The Satvik, The Rajsik and The Tamsik. Primitive Communism, Feudalism and Capitalism.



gatherersA central point of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels material theory of history is that the mode of production of a society is the structural root and cause of that societies make up. So, when we produce things in a large, industrial setting where people are organised by a pyramid like hierarchical structure society will have a pyramid like hierarchical structure. Inequality of power in production becomes inequality of power both political and economic in the rest of society. This is also an essential part of the Satvik/Rajsik/Tamsik trichotomy of farming that we have talked about so much in the sense it is a recognition that how we work and how we produce controls how we live in all ways.In the Tamsik way is farming which is: ‘intensely destructive of land, livelihood, community and the ecosystem generally’ where a small group exploits the land, the world, and the majority of people. Tamsik process yield a huge amount, which could and do feed a huge amount of people, but the production process is as such that it deprives and destroys, and creates a negative structure for society. In the way of ‘Rajsik’ we see ‘farming through controlling land and controlling people’ which, socially, has very similar results to Tamsik. But in Satvik where ‘all techniques are supposed to be gentle, cooperative and cohesive with the soil and nature’ and such work has a wider consequence for the people and their society:


“Sattvic individuals always work for the welfare of their Future, they are sattvic because they think about the consequences of their actions. They work hard to evolve their spirit to a soul. They are disciplined through logic and continuously working at being more natural and normal. They effortlessly increase their intelligence by being more in tune with nature and the Pure Principles of the Multiverse. They live life enlightened by the fact of death and afterlife, so their lives are a preparation for that . A sattvic individual can be recognized if their mind, speech and actions synchronize: manasa, vacha, karmana are the three Sanskrit words used to describe such a state.” Wikipedia


The key point is that if production is undertaken on a small scale cooperatively with respect for each other and the environment, then our basic relations to each other will be more equal, more respectful, just more positive and a better basis for society. This is what Marx and Engles saw in all of history, and specifically in the pre-feudal era that they called ‘primitive communism’.



Primitive Communism.

Before feudal relations developed, feudal relations that very much represent the ‘Rajsik’ philosophy and mode of production where political power over large numbers of people was used to exploit land and resources on a large scale, and consequently destroyed the social ties and social society that comes from cooperative labour. Marx and Engles, especially Friedrich Engles, wrote extensively on hunter gatherer societies, making bold claims about their structural equality and cooperative nature. Such was the difference of the society created by the social economic relations in hunter gatherer situations that the pre-feudal world described as taking place ‘before class divisions arose‘. In a setting where smaller groups are working together to achieve common goals, where production is undertaken communally and product is owned communally mass inequality, mass war, mass oppression, they are all far less likely or at least not inherent in the very mode of production, as is the cass with class based modes of production, the feudal and the capitalist, the Rajsik and the Tamsik. Marx and Engles view of pre-feudal, pre-class relations, hunter gatherer society is dismissed by some as rosy eyes, romantic and idielistic, and this criticism would be believable if it was just their idea, or just the idea of a few Marxists or a few antrhopologists. But, as the anthropologist Dr Peter Grey writes:


“One anthropologist after another has been amazed by the degree of equality, individual autonomy, indulgent treatment of children, cooperation, and sharing in the hunter-gatherer culture that he or she studied.” Dr Peter Grey ‘How hunter-gatherers maintained their egalitarian ways.’

Peter Gray


My point here, which I’m making in a rambling and round about way, is that how we produce and how we farm matters. If we do it communally, sharing in the work and sharing in the product (hunter gatherer societies actually tend not to have a word for ‘work’ as no distinction was made between work time and leisure time) we have a more Sattvic existence. A more gratifying, relaxing and fulfilling life. It’s all there.




Posted by: John on