May 7, 2013

Subsume all their Shibboleths

In an intellectual competition, the goal is not just to find truth, but also to achieve certain political aims, such as winning over another person's mind and heart, or splitting the opposition and putting them at cross-purposes. In comparing two ideas, how does one not get caught in a false dichotomy? The practice of purva-paksha is healthy and encourages a shift in the learner's understanding - but it is not immune to false dichotomy, and a siddhanta that is in contradiction to its Other is not an uncommon outcome. That could leave the Other just where it is, without winning it over and putting it into a new perspective as part of the Self.

The dialectic process is not immune to false dichotomies because of the way false data works within the psyche. As indicated in an earlier blogpost 'Psychohistory vs. Dumb Dialectics': "It is an epistemological observation that if the human mind is first possessed of an untruth, and is then confronted with a truer piece of data (true w.r.t the self), then it first rejects the new data via a process of Othering. Any synthesis subsequently formed is of less truth value than the newly introduced data, though it may be better than the untrue figment that was used as the starting point."

Therefore, first of all there is a necessity for a sound epistemic technique to strip false data as a prerequisite to a selection of importances from a stream of data. If I understand correctly, the purva-paksha offered in the formative phases of the 'Hindutva' worldview by thinkers such as Rajiv Malhotra ji are such an attempt at stripping false data, mostly by a process of Othering, and by working at the points of greatest strain or inability in the body politic. 

Not unexpectedly, one finds that carping "intellectuals" like to point out that this process of Othering is rather divisive. They fail to take a process view of things, and want to pigeonhole 'Hindutva' into a 'rightist' or 'leftist' paradigm upon arrival. This is rather silly, considering the vast and deep tradition that 'Hindutva' seeks to serve. 'Hindutva' as a relative of the word 'Sindhu' itself means oceanic. And its seed is 'Veda' - knowingness.

So then, what sort of cognition does Veda look forward to as a desirable outcome of contemplation? Agni (Fire) is the "first among worshipables", the first among the 33 Divinities, the "One who gathers all the others." In RigVeda 1.1.4 we find as per Swami Dayananda Saraswati's translation and interpretation:

"O Agni, only that sacrifice goes to the Divinities which is of knowledge that you have encompassed on all sides and pervaded through and through, after it is free of schism and contradiction."
One operative word in the above mantra is vishwa-taH, signifying a universality that encompasses the world of knowledge. Therefore, a false knowingness that sets up one "truer" or "greater" fetish to loom over another token idea is in itself in violent opposition and contradiction to the Other - even if it shows itself to be complete and consistent in itself, on its own arbitrary self-referential authority. Such would not be a sacrifice of knowledge fit to reach the Gods. It may be eulogized in the puerile antics between idol-breaker and idol-maker, nothing more. 

These themselves may be incomplete phases in a process (for there is nothing inherently wrong with violence), but usually they aren't. A stellar example of when it is the case would be that of Bhai Kanhaiya, disciple of Guru Tegh Bahadur. On the battlefield at Anandpur Sahib, he would fight against the Islamists, and then walk around serving water to the thirsty among the wounded and the dying. It dismayed many of his fellow-disciples that he was serving water to enemy wounded as much as to his own. When they reported this to the Guru, he smiled approvingly, for he must have known that his sacrifice was reaching the Divinities and wasn't merely a fratricidal orgy between earthlings. Brother Kanhaiya simply said in his defence that he saw his Guru's light reflected in every fallen soldier, enemy or his own. History is witness that Brother Kanhaiya's goat-skin water-pouch probably did more to establish the line between Dharma and Adharma that day than did his sword. 

But intellectually, in terms of logic, how does one describe this universalism better? After first stripping false data via Othering followed by a relentless criticism of its hypocrisies, one must then subsume its remaining truth into one's own siddhanta. This can be done by demonstrating how what is true in it is a special case of one's own model, which is free from its limitations. An example would be how Einstein's theory of Relativity can show that Newtonian mechanics are a special case of its own equations at speeds much slower than the speed of light.

The universalism of the Veda is truly an intellectual universalism, while a subjective affective adherence to a token is a matter of free choice and personal preference (ishta). Whereas the much-touted "universalism" of the Abrahamic systems is actually a totalitarianism.

If Hindutva has to truly evolve and occupy both sides of the aisle, then it has to develop coherence in its worldview - so that there is only a soft diversity between its opposing parties rather than a hard diversity that threatens the affinity and integrity of its civilization. Even the founding fathers of the United States had envisioned only a soft diversity as beneficial, rather than a hard one.

As an example, I would take this excellent blogpost at Indosphere: Rejecting the Dialectic of Western Materialism. In it, the author exposes the historical origins of the favourite shibboleths and obsessions of different strands of Western political and social philosophy, and rejects them as the neuroses they truly are. He then rejects the silly and typical attempts by the Other (including Oxfart-educated Indians who are more-or-less deracinated from Hindu civilization) to label or force-fit Indic philosophical or political movements into this Western framework:

I would caution very strongly against applying such categories as "Capitalist", "Socialist", "Liberal", or even "Right-wing" and "Left-wing" to anything within the Indian system. Not just because they are foreign, but because the very assumptions from which these classifications derive are completely disjointed from an Indian worldview. 
For example, there is a pernicious idea that the traditional Vaishya Dharma, or the relationship of Indian mercantile classes to wealth, is essentially "capitalist." This could not be further from the truth. "Capitalism" is a form of sophistry developed by the apologist Adam Smith to philosophically justify the accumulation of wealth as a natural outcome of Protestant work ethic, in the face of pre-existing memes in Western materialism that glorified poverty. Socialism is a response to Capitalism that re-establishes the glorification of poverty without the earlier tone of overt religiosity. This entire back-and-forth proceeds across a playing field whose geography is dictated by the contours of Western Materialism. The precepts of Western Materialism themselves could not be further removed from the way in which Vaishya Dharma regards the concepts of wealth and prosperity. 
Indian Vaishya Dharma is nothing at all like Capitalism, because in our view, the accumulation of wealth is itself a task consonant with divinity; there is no sophistry required, and nothing to apologize for. To cast one thing in the mold of the other, is like asking Pt. Bhimsen Joshi to sing Raga Maalkauns in "F sharp minor, allegro moderato". It's meaningless.

This is an excellent method to put the Other's affective obsessions in their right place, and then introduce a cleaner, more refined terminology in Sanskrit to put an area of life and living in perspective. 

Further, in order to round off that argument, I would add the following to show that the sentiment of compassion and charity, as well as the glorification of poverty does find a place within the Indosphere, though in a far more well-rounded context. One point that occurred to me was that the Indic philosophical eye (i.e., jyotisha) also does include in its field of vision a "daridra-yoga" case which can be dovetailed via spiritual method to draw closer to God. In this conjunction of karma and circumstance, poverty or deprivation can also be meaningfully dovetailed to draw closer to God. E.g., the Sudama-Krishna relationship. Even here there is fulfillment in the Lord via charity, and Sudama drew closer to the Lord via poverty - though not by glorification of it but by embarrassment and humility.

By showing the Libtards, Maovadis and Macaulayputras that their classifications are included as special cases within a larger, more intellectually and spiritually fulfilling paradigm, one is more likely to win over converts. Apart from defectors, one would also be able to bracket and broadside the bigoted and the prostituted among them, for they may globetrot as much as their patrons can afford, but they won't find a concept to cover their intellectual poverty with. Therefore, one must surround them on all sides and encompass them wholly so they have nothing to hide behind. Subsume all their shibboleths.


  1. Very nice.

    I remember a conversation in the book lord of the rings between the ent - talking tree and 2 hobbits. The Hobbits ask whose side in the battle are the trees taking? The ent replies - I am on no bodies side because nobody is on my side.

    The moral of the above conversation is similar to your meme in this post.

    Unless we look at things from the perspective of the observer and the observant, we cannot see the limitation in our world view.

    Our macaulised media will harping on about left right paradigm because the paymasters do not accept any other view than their own to be correct.

  2. Very true. That observer-observant type of introspection is missing in history-centric philosophies and religions. They are 'honest' and friendly in terms of saying what they think and doing what they say, but they frankly cannot be apologetic for what has been "prophesied". There is something strange with that 'honesty '. It contains no part of that introspection in the sense of drg-drshya viveka. Any 'introspection' is very superficial, about who is a philanderer or cheat, and who isn't.