Sunday, 1 May 2016

Is Sanjeev Sanyal stupider than Amartya Sen?

Indian Economists, more particularly Bengalis, have long competed with each other by asserting the most foolish thing possible about Hinduism. Amartya Sen, being very old, has a head start but it seems he might soon have to look to his laurels.

Sanjeev Sanyal is a bright young Economist- not utterly shite to my limited knowledge- and he thinks Hinduism is a 'complex adaptive system'- which is why, no doubt, it is flourishing in Bangladesh and Pakistan and Afghanistan despite being persecuted.


Sanyal has a short essay in Swarajya magazine which I will now deconstruct to support his claim to be considered stupider than Amartya Sen.


This is his first sentence- my remarks are in bold italics.

Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism has long suffered from a very basic problem – the difficulty of defining it. 
Nobody and nothing has ever suffered from the problem of being difficult to define.  Contested definitions giving rise to differential entitlements can create conflict and suffering. However, neither Sanathan Dharma nor Hinduism, have essentially contested definitions. They are inclusivist by design, as Paul Hacker was wont to complain till I shat upon him and he ran away from Bonn. 
One can describe a particular sect, or philosophy, but it is not easy to explain the whole. 
Not easy for you, Sanyal- because you are a moron. All Dharmic sects or darshanas have a low Kolmogorov complexity canonical description. However, some of the sects defined by the traditional taxonomy- e.g. the living Sankhya tradition- have a widely divergent orthodoxy from that claimed for them on the basis of that taxonomy. This is funny- an example of 'rasabhasa'- Pundits working themselves up over the imaginary heresy of the rival sect- and has been an enduring source of comedy for all Hindus.
Thus, it is not uncommon for people to ultimately fall back on saying that it is a “way of life”. 
As opposed to a 'complex adaptive system' which is just as meaningless.
Unfortunately, such a definition is neither a meaningful description nor of analytical value. If anything, it causes a great deal of confusion only to morons like you by suggesting that Hindu religion is identical to Indic culture – the two are obviously linked but not exactly the same. 
There is no link between them at all. A lot of Muslims and Christians and Bahais and so on have 'Indic culture'. They are not Hindus. A lot of Hindus now have a wholly American or European culture. Their Religious practices alone incorporate aspects of 'Indic culture' but even in this sphere the logic of substitution has salience and the whole thing is gestural simply. For example, my fat nephew didn't don the traditional wedding finery of the Smartha Iyer (basically just a bath towel round your mid-riff) for his wedding because no one wants to see his man-boobs. He dressed instead like a Punjabi. His Endocrinologist wife, however, was properly attired in red Kanjeevaram silk- a pious tribute, no doubt, to her blood thirsty Hakka River Pirate maternal ancestry.


The purpose of this article is to investigate the systemic logic of Sanatan Dharma as a whole and the process by with it evolves. 
Sanatan Dharma is an Episteme with its own Logic and Hermeneutics. You are too stupid and ignorant to talk about that Episteme so you are now going to pretend that you know the Universal logic of all complex systems and that you will be able to say something meaningful on the basis of this particularly stupid species of reductionism.
You will fail. If you really knew the 'systemic logic' of Epistemes, they you would be able to predict which Research Programs in Maths and Physics and so on will succeed and which will fail.
It is not concerned here with the philosophical content or daily practice of any of the constituent sects, traditions and philosophies.
No, of course not- to write a wholly worthless article you have to exclude anything empirical.




Most world religions, particularly those of Abrahamic origin, are based on a clearly defined set of beliefs – a single god, a holy book, a prophet and so on. 
Nonsense. The Credo of a Religion must be either 'essentially contested' or else it is not Religious at all.  No scalable Religion started with a well defined Credo. In the case of Christianity and Islam, it is notable that internecine war between presbyters and proselytisers led the Secular Power to, again and again, and always in vain, intervene to achieve uniformity  regarding 'distinctions without a difference'. Yet, such uniformity killed the inner life of such Religion- it turned into an empty Imperial cultus- and thus 'essential contestation' came to be recognised by theologians and seers as the Faith's only elixir.
Jesuit sponsored Catholicism might appear a counter-example.  Here is a World Religion sponsored by the first States with truly global maritime footprints- with dedicated Missionaries and an incentive compatible proselytising strategy. Yet, despite the extraordinary achievements of the Order, the very word 'Jesuitical' came to mean the opposite of what pertains to Religion qua Religion. Indeed, if the Jesuits today deserve high praise, even from a narrowly Christological point of view, it is because their Order now displays such extraordinary diversity and doxastic humility.
These are articles of faith or axioms from which each of these religions is derived.

OMG! Has Sanyal really discovered a consistent and complete system for doxastic logic! Wow! This man should get not just the Nobel Prize but also the fucking Fields Medal! He just proved Godel and Turing and Tarski completely wrong! Why is he wasting his time writing about Hinduism in the Swarajya Ezine! How fucking stupid is he?
This why the terms religion, belief and faith can be used interchangeably in these cases (i.e. Abrahamic religions). 
Wow! So Luther's rejection of synderesis was silly. The entire Lutheran theology is false. Sanyal just keeps making amazing discoveries! Will the Pope make him a Cardinal?

In contrast, it is perfectly acceptable in Hinduism to be a polytheist, monotheist, monist, pantheist, agnostic, atheist, animist or any combination thereof. 

Urm...that's because Hinduism has been defined in an inclusivist manner. The same thing could be said for Christianity- which includes Unitarians, Doecists, Communists etc. 
In Islam, Sarmad is a Muslim Sufi Saint though he said 'La Illah', as is Mansur al Hallaj who said 'Ana'l Haq'. There is no real difference between a Muslim like Akeel Bilgrami or a Hindu like Amartya Sen. They affirm that they belong to a particular religion though they deny believing in God.
Thus Hinduism is a religion but not a faith, although constituent sects or philosophies can be termed faiths or beliefs. Instead, it should be thought of as an organic, evolving ecosystem of interrelated and interdependent elements that are constantly interacting with each other (and with the outside world).
Nonsense. Anything at all that arises in Human life can be described as an organic evolving ecosystem- if only by morons- because that's what morons do.
There are many systems that fit the above description – financial markets, economies, cities, the English language, ecological systems and so on. These are all examples of “complex adaptive systems”. Note the contrast between the organic and evolving dynamics of such systems and the static laws of Newtonian mechanics. In turn, this has important implications for how we understand Hinduism and manage it.
Urm... but complex systems are still supervenient on something like Newtonian mechanics. Hinduism is not different from Christianity or Islam. It will grow or decline for the same essentially 'Newtonian' reasons and History illustrates this amply.
Nessim Taleb's notion of 'anti-fragility' is stupid. Languages, Markets, ecologies etc do crash for 'Newtonian' reasons. 
Suppose Sanyal were not talking nonsense and Hinduism really was different from Christianity or Islam. Then, Darwin's theory of Evolution would have caused the latter two religions to crash, while Hinduism burgeoned. Nothing of the sort occurred. Islam, like Hinduism and Buddhism, simply claimed to have had the concept already by some more or less specious special pleading. Christianity, too, developed a Tielharidan 'noosphere' as foolish as Aurobindo's nonsense.

Sanyal goes on to make various other howlers too numerous to be listed here.

He says that Hinduism is more than the sum of its parts. D'uh. 
Thus, English language cannot be defined through even the most detailed description of its grammar. Similarly, the most detailed description of the Taj Mahal would not define the city of Agra. Yet, speakers of English -and the citizens of Agra have little difficultly identifying and using the language and city respectively.
Rubbish. The most detailed description of its grammar would include the parsing of every possible grammatical sentence in it. That's what an 'i-language' is. Why is this idiot pretending otherwise?
What's this idiocy about the Taj Mahal. How on earth would a detailed description of the Taj Mahal define the city of Agra? This fucker is writing in his sleep. He doesn't even bother to read his own shite.
Essentially, he starts by saying that Hinduism suffers because it is difficult to define. Now he is saying no fucking suffering actually obtains. He has just admitted that he is writing worthless shite.

Sanyal now goes on to talk nonsense about ergodicity and hysteresis-

History Dependent but not Reversible: One of the common characteristics of complex adaptive systems is that they are path dependent i.e. they carry the imprint of their historical evolution. Rubbish. There can be mimetic effects such that there is no path-dependence at all. The Japanese Navy in 1905 had zero hysteresis w.r.t its condition in 1855. Thus, most cities, biological ecosystems and living languages will show the layer-by-layer accumulation of their history. 
Nonsense. Invasion and extinction effects wipe out 'layer-by-layer' accumulation. There may be isolated islands or 'Zomias' where something of this sort obtains. But only briefly. An invasion event will soon wipe out all those layers. Readers will no doubt recognize how this applies to Hinduism. There is no 'layer-by-layer' accumulation in Smartha Hinduism. Even Shrauta Hindus don't display this, though- curiously- they were sometimes able to recover more ancient rituals than their parent population- e.g. Nambudris of Kerala.
Notice how this is distinct from Newtonian mechanics. Two identical footballs, in identical conditions, will behave in exactly the same way if exactly the same force is applied to them. There is no historical memory in the system, and it does not matter what was done with the two balls before we subjected them to this experiment. Oh idiotic Sanyal, don't you realize that every Hindu ritual is predicated on having exactly the same effect as it did in the past? When you get married or have upanayanam or perform any other ceremony, this ergodicity is what is believed to obtain. It is not the case that there is any hysteresis in the system. The fact that your grand-parents got married when a Christian monarch ruled India did not change the efficacy of the ritual- even if the fucking House of Lords refused to recognize the legitimacy, as in the Lord Sinha case, of the tie.. Their marriage had the same eusebeiac valency as that performed in the time of the Guptas or Mauryas or Vedic Rishis.


Complex adaptive systems, however, have an additional property – irreversibility. This means that the system will not reverse to its origin even if all historical events were reversed. Nonsense. Holland was occupied by the Nazis. It's political and socio-economic regime changed. However this change was entirely reversed once the Nazis were defeated and thrown out. No doubt, there were some irreversible entropic physical changes, but no imperative changes proved irreversible. Hinduism is an imperative, not a physical, system. It can reset because it is not physically constrained.
Thus, reversing history will not take English back to Old Saxon but to some other language. What is this 'reversing History' Sanyal is wittering on about? It is perfectly feasible to reverse demographics and technology and the official language and so on such that some Saxon type dialect is spoken. Nobody would want to do this but it is feasible. 
In the case of Paninian Sanskrit, we could have high confidence that what was spoken was the same as the literate language of the Gupta age.
Reversing the events of human evolutionary history will not take us back to our ape-like ancestors but to a new species. Nonsense. Reversing evolutionary history means changing the fitness landscape such that only a past state of the system is evolutionarily stable for a particular genotype. Either the program crashes- the genotype disappears- or, assuming unbounded resources, that is exactly what happens. Relaxing the constraint on the genotype means it becomes much more probable to reach, by convergent evolution, some 'ape-like' ancestor. 
Similarly, reversing urban history will not take a city back to the original village settlement. More likely one will get a deserted city like Detroit or a museum city like Venice. Again notice the difference with Newtonian mechanics where a perfect reversal of factors will take the system back exactly to its origin. Rubbish. If the arrow of Time was reversed that's exactly what would happen. Supervenient processes have no salience.
An implication of these characteristics is that Hinduism carries its history within it but cannot return to a pure origin or “Golden Age”. It is necessarily about constantly evolving and moving forward even as it draws inspiration and ideas from its past. The holy books, traditions, customs and tenets of Hinduism should not be seen as a path to an ideal “Kingdom of God” or “Caliphate” to which everyone must revert. Sanyal believes that there is some nutter somewhere who wants to put India in a Time Machine. He is the only nutter who holds this belief.  Rather they are the accumulation of knowledge and experience. Critics may argue that idea of “Ram Rajya” contradicts this point but this is a misunderstanding. Hindus draw inspiration from the idea of Ram Rajya as a time of prosperity and rule-of-law, but it is not vision for a return to the Iron Age. So, Sanyal admits that no one wants to return to the Iron Age. Why then is he making a bogus point about irreversibility? Ram Rajya has been defined by people like Sant Tulsidas as 
                                               Danda jatinha kara bheda jahan nartaka nrtya samaaja
Jeetahu manahi sunia asa Raamacandra ken raaja!
(Much prattles the Machiavellian parrot of Stick & Carrot, Divide and Rule
But Love’s plural dance of Ego-conquest was Ramrajya’s only tool!)
In other words, a compassionate, ethical Ruler can act as an Aumann signaler to achieve Myserson feasibility without the usual stipulations in the theory of repeated games or Mechanism Design. We might say, that the conduct of the maryada purusha has a mimetic effect such that games turn into relationships of the sort some Japanese General Equilibrium theorists attribute to the Sage Ninomiya.
No Equilibrium State: Yet another characteristic of complex adaptive systems is that they do not have an equilibrium or steady state in the long run. No. They go extinct. Again, note the contrast with Newton’s laws. Thus, the English language will keep adding words and usages with no tendency to stop. It will also keep dropping words. If the English speaking nations are conquered or lose economic salience, the language may go extinct. Similarly, successful cities will keep changing and/or expanding. Only if they get the mechanism design right.However, a corollary is that if the system begins to contract, because of incentive incompatibility, it can keep contracting with no tendency to self-equilibrate. Thus, a fucking horribly managed city like Detroit kept declining even though some stupid moron's theory would suggest that falling real estate prices would attract back people. Financial markets too behave in this way if they are incentive incompatible or there is a missing Credit market necessitating dynamic turbulence as a driver for liquidity– they will keep rising past what people think is a “fair value” and then fall back well below – hardly spending any time at the so-called equilibrium. Sanyal is assuming that Knightian Uncertainty is fixed and doesn't fluctuate. Why? We honestly know less today then twenty years ago about what type of energy is going to be cheapest in 2030. Our Information Set features more Uncertainty. The return on soi disant riskless assets probably really is negative because of this.
This behavior has important implications for how to manage complex adaptive systems. No it doesn't. Management means actually having some power. Talking worthless shite isn't management of anything. First, it means that managers should not attempt to hold the system at some preconceived steady state. Really? So if I manage a car factory, I shouldn't attempt to hold the car manufacturing system to a preconceived steady state such that my cars are safe to drive? Rather they need to accommodate the fact that the system is characterized by “increasing returns to scale” which can push the system into spiraling expansions or contractions. This does not mean that one should not attempt to manage such ecosystems – far from it, financial markets, cities and even ecological systems can benefit from active management. However, the management should allow for constant movement. A city mayor or a financial market regulator who insists on holding the system to a static equilibrium will either fail or effectively suffocate the system. A Mayor or Financial Regulator who insists on holding the system to an imperative- i.e. deontological- equilibrium which is Muth Rational and incentive compatible is doing his fucking job. If he doesn't do it, sack the cunt.
Although Hinduism does not have a centralized leadership- like Christianity, Islam etc-  the above characteristics have many implications for how Hindus think about their religion and manage its future. For instance, they suggest that Hindu leaders refrain from being too prescriptive of where Hinduism should go in the long run. Really? Hindu leaders shouldn't say 'Hinduism should become more Spiritual, Empathic, Charitable, Equitable, Knowledge based, Humanitarian etc? Why not? Fuck is wrong with you Sanyal?
Much better that they focus on continuously updating and reforming the system on an ongoing basis while taking care to maintain internal diversity. So Hinduism is actually a computer. Nobody told me. Boy, do I feel stupid. The lack of uniformity may seem like a disadvantage in the short-run but is a big advantage when dealing with an unpredictable long-term future. This is analogous to a species maintaining genetic diversity as a bulwark against epidemics and other shocks. Urm...yes, but that genetic diversity is only useful if there isn't too much phenotypal diversity or geographic dispersion.
Another possible implication of this intellectual framework may be that one needs to be less enthusiastic about “anti-conversion laws”. But, Sanyal Sahib, Hindus who convert take their 'genetic diversity' with them. Experience shows that where Hindus become a minority, they are driven out unless, as happened in Jammu, they take the initiative and do the ethnic cleansing themselves. These have been proposed by some activists as a way to “protect” Hinduism in some Indian states but these laws are based on an idea of static equilibrium. Rubbish! Static equilibrium is your idea- no one else's. Our analysis, however, suggests that such laws will have little benefit if the Hindu community is shrinking for whatever reason. In which case they are doomed- unless they hire thugs to do ethnic cleansing.In other words, a defensive tactic cannot work if the community is in a downward spiral in a particular area. It would be far better to focus on expansionary strategies to re-inflate the system. Yes, but an anti-conversion law provides cover for thugs beating up supposed converts till they cry Uncle and either run away or go with flow. These could include intellectual and cultural innovation, social and missionary work, building alliances with other like-minded religious traditions and so on. Which is why the Episcopalian or Anglican Church is in such great shape even on its own native soil.Some of these efforts can be derived from the past, but it is perfectly alright to use completely new strategies. Like talking shite about complex adaptive systems.
The Importance of Flexibility: One of the learnings (sic) from the study of complex, adaptive systems is that flexibility will always triumph over brute strength in the long run.Hinduism is thriving in Pakistan because it is a complex adaptive system and thus can't be coerced in any way by a theocratic Government. Every year, the number of Hindu temples and patshalas is increasing in Pakistan.
By contrast, Sumerian Religion was not a complex adaptive system. That is why it is not thriving in Iraq.
Sanyal does not get that even a relatively small amount of organized coercion or incentive incompatibility can cause a Religion or a Language or Economic regime to tip over from having agents of one Type to those same agents amalgamating with a completely different Type. Kill or threaten or pile discriminatory taxes upon enough Hindus and they convert to some other Religion or no Religion at all. Talk of 'complex adaptive systems' is sheer stupidity. History has shown that Hinduism can revive if it fights back and makes itself incentive compatible. It doesn't matter if Acharyas of rival sects denounce each other. What matters is fighting prowess and incentive compatible financing of that fighting prowess.
Instead of saying 'Hinduism is a complex adaptive system- so we can adopt a Managerial approach and never have to roll up our sleeves or get a bloody nose' why not just say 'Hinduism is an emanation of the Godhead. It survives or perishes by His Will alone- thus we need do nothing'.
Why is Sanyal writing this nonsense? Is it really the case that some Hindus have been annoying him by trying to impose 'Shrauta' Hinduism on him? No. He is not a Nambudri. There are no Shrautas in his part of the World. 
What about the Smartas- are they harassing Sanyal, perhaps by inviting him to a Smarta Vicharam to discuss his use of un-orthodox beverages like tea and coffee? Nope. There are no such Smarta Vicharams around any more.
Sanyal probably does have some contact with Brahmos or Arya Samajis but they long ago gave up any separatist chauvinism and don't condemn people like me as idolaters or purblind followers of Sayana. 
In any case, judging by his education, surely he can pick and choose whom he consorts with? It is not really the case that Sanyal, at this late date, needs to remind anyone that Smriti is defeasible according to a Mimamsaka principle that people like Chief Justice Gajendragadkar popularized before he, or I, was born.
There are a lot of people talking nonsense about Complex Adaptive Systems at this moment. ISIL is described as complex adaptive system by stupid academics with a vested interest in getting a bit of Pentagon research funding. Killing those evil nutters, however, is the simple and effective solution. Nobody doesn't know this.
Sanyal is an economist. He misses the fact that the Just King in the Mahabharata has to learn statistical game theory to overcome his 'vishada', He doesn't get that ancient Iron Age Religions incorporated the discrete Math decision theory of their day. Aumann shows there is Game Theory in the Old Testament. But Aumann was actually smart- not a stupid gesture political pedant like Sen or Basu. Indian Economists are too stupid to understand what they read even when it comes to the simplest of that 'Fifth Veda' which was specifically designed for the instruction of ordinary people. 
Why is Sanyal saying Hinduism is not ergodic? If so, it is deontologically and doxastically empty. It doesn't exist as a 'dharma'- (oh dear, did I just use a desi word? My apologies. I mean an eusebeia) 
If the Economy is a Complex Adaptive System, does Sanyal believe that it features no ergodic processes? If so, as Samuelson pointed out, he professes an empty subject. 
It defies belief that a Hindu intellectual, a well educated one, at this late date, does not get that Muth Rational Co-ordination and Dis-coordination games function so as to restore ergodicity to socio-economic processes. Capacitance diversity does get stored up at the margin but is expressed by a saltation or speciation event such that the underlying object of discourse disappears.
Of course, it would be unfair to judge an economist by the worthless drivel he pads out his policy prescription with rather than focus on what he tells us we need to do. In this case, Sanyal is clearly hoping to top Sen by making the worst possible prescription ever. Sen, idiot that he is, wants a Nalanda University where the lecturers have diplomatic immunity, even if they are Indian citizens. This is because the hankers after the 'benefit of clergy' enjoyed by medieval Universities in Europe.
Similarly, Sanyal wants -' to revive the tradition of writing new Smriti texts, a practice that went into decline in medieval times.'
This is extraordinarily stupid. Smarta Brahmins wrote Smriti texts and set up Smarta Vicharams because this secured a Tiebout manorial rent for their patrons. 
Now that India is unified, they won't do this for any money because it is stupid and unpatriotic and a waste of resources. Let me be clear- tying yourself up in legal knots while letting an active adversary free rein is a recipe for annihilation.
Smartas will happily sing the Bhakti songs of the Saints and participate in worthwhile Social Reconstruction. They won't go down a blind alley. At the margin, some will no doubt embrace the stupidest possible psilosophies and availability cascades on offer- like 'effective altruism' or some eco-feminist vegan nonsense. One or two might even pose as Swami Agnivesh type shit-heads- abolishing child labor without actually do any such thing and then glomming onto Anna Hazare or whatever- but the only proper response to such exhibitionism is ridicule or, if that doesn't work, urinating copiously into their open mouths. This is because malicious micturation is a complex adaptive system. We should not aim to manage it on the basis of a static steady state equilibrium. Kindly see my book 'Managing Micturation- for Fortune 500 Companies'.


11 comments:

  1. What is your opinion on the so-called 'New Atheism' movement?

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    1. It is old fashioned and fails to incorporate advances in the way we think about Evolution or analyse co-ordination games. Thus it fulfills no purpose. It is a papier mache brick hurled at a certain type of American Evangelical who actually derives a reputational rent from this sort of purely gestural attack.

      In the case of Dawkins, it is a straight forward cult- or 'conversion marketing' platform- and as such as good or bad as any other.

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    2. I can concede that New Atheism is showing signs of becoming a cult. But how does it "fail to incorporate advances in the way we think about Evolution"? Surely, evolution is a strong argument against religion?

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    3. If New Atheism is not empty it must be the case that at least one Religion constrains its followers to at least one maladaptave action or strategy. However, to prove this, we would need to show that the action or strategy in question is not a 'Zahavi handicap' or 'costly signal'. Even if after we do this, we would have to prove that that a 'cheap talk' version of the action or strategy is not compatible with the Religion in question.
      Since human actions are either 'over determined' or stochastic (because of the way we define stochastic processes) the task is impossible.
      By contrast, essentially defeasible doxastic systems- e.g. Constitutional Law or Bio-Ethics- incorporate a principle of sufficient reason and are a fitting target for an agnostic critique. However, New Atheism won't take up this task though it actually impacts on productivity and thus the progress of Science, because this raises the bogey that Old Fashioned Religion is a bulwark against Relativism or potentially risky Intellectual hubris leading to adventurism.
      In recent years, attention in Evolutionary theory has focused on the multiple ways in which variation is dammed up and released so as to yield a 'regret minimizing' search procedure over the relevant fitness landscape. On this view, the New Atheism is just a variety of a late Nineteenth Century Evangelical turn to Irenicism or 'inclusivim'. There was a Class angle to this. Essentially the hereditarily wealthy East Coast Boston Brahmin type thought their Economism and Scientism was a way of showing they were higher class and thus entitled to more Political and Social Power than the noveau riche Mid Westerner with his primitive Baptist Faith and declasse tastes. Thus, this approach which believes it is entitled to be the State's ideologue, is actually uncritical about State Power- precisely because it keeps focusing on abuses, not to curtail the State, but to expand it. Thus New Atheism is unconsciously committed to helping Secular Power to burgeon though there are good Information aggregation and Moral Hazard type reasons to always seek the opposite.
      Thus people like Hayek- who started off doing a bit of genuine Scientific research- belatedly found that the primitive Red Neck Baptist, or whatever, actually served a purpose within the Polity.

      This isn't a very good reply to your question. I'll post something fuller when I get time.

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    4. Thanks for your reply.

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  2. Brilliantly done. Didn't get the bit about Muth Rational Coordination though.

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    1. In Econ, 'adaptive expectations'- i.e. situations where what happens in time t conditions expectations and thus behavior in time t+1- create horrendous 'cobweb' type problems- i.e. wild fluctuations and market failure. Yet in the real world, we don't see this most of the time. Why? John Muth's simple answer is that people believe in the prediction of the correct economic theory- i.e. the one which permits the economic process in question to exist.
      A Religion is a range of solutions to a co-ordination game- i.e. one in which agents of similar type gain more by interacting with each other as opposed to with a random sample of the underlying population. At one end of the range is a 'heteronomous' (vyavaharik) version of the Religion which is based on blind observance of orthopraxy. In a shrinking economy, this strategy may be more successful and become normative. At the other end of the range is an 'autonomous' (adhyatmik) version which stresses the inner ethical life of the subject. In a growing Economy, with Knowledge effects, this grows more rapidly- particularly because the Institutions of Learning, Hospitals, etc it sets up are more successful- and thus gains salience.

      Sanyal thinks Religions are hysteresis ridden- the dead hand of the past dictates the future. If this were true, Religion could not act as a Muth Rational solution to a Co-ordination game. Now, if there is some outside coercive power- e.g. the State- which constrains agents, then it can happen that the only publicly observable signals are heteronomous- e.g. color of skin, language spoken- and in that case Sanyal's analysis may have some purchase. It so happens that some oppressed Religions- e.g. Judaism in the Polish Commonwealth, Hinduism under Muslim rule- can have this feature and experience a hypertophy of heteronomous observances. However, once the outside coercive force is removed, or once you have enough 'Exit', this hysteresis effect loses salience completely. This is not to say that orthopraxy can't be a continuing solution to a coordination game. It can and may even experience higher demographic success if it becomes parasitic on a regime which subsidizes it pro-natalism.

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  3. If it is indeed true that Sanatan Dharma may not be exceptional vis a vis other world religious systems, then how is that
    a: SD survived islamic and Christian onslaught for a 1000 years
    b: prior to the onslaught, SD was able to empower its followers to create greatest achievements in science, philosophy literature etc etc
    Keen to hear your thoughts sir!

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  4. Dear Sir, your question shows shraddha and this alone raises what you have written above anything I wrote previously or can write in reply.
    a) there are two aspects to 'Islamic and Christian onslaught'- one is the ego-centered and the other is the 'Atma-motivated'. The ego-centered 'Missionary' or 'Tablighi' counts success by boasting of thousands or millions converted. However, because this 'ego' is 'Mosha Dharma' (prehension not comprehension) and delusive to the votary, the Lord- who takes all forms to succor his diverse creatures- it becomes sublated such that the core of Sanatan Dharma enters all those thus engaged who are not hypocritical or mercenary simply.
    No doubt, Economically, Socially, Politically, the Dharmic people suffered and are suffering onslaughts because material conditions breed a type of materialistic cunning which disguises itself as concern for the 'bhahiskrit'- however, if you ever have misfortune to become ill or lose your social standing, then you will find out for yourself that this is all just hypocrisy and hot air!
    I'm from South India- look at Fr. Raimundo Pannikar. You may be from Bengal- look at, Vivekandanda's colleague, Fr. Brahmabhandav Upadhyay. Maybe you are a fair skinned Garwhali- in that case I would mention Samuel Stokes, Himachal's Johhny Appleseed- though I must admit, he- being American- converted to Hinduism though he had come as a Missionary. He was from a top family in the U.S. He married an Indian Christian lady but joined Freedom Struggle, went to Jail etc.
    As far as Islam goes- there are ten thousand such examples from every District or even village in, leave aside India, even PAKISTAN- and that tradition remained vibrant even though Zia tried to uproot it.

    Boss, I am a horrible person. Parents prayed for me and by God's Grace I have rejected such views as will destroy Humanity utterly. Still, I can never forget that Muslim Pakistanis put me on the path. Why? How? They also needed our support. Since I can read Sanskrit they would ask me 'our Pir said such and such' please could you verify. In other words, the Supreme Lord, to whom they were devoted was using them to help me and vice versa.
    That is what makes Sanaatan Dharma both Human and Immortal, propagated by the fallible and mutable yet itself infallible unmutable, etc. To appear Scientific we may speak of a 'Red Queen Race'- but that applies to the conservation of any evolved characteristic.
    There is something more.
    I do respect Brahmins, not because of their birth- I'm a 'Brahminbandhu' myself and heartily despise those who claim to be Brahmins while spouting anti-National, Rent-seeking, shite- but because they have selflessly preserved the pure Revelation.
    I become humbled by them. I'm a very dark, uncultured, and thuggish looking Tamil, not wearing 'janeo' (yagynyopavita).
    In small backward places in Bihar, the old purohits showed the true spirit of Sanataan Dharma to me.
    This Brahmanism was the exact complement of Shramanism. Patanjali was wrong. Brahmin and Shraman are not as snake and mongoose to each other. Rather they are like Tigers and the Forest. If the Tigers are killed, the Forest will disappear.
    My ancestors welcomed Jesuit priests into their agraharams. Did they do wrong? Were they stupid? No! Sanaatan Dharma came into Europe by means of a Tamil or Mannipravalay 'Purana' written by those Jesuits which accidentally got re-translated into French and thus affected Voltaire!

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  5. b) I was staying at a Jain Ashram and translating a book by one of their great Upadhyays. I was amazed by the progressive outlook and superb explanations.
    Still, because I had 'eaten their salt', I wanted to become a Jain zealot and said 'in my place in South India, we Saivites crucified thousands of your Jain monks thus causing decline of your religion.'
    I wish you could have been there to hear the properly reasoned answer that I received!

    Shramanic Religion can only burgeon on the basis of the aptness for renunciation of the generation. It waxes and wanes on the basis of the relevant 'aashrav'.
    Brahmanic Religion requires great sacrifice on the part of families. Fathers have to be ruthless to sons and Mothers to daughters, so that through Poverty, Spiritual Values and pure Transmission of Scripture prevails.

    Sanaatan Dharma embraces both these paths and many others as well- including 'invaders' and 'cowards' (Ranchod) who flee the battle and emigrate to Greencard Holder pastures!

    At present, our older generation of 'intellectuals' are still in a phase of 'Ranchod'. However, now we have a genuine 'Ghanchi'- i.e. one able to extract the oil from the seed and make it available to all at an affordable price- as P.M there is no need for intellectual cowardice- i.e. lack of creativity.

    Of course, Brahmins and Shramans, properly so called, must be granted recognition irrespective of birth so that the same process can operate in every field of endeavor sans worthless Credentials created by the Ponzi scheme that is Higher Education in the soi disant 'Humanities'.

    The big problem we face in India is that we think our people are stupid and backward. They are not.

    I recall, when I came back to India with an LSE degree and 'phoren' wife (whose elder sister had married into a family close to Soniaji's) , I was offered a plum contract to write worthless shite about the 'irrational' Indian peasant and thus the need to extend our crazy, rent-seeking, system of Public procurement.
    Like a fool, I actually went out into rural districts and talked to people. Unfortunately, despite having an Italian wife, my complexion was very black and moreover I am tall and look like I grew up drinking buffalo milk straight from the teat.
    Once the ordinary people knew I was 'Madrasi'- they no doubt looked down on me a little but fed me more and then, once it was clear I had a real low I.Q and was as stupid as shit, they told me the truth.

    That is the truth of 'Sanaatan Dharma'. It is that, to quote a supposed hadith 'Zallat al aa'lim, zallat al aalaam'- the darkened minds of the 'savants' darkens the spirituality of the age.

    I remember, my Dad told me not to take any Govt. money thru 'pull' because we have never done so for generations. He himself was ready to give me anything I wanted- because his belief was that it was his 'pleasure' which caused me to be.
    I reject this view. Only God gives us our parents- not their mutual pleasure for which they have to pay all the rest of their lives. Parents should let their children look after them because Brahma Sutra 3.3.37 says there is reciprocity even between the Divine and the Devotee!
    Anyway, by God's grace, I did not disgrace my ancestors by taking Govt. money for a fell purpose.
    However, it was only due to intervention of my father who loved me very much and was 'non judgmental'.
    Mum, who didn't know Economics, would have been happy that I was working for Planning Commission and getting paid a lot more than my sister, newly inducted into IFS. But, writing worthless shite which shows that ordinary Indians are less human and rational than fucking amoebae is NOT PART OF SANAATAN DHARMA.

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  6. Our religion celebrates our reciprocal 'vatsalya' even with the Creator of all!

    In Surdas's bhajan, Lord Krishna tried to feed his own baby reflection in the mirror! Becoming a father, I saw my own baby son to whom I was feeding grapes would put his little hand to try to feed me grapes- though I only consume that item once it is properly turned into wine.
    Still, what to do, babies are very insistent. I started eating fruit and my desire to die the death of a proper alcoholic- like Devdas- was frustrated.

    This is why the Lord is also called 'Madhusudhana'- slayer of Wine by creating willingness to eat grapes.

    May God bless you, Sir, for your question which is full of Shraddha. You may be a younger person. Remember this- horrible people aren't always as bad as they appear.
    It is good to have some horrible people around- maybe they scare off mischief makers- anyway, babies can always tame them so Dharma will always be 'Sanaatan' even for worthless shitheads like me!

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