Like many fat, sedentary. and deeply unadventurous Tamil Brahmins, I have an unreasonable and unreasoning love for the Turks and Mongols and, dunno, like Magyars and Bulgars and Khazars and so on. Why? I guess it has to do with the origin story of the Gokturks. They were slaves forced to labour in the iron mines of the Altai Mountains till one day, a little less or more than two thousand years ago- i.e. a time when the Greeks and the Romans and the Iranians and the Indians and the Chinese were already middle aged and the Copts and Hebrews and Babylonians virtually senescent- they just Spartacized themselves and upped and rebelled and began the second (the Bronze age was the first) great process of Globalization- i.e. the creation of a World Historical System- in a manner that clearly established that, for this World, Tengri- the Sky- is the limit. Oppression and exploitation aint fucking karmically ordained and don't fucking move things along towards the proper Hieros-gamos, or sacred marriage, between Earth and Heaven which, like the samadhi/satori of the Buddhists, arises absent, or irrespective of, any structure to events or, indeed, the hysteresis of history.
Mutatis mutandis, as of the Turks, much the same thing can be said about a bunch of adventurous fishermen off the Western coast of Eurasia whose courage and good cheer outlasted the walls of wood that defended them from the stupidity of slavery in situ, granting them instead a Marine passage to Ariosto's moon.
The great, good and always utterly wrong, Immanuel Wallerstein- who, sadly, never got drunk with Obama's dad, even vicariously, though sharing the same vantage point on 'African Socialism'- is my target for a Tesco-Champagne fueled mugging today coz like he didn't connect with the young Graciella Chichilnisky, preferring to talk to the likes of Samir fucking Amin back in the Seventies. As I have often explained- '68 was nothing special- not because History reached a turning point but failed to turn, but by reason of the patriarchal attitudes, the misogynistic practices of the 68-ers- the soixante-huitards as pseudo-intellectuals term them- who failed to understand that 69- pace Ahdaf Soueif- is sublime and always present as a liberative praxis outside history and sans any fucking Structure at all. Had Wallerstein's tickly mustache been pressed into service against Chichilnisky's immaculate, mathematical and uterine font- rather than a dialogue with other hairy Seventies' Marxist or soi-disant Marxist men- the project of a World Systems Analysis would not have been still-born.
Oh dear. If structures pre-exist and Historical processes are structural- then there is no convergent evolution, everything is genealogical; the human faculty for Mathematics, for abstraction, is unavailing- there was no reason for it to evolve- a casteist karma, a biological destiny, binds us- & as in 'the Death of Wallenstein' all that is left for us to say is- Stern is the on-look of necessity, Not without shudder may a human hand Grasp the mysterious urn of destiny. But this is a funeral, not Keat's Grecian, urn which once grasped, at last gasp, you grasp only ashes.
Ghalib, proud of his Gokturk origins, says-
Since Sorrow can tax the Free no more than one breath
Lightning's the lone candle we light for a death
butm because Ghalib was an Indian pensioner of John Company he adds-
Ours too is a World- but one barren to its own passion, tumult & wrath
& we the nuptial taper of the heart's bed-chamber of its moth
How can I be sure I have or lack a Political ideology? Suppose
1) I belong to a political party- how can I be sure I understand and support not merely its Manifesto, with its list of concrete policy proposals, but the ideology behind that Manifesto?
2) I don't belong to a political party but feel a sense of sympathy with some section of the conventionally given political spectrum. Is it the case that I have, at some sub conscious level, a political ideology and a political preference of a Platonic sort which I find imperfectly expressed in the menu of options available to me as a voter? How can I be sure either way?
3) I have no interest in Politics and no fixed Political allegiance but vote for particular individuals who somehow capture my imagination or who appear to be tackling an issue I feel important. Is it really the case that I have no ideology or is it that I do have an ideology which, for some reason, it is not tractable for me to articulate? Is there any way to tell for sure which camp I fall into?
4) I am sure I have a Political ideology and believe it corresponds to a publicly recognized brand but all of the knowledgeable people peddling that brand keep telling me I'm a fuckwit and that I don't know shit and should just kindly fuck off coz wot I got is a paranoid obsession not an political ideology at all. What should I do? How do I prove I do too have a political ideology and what's more it can kick the ass of your political ideology and fart in its face and make fun of its puny genitals.
What is Ideology?
Something physiological. Either ideas are secretions of some sort which tell us about the disposition of our internal organs or else they sui generis change something internally such that we produce more and more of the same thing.
Suppose Ideology wasn't physiological, wasn't supervenient on some biological fact, then it would change as the Weltgeist changes and be nothing in itself- under these circumstances, as happened with Johannes Peter Muller, studying Hegel would lead, not to trying to shit higher than one's arsehole, but to the rejection of any theory not founded upon the most exacting and scientific observation of the facts of the case including the researcher's own internal organ responsible for secreting this Research Program. Here, it is indeed the case, contra William James, that psychologus nemo nisi physiologus- and thus the question 'do I have an Ideology' is answered at the same time as the Researcher establishes to which Rudolphi species of humanity you belong and which regime (think 'Hymn of Hate' Ernst Lissauer, 'Man without Qualities' Walter Rathenau or, the Kaiser's friend, shipping magnate Albert Ballin) makes best provision for a cozy little gas chamber for people of your sort.
On this view- the only way to find out if you really have a Political Ideology, absent some structured Social crisis so constituted as to elicit that information, is, by an application of Muller's law of specific energies', to artificially stimulate the organism such that the same sensation is experienced.
What this means is that all we need to do is to remove a portion of your skull and stick electrodes into your brain- but also into your spinal cord, just to be on the safe side- and have ourselves a party till, hopefully before the booze runs out, we duplicate whatever Social process it is that would elicit your ideology.
Unfortunately, I'm no longer allowed to perform brain surgery- my little sister complained and Mum got real stroppy and said she'd just summarily marry me off to Vandana Siva (got a good dowry, that girl) if I tried it again- so, I guess this is a good time to introduce two crucial concepts linked to ideology- viz. responsibility and punishability.
Having an ideology will soon mean- so invidious all post-modern insurgency- that the ingrowing Cliodynamics of Peace-as-War will hold you to a, higher if vicarious, 'command responsibility' even if you yourself are utterly and self evidently ineffectual in terms of accomplishing whatever evil it is you term the Good. The other side of the coin, is that ideology becomes ipso facto punishable, indeed, in the recoil from Nuremberg's weakening of the standard of mens rea, ideology took the Cabaret spotlight as the Blue Angel more intrinsically guilty.
In this context, it becomes urgent you immediately take The Iyer test for Ideology Task- construct a partial ordering over Stalnaker-Lewis closest possible worlds to establish a Konus index. Method- for any change, i , from what currently obtains, O, look at the closest possible world to our own in which it occurs and select that persona (or possible self) in it which leaves you indifferent between worlds. Repeat, for that world's closest neighbor till you get a closed path- i.e. you are back in the original world which we designated as O. Call this your Konus curvature for i- call it K(i).
Rank all K(i) weakly. Call the result you Konus curvature for O. Rank for all O, to get your Konus index.
Query- what if you can't get a closed path for any O? Then you don't have an ideology. You might be Napoleon- consult a psychiatrist- but whatever you lack in inches you do not make up for by being an ideologue.
Similarly, an incomplete Konus index, implies your ideology is incomplete or of the type of a Napoleon le petit.
A bonus- if your closed paths take in every possible person then your ideology is subjectively Universalisable in the sense that there is some assumption re. preferences over basic goods plus degree of risk aversion you can make such that you can plausibly argue that everybody might acquiesce in the type of Society you choose from behind the Rawlsian veil of ignorance. Distinguishing between Strategic and Tactical changes.
Since Ideologies counsel tactical retreats as part of a wider strategy, the difficulty arises that Ideologies might seem self-contradictory or that they end up appearing operationally indistinguishable from each other. However, since you now have a Konus index you can treat Tactical changes as being like the Slutsky Subsititution effect and Strategic advances as being like a positive Income effect. In other words, changes in real world constraints can be represented by shadow prices and the whole question of Ideology becomes tractable for Economic analysis.
Globally, it remains the case that Ideologies continue to be observationally indistinguishable- but this follows from the Sonnenschein–Mantel–Debreu theoremand has no bearing on whether or not you yourself have a coherent ideology. True, knowledge of this 'anything goes' theorem may change your Konus index or render it incomplete but that is a separate matter. What about ontologically dysphoric ideologies?
It might be argued that ideologies are essentially ontologically dysphoric- i.e. they represent an unhappiness with having to live in a real world, with real people, interacting according to real laws- and thus the relevant domain for the Konus index is not the Stallnacker-Lewis sphere of closest possible worlds but another set of logically impossible worlds which nevertheless motivate ontological dysphoria in our sphere. In this case, those impossible worlds project into our Lewis sphere to alter preferences- i.e. that information is not being thrown away but rather is encoded in the Konus curvature.
A key scene to the best movie of the last decade- Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret- involves a class-room discussion about the meaning of Gloucester's line- As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods, They kill us for their sport. (King Lear Act 4, scene 1, 32–37). The teacher, a diabetic, is trying to steer the discussion to its canonical, Levinas & water, conclusion- Rich people, powerful people, are like the false gods of the Goyim Epics whose Olympic interpersonal Soap Opera requires the deaths of thousands at Troy which matters coz, like, not everybody is a Goy as is proved, in the book of Job, when some contretemps in Heaven leads to the testing of a righteous man and the humiliation of his comforters. Job has two alternatives, one is to turn his face to the wall, curse God and die. Goaded beyond endurance by young Elihu ('you're rich- this proves you've been stealing from widows and orphans') he seeks a particular type of Justice- a face to face Justice.God grants him this, in a sense, by revealing His own impassable alterity and somehow this makes everything better because...urm... it's like 'authentic'? and like didn't Heidegger say something about Dread and... anyway, as Woody Allen says, Life is absurd but you still need to pick up your dry cleaning. But since wealthy Jewish New York is being reinvented In Lonergan's film something different happens- the diabetic teacher is thrown into a tizzy when a student (the class odd-ball?) makes the opposite point. We might be as little able to understand God's Justice as are insects our human world and this is made manifest when we attribute malice or caprice to a type of consciousness which, necessarily, can neither cognize nor be capable of such motives. This means face to face Justice, Levinasian first philosophy, discovers as alterity nothing save its own adolescent self-dramatization. True, the Opera may harmonize this and make it inter-personal and redemptive in some particularly tear-provoking way but only because it does so in a language and manner so foreign that it is forbidden in advance to interrupt and accuse the other of deliberately obfuscating speech acts- which is like totally Nazi- and can I just tell you what I think, because though I don't yet know what I think, this drama is about me and did I mention you're like totally a Nazi?- no, don't interrupt, let me finish- you are too definitely a Nazi but much much worse because you don't even know you are a Nazi and what was I saying... see? You made me lose my train of thought. Happy now? Fucking Nazi cunt. Think I'll go live with Dad- yes, Mum, I know his ho-bag sings the Horst Wessel song in the bath but at least she isn't a total bitch.
Prof. Heeserman's 'the broken world of sacrifice,' came out about 20 years ago. At that time very little work had been done on the application of gauge invariance theory to Economics. This is a link to Smolin's recent paper on the subject and here is a short sharp take-down of Smolin, by (the rabidly right wing) Lubos Motl, whose kernel I extract below-
On page 16, he claims that the neoclassical Arrow-Debreu model has the following "gauge invariances":
prices get rescaled by a constant, Lambda
utility functions are rescaled by different constants, lambda_a, that can be chosen to differ for different households because their evaluations of utility are independent
He seems to claim that these "gauge invariances" are extremely deep. However, they're not deep and they're not gauge invariances, either.
Any symmetry that should be called "gauge invariance" must have time-dependent parameters describing the transformations; otherwise it is not a "gauge symmetry" but just a "global symmetry". Clearly, if prices are rescaled by a function of time, we deal with inflation which has a profound impact on expectations in particular and the economy in general. This time-dependent rescaling is surely not a symmetry.
The problem here is that a Muth Rational General Equilibrium theory, or an Evidential Decision Theory consistent with Rational Expectations, isn't really concerned with dynamics in the manner that Motl or, in a different way, Smolin (both being Physicists) naturally assume.
In any case, a Physicalist interpretation of Neo-Classical Econ would move in the direction marked out by Kenneth Boulding, or proceed on the basis of ditopology or else, in so far as gauge invariance cropped up, it would be in terms of asset pricing & risk, in which notions like negative probability have a different interpretation, or else the theory of index numbers (where I believe it fails) or some other such sophistry.
Returning to the topic of this post- viz. gauge invariances & the meaning of the Vedic sacrifice- it is important to note that Twentieth Century interpretations of it- including that of Mauss- arise out of a Classical paradigm concerned with surpluses and apportionment. It is still within this context that Heeserman writes as follows in the introduction to his book-
Let us be clear as to what we are discussing- a bunch of Indo-Iranians used to get together for a big barbecue way back when. This barbecue acquired a lot of economic and social and political and even some 'Religious' and 'Poetic' and 'Philosophic' significance.
But what sort of Economics was going down at these sacrifices? We know a lot about co-ordination and matching problems, so we can predict that these barbecues would become a big deal because when you have a surplus you badly need to know where to take it to trade it most advantageously. There's also a matching problem- wives for husbands, horses for riders, stuff like that- again you need a Schelling focal point plus expert-cognition guys to expedite things and get people to lock into correlated equilibria (coz. the expert cognition guy is hovering around giving out a public signal). So whichever way you slice or dice it, the big Vedic barbeque had the potential to go big time with lots of priests and poets and other expert-cognition guys milling around.
But, since the Yagnya generates a surplus simply by coming to be- i.e. there's oodles of consumer and producer surplus sloshing around- it can't be a potlatch- it can't be about destroying a surplus so as to avoid social tension- because the quicker way to ensure we all stay poor and barefoot is to never like meet up for a barbeque and get to swapping stuff.
Let us now speak of warriors and Kings- sure, being a King means having to throw a good kegger for the local rowdies- no question about that at all. But, killing is not cool at the kegger- it is cool when raiding cows from them guys across the way. You don't kill the cows while stealing them but you do kill men. Once back home, kill the cows and eat them but don't kill the men who helped you on your shrautha raid.
So, the question arises- what is this shite about the 'broken world of sacrifice' when aint nobody getting killed here? Fuck is Heeserman on about?
The answer, I think has to do with the crap mainstream Economics people were taught in the Twentieth Century. The very word 'surplus' conjures up the 'general glut' of the Great Depression and talk of the Marxian 'Final Crisis of Capitalism' and how it made Hitler do real mean things to like the Blacks and Yids and Gyppos and Slavs and Homos and so on till finally Germany starved in between getting raped coz urm...well, there's like this Economic Law which says that must happen. Nothing at all to do with the fact that Hitler was a fuckwit put in power by more fuck-witted yet Prussian Generals and that's the kind of shite goes down when Generals meddle in politics.
So what actually happened at the Vedic Yagnya? Okay there's some thymotic status competition- but that stuff's best settled by wrestling matches and Archery competitions and so on- okay, there's some socio-political legitimating function being discharged- and in that sense the Yagnya lives on- but what is the nature of surplus and how does it become central to Theistic Hinduism?
Let's go back to Econ. for a mo. What's it really about? Well, Econ don't exist unless there's some but not too much preference diversity and some but not too much on-the-fly mechanism design. One way to get this to happen- as for example happens when Management Consultants run exercises to get different Depts. to play nice with each other- is for role playing exercises of a particular sort- one with an imaginary dimension which takes up a metaphor that is pure fantasy (e.g. we are soldiers fighting a war when actually we're clerks running away from truly horrible home lives) and makes it the basis of a meta-metaphoric extension of what previously obtained with respect to our mutual 'entanglement'- i.e. capacity to spot Muth rational outcomes and move seamlessly towards them.
It is there, in that last clause of that last sentence, that such Economic 'gauge invariances' as can 'restore the broken world of Sacrifice', or mend the broken mirror of mimetic-desire, actually arise.
Not that anybody ever noticed. Soma will do that to you. Soma and Sama Vedic chanting. Actually, scratch that, it's Soma and no shagging coz there's all this fucking Sama Vedic chanting going on. Put on some Nicki Minaj (asli desi kudi, yaarah) and open a nice Merlot and even the Vedic Yagnya don't look so bad.
In ancient times, the foundation of Dynasties was closely associated with Spiritual preceptors- even if the policies of the Dynasty markedly diverged from what those preceptors might have counselled. An example is the Bahmani Kingdom about whose founder Wikipedia has this to say- Early historians, Tabataba and Nizam-ud-Din Ahmad believe that Hasan was descended from the Persian king Bahman, son of Isfandiyar. But Firishta emphatically asserts that this genealogy was fabricated after Hasan's accession to the throne by the flatterers and poets though he has seen the same genealogy in the royal library at Ahmadnagar. He believes that his origin was too obscure to admit or being traced. He thinks that Hasan was an Afghan by birth. He was a servant of an astrologer Brahmin named Gangu (Gangadhar Shastri Wabale) of Delhi and was blessed by him because one day while working in his master's fields, he found some buried treasure which he returned to Gangu thus securing his blessing. Some experts think, based on sources available at the main library of Ahmednagar, that, being an astrologer, Gangu had already read his servant's chart and since he was very sharp and shrewd, he started giving him instruction and also used his influence within the Delhi Sultanate to get his protege appointed Sirdar (Governor) of the Deccan . Nationalist politics in India, perhaps self-consciously, adhered to this pattern but with one novelty- viz. the emergence of the politician-saint hybrid. Why did this occur? When we look at Hindu Revolutionary movements of the last decade of the Nineteenth and first decade of the Twentieth Century, we find shadowy God-men in plenty operating behind the scenes. Bankim Chandra's novel, Anandmath, resurrected the ghost of the Sanyasee rebellion and explicitly linked it to Young Bengal's determination to throw off the fetters of British bondage. The legend of Tibeti Baba - who, by mystic means, could enter the body of others and thus achieve functional immortality- and that of Soham Swami- gifted with prodigious strength- alarmed the British by giving a sinister twist to the Theosophist doctrine of Higher Beings on the Astral plane directing events down below on Earth. For their part, the British realized that to target seditious Hindu Godmen would be to lend substance to the notion that they possessed supernatural power- after all, a Hindu Godman is indistinguishable from a beggar- and thus give currency to the myth (most damaging because true) that their own power was built upon quicksand; the whole gaudy pageant of the Raj was the most childish of illusions, and that some Sadhu in a remote cave or mountain-top could uproot the foundations of British power, purely on a whim, and do so as easily as a child blows away the gossamer of a thistledown. Thus, the safer course for the Imperial Police was to highlight the activities of Western returned intellectuals and the restive young students in the Govt. schools and Colleges who were assumed to be either deracinated, and thus devoid of of that Antaeus like strength that arises from contact with the soil of the motherland, or else were mere College drop-outs or delinquents eking out a miserable existence at the boundary between petty Crime and conspiratorial politics. Still, it is noteworthy that the authorities steered clear of charging professional (as opposed to self-professed) ascetics with sedition, preferring to bring lesser charges- cheating, rape, sodomy. etc- which had the double purpose of causing respectable people to recoil from what after all are the habitual activities of Godmen in this godless world. In this context, the Revolutionary-turned-Godman - people like Sri Aurobindo or Niralamba Swami- raised up the Social position of the Hindu Godmen and rehabilitated Yoga and other ascetic practices as being something more than pious frauds or a cover for pederasty. Thus, by a historical irony, the Sanyasse-Faqir rebellion, which the British put down with salutary force at the dawn of their rule, was reclaimed by Nationalists in a manner such that the obnoxious aspect of the Sadhu Sangh, or indeed the Dervish community- viz. their extortionate monetary demands backed up by both physical force as well threats of Black Magic- was removed and the Godman stood substantially rehabilitated, indeed rendered almost respectable and, after Independence, even, by a polite fiction, not automatically disqualified for some small Political role within the Secular State, especially seeing as Rape, Sodomy and the slaughter of their own Priests and Gurus was ceasing to be their exclusive monopoly. A quite separate trend, centering on the Madras and Bombay Presidencies- as opposed to Bengal- was the development of what Morris Jones has called the 'the saintly idiom' of Indian populist discourse whereby the supernatural claims and esoteric doctrines of the Godmen came to take a backseat to concrete, or seemingly concrete, demands which could become the object of a popular agitation. Annie Beasant, though steeped in Occultism, suddenly re-invents herself as a Home Rule campaigner. Mahatma Gandhi rises to this challenge by turning the tables on the Hindu Reformists by firstly seeking out the peasants and then, inexplicably, making common cause with the Muslim fanatics. His ascent is dizzying. For a moment, it seems, he has made himself the master of India- a Luther who hasn't yet broken faith with the peasants- by being willing to sluice the British out of their bastions- to sweep them away into the Indian Ocean- on a tide of blood, internecine blood, Caste against Caste, Creed against Creed, Co-operator agains Non-cooperator, Father against son, brother against brother- but, thankfully, Gandhi drew back from that precipice. From that moment on, the Godman and the Politician became interchangeable. Everybody- including the Marxist, including the Capitalist- had become a Godman of some sort- in that such 'virtu' as the possessed was now purely ritualistic or doxological. Thus, even if History cut short Subash Chandra Bose's life, legend has endowed him a posthumous life as 'Gumnami Baba'. True the Nehru's- Motilal and Jawaharlal- kept a little aloof from the Godman tag- but only by their ineffectuality, thus, without wishing it, ending up founding a dynasty- since dynasties exist only by the blessings of Godmen- not, thank God, vice versa. There are two trees, in the Mahabharata, one which grows upwards from Earth to Heaven, and the other with its roots up in the sky whose tropism is towards the ground. Be it the tree of the dynast, or that of the Godman, cut it down, says Krishna. With the axe of non-attachment- which is a fancy word for boredom- cut it down.
What was Motilal Nehru's greatest achievement? The answer is that he created a new Political Party- the Swaraj Party- which put forward a revolutionary ideology- viz. that the best form of non-cooperation with the Government was to cooperate with it so as to ensure that non-cooperation was truly effective. Thus Motilal led the Swaraj Party to continually defeat Govt. bills in the Legislative Assembly so as to show that the Bills would be passed anyway on the Viceroy's say so. Since everybody already knew that this was the case, the question arises as to why it was necessary for the Swaraj Party to try so hard to frustrate the wishes of the Govt. when it already knew in advance that the Govt. would always succeed and so its own only reward would be its own frustration? There are three possible answers to this question-
1) to show that something already obvious to everyone is in fact the case might have some real world consequence over and above the epistemic value of the demonstration. Let me take an example. It is obvious that if I take my pants down then a highly unseemly spectacle will be afforded anyone in the vicinity. However, by showing that this is in fact the case a nuisance is created which would not otherwise exist. Thus Motilal Nehru, great lawyer that he was, was responsible for a nuisance as stupid as anything dreamed up by the Mahatma and this, by itself, endows him with a stature at least equal if not greater than that of the other founding fathers.
2) on the assumption that resources are scarce- including cognitive or information processing resources- to demonstrate the truth of something already known to be the case diverts resources in a manner which could have non-linear dynamic effects. The rationality of highly irrational beliefs- i.e. the survival value of believing things which are totally bonkers- is, on plausible assumptions, greatest precisely for very very smart people or programs or parties who depend on being on the right side of a cognitive gradient to assert power or corner resources. One way of seeing how this work is to think about the oligopolist's 'spare capacity' or the Nuclear Super power's 'over kill' inventory of ICBMs. A little thought would show that such spare capacity or over kill simply isn't Muth rational- i.e. either it is a Zahavi handicap, or it points to an intelligent type of stupidity which, nevertheless, it may be in everybody's interests to maintain because, if it were replaced by genuine intelligence, then something destabilizing occurs.
In other words, Motilal's parliamentarism to prove parliamentarism futile, though itself futile, wasn't futile at all because it demonstrated India's infinite capacity for cooperation in the great cause of non-cooperation provided, of course, that non-cooperation failed completely and simultaneously undid the pretense that Indians were capable of cooperating with each other, even against the Govt.
Gandhi allowed the Swaraj party to seemingly swallow his own 'No Change' Congress and C.R. Das worked himself to death to ensure no work was done in Bengal. But the price paid by the Motilal and Das for their politics of futility was stupid concessions to communal parties- not needful things like Anti Untouchability Legislation- which paved the way for the beggar my neighbor politics which ultimately resulted in the partition of India. In other words, the clever lawyers, Motilal and C.R. Das deserve as much credit as the Mahatma and the Qaid-e-Azam for their contribution to the glorious history of Democracy in the Sub-continent- which, needless to say, is based on Hindu-Muslim unity.
3) the demonstration of an obvious truth may create new information of a very specific and metaphysically bizarre kind.
Consider 'the Father, the Son, & the Holy Goat milk drinker's commitment to Swaraj. Clearly Swaraj meant the same thing as Dominion Status which in turn meant the same thing as Independence. Now, one may argue that this is not the case. Perhaps, Gandhi wanted the British to stay on and rule India in exactly the same manner that they were already doing. It may be, Gandhi was using the word Swaraj to get the Indians to accept British rule and concentrate instead on working for Hindu-Muslim unity, abolition of Untouchability, Basic Education, Handloom weaving etc, etc. But, is this a reasonable belief to hold with respect to Gandhi? How can we square it with his actions without also convicting him of arrant hypocrisy?
What about the difference between Dominion Status and Independence which divided Motilal and Jawaharlal? On the face of it, the one appears weaker than the other. Yet, British lawyers and lawyer-politicians- and the Nehrus were British trained lawyer-politicians- had spelled out the substantive interchangeability of the two terms with the former having practical legal consequences making it the natural transition point for the latter. The only other manner to effect the change would be by a Declaration of Independence followed by a Treaty with the former Colonial Power, as happened with the U.S.A. There were solid legal and diplomatic reasons to prefer an intermediate situation of Dominion status so as to allow an orderly divorce. In any case, neither Independence nor Dominion status were on offer because the Indians had not demonstrated that they could take over the administration of British India (Congress kept out of the Princely States) let alone fight their way to freedom. In this context, whether the term Swaraj or Independence or Dominion Status was used made absolutely no difference. What would have made a difference would have been things like Anti Untouchability Legislation, Anti Usury legislation, the proper study and framing of policy recommendations with a view to reform Fiscal and Monetary policy, similar study and recommendations with respect to Defense, Transport, Food Security, Education and so on. Gandhi's own views are well known- we don't need laws or money or schools or defense- and once the English see that they will simply leave or quietly retire to their Clubs to get drunk and cease the pretense of running a country which did not want to be run, preferring instead to be run over by the Juggernaut of Spiritualized imbecility.
But what were Motilal and Jawaharlal's own views? Both, in their different ways, showed that representative Government could and should be futile, both thought Independence might only come long after they were both dead and buried. So why was the issue of Dominion Status vs. Independence a source of anguish and discord between them?
One possible answer has to do with the different manners in which both very sedulously and repetitiously demonstrated the futility of something it was prima facie futile to demonstrate- viz. that never being constructive is not very constructive. For Motilal, dedication to demonstrating this too obvious truth arose out of a lawyerly duty to try an impossible case simply so as to have the verdict read into the body of the Law. Put another way, we might say that Motilal was a rigid constructivist who had to actually physically run the algorithm to establish the result which intuition had already divined. Jawaharlal, on the other hand, who had been bred up to the profession of I.N.C politics, far from being a constructivist, was a wholly ontologically dysphoric windbag for whom the Stallnaker-Lewis closest possible sphere of worlds were radically unconnected and impossible to weakly order or metricize.
If such indeed is the case, then what light does it throw upon the split between the Nehrus on the obviously meaningless issue of Independence vs. Dominion Status? Conventional wisdom would have it that by demonstrating the futility of this debate father and son were engaged in strategic signalling which served some arcane political function. But what was that political function? One might say- Jawaharlal was a closet Leftist, Motilal a closet Rightist. But this begs the question- why didn't they ever come out of their respective closets to some good purpose? The truth, I suppose, is that the real subject of their debate was not Dominion status or Independence but the death of the father- a meaningless debate for, in the event, only their mutual love triumphed and that love is commemorated to this day by the vacuity and political incompetence of succeeding generations of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.
Therein, it may be, lies the true greatness of Motilal Nehru- a man who loved his son, so Gandhi said, more than he loved his country, for his love of his country sprang from his love for his son.
Shame his son loved talking shite.