Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Corruption and the Metic

Purvapaksha- Our Nation is unique, no matter what Nation it might be, for its pure, uncorrupted, National Spirit is the envy of all- which is why everybody is conspiring against us and trying to belittle us. 
Unfortunately, the foreigners with their fancy ideas and loose morals have corrupted us. That is root cause of corruption. 
Look brother, I'm first to admit, we also have our some peculiar customs of our own. After all, to give postman a little something when he brings registered letter is part of our ancient custom. In the Epics, the messenger always received a present from the King. Similarly many things which are going on with us are not properly appreciated by outsiders. See, we are like one big family. If I slap the traffic cop and threaten to have his family killed- it is because I consider him my own son. Similarly if he demands a bribe from you it is because he is like a younger brother who has got sulky because Father beat him and he is only asking money to buy some sweets or drugs or something like that. See, in family life, first thing one should learn is TOLERANCE.
Outsiders don't understand our little customs. They think everything should only be by the law book. They think people are just machines only. It is because they are not part of family. They have no TOLERANCE.
In Japan, the Emperor came to hear that there was one family which had been living in the same place on the same plot of ground for 1000 years. Never had that family been broken up by any quarrel or fighting. He sent his Daimyo to investigate how this Magic was possible. Answer was simple. They had TOLERANCE. If younger brother gets angry and beats up sister-in-law due to she is not giving fooding on time- so what? He is young. He will learn. If Great Uncle wants to sleep naked with his nieces. He is old man. Be tolerant.
If elder brother sells off some property to pay debts- don't get angry just murder the new proprietor and don't mention the matter. This is called TOLERANCE. 
Outsiders don't understand it. Not just outsiders, there is always scum born from dirty puddles or other impure wombs. What can they understand of family? True they may be having twenty thirty children of their own. Does that mean they understand Family? Does it mean they have TOLERANCE? Not at all. Beat one and see how the fellow howls and goes running to Police Station! Even animals have more sense.
But, I am telling you, it is the Outsiders who are the real problem. They have no TOLERANCE. They just know enough of our language to know the Law Book. Other than that, they just jabber like monkeys. It is they who are spreading all these false ideas and agitations. Let them go back to their own place.
I tell you- that is the Revolution we need today!
True meaning of Marx and Mahatma and Manu and Mayawatiji and everyone is only this.
Mind it, kindly.
The proletariat, according to the Labor theory of Value, are those who serve the country only by their power to produce children. Under diminishing returns and assuming Malthusian population growth, they- as a class- will never possess land, financial capital or even what we now call human capital. In a sense, theirs is a 'tragedy of the commons'- they immiserate themselves by the very manner in which they are productive to the State. Unless, of course, they emigrate.

It is characteristic of the first stirrings of the Economic Sciences in Germany- in which such of the Bidungsburgertum as amounted to more than mindless pedants, were tasked by the Prince to increase the yield of his forests, farms, mines and markets (Novalis, himself, was an actuary actually!)- that emigration would be overlooked or castigated because it represents a route by which the proletariat might stop serving the State and save themselves. Thus, Marx's 'dictatorship of the proletariat' is wrongly taken to signify a vanguard role for industrial working class rather than a meaningless moment in Hegel's pie-in-the-sky dialectics.

Workers who can emigrate don't serve the State solely by having children. People who won't emigrate but do consider it their duty to be periodically driven to the brink of starvation by 'the iron law of wages' may be termed proletarian but they aren't really people, or even cattle, but spiritual lemmings merely.

Emigration turns workers into 'metics'- the artisan or other member of the productive class, but of foreign birth, whose activities enrich the Polis- but Marxism has no theory of the metic. Certainly, the Comintern or whatever meretricious evil it has mutated into, can keep up the pretense that the State itself will wither away and so no metic/ proletariat distinction exists on the plane of essence. No doubt there are 'contradictions' which Party hacks can pontificate upon.  But, no real cognizance can be taken of the fact that there is a second 'tragedy of the commons' to which the proletariat is peculiarly subject viz. that the capitalized rent accruing to its leadership, to the degree that leadership is contested, would tend to cause it to over-reach itself and kill its own golden goose-think Datta Samant or Arthur Scargil etc . If uncontested, however, the rent to its leadership is maximized by its own immiseration- as happens under Single Party rule.

These two 'tragedies of the commons' specific to the proletariat drive a sort of internal and external migration and transformation from proletarian to metic. But, the metic has diametrically opposed economic interests. The external metic faces 'bhumiputra' hostility from the 'sons of the soil' which can quickly turn into Racism or Communalist sentiments. The internal metic- for example the factory worker who has started up a small workshop- finds his business opportunities arise from 'Dis-integration' viz. supplying goods and services to previously vertically integrated behemoths and this gives rise to a 'Dual Economy' where the Zaibatsu pay high wages to their own workers but keep costs down by outsourcing to the Small Scale sector with much lower wages and benefits. Since there are purely economic advantages to 'Dis-integration'- and moreover a large Small Scale sector existing cheek by jowl with Business behemoths endows the whole Sector with external economies of scale and scope- it won't disappear even if some magic legislative wand is waved and wages and benefits are equalized.

No doubt, metic and proletarian may cohabit along with peasant proprietor in the same body. Indeed, in India or other countries which had no Napoleonic code to break up co-parcenary land ownership, the same man may be a metic an industrial downturn, a proletarian during an upswing, while returning for the harvest to the land he 'owns' but in which he has no clear fungible title.
But such amphibian existence- like that of Duryodhana, his army slain, sheltering himself in the waters of a lake- is a last ditch clinging on to entitlements arising from the old order. It represents no vehicle to class power or means of transformation for the Polity.

Over the last thirty years, Economists have come to realize that the globally footloose Metic is the key to economic success. Something like Romer's 'Charter Cities' have become the template for Urban renewal, tackling structural unemployment and averting things like 'the Dutch disease' (deindustrialization due to a bloated Primary sector) or 'Eurosclerosis' (welfarist disincentives to work and enterprise coupled with a costly bureaucracy) or the Populist Ponzi scheme characterizing the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain).

Anna Hazare, a nativist, had long been harping on the Corruption issue as a stick with which to beat Sharad Pawar's brand of rural development- which unlike his own Puritan panacea actually garners votes at the hustings. Sonia loyalists were happy to see Hazare put Pawar in his place and send a message to other regional satraps that Rahul would take the Prime Ministership as a second Indira- an Emperor by divine as much as dynastic right. The RSS, far from being capable of any sort of meaningful leadership,  is still in post-Mandal mode and will bow its Brahminical head to any retarded or Backward caste Hindu- Ramdev because he is Yadav, Modi because he is Ghanchi, Hazare because he is Maratha.

There is one caste- a new caste- not mentioned. There isn't even a word for it. Let us for the moment call this class the Metic class. The... not 'bhumi-putra' but ....what? Are we not all, in some sense or another, part of this class? Are we not made faceless, do we not feel like some sort of illegal alien in our own country, when forced to pay 'nazrana'- a bribe for audience? Is this not the visceral appeal of the Lok Pal agitation?

Anything not thymotic and heteronomous,  essentially tribal or feudal in Indian culture arises from attempts at creating Metic-friendly spaces in Society. Yuddhistra's Indraprastha was Metic friendly. But Duryodhana old fashioned tribal 'thymos' (Rajas) was affronted by the wealth he saw there. This sowed the seed of Kurukshetra.
We may ask, in the Vyadha Gita, how come some low class butcher is living in such a beautiful palace? How is it possible? The very word 'Vyadha' in the Mahabharata is synonomous with fraud and deceit, not to mention Himsa and acharabrashta status. The text itself supplies the answer. The man lives in a City characterized by impartial laws and impersonal institutions. So long as he conducts his business lawfully, he can do as he wishes with the profits. If some rival butcher gets jealous and reports him to the authorities...what? They investigate and acquit the honest party. There is no meat-vendors' version of Kurukshetra with everybody in the mohulla fighting each other and breaking heads.

Corruption, in a sense, is what legitimates impersonal laws and institutions from the thymotic, tribal, perspective. "I am proud," says Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Mirza, 'that everything I have- sugar mills, property, kids in posh schools, etc...though I come from a wealthy family myself... yet has come to me only through the Martyred Leader and Asif Zardari and as for Bilawal- I will give my blood for him etc." This is the voice of the old tribal, thymotic politics. Corruption is the price 'Civil Society' must pay for the charade of 'Universal values' and 'the rule of Law'.
In Richard Attenborough's 'Gandhi' great play is made of the young lawyer being thrown off a train. But that wasn't the real climacteric in Gandhi's life. His family had sent him to England hoping he could take over from his father. On his return, by chance, his brother finds out that the new English official was known to Gandhi from London. He urges Gandhi to go and pull strings with this young man. The Englishman, quite properly gives Gandhi short shrift. What Gandhi should have done was to immediately write to his head of Chambers back in England. A 'Silk' from his own Chamber on the Opposition bench would have been delighted to raise the matter of 'Barrister Gandhi's humiliation by these Jacks-in-office who have grown haughty under the present Administration'. The Indian newspapers would have made the affair a cause celebre. Gandhi would have been put on a retainer by Maharajas who wanted to signal their annoyance to the Viceroy. His articles and speeches and books would have received a wide audience. He'd be set up for life.
Why didn't Gandhi take this road? His own caste-fellows would have been delighted. They'd have said 'look at the red blood in his veins! Others go crawling before any 'Laat Saab'. We are made of sterner stuff!' The very people who demanded his ostracization would have come humbly to take brides from his family. But, that was the problem. Gandhi would have been a hero from the tribal, thymotic, heteronomous point of view of his own father and grandfather. But, Gandhi had a wider horizon. That of the Metic. He realized that the English official, though lacking in courtesy, had been right in principle. His own brother was not thinking of the greater good, but just the advancement of their own family and community. Gandhi's greatness, at that time, is that he embraced the novel status of Metic, not a 'bhumiputra'.
However, like the other 'Barristocrats' of the time, Gandhi did not think seriously about reforming India's feudal, paternalistic laws especially as they related to land-ownership and inheritance. Indeed, the progressives collaborated with the ICS to restrict transfer of title of agricultural land and inter-state commerce, while the rabble rousers raised mischievous slogans to prevent the needful overhaul of items in the code relating to marriage, inheritance, Trusts and so on.
If these gentleman admitted they formed a class of Metics (including in the Isaiah Berlin sense) then they would have to admit that the Indian Empire was itself the creation of Metics- British ones- and that it had been an unexampled success in achieving paramountcy and carrying the spark of progress, by reason of its Metic friendly character. Thus the Indian Metics pretended to be bhumiputra autocthones strutting around in absurd loin cloths or karakul caps etc. so as to chase away the British Metics by playing the nativist card.
The result?
Indians and Indian capital started emigrating to the U.K. The subcontinent subsidized the British National Health Service to the tune of billions. Whether it was Swaraj Paul, or Ravi Tikkoo or Mittal or Aggarwal or the Hindujas- Indian capital and entrepreneurship has been defying the Economic Law of Gravity (Stolper-Samuelson) whereby factors of production are going from where they are relatively scarce to where they are relatively plentiful.
That is the price of our 'nativism'- even if it was all only a charade, or, rather, more especially because it was all a charade- the damage can only be computed by comparing ourselves with Malaysia in the 70's (they had a full scale bhumiputra revolution but it was once and for all), China in the 80's and 90's (while we were talking about 'Angrezi hatao' they imported thousands of English teachers and completely transformed their Higher Education Sector) and... whom in the last decade? Only ourselves, only what we could have been, no other country was so advantageously placed, no country less prepared for the shake-out coming its way over the next three years.
True, things could be worse- indeed, they will be worse. When the shake-out comes, nativism (bhumiputra chauvinism) will tear up the social fabric because no one is thinking ahead.
India needs a theory of the Metic. What is happening in Karachi now is the fate that awaits us whether we get a Lok Pal Bill or a Joke Pal Bill.
The Proletariat you may always have with you, but Metics are footloose. Those who can vote with their feet alone have a Voice it pays to take note of. The Metic alone constitute a Commons- indeed, an Oikumene- not defined by its own tragedy.
Created by English Metics, who were driven out by English speaking metics pretending to be nativist, the Indian State is fragile and has multiple fault-lines. It must develop a language in which the class which enables it to cohere and which gives it a horizon other than Hobbesian anarchy or Malthusian meltdown, can express itself and pursue a positive sum agenda.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

But who, O who, has seen, the mobled Queen?

'Irrevocable reality is the dumb rock upon which the play breaks and the surge of the truly tragic moves forward in a cloud of foam.'  (Carl Schmitt. Hamlet or Hecuba?)

As to Urvashi, Puruvaras, bares Indr  my 'I' to your 'You'
Yet, haply, for ayah, afford board we Cthulhu's two
Elder Gods- foam births or slays
Aphrodite, Vritra- our Nights and Days.

Dickinson, Deconstruction & the Lok Pal Bill

'As Courtship's questive kiss, lips dread to await
'I go ass to mouth every first date'
Deconstruct thus Death's of Dick(in)son, Emily
& Hazare's Courts' of quotes 'The Holy Family'

Ai Anna, Nabi ban na,  jholiwalleh ki bar de jholi
Bhar de Jholi, re!, Inqilab se khelen holi

Fex urbis, lex orbis

 Now Communion is but yeasting, stones atone for Christ's  bread
& Weaver, only following orders,  as Khaddar to Kabir said
Korban or pharmakos- 'tis is a dangerous saw
Dregs of the City, Homo Sacer of the Law.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Slash & burn

As sans Ivy an Oak
For e'en  this old soak
Now that Redhead's gone
Every forest's a lawn.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Genesis as Palingenesia

For Adam gives all things their  names
Eve, auctoritas of language games 
Asks 'But, how smart could he be?
'Nary a word yet, to marry me!'

Hug like a bear, kiss like a bird

Tasting tongue of the snake in my but quivering Word
She said- 'you hug like a bear but kiss like a bird!'
Of the beasts in my bestiary, old Adam most dumb
Drowning my penis, Depths, peerless, to plumb

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Mappila maid and the tapper of toddy

As viewing a veiled Malabar  maid, waxes wroth the tapper of toddy
'Thou shameless Mappila jade! Cover thyself with my body!'
Tho', coupling, we cup clay & Alethia's lathe blithely turn
So Ireful our Love's lay upon Keats' irreal urn.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Al Khidr's khamriyat

That thy Red the Saqi to please me sips
Is not yet the rouge that dyes her lips
Death, thou in peace I thus dismiss
With my arse-hole's Gallic kiss.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Joseph Campbell- a Sufi perspective

'On his return to Columbia in 1929, Joseph Campbell expressed his desire to pursue the study of Sanskrit and Modern Art in addition to that of Medieval literature. Lacking faculty approval, Campbell withdrew from the graduate studies. He was very insistent, in later life, that he be addressed as Mr. Campbell, not Dr. Campbell.'

Wisdom is a College from which quittance is a cloak

For, if conferred, that Khirqa, Sufis love to joke

Demeans more than one, untasked, demanded 

Our Hero, Campbell's, to mask, remanded.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Anna Hazare's availability cascade

At one time, the only way to cure syphilis was to infect the patient with malaria. Elevated body temperature, during malarial fever, killed off the more dangerous pathogen.
Mass politics, in India, has always been about the many-headed rabble clamoring to be infected with syphilis so as to cure an endemic malaria. The result is that public life remain an open sewer swarming with mosquitoes, through which the heedless throng headlong wade to embrace the most loathsome of political prostitutes who, by reason of their witless senility, general insalubrurity  and shrilly sententious absence of charm, can plausibly claim to be the providential virgins whose deflowering, folk wisdom has it, might cure the Public's Venereal disease.

The rationale of Hazare's antics is as follows- Elections cost money to win. So elected politicians have to be corrupt while in office so as to have enough money to get re-elected. BUT  an all-powerful  Lok Pal will throw  corrupt politicians in jail. Hence only non-corrupt politicians, not spending money to win will be elected. Parliament will then have no incentive to keep laws and institutions which give rise to corruption. Everything in the garden will be lovely.

Why won't this work? The laws and institutions which give rise to corruption ARE NOT the product of the thirst for bribes but, instead, arise from 'availability cascades'- stupid ideas which give rise to defective 'mechanism design'.
So long as you have bad mechanism design, corruption will exist. True, if you shoot people for being corrupt then that same underlying drive will change its color- it will become an insurgency. They will shoot you before you shoot them.
When the Govt says you can't do something you really want or need to, it doesn't mean you stop doing it. Either you pay a bribe to do it legally or you do it through a criminal network. If the Govt. tries to destroy the criminal network, you will get a cross-over into insurgency. Sooner or later, some accommodation will have to be made. Why? Because the Govt. needs to raise revenue to pay soldiers to shoot people. Where will that money come from? If the Govt. is telling people they can't do something which earns them money then they may do it anyway and use part of the extra money they get to shoot the soldiers the Govt. sends.
Violence is fungible. Bad fiscal policies breed violence. That violence gets masked as corruption- what Dadhabhai Naorojee called 'shakkar ki churi' - the knife of sugar- everything is sweet but it is the knife all the same' . India has bad, stupid, fiscal policies. That's why it's fucked. Just substitute Govt. funding for political parties for the current regime and Anna Hazare's logic falls to pieces. Corruption will still exist even with clean politicians- suppose Kaushik Biswas a successor for Manmohan, for example- because of its 'transformation potential'.

Why? The people are stupid. They believe stupid things. They have created a system that perpetuates poverty. Corruption and Emigration are the only two reliable routes of escape. Another exists. It is based on  honesty and intelligence. It is based on admitting that Indian mass politics is a story of stupidity, arrogance and fraud on a colossal  scale.
A people foolish enough to believe that Mahatma Gandhi got rid of the British or that (till recently) India, with its present constitution, will ever rival China- deserve nothing but Anna Hazare's availability cascade.

In Economics, an availability cascade is a specious, but simple to understand, solution to a real problem which everybody buys into by reason of its ubiquity and low cognitive cost of acquisition.

Examples are
1) the drain theory. India is actually very rich. But the British broke into the houses of the people at night, when they were fast asleep, and robbed them of their wealth. Get rid of the British, or the Banias or the Bazaar or the Bourgeoisie or Big Business' Managing Agencies etc, etc and suddenly India will become very rich. Baba Ramdev's version of anti-corruption is- 'Get back the Black Money from Switzerland and buy everybody an Air Conditioner'.
2) redistribution cures poverty- India is poor because of low productivity. Everybody knows how to boost productivity. Just imitate high productivity countries. Oh? Capital is too costly? Urm... but India's big. It has lots of coal and iron. There are economies of scale in capital goods production. Of course, if in your redistributive zeal, you featherbed workers in the capital goods sector then per-unit-labor costs don't fall- instead you just get crap capital goods with negative value added. The Indian labor aristocracy had abysmal absenteeism. They were reverse Stakhanovites.
What about the peasants? There were islands of rising productivity and integrated Agri-business in British India . There were plenty of sociologists- Ambedkar for example- who understood what needed to be done or at least the proper direction in which to proceed. But, an availability cascade- the dogma that land redistribution boosts productivity- had superior appeal especially if it involved cutting off the heads of landlords (Naxalbari) even if, generally, they weren't actually landlords but kulaks or, well truth be told, not kulaks at all but some random guy who  looks kinda Trotskyite... Even more stupid was the Vinobha Bhave &  J.P. Narayan's 'bhoodhan' which was about changing the hearts of the landlords- except, generally, they weren't actually land-lords with clear title. What was the upshot? The one thing the British had invested in- viz. establishing title and rules for transfer of realty- evaporated. The more contestable title became, the greater the anarchy a Province was plunged into- Bihar was so thoroughly fucked over by Bhave- the entire State was 'Bihardaan' gifted away- that the fuckwit could finally go back to home patting himself on the back for a job well done.
The availability cascade that land reform boosts productivity just wouldn't die. This was accomplished with a little Statistical sleight of hand which Econometricians well knew to be false but, for fear of the CPM's intellectual goons in Bengal, still thought it politic to peddle.
3) Impossibility of Agency Capture- though India's history has been nothing else since it acquired the name India.
4) No heteromorphism of preferences- okay, this is a bit technical but essentially Indian democracy & claim to territorial integrity as an optimal currency area depend on this. The reason Govt. fucks up Life chances is so as to enforce preference homomorphism.  Kurukshetra was about kin selective moral heteromorphism as constitutive of a Universal, metic friendly, Ethos founded upon a once and for all Blood Sacrifice. Without it there was no Bharata.  Since our India is founded upon blowing Sepoys out of canons- nothing Moran kin selective here!- India is a heteronomous Bharata for denying the efficacy of its own foundational Kurukshetra.

But, enough in this splenetic vein. There is already a big literature in Econ, including proven templates, re. Corruption and Development for the road forward to be clear and consensus based. But, Anna Hazare and his shrill bunch of losers ignore all that simply because this represents their last chance to gain a public status equal to that which their over-weening ego prescribes for themselves..
They are determined to gain personal glory by taking the tried and tested Gandhian road of being as stupid as humanly possible.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Pratyekas supervene on Boddhisatvas?

A Pratyeka Buddha is a 'hidden' Buddha who, however, does not start up a proper Sangha, or monastic community,  for which salvation consists of waxing fat on a lazy doctrine while putting the squeeze on the laity for donations and forcing dalits to do the dirty work under conditions of more wretched yet social opprobium.

A Bodhisattva is not less than a Pratyeka Buddha- he has attained the prize- which is a phenomenal state- but he has a different intentional state- viz. he wishes to save other sentient beings by getting them to understand that the Jains and the Ajivikas and all other Sraman denominations- not to mention the Carvaka materialists- are totally fucked in the head and could everybody kindly be very very shitty to 'low caste' people- coz they don't got 'right livelihood-' and like immediately become a monk or hand us monks loads of money already?

Clearly, Pratyeka Buddhahood supervenes on Boddhisatvahood- in the sense that every Boddhisatva is indistinguishable from the stand-point of any Pratyeka specific measure- but the reverse is not the case. Two instances of Pratyeka Buddhahood can always be distinguished from the Boddhisatva perspective as approaching closer or standing in some relation to itself. (Either that, or Pratyekas are 'zombie' Buddhas and can't have 'real' intentionality.)  But, why should this be?

One answer is that the Times weren't right for the Prayeka to set up a Sangha. In this case, there is some phenomenal state that supervenes- is multiply realizable across both Pratyekas and Boddhisatvas- but some 'cetana' or intentional state which does not similarly supervene. Why? Is it because sentient beings capable of Entanglement, as in the Avatamsaka or Vimalakirti 'Buddha field', do not exist? If so, something is added to the concept of Intentionality and something taken away from the scope of Phenomenology.

But Phenomenology does not disappear. The intention to be a Boddhisatva does not make you a Boddhisatva. You have to first instantiate in your phenomenal series that supervenient Pratyekadom otherwise you're just a wannabe.
Since, the Bodhhisatva 'cetana' or intentional state has supervenience- i.e. is multiply realizable- only if the ground for an entangled Buddhafield is ready at hand, an Occassionalist doctrine suggests itself as an (non) explanation for why the Pratyeka phenomenal state does not reduce to Bodhisattvadom.

In other words, Phenomenology and its dual Occassionalism re-appear in Buddhism as the two sides of the coin of 'Nothingness' which it cashes out as. Indeed, only the name of the coin changes, nothing sensible ever gets uttered, in this as in every other variety of peripatetic fraud or soteriological chicanery whose pious cultivation ensures we will always have more monks than reason.

Monday, 15 August 2011

'twixt two trees, Yashoda

 Tho' Eve's Beauty vengeful take
The Son from His Father
Must, Lord, thy distance make
My son yet farther?

Thy King's Evil is only this, that by supervenience
Scrofula necks with Bliss, to connect obedience,
For all but Rahul, thy Prince and Heir
Tho' mobled Queens die young and fair.

Add Maryam to Maya, Sita, as Earth's proletarian true
'Twixt two trees, Yashoda, yet after-birth is Rue
For, this one thing less, now, Ind's Zero lacks
Zombies fosters, Gita, thy lullaby axe!

Thou Prince of the Air! I can't curse save darn thee
Expel thy unco guid from the House of Gandhi!

Obamacare- for babies

Be it Health Insurance, or the Economy, or tackling glaring Societal inequity- Pres. Obama's message is (I'm simplifying things for all you babies out there)

Be the change your own nappy requires.

The Butcher's Gita

In the Mahabharata, two Butchers teach Dharma and their teaching is called a Gita- a song.

   They’re not actual butchers- unlike Ding, who enlightened Confucius by showing that one never needs to sharpen one’s cleaver if one cuts along the grain, the marbling, the fatty Tao, of the flesh- instead, they’re vertically integrated Meat monopolists owning both the supply and retail side of the business. Consequently, they are wealthy and powerful beyond the common ken. Both are engaged in a disreputable trade- in the Mahabharata, the vyadha, the butcher, is a byword for fraud and sharp practice- but, by reason of their wealth, wisdom and winsome personality, neither are thus much reproached to their face. Indeed, we may say, the righteous Butcher of the Vyadha Gita redeems all of his profession who, we now see, are mere agents working his will.

     Lord Krishna redeems, not the profession of the professional butchers of men- variously called Kshatriyas, Robber-Barons or Kings- after all, at Kurukshetra, he appears as but Suta, charioteer or bard- but by affirming All his meat-puppets merely- in their own proper person they neither slay nor are slain- absolves of blood guilt even these, not Eagles amongst men but- it transpires- human, albeit by Huma's wings over-shadowed, but murder of crows or other collective noun for noisome birds fed on carrion.

    Ding, the butcher, acting without acting or not acting while acting- at peace with his own Nature and partaking of the always beneficent Tao- shows how svadharma is wu wei. This is because he actually cuts meat. Not coz of karma, nor coz he’s actually F.B.I undercover, but coz it’s what he does and does wu wei well. He cuts meat. End of. He’s not all like I’m only in the meat business coz like what actually went down, right? was I was like a shoo in for Juilliard, I mean I was definitely gonna apply but then, like, my Uncle was the Sausage King of South Bronx?- I mean he would have been if like Dad hadn’t gone and backed into the meat grinder- so everybody got a little behind with their orders as Confucius say!- and I mean there’s this buddy of mine from parochial who went to Wharton and he was like all in my face with 'get your frickin meat on, dude! What with Obamacare and everybody’s 401(k)’s in the toilet who fucking don’t wanna heart-attack? Gimme beef baby!'

Lord Krishna says amongst Vedas he’s the Sama.
Amongst Upanishads, the Chandogya.
   There’s only one non social fucking parasite in that last named- Raikva, the carter, the one who knows, or- by wu wei IS- the Way, that otherwise potholed road, the Tao.

    Scholiasts think Raikva calls the King, come humbly to learn from him, a ‘Shudra’ not because the King is actually working class- i.e. neither Priest, Peer, nor Plutocrat- but because the word is etymologically related to ‘Vishada’- sorrow, depression- and, interestingly, both the Vyadha and the Bhagvad Gita arise in the Mahabharata as cures for Vishada- that of King Yuddhistra in the former instance, that of Prince Arjuna in the latter.
But, fucking Aristos are all fucked in the head.
Priests, like those featured in the Chandogya, just hungry pan-handlers looking to score some vittels.
Why fucking bother with them?
Or- what?- you don’t like it here and wanna go back to World of Warcraft medieval times?
Fucking pay attention. I’m making an important point here.
You want to hear the Gita sing?
Learn first from slitty eyed Ding!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

mutiliated numbers

Take the decimal expansion of a pair of  irrational numbers which have been mutilated at certain unknown points. You are asked to construct a choice sequence between them subject to some arbitrary constraint. Is the task meaningful? Is it mathematics or nonsense?
Suppose there is a class of cellular automata whose behavior, when observed by some Turing tested entity, reliably and uniquely produces the comment 'you know, I rather think these wee beasties are trying to construct a choice sequence between such and such mutilated numbers! Why on earth would they want to?' And, 'oh look, that little fellow there seems the smartest of the bunch- but hang on, maybe he's hit a wall and now there's that other fellow who seems to be going great guns.'

In a sense, if the above thought experiment isn't utterly incoherent in some way I've failed to spot, what happens to the claim that Mathematics is synthetic in any sense or degree? What happens to intuition?

Oughtn't we to chuck both words in the bin?

Indeed, if cellular automata were the paradigm of Maths or Logical thinking taught to us from Primary School onwards, would we not dismiss as arrant nonsense otherwise common-sense seeming notions like  'the principle of displayability' (from Husserlian phenomenology) meaning that every term or concept used has to be defined by a phenomenon (something observable) determined by it- the like of which, as a methodological principle, every discipline displays to some degree or other?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The London Riots and the excess burden of criminality.

This is a link to a paper which predicts that tax payers will be prepared to finance transfer payments to the poor to a degree dependent on the excess burden of criminality- i.e. the difference between the Social Cost of the Crime and the benefit to the criminal. The London Riots are an example of a spectacularly high 'excess burden' upon Society relative to the benefit to the thugs.

The model, however, relies- at least heuristically- on the notion that Law Enforcement Expenditure can result in the cutting off of Benefits to the offenders. But what if, life inside Prison is safer, more prestigious, and affords better opportunities for thymotic gratification and 'self-actualization' than life outside? Evidence from America indicates that, at least or certain cohorts in specific sub-cultures, this is already the case.

Secondly, the excess burden of the London Riots falls disproportionately not on the truly Wealthy or the Corporates but the marginal small businessman and self-employed tradesman. In a sense, it is this factor which gives the ongoing rioting in London its true Class character and revolutionary potential.

'Hoodie culture' as a rebellion against the Civil Panopticon represented by the CC camera, the feral pack of marauders as indicting spiritless Commuters streaming into the Underground like Pascal's sheep, the kicking in of shop windows as opposed to the kicking of Soccer balls, running away from the Police as opposed to running on the athletics track, the hurling of the petrol bomb rather than that of the discus- this counter Olympics, whose gratuitous physicality honours not Zeus but Chaos, challenges, not the Cosmocrats, who rule from above the clouds of High Finance, but those dim autochthones, whose industry is as incense to their Abstract, for Actuarial, Altars and without which those enpurpled, De Maistrean, and immortal Gods, did they but know it, crumble to dust..

The creation of the Welfare State addressed a Market Failure- a sort of Excess Burden for Society- arising from the manner in which the pack mentality of greedy investors, though individually rational, turned out to be collectively disastrous.  The first and fundamental tenet of the Welfarist 'Butskellite' consensus was full employment. However, from 1977 onwards, it became clear that necessary structural changes in the Economy required a very high natural rate of Unemployment under, contested relative Factor Income, downwardly sticky wage-price, regimes.

With Welfarism being abandoned as defeating its own purpose of raising living standards, public intellectuals grasped at Human Rights as an unproblematic Holy Cow.  But, quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi- what is licit for a God- and Welfarism was a Sky God with its own Social Engineering gradus ad Parnassum- is not licit for mere oxen- and Human Rights are as Pharaoh's lean kine with respect to any substantive Social Program- no matter how Holy.

Hegel's master-slave dialectic finds its resolution when, in the gaze of the slave, the master realizes his own dependence. For Fukuyama, reading Strauss's Kojeve, that History ended. But that was never History nor  we yet out of it- Lo! it gapes for us now.

The ' hoodie' who sees all but refuses to be seen, the non serviam of all that is invisible and as the Princes of the Air, here- truly- is the beginning of Work, of History, and with the London Riots the beginning of the end of the Human Rights, as opposed to, Actuarial, Welfare State.

As per usual, the Public Intellectuals are bypassed by nothing save History- which is Work. So large an 'excess burden'- and the excess burden of the London Riots can't be overstated for those of the middling order, the middling cohort, who are by far the largest, and most able to marshal the, not coercive merely but hegemonic, coup de foudre as vehicle to Class power- and it becomes inevitable that a 'meta-game'- a piece of virtually spontaneous, cloud sourced, mechanism design- will come into play; initially as a countervailing force, but ultimately a new, yet more illiberal, Social deonotology.

Between Olympus and Uranopolis- the Spartacist Utopia of Mt. Athos- lies always this shadow- Human Rights- which, at the level of Society, cash out as rites requiring child sacrifice- the fair faces of children hooded by Canaan's cowl, and masking the all-innocence devouring maw of Ba'al.

Cliodynamic causes of the London riots.

Back in March, I posted about Peter Turchin's prediction of a revolution in the U.K triggered by Tony Blair's effort to raise the number of young people in higher education to 50 %. Turchin, the man behind 'Cliodynamic'- a sort of Mathematical theory of history- suggested that this was symptomatic of a 'credenitalist crisis' - too many young people chasing too few middle class jobs with a corresponding inflation in paper qualifications- credentials- for those jobs. Apparently, Clio- the Muse of History- inspired Revolutions whenever too many young people were stuck at Uni in the queue for the sort of jobs which their parents had gotten as school leavers.

I thought this idea ludicrous. The other side of the coin of credentialism is a tight job market in which a Criminal conviction- for example, for rioting- disqualifies one from even the default profession of teaching. In any case, what truly terrifies the young is that they might not be able to emigrate to the States or Australia or wherever- because of a criminal record- once Britain succumbs to Eurosclerosis and joins the PIGS, and France and so on in stagnation.,

Since the riots began, on Friday, an even funnier notion going the rounds is that the amiable young thugs storming Foot Locker and stealing HD Tvs are only doing so out of a sense of frustration caused by not being able to pay higher tuition fees to become Molecular Biologists or Jobbing Actuaries or free lance Radio Telescope operators or whatever.

The truth, of course, is that the riots were opportunistic and succeeded because the police were demoralized and on the back foot. The really interesting thing thrown up by the failure, both of politicians and police chiefs, is the revelation that protection of property is not compatible with the duties of the 'Human Rights' State. The true Cliodynamics of London has to do, not with the demographic bulge in feckless young Adults, but the fact that these moronic thugs are now greatly outnumbered by people from 25 to 55- of the most diverse ethnicities and class origins-  who have businesses and livelihoods to protect. The Police have clearly shown that their hands are tied. How will the cohort of property owners respond to the threat posed by the 'hoodies'? The Media has already made much of the Turks in North East London and the Sikhs in Southall lining up to defy the looters. What of the ethnically mixed business communities elsewhere in the Capital? I'd imagine that dodgy private security companies would be in clover just now. No doubt they will expand by recruiting from the criminal under-class and thus the long term strategy evolving out of the tactical successes scored by the older gangsters- who used Social Networking to bog the police down with feral kids they had called out into the streets- will fructify into a sort of protection racket/ land sharking business of a sort we are all too familiar with in India.

Should this be the case, property markets become less transparent and real assets less fungible. This in turn increases uncertainty, Transaction costs and allocative inefficiency in the Local Economy. One effect would be an exodus of the foot-lose cosmopolitan class of metics. This further shrivels up the tax base for Local Authorities and further enfeebles the Police. A vicious circle has been created- unless...

There is another way the market deals with crime. It is by spontaneously creating social exclusion- cloud sourcing pariahdom. The hoodies have demographics against them. At the moment, as a Youth Worker has said, if their Moms slap them they take a hammer to her. But what if the grown-ups gang up on the little darlings and break their legs on a regular basis? The Police aren't going to be too quick to respond to cries of distress from feral children in the Council Estates. They aren't going to arrest shop-keepers who beat the fuck out of hoodies pour encourager les autres. Of course, when a class of people is castigated and targeted, it is the marginal member, the wannabe, the innocent caught wearing the colors at the wrong time, who gets picked off first. Most kids wear hoodies only to camouflage themselves. Once this uniform results in their being beaten more often by the good guys than the bad guys- the uniform disappears.

Ultimately, if the riots were about greed, greed will deal with the problem of feral children. The Human Rights State will go the way of the Welfare State. Why? Protecting Property is not compatible with privileging Human Rights. But Human Rights are expensive. So they will be corralled somewhere nice for Barristers and Academics to commute to and Politicians can go visit for photo-ops. Meanwhile, Clio will continue to inspire- not Revolutions- but the embourgeoisment of the sans cullottes.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

No riots in North End Road- I blame the burqa

Why have we in Fulham been denied adequate riot provision? Not all the blame can be pinned on the Police you know. At the risk of being labelled an Islamophobe and attracting the attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions for inciting hatred against Muslims- I have to point out that the large number of women wearing burqas in our area constitute, in fact, the sole reason that rioters have been too terrified to exercise their God given rights to burn buses and loot Foot Locker.

The truth is that 'hoodies- despite all the psychological support they received from David Cameron's 'hug a hoodie' campaign-  are terrified of burqa wearing women- who cover even more of their face and, clearly, are even more homicidal. Why else would France and Belgium and all the other cheese-eating surrender monkeys have already banned the burqa?

Where is the English Defence League when you need it? The shocking numbers of women wearing burqas in Hammersmith and Kensington is totally destroying our traditional culture. Many youths are too frightened to go out of doors even to burn Police vans.

Personally, I blame Theresa May- whose face was unknown to most of us till the other night . Clearly she had taken off her burqa for some purpose of shock and awe. But that didn't stop David Cameron coming back to hug his hoodies some more.

Hopefully, now Parliament has been re-convened, we can finally get that burqa ban we've all been waiting for which will bring us in line with Europe and permit hoodies in Fulham to at last roam free.

Lord Krishna and Caste

There is a four fold order to Society-
1) Priests- nowadays, they're called Celebrities. They are shit. Lord Krishna says that the Vedas are utter shit. They bewilder and stupefy the mind- shrutivipratipanna. They give rise to divergent sects with contradictory teachings in accordance with the principle ex falso quodlibet., Gita too is a Scriture. Indeed, anything with a celebrity endorsement is shite. Incidentally, according to the Hare Krishna comic books, Lord Krishna is a Smurf.
2) Kings- guys with power. They are shit. Krishna has taken birth to get these guys to just bump each other off cleanly at Kurukshtetra.
3) Wealth creators. They are shit. Fuck 'em. Taxes and ungrateful, unemployable, kids with M.F.A's are their punishment.
4) Workers. They are shat upon. They are fucked. It's their fault the other three classes exist.

Below and above these 5 categories are criminals, lunatics, charity cases and Robinson Crusoe types. Talk of Dharma, Religion, Morality, Human Rights etc. should actually be a stick in their hands to beat the other 4 classes with- but, no, guess who is getting the beating?

Lord Krishna only needs to incarnate if Society exhibits the 4 fold order noted above. Suppose it doesn't. Fuck he'd be needed for? Equally, in a Hobbesian state of each man's hand being turned against every other- fuck Krishna needs to be scooting around the killing fields?

The good news is Lord Krishna thinks caste stinks. He isn't big on mindless Human prosperity either. Getting incarnated on Earth just aint a lot of fun for him. What the Gita says is if you're a fucking Prince, or Priest or other such ponce the best you can do is not actually want to be such a cunt. Not want the trappings of super-cuntdom. 'Don't inhale' is what Big Blue is saying. That and dulce et decorum pro any fucking thing mori. Just fucking die already.

This is pretty reasonable. Human life is about evolution and economics and other such shite. Yes, God does still care about us and will show up for a real important Kurukshetra or Crucifixion or basket ball game or Spelling Bee or whatever. But there's better stuff out there.  So Big Blue's not showing up in your bed-room at 7.00 A.M every morning to chide you for turning off your alarm or lecture you for planning to call in with food poisoning or whatever is like a sign that all is well- not with the world, it's fucked- but some other planet in a better neighbourhood you get to move to after death. Or before, if you have ESPN.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Backward induction

Gone the honey and grief the sting
Should a Sheikh Pir sing
The 'To be or not to be'
Of our Hamlet bee.

Why Sci Fi turned to shite

    Once upon a Time, Science tuned men into machines and drained magic from the world. Those were the good old days- the Golden Age of Sci Fi.

    At that time it seemed Science had no limits- what was very small was like what was very large- Time itself had been spatialized- Man could boldly go everywhere he hadn't gone before and make it as banal as a brothel and as exotic as Crystal Palace.
    Then came Planck's constant which spawned the queer quantum world and a cap on the speed of Light which spawned General Relativity and Black Holes and Big Bangs, and then Bells' inequality and Higgs bosons and Multiverses and Sting theories and suddenly Science was adding more and more Magic to everything while cutesy GUIs, like kids with Williams Syndrome, tended to leave us feeling smarter, but less empathic, less human, than the computers we use.
 So, quite suddenly, Sci Fi turned to shite. It saw, perhaps too clearly for its own good, that now only Maths was Magic and Mankind boring, it had not farther horizon than allegory and gesture politics.

 Frankly, it now gives prostitution a bad name.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Newsflash!- Sankara wrote the Gita!

I don't know whether this is meant as a joke-
'The Gita has, in popular belief, symbolized the rejuvenation of Hinduism after a thousand years of Buddhist domination. It was the book that apparently struck the last nail on Buddhist thought by a thirty-something Adi Sankracharya. '
The author  is named Bhupinder Singh and his post, which can be read here , is either a heavy handed satire on the ignorance and mendacity of the hysterically anti-Hindutva  Soft Left-  intended, perhaps, to show that the hopelessly corrupt BJP Govt. in Karnataka is redeeming itself by forcing Schools to teach the Gita- or else it is something the author actually believes on the basis of a reading of Kosambi and immortally funny for that reason alone.
After all, the author tells us that the Gita is dated around 150-250 AD.  He thinks Sankara comes after a thousand years of Lord Buddha. So, either he doesn't know Lord Buddha's dates or he has gone one step further than Kosambi (a Brahmin) and invented a new type of Mathematics.
Perhaps, he believes, to be perceived as Dalit, he must appear brain dead. Suddenly, our humorist doesn't seem so funny after all.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Gita is Sita- in epoche

    Epoché means ‘suspension’- pausing and standing back to question one’s fundamental beliefs and values. The Gita’s dramatic appeal is that it marks a suspension of action- the two armies have assembled, clarions has been sounded on both sides, hostilities are about to commence, but, suddenly, the relentless forward thrust of the narrative is arrested, not by the Cassandra cry of a clairvoyant, nor the chastened counsel of a Seer; but, utterly unexpectedly, by impetuous Arjuna who, for the first and only time in his life, confesses himself daunted, not, it is true, by the imminent hazard of death in combat but rather by an immanent prevision of the wretchedness of a Victory that can only be secured by the unrelenting carnage of those so near, if not dear, in blood.

     Arjuna’s hesitation parallels that of Hamlet.  Neither Hamlet nor Arjuna is afraid of being killed or suffering damnation. Nor are they tempted by Power or Pelf. Still, one may argue, Hamlet’s dilemma is quite different from Arjuna’s. After all, the murdered King's ghost might be the Prince of Liars, in disguise, trying to get Hamlet to damn himself by killing an innocent man- one to whom, moreover, he owes a triple duty of obedience as nephew, step-son and subject.

   Indeed, it is tempting to see both our puzzled Princes as cursed with what might be called the blighting Gandharva gift of 'backward induction'- id est, the anti-Epimethean criterion for judging action's cascade by working backwards, testing for optimality, from the final consequence . If Hamlet kills his Uncle, while the latter is at prayer, the end result is that the King gains heaven while the Prince is damned for all eternity. Similarly, Arjuna's victory means his cousins gain Heaven, for slain in battle in accordance with their warrior code, while the Pandavas, as the heads of the clan, become responsible for the misery, loss of status, and perhaps prostitution and miscegenation of the womenfolk left behind.
   However, the moment Hamlet articulates the eschatological consequence of slaying the King at prayer, it immediately seizes to be binding- he himself can't be damned since the action's intentionality is to send his sin-stained enemy to Heaven, by taking his place in Hell. But- and this is Hamlet's Protestant dilemma- the Son thus only keeps with faith with the Father by breaking troth to the latter's Unholy Ghost.
Thankfully, at least for the purposes of this essay, this objection does not hold water.
    It's like the Examination question 'was Hamlet mad, or merely pretending to be mad?' which maddened three generations of my male ancestors. already mightily over-strained in their wits by the universal scramble to secure- what?- a but humble Babu's berth, at so many Rupees per mensem.

    The fact is, Hamlet viscerally believes the ghost to be telling the truth. He is stirred to the very depths of his soul to act and act immediately reckless of consequences. Yet, he does not act. We feel there is something of the malaise of modernity, something neurotic or Oedipal, some amphibolous or sceptical ‘unhappy consciousness’, at work in Hamlet’s febrile brilliance in devising a further empirical test to establish something he already knows in his bones to be true. Shakespeare emphasizes Hamlet’s great intellectual and imaginative power to show that, at some level, our scholarly Prince, to whom the name Pyrrho would not be unknown, must understand that this further empirical test, too, yields not certainty but doubt. Perhaps, at the staging of Hamlet's 'Mousetrap'- what appalled the King was actually some apparition sent by the Devil or, more prosaically, the sudden realization that his nephew suspects him of the foul crime of fratricide. Thus, for Hamlet, dutiful son to a Father who is also Unholy Ghost, Pyrrhonian doubt and delay yield not ataraxia, that is tranquillity, but a disorder of the phrenes, a sort of madness, less medicinable for feigned.

    Hamlet has a friend in Horatio but, poor Yorick being dead, no interlocutor of equal intellectual stature. Thus, Hamlet is a tragedy and doubly a tragedy for this Prometheus fetches no fire for Mankind by his foresight. Our Epimethean Arjuna, on the other hand, has not just a friend but something like an equal for interlocutor- Krishna. Thus, the Gita is a Divine Comedy. It is a ‘balanced game’. Both Arjuna and Krishna have supernatural knowledge of the outcome. Both are acting not as principals but as agents. Arjuna is obeying his eldest brother, actually Karna, who, however, if not a brother, is the loyal friend, of Duryodhana, chief of the Kauravas. But this means Arjuna will end up killing not just his own people but the partisans of the side which, but for Karna's decision regarding Righteousness, he himself would have considered right.

    Interestingly, Arjuna's chakshushi vidya (second sight) is constrained by his true master, Karna's, Dharmic decision not to disclose that he is the eldest of Kunti's sons so that Yuddhishtra is not obliged to give up his claim. Be it noted, however, this Dharmic decision- which precipitates not just the Kurukshetra war but also the destruction of Lord Krishna's people- is the decision of an agent rather than a principal. Interestingly, Karna's promise to Kunti to slay only one of her sons reflects Arjuna's own scruple against shedding the blood of his own kin. In the end, whether Arjun kills Karna or Karna kills Arjuna, the number of Kunti's sons is conserved as 5.

    One may argue that Arjuna, unlike Karna, has a moral objection to killing. Unfortunately, this notion is not supported by the text. Arjuna's qualm is against killing his own people- for whose womenfolk he will become responsible for on their death- that too for mere material gain. This is pure Hamilton's rule kin selection- not a Conscientious Objection to War at all. Unlike Karna, who does not have chakshushi vidya (second sight), Arjuna  knows he will survive- not so his cousins. Karna merely believes that he will win against Arjun but, otherwise, holds death in battle to be the surest path to winning Heaven. This is a case of loser takes all. In any case, Karna's friendship and obligation to Duryodhana arose in the context of the latter's determination to crush his cousins by force of arms. Indeed, by choosing to fight mighty Bhima rather than goody-goody Yuddhistra in the final duel of the MhB, Duryodhana confirms to us that Karna's Dharmic decision was consistent with Duryodhana's own preferences.
    Indeed, Duryodhana's war aims makes perfect sense politically. Men become Kings and Kings become Emperors by crushing potential rivals pour encourager les autres . Empires are a good thing- they move a fracitious people from thymotic, tribal, heteronomy  towards a Universal, Bureaucrato-legalistic, autonomy thus yielding a great advance in material Civilization. Yuddhishtra's repeated acceptance of a challenge to a dice game, as part of his bid to be recognised as Bharat's primus inter pares, put paid to his own, more traditional, more Brahminical, bid for Empery. His losing in the second dice game results in an Adullamite exile, during which he is forced to learn Game Theory for himself (Duryodhana outsources his Game Theory) and thus his alliance at Kurukshetra, though numerically smaller, has greater esprit d'corps at the top by reason of lateral ties and community of interest between commanders as opposed to  mere fealty to his own person. In the end, Yuddhishtra is not just a man of pinciple, he is the only actual principal rather than agent in the Mahabharata. After all, Duryodhana's father is alive. True, his father is a Regent, therefore a mere agent rather than principal, not a King. Precisely for this reason, like Bhima, Duryodhana sees the physical crushing of enemies as a legitimate act. He wishes to avenge his father who was passed over for the Kingship despite being Pandu's older brother. Similarly, when Yuddhishtra, despite being elder to Duryodhana, is forced to languish in exile rather than rule as King, Bhima declares his attention to avenge his elder brother by himself utterly destroying the Kauravas, Indeed, this is what triggers Yuddhishtra's Vishada (sorrow), which is only dispelled by hearing the Vyadha-Gita (Vyadha means butcher- Ashwattaman 'speech to Karna in 4.50 shows meat-vendors were proverbial for acquiring wealth through deceit and fraud)  after which he can learn Statistical Game Theory from the story of  Nala.

   Like Duryodhana, like Arjun, like everybody except Yuddhishtra in this Epic, Krishna, too is an agent, not a principal. Indeed, every avatar is an agent, not a principal, only put on earth to fulfil the Godhead's purpose. But, Krishna,in the Gita, is doubly an agent. Unlike his elder brother, Balram who, despite his partiality for Duryodhana, refuses to have anything to do with the blood-letting vishodhana at Kurukshetra, Krishna is committed to serving Arjuna as his charioteer, and thus unaware, by reason of being an agent rather than a principal, that actually Arjuna is none other than the Rg Vedic Hari, or chariot horse ever approaching night (this is the other side of the coin of Madhava’s reading of R.V 6.47.18) and thus His own self-slaying in Visvarupa goes in vain.
    Thus, it becomes apparent, the whole of the Gita is a, so highly cerebral as to be hilarious, proof  or demonstration that agents, as opposed to principals, neither kill (even themselves) nor are killed and thus are exempt from Philosophy which, as Socrates pointed out, is nothing but a practising of Death.  Which is another way of saying the Gita aint Hamlet, it’s friggin’ Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

     Hamlet’s dilemma- which is Agrippa’s trilemma- viz. how prove your belief is true when any proof anyone finds acceptable is still only a matter of belief- is actually pretty productive, not in deontic fields (stuff about ethics and values) where it cashes out as some sort of historicist hermeneutics, but alethic (positive, Scientific, factual) disciplines where it fuels the drive for more and more finely grained empirical instruments and observation.

     For ‘Second Order discourse’- i.e. Philosophy- it is noteworthy that Western Phenomenology and Occassionalism arise out of this trilemma. The former excuses its existence as follows- ‘I’m human. I see the world not as it is but as a human being. Yet, though human, I’ve got the concepts of doubt and certainty. So there must be some human ‘work’ I need to be doing before I can say ‘I’m certain about this’ or ‘this is a matter inherently riddled with the infirmity of doubt.’
     The problem here is that the Phenomen/Noumenon distinction, once its central concern is grasped, becomes immediately redundant- it is a distinction without a difference. Take that last sentence. It’s not actually a statement about what everybody believes. It’s a statement of what I believe. Surely, I should have said ‘In my opinion, the problem here is that....etc’. But, to constantly prefix every sentence I write with ‘in my opinion’ is simply a waste of words. It’s redundant. I mean, I sign this ‘Vivek Iyer’ though I know very well that it is only in my own opinion that I’m ‘Vivek Iyer’.  Mum, for example, is under the impression that I’m actually chamatha ‘good little’ Bikki whereas, less embarrassingly,  for my doting Dad, the words ‘badava’ (not from Urdu for pimp but ancient Aztec for ‘handsomer than Shah Rukh’ who, I may tell you, was my junior at School) and ‘rascal’ (ancient Maya ‘brilliant boy bound to become a Supreme Court Judge’) suffice to define me.

     As for Occassionalism- the notion that the set of things which lie far beyond the human ken- i.e. what we call God precisely because we can’t know what we name- is the actual efficient cause of everything and all the explanans we use either don’t exist or can’t exist, remaining incapable, in any case, of ever actually interacting with anything, thus cutting us off from being able to account for, or even properly perceive, causal processes- this notion, qua Philosophy, too is redundant. I suppose, in some cultures, it is de rigueur to prefix ‘God willing’ to any statement that implies agency- ‘Okay, you treat me to choley batore and your Hindi homework will get done, God willing’- but, it’s semantically redundant and serves a purely phatic purpose.

    In calling the Gita an epoché, quite obviously (in the idiot savant tradition to which all writers in Western languages on the Gita belong) I am systematically replacing any actual free reading of it with a fractious, and fatuous for fiercely reductive, reading into it- which is why, as you perusing this post, have already determined, I receive no soteriological benefit from it whatsoever- other than that of a Reverse Mereological, or Post-Modernly Meropean,  muddying of the Geeta’s waters providential to save my own self-fathered Caliban community which remains exclusively concerned with, though dying of thirst, not glimpsing its own reflection in that peerless and pellucid pool.

    What? Sorry, didn't quite catch ... Oh! You’re saying ‘No, no dear fellow- you are not muddying the waters of the Gita at all! Nor is anything you write difficult to follow. Perish the thought! This essay of yours is itself that Liriopean lake enriched by Narcissus’s love-struck gaze. Indeed, Vivek, as your esteemed Father says, you are truly a badava (in post-modern Urdu, not pimp but broker) enabling every Caliban to attain the beauty of Narcissus, at least in his own eyes, by gazing at the Pierian spring-fed pool of your Prose.’

    Well, you said it- not me! Still, I must admit, in your artless way, you have hit the mark.  Arjuna’s Agrippan Trilemma or Vishada- the fact that.backward induction renders every intentionality untenable- is nevertheless a starting point for a Grothendieck Yoga- uniting eidetic fields, such as sight and foresight, on the basis of greater generality by, not an abstract Husserlian reduction, but something purely human and existential- viz. the fact that Man is as an alethic fact and his deontics matters for his alethic survival and propagation. In other words, the Mind Body problem is solved by the fact that Minds can be evaluated by the degree to which they help or hinder Bodies to survive.

    Which in turn leads to Game Theory-which Yuddhishtra, lacking a Sakuni for Agent, himself has to learn as Principal- not to mention Evolutionary Biology, Mathematical Politics and all the other usual idiocies of our Age and idols of my tribe.

     To summarise, the fact that the Gita is structured as an epoché- but one in which both Krishna and Arjuna have certainty re. alethics (what will be) but not deontics (what ought to be)- is a necessary and sufficient condition for its elaboration of an Occassionalist doctrine. However, precisely because we can predict or explain its appearance, this Occassionalist message is not gratuitous and substantive but strategic and instrumental. Thus, it can't be its own meaning because it lacks ‘apurvata’. As a correspondent of mine informs me ‘  According to Mimansa hermeneutics, only those injunctions are Scripturally valid which have no worldly explanation or merit in that they point to invisible results beyond human understanding. Thus, if the Law Book says 'the King, modestly clothed, should listen to petitions while facing East'- the phrase 'modestly clothed' has a common-sense explanation, viz. that the King should not over-awe the petitioner by appearing in rich garments. Thus the King may omit this requirement without sin. However, since the injunction 'while facing East' has no common sense explanation, the King commits a Sin if he hears petitions in any other posture.

      The corollary is that if a textual simulation of one Philosophical blind alley occasions, as its  corrective, the traversal of another, especially if that cul de sac is Occassionalism, then, clearly, the meaning of the text can’t be taken as anything but a ‘plague on both houses’ so to speak.

    I'm not saying insha (deontics) doesn't cash out as khabar (alethics) or that we can never get an is from an ought or vice versa. What I am saying is you can't get either deontics or Theology out of the Gita. This is because, as in the case of Phineas slaying Zimri and Kosbi, the halachah revealed is halachah vein morin kein (a Law such that knowledge of it forbids the very action it otherwise enjoins). Why? Phineas is agent simply, not principal. Hence his elevation to the status of Kohain by Ha'shem.

      Thus, my conclusion is, the Gita as epoché shows there is a symmetry between Phenomenology and Occassionalism- they are duals of each other but redundant and empty save in the context of their unmeaning duel in which neither can slay or be slain because both are mere agents, mere instrumentalizations, of their own univocal Principal. This impasse, as much as epoché, both yields and illustrates the Supreme hermeneutic Principle that the meaning of a Text is always what can’t be explained, anticipated, or instrumentalized for any paltry purpose of pedagogy or polemics.

    You disagree? No. You don’t really.  I know the truth about you. That humiliating truth hidden in your heart’s deep cave. I know your shameful secret. What is it?
    I will tell you. Not because I want to humiliate you but because no one, and there are many people inside your head, no one except you will understand what I’m saying.

     You think your mother’s face is Beauty.
 You are rushing to see her and tasting the delight already.
     But, when you see her, you realize you never saw her before. You never knew what is Beauty. She is saying ‘Eat now. Don’t look at my face. Look at your plate. What is wrong? OMG! Still a child even at this age? You want I should feed you with my hand? Ooof oh! Enough already. Can’t you see, guests have come. Go look to them. What’s wrong I say? Why this tear in your eye? Oh.... must have lost that fancy job abroad and come back crying... Good. Thank God! I always knew it would happen. I said, go not abroad.. But who listens to me? Anyway, now you are back- your life will be Gold.’
But, you haven’t lost your job, nor have you really come back.
    True, you never listened to Mum- tho’ Mum’s words are the Gita- but now you realize you never actually even properly looked at that Sita.
Her Beauty.
Sita shoba kahe bhukane?
Mukh bin nain, nain bin bane
Of Sita’s splendour,only hacks have sung
 Tulsi, tongue lacks eye, eye lacks tongue!

Buddhism is a protest Religion targeting the anti-casteism of the Hindus.

A truly terrible situation arose two and half millennia ago. A bunch of evil Hindu priests- known as Brahmins- were providing a route out of the Caste System and Untouchability and Gender inequality and so on. How they did it was by chanting some mantras or feeding some butter into a fire or other such ghastliness before declaring anyone with a bit of money or power or reputation for generosity or sadism or whatever to be whatever they wanted to be- a King, a God, a Priest, a Sage, a guy who gets to go to Heaven without first dying, a guy who gets to go to a nicer Heaven than everybody else, a guy who gets to go to Heaven, fuck God's wife and what's more, force God to watch  till God is like all- 'no, please, not  ass to mouth again, Jeez this is horrible... worse than Sex in the City 2... could someone just fucking shoot me?''

Buddhism developed as a protest against not just the Brahmins- but the whole concept of getting ahead by acquiring titles, honours, memberships in graded sodalities, guilds, etc. Buddhism did this by saying 'You really think you're getting ahead? That's sweet. Good thing you don't know success just puts the karma monster on your trail. Boy are you so called successful people fucking yourselves up big time.'
Since a lot of urban, or semi-urban, Brahmins, by reason of their profession, led a miserable self-loathing existence as cloak room attendants to Secular Success, they immediately thrilled to the Buddhist message. Indeed, Buddhism was never anti-Brahmin. Lord Buddha himself granted one sub-sect of those beggars direct entry to Monastic status.

What Buddhism does is create a bunch of people- Monks- who are superior to everything that can be imagined. Everybody has to get re-born as one of these Monks to escape suffering. The Monks do nothing but live off the fat of the land telling everybody else how fucked their lot is.

Of course, Buddhism hates Social mobility, Gender equality and so on, coz that gives people a sense of achievement and happiness and gives the lie to their atrocious notion that not being one of themselves is equal to unending misery. True, Buddhism works hard to make not being a fucking Buddhist head monk a fucking unending misery but, lets face it, the hardest work a fucking Buddhist monk is capable of is still just sloth and idleness by any objective standard. Still, some people are fooled.

This is a link to an article which claims that Tibetan Buddhism put a lot of artisan classes into the untouchable category who previously, or simultaneously in non Buddhist areas, enjoyed a higher status.

The revival of Buddhism in India is linked to the Constitutional creation of a privileged status for the caste from which the guy responsible for the revival- who also wrote the Constitution- comes from. Coincidence? Perhaps. What is undeniable is that a huge number of statues of the guy are going up all over the place.

For which I, personally, blame David Cameron. That boy aint right.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Is Dharma a Virtue Ethics?

Suppose we find that everybody who talks about a certain subject is either a fool or a knave or both, what can we properly conclude?
1) Not that the subject has a tendency to deprave or render stupid- it may be that fools and knaves alone are attracted to the subject.
2) Not that only fools and knaves take up the subject- it may be that someone neither a fool or a knave is forced to comment on the subject and only by doing so is shown to be either a fool or knave or both.
3) Not that someone neither a fool or a knave forced to comment on the subject, and thus shown to be a fool or knave or both, is actually commenting on the subject- one may be forced to do something but end up doing something else which suffices to end the compulsion. This would be the case if the force which compels one towards a particular course of action can not itself distinguish between that action specifically and some other action which appears the same to the compelling agent but not so to others.

This last point saves us from having to conclude that all talk about about Ethics, Duty, Dharma etc, is only indulged in by fools or knaves or both. I'm not saying this isn't empirically true. Indeed, for any possible world one may care to specify, one could, in general, prove that this is a necessary truth. However, once we admit that people who speak of these things may have been compelled to do so and that what we mistake as the usual foolish, knavish or both foolish and knavish verbiage is in fact merely a simulacrum with an opposite illocutionary force- i.e. it is a savage parody and indictment of the brutish stupidity of the sort of fools and knaves who force people to talk about Ethics, Duty, Dharma etc.- then a new vista is opened for us.
Indeed, we now have the possibility of taking a more charitable view of our fellow creatures. We can imagine that their foolish, knavish or both foolish and knavish babble about Morality proceeds, not from their irremediable stupidity and knavishness, but from some brutish and merciless force constraining them to such revolting behaviour.
Obviously, words like Morality, Duty, Ethics and so on only become interesting, only register as something other than phatic, when, in their name, some particularly stupid and knavish action is performed.
Let's say I become friends with some guy and do something nice for him. Well, you might commend me for my friendly character and felicitate me for my deftness in performing some particular pleasing action. What you wouldn't do is uphold me as an exemplar of a higher morality, a sterner ethics, a more than mortal attachment to Duty.
 Well, you wouldn't, unless you were a knave with an ulterior motive or a fool who thought it remarkable that I should find pleasing a friend a source of satisfaction to myself.
On the other hand, if I meet a guy, befriend him and then beat him to death though it causes me pain to do so- clearly I have acted from some motive of Morality, Duty, Ethics or other such shite. To the degree that you are a knave or fool, or both, you are now obliged to hold me up as an exemplar and gas on in philosophical vein.

BK.Matilal has written some foolish or knavish or both foolish and knavish shite on the topic of  'Ethics and  Epics'. Was he forced to do so? Dunno. Maybe. Let us say that being a Professor forces one to do shite  things of this sort. Still his shite on this topic sets higher than mandated standards of stinkiness because he won't even entertain the possibility that the guys who wrote the Epics were forced to drag in talk about Morality, Duty, Ethics and so on.
Let's face it.  Interesting stories are of the form- x liked y but fucked y up something rotten though it hurt x to do so. Boring stories are of the form- x liked y and did something nice for y coz x was a nice guy that way.

What about meta-stories? I mean a story about story telling? The Mahabharata is such a story. We know, in advance, the authors are going to be constrained to talk about Morality, Ethics, Duty and other such shite- coz. for the heroes to retain our interest they're gonna have to fuck up for some high minded reason every so often-  but we don't know whether the Epic is going to take advantage of its meta-linguistic structure to fuck up the vile and brutish force compelling the mention of Dharma, or whether that fucking black hole is going to turn the writers in to fools or knaves or both - or even only the simulacrum of such scum.

In order to find to determine the outcome of the Mahabharata's meta-story, I'm first going to have to formalize the terms fool and knave.
Briefly, a fool is someone who wastes information. A knave is someone who steals it. The reason that all talk about Morality, Duty, Ethics etc is either foolish or knavish or both is because such talk loses information. But if information is lost, something is no longer being conserved. But if something is no longer being conserved, then a symmetry has disappeared. If a symmetry has disappeared then a Game has become unbalanced.
Let us look again at the Mahabharata- if it is nothing but a chaotic mass of interpolations and priestly longeurs then it can't be preserving symmetries, it can't be conserving any Principles, it's merely a dissipative system- in which case, why read it- unless you're forced to?
Since the Mahabharata can look like a dung heap of precisely this sort, stupid or knavish people- Professors for example- who are forced to read it, are then compelled to say foolish and knavish things about it- e.g. 'It conceives of Dharma as deontological' 'Nope, it's all Virtue Ethics' etc.

However, when the MHb's object language- i.e. what the text says happens-  is looked at as a non-dissipative, highly symmetric, Balanced Game sequence  (which, by reason of its redactive heuristics is precisely what it is) then, it becomes clear that, as meta-story, it achieves the most praiseworthy of objectives- viz. rigorously fucking over that vile and brutish force which compels people to talk about Morality, Ethics, Duty and other such shite without in any way getting meta-shite upon its own dick.

To summarise- only fools or knaves talk about Morality, Ethics, Duty and other such shite. Why? Because these concepts actually set out to lose information, to conserve nothing, to efface symmetries, to ubnbalance Games. Thus fools, who waste, and knaves, who steal, whatever they get their hands on, are the necessary tools for this foulest of forms of shitting through the mouth.
The Mahabharata, as meta story, by a powerful heuristic which conserves symmetries, balances Games and never throws away information in its object language, so to speak, is able to use its Second Order, meta-linguistic illocutionary force to do the work of sanitizing, by rendering entirely ironic, the obligatory shite about Ethics and Morality and so on.

To, conclude, the correct answer the question- is Dharma a Virtue Ethics?- is shhhhh! I'm trying to watch Svetlana.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Why circumcision in Islam is compulsory 5 times a day

Guest post
by Osama bin Laden Jr.

Gotta prune back on the python dude! Five times a day be sure to take a machete to that monster. Be right with Allah y'hear me?!

The Gita, Occassionalism and Deontology

The Gita, Occassionalism and Deontology
Occasionalism, in philosophy, is the doctrine that God alone causes everything. If I shoot an arrow at you and it pierces your heart and you die, I am not the cause of your death. On the contrary, what actually happened was, God transported the arrow to your heart and then caused it to stop beating and then caused you to die.  
In Islam, the school of Ghazzali is occasionalist while, in the West, from Descartes onwards, occasionalism has been one solution to the Mind-Body problem (i.e. the puzzle that mental and physical processes seem so different that it seems impossible that they interact.) In Ethics, too, if we consider the disjunction between deontics (values) and alethics (facts), occassionalism of some sort or another is bound to crop up. Indeed, Game theoretic approaches to Evolutionary Biology, in conformity with the extended phenotype principle, are currently attempting precisely such a re-foundation of Ethics so as to ‘de-Kant’ (as Prof. Binmore puts it) the subject.
Buddhism and Vedanta, in India, had no need for a full blown occasionalist doctrine. In the former, the doctrine of kshanika-vada (momentariness) meant that, since the Universe only exists for a moment, causation and identity are delusions simply. For the latter, the doctrine of Maya-vada- irreality of all phenomenal appearance- once again made causation and identity and so on utterly meaningless.
This is not to say that Theistic Vishnavism, from Ramanjua, through Madhava, to Vallabhacharya, did not develop a full fledged occasionalist doctrine such that the Lord alone had agency, nor that there were not some very heated (and hilarious) polemics exchanged between the Sagunas (Dualists) and Nirgunas (Monists) which polarised along sectarian- i.e. Vaishnav vs. Saivite- lines. However, the great poet-Saints had no difficulty reconciling the differences of the doctrinaire by simply instrumentalizing the doctrine of re-birth. Indeed, the variant epistemologies and ontologies of Jainism, Buddhism and so-called Hindu schools were reconciled by an appeal to re-birth. Once Umasvati, the Jain Scholar-Saint, clarifies that all beings become perfect upon the path of re-birth, and once it is seen that the liberated soul in Jaina ‘kevalya’ is indistinguishable from the ‘extinguished’ soul of the Buddhist Pratyeka or the ‘United to the Lord’ soul or the Hindu jivana-mukta, then, Nagarjuna, Sankara and Umasvati become complementary rather than competing. Contra Max Weber, reincarnation is not the Indian theodicy (i.e. the explanation for why God lets bad things happen to good people), because, quite simply, for Buddhism and Vedanta, the notion that something transmigrates is pure illusion and nescience. As for Jainism, the very second you decide to be self-reliant and work to perfect yourself, immediately, you are absolutely assured that for infinite Time you will be in the blissful Kevalya state. What does it matter if it takes ten births or ten million to get there? Eternity is infinitely longer than even ten billion years. An Auditor would tell you, the sum is not material. It’s like saying to Bill Gates- my dear man, I have found out that you owe ten dollars to the Dry Cleaner- you are not as wealthy as you thought!
Tulisdas, for example, puts ‘casteist’ arguments into the mouth of the crow, Kakabhushandi, who had incurred the curse of his Guru in a previous life because he was so bigoted an upholder of the Saguna position. The greatness of Tulsidas is that his ‘maryada bhakti’ (respectful Theism) involves obeisance to all equally. Clearly, this is the opposite of an endorsement of a feudal, hierarchical, view of society. Ultimately, Tulsidas declares the name ‘Ram’ to be higher than any merely ontic truth or deontological method. In other words, Tulsi tells us that Ram’s name is higher than both whatever exists and anything we can imagine or predicate of ‘Ram’.  This is better than Western Christianity’s slow weaning itself away, even with Islamic tutelage, from Platonic ‘reals’ to Aristotelian ‘nominalism’. However, this was not a thorough going nominalism, like Tulsi’s, and bequeathed Western Logic all sorts of ontological problems which it struggles with to this day. Briefly, as the works of Quine make clear, any system of logic makes ontological claims. In other words, any rigorous, non defeasible, system of reasoning is based upon a picture not just of the world but how and why the world can change or transform itself. But, from the view point of what Collingwood calls ‘second order discourse’, Philosophy as concerning itself not with facts about the World but a discussion of the world-views those facts might give rise to, this is quite foolish. Why have logic, why have a non-defeasible system of reasoning, if it can generate no truth value at all by its operations but can only reiterate the stupidity of its own axioms, the idiocy of its pauper’s picture of a world?  Wittgenstein, who scandalized Vienna’s Logical Positivists by reading Tagore to them- incidentally, Hitler would soon put a stop to the scandal of a ‘dirty Jew’ reading out the works of a ‘pure Aryan’, like Tagore-  tells us, repenting his own early work, that ‘ a picture held us captive, and we could not get outside the picture because language repeats it to us inexorably’.  Whose language? Not that of Tulsi certainly. Not that of the bauls- Muslim, Hindu or European, like Anthony Firanghee- who lay behind Tagore’s own oeuvre.
For Sufi Islam, as for Hindu Theism, Occassionalism changed the relationship of poetry with the World. It was no longer constrained to be mimetic, a mere imitation of Nature, nor diegetic, i.e. narrate a story, but, instead, it could explore Man’s capacity to receive and generate meaning. In other words, both for Islam and the indigenous Indian tradition, poesis was its own hermeneutics- in other words, the poet, tasking himself with finding new meanings, even if the World pictures they referred to were very far from the common sense perspective, was doing so by showing how more could be read into what had already been handed down. The result is that the Bhagvad Gita, like Ghalib’s Divan, is a book which can never fall open on the same page twice. ‘So fresh and strange it each moment appears/ True beauty’s homage is e’er in arrears’.
Unfortunately, Nineteenth Century European Scholars- and their often even more provincial latter day successors- were wedded to a Romantic and historicist hermeneutic according to which there was once some Golden Age  when people behaved ‘naturally’ and sang about things like how Mountains are real high and the Wind blows a lot and Forests have a lot of trees and can be scary at night, and the Sea sure does have a lot of water- and that, for some reason, such songs were actually really good and represented something genuinely worthwhile but, alas!, everything gradually became more and more corrupt and decadent and artificial and deeply freighted with thought. Thus the ornamental aspect of Sufi or Hindu theistic poetry was dismissed as ‘decadence’. But, to be fair, stupid elderly pedants are always obsessed with decadence. They see it all over the place. Don’t talk to me about the young men nowadays. They’re all homosexuals. Result is that girls are running wild. I tell you our Society has become completely rotten and decadent. We are sleep-walking towards disaster. What we need is a War to wake up the young men and get them to quit mounting each other and have a go at the enemy for a change.
Another great fault of the European scholars- who, speaking generally, were good linguists and laborious scholars- but of low general intellectual calibre and deeply Provincial outlook- was that they believed everything they’d been told at Grammar School. Greek tragedy is the highest form of poetry. It isn’t. That’s why the Greeks switched to Musicals.  A great man laid low by a character flaw, or the malice of Fate, is the most noble subject for the poet. This isn’t true. It’s an ignoble subject for a Scandal mongering, gutter Press, journalist. There is nothing particularly elevating about the contemplation of some random rich dude’s misfortunes. As for beating one’s breast at the malice of Fate- why bother? What good does it achieve? Thomas Hardy’s turn to poetry, or Housman’s well-turned lyrics, may sound okay and be on the best Classical models but they are a mere melodious absence of thought, a turning away from the vast new vistas and lifted horizons offered by technological progress and social development.
Both Indian and Islamic philology- in contrast to that of the Europeans- owe their origin and gain traction by being very much part and parcel of economic , technological and social change. For the Greeks, there was no poet like Homer- but Homer described a purely Thymotic and tribal society- whereas, for the Indians, there was the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which describe the transition from Thymotic, tribal, societies to contract-based, mercantile, Universalist regimes in which the Just King sets an example by controlling his own thymotic impulses and emerges from the ethical heteronomy of the Homeric heroes to the ethical autonomy and rationality of Chief Magistrates of urbane, mercantile, communities founded upon not tribal but Universal- or at least metic fostering- values.
For the West, the eclipse of the ‘glories of Greece and the grandeur of Rome,’ and the prolonged nightmare of the Dark Ages, coincided with the triumph of Christianity. Jerusalem stood absolutely opposed to Athens. Classical Philology takes its belated revenge on Religion in the Nineteenth Century by casting doubt on the seamlessness of Scripture. At the time, this might have seemed a victory for rationality. Perhaps the new historicist hermeneutics, founded in Classical philology, really had a role to play. It didn’t. Scripture can always defend itself because it is ‘insha’ (deontic) rather than ‘khabar’ (alethic). The Philologists gradually made bigger and bigger fools of themselves. Max Mueller was a standing joke with his ‘solar myth’ obsession. Nietzche tries to establish a humanist hermeneutics but was chased out of the Academy. Since the fellow was quite mad, he was eventually assimilated to a particularly foolish sort of ‘phenomenological’ philology- incidentally, I may point out that Occassionalism saves from the idiocy of Phenomenology- associated with Heidegger, a bad philologist who used phoney etymologies to read his own nonsense into ancient texts.
Western Philologists are too stupid to understand Western Philosophy- too stupid even to understand that all systematic Philosophy based on indefeasible reasoning is a priori silly- and so, naturally, the establishment of Western hegemony over Indian and Islamic knowledge systems, had the effect of rendering virtually everything being recovered by laborious scholarship radically unreadable as falling well below the standard of intelligence set by a drivelling idiot. Why? Well, important stuff in the text, or the cultural background, like the occassionalism in the Gita or in Ghazzali or whatever, is either ignored or explained away- it’s an interpolation!- or it is taken as evidence of ethical heteronomy and fatalism and evidence of a decadent literary milieu and so on.
Can you imagine a person saying, after reading Valmiki’s Ramayana, ‘you know, I get the impression that Ram didn’t actually have any real feelings for Seeta or for his Dad or anybody else. In fact, I don’t really know what Ram actually felt when Sita was abducted. It’s like the guy was a robot, just going through the motions.’
Prof. Sheldon Pollock has said this- and he hasn’t just read Valmiki but also translated a volume of the Ramayana- these are his actual, published, words ‘Rama's 'true feelings' will remain secret, properly so, for they are quite irrelevant to the poem's purposes.' Indeed, Pollock’s theory is that Rama, like all the other characters in the Ramayana, is ethically heteronomous, he has no freedom of choice and no inner source of values other than blind obedience. Pollock arrives at this conclusion by taking note of the Occassionalist metaphysics propounded in the Ramayana. He believes this fact to be sufficient grounds to conclude that all the characters subscribe to this doctrine and that their every intentional act is conditioned by it. In other words, when a character in the Ramayana eats some food he does not do so because he is hungry or because the food is appetizing but because he believes God wants him to eat the food. However, Occassionalism, as a philosophical doctrine, makes no such claim or demand. One way of looking at Occassionalism is to think of it as a ‘hidden variable’ theory. Intentionality is preserved, free choice remains operational, though some relevant information is not available to the agents involved.
Indeed, in this sense, Occassionalism is of the greatest utility to the Sciences- as well as to second order discourse- because it constantly alerts us to the inadequacy of our explanans- not fire burns wood but energy in the form of heat brings about a chemical change which itself can be more closely analysed and so on.
An oddity of Western thought- the source of its perpetual infantilism- is its cognitive dissonance in the face of propositions cast in logical form but which contain deontic rather than alethic variables. Work on defeasible systems of reasoning are a relative novelty in their tradition. Dialethia and ‘Fuzzy Logic’ are still generally considered beyond the pale. The problem of Meinongian objects (i.e. imaginary objects) or Moore’s paradox (can I believe something I know to be untrue?) continued to puzzle philosophers at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  The Ghazal poet, as much as the reader of the Gita, on the other hand, have always had behind them sensible answers to these pseudo-problems.
However, in India, the rise of a careerist ‘Revolutionary’ ideology and socially complacent ‘Politically Correct’ agit prop, meant that Western Philosophical hermeneutics, of the most witless sort, had to be systematically substituted for the home-grown product. Since the Government had decided to adopt a historicist judicial hermeneutics, according to which evil upper castes had committed some terrible crime thousands of years ago and hence had to be made to make reparation through all eternity, there was a natural synergy between the agitators and the administrators. Both agreed that all Indian people were stupid ignorant rascals incapable of ever adopting any socially beneficial ideology or  morality on their own.
In this context, Hegel and that old racist, Kant, suddenly became relevant again.
Hegel writing on the Gita said ‘ there is no distinction between religion and philosophy here. No concept of the individual as a moral agent ... their whole thought is preoccupied with the dominance of the One Absolute, entirely unqualified, indeterminate, substance, […] its abstractness (its renunciation of the external world) and the lack of the concept of the autonomous, free individual and its self-consciousness.
‘Knowledge is achieved only by means of abstraction from the sensible and through reflection […] wherein thought remains equally motionless
and inactive as the senses and feelings should be forced to inactivity. […]The Indian isolation of the soul into emptiness is rather a stupefaction
which perhaps does not at all deserve the name mysticism and which cannot lead to the discovery of true insights, because it is devoid of any
Hegel, being an ignorant pedant with no knowledge of what we would now call Science, Maths, Logic, General Knowledge, Economics, Politics and so on, not unnaturally had invented some Mumbo Jumbo doctrine according to which Negation was somehow illicit. His complaint against the Indians was that ‘“Too often, they think of Nothing as a necessity”. For this sin, the World Spirit got angry with them and cursed them with backwardness. Since Hegel, clever boy!, had rejected Negation and the ‘Bad Infinite’ and so on, the World Spirit became very happy with Prussia and blessed it and turned it into the bestest place ever which was convenient because Hegel lived there.
In this context, I am reminded of a ‘thought experiment’ from Kaushik Basu’s play ‘Crossings at Benares Junction’- the hero, a somewhat stupid lecturer, wonders what would happen if the world came to a stop for an instant and then, an instant later, everything resumed again. Would that instantaneous occurrence of Nothingness not somehow cancel the whole series and purge it from existence? This is an example of a Hegelian thought. It is utterly foolish. Cellular automaton theory takes such situations in its stride as a matter of routine. 
Recently, Prof. Amartya Sen has had a crack at the Gita. Carrying on a glorious tradition of Indians writing nonsense in English about the Geeta,  he thinks Lord Krishna is propounding deontological (rule based) ethics.  He thinks Arjuna is a consequentialist (i.e. judging an action by its results).  Now deontology is only a good strategy when there is imperfect information. No idiot follows a rule if he has all the information. Let me give an example. If I don’t know who is knocking on the door, I look through the peep-hole. The rule ‘always look through the peep-hole before opening the door’ is a good rule because I have imperfect information.  It is a stupid rule, which no one but an idiot would observe, if perfect information is available. Now, one may say deontology isn’t about rules like ‘always look through the peep-hole’ but maxims such as ‘always do your duty without fear or favour’.  Clearly the word duty here must mean what you understand to be your duty (i.e. it must have an intensional rather than an extensional definition otherwise it cashes out as a consequentialism because you have to go to every possible being and inquire what your duty to them is and then decide how to reconcile all these different duties and so on). But if you already consider something to be your duty you’d be doing it anyway. The maxim is redundant- like saying ‘be sure to exhale after you inhale’ or ‘be sure to obey the law of gravity’. Duty is a ‘revealed preference’. The maxim ‘do your duty’ is only meaningful if a person is having a doubt about what he should do. Such doubts are of 2 types, those arising out of first order (i.e. informational or computational) constraints- here the doubt is resolved by the acquisition of information or a computational technique- and those expressing existential doubts regarding ‘meta-duties’- i.e. what duty it is one’s duty to have- which is a second order, purely philosophical, question.  Here, Sens’s characteristic method of making distinctions without a difference should lead to some philosophical result. It doesn’t. Why? In the Gita, Krishna drops all deontological arguments in favour of a full blown occassionalist metaphysics. Sen knows this. Yet he writes what he writes. Personally, I blame Nathkat Nandlal. He likes to make fools of us grey-beards.
What to do? Lord Krishna is like that only.