Why do we need the society?

Acharya Prashant
6 min readNov 9, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question: I am feeling that society is a curse. Why do we need the society?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Nothing is a curse; nothing is a curse. The only curse is to ‘not know’. The only curse is ignorance, and where does this ignorance lie? Who is ignorant- the society or the individual? Where does ignorance lie?

Society as a whole does not have its collective ignorance; the person is ignorant.

It is our stupidity that shows up as the stupidity of the society.

A group, a collection of ignorant individuals will make for an ignorant society. Do you see this? An ignorant individual — even if given the so-called best of circumstances and the most enlightening of societies — will still find that he is not at peace, he will still feel that he is being exploited. And he will say everything is a curse. Society cannot harm you at all if you are aware. And if you are unaware, then those around you even with the best of intentions, will be of very little help to you. You will end up getting harmed! They aren’t harming you, yet you will still get harmed.

Why do you find society to be the curse? How many of you find something problematic with society? How many of you sometimes feel like rebelling against society? Yes? I see a few hands but I suppose a few more would certainly be there, yes? And this is not something that is unique to you. Every individual in this modern society at some or the other point feels like breaking all the rules and declaring himself free! “I do not want to follow all these worldly bondages, social patterns, the dogmas! I am free. This world exploits me and I don’t like it”. Don’t you feel like this at times?

Nobody can exploit you against your will, nothing bad can happen to you if you do not allow it to!

You cannot be exploited without your consent. No curse can fall upon you unless you invite it.

I never tire of telling this small story: Once I was traveling on a long-distance train which started from Delhi, the next whole day it travels, and on the third day, reaches its destination. On the first day in my coach, a lady enters and sits on the birth in front of me, and she looks…

Acharya Prashant