In Indian philosophy, there is an interesting relation called inherence ( समवाय), which is defined as the inseparable relation between two items, like substance and quality, universal and particular and so on. I would like to reflect on the inherence existing between the universal and particular.
We as humans have a commonality or universality, which is normally termed as humanity. (Now in philosophy, there are different view points about the existence of Universals, but we won’t get into it). Indian philosophy would call the relationship between humanity and each humans as inherence, which is an inseparable relationship.
When I see many things happening in the world, we doubt whether humans have lost the meaning of humanity. There is lynching of humans in the name of holy cow; there is exploitation of the poor by various people; the state of vulnerables (it could be minority, women, so-called low castes) ; treatment meted out to refugees in different parts of the world. (Ocassionally when I reflect on my thinking, I feel selfishness has crept too much into me that I forget that I am a human, a person with others). As a human, I have humanness and humanity. But can I define it as I like?? Do I remain human with my own definition of humanity or humanness?
Just as humanity, other Universals are being redefined. It is true that they don’t and can’t have a perfect definition; but the present day definitions are going against the essence of that particular things. This is true with the definition of Universals like Christian, Hindu, Muslim.. they occasionally don’t reflect the ideals of their holy books or founders..
Another problematic universal is the definition of a patriotic especially when right wing nationalism is spreading all over. Am I supposed to be loyal to the ideals of a country or to the present governments? Bloggers being arrested in Vietnam for supposedly anti- government posts, people being harassed and trolled for opposing governments. There is an inseparable relation between me and universal of Indian national. Should we let the power and money define what it means to be truly Indian or has the constitution spoken about it?
May be I am a Christian, Indian and human. Same way for you all have your own identities. There is inherence between me and them. But who has the right and authority to define those identities. It is not just me, but not others too. It is an inter-subjective venture with a certain sense of objectivity and truth.