Monday, 20 January 2020

Thomas T Hills & Shamanism vs Lying

Professor Thomas T Hills has a brief article in Aeon asking 'what good is Shamanism?'. He thinks it has to do with catastrophic risk. My own view is that there is not much difference between the Shaman and the 'Shraman', or, indeed between Shraman and Brahman or, come to that, between priest-craft and any type of more or less academic ideology. Indeed, all transactions of sufficient import will have charismatic 'Schelling focal points' of one sort or another. Shamanism is simply a Racist term used by fools or charlatans.

Contra Hills, who speaks of 'Masters of Reality', I believe Knightian Uncertainty militates for 'Hannan Consistent' or other similar 'regret minimizing' heuristics or cognitive biases and, further, that every 'coordination game'- including risk pooling- can give rise to a 'discoordination game'- featuring 'hedging', costly signals and separating equilibria. A Shaman is an arbitrageur between coordination and discoordination games in line with a model elaborated by Conley & Nielson. But so is almost everybody else who has salience as Schelling focal in a coordination game of any sort.

I claim that robustness in mechanism design, which will Muth Rationally obtain under Chichilnisky & Heard 'Goldilocks' conditions, but not otherwise- requires 'ontologically dysphoric' preferences- i.e. a valorization of the notion that we are in the 'wrong' universe would be part and parcel of actually advancing a 'Presentist' moral agenda such that we fulfill a duty to make a better home of this world. Of course, I can't show this mathematically precisely because Knightian Uncertainty exists. But General Equilibria  must be 'anything goes' unless there is some ontologically dysphoric intensional 'anchoring' outside all compossible ways of being human on this earth.

Prof Hills' mathematical background perhaps explains the similarity I perceive between our views on Shamanism. His being an academic- and therefore as stupid as shit- explains the divergence.

I will now look more closely at his article to establish whether any similarity actually obtains.
...there is a common theme to shamanism wherever it is practised: the use of spiritual (or shamanic) trance to facilitate journeys to a non-ordinary reality. Here, in this non-ordinary reality, the shamans do their work. According to the historian of religion Mircea Eliade writing in 1951, shamanism is the ‘technique of ecstasy’, involving the purposeful invocation and use of dreams and visions to solve problems.
Eliade's Romania was actually more primitive than the Calcutta he came to as a mining engineer. He repaid the hospitality of his bhadralok host, who was planning to settle in Paris after retirement, by seducing his under-age daughter. Eliade thinks she was married to a tree! He was as stupid as shit. But, in poetry, only the charlatan is genuine and Eliade was a Poundian mythopoeticist somewhat less evil or academically mischievous than Paul de Man.

My parents read Eliade- at any rate his shite was on the bookshelf- and people of their class did talk bollocks like Eliade when confronted with shamanic- or, indeed, any culturally unfamiliar- phenomena in a different part of India. This was because India wasn't yet a culturally unified country. So, though Granny would ensure that the Bon as well as Buddhist was fed and placated- though 'non-veg' ceremonies for the grandson must be done out of sight- Mummy and Daddy would talk stilted shite at cocktail parties in Gangtok. But, if I tried to use similar 'etic' language re. our own Tamil orthopraxy, I'd either have the black smacked off me or, after I got a phoren degree and White Wife, have had to conform to the orthodox Vadadesi Vadama Marxist Vulgate- which conserves the Caste System- as represented by Op Eds in the Hindu, or else leave the country and go clean toilets in the West. Siddhartha Varadarajan chose the former course. The man who didn't know what or who a 'Kurmi' was is now blasting Modi for his casteism!

The fact of the matter is that Shamanism, like talking shite about the coming Marxist Revolution, isn't really a technique of ecstasy. It is a boring and stupid way to pay the bills. As a Brahman, I was made to understand in no uncertain terms that even the subaltern 'kurrati' fortune-teller was more venerable than my LSE eschatology. My own ancestors had been brought up by them- because, during recessions in demand for their services, they sit things out in Brahman, or Vaishnav, or Jain, or Pirzada Muslim, homes. You can't understand the efflorescence of Pentecostal Christianity- which was giving our good friends in the Church such a headache!- till you accept that Shamanism is merely Shramanism without a Collidge edumication.
By this definition, shamanism is the landscape of the spirit-journey, populated by good and evil spirits and the souls of the deceased and yet-to-be-born.
Shamanism may be one type of sherpa- the shittiest- of this mountainous landscape. It isn't itself that landscape. I believe Marxian 'species man' has an ontologically dysphoric fitness landscape for purely mathematical, decision theoretic, reasons which it would be very boring to spell out. But that spirit landscape is even more boringly ideographic. This does not mean it can or should be ignored. But acknowledging it is best done on the basis of 'suhrit-prapti'- the gaining of the 'same-hearted'- and what follows is AA or Weight Watchers or Surviving Socioproctology or other such 'workshops' or sodalities. Magic is done in such places. There are Wizards there. But there are also many very ordinary people- men and women of sorrow- who are Messiahs absolving you of your original sin of being a superficial, self-involved, shithead of little use to man or beast.

Hills next waxes poetic- but to what purpose?
It is the place where mountains speak and Grandmother Skeleton points out which plants to eat when the dry season lasts too long.
Right! Coz the old woman who knows stuff like this aint called Granny. She is prancing around as a Shaman! How stupid is Hills? I am plenty stupid. But I've stayed in villages in East Africa and both the far North and South of India when the rains were delayed. Grannies- men tend to die young or have moved to the Cities- knew this stuff. They could tell when there would be a landslide or a drought or a flood. I suppose, everybody could- if they wanted to. But the Grannies had auctoritas- i.e. exercised residual control rights under an incomplete contract. Some stoned Shaman prancing around would have had no such thing.
In this form, shamanism is everywhere in the old ways of humans. Every tribal culture – alive or dead – has some broker of spiritual capital. The Indonesian Mentawai have their sikerei. The Inuit have their angakok. The Columbian Desana have their paye. The Mongolian Buryat have their böö. The American Sioux have their heyoka.
An aunty of mine, the wife of our Air India Chief based in Moscow, was a good bharatnatyam dancer. When she came to visit us in Ulan Bator, she agreed to give a recital at the Palace of Proletarian Culture or whatever it was called. I went with her to check out the stage. I am very black and quite tall. She was short and fair skinned. The people queuing up for tickets made way for me- I was a foreigner- but would not let her pass. She was clearly a Buryat because she was replying to them in Russian. Absurdly, she was claiming to be Indian! These fucking Buryats are such cheats! Just because Sukhabator, or Choibalsan or some other such mythological character, was seduced by one such, us Khalkhas have had all our natural resources stolen from us!

I told this story at diplomatic receptions to great hilarity. That Aunty of mine grew to love me. For some reason, my Mummy was not happy. No one ever mistook her for a light skinned Mongolian. I explained to her that this was because she was rather tall and broad shouldered and had muscular arms and legs. I alone, in my family, have small shoulders, slender arms, stick like legs and no ass to speak off. I do have a pot belly- but this suggests fecundity, if not the Pharaoh Akhenaten's being sodomized by the Sun so a poo baby Messiah might be born.

It is funny to read of Buryats as backward and primitive. They are utterly brilliant. Too brilliant. The Khalkhas had a point. Buryats- like Ashkenazis- were too quick to put their faith in 'Scientific' solutions.

Let me be honest. I am proud of my own stupidity and deep-seated aversion to the pursuit of, forget about excellence, even ordinary utility. But this is because I am a diplomat's son. From within months of my birth, I was sitting in the laps of Lamas and Pirs and- coz Indian diplomats hire locals- their vernacular equivalents. On the other hand, my claim to have so shat upon Paul Hacker as to drive him out of 'Benares on the Rhine', the city of my birth, appears to be historically unsustainable. But, my point is, Eliades and Hackers and Radhakrishnans and so forth are all worthy of being shat upon. They too are as shite as any Shaman.

Smart people fuck up when it comes to Politics, or Psychology, or Econ or any subject whose Tarskian primitives are better known to proles rather than to  pedants.

Politically Correct Shamans and Savants, Bauls and Bureaucrats, must- like the best sort of baby-kissing Tammany Hall, Deleuzian, 'Major', get shat upon by the diaperless condition of our own salutary infantilism in all matters of epistemics.
The sheer magnitude of our shamanic ancestry means one of two things: either shamanism originated once prior to the human diaspora some 70,000 years ago and has been preserved since, or it has arisen independently countless times in premodern human cultures.
Foolish. That's not what the maths says. There is no 'shaman' gene. There is no Waddington type 'canalization' here. One may as well speak of our 'Prostitute' or 'Pedant' ancestry. Is Hills a 'Manuvadi' casteist?
If we consider that preagricultural human societies are each experiments in how to run a village, with each competing in the evolutionary market of survival and reproduction, then we must ask: what good is shamanism?
Again, very foolish. Villages have to be interconnected by a pastoralist or other highly mobile caste or tribe. The reason I spick such gud Inglis is coz Brittania ruled waves innit? It is still a fact that it is cheaper for an Indian businessman to buy stuff shipped through Singapore or Colombo than from across State borders. That is why India has not taken off economically.

My ancestors were shamans who, once they could constitute an endogamous group with a diversified portfolio of realty, and the provision of ontologically dysphoric, irreal positional goods, became ... urm ... indistinguishable from any other group which worked hard, saved money, talked high falutin bollocks, and refrained from masturbating while giving lectures or attending faculty meetings.

Hills is younger than me. We're both British Citizens. He is smarter. But his ancestry is more, not less, Shamanic, than mine. His people produce Alan Moore. Mine- at best, a tedious blathershite like Pico Iyer. We haven't even got a Salman Rushdie. Yet this Hills fucker probably comes across, in England, as being of lower class than I do. The police will treat him worse than me if we are both arrested for getting drunk and causing a nuisance. Why? Because this fucker could be a real Shaman or Shraman. He has a revolutionary potential- i.e. irremediably self-destructive romanticism- which I, by reason of my stupidity and senilely, self-cultivated, 'wog' (Westernized Oriental Gentleman) status entirely lack. I'm fucking VS Naipaul mate! Kids love me. I'm the fucking Women's Institute, innit?, but without the nice Cakes and boring Social Work.

Hills is not an Econ guy. He is young. He wasn't a kid wot grew up in places where there were Sacred Kings and Apocalyptic Commissars and, though the two might play musical chairs all they liked, what remained was, to use Art Buchwald's words,  'sheep on the runway'.

The answer to the question 'what good is shamanism' is the same as the answer to the question 'what good are prostitutes or pedants?' These aren't jobs anybody wants to take. Yet they contain 'techniques of ecstasy' which enable their practitioners to differentiate themselves from each other for reasons of an entirely pathetic kind.

Prof. Hills takes a different view-

The answer is a lesson in both the psychology of problem solving and the construction of meaning.
Sadly, there is no 'psychology of problem solving'. There is merely the diminishing returns to a foolish academic availability cascade. As for the 'construction' or 'deconstruction' of meaning- just go fuck yourself okay? We have had it up to here with that type of shite. Fuck is wrong with you? You did some Math as part of your ascent to being a worthless credentialized cretin presiding over a Baumol cost-disease type Ponzi scheme only sustainable by sucking in foreigners wot don't spick Inglis gud.
In order to get there, we first have to understand what the prominent explanations of shamanism are in contemporary anthropology.
But, contemporary anthropology is widely regarded as utter imbecilic shite by everybody including its practitioners.
These explanations all rely upon a common set of psychological and evolutionary principles, and these principles in turn explain the adaptive value of shamanism.
But these guys are even stupider than Economists or fuckers wot teach MBA students! Why not simply get on Skype and talk to an actual Shaman? It will turn out that his Guru is living in London or New York and Gwyneth Paltrow has already trademarked that dude's shite.

The market works that way. Aeon is a brave effort to keep the Academy from resigning itself to a but adversely selective 'signalling mechanism' fate. But, the method is meretricious. It is the process by which an Eliade becomes an 'emic' expert of a wholly fraudulent availability cascade. Why not simply say that Lobsang Rhampa was the greatest Tibetan Lama precisely coz he was actually a West Country plumber? Oddly, this claim is perfectly true. An uneducated guy with a broad accent, which neither Hills nor I have, prefigured the manner in which Tibetan Buddhism would cease to be 'magical' or 'shamanistic' and become the bedrock of a praxis of 'suhrit prapti' such that victims of sexual or other abuse could recover their sense of autonomy and thus Buddhist 'cetana'. 

Hills speaks of therapeutic practices without mentioning their close connection in the Medieval world with the spiritual and moral sciences. The fact is the Philosophically informed Physician- even charlatans like Malfatti and Freud- triumphed over the barber and apothecary. Only the former had a well developed theory of ecstasy and claimed to find it in, entirely fraudulent, scientific discovery.

One explanation holds that shamans are beta-versions of modern healers.
So, they are charlatans till they get lucky.  But this is the discovery process sanctioned by the F.D.A. Why not simply call every Steve Jobs a Shaman?
They treat everything from tiger bites to depression. Their expertise in medicinal plants and associated healing practices extends from the physical to the psychological. This happens because many tribal cultures do not differentiate between the material and mental in the same way that modern science often does. It is also well-known that many of the plants used by traditional healers have active properties and are used accordingly. But this explanation doesn’t say much about a key element in shamanic practice: the shamanic trance.
Nor does an explanation of modern Medicine which neglects the fact that it is a merely entrepreneurial discovery process characterized by large scale fraud. Trances are like availability cascades. They are a case of self intoxication by a Kavka toxin of a commercially useful and amour propre defending kind. Freud and Jung and Bruno Betthelheim were frauds. But Marcuse was a greater, for derivative, fraud. His propagandizing for liberative techniques of ecstasy culminated in Cohn Bendit's unmanly belle-lettrestic paroxysms sentimentalizing the rape of three year old girls who, truth be told, were just asking for it- indeed, by their bourgeois behavior, actively provoking and encouraging their own destruction as an oppressive, hegemonic, class.

A second prominent explanation is that shamans exploit human gullibility by taking advantage of psychological biases, such as the human fear of ‘dread risks’.
WTF? This isn't a 'psychological bias'. It is eminently rational. Econ theory says, in good times, you should invest in 'positional', 'reputational', 'epistemic' and soteriological assets as a hedge.

Hills may not be aware that, in the heart of London, young Somali origin people have rational 'dread risks'. They get knifed or shot by others of their ilk. Their Mums send them back to Somalia for this reason. Because I was a kid in Kenya for 4 years, I know a bit about 'shamanism' in the Horn of Africa. But, Al Shabab aint shamanistic. It is the opposite.
These are risks that are essentially arbitrary, or outside of one’s control, but can nonetheless wipe out entire families or villages.
But this has always been true of every family or village anywhere. Why bring up 'Shamanism' which, historically is associated with demographic replacement?
Modern examples include plane crashes, terrorist attacks, nuclear meltdowns, pandemics and the like: events with low probability, but very high consequences.
Fuck off! Nuisances don't have abiding consequences. Hills isn't currently in any great fear that his foreskin will be chopped off or that he will be forced to grow a less unsightly beard.
The science shows that humans will pay a lot to minimise these risks, even if the associated consequences are more lethal over the long run.
Nonsense! Experience shows the regret minimizing strategy is to permit, nay actively invest in!,  the burgeoning of existential threats to all human existence. Either Hills is a cretin or he is playing to a cretinous gallery.
In this case, some anthropologists claim, the shamanic trance represents a kind of folk proof that shamans can protect people against dread risks. The shaman can interact with invisible forces and effectively neutralise them.
The problem here is that if you live in London or New York or Paris, you can actually order up some 'Muti Magic' as easily as you can order a Pizza.  Just for Google Ad Revenue, you can gawk or grok your fill of this shite without paying a penny.  For a few dollars more you can get an authentic mummified piece of a child sacrifice. So what? This is a police matter.
A third argument holds that shamans organise social groups around common beliefs.
As though nobody else does. The truth is Commerce is what does this most effectively.
These, in turn, lead to better outcomes for the group as a whole. For example, using the threat of magical retribution, the shaman can keep everybody from killing the last gazelle.
Fuck off! Shamans did not have Radio or Internet. They couldn't prevent rival groups from precipitating a 'tragedy of the commons'.  The last buffalo was killed coz the First Nations were militarily effective but created no 'incentive compatible' economic or legal mechanism.
This mitigates a ‘tragedy of the commons’ scenario, in which shared resources are overused and depleted.
But, we can see for ourselves that lawyers, not fucking Shamans, solved the problem long ago. Any way, Elinor Ostrom's Lake Victoria Coasians didn't rely on Shamans at all. Why write this ignorant tosh? How stupid does Hills think Aeon readers are?
Shamans can also unite the tribe around arbitrary decisions by making them sacred and putting everyone on the same page, thereby eliminating potential conflicts over where to hunt, what crops to plant, or whether to fight or flee a neighbouring tribe.
Legalistic hereditary priests and aristocrats and successful warlords do a far better job. Genghis Khan wasn't a fucking shaman was he?
This extends to organising groups around social-commitment ceremonies that enhance cooperation and create the soothing in-group vibrations common to traditions such as Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.
So, Jewish Rabbis are actually Shamans! And American institutions like Thanksgiving weren't created by guys named Washington or Lincoln but by dudes with sobriquets like 'weaves with spiders' who spent most of their time stoned out of their gourds!

The shamanic ability to organise social groups around common beliefs is certainly an advantage.
Really? Shamans can organize social groups can they? Should we elect a Shaman leader of the Labor Party so as to fight back against Bo Jo?

Shamans have the ability to be shamans. Guys who have the ability to organize  social groups very seldom have the ability to do a fuckin spirit journey to kill the totemic teddy bear of their elder sister who beats them mercilessly when they fuck up a domestic chore.
It might seem at first to be a somewhat weak evolutionary explanation, but in fact the opposite is true. Consider the following example. Up until the arrival of the Europeans, much of North America was home to peoples whose ancestors had crossed over the Bering Straits roughly 20,000 years before. But by the mid-1800s, Europeans were arriving in a steady drove, and the Native Americans were under serious threat. They needed to repel the invaders. But what was to be done?
This fucker doesn't get that we dun all got smartphones now. We know what happened. There was a militarily very successful First Nation military force at the heart of the Continent. But it was somewhat more shite than that of Whitey coz it was too exploitative and thus incentive incompatible.
In 1889, a Nevadan Paiute elder named Jack Wilson had a dream-vision of a sacred dance that would enlist the spirit armies of the dead. This dance would lead to the inevitable swallowing of White people by the Earth. It became known as the Ghost Dance.
So what? Back in 1857 some teenage South African girl- who was not a Shaman- got the Xhosa tribe to slaughter their cattle coz, like obviously dude, this will make dead warriors come back to life and kill Whitey.

All sorts of shite rebellions against Whitey or the powers that be, occurred around the same time. Was the Taiping rebellion 'shamanistic'? Its leader claimed to be the younger brother of Christ and some of the first English speaking Mandarins were initially his followers. What about the Boxer Rebellion? Is that Shamanistic? It coincided with the Maji Maji Rebellion. But, in both cases, we are speaking of ancient, highly elaborated, indigenous epistemic systems- not Shamanistic hi jinks.

Hills's ignorance and eurocentricism causes us to consider him a fucking cretin. However, a careful perusal of his academic work would have the same effect.
The Ghost Dance was immensely attractive, and it united previously warring tribes from Oklahoma to California. With a common enemy and a belief in divine providence, the Native Americans organised themselves and their beliefs in a way that had never been seen before. They became a far more formidable force by working together rather than singly. This terrified the US government, and contributed to rising conflict, which eventually culminated in the Massacre of Wounded Knee in 1890.
How fucking ignorant is this guy? Does he not have access to the internet? Has he no common sense? The earlier First Nation domination of the American centre, achieved because of the higher productivity of its trained killers, was not incentive compatible. Look at the Economics. They could never do better than 50,000 fuckers who could fuck up any other fucker across a vast territory.  This did not 'alarm' anyone. Everybody made alliances and paid tribute so as to get their goods across the spine of the Continent. Then, the spine collapsed. Instead of guys who were great at killing people, you had cunts who liked dancing.
Though the Lakota were savagely killed by US soldiers, the Ghost Dance offers a powerful example of the potential strength of shamanism as a social organiser.
Fuck off! Being 'savagely killed' means 'not offering any effective fucking resistance'. During the Second World War plenty of White people were 'savagely killed' by other White People. But the Brits and the Americans and anybody else who didn't have a shite Army weren't 'savagely killed' unless they were cowardly- as happened to the Brits in South East Asia- or viciously attacked by marauding Iyengars of a type who exist entirely in my imagination.

But, if Hills can talk shite, why can't I? If the horrible joke of the 'Ghost Dance' offers a powerful example of some stupid shite this virtue signalling cunt is grandstanding with respect to, why not accept the fact that Ghost Dance was launched by true Red Indians- i.e. Marxist Iyers like me- against fucking Iyengars and their cohorts?

This is the problem with Racist shite. Anybody, including me, can adapt it to their own purposes.
But while this explanation for shamanism is heavily supported,
By people stupider than any shaman
it cannot be the entire explanation since there are many things that organise people: shared hunts, competitive sports, simple fireside songs.
But we don't need to be 'organized' to say 'Hills has shite for brains.  His academic papers are worthless'.
Why?
The thing is self evident. Still, the kinder thing is to support a Social dispensation where shitheads like him are simply ignored- unless they start masturbating in front of their students, in which case maybe they should be accommodated at a Think Tank, in not All Souls- as was the traditional practice.
So what exactly is the evolutionary added-value of shamanic trance and how in the world does it work?
Everybody has this 'trance' capacity. But so do poultry. Few peoples or Societies accept that there is anything 'shamanic' in their make up. Why? No President of a newly established Republic says 'We are a Barbarian Nation. We think Civilization sucks. We don't have Priests. We have Shamans. Kindly enter into Trade and Diplomatic Relations with us on the basis of mutual Voodoo and getting out of your gourd on Ayahuasca'.

Hills is a native English speaker. He is sensitive to the 'dhvani' or nuances of what he writes. Yet, for the benefit of Aeon, he says-

Here is a crucial clue: shamanism often arises among people exposed to uncertainty. A case in point is the recent rise of shamanism among the Buryat in Upper Mongolia. Following the collapse of socialism in 1989-91, the economic rug was pulled out from under the Buryat. This led to terrible poverty and starvation among a people whose cultural identity had largely been rubbed out over a series of generations. In this existential vacuum, the Buryat shamans blossomed like wildflowers as people sought new ways to control the uncertainty in which they had found themselves.
I must tell you that because my Mum & Dad were well liked in Mongolia, I gained very good friends in that region. Internet has made communication easy. I know the truth about what this cretin is writing about. He says 'economic rug' was pulled. I say the fucking KGB, Gulag rug was pulled. How stupid is this Hills? Has he read nothing about incomplete contract theory? Does he not know the literature on contract enforcement in post Soviet economies? Why is this man a member of the Turing Institute? Is it to show that being an Academic of a certain sort means being not just chemically castrated but fucking lobotomized?
But shamanic powers are not seen as methods for defying the natural order, as one anthropologist found out when he tried to convince a shaman to engage in a rain ceremony, to which the shaman replied: ‘Don’t be a fool, whoever makes a rain-making ceremony in the dry season?’ Shamanism is not a method of controlling reality in defiance of one’s own experience. Shamanic peoples, just like the majority of Western Christians, prefer Western doctors when they can find them. Shamanism does not make one blind to the power of penicillin. Rather, it is only when visible technologies fail that people look for help from forces outside this world.
You stupid cretin, it is only when contract enforcement by the Government fails that shamen and mafias get intermediated.
To understand what shamanism adds, let’s take a step back and take a look at how minds, especially human minds, work.
We know how your mind works. It shits its academic diaper and proudly gets the result published in Aeon coz your Turing institute is shit.
All organisms require resources to keep themselves alive and to reproduce.
So we should cut off funding to your worthless Turing Institute.
This has led to one of the most prominent theories on the evolution of the mind. Put simply, the mind is a search algorithm.
Rubbish! The mind supplies the weightings for a m.u.w.a type, wholly mimetic, process. This stupid cunt didn't come up with any of the worthless shite he writes by himself. There is a multiplicative update weighting process- albeit of worthless academic availability cascades- going on in the background. Either that or this shithead used an AI to generate this worthless, deeply racist, article.
Minds make their living by being able to find things.
So do living things which lack minds. This fucker should know that.
Food, mates, a good place to hide, effective methods of revenge, and the means to reach your goals, whatever they may be – all of these and more are targets of the mind’s searching eye.
Fuck off. We rely on Tardean mimetics or otherwise outsource all this stuff. The mind does not have a 'searching eye'. It does however generate ontological dysphoric objects and values which, however, have reputational and 'endogenous learning' effects.
Whereas many animals use their brains to search in physical space, human minds (and those of some other animals) can search via simulation. That is, the brain can simulate potential future realities. This is possible because brains like ours encode a mental model of the world. By searching inside that mental model, we build narratives that tell us how to get from one place to another. Sometimes we do this backwards, by constructing counterfactual alternatives to explain how, if we had behaved differently, things might have gone. But just as often, we conjure up simulations to better understand how to influence outcomes in the future.
Really? So everybody in the financial markets has their own econometric model of the economy. Thus, there can be no bandwagon effects. Muth Rationality must prevail. How stupid is this cunt?
You might get only one chance to decide which house to buy, which partner to marry or what project to invest the next 10 years of your life in. Our brains allow us to solve these problems by projecting ourselves into alternative versions of these potential futures. This is called self-projection, which already starts to hint at the shamanic forces that might lie therein.
Fuck off! There was only one guy who was granted this power. It was Arjuna. Some Gandharva pressed 'chaksuchi vidya' on him. He refused to take it. But, since the Gandharva didn't take it back, the thing came back to haunt him when he was alienated from himself (Vishada Yoga).

There is a good reason we should prefer mimetics to cognitively costly simulation. However, deontics has a reputational effect which can secure rents under Knightian uncertainty. But this involves being sensible, not a Shaman. Pirzadas have this quality though descended from guys who ran around naked babbling nonsense. Charisma generates the chaos which extinguishes it, till an incentive compatible 'vow' or vinculum generis is hit upon.

Most academic availability cascades start off with the investiture of auctocritas, charisma, or shamanic status to a fool or charlatan. Thus, 'researchers' never know what they are looking for or how they would recognize it if they stumbled upon it by accident.

Consider the following. This stupid academic doesn't get that guys in villages spend a lot of time thinking 'what if the harvest fails?'. Mums keep thinking 'what if baby gets hurt or falls ill'.

He thinks you have to be a fucking Shaman, off your head on drugs, to worry about this stuff.

Sometimes, however, we don’t even know what we’re looking for. The threat of collective starvation from a bad harvest. The death of a child. The decimation of one’s entire village from a landslide. Such problems unravel the semantic connective tissue that holds reality together.
You fucking cretin! No 'semantic connective tissues' hold reality together. Wait and see what happens when your kid falls ill. You will run to the hospital just like a low IQ cunt like me. Your posh language won't save baby. Antibiotics might.
They don’t seem to play by the rules of our past experience. When that happens, humans need a ‘search engine’ that knows how to do what Google cannot: to generate search terms for a problem that they don’t yet fully understand.
Try this you cretin- type 'Mummy be ill and Doctors puzzled. What I do?' Google will give you lots of answers having to do with fucking over Extra Terrestrials or sodomizing Genies or outright lies about antibiotics and other such nostrums.

A 'search engine' is just asking a large bunch of guys. In the old days, in some places, a guy who could not be cured in his own village went to the town and set up his cot in the market square. Every quack would try to cure him hoping to get lucky and make their fortune thereby.

What the fuck does 'generate search terms' mean? Is it that smart people use technical jargon? But Aeon readers know that their Doctor uses such jargon when she picks up the phone to book you in with a specialist to find out why you have a pain in your butt despite the fact that you definitely did not shove anything in there coz you were bored and there was nothing good on Netflix.
When minds can’t find things, they engage with the random.
Really? You can't find your car keys and so, suddenly, your brain goes all random access? Does that happen to Hills? Is he lying or just shite at writing cogently?
A desert ant that can’t find its nest starts hunting randomly.
But that is rational! If we lose our keys we don't hunt randomly. We do so methodically. Why? Our brain is bigger than that of an ant.
When in 1898 the psychologist Edward Thorndike put hungry cats in puzzle boxes made to be super tricky to get out of, the cats scratched and clawed at everything – until they eventually, randomly, figured out how to escape. And when the human mind gets stuck on a problem it can’t solve, it starts adding noise to past solutions until it eventually hits on something that might work.
Does this cretin listen to himself? Cats aren't 'adding noise to past solutions'. Nor are humans- even expert Statisticians. I know there is a narrow class where something like this features in the heuristic. But it isn't 'noise' which is being added. It is a specific type of perturbation which is the opposite of noise because it has a direction and amplitude. It doesn't cancel itself out on average.

Everything this cretin is describing can be captured better by a regret minimizing m.u.w.a which is responsive to particular types of 'reset' thumps. But this has shit to do with Shamans or Hippies or Spirit Journeys or Dream Catchers or whatever.
There is an old computer algorithm called simulated annealing that helps to explain why this works. It simulates the method by which metal, when heated and cooled on a certain schedule, can be made harder. By heating it, one relaxes the crystal structure of the metal, allowing the randomness of jiggling atoms to literally explore the space of metallic configurations. When it is cooled after this temporary heating, the metal can find a more solid arrangement.
This cretin does not understand that the very word annealing already meant this long before there were computers. That's why the thing was a simulation. It showed that an old theory was plausible.

Writing for Aeon, this cretin is trying to make out he has something new to say and Science backs him up. The truth is, he is a cretin and the Science he references is shite.
Similar metaphors of high-temperature exploration are found throughout biological evolution. Some genes can alter their mutation rates in response to environmental heterogeneity in a process called evolvability. Bacteria can randomise their own genetic information by a stress-induced uptake of genomic material floating around in the soup they swim in. These evolutionary strategies insert randomness in direct response to uncertainty.
No they don't. The thing occurs in any case. Baldwinian evolution- at least of the Waddington, Dennett sort is not Lamarckian. I personally prefer to speak of co-evolved processes as drastically reducing Kolmogorov complexity. But this means Stochasticity and Knightian Uncertainty are fundamentally changed. Why? The fitness landscape has been artificially restricted. However, this is not a Global effect. Basically, your Stats go awry coz of Simpson's paradox. It looks like there is a local 'Maxwell Demon'. Maybe there is. But we can't know for sure.
This is Stats 101. When you are 17 and having your first pint of Beer, it all seems very cool. But not later on. Which is why Hills is writing about Shamans.
The mind’s use of randomness is how we think new thoughts and come up with creative solutions to vexing problems.
Nonsense! If this were true Lullian combinatorics would have made Newton and Einstein otiose. The Arab zairja would have enabled them to invent the atom bomb or time travel or whatever. But, the Umasvati, the Jain, would have gotten there first.

Why is this cretin writing this shite?
This is an inbuilt feature of minds such as ours, and one we don’t often notice. If you sit quietly and let your mind wander, you can get a glimpse of this randomness at work, as your daydreams put together odd combinations in a kind of Rube Goldberg approach to problem solving.
But we also use randomness more purposefully. For example, when we use practices such as the I Ching or Tarot card readings, we are engaging in a form of exploratory divination.
No we are not. Divination means being able to tell the future. Stupid fuckers who went in for that shite got defeated and overrun by people who had no time for such stupidity.
Such practices have been used for thousands of years to help people understand their problems by confronting them with meaningful but random interpretations.
Such practices have also been used for thousands of years to get people to drop their trousers and bend over. So what?
Appropriately used, these methods can help to escape one’s natural biases by being forced to consider alternative hypotheses.
So can being buggered to buggery.
These can, upon consideration, lead to new insights, especially in situations where there are no competing solutions.
But you now probably have AIDS and a prolapsed rectum. There is always a competing solution- viz. kick shamen and shawomen and every other quack in the goolies. Take their money. Beat them if they ask for it back. Then, give them a proper job so they can live with dignity.
Shamanism is a form of exploratory divination.
So is lying.
But this doesn’t yet explain the full extent of its power.
Because lying never explains the full extent of its power coz like it is so super awesome I can't even tell you about it- unless you can give me some more money and, like, your 12 year old daughter.
The final step towards understanding shamanism’s adaptive contribution also makes it clear why shamanism is such an effective social organiser, why it might offer an extra-strength placebo effect in psychosomatic healing, and why it can capture the tribe’s collective capacity for fear.
The 'final step' is lying your arse off. But everybody already has their boot stuck half way up it. So, why bother?
Shamans do this by accessing a particular part of the mind.
Coz their arse has a boot stuck up it. They have to find a very particular, not to say peculiar, part of the mind to stick with their story.
Through purposeful and yet exploratory investigation, shamans make lucid the mental associations that lurk quietly underneath our understanding of reality.
In other words, they fasten on stupid people and tell them what they want to hear.
As what the US ethnobotanist Terence McKenna in the 1980s called ‘astronauts of inner space’, shamans help to make explicit a part of our mind that is thousands, if not millions, of years old.
Just like liars.
No one did a more thorough job of explaining the characters that populate this inner space than the US literature scholar Joseph Campbell.
Campbell, at any rate, didn't have a PhD. He did fall for a Hindu Swami but his record of his Indian visit is as good as anything in V.S Naipaul. Still, the fucker was a gullible cretin. He thought Iyer boys like myself had our heads chopped off at our 'kuladevam' temple. We have our head shaved. That's all.
In The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), Campbell set out the basic narrative figures that are common to countless cultures. The hero, the wise elder, the mother/sister/love-interest, the trickster, and the dark shadow are all themes that appear throughout humanity’s many stories and explanations of itself. The US filmmaker George Lucas used Campbell’s work as an inspiration for Star Wars (1977), which sheds interesting light on the elements of our narrative addiction. These narrative figures and the challenges they face are embodied in characters such as Luke (the hero), Obi-Wan (the wise elder), Leia (the mother/sister/love-interest), Han (the trickster), and Darth Vader (the dark shadow). In a deep psychological sense, these figures are the molecules of meaning that fuel human narrative.
That's a deep psychological sense? Try this one on for size, Hills you cretin- Psychologists have their heads up their arses. In a deep psychological sense, obviously. Incidentally, Han (the trickster) was too a fucking love interest. Initially he was into a 'bear'- that big Wookie whose dong was never shown- but then Luke turned out to be boring and Obi- an obvious pederast- became incorporeal. So Leia, who only got sexy once a lizard tongued her, had to stand in for her hard-bod bro. Much good it did her.
Shamanism uses in-built associations to construct meanings for which the mind has a natural affinity
Like lying.
For those fond of depth psychology, these characters are Carl Jung’s archetypes, the Rosetta Stone by which our unconscious mind makes sense of reality.
Does this cretin actually read what he writes? A Rosetta Stone is not a characteristica universalis. It merely presents the same text in two or more languages. If Life evolved by natural selection we know it must be the case that perception can't rely upon anything factorizable as a universal script. Why? Because then we would be too easy to hack. Regret minimization requires robustness such that a predator or parasite is baffled in the same way, and for the same reason, as a stupid pedant like Hills.
If you are an evolutionary psychologist, they are the survival and mating modules that compete for our attention (‘Is it a threat?’ ‘Is it an opportunity for love?’ ‘Is he someone I can trust?’ ‘Is this the end?’).
If you are an 'evolutionary psychologist' you are as stupid as shit. Why? Because you are a psychologist. Also your maths is crap and you smell bad and you probably think this article in Aeon is cool.
If you are a secular Buddhist who takes the practice of mindfulness as an opportunity to get a hawk’s-eye-view on the mind, then these are the vines on which the monkey mind swings.
Fair point. Secular Buddhists- like other Buddhists- are as stupid as shit.
In Why Buddhism Is True (2017), the US science writer Robert Wright combines these ideas to make clear the shoulder-sitting angels and devils of human motivation.
Good to know there are 'science writers' who make things clear about 'angels'.
Through the ritualised invocation of these mental spirits, shamanism makes these characters explicit.
But lying does a better job. Smelly old shamans biting the heads of chickens and getting high don't talk good English. What I want to hear is 'Your Mummy and Daddy are so proud you didn't fall into the trap of passing exams and getting a good job and not marrying a whore. Also your poetry is super excellent. OMG! The angel sitting on your right shoulder just told me that Mother Gaia is gonna give you a blow job coz u r such a special little boy! Incidentally, that devil sitting on your left shoulder is telling me you masturbate too much. Mother Gaia wants to get a full load of your spunk to swallow. So kindly quit tugging at your todger- at least during our sessions- and like build up some reserve of smegma under your tiny little foreskin coz Gaia, is French, and likes things cheesy.'
In so doing, it offers us the opportunity to make sense of our reality in the mental light of forces that are hard-wired into our understanding.
So, 'forces are hard-wired into our understanding' are they? That's what Professors of Psychology at Warwick believe, is it? This man is a Fellow of the Turing Institute. How come he is more stupid and ignorant than I am? Does it have to do with having to spend time in Warwick? Or is this tosser just trying to ingratiate himself with Aeon readers- most of whom are very elderly or, like me, are employed cleaning public toilets- or were till it was discovered they smelled better in our absence?
An evolutionary bias towards seeking out the safety of mother figures, avoiding enemies, respecting the wisdom of our elders, and for seeing ourselves as the heroes of own adventures is a powerful advantage over creatures that might fail to make such associations.
Very true! That is why, if I am attacked by a lion or a deadly virus, I can be sure of prevailing.
As a form of exploratory divination, shamanism uses these in-built associations to construct meanings for which the mind has a natural affinity.
Which is why being a liar is actually a noble profession.
There is little that is as important as this constructed meaning. Research consistently finds that experiencing a coherent and meaningful life is one of the strongest predictors of our wellbeing. By meaningful, I mean having a story to tell, a higher reason as to why one thing happened and not another. This makes us feel good and helps us to act in ways that are consistent with our higher goals, instead of pursuing more short-term pleasures.
Very true. Writing Mein Kampf sure made Hitler much more self-confident.
In his memoir Black Elk Speaks (1961), the spiritual leader and sacred clown (heyoka) of the Oglala Sioux put it like this:
When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West, it comes with terror like a thunderstorm; but when the storm of vision has passed, the world is greener and happier… You have noticed truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping … as lightning illuminates the dark, for it is the power of lightning that heyokas have.
Bullshit! Some White dude wrote this shite. He said a Red Indian told it to him. But, the First Nations had known English for a long time. The fact is talking to Paul Brunton changed what Ramana Maharishi had to say- as my family knows full well. This 'Black Elk' dude was ahead of us, not behind.

By contrast, British working class schizophrenics say things which sound more authentically 'mantic'. Hills should write their testimonies up as the narratives of 'fat cow' or 'ginger menace'.
To gain mastery over reality is to create a mythology worth living for.
Fuck off! If I had mastery over reality I'd marry Beyonce and travel around the universe farting in the faces of the Galactic Overlords. Fuck I'd bother with creating a mythology for?
Your head is the space from which all meaning derives.
But your arsehole is the sphincter from which all your maunderings arise.
It is the shaman’s role to shine light on that meaning in order, like a wind-up doll, to make you go.
To the toilet on their flashlight.

Hills is a terrible writer. He has no ideas. Thus he is eager to prostitute himself. No doubt he has some terrible book to shill.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Miryam Sikandar on Maulana Azad

Maulana Azad was born for great things. His father was a Sufi 'Pir' who could attract a crowd of 30,000 rapt devotees to the Calcutta Maidan. His mother was from a scholarly Arab lineage and so his mother tongue was Arabic. However, it was his own prolific pen and political courage which gave him a leading position within reformist Indian Islam while yet an adolescent.

As he grew older, which he did with grace and dignity, there were moments when his scholarship and international stature seemed to fit him for the title of 'Imam-ul-Hind'. At the very least, he seemed destined to end up as a Head of State- a powerless but dignified ceremonial presence.

Instead, Nationalistic Indians think of him as a windbag who, in his final days, descended into a rancorous and incoherent alcoholism. Islamists think he was seduced from the true path by a sort of taqlid of the charismatic swindler Gandhi. Instead of planning and building something Islamic, the fellow participated in some crazy, wholly delusive, majazi, Hindu 'leela'- i.e. unreal playacting which was an end in itself and served no useful function- except perhaps to pull the wool over the eyes of the masses.

Currently, because of the CAA agitation we remember the Maulana as the author of an utterly fatuous plan which sought to avoid Partition by grouping Assam with Bengal in defiance of the wishes of the Assamese people who are currently enraged at the outcome of the Supreme Court mandated Nationality Register initiative in their Province. This unwelcome development forced the BJP to bring in the Citizen Amendment Act which now is being protested by many Indian Muslims who, it appears, object to non Muslims being allowed to escape from forcible conversion.

One such, Miryam Sikandar, currently doing a Doctorate at SOAS, has written a bizarre article in Scroll.in.

She points to the above caricature of Azad- depicting him as a belligerent Quasimodo- or perhaps a Kabanda type demon- scowling upward at some enemy- drawn by a Pakistani cartoonist and published in a Pakistani journal one year after Azad's death.

Dr. Sikandar writes-
When I chanced upon this image of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad wincing in despair, I wondered why the cartoonist chose to depict the leader in this unflattering hunchback posture.
Pakistanis would, quite naturally, depict Azad as a foolish creature who failed miserably. It was military men, like Nasser, who got things done.

Gandhi and Azad had said Independence was not worth having if it meant the dissolution of Hindu Muslim unity. This was like an Irish politician saying Ireland should not accept Independence till the Protestant North was reconciled to the domination of the Papist South. The thing was foolish. Independence is a good thing because you can do stuff that it is in your interest to do. Unity is a bad thing if it means you can't do anything that is in your own interest. You have to just talk meaningless tosh while some alien power rules over you. This was Azad's fate. His Islamic work was useless. It was predicated upon a wholly false belief- viz. that Religion matters only if all Religions teach that they don't matter at all because they are all the same. The Union is one of inutility and imbecility. As a matter of fact, sects which differentiate themselves maximally can serve a very good purpose by providing a mimetic target. But, for this to happen, they have to pursue excellence in education, commerce, culture etc. The same could be said of different Languages or Regions or, indeed, classes of people. Competition and emulation permit the whole of Society to rise up not because it is United but because it isn't. As Jefferson said long ago 'in matters of Religion, united we fall, divided we rise.'

The other point is the slogan 'Hindu-Muslim unity' was only as appealing as Hindus were appealing or Muslims were appealing. But both were revealed to be utter shite. No Muslim country could help any other. They were all equally useless. The Hindus may have been a little worse than the Muslims but they were terrible bores and doomed to poverty and impotence and an eternity of whining about British Rule which had impoverished them all the more effectively by ceasing to exist.

Azad, as a great figure in Urdu publishing, was a failure in another respect. His language was sinking without trace in India. Even as Education Minister, he had been powerless in this respect. Nor had Azad been able to convince his community that scientific education was the way forward. Why? He lacked it himself. The Muslim reaction was to retreat into Deobandi orthodoxy. India's big export to the Islamic world was the backward looking Maulana Nadwi and the notion that all modernity was 'jahilliya'.  Thus this minority was bound to fall behind while the Christians and Dalits and everybody else advanced.

At that time there was still a trickle of migrants from India whereas Pakistan had turned the corner and was growing twice as fast- at least in the West Wing. Thus, Azad was an exploded volcano whose molten lava had flown away uselessly. He had blown his top and was but an ugly crater on the face of Islamic Revival.

Look at the cartoon below by the same artist. It is of Syed Ahmed Khan brandishing a knife and fork- which, for Indians, were unnatural implements and signaled an excessive admiration of Europe. Like the Kabandha demon, perhaps Sir Syed would be restored to his celestial form if his arms were cut off. Azad's hands are empty in the cartoon. But what might they have held? From the Pakistani perspective, Azad's right hand was his own patented Hizbollah and a Deobandi type of anti-Westernism while the left hand was paralyzed because it was chained to 'nanga bhooka Hindustan'- naked, hungry, India.

Dr. Sikandar writes-
The cartoon, published in the Urdu magazine Nuqoosh in February 1959, had been drawn by the eminent journalist Irshad Haider Zaidi. It was most probably a reference toAzad’s anguished last speech at Delhi’s Jama Masjid in 1948,
He died 10 years later. How could it have been his last speech? All that windbag did was give speeches.
where bemoaning the Partition, he accused the Muslims of India of breaking his back:
“Do you remember? I hailed you, you cut off my tongue, I picked my pen, you severed my hands, I wanted to move forward, you broke off my legs, I tried to turn over, you broke my back…
It was true that Indian Muslims decisively rejected Congress and voted for Jinnah and Pakistan by an overwhelming majority in 1946.
'Today mine is no more than an inert existence or a forlorn cry. I am an orphan in my own motherland. This does not mean that I feel trapped in the original choice that I had made for myself, nor do I feel that there is no room left for my aashiana [nest]. What it means is that my cloak is weary of your impudent grabbing hands. My sensitivities are injured, my heart is heavy.”
So, once in power, the Minister Sahib says 'don't trouble me with your importuning. You have made your own beds and must lie in it.' But this is quite routine for politicians.
A week after the Delhi Police stormed the premises of Jamia Millia Islamia making a desolation in the interest of peace-keeping, students across the country continued to spill out on streets in grief and righteous anger.
Very self-righteous anger, no question, but a great boon to the ruling party precisely for that reason. It seems some Indians get very angry when they think of non-Muslims finding safety and citizenship in India.
Roused from the benign lethargy of writing up my PhD thesis in London, 7,500 km away from everything I called home, still struggling to shake off the image of the blood-stained corridor of the Zakir Husain Library where I spent six months during fieldwork two years ago and where I found this curious image of Azad in its Periodicals section.
This sentence is incomplete. You were roused from lethargy. But to what purpose? Was it to write illiterate shite? How would that help anybody? Or are you merely virtue-signalling? No. Sikandar is a Muslim name. You are saying you object to non-Muslims being able to flee from persecution and forcible conversion. You may have a sound theological reason for this scruple. But it is not one which non-Muslims are likely to share.
Azad was the First Minister of Education in the Indian Government. In 1920, he was elected as a member of the foundation committee to establish Jamia Millia Islamia. One of the main founders of the Dharasana Satyagraha in 1931, Azad vigorously led the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity and India’s secular ethos.
Sadly, to unite people you have to say sensible things and sponsor a mutually beneficial program of practical works. Neither Azad nor Gandhi did anything of the sort. They were associated with worthless, money-pit, institutions. Their agitations boomeranged leaving the Brits with more, not less, power.

What was the point of the Salt Satyagraha? It was a silly piece of political theater.  The salt tax remains to this day; it was only briefly abolished after Independence- but the price of salt rose, it did not fall. India still has a Salt bureau. The cost of collection of the tax is about 50 per cent. But the opportunity cost is over 100 per cent. Stupid people like giving endless lectures about the importance of unity and non-violence and not molesting everybody you meet. They may want to bring the masses out on to the streets to protest the rape of the Liberal Ethos of the Environment by increasingly Fascist Neo-Liberal anal banditry. However, the opportunity cost of this silly behavior is that people can't unite on a common program of doing sensible stuff.

Like Afghani, Azad's big shtick was 'Muslim Society is sick. Only cure is the Koran'. But, as Connor Cruise O'Brien pointed out long ago, this cure worsened the disease. The fact is no Scripture says 'do stupid shite.' Both Hindus and Muslims were educationally, commercially, and politically backward. They needed to imitate smarter more successful people. It is foolish to pretend that re-interpreting the Koran or the Gita or Das Kapital to suit the needs of the modern day is vital to reinvigorate the glorious tradition of Hindus and Muslims constantly cuddling and kissing in the streets with the result that India was a 'golden bird' which a handful of homophobic Brits were able to pluck of all its feathers because, despite constant cuddling, Hindus and Muslims were too cowardly or stupid to fight back.

What are the needs of the modern day? Secularism in the sense of telling Religious, or Ideological cults, to go fuck themselves. Just imitate the Japs or guys who imitated the Japs or whoever else pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. If you see a Maulana or a Mahatma, tell him to fuck off. No doubt, he may reply, 'if I fuck off, there will be Partition.' But Partition is a good thing. Ireland's Civil War ceased in the Twenties once Partition was accepted. Ataturk made peace with his neighbors after a big population exchange. If the Sikhs want a state where they will be the majority- just give it to them already. Don't get guys with long beards to talk shite about the unity of all Religion. Sooner or later, they will start killing each other as heretics.

Why be 'inclusive' to minorities? The only minority that matters is the small number of people who don't have shit for brains. Imitate them if they make money. Tell them to fuck off if they start asking for funds to help poor, disabled, homosexual goats who are struggling against the hegemony of late Capitalist goat-herders.

In India, when any group starts talking shite you must tell them in no uncertain terms that the first step that must be taken is the physical liquidation of the Iyengar population. Those bastids are saying Iyers put garlic in the sambar. This proves that 'Divide and Rule' policy is invention of Iyengars only. Queen Victoria was an Iyengar. Genghis Khan- typical Iyengar lady pretending to be a Mongol warlord. How long we are going to tolerate being trampled underfoot by the Iyengars?
Often dubbed as a “Congress Showboy” by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Azad continued to proclaim his faith in Hindu-Muslim entente.
However, he failed to denounce Iyengars. But the same can be said about Jinnah. Gandhi, that bastard, went and became the sambandhi of a vicious Iyengar named Rajaji. He and he alone was responsible for all bad things which have been happening. How could India prosper if its first Governor General was such a scoundrel as to deny the possibility of a jivanmukta? Would he eat sambar at the house of an Iyer? Maybe. But if so, why Iyengars are spreading rumors that I put garlic in sambar?

Consider my 2020 speech at the International anti-Iyengar Congress.
'I am proud of being a sambar eater. I am part of the indivisible unity that is constituted by the practice of slurping sambar even up to elbow- as is right and proper. I am indispensable to a particular orifice and without me gobshittery would be impoverished. Yet Iyengars are saying I am putting garlic in sambar! Why not just say beef-fat and be done with it?'
In a similar vein, Maulana Azad declared in 1940, 

“I am proud of being an Indian. I am part of the indivisible unity that is Indian nationality. I am indispensable to this noble edifice and without me this splendid structure is incomplete. I am an essential element, which has gone to build India. I can never surrender this claim.”
So, he opposed the Pakistan Resolution. Yet, 7 years later, Pakistan became a reality. Muslims, as Muslims, were an essential element in Pakistan. Not so in India. Bare citizenship, no special status, was accorded them.

Azad and Jinnah had different worldviews and both went on to espouse an ideology different from the one they initially propagated.
In other words, they were politicians opposed to each other.
In light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sly suggestion that the people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act could be identified by their clothes, it is perhaps parenthetical but telling that despite changing their ideologies, Azad and Jinnah did not change their appearance.
Jinnah certainly did change his appearance. The protesters did not change their appearance. This was a Muslim protest against non-Muslims being permitted to escape forcible conversion.
The sherwani-donning Azad, who completed Dars e Nizami Islamic curriculum, undertook the study of Quran, hadith, tafsir, fiqh and who produced the unfinished four-volume Tarjuman-ul-Quran – a reinterpretation of Islamic theology reconcilable with the religiously composite ethos of India – sided with the secular Congress and supported Indian nationalism.
Why? That is the crucial question. The answer is that Azad's mother was a pure Arab. He was interested in the Middle East and Turkey. He understood that the nationalists there wanted support from a united India which would be the successor state to the British Raj. Thus, Azad favored Hindu-Muslim unity so that India could play a part in the liberation of the Islamic heartland. This dream was still alive when I was a kid in Baghdad. I recall visiting dignitaries gassing on about Amba Prasad Sufi's Pan Islamic propaganda during the Mesopotamian Campaign and so forth. But that dream vanished long ago. India's Socialist Secularist friends in the region have either disappeared- e.g. Saddam- or are under siege, or are as corrupt and incompetent as they Nehru Dynasty.

The big problem with India's blathershites was that they refused to mimic successful nations like Japan. The mimetic model they represented was of a giant begging bowl being passed around by a set of arrant cowards.
Jinnah, who used to wear Savile Row suits and had little orientation about Islam, sponsored the idea of creating a state in the name of Islam.
Jinnah was born an Ismaili. He was converted to the Pakistan idea and took to wearing a karakul cap. He didn't want to meddle too much with Islam because of the potential for a Shia-Sunni split- not to mention Ahmadiyas and so forth.

Azad was born in Mecca in 1888 in a family known for piety and religious scholarship.
What is important to note is that his father had left Delhi after the Mutiny. He returned under British auspices. But his son was of the 'Ghaddar' breed and got worked up about Turkey and Khilafat and so forth- all of which turned out to be a mirage. Jinnah and the Aga Khan had been chased out of the Khilafat movement by greedy embezzlers but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Still, Indian Ismailis have tended to fall behind Bohras because of the Aga Khan's politics.
His real name was Sayyid Ghulam Muhiyuddin. The first change in Azad’s thinking came when he read the works of scholars like Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Shibli Nomani and Jamaluddin Afghani.
Azad was a favorite pupil of Nomani, along with Sulaiman Nadvi who, however, left India for Pakistan some two or three years after Partition. It is believed that Azad's hostility to Aligarh rubbed off on Nomani.
The concept that appealed to him initially was that of pan-Islamism.
This is the orthodox Indian position. It was challenged by hot-heads and extremists in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. However, after 1857, that type of militancy disappeared. I suppose one could say that Zia revived it in Pakistan- but there was a tactical element to this.
Azad joined the Muslim League in 1913 and remained a member till 1920 while also being the driving force behind the creation of Jamiat-ul Ulama e Hind in 1919 along with Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani.
Azad, however, did not have the religious standing of Madani and thus his influence was bound to decline.

Well versed in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Turkish, Azad had exceptionally precocious journalistic capabilities. He started editing his first newspaper Al-Misbah at the age of 12. In 1903, Azad’s monthly magazine Lisan us Sidq(Voice of Truth) gained popularity, his prime concern being the revival of Muslims and their political challenges in the world at large.
I think Azad was more similar to Sir Syed as a teen, though he would naturally have resented the airs and graces the English medium scholars gave themselves. But there was already an anti-Aligarh reaction among the traditionally educated courtier class. Still, the fact is, by 1905, parents all over India were demanding some English language instruction in primary school. Previously, there had been a superstitious fear of the 'la-deen' alphabet. But the tide had turned in its favor. Azad's long life marked the final eclipse of Urdu in its birthplace. But, Sir Syed himself had said- a little before Azad was born- that writing in Urdu made people stupid. Scientific instruction could be give in it, but Law and Philosophy and so forth should be taught in English. Otherwise, the country would drown in hysterical verbosity. Experience has confirmed this view. Urdu is the language of the manic-depressive. By contrast, Bengali is the language of the blathershite while Tamil is so pure and beautiful that speaking it makes me want to kill Iyengars.
In 1914, the British government banned his Al-Hilal and Al-Balagh for his anti-British stance. Charged with sedition, he was asked to leave Bengal under the provisions of the Defence of India Act.
Al Balagh was started after Al-Hilal was shut down. It too ceased to operate when the Brits imprisoned Azad in 1916.
The turning point in Azad’s life came after his release from Ranchi Jail in 1920 when he met Gandhi who then joined hands with the Khilafat Movement leaders and launched the Non-Cooperation movement.
This was a bad mistake. Gandhi and Rajaji and so forth were saying Hindus had a religious duty which only Muslims might possibly have felt incumbent on them. If Hindus really had died fighting the Brits and the French etc. in Turkey or MENA then Gandhi would not have been shown to have been a lying cheating hypocrite. But Gandhi called off Non Cooperation a couple of weeks before Egypt got unilateral independence.

The right thing to do was to emphasize the anti-imperialist aspect of the agitation. But Azad and Gandhi and the Ali brothers went in the opposite direction. Thus the thing was bound to end in tears. Indian independence was indefinitely delayed.
Azad became an integral part of this movement and parted ways with the Muslim League. Adopting new ideas of cultural harmony, national unity and freedom, Azad wholeheartedly threw his lot with the Congress. He presided over its special session in 1923 in Delhi. Galvanised by the Kemalist abolition of the Osmanli Caliphate in March 1924, the pan-Islamic oppositional unity of an ummah wahida against the British that Azad’s Al Hilaal and Al Balagh stirringly invoked were now replaced by new idioms of secular nationhood and religious ecumenism. In fact, in his Ramgarh Address (1940), he described the history of India as a symbiosis where Hindus and Muslims resembled each other closely.
In other words, Azad saw he had been barking up the wrong tree. The Turks had liberated themselves. Egypt had got independence. The Saudis conquered the Hejaz and united much of the peninsula. Iran was taking a similar path to that of Ataturk. The age of the theologians was over. That of egalitarian secularism was dawning. India, because of the backwardness and stupidity of its Mullahs and Mahatmas, would have to learn patience by queuing up, in an orderly fashion, to be beaten on the head by policemen. Only prolonged satyagraha of this type would fit them for yet more such beating.

Indian students, of course, amply demonstrate the Indian need for regular beating. Indian Muslims are being encouraged to run amok. The BJP ought to be praying for another Godhra. We can easily imagine how Scroll.In will cover an atrocity committed against a train compartment filled with non-Muslim refugees. It will be said that the refugees infuriated the Muslims by saying 'Ha, ha! We are going to escape forcible conversion and get to live safely! You can't do anything about it!'
While Gandhi’s entry into active politics occasioned a sea-change in Azad’s politics, the same conjuncture spurred Jinnah’s transformation into a Muslim Nationalist from being a territorial nationalist (once known as the “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”).
Jinnah resigned from Congress in 1920. But he remained an important go-between. However, his deputy, Chaghla let him down when he was called away from negotiations with Motilal Nehru in 1928. This lawyer's trick proved Congress perfidy to Jinnah who retaliated, on behalf of the League, with his 14 points.
In 1929 he announced his famous Fourteen Points to safeguard Muslim interests in self-governing India. Which of the two leaders was successful in ensuring the full realisation of their vision is a question with no easy answers. 
Nehru was successful which is why his dynasty is still important in India.
The Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens has provoked a widespread backlash in the country, especially from students. While the full implications of the law are yet to be realised, many Indian citizens worry, with good reason, that it might mutate into something more nefarious.
In other words, some opposition politicians are trying to throw a scare into the Muslims in the belief that they will secure their votes. Students, being as stupid as shit, can always be relied on to jump into the fray.

On December 20, after the Friday prayers at Jama Masjid, another Azad dramatically surfaced amidst the sloganeering thousands: the Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad who read out a few passages from the Indian Constitution that he was holding in his hands. It is the same masjid from where Maulana Azad made his clarion call to Muslims migrating to Pakistan:

“Where are you going and why? Raise your eyes. The minarets of Jama Masjid want to ask you a question. Where have you lost the glorious pages from your chronicles? Wasn’t it only yesterday that on the banks of the Jamuna, your caravans performed wazu?”
So there you have it. Maulana Azad is now the equal of Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan who believes that Dalits were once the rulers of India, just as the Muslims were once the rulers of India. Muslims must die in jihad so that this Ravan can reclaim his throne and destroy any Ram Masjid which may be built in Ayodhya.

Maulana Azad lies buried in the vicinity of Delhi’s Jama Masjid. Somewhere close by, just across Jama Masjid also lies buried Sarmad Kashani, the sixteenth century Armenian mystic poet who traveled to India and was executed by Aurangzeb for his unorthodox religious views, freedom of speech and whose life Azad eloquently recounted in his Hayat e Sarmad Shaheed and with whom Azad, true to his sobriquets Abul Kalam (father of speech) and Azad (free) identified with.
Sarmad fell in love with a Hindu boy, took of all his clothes and ran around naked. Sadly Maulana Azad did not do the same though, no doubt, Mountbatten would have been delighted by the spectacle. It was inconsiderate actions of that type which caused the Brits to get in a huff and depart India.
Before he was beheaded, Sarmad composed the following Farsi couplet:
“Shor e shud wa az khwab e adam chashm kishudemDidem ki baqi ast shab e fitna, ghunudem There was a clamour and we opened our eyes from an eternal sleep. Saw that the night of wickedness endures, so we slept again.”
The sword of course fell on Sarmad.
 Poor fellow! Next time he gets up the night of naughtiness will have ended so he can romp around naked to his heart's delight.

Who knows when this shab-e-fitna will end or if it ever will without decapitating us
because night has a sword with which it can cut off our head because...urm... arre bhai, ye husn-e-talil tere samajh ke bahar hai.  Just take my word for it already. Such things are happening all the time at SOAS. You fall asleep during lecture and when you wake up you find somebody chopped off your head and ran away with it! Probably it was some nasty boys from LSE. Kindly bring me back my head, I say, or I will beat you with my hockey stick!
but the clamour is stirring people in statutory caution from an eternal slumber and the minarets of Jama Masjid recall Azad’s impassioned call for action:
“Brothers, keep up with the changes. Don’t say, ‘We are not ready for the change.’ Get ready. Stars may have plummeted down but the sun is still shining. Borrow a few of its rays and sprinkle them in the dark caverns of your lives.”
Also borrow some of its sugar and atta and a little ghee so Mummy can make nice pancakes.

Incidentally the reason given for the 2010 Jama Masjid terror attack in which two Taiwanese nationals were injured was that the Imam was letting semi-naked foreigners into the mosque. Clearly only naked Armenians are tolerated at such places- provided they are in love with some Hindu boy.
When the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act was passed, exultant Pakistani Twitter uses got #ThankYouJinnah to trend on Twitter. Hundreds of social media accounts recounted their hard-won victories in Jinnah’s quotable adage rehashed over and over: “Muslims who are opposing Pakistan will spend rest of their lives proving loyalty to India”.
Or they could just get a job. Stupid people should not prove their loyalty to anything. Their way of doing so creates a public nuisance.
Our hearts are heavy. The hunchbacked ghost of Azad
who is now the equal of a guy named Ravan
and India’s secularism stare us back in our faces and the bitter fight for India’s secular backbone continues.
Who is fighting for anybody's or anything's backbone? Sarmad was taking of all his clothes so as to display his backside to some Hindu boy. Azad was served mutton curry by Kasturba Gandhi after her husband forced her to cook meat for the guest. Maybe Kasturba had to fight for the backbone of a goat so as to make nice broth. But other than her, I can think of nobody who gets into a fight over backbones. Still, perhaps Dr. Sikandar knows what she is talking about. In the SOAS canteen scholars and savants beat each other so as to secure backbones to gnaw upon. However, shab-e-fitna beheaded them when they fell asleep during lecture. So they are unable to gnaw upon any backbone. This makes them write articles which Scroll publishes.

As Maulana Azad said 'You Urdu speaking people are all completely bakvas. Raise up your eyes and look at the minarets of Jama Masjid. What do they remind you of? Chee, chee, how can you have such dirty thoughts! What you should piously think of is Sarmad's backside. O ye of little faith! Have you forgotten so soon that your Caravan was guided across the desert of verbal diarrhea by nothing but the radiant full moon of his hindquarters? You people have broken my back and are fighting with each other to snatch away my spinal cord for some revolting culinary purpose. Can you blame me if I shut myself in my room with a bottle of something medicinal?'

Azad was a good man. But he was incorruptible. Thus he is the patron of no dynasty. Still, at least he didn't get naked and run up and down Chandni Chowk babbling mystic verse. What he got up to in his own room behind drawn curtains is nobody's business but his own. At least he didn't get gay with Jawaharlal when they were in jail together. It is for small mercies such as this that we should venerate great heroes of the independence struggle like Atul Gopichand, Vivek Iyer and Patti Obaweyo Golem. I mean, of course, the British Independence struggle in which I played a leading part by getting naked and running around my little flat with the curtains drawn.


Tharoor & Saran's new book

Is it possible for Shashi Tharoor to write a single sentence which is not false or foolish or both false and foolish even if he has a co-author like Dr. Saran?

Let us see- the following is an excerpt from his latest book. 
If we seek with trepidation to avoid the pitfalls of history, the key questions we must ask are: how do global governance frameworks that were shaped in the context of a very different world adapt to today’s changes?
This is Babu English. History refers to stuff which has already happened. Its pitfalls no longer exist. We would only need to avoid them if we were time travelers.
There is no 'global governance framework' because there is no Global Government. There is a United Nations- but it is utterly useless.

What these cretin mean is- 'if we don't want to repeat mistakes we must ask in what ways International norms and procedures have become dysfunctional because the world has changed?'  This too is stupid. It is obvious that we need to be aware that previous ways of doing things may not be equal to present tasks because the world has changed.
Technological and demographic shifts, rising powers, new geographic theatres, and balance of power politics are all moving with a velocity previously unknown to the world.
This is nonsense. There have been no new 'geographic theaters' since the 'scramble for Africa' some 140 years ago. No period has seen such dramatic changes as that between 1914 and 1950. The pace of change has slowed down. The future holds no big surprises.
Can new countries assume leadership, and will this create a more representative international system?
No. There are no 'new countries' which aren't less important than their predecessor. South Sudan isn't going to lead anything.
To be fair, attempting to evaluate the future of world order is an elusive endeavour.
No it isn't. I just did it in a sentence. The future will be pretty much what markets currently predict.
For one thing, it is necessary to ask: who does a world order serve?
Why? The thing is fucking obvious. Pax Brittanica served Britain. The 'American Century' served America. China's belt and road serves China. A world order is a modus vivendi between super-powers.
The post-world war order served the Atlantic powers, first to stave off the threat from the Soviet Union, and then to expand their normative vision for democracy and free trade.
Nonsense! The balance of terror served the Soviets and their allies better than it did the Atlantic powers. That is why Britain and America and even, to a lesser extent, France, embraced free markets and elected people like Reagan and Thatcher whose 'normative vision' was very different from that of Kennedy or the 'Butskellite' post-war British consensus.
However, this order failed to accommodate the voices and concerns of countries which found their independence after shedding the yoke of colonialism.
But that's why those countries became independent. And they did too get accomodated. India received a heck of a lot of 'free money' from America, till it realized that the begging bowl was a poisoned chalice.

However, the West realized there was no point to accommodating anything. Only madmen listen to stupid voices.
Looking further back in history, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 helped end the Napoleonic wars and brought peace to Europe in terms of political stability and economic growth.
Occupying France till it paid huge reparations and sending Napoleon off to a far away island was what ended the Napoleonic wars. Vienna only gained salience after Talleyrand was neutralized. It was the 'Holy Alliance' which preserved European peace. But economic growth was based on the resumption of market based reforms. In Prussia the 'liberalism of the officials' was based on the great love of Adam Smith which inspired Kant's successor.
Yet, that same period was marked by the colonisation of Asia and a burgeoning African slave trade.
Rubbish! India's colonization began in the mid eighteenth century. The African slave trade, which peaked at about the same time, was abolished in the UK in 1807.
At the same time, ever since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, world order was primarily understood in terms of interactions between states; and the ideation of a “world order” itself was an Anglo-American conception.
Completely false. This is a wholly exploded academic availability cascade. Westphalia had no special importance whatsoever. No 'nation state' signed anything there. 'Westphalian Sovereignty' is a legal fiction.

 The 'ideation' of a 'world order' dates from the Papal bull dividing the New World between Spain and Portugal which led to the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494.
Today, not only do we have multiple state and civilisational contenders for leadership in the international system, but such an international order must also accommodate or address international and regional institutions, multinational corporations and nongovernmental organisations, civil society movements, powerful city states and so on.
This is utterly false. Trump does not want to create a 'New World Order'. The thing is anathema to his bedrock supporters. What Trump won't do, nobody else can do. Regional hegemons may exist but hegemony is contested at the margin. As for 'International institutions' and NGOs- everybody thinks those guys are wankers. As for MNCs, they are facing an existential threat on their own home turf. Warren could get the Presidential ticket. Even if she doesn't, K-Street will switch sides so as to shake down the plutocrats to enrich itself.
Today’s problem is that the structural preconditions that allow major powers to enforce their normative visions no longer exist.
Major powers could not 'enforce their normative visions'. America learnt this in Vietnam. The Soviets did so in Afghanistan. The 'structural precondition' for doing something impossible is that pigs have wings and spend most of their time flying around shitting on people's heads.
Control over technology, finance, and trade allowed Europe to spread its “civilising mission” and colonise the world.
Very true! Portugal was technologically very advanced which is why it still had a big Empire at the end of the Nineteen Sixties. The truth is 'civilizing missions' involve missionaries who get savages to put on clothes and stop head-hunting. It's tough work.
A booming post-war economy and new political ideals allowed America to dominate the second half of the twentieth century.
But it could have dominated the world in the Twenties as well. It chose not to. The reason America felt it worthwhile to build up offensive force projection was because Japan had attacked it and Hitler had declared war on it. As for 'new political ideals'- America found no such thing in the Fifties. There was incremental progress on issues which had been around from before the Civil War.
These factors of comprehensive national power no longer reside in one geography – instead they are dispersed between states and within them; and all this takes place in a global economy that does not respect borders.
Utter rubbish! NATO is just the tail of the big American dog. Trump has been very clear about this. Warren is now threatening the Tech Titans. It is now obvious that mythmaking about 'globalization' was tendentious shite of a Tharoor level of imbecility. All Economic power is National.
No two powers can agree on a common set of rules.
Sure they can- if it suits them and if stupid shitheads and idealogues are disintermediated.
At the same time, transnational corporations and powerful city states are increasingly functioning in parallel to national government policies and international regulations.
Where? Hong Kong? But those students will end up surrendering after receiving one beating too many.
American cities, for example, have been the front-runners against climate change despite President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
So what? This hasn't changed anything.
Moscow and Beijing – most widely considered to be at the forefront of subverting the international order – are challenging the rules and norms that do not support their world view.
When has this not been the case? Did China restore Tibet to the Tibetans? Does it have a vibrant multi-party Democracy? What about Russia?
Even the Transatlantic alliance is under pressure – over terms of trade, rules for the digital economy, political values, and security concerns.
It was under pressure when Obama was President. Now it has Trump's boot lodged so far up its ass that it can taste his shoe polish.
Other regional powers, such as Japan or Australia, do not have the normative vision, economic resources, military might or political will to determine the outcome of events in global politics.
So, America is the only big dog on a global scale. Thus Tharoor and Saran have been wasting our time writing nonsense.
Clearly, not everyone has benefited the same way from the post- war order; and it is for this reason that they do not seek to defend it.
But those who have benefited won't defend it either. Why? They would have been even better off if this fraud had never been allowed to engross resources. Reagan told UNESCO to go fuck itself. Dubya rejoined in 2002 because everybody was falling over themselves to kiss his ass. But Trump has told them to fuck off once again.
This is not to say, however, that this order did not benefit anyone at all. If anything, today’s rising international power – China – was the primary beneficiary of the international liberal order.
Fuck off! It was the beneficiary of having smart leaders and a large very hardworking and entrepreneurial population. It single-handedly  removed inflationary bias from the world economy. In other words, it more than paid its way.
No other country has gained from integrating with the global economy in the manner that Beijing has. From a GDP of $92 billion in 1970 to $13.6 trillion in 2018, China has steadily enmeshed itself in global value chains and is creatively moving up the industrial production ladder.
But China would have done this in any case with or without trade agreements. Why? Markets find ways around trade barriers. That's why sanctions don't work.
Already, it is the second largest economy in nominal terms, and the largest in PPP terms. So why is it that it is China that is at the forefront of subverting this order?
Because there was never an order. There was only expediency and Ricardian 'gains from trade'.

Ask a stupid question and you are bound to think of an even stupider question.
This question begets another question: what purpose does a world order serve?
These cretins don't remember that they had already asked this question. They are just going round in circles.
Collective peace, hegemony, or mutually beneficial multilateralism, or something else?
Markets could be viewed as exhibiting 'spontaneous order'. The purpose served is Ricardian 'gains from trade'. That's it. That's the whole story. No doubt, when inaugurating something useful- like a Public Toilet- you may wheel out some Tharoor type cretin to make a speech about how not shitting all over the place promotes collective peas and helps disabled cabbages.
As we have shown, Beijing believes, whether or not it will say so in so many words, that a twenty-first-century revival of the East Asian tributary system in which China’s economic, political, and cultural superiority is recognised might bring harmony; and it is willing to enforce this world view through force and coercion if need be.
This is foolish. The 'tributary system' was about reducing, not increasing, access to Chinese exports. Barbarians brought jade or horses or rhino horns and gave them to the Emperor who then let them buy Chinese silk or paper or whatever.
America, often contradictorily characterised as a “liberal leviathan”, sees value in a “rules-based order” – albeit rules that are infused with American norms and power structures.
Do these guys really not know that Trump is President? Why write such nonsense?
At the same time, it seeks to bring the American way of life to every part of the world through global communications and trade and finance networks.
I suppose one could say this of USAID or the Peace Corps. But that backfired. In Afghanistan, a guy the Americans sent to Columbia to study journalism turned into a rabid Maoist. He, more than anyone else, destroyed the country.
Everyone agrees, in principle at least, that great power wars are undesirable.
Why don't they agree that it is undesirable in practice? What is wrong with them? Do they think a Nuclear Apocalypse would make for a welcome change of pace? Are there people who say 'what a shame Kennedy didn't nuke the Soviets and they didn't nuke America in retaliation. The world would be a so much better place if it was only inhabited by radioactive cockroaches. I mean, in principle I am opposed to a war which would annihilate our species. But, in practice, you must admit the thing is highly desirable.'
But today’s world requires managing complex challenges that go well beyond stability or hegemony, and just like the global economy, these challenges do not respect sovereign boundaries.
If this is true, when was it not true? Sovereign boundaries are only respected if not doing so gets you killed. What is the point of writing such nonsense?
Climate change, internet governance, artificial intelligence, space missions, human trafficking, tax evasion, international terrorism, the proliferation of drug trafficking, health pandemics, and many more such challenges are all issues that require international cooperation.
No they don't. These are things which can only be tackled locally. Governments can sign treaties saying 'everyone must be nice. No one should be naughty.' but if they don't punish transgressors then naughtiness will still exist.
No twentieth- century framework, or any other historical point of reference, gives an adequate idea of how to responsibly manage these tensions in a world that is more interconnected and interdependent than ever, but suffers from a leadership deficit.
Then why the fuck have these two cretins written this book? What the fuck do they know about the Twenty first or Twenty second century? Are they science nerds who have made billions in high tech industries? Have they discovered the secret of time-travel? Are their PhDs in 'futurology'? No. They are shittly little I.R majors- i.e. verbose imbeciles.
Moreover, if today’s international system is best characterised as an extension of the Atlantic system, where will new orders be constructed?
How does characterizing something in one way help predict the future? Suppose I characterize the weather today as 'cold but sunny', how does it enable me to know that tomorrow will be 'warm but rainy'. The weather- at least in England- is a complex system. Correctly identifying the current configuration does not enable us to predict the next configuration. That's why a lot of money has to be spent on weather forecasting.
Geography is central to building international systems.
No shit, Sherlock!
The Middle Kingdom’s tributary system flourished in East Asia, the Westphalian system thrived in Europe,
why not the other way around? Please Dr. Tharoor explain why Nigerians are ruling in Nigeria, not Sweden.
and the post-world war order simply added America plus Japan, Australia, and South Korea to “globalise” what was already a somewhat coherent European order.
What is wrong with these cretins? Do they not understand that the Soviet Union and its allies controlled half the globe little more than a half century ago?
Today, it is clear that the twenty-first century will be defined by the collision of three geographies: the Eurasian landmass, the Indo–Pacific maritime system, and the Arctic Ocean.
Fuck off. America will remain top dog. Trade is a decreasing component of China's GDP. Thus its interest in maintaining the 'belt and road' will decline as will the enthusiasm of small countries to take on debt for this purpose. As China evolves into a service based, high value adding, knowledge economy it won't be interested in any sort of 'collisions'. They will discover they don't want Muslim immigrants clogging up their 'silk roads'.

The interaction of global economic and migratory flows, the adoption and diffusion of new technologies, and geopolitical imperatives are eroding the artificial geographical boundaries between Europe and Asia and turning these regions into one fluid and dynamic unit.
No they aren't. Europe is turning into a fortress against immigration. Higher taxes to finance increased social care costs for ageing population would, in any case, have the same effect. We will get 'Tiebout sorting' with contiguous areas offering different fiscal mixes and regulatory environment. Economies of scope and scale in resource extraction, transport and manufacturing will have less and less salience. Localized knowledge effects will have increased salience. This is why Europe is cracking up. If it can't be a 'fluid and dynamic unit' (based on higher mobility of physical capital) how the fuck will it integrate with Russia and Uzbekistan and so forth?
The Indo-Pacific was catalysed by China’s rise and expanding maritime influence but was given shape and definition by other powers in the region – namely the US, India, Japan, and Australia (who collectively make up the Quadrilateral Initiative).
But, India is backing out. Anyway the thing is exactly as silly as it sounds.
Simultaneously, communities and markets from Asia and Europe are virtually driving the once separate continents together to create on contiguous supercontinent: Eurasia.
These idiots think there was a time when Europe was separated from Asia. They have never heard of the Tzarist empire which included Alaska and Poland.
The Arctic, meanwhile, is being reborn as an unintended consequence of climate change. And as it continues to melt, it will merge the politics of the Atlantic and the Pacific, as actors in these once dispersed geographies find their interests overlapping.
Utterly foolish! Russians aren't going to invade Canada.
None of these regions should be thought of as separate units – instead, there is a matrix of interdependent drivers that are merging the political, economic, and security relationships in these regions.
No there isn't. If you construct a matrix to represent a Structural Causal Model you disallow interdependent vectors. Otherwise your theory is 'anything goes'. It doesn't explain anything except 'cascading failures'- but that is an engineering problem of an idiographic sort.
What 'merges' political', 'economic' and 'security' relationships is 'overlapping consensus' featuring independent formulations of National interest. The reverse may appear to happen because of availability cascades but the thing is not robust. It falls apart quite quickly. That is why 'overlapping consensus' is required such that everybody has their own reason for agreeing to a thing- so long as the thing does what it is supposed to do.
There is, accordingly, an immense amount of friction and contest between a plethora of powers to define and then manage these geographies.
No there isn't. The game is not worth the candle.
And yet, these parts of the world are nothing like what Europe and America – or the Anglo-Saxon community – were in the twentieth century.
But they are what they themselves were like at that time. Why mention the matter? Has something changed. Do Norwegians wake up in the middle of the night only to discover they have turned into Nigerians or Nicaraguans?
The political and cultural diversity from Japan to Nigeria, and China to Greece, are enormous.
But this diversity existed two thousand years ago!
The geographical boundaries that the Europeans arbitrarily drew during colonial times have allowed ethnic and religious differences to escalate.
Where? Tribes and Nations fought each other before the Europeans came. They continued to do so after the Europeans left. So what?
Booming populations are young in these parts of the world, but states simply do not have the capacity to address their aspirations.
Nonsense! They have the capacity. What they lack is the smarts. South Korea was once as poor as India. Look at it now. India was a little ahead of China thirty years ago. Imagine the chaos that will prevail if the BJP loses next time round and we are back to the shifting coalitions of the mid Nineties.
This very diversity will require a different framework altogether, one in which countries will have to work together despite differences in their governance frameworks and capacity, and despite absolutely no agreement on civilisational norms.
This already happens. But the pretense that it happens for normative reasons has to be given up.

The authors conclude by highlighting all the reasons their book is worthless. But this is otiose. We knew that already.
At the same time, one has to acknowledge the diminishing appetite for world order approaches in a number of states.
As one commentator put it: “The United States has made it clear it continues to oppose the creation of a treaty to govern cyberspace. China has reportedly been reneging on its legally binding commitment to ban ozone-depleting substances, diminishing the Montreal Protocol’s claim as the ‘most effective treaty in the world’. It appears highly unlikely that the United States, Russia and China will come together to craft a regime for the governance of the Arctic, interested as each is in the economic possibilities that will open up after its ice melts. The WTO has struggled in recent months to incubate negotiations on global e-commerce rules, and localised rules for national and regional digital economies look set to become the norm.”
The international system, which created a vast network of laws, treaties, and institutions that underpin the world we take for granted today, finds itself stagnating and rudderless, without patron or protector. It seems to be heading towards “each nation for itself”.
This may even be the right place to start considering the possibility of the absence of any world order at all, or what Bremmer calls a “G-Zero” world. In this much at least history is certain: when international politics become zero sum and transactional, putting the absolute interests of one state above another, war ensues.
Rubbish! War ensues when a symmetry in offensive capacity is lacking. That's what happened in both World Wars. France didn't have an offensive doctrine. The German general staff decided to roll the dice. They lost both times and then Germany was occupied and forcibly disarmed.
The absence of any rules, institutions, principles, and leadership inevitably creates a trust vacuum and military might dictates every relationship.
Nonsense! Both sides having adequate threat points suffices to keep War in the Icebox.
While an international order might create a stable balance of power, combining legitimacy and enforcement capacity, by no means does it guarantee peace and development.
International Orders are the product, not the creators of a Balance of Power featuring comparable threat points. Nothing guarantees 'peace and development' except being able to kill invaders and robbers and doing so in no stinting spirit.
The absence of any order whatsoever almost guarantees tragic outcomes.
Rubbish! The UN has always been as useless as the League of Nations and the elaborate alliance systems of the Crowned Heads of Europe half of whom were related to each other.
The first half of the twentieth century, when a fledgling international order existed and collapsed,

What are these cretins talking about? The first half of the twentieth century saw two world wars. There was no fucking 'international order' whatsoever.
is testament to this inevitability: great power conflict unleashed unspeakable violence and chaos – and the world must be all the more wary today because of the presence of nuclear weapons, deadly tech-enabled tools of mayhem, and the proliferation of state and non-state actors committed to upending stability and order.
These cretins don't get that Hydrogen bombs and ICBMs have made the world safe from all but the mischief of I.R mavens like themselves. Disintermediate these shitheads. Abolish the UN. No. Don't. It is a useful dumping ground for utterly incompetent diplomats. Look at the mess they have made of Libya. Also the UN has 'special rapporteurs' who are guaranteed to say the funniest thing possible. One such, an expert on food security, said Scottish women don't have sufficient access to arable land to grow turnips for their kiddies who therefore are forced to subsist solely on deep fried Mars bars. Quite properly, the Modi Govt. has told these Special rap artists to go fuck themselves.

No doubt, according to Tharoor & Saran, this will lead to war. But, who pays attentions to wars of words? Anybody can write any old tosh. I suspect that Tharoor and Saran used an A.I to cobble together this book. But it was a really shitty A.I. Still, no great harm has been done. Nobody will read it.