Is Shaj Mohan as stupid as Divya Dwivedi? Is such a thing even possible? From the Philosophic point of view, following Collingwood, we might 'evaluate' Philosophers on the basis of their engagement with open, rather than closed, questions in STEM fields.
Criticallegalthinking has an interview with Mohan. Let us see if the fellow can match the imbecility of his co-author.
Auwn Gurmani: What triggered your initial interest in M. K. Gandhi? How do you place your understanding of his concepts vis-a-vis the recent scholarship on Gandhi?
Shaj Mohan: M. K. Gandhi appeared as a non-philosophical object of special interest to philosophy, and that’s the “trigger warning”.
Why? Was the child Mohan raped by philosophers? Or was he merely a 'non-philosophical object of special interest' to those slavering pederasts? Does he think Radhakrishnan raped the Mahatma?
Raghavan Iyer had developed Gandhi as a philosophical object. Countless others- some quite smart, like Sorabji- had piled onto the bandwagon. Thus Gandhi was a philosophical object by the time Mohan got to College.
As you know the research and publication on Gandhi were done with Divya Dwivedi and it began when we made a presentation on Gandhi’s “Indian Home Rule” in 2006 in St Stephen’s college when we were students. At that time I was interested in the meaning of “evaluation” in philosophy after Wittgenstein and Heidegger.
Witlesstein and Heidegger represent cul de sacs. Their 'evaluations' turned out to be utterly shite. Brouwer contributed to both Philosophy and Mathematics. Witless stuck his thumb up his ass. Von Neumann developed Game theory. Witless didn't get that 'following a rule' is just Akriebia. Philosophy is concerned with oikonomia.
We discovered that the concept of “kinesis”, which Gandhi understood as “speed”, directed his critical evaluation of civilizations.
The Aristotelian concept of kinesis- or movement turning potentiality into actuality- was not known to Gandhi. Islam in India had embraced Occassionalism as had Gandhi's ancestral Vaishnavism. However, Theosophy had embraced theurgy and theosis. Bhai Parmanand, who came to stay with Gandhi, was an Arya Samajist. Gandhi had grown up in the shadow of an Arya meeting hall. That sect had been founded by a fellow Kathiawari. It is quite easy to elucidate Gandhi's philosophy in Indian terms. However, knowledge of Gujarati would also help. The fact is, Gandhi's dad followed the Pushtimarga and would have been affected by the Maharaj libel case- an important reason Gandhi would want to steer clear of sex- but this also meant that the Gandhis were in the opposite camp from the 'reformers'. But, this meant, to be on the safe side- and not have to hand over your wife to some future Maharaj- the Gandhis pruned back on the kinetic aspects of Vallabha ontology- i.e. holy men pumping holiness into the orifices of family members. Still, just to keep up with the Joneses, Gandhi did read a little about Tantrism- a Muslim devotee of his from the Tyabji family loved talking about this sort of thing when I was young- but chose a path which wouldn't leave him riddled with syphilis, like his Sanskrit Prof. Manilal Dwiwedi. Interestingly, Raghavan Iyer's wife came from a very distinguished family on the opposite side from Dwiwedi. Thankfully, Iyer- being a true Tambram imbecile, despite having a high I.Q- ignored the sort of insights his in-laws could have provided.
This does not mean you can't find an 'open problem' to gas on about 'Gandhian kinesis'. The fact is, Gandhi knew the Jain aashrav theory. He also knew that Jain Sadhu's (or Sankaracharyas for that matter) could not take a train or bullock cart. Why? One Religion has an elaborate theory of kinetics. The other has a block universe. The only interface where a commonality could exist was in antarabhava which also appears in Islam as barzakh. I suppose one could connect this to open problems in reverse mathematics. Another way to look at it, is to ask if a bit of memory arising out of an arbitrary halting mechanism is equivalent to a Turing oracle. One could then give a current philosophical framework within which to ask why Gandhi was so convinced in the inerrancy of his inner voice. True, this would still be a pretty shitty project. But it wouldn't be based on stupid lies.
Gandhi had borrowed his theory of speed and even examples from Thomas Taylor’s “Fallacy of Speed”.
This is not a theory. It is an opinion.
For Taylor and Gandhi, the analysis of speed, (to put it in a dangerously simplified form for this occasion) showed that the values of things and actions changed according to the speed of their systems.
There was no analysis. Taylor was saying 'faster aint better'. Gandhi translated that shite as he translated some other shite from Fifield's 'Simple Life' Press. Back then, Chesterton and Shaw and so forth made a good living writing 'paradoxical' shite of that sort. Gandhi had a Press and a Paper to run.
For example, a pilgrimage by foot loses its value when it is undertaken using modern transportation; the presumed piety is exchanged for touristic enjoyment.
Because a pilgrimage is supposed to be about discomfort and sacrifice. Tourism is supposed to be about enjoyment. This is comparing apples with oranges.
We found that Gandhi had a desire for absolute values.
Unlike most theists who want to get right with only a relatively Divine God.
As you know “absolute zero” in thermodynamics is that temperature at which all “kinesis” at the molecular level comes to an end, and it is theoretically impossible to obtain. Gandhi explicitly sought to reduce himself, and humanity, to the speed of zero; that is, he wanted to bring humanity to a voluntary self-sacrifice and declare “henceforth time shall no longer be”—a worldwide state of passive resisters creating “the absolute zero” of politics was Gandhi’s goal. The risk we face today is precisely the attempts at the creation of an absolute zero in politics.
Gandhi said some stupid shit. Politicians tend to do so. But he believed in reincarnation. Absolute zero in this world would not matter. There would still be rebirth on other planes of existence. No doubt, Umasvati's omega point does feature a heat death of the multiverse. But everybody would have kevalya-gyan for non-denumerable infinity.
Why is Mohan pretending that Gandhi wanted to end the Universe? Has he been reading too many Marvel comics?
In 2007 we published a research paper on Gandhi in the Economic and Political Weekly
which, believe it or not, was once read by smart people
after we discovered another thinking at work in Gandhi, to which we gave the name hypophysics. Hypophysics identifies “the good value” of a thing with its ‘natural state’, and deviation from nature is then evil.
So a pair of silly kids write dadaist shite- exercises in pure pataphysics- and EPW publishes them- perhaps as a joke. Then the kids get trapped by their own jeu de esprit. They made a face but the wind changed direction and now, for the rest of their lives, they are doomed to grimace at the world while asserting that Gandhi was the sort of Comic Book Villain against whom the Avengers must assemble. Thanos merely killed half of all sentient life. Gandhi wanted to bring about the heat death of the entire multiverse. What will Mohan write about next? Anne Frank's cunning plan to prevent the Big Bang from ever happening? Mother Theresa's dastardly plot to turn everybody into pizza- that too, the Hawaiian sort?
For Taylor and Gandhi a man taking a walk across the field adheres to the nature of his limbs which was determined by “the Maker”,
in which case, Mohan is lying about Gandhi wanting to reduce the Universe's temperature to absolute zero
but a man on a motorcycle is fleeing from his nature.
Very true. When you see a bunch of Hell's Angels you must tell them this. By nature, they are a bunch of sissies. How long will you flee from yourself, my little powder-puff?
Hypophysics is older than M. K. Gandhi and it is at work even now in the Gandhians and his opponents.
Hypophysics, as defined by Kant, just means 'occult qualities' or what we call 'hidden variables'. What Mohan is doing is pataphysics.
It is impossible to find any such given ‘nature’, even in what we call the “natural world”. This problem is circumvented by most versions of hypophysics by setting up something like an idyllic a priori.
Postulating a golden age at the beginning of time is a feature of many religious traditions. Hinduism has a notion of Satya Yuga. Christianity has the notion of Eden. To return to that paradisal state involves 'hyperphysics'- as in Tielhard's system. I suppose one could hypothesize 'hidden variables' which could be manipulated till the original position is restored. But if, like Gandhi, you believe in reincarnation, what is the point? If you live properly, you will be reborn in Satya Yuga or Vaikuntha or whatever.
Mohan is mindlessly applying a Western analogy to a Hindu man.
Idyllic a priori are the terms and values derived from the idylls, or the desired a posteriori of someone or some men. All kinds of idyllic a priori suppress the oppressive conditions in which those idylls were possible and all idylls are derived from the experiences of privileged groups of men. For example, Gandhi found his idyllic a priori in the Indian villages and it corresponded to the lives of the well to do upper caste men of the village, thus suppressing the horrors of the caste order that sustains Indian villages even today.
This criticism would be effective against Chesterton, who liked his food and drink and wouldn't have enjoyed such lenten fare as medieval England afforded the villein, but it is ineffective against Gandhi who moved to the boondocks and did manual scavenging and so forth. What 'horrors' did Dalit members of his Ashram have to face? Whatever they were, they were the same as other Ashramites faced. Or so we are told.
The subcontinental versions of postcolonial and subaltern studies think from the same upper caste idyllic a priori.
No they don't. This is Mohan's own unique contribution to the history of stupidity.
Recently, in the context of the pandemic, Giorgio Agamben revealed his idyl[iii]l as the small town in Europe where the churches determine man’s relation to his nature, from which his idyllic a priori follows. In this case, it suppresses the colonial
what fucking colonies did Italy possess then?
and other exploitative conditions which sustained this very idyll.
but, if Agamben has finally made his way back to the Church, then those exploitative conditions don't matter. Everybody, bought a ticket to paradise at the price of a nasty, brutish and mercifully short life.
To return to the second part of your question, most of the scholarship on Gandhi, including the criticisms, share Gandhi’s idyllic a priori.
No they don't. Only Mohan mentions any such nonsense. The fact is Gandhian communes are like Tolstoyan communes. They are independent of caste or class configurations. Plenty of journalists turned up at Anna Hazare's Ralegan Siddhi hoping to uncover exploitation of Dalits. They failed. But, it turned out Hazare used to beat drunkards. Indians were delighted to hear this. Hazare's stock rose.
AG: As much as your work is critical of Gandhi and it decenters him from his usual position of a Mahatma and a political and spiritual hero of subcontinent, there is a cause of worry for some readers. As the political thinker J. Reghu in his review of Gandhi and Philosophy[iv], wrote that Gandhi has been elevated too much by this work? How would you reply to that?
Likewise, there is a body of criticism of Gandhi’s views on caste and his racial ideas. How do you view Gandhi on Caste and Race?
SM: J. Reghu is one of the most exciting political thinkers of India.
But only to deeply boring cunts with zero political influence.
Being uninterested in any consensus he is able to see the articulations of these very consensual structures which decide what can and cannot be said in public. However, I would like to think that J. Reghu had discussed some of the reasons why Gandhi became important within a philosophical project.
Some day, I like to think, Mohan will attain the erudition and eminence of J.Reghu. Perhaps that day has already come and gone. This was Mohan's a priori idyll.
A philosophical interest in Gandhi is very different from the lobbying interests invested in him; the former gives us the possibility to think the absolute zero of politics while the latter has given us the “Mahatma Propagandhi”, the man suited to sell anything. Philosophical interests cannot be determined by lobbying activities even if they have the best intentions. If someone says that we should not study the theorems of Grigori Perelman because he is against society that would make little sense.
WTF? Perelman isn't against Society. He gave cogent reasons for rejecting prizes which, it must be said, were well deserved.
Gandhi had created the most systematic version of hypophysics, he had drAGn the most extreme consequences of an analytic of speed, and using all that he proposed the terminus for all nihilistic political projects—the voluntary self-sacrifice of mankind, or the absolute zero of politics. It is dangerous to avoid these insights held within Gandhi, whether by yielding to the recent model of “don’t read X or Y because we don’t like their views”, or by silently passing over these insights to use the saintly icon.
So, St. Stephens no longer produces alumni who can speak English properly. Why does Mohan not write in his mother tongue?
Caste order is the oldest and the worst form of racist oppression in the world, and it is strange that it has endured into the 21st century after the end of apartheid!
Why is it strange? The thing exists in Japan. Why not India? The Gypsies in Europe don't seem to be having a wonderful time. They are descended from Indian Doms. It seems caste is portable.
As you said, there have been several works critical of Gandhi’s approaches towards race and caste. It began at least with B. R. Ambedkar. Today “critical philosophy of race” is a complex discipline. The researches of Charles W. Mills, Emmanuel Eze, Robert Bernasconi and several others have deepened our understanding of the births and the speciation of racial theories; that is, there are many racisms.
But these guys didn't have the tools to understand Caste. Ackerloff had a stab at it- as he says in his Nobel Lecture. Sadly, we have no Ambedkar today to use the new tools available to build a structural causal model which could help us improve mechanism design in this respect. Histrionics do no good. This is just virtue signalling. Mohan is wasting everybody's time.
Gandhi may have invented a new ground for racism, which is hypophysical.
Or he may not. Scratch that. Definitely not.
Mohan can't point to some new form of discrimination or oppression which Gandhi invented. I can. It is highly discriminatory and oppressive for kids who have shit for brains to have to study shite taught by the likes of Mohan simply so as to be more worthless than they would otherwise be.
If Gandhi, hadn't existed, Mohan's stripe of shite could not exist.
For him, there is something like ‘natural populations’; that is, the people of the world are distributed in a ‘natural environment’ which is most appropriate for each of them. As long as a population remains in their ‘natural state’—for example, the Dalits of the subcontinent under ritualized social oppression—there is good for him. Any inspiration to deviate from the ‘natural state’ would be evil. Gandhi read into Darwin a kind of moral biology according to which being moral was equal to being true to one’s given ‘natural’ environment.
For shitheads like Mohan & Dwivedi, Gandhian philosophy is their 'natural environment'. This is the fault of the upper castes. Modi is not upper caste. I hope he will drain the swamp in which such shitheads flourish. Defund non STEM subjects at P.G level. Do it now.
I began this blog post by asking if Mohan was stupider than Dwivedi. He isn't. But he is more monotonous and boring. Still, by applying himself, he may attain the eminence of a J.Reghu. Good luck to him. I can read no more of his shite.