Sunday, 4 October 2020

Ramin Jahanbegloo on Gandhi's super-powers

In Islam, there is an interrogation in the grave. If you don't give the correct answer you go to perdition. In Hinduism, there is no such questioning. One has accumulated karma which determines your next birth. A good Muslim gets reborn in a good Hindu family regardless of what he believes. Karma decides all. In any case, questions are silly because they suppose that hard and fast answers exist. The truth is 'Neti, Neti'- not this or that hypothesis or hypostasis, recollection or reification, of the one being questioned. 

In his book about Gandhi, 'Disobedient Indian', Ramin Jahanbegloo writes-

The question of questioning is no longer a part of our everyday social and political grammar in recent times.

Ramin does not add that being a part is no longer a part of the questioning of questioning by our everyday social and political grammar in recent times. This is very naughty of Ramin.  Why is he being such an awkward sod?

One of the most serious and frequent opinions against the act of questioning is the absurd belief that if everyone questions everything, the result would be chaos and the destruction of human civilization.

Why should beliefs not be absurd? It's not as though absurdity being a part of belief necessarily means that belief is not the smallest moving part in absurdity or that being a part is a part of anything. By questioning questioning we are released from the need for justifying our actions. That means contracts are unenforceable. This is not a problem if there is no agent-principal hazard, torts don't arise, there are no externalities. But the disappearance of 'civilization' does not mean that a purely transactional economy might not obtain. Indeed, the thing may be superior to what went before. 

However, if there is only one point which is true in this assertion, it is the reference to the fact that human civilization is walking dangerously on a tightrope.

Nonsense! Humans have a lot of different civilizations. If one crashes and burns another mimetic target prevails.  

But there has certainly not been any excess in exercising the art of questioning.

Interrogations tend to evolve from passive aggressive bullying to outright torture. That can get pretty damn excessive pretty damn fast.

In today’s world, a dissenter who questions the establishment is a lonely hero.

i.e. an antagonomic nutjob who smells bad  

This is a point of anguish when it is no longer questionable to rely on false convictions rather than on true questions.

Questions aren't true or false. They are useful or a waste of time. 

Whether that anguish is fundamentally ridiculous or respectful will depend upon one’s vision.

And one's vision will depend on whether one's anguish is fundamentally ridiculous or has to do with a bug up one's fundament.  

But this should remind us of what Gandhi says about the five stages in every movement: first comes indifference; second, ridicule; third, abuse; fourth, repression and fifth, respect.

The Indian freedom struggle was not met by 'indifference' on the part of the British. First came blowing rebels out of the mouths of canons. Then came hanging. Then came imprisonment. Then came indifference. Let the cunts fight among themselves. They soon come to see that they hate each other more than they hate anybody else.  

And he adds, if a movement does not survive the fourth stage, it has no real chance of securing respect.

The reverse is the case. We respect those being repressed. It is only after they come to power that we come to mock and deride them in a salutary fashion. Aung San Suu Kyi was once greatly respected. 

This is why we can continue to believe that the spirit of questioning will take time and no civilization can live without practising the art of questioning.

In other words, by believing some stupid shite we can continue to believe some other vacuous shite.  

The true 5 stages of a worthwhile movement are- 1) the identification of a remediable problem. 2) Enrollment in the search for a mechanism to fix the problem. 3) Trial of the remedy. 4) Competition, fair or unfair, with other mechanisms. 5) Adoption, tacit or explicit, of the remedy by everybody. 

Indifference may be a feature of the public response. Ridicule too may feature. But neither matters. What determines the outcome of the movement is whether it was useful or stupid.

Another question which is raised at this level of the discussion concerns the dignity of suffering in a just questioning.

But this level of discussion is as stupid as shit. Suffering may be very dignified or it may involve screaming at the top of your lungs and shitting yourself incessantly. Speaking generally, we prefer the silent and dignified form because otherwise we might slip on the suffering person's poo or be kept up at night by her wild howls of despair.  

It goes without saying that, like civil disobedience, philosophical questioning too must not be undertaken without a scrupulous moral concern—simply because the common factors in civil disobedience and philosophical questioning are reliance upon moral conscience and civic virtue.

No. Reliance upon hypothesis, generally of an absurd type, regarding 'moral conscience' etc, is a feature of stupidity of both the gesture political and the psilosophical kind. But it is also a feature of the kind of arguments kids have with their parents about eating their vegetables or staying up late to watch TV. 

Gandhi knew that both are needed.

Because, as he said in 1922, he represented a Nation which was incapable of feeding or defending itself. India was like a little child dependent on the British 'Maa-Baap' Sarkar. But, like a little kiddie, it should be allowed to develop its moral nature by throwing tantrums and protesting against the wickedness and evilry of Mummy and Daddy who are refusing to let me set fire to the house just because I really want to play with matches. How come adults get to play with matches? Why are only kiddies banned from running around with scissors? OMG! Mummy and Daddy are evil tyrants! I will hold my breath till I die and then you will be sorry! 

The appeal to one’s conscience is necessary in the Socratic act of questioning,

Socratic 'synoida' can also be thought of as 'recollection' of innate knowledge. It is likely that a separate notion of conscience is a later development.  

but it is limited when it comes to the creative institution of a political community.

Nonsense! The Greeks had a notion of Law Givers like Solon. Indeed, the Greeks and Indians and Hebrews and Chinese had similar notions. Why is Ramin telling such an obvious lie?  

An individual cannot have a conscience as a whole,

But a Prophet can. So can 'Svayambhu' Manu and the Yellow Emperor and Zoroaster and so on and so forth.  

no more than society as a whole can have a conscience,

why not? It may accept the 'khilafat' of a rightly guided Caliph or non occulted Imam.  

without self-examination and self-transformation that are morally enhanced.

There is no such requirement. Occasionalism is a widespread philosophical view which holds God to be the only efficient cause. Instrumentalism Self-examination and self-transformation may be epiphenomenon with no causal role.  

As such, the Gandhian philosophy of resistance at its best represents a vindication of the empathic capacities of human beings in the face of evil.

Or it is consistent with pure Occasionalism. God brings about the change of heart required by the Divine plan. Yet, for the pure Vaishnav, karma continues to operate for such is the will of the 'Mayin'. There is rebirth. The gaining of super-powers remains a possibility. But, the Vaishnav asks to be reborn as a yet more humble servant of the Lord. 

King Rantideva's 'empathy' arises from his desire to substitute himself as the victim of such suffering as is in God's plan. However, we think Vaishnavs show a higher type of empathy when they fuck off and leave us alone instead of haranguing us about why we commit evil when eating things with a face. 

Frankly, if evil has a face then there must be some way to render it edible if not for us then by pigs or cats or some other useful type of animal. 

Gandhi’s theory of resistance and disobedience is distinctive in that he sought to incorporate in it the right to be disloyal.

Kids do that all the time. They say 'Mummy is a horrible monster, waaaanh!' but they know this type of tantrum is what confirms they are so babyish- even if they are 45 years old- that they still need Mummy to look after them rather than force them to get married and get a job and move out of the basement. 

The right to be disloyal is also claimed by the philandering husband and corrupt official. They consider forgiveness a duty imposed on those they cheat. 

The Brits eventually got Gandhi's measure. After Halifax, no Viceroy bothered to talk with Gandhi. They just locked him up if was naughty and released him when he was ready to play nice once again. 

Sadly, in Independent India, this tactic could not work. So, mysteriously, but very conveniently, Gandhi got shot. Two other people with the same surname were assassinated once their incompetence or corruption proved to be a bigger handicap for their party than their charisma was an advantage. So Gandhis get killed and Congress gets a 'sympathy vote'. It is noticeable that Rahul Gandhi has displayed great tactical brilliance in avoiding becoming Prime Minister.

In an article entitled ‘The Duty of Disloyalty’ he writes, ‘There is no halfway house between active loyalty and active disloyalty

An obvious lie. One can be neither loyal nor disloyal but merely self-interested. Gandhi wrote this in 1930. By 1932 it was clear that he and his party was self-interested merely. The minorities united against Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. Gandhi lived and died a subject of the King Emperor. There was a brief period when he was disloyal. But, by the end, he was content for Independent India to retain a British Governor General. 

… In these days of democracy there is no such thing as active loyalty to a person. You are, therefore, loyal or disloyal to institutions. When, therefore, you are disloyal you seek not to destroy persons but institutions.’

Then those 'institutions' put you in jail and so you do a deal to get out of jail.  But it is a worse deal than the one you could have secured if you hadn't been disloyal. You gambled that the institution would collapse before you got tired of porridge. But you lost. Your cause must pay a high price for your poor judgment. 

Here, the resistance is made possible by an ethical voice and an implicit questioning of the social and political institutions.

No. What makes resistance possible is the chance that it will have a bigger payout than just getting on with your life in a self-interested manner.  No doubt, there are some antagonomic nutjobs and publicity seeking sociopaths who will gather under any banner of 'resistance'. But then there are people who do better in jail or the loony bin than out on the streets. 

From a Gandhian perspective, critique of the political represents a challenge to the idea of authority.

Gandhi's 'authority' stemmed from his political role in 'critiquing' the fuck out of Whitey. But Gandhi failed. That is why his authority, post-Independence, was providentially put an end to by, if not the Occasionalist God of the Vaishnavites, then, at the very least, a Hindu bullet.  

Therefore, the underlying principles of Gandhian nonviolent resistance are the very notions of moral agency, in terms of insistence on truth and learning to listen to the voice of one’s conscience, and nonviolent political intervention in the public realm, in the direction of self-government.

But, the 'Holy Fox', Halifax was even more churchy than Gandhi. He let the guy out of prison but at the price of making a fool of himself at the Second Round Table Conference. One big mistake Gandhi made there was to demand that the Indian Army be placed under Congress control. This didn't just scare the Minorities. It scared Hindus. Gandhi was a shithead. Congress was corrupt and incompetent. India needed an independent, professional, Military with an offensive doctrine. During the Second War, Hindu Nationalists urged enrollment in the Army. Fighting for the Brits was still a good way to learn how to fight. That's type of learning was vital for India. Training in Ahimsa was useless. Queueing up to get hit on the head and then going quietly to jail made you stupider and less able to serve the country than just getting on with your own business.  

Gandhi further thought that the means of achieving the political as the art of organizing the society—in contradistinction from politics as the greed of power (which encircles us like the coil of a snake)—needed to be examined and practised in a different consideration.

That of being a stupid, useless, shithead.  The problem with Gandhi was that he did demand power of a dictatorial type. In 1921 he was talking of a transfer of power to a Government elected by the INC's 4 anna (a small sum of money) members. Then in 1932 he demanded that the Army be under the control of the party which he ruled as an autocrat. No doubt, the Hindus would gain power where they were in the majority and had fighting spirit. But Muslims too had areas where they were in the majority. Partition became inevitable.  

From Gandhi’s point of view, there would always be a need for spiritual intervention in the domain of the political.

Religious people believe that God intervenes all the time in all sorts of things- stuff like whether to have a ham sandwich.  

Far from being a religious attitude or a divine intervention in the sovereignty of human beings, the Gandhian principle of ‘spiritualization of the political’ can be regarded as a form of interconnecting the political to the ethical.

Not by Hindus. Gandhi said Hindus must believe in reincarnation. Thus Gandhian politics must be viewed as a way of gaining good karma. Nutters of other religions, or Atheists, are welcome to view Gandhianism in any way they like provided they get with the program and praise the old fraud to the skies.  

This is where Gandhi’s experiments with the political are defined by him as his ‘experiments with truth’.

Telling lies is certainly one way of experimenting with the truth. I am 22 years old and have a ginormous cock. Damn! That felt good.  

He discovered as the result of his experiments with the political that ‘the good will, combined with self-sacrifice, was intended to “open the ears” of opponents and lead them to a truthful dialogue.’

Yup. In 1932, all the Minorities- even Sikhs- united against Gandhi. They truthfully told him that they didn't trust him an inch.  He was welcome to fuck off back to prison.

Gandhi’s insistence on an empathic dialogue with the Other was, for him, a call on multiple perspectives on truth or what the Jains called Anekantavada.

This is based on the principle of syadvada- judgment is always conditional. Jainism is consistent with a Gentzen style, as opposed to Hilbert style, proof calculus- i.e. fewer axioms, more rules. This is the opposite of Gandhian stupidity which would continually add all types of bizarre axioms- e.g. Hindus have a duty to fight for 'Khilafat'- without ever developing any rules for debate. This meant, as Woodrow Wyatt woefully observed, Gandhi would reach an agreement only to turn around and say 'what you agreed to is not what you thought you were agreeing to. It is what I have decided 'with my lawyer mind' you were agreeing to.' Clearly, there is no point talking to a fool of this sort. Instead you play the same game with him. He says 'You have broken your promise!' You reply 'You are raping my goat! Why are you being so evil?' He says 'I didn't rape your goat. I do drink the milk of some guy's goat but I am not fucking any such animal.' You say 'I am glad you have admitted your heinous acts of bestiality. Come, let us pray.' 

This is well exemplified by his ban on violent resistance.

Which was very useful for his followers. It's like what happened to me when I was beaten up at school. I'd say 'You are lucky my sensei has banned me from using my kung fu to kill all of you. I don't care that you stole my lunch even though Mummy made me her special chutney sandwiches. However, could you kids please return to your seats and keep quiet for 5 minutes. The headmaster is on his rounds and I can't afford to get the sack again.'  

In other words, speaking of his ‘experiments with truth’ Gandhi points us to the political essence of this truth which is both multiple and shared.

i.e. it is common knowledge that it is just random shite of a self-serving or face-saving sort.                                                                                                                   

For Gandhi, truth as a shared political value is examined and adopted through the exercise of dialogue

involving begging for money for  crackpot schemes.

Here, Gandhi’s model is Socratic par excellence. ‘Gandhi saw Socrates as sharing his own cause of telling the truth and he called his paraphrase “Story of a satyagrahi” (translated as “soldier of truth”). Socrates told the truth to his compatriots about their own defects… Gandhi presented Plato’s Socrates in 1908 as a practitioner of satyagraha, by 1909 in Hind Swaraj he had analyzed his own practice further, and recognized soul-force as imposing the constraints of hurting no one else.’

Why employ 'soul force' to recruit soldiers? Surely they are meant to hurt other people. 

It goes without saying that the critical question for Gandhi is 

how to gain and keep salience in the political sphere, 

to try to bring about the mandatory coordination of the Socratic questioning on truth and the ethical means of the political.

Why the fuck would Gandhi try to do such a stupid and pointless thing? In India the Urdu word 'Suqrat' denoting Socrates has the connotation 'fool'.  Christ is famous- he could cure people of any illness. But Suqrat and Aflatoon (Plato) are not highly regarded. 'Falsafiya' is delusive. Only Faith matters- not asking stupid questions.

It is only through such a coordination that the civic virtues of the citizens gain the power and the legitimacy to put into question the legitimacy and authority of the State.

Rubbish! The whole point of being a Pir or a Swamy is you get to say 'This Government is Satanic' whenever you feel like it. The proof is that women are becoming disobedient. Some are putting on make up. Hai! This is a sign of Doomsday! Only because Government is totally Satanic are women going all reverse cowgirl and other such Godlessness. Slaves are also becoming uppity. What's next? Will cats start copulating with dogs? I tell you not till this Satanic Government is overthrown, or they give me lots of money, will Truth and Justice prevail and women stop sticking their finger up your asshole because you're taking too long. 

Therefore, Gandhi’s philosophy of resistance in its depth is concerned more with the practice of the civic virtues of the citizens rather than the raison d’état.

Gandhi like other Indians was a subject. He was not a citizen. He could not stop Congress from demanding 'Purna Swaraj' and Democracy and so forth. But he could convince a lot of Indians that it would be a shit show.

Thus, what we see in Gandhi’s theoretical and practical approach to the question of the political is an epistemological inversion of the key principles of modern political thought which dismisses civic friendship in the name of the guarantee of individual liberties in the private sphere.

Ancient politicians, if not all pedagogues, were equally dismissive of politikē philia because the thing is religious or tribal. It is not political. 

Law Courts are very useful things. Jurisprudence of a stare decisis type reduces economic uncertainty. It makes contract enforcement much easier. Two brothers who love each other may yet have a business dispute. One brother says 'the fault is mine that the shipment you sent me incurred demurrage'. The other brother says 'Don't be silly. Contracts of this type are f.o.b.' They can approach a barrister for a legal opinion. Alternatively, they could go to an Islamic Jurist- like Ayatollah Khomeini. I've heard they are actually very good at adjudicating complex commercial cases. 

Suppose this same dispute arose between two strangers living in different countries. There is an advantage in submitting any dispute to this sort of adjudication. Why? A rule is established. Trade between the two takes off. There are reputational effects such that both prosper. 

By contrast, talking bollocks about fraternity and universal love helps nobody at all. The thing is a waste of time.

As Anthony Parel discusses, ‘Gandhi’s political philosophy is not only a means of understanding the fundamental truths about political phenomena,

Fuck off! The Shapley-Shubik power index is a means of understanding a  fundamental truth re. a certain class of political phenomena. Gandhi was shrewd enough to understand its essential finding. 

but also a means of realizing, or at least attempting to realize, these truths in action.

If everybody starts kissing and hugging then, sure, politics changes. If you can get money for going around saying 'let's all love each other' then why not do so?  

The realization of political truths should occur not only in the lives of individual citizens but also in the operations of the political and economic institutions… Those who truly understand Gandhi’s political philosophy feel an obligation to put it into practice.’

So nobody has truly understood that nutter's philosophy or else putting it into practice was a waste of time because the thing was shit. 

Ahimsa was a magical cure like the stuff the Maji Maji rebels smeared themselves with to make themselves impervious to the White Man's bullets. The Chinese Boxers, too, were talking bollocks about Yin magic to cancel Yang magic. Gandhi's greatness lies in bringing this type of shit to India more than a dozen years later. 

Turning to Gandhi’s own words, the teleological framework of his entire philosophy of resistance is based on his understanding of what he underlines as ‘democratic swaraj’.

Nonsense! Gandhi committed to 'democratic swaraj' for the same reason that he committed to Khilafat. He gained mass support and access to huge funds. Soon he was regarded as a miracle-worker in remote parts of India.  

‘It must be remembered,’ affirms Gandhi, ‘that it is not Indian Home Rule depicted in the book [Hind Swaraj] that I am placing before India. I am placing before the nation parliamentary, i.e. democratic swaraj.’

In other words, he had reneged on his earlier views just as he would renege on his pact with Khilafat to 'non-cooperate' with the Brits rather than call off the Movement unilaterally and go obediently off to jail.  

Elsewhere he describes swaraj as ‘a capacity to declare independence at will…totally consistent with national self-respect and it provides for the highest growth of the nation.’

So, the thing was a fantasy. It was enough for India to say 'India is free' for it to be free. It could then say 'India is very rich- all its people are suffering from obesity' and suddenly even the Mahatma would have a pot belly and man boobs.  

As basic as it is in Gandhi’s philosophy of resistance, swaraj is not a neutral concept.

It is nonsense. 

It is a mode of ‘political self-hood’.

based on telling lies about oneself. Similarly 'Super-star self-hood' can be achieved by saying 'I am Beyonce. Tremble in awe at my booty shake!'  

Therefore, swaraj is more a duty to resist, rather than a right to be free.

But, in February 1922, just when Ireland and Egypt were getting Independence, Gandhi stopped resisting. He unilaterally surrendered and went obediently off to cool his heels in jail. 

A duty to resist being denied something which is not yours by right is a duty observed by a guy who struggles to snatch your handbag off you till you kick him in the goolies and he collapses and then the cops come and he says 'It is my duty to resist this woman's determination to hang on to her own purse. I know I don't have a right to it. Also, I'm not a thief. I'm just a guy who believes his duty is to do stupid shit.' 

According to Gandhi, to resist is to be autonomous.

But this simply isn't true. Resistance can be carried on by brainwashed cretins. To be autonomous is to be smart enough not to be subject to coercion or otherwise subject to a law which one has not oneself recognized to be categorical.  

An individual is autonomous when she dares to think differently.

So a slave or a maniac who dares to think that the world is made of pudding is actually autonomous.  

Therefore, swaraj, in the Gandhian sense of the term, is an enlightened self-rule.

Because it is enlightened to resist being denied something you have no right to. 

Gandhi calls it a ‘disciplined rule from within.’

But he unilaterally surrendered saying 'India is not ready. I was wrong. Sorry not sorry. It is still my duty to resist the Maa Baap Sarkar denying us kiddies something we have no right to because we lack 'a disciplined rule from within'. 

Why not simply say- 'Ooga Booga! Us darkies be monkeys and, hey!, us monkeys gotta try to do what monkeys see proper humans doing.' 

We can find herewith the reference to the Socratic questioning of the political, followed by the Gandhian conception of civic virtue. However, the secret of the Gandhian self-rule lies in ‘one’s rule over one’s own mind’.

If you believe you are Beyonce, you are Beyonce. Your twerking is sublime. Ignore what the other girls say. They are just jelly of your pepper and salt beard. 

Then and only then, self-rule or autonomy brings self-awareness and consciousness of one’s political obligations towards the others.

If you reach a high Sufi station- perhaps that of an abdal or qutb- or become a Mahatma or Parmahans- then you can start doing all sorts of magical things. Come to think of it this was the plot of 'Jewel of the Nile'. Ramin is the intellectual equivalent of Danny De Vito saying 'Sufis rule!' 

Because of this, thus, individual self-transformation is tied to the self-transformative nature of the political. ‘If we become free, India is free. And in this thought you have a definition of swaraj. It is swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves.’

It was fucking obvious that the Indians could have thrown the Brits out anytime they wanted. But they didn't want to do so. Why? Because the alternative was worse. Finally, the Brits pulled the plug. Still, Nehru kept screwing Edwina till her hubby agreed to stay on for another few months. 


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