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Nature-Man-Spirit Complex: A Constant?

A Note

(Published: 1981)

THE NATURE-MAN-SPIRIT Complex was originally conceived by L P Vidyarthi (1963) as a theoretical and methodological model to describe the soul of the culture of a hill tribe of Bihar - the Maler. This was later on re-examined by other researchers in the context of different tribes living in different ecological settings. They found the tool useful and true.

The whole culture has been divided into three parts - Nature, Man, Spirit - which in turn are closely inter-related, inter-dependent, inter-woven, and interacting, so much so that the existence of one simply cannot be thought of in the absence of another. Each division, among themselves, comprises every aspect, every component of culture and, Viewed as a whole - as a complex - gives the total and comprehensive picture of the culture in its proper perspective. Or, mathematically speaking, the sum product of all the three components gives the value of total culture, which always remains constant.


Nature X Man X Spirit = Culture

Let us see how

It is established that every change in any one component, any aspect, any trait in a complex, there will be a corresponding change in other components, other aspects, other traits too.

In the past Nature, the interaction between man and his environment is dealt with. That is, how man exploits the environment with the help of whatever productive technology he has at his command. The lower the efficiency of this technology, the lesser will be the quantum of energy produced, and thus, the more dependent upon nature man will be. So the dependence of man upon nature is directly related to the technology he employs. With every change in the productive technology there will be a corresponding change in man's dependence upon environment and this will be inversely proportional.

If technology is t
and dependence upon environment is e
then t α 1/e......... (1)

Now, with every change in the relationship between man and his environment there is a change in the man to man relationship. When the technology increases, his energy-exploiting capabilities increase, his food-supply becomes more secure, sure and sustained. Specialization of labour appears. Man, who was self dependent for all his needs, has now to depend upon others. His needs increase too. Thus, though man becomes less dependent upon environment, his dependence upon other men increases. This is also inversely proportional.

If man's dependence upon man is r
e α 1/r................ (2)

Again, with every change in man's relationship with his environment and also in the man to man relationship, there is a corresponding change in man's relationship with his super-natural world or his gods and spirits. His beliefs change, many of his religious practices die out. He is less afraid of God, he is less dependent upon God.

if dependence upon God is g

t α 1/g................ (3)


r α 1/g................. (4)

Now, by (1), (2), (3), (4)

t α 1/e - t x e = k1
e α 1/r - e x r = k2
r α 1/g - r x g = k3
g α 1/t - g x t = k4
t x e x r x g = K (a constant)

Thus, the sum product of all the components of culture always remains constant, be it a hunting and gathering society or a highly industrialised one.

The Nature - Man - Spirit Complex always remains constant.

So, if it is possible to gauge or measure the value of t, e, r and g, it will be possible to find out the value of K. And once the value of K is determined it will be possible to assess the level of a given time in future.