Friday, August 26, 2011

Reclaim the absolute significance of the single vote

[Response to Gail Omvedt: Nirmalangshu Mukherjee from Kafila Guest post by NIRMALANGSHU MUKHERJEE AUGUST 26, 2011
He pointed at the crowd to signal what an unarmed campaign of the people can achieve. No wonder Maoists are deeply worried. Clearly, the movement, still in its infancy, has an immense potential to churn Indian political order thoroughly. The huge task is to see how and whether this churning can actually get the parliament back to the people without (much) violence to reclaim the absolute significance of the single vote. Anna & Co will be long gone by the time that happens.] 

I advised her to read my books, published by Macmillan India in 2000 and 2003 and available from - the first titled Antidote: Essays AGAINST The Socialist Indian State; and the second titled Antidote2: For Liberal Governance. If I may add, just for the record, the latter book was originally titled "Columns For Freedom" - but the Editor of Macmillan India who suddenly replaced Joseph Mathai insisted on a change of title.
Now, the second essay in my first book is titled "State! - or Why The Socialist Indian State Is A Predator." This should be fairly obvious to us today, especially if you read Madhu Kishwar's column of today highlighting corruption that plagues rickshaw-wallahs and street vendors throughout India.
But the political atmosphere in India in the 1940s and '50s favoured "State Socialism" as a means of "helping the poor." This, while the poor are debarred from "helping themselves."]

[prof vaidya: Why Anna's middle class has disdain for Parliament by nizhal yoddha aug 25th, 2011 CE Why Anna’s middle class has disdain for Parliament By R Vaidyanathan The tripod constructed by Jawaharlal Nehru consisted of socialism, secularism and parliamentary supremacy.
The socialism part went with Narasimha Rao, even though the word is still in our constitution, which declares us to be a socialist republic. Every elected representative is forced to swear by it, exposing us to total hypocrisy in running our polity.
The day the law was amended to deny alimony to Shah Bano, the edifice of secularism, too, developed a crack. In a society which considers everything, including trees and animals, sacred, the notion of “secularism” was anyway a bit stretched. It came down fully with the Ayodhya agitation. However, our constitution includes secularism in its preface. The word was inserted into the constitution during the emergency, and was not a part of the original statute.
The third leg of the Nehruvian tripod, the primacy of Parliament in making laws, was treated with an enormous amount of respect, even reverence. Members of  state assemblies and Parliament were called law-makers even though a good number among them do not know what kind of laws they make. The disconnect between our burgeoning middle classes and the so-called law-makers has been widening in leaps and bounds in recent decades. A great fault line has been developing for a while, and this hasn’t been noticed by blind political experts.] 

It has become impossible to keep track of all that is being written apropos the Hazare agitation, but the ideological churning that we are witnessing is without doubt a welcome phenomenon. The surprising aspect, however, is how some highly educated people are advocating things contrary to ordinary canons of fairness and common sense. We, on the other hand, have been consistently warning against this ill-conceived agitation and Savitri Erans should come out in the open to express their solidarity with the evolutionary forces. A momentous period in our lives, indeed! [TNM55]  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adolescence, Ontology, & Obsolescence

All of us evolve over the years and change our tastes in one way or another. But there’s no avoiding the decisions. None of us load all philosophy books into an empty drum and choose our summer’s reading at random. We all have some sense, one that is constantly in development, of what we need to read and learn most urgently.] 7:26 PM 

Then what happens to the formulation which is heroically brandished as “the” Ontology? If it goes on evolving, then why should any adolescent brouhaha be taken seriously at the first place? A coat of humility, therefore, is a sine qua non for any quest of knowledge. Mapping the areas of ignorance is also a forthright way of approaching/avoiding them.

Be that as it may, the ontology of The Life Divine stands firm and supreme like the peak of the Everest. And the Invitation of Sri Aurobindo repeats perpetually, “Who will come with me? Who will climb with me?” [TNM55]      

Hazare & Leisure Economy

[The Hindu : Looking back at the Emergency HARISH KHARE Sunday, Sep 21, 2003 Magazine IN THE PAST
If history has to indict, as it must, J.P. for embarking upon a path for which he was neither organisationally nor politically nor even intellectually equipped, then what was Indira Gandhi's excuse for resorting to an extreme solution? In the Name of Democracy: J.P. Movement and the Emergency, Bipan Chandra, Penguin paperback, p. 384, Rs. 350. Tusar N. Mohapatra  -  5:22 PM, 5:43 PM]

[State vs Anna Posted By  Jug Suraiya   TOI 16 August 2011, 10:49 PM IST
Perhaps nothing exemplifies the gulf between the two Indias than the idea of the fast. In the privileged urban India of Hazare and his fans, fasting is a legitimate form of neo-Gandhian protest. In the other India, fasting is not a morally superior form of dissent; it’s a brute necessity and its name is starvation. 5:43 PM]

[Vinay Sitapati, a former journalist who is currently a graduate student at the department of politics in Princeton University, expands the logic some more in the Indian Express:
The new corporate middle class has little patience with the politics of dignity and identity that are — for better or worse — central to Indian politics. For them, the state is about providing services for which they pay with their tax money. Representation and social justice have little meaning. Consequently, they have contempt for electoral politics…. Is only ‘urban middle-class’ in love with Anna? from churumuri

Crowd behavior as flashed upon the TV screen gives the impression of a carnival. Hazare’s protest has turned out to be a fit pretext for coming out of the homes and thus escape boredom. Hence, the hegemony of Leisure Economy is a principal underlying factor.

Competitive careerism, on the other hand, is also driving various sections into the vortex of this protest industry. Aspiring politicians and media persons alike go for the kill, and between them there are any number of other vocations benefiting. One good thing that emerges from this whole chaos, however, is that the young adults of the country are receiving a crash course in Humanities and Political Science. [TNM55]      

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Graham Harman's God

1. Not all of the things happening at any given moment in philosophy are of equal importance. Some will turn out to be decisive, others will eventually pass away without a trace.
2. None of us has the God-like power to know for sure which is which.

I am open to theoretical discussions, but only within a somewhat limited framework. When I discern that the subject is being changed from what I’m trying to write about and suddenly an entirely different set of issues is being introduced unrelated to the main claims I’m developing I get (rightly) annoyed.]

Who said there is no room for God within the OOO marquee? [TNM55]

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Savitri Era Party denounces Hazare's agitation

The ongoing Telangana agitation is a reverse phenomenon of the mass movement against the Partition of Bengal in 1905. Hazare’s proposed fast demanding certain constitutional provisions, similarly, runs reverse to Gandhi’s fast preceding to the Poona Pact of 1932 to prevent some constitutional proposals. Partition or unification of states is, understandably, an emotional issue that easily ferments agitations. But, bringing constitutional matters to the street level is certainly a disservice to our democracy and nationhood.

Savitri Era Party denounces such strong arm tactics of the Hazare team and appeals to the youth of the country not to be associated with their crowd mobilization. [TNM55]       

Monday, August 08, 2011

Samuel Alexander and Nicolai Hartmann

[philosophical obligations from plastic bodies by plasticbodies
Leon has linked to an article which explores the question: is God necessary for Whitehead’s system? This raises the question: say you are presented with two metaphysical systems identical save for the fact that one includes God and the other omits God. Are we as philosophers obliged to favor the Godless system?
Whitehead and Catholicism Monday, August 8, 2011
Is God indispensable to Whitehead's metaphysics? The following article attempts to answer that question (pp. 666-669) as well as clarify Whitehead's relationship to Catholicism.

Current ontological haunt in the blogosphere revolves around Bergson, Whitehead, Husserl, & Heidegger while two other influential thinkers are almost forgotten. They are Samuel Alexander and Nicolai Hartmann whom, fortunately, we meet in Maitra’s magnum opus, Meeting of East and West in Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy‎. [TNM55]