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Equality has become an institution in France, since the French Revolution.
If there is anywhere that the concept of Equality is fully in play and in practice, it is in France. No servant could be called a servant in America, even in earlier centuries. In many households, they sit at the table with family members. Surely it is the spirit of equality. This is the equality of the social man. A man who is successful, it does not matter how, is one the society approves of in America. It is the psychological man, the individual, who is accorded equal status in France. The French Revolution came to establish liberty. The French wisely recognised that liberty will richly flower in the context of equality. There is a further concept of fraternity.
The French are intellectual. The French Institute and the Sorbonne University have held aloft the intellectual flag of eminence for long. Still, it is true. The French language is far more precise than Spanish or English by virtue of its being an intellectual language. Mental development in one prevents anyone else from treating him unequally. Thus the Frenchman has come into his own. This national milieu is the consequence of the French Revolution. These additional factors enabled France to easily institutionalise human equality better than in America.
Organisation and institution are not concepts of one level or one type. They admit grades by virtue of their size, complexity, and age. Honour is a pronounced British value, though it was original arose because men were not sufficiently literate to write out a receipt in trade. Incapable of writing a receipt quickly, they resorted to the value of honour that has come to stay. This value has a personal, commercial, national, political amplitude. In 1947 when Lord Mountbatten agreed to accept the post of Viceroy in Delhi, British Prime Minister Attlee asked him how he was to overcome the objections of Winston Churchill in the House of Lords. Mountbatten told him that he had already obtained Churchill’s consent. When Attlee remained unconvinced, Mountbatten assured him that ‘a word given is sacred’. It proved to be true.
As honour spreads horizontally and vertically, institutions of Liberty and Equality too extend in several nations. Only in France its institutionalisation has touched its native heights.
We know scientific thinking is a paramount mental value of the West. Science has not been merely institutionalised there; it has gone to a higher level of value.
Where Man is mentally undeveloped, rather before the birth of Mind in a community, Superstition was institutionalised in that community. Mind is a bar to a fertile soil of rich, illusive, imaginative superstition. Incidentally we do not see that our anthropomorphic image of God is a superstition. To such people ‘God speaks in their language’! Even in the most backward autocratic nations, Man has the freedom of mobility, freedom to choose his profession, but it is a far cry from liberty becoming institutionalised.