Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Wendy's theodicy

Theodicy means- 'how come bad things happen to good people?' Wendy Doniger wrote a book on Hindu theodicy way back in the mid Seventies. It was remarkable in that it didn't once mention the correct solution which no one doesn't know- viz. life is a stochastic process, D'uh. Indeed, everything is.  This is why Yuddhishtra, the Just King, has to learn Statistical game theory so as to overcome his 'Vishada' (Depression) and keep his place as the Head of the Pandavas.
Now, it's true that people whose shtick is being extra devout or to having an extra sensitive poetic disposition, try to grab attention by pretending that there's some great mystery involving God or their own putrid sexual dysphoria which lies at the heart of Theodicy. Furthermore, Statistics is a deeply boring subject. Yet, Theodicy is only important- at least this is the message of the Mahabharata- in so far as it motivates Mechanism Design- better mixed strategies so fewer good people have bad things happen to them. No genuine Theist, or genuine Poet, has any problem with this. But God botherers and Neurotic nutjobs we will always have with us which is why Literature is, by and large, shite.
For Wendy- a bright kid who got stuck in the Sanskrit ghetto without access to Statistics 101- Hindu theodicy had to be about the admittedly yucky fact that women bleed which is like toootally unfair and Evil coz one isn't allowed to slap Prof Zaehner with one's sanitary napkin though you gotta admit that sure would raise a laugh.
The other thing was Wendy came of age during the Sixties when Club of Rome silliness (endorsed by windbags like Raghavan Iyer) was sodomizing Marcusian silliness and getting it pregnant with a Harvard School of Divinity type phantom child.
This is not to say that Wendy's books are evil. They are menstrual, and menstruation is a good thing- provided you slap Rajiv Malhotra around the chops with your used tampon coz that's always funny. Not that I'm against Malhotra. It's just there's a certain protocol to be observed in dealing with Stephanians.

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