Take a metallic piece. In its virgin form, it won’t be of much use. Absence of certain properties of interest, as well as the presence of a few unnecessary ones, severely limits its usability. The properties of interest need to be added to it by various processes and addition of certain elements. Also, the material needs to undergo many and varied operations and procedures to remove from it, the properties that are not necessary. Depending on our need, to get the properties suitable to us, we need to alter the composition of the material, may be involving addition of many other elements. The end is that the original material is embedded with a host of other materials in various quantities and shapes. In fact we can easily say, it is the presence of the minority elements that gives the material, the necessary qualities, and makes it suitable to our need. Moreover, another property of even greater significance, the ability to counter deterioration, also is provided by none other than these additional elements.
The above example clearly shows that the minority is a matter of great significance, in the absence of which-
a) The material is of no use, and,
b) The material is of no life.
Can this be a universal law? What if we apply it in the above manner to human society as well? Can we compare the transactions of human society and the world in general with the behavior of material things?
Especially in view of many of the findings in the branch of science that deals with matter at sub-atomic scale, namely, quantum theory, I think it is worth an effort. In this case, let us compare the working of a society with material, say, a piece of metal. In such a case, we can consider the constituents of this metal as the atoms of the main element that make the metal piece and, other atoms, some of which that are added with purpose, and some others, merely are impurities.
When we compare our society to a piece of metal, the constituents of the metal piece, atoms of different elements, take position as people. And we need to compare people’s behavior to the behavior of atoms in a metal.
As clear from the above discussion on materials, we can say that the overall quality and usability of the piece of metal is dependent on the constituent atoms of different material in that metal. Which include the atoms of added elements. Similarly, when we consider a society, people of differing capacity, orientation, outlook, faith etc do play their part in the general nature and reputation of the society. We can take a society to be a monolith, constituted by many groups, each consisting of people having similar outlook. Each such group is capable of making some addition or alteration to the overall standing of the society. People who differ from the majority could therefore be thought of as necessary additive atoms that change the property of the material and bring it to the desired standard, thereby making it fit for its intended use.
In short, the overall character of the society is that of the people who form the majority. But the defining strength of a society is in its reputation, how others look up to it. This is exemplified by such epithets as receptive, progressive, violent, peaceful, loving etc. One or more of such properties do get applied to it as a result of the interactions among various minority groups and that within the whole populace. The majority thus gives society the structure and the minority gives the reputation.
We can easily see, certain additives succeeded in making iron, which would have deteriorated fully over time, into steel that can withstand the ravages of time. Similarly I think it is the minority constituents of a society, which is preventing it from natural disintegration.