.
a) The tangible sub-system and
b) The in-tangible sub-system.

In case of human system the tangible sub-system is the human body and the in-tangible sub-system is the spirit reflected by the mind, the intellect etc. The system of the universe the tangibles sub-system refers to the natural resources like the Earth, the Occean, the Sun, the Air, the Sky etc. and the in-tangible sub-system of the universe refers to the Brahamam, reflected by human values. It can be appreciated that there is a strong bond between the human sub-system i.e., body with the ENVIRONMENT , the sub-system of nature and similarly between the spirit of the man with Parambrahamam.

Thus it can be proved that a human being is an integral element of the universe, and the development of the human being is only possible by managing the relationship of the human being with its environment i.e. the Universe, in terms of the tangibles like the body with nature and the in-tangibles like the spirit with the Parambrahamam. Before we understand the relationships we have to understand the sub-systems of both the human system and the universe as a system.

I am sure that no development planning is capable of delivering the goods any where in the world, with out respecting the Intangibles in the process starting with POSITIVE VALUE SYSTEM.