Sunday 30 June 2013

Ranajit Guha & the barzakh of Bliss

 Ranajit Guha came from what is now the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh- a country whose per capita Income has now greatly overtaken that of West Bengal. To understand why this has happened, it is important to note that the  Akhbari conception of barzakh, as an isthmus which unites what it divides, radically changed subaltern Bengali reception of Guha's latest book- in which the Hegelian 'limit' is all that stands in the way of Ranajit's becoming unanimous with, his hero, Ramram Basu and, Ramram Basu with Ramram's hero, Bharatchandra Ray and the true, prayerful, Bliss of dynamic Anandamangalam is revealed to be Universal History's playing holi or rasa lila with Ind's peasantry.

Guha commences his short book by rehearsing the utterly egregious argument that, by Hegel's efforts-
'World-history became synonymous with “Reason in History.” This is a view of history that allows all the concreteness to be drained out of the phenomena which constitute the world and its historicality. How such abstraction is brought about by the logic of Aufhebung, that is, “the act of superseding” whereby “denial and preservation, i.e., affirmation, are bound together,” has been demonstrated by Marx in some of his commentaries on Hegelian texts.
'He shows, for instance, that, in Hegel's 'Elements of the Philosophy of Right', the superseding of Civil law  equals Morality,  the superseding of Morality equals the Family, the superseding of Family equals Civil Society, the superseding of Civil society equals the State, the the superseding of the State equals World History.'

At this point, let us pause and ask whether to our modern understanding, this view of Hegel has any utility. Yes, you might answer. It adds to a data-set confirming our apriori intuition that Continental fuckwit Professors have always been fuckwits and fucking unclean Continental types to boot. But, what if Hegel was just a Careerist who would have said anything to fill up his lecture hall? In that case Hegel is the solution of a co-ordination problem for the shitheads of his time. That's interesting because we have a lot of information about shit-headery on the Continent at precisely Hegel's time, so there's a big data set going begging here which is gonna help us with our theory of Schelling focal point selection- which is undoubtedly really really important to Econ, Linguistics, Math, Philosophy (think Lewis on Conventions), etc
My own take on Hegel, based on a salutary and impartial ignorance of his writings and milieu, is that it's a blind- i.e. avaricious- groping towards what we would now call a Homotopy Type theory and gained salience for that reason- i.e. its a dark Heraclitean fire prefiguring the glint in the eye of a Research Program still far from puberty.
Another way of approaching Hegel is to think of Reception as Canalisation and Expression as Capacitance diversity such that the guy is really speaking about a theory of where to site Waterwheels and turbines so they generate the most 'profit'.
On neither view- which cash out as each other by cellular automata theory- does Hegel, to our present understanding, throw away information (if he did, fuck him, move on) and present us with a view of history that 'allows all the concreteness to be drained out of the phenomena which constitute the world and its historicality'- as Guha says. The fact is one type of Hegelianism, Muller's for example, is a sort of slingshot argument that only one big (I think, non-cognitivist) fact exists. Marx's 'humbug of a Baronised Yankee', Benjamin Thompson a.k.a  Count Rumford, whose experimental work helped the theory of thermodynamics, actually, albeit indirectly, contributes a non-mischievous sort of neo-Hegelianism which resurfaces in Lefty discourse despite the best efforts of Marx and Engels and other such Frost Giants committed to freezing up the Social Landscape.
For India, of course, Marx did what Manu no longer could. But don't blame the fucking White Man for it.  Boulding, Haldane- lots of smart people came to India and were blown away by the beauty and human potential of our Poor. They knew the Math and tried to warn us against our own Gandhian or Gramscian or Guhaian fuckwits. Like we'd listen to Mlecchas when we have Marxists of our own!

Anyroad, getting back to Guha, he continues-
'The outcome of this serial Aufhebung is to displace these entities from “their actual existence” and transform each of them into a philosophical concept so that, says Marx, my true religious existence is my existence in the philosophy of religion; my true political existence is my existence in the philosophy of law; my true natural existence, my existence in the philosophy of nature; my true artistic existence, existence in the philosophy of art; my true human existence, my existence in philosophy. Likewise the true existence of religion, the state, nature, art, is the philosophy of religion, of nature, of the state and of art. By the same token, historicality as the true historical existence of man in the world is converted by the act of superseding into philosophy of history and the concreteness of the human past made to yield to the concept of World-history. Which is why that concept and the uses to which it has been put in Hegel’s philosophy of history will engage us in the argument developed in these pages.'

So, Guha is not writing about Hegel as yielding information on focal point evolution w.r.t the notion of World-History as the limit of a Research Program in Ethics- no! not at all! why should he? He emigrated from India in 1959, dude. Indians, Hindus- take me for example- are forbidden to continue thinking or reading the moment they 'cross the black water', else they lose caste. Indeed, their thinking must become a caricature of the stupid availability cascades prevalent in their grand-father's time.
Thus, Guha isn't interested in Hegel but in the shite written by a slanderous fuck-wit of a drunken journalist and failed Economist- i.e. someone scarcely less scurrilous or more sober than yours truly- who fucking died forty years before he was born (I'm still alive- physically, that is. Morally- not so much.)

'Aufhebung amounts to the “transcending of a conceptual entity,” as Marx points out in his reading of a parallel series from the Encyclopaedia where each term transcends the one that has gone before.
“Thus, private property as a concept is transcended in the concept of morality,” and so forth, until the last term, absolute knowledge, emerges hierarchically as the highest in which all the others are dissolved and affirmed at the same time.'
Is Guha right? Well, sure, why not? It may be that a Research Program in History or Philosophy or Logic or whatever the fuck it was Hegel was up to, always has the terminus that its first promoter or auteur, wants it to have. So Hilbert's program must have the terminus Hilbert thought it would. I suppose there's a way to save this notion. My own R.P of meta-metaphoricity & ontological dysphoria might, for all I know, militate to that same end. But if I knew, I wouldn't do it. Why run a program if you already know the output? What's the fucking point? Why not just say 'Hegel was a fucking racist cunt' and be done with it?
Maybe that's what Guha is doing, but in an ultra-polite Bhadralok manner-
'In much the same way, the order of supersession in the aforementioned series taken from the Philosophy of Right culminates in the transcendence of World-history by the concept of God or Geist, as it is made clear not only in that text but in Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of World History as well. Transcendence entails, in this last instance, a claim to superior morality in favor of World-history. The latter, constructed transcendentally into a providential design, “can be seen as a theodicy, a justification of the ways of God,” according to Hegel himself. And “what we call God” is, to put it in his own words, “goodness, not just as a general idea but also as an effective force.” Thus World-history, “the plan of providence,” acquires an aura of moral sanctity by definition, while the state, a key link in the chain of supersessions and the agency that promotes such a plan as the “concrete manifestation” of “the ethical whole,” comes to “constitute ethical life” itself. It is in this way that World-history managed to reach the high moral ground climbing on the back of philosophy. The latter, for its part, has proved itself truly to be a child of the Age of Imperialism. Going by Plutarch’s story about that meeting between Diogenes and Alexander in Corinth, there was a time when philosophers were eager to keep their distance from world conquerors. Not so in the post-Columbian
era when it would be possible for one of its most distinguished thinkers (sic!)to write 'world history moves on a higher plane than that to which morality properly belongs. . . . The deeds of the great men who are the individuals of world history . . . appear justified not only in their inner significance . . . but also in a secular sense. But from this latter point of view, no representations should be made against world-historical deeds and those who perform them by moral circles to which such individuals do not belong.'"
Guha, Sir, if Hegel is 'one of the most distinguished thinkers' in this field and he is a stupid racist cunt then why are we fucking still talking about this field? The Berlin Wall fell. Nobody is interested in fucking Hegel or Marx or Lenin or Stalin or Mao. Fuck 'em- they're as dead as Queen Anne . Why critique them? What's the point?
Guha answers-
'Our critique, which stands at the limit of World-history, has no compunction whatsoever in ignoring this advice (i.e. the Great Man theory of History) . From the point of view of those left out of World-history this advice amounts to condoning precisely such “world-historical deeds”—the rape of continents, the destruction of cultures, the poisoning of the environment—as helped “the great men who [were] the individuals of world history” to build empires and trap their subject populations in what the pseudo-historical language of imperialism could describe as Prehistory.'
Fuck me, Guha Sahib! That's the point of your critique? You're really saying that your worthless books help us do something we can do for ourselves far more easily- viz. saying rape is bad, o.k? genocide is real bad, o.k? fucking up the environment really aint cool, o.k? Fuck is wrong with you, Guha Sahib?
How fucking stupid do you think we are actually? If we don't read your shite we won't know that genocide is bad? Really? Go fuck yourself you worthless cunt. Or sodomize Amartya Sen. Same difference really.
What is wrong with you Bengali mules?
My guess is that you people stopped going, as kids, to the village Mullah, to learn Persian and Arabic. But that immediately cuts you off from the demotic, that is democratic, Baul, minstrel tradition. Thus your 'Romantic' rebellion wasn't Romantic at all but a forced retreat to a blinkered Scholasticism upon which European Theory could engraft itself in a manner doubly mischievous.
To see why, think for a moment of the Hegelian 'limit' as Ibn Arabi's barzakh or Abhinava's Antarabhaava- this immediately changes your reception of Riti poetry and thus Ramram Basu.
So what if doing so doesn't profit you in terms of providing a recipe for yet another worthless book?
 'Chetana ham bhikkhave kamam vadami. ' Only intentions matter for all that matters is matters of the heart- whether you call it History or Hysteresis or, as Tagore tells us, Death's cardiac diastole and casual-all-too-casual healing touch

What concerned you was 'the representation of the colonial past held in thrall by a narrowly defined politics of Statism' and thus the inadequacy of your brand of historiography.
The good news is that you were and are a shit-head. Your brand of historiography is just a wank. Nobody cares about it- at least nobody who matters, i.e. nobody with a heart.
Pace in Requiem, goo-ha, write more of your shite. Leave it to people like me to actually take the trouble to go and take a dump on the doorstep of every Louvre (what? It sounds like 'loo') and fart in the crowded lift of...urm...can't think what, but I sure can describe my fart. Which, ultimately, is all the historiographer can do.

You write- If limit, as defined by Aristotle, is “the first thing outside which there is nothing to be found and the first thing inside which everything is to be found,” its function in the title may be understood as a signal of our attempt to explore the space beyond World-history.'
Urm, no. You are talking shite. Nobody, in Europe, since Cauchy, defines Limit like that. It's stupid to do so. 

In Islam, the concept of barzakh- but also a pervasive, 'Sufi',  relationist soteriology- think Ahmed Ghazzali's love dialectic between the 'master and slave', Mahmud & Ayaz- fucking gets rid of sorites type problems in a thoroughly modern manner.
Why write shite of this stripe?-
'In other words, we shall try and think World-history in  Historicality and the Prose of the World terms of what is unthinkable within its boundaries. '
Something is unthinkable within some boundary? Says who? Bhratrhari? No. Vasubandhu? No. Kumarajiva? Nope.  Uttara Mimamsa shitheads like Kumarila or Prabhakara? Fuck no. Some navya nyaya shithead from Nabadwip? Not likely mate. Fuck is wrong with you?

'In this attempt to probe the limit of historical thinking we follow Wittgenstein. Why? He was a shithead.  Brouwer, Kleene, Heytig etc. contributed to Math. Fuck,Witless-stein ever did? 'To draw a limit to thought, he says, “we should have to find both sides of the limit thinkable (i.e. we should have to be able to think what cannot be thought"). Fuck off! To fence off my garden, I've got to stand in your garden? An Astronaut travelling at the speed of light who returns to his starting point has to have known what lay outside Einstein's universe? We can't have a quantitative prediction of dark matter coz we can't interact with it? These are well known results from the time, Goo-ha, when you were in your prime- i.e. younger, more sober, less ignorant, than I am now. Why do you write this impredicative shite? Humility a la Godel's theorem? But, Kripke gave the workaround for that when you were 40. Why follow Witless-stein when you have Kripkenstein?
'Accordingly, in our move towards a thinking of historicality as what cannot be thought, we shall set out from that side of World-history “inside which everything is to be found,” taking the concept of “people without history” for our point of departure.
So, there we have it. First you define World History as that which no actual concrete being or collective of beings can belong to- i.e. all people are outside History- then you say there is a concept of some peoples as 'without history' in the sense of not having been already fulminated by 'World-History', and then say you are going to think what you have already unilaterally decided can't be thunk.
Why, Guha, why?
You don't think English speaking Bengalis aren't worthless enough as it is? You think your entire class should meet the fate of H.N.Ghoshal in Burma? Was that why you thought Charu Mazumdar was a Messiah, you worthless Nihil-bari, not even Naxalbari, cunt?
It is you, goo-ha, who says India hasn't a history- not fucking Hegel who was simply ignorant.
So you and your ilk could pretend to be Commies and gain kudos in the West while getting laid and getting paid by pretending to be something cool like Black Panthers, though actually Brown Pandas fattening on the exorcism of the very evils you incarnate.

Let us now turn to the way you vomit on Ramram Basu- a Persianized, Brahmin hating Kayastha - whose great achievements you ignore choosing instead to concentrate on that one work of his which alone exposes him to criticism by reason of his  execrable prose style.
However, Ramram only wrote that terrible book because he was paid to do so by William Carey- the 'cobbler-savant'- a Missionary who had to pretend to be an indigo manufacturing businessman, otherwise John Company would have deported him. Incidentally, Carey was a Dissenter. There is no Historical Evidence that John Company harbored enemies of the Established Church.
J'accuse, you Guha Sabib of belittling the great Ramram under pretense of praising him. Instead of putting forth evidence that Ramram wasn't just a great Historiographer but a man of truly Secular and Feminist views (interesting himself in the plight of child widows), you chose to emphasise his servitude to some low caste mochee from Blighty who wrote this about our hero-
Carey is clearly stating here that not only was Ramram  a true SECULARIST converting to  any and every Religion as occasion required, he also held MARXIST views re. free distribution of his semen to young widows as well as militantly championing advanced an FEMINIST program as is shown by his procuring abortions for young widows he had seduced. 
Yet you ignore this glowing testimonial from Dr. Carey in favor of this-
'I got Ram Boshu [Ramram Basu] to compose a history of one of their kings, the first prose book ever written in the Bengali language; which we are . . . printing.'
In other words, Carey had become a publisher and like all publishers was talking up his product.
'Here, according to Carey, was a double first for an Indian language—the very first instance of its historiography and that of its prose—both Historicality and the Prose of the World achieved under the aegis of colonialism, for it was the missionary acting for the Company’s government who “got” the native to write the book that he did'.
Are you fucking illiterate as well as mental Guha you cunt? Please explain to me how a guy who quit the Anglican Church- a fucking Dissenter- could be a "Missionary acting for the Company's Govt' ? if there is any proof of this, you worthless cunt, you should have published it and gained acclaim not as a fucking Subaltern but a Field Marshall of English Historiography.

You are lying and you know you are lying. Amartya Sen, like you, when caught out in a lie by a White Man, takes the same suave Babu recourse to meiosis.
"However, the claim is somewhat exaggerated. (what a reasonable little Babu it is!) He (that is Rev. William Carey) was right to speak of Basu’s work as the first Western-style historical narrative in Bangla, but not as “the first prose book ever written in the Bengali language.”
Guha is wrong.  If Ramram is writing history so is Bharatchandra, so is Hemachandra- the fact that there are poetic interpolations doesn't change anything. Macaulay's oeuvre includes the (not actually pornographic) 'Great Lays of Ancient Rome'- so what? His book still qualify as belles lettres, as does Ghalib's Mihr-e-Nimroz.
Why does Guha say something so fucking stupid? The answer is he is hypontized by the poetic, not alethic, phrase 'the prose of this world.' Does he have a theory demarcating prose and poetry? Nope. He is a Babu shithead as egregious as Aurobindo.
Guha continues-
'Yet the importance of this error is hard to overestimate.' Guha, you cunt, the error is yours entirely. But why speak of 'overestimating' it?  It is beyond Human Capacity to overestimate your Babu fuckwittery.
'It illustrates the connection between history and prose (what? the notion that History is Carmen solutum? But, you cunt, Carmen Solutum is still poetry, even in Bangla, as Madhusudhan proved) that had come to be taken for granted, by that time, in the West (really? Did the Irish Aisling poets really take it for granted? Maybe they weren't truly 'Western'. You worthless fuck, you talk of the 'subaltern' and you write in English- a country you fucking immigrated to in 1959- and yet you think the vast majority of the peoples of these islands are just 'not Western'?. You must know the story of Dwarkanath & the Welsh Eistedfodd- so why, goo-ha why?)
'Indeed, we have in Carey’s description not only a record of what he found so exciting about the work commissioned by him. A publisher pretends to be excited about his shite product- really? That's what your fucking 'Historiography' takes as primary Evidence? You are shit, goo-ha, and ha ha you fucking piece of goo.
 'More important, it allows us to see how by the end of the Age of Enlightenment two of the most powerful movements of contemporary Europe—one in politics and the other in thought, that is, the drive for overseas expansion and the passion for history—happened to intersect in an apparently small detail of South Asian life. How fucking stupid are you goo-ha ha? Portugal gets global 'at the end of the Age of Enlightenment?'  That's how you read Camoens? Fuck off, Bengali mule!
 Long before the first modernist historian of Bengal was to sit down to write his narrative in prose, the latter had already been assimilated to a global process of historicization. For, since Columbus, Europe had been obsessively engaged (really? Since Columbus was it? Fuck off you stupid fuckwit- Columbus really does not represent any fucking epistemic trauma and dawning of a intellectual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. How fucking ignorant are you actually- you worthless Bengali cunt?) voyages of self-discovery (sic!) requiring it to try and match the coordinates of intercontinental space by those of universal time—geography by history. This exercise relied on a new mathesis of comparison. A new mathesis, that too of comparison? Come on, goo-ha ha, don't be shy tell us what that old mathesis of comparison was why don't you?
'Climates and habitats, customs and polities, belief systems and phonic systems of the most diverse kinds were all collected and displayed side by side on epistemic spreadsheets to be measured and calculated for their worth on a civilizational scale standardized in the West.
Nonsense. If this were true there would have been no debate re. whether Confucian China was not naturaliter Christian. Fuck off, you lying hypocritical cunt who pretends to be more ignorant than you undoubtedly are by reason of your ability to play the 'Me just a poor Nigger' card in the West.
'Since civilization stood for progress in time, the scale itself was identified with history enriching its concept with discriminations and differentials it had not known before. Really? Whites didn't think Blacks scary before or, indeed, vice versa? Exactly how fucking stupid are you, worthless cunt?
Language was one of those spreadsheets of knowledge at which European science and imagination were incessantly at work for four hundred years between the Discovery of America and the Scramble
for Africa. Now you're just making things up to show you aint senile. Spreadsheets indeed! But even before the formation of comparative linguistics as a special field of studies a delicate but clear distinction between poetry and prose had emerged from this exercise. Poetry was assigned
priority on the temporal scale. For fucking ontogenetic reasons you big baby. Correspondingly, the status it gained on the scale of values was that of the originary and the primordial'. How did it do that?Surely you must know- big fat liar? Why dont you tell us goo-ha ha?
'Neither the sanctity associated with the former nor the mystic (sic) of the latter applied to prose. Subsequent and younger, its time was regarded as that of the everyday world and its values as mundane and modern.'

So, to sum up, goo ha ha believes that Prose is like the younger brother of Poetry and it got weighed in the scales of Values held by some Mermaid or Norn and other such witless worthless shite.

Goo ha ha and his subaltern shit-eaters do interpolate a little History into their mythological fantasies and poetastering flights. But, goo ha ha and the rest of you goo-khavan worthless shit eating cunts, what you do aint Historiography. It's just passing the begging bowl round coz you is so fucking and unfortunately 'subaltern'- i.e. not White, not Worthwhile, and but Brown in the sense of being Shite.

Guha says, about Ramram Bose- a guy paid by a White Man to NOT write poetry-
'To put it another way, a particular manner of thinking about the past has perhaps been inflated into a genre—vyakti into jati.Vyakti into Jati? Fuck is wrong with you, worthless Bengalis cunt? Are you really so fucking ignorant as to think 'vyakti' means 'individual' and 'jati' means Universal in the manner you suggest? Perhaps you really think that what the West always regarded as Shite- viz Scholastic cunt-queefery- is actually some sort of Universal Law of Cognition.  Okay, from Russell there is a direct line to Homotopy Type Theory. But, there is nothing else. In particular, there is as nothing to your invocation of a vakti/jati syzygy anymore than there is anything to Amartya Sen's nyaya/niti syzygy. You fuckwit ignorant Careetist expats are just making things up out of whole cloth. This is what you write, worthless cunt-
'The work of Ramram Basu, mere gravel that stops World-history in its globalizing track, incites us to break out of this generic containment and join historicality on the other side of the border '
Really? Gravel stops anything in its tracks? No. Gravel is used to pave permanent ways- Autobahns,  Guha you fucking worthless cunt. You say a great working class English dude, William Carey, was actually a  secret agent of fucking Imperialism avant la lettre.  You say the book he commissioned from Ramram, which he stipulated ought to be in prose, caused him to gush a little.  Yet, this Ramram, a Hindu like me, is supposed to... what? 'stop World-history in its globalizing tracks? How? Why?
Goo-ha ha, this sort of rhetoric is cool if you are a chauvinist Missionary or corrupt Godman- you are now posing as both- worthless cunt- saying the equivalent of 'When our sister Dorcas held fast against the temptation of Satan to, like, buy her baby some milk rather than give me all her earnings- Globalized Evil was stopped in its tracks!' 
Fuck is wrong with you goo-ha ha? Being the son of a fucking zamindar? Fuck off. 

'In order to do so (i.e. 'join historicality on the other side of the border' coz like you're pregnant with its baby and, I dunno, David Cameron & Obama & Manmohan are all actually ADOLF HITLER) it will help, first, to inquire what kind of containment it is and how it works. But you already told us it is generic so why would it help to first inquire what kind of containment it is? As for the question of how containment works... urm... it's containment right? So it works like all containment does- i.e. by creating barriers. If it does not, it aint containment. It is written large over Hegel’s texts- nonsense, you read it into Hegel's texts because you are a worthless, deeply ignorant, fuckwit- paradoxically, by the liberal use made of two of the most inclusive phrases one can think of namely, prose of the world and prose of history. —these are the most inclusive phrases you can think of? Really? You aint really thinking very hard are you, cunt? Worthless Bengali Mule. Prose of the World- that sound inclusive to anybody? Prose of History- that sound inclusive? No. History is shite spouted by cunt faced Teachers and dickhead Professors. History aint inclusive. It's boring shite. That's why nobody knows it- including gu-ha ha.
 World and history: taken together, they add up to a space big enough, one would have thought, to house all of historicality. Oh! So that is the sort of thought you have is it? World and History together adding up to something real big? What then do Apples and Oranges add up to you worthless Bengali cunt? Fruit salad? No. It's got to be something way more meaningless than that coz u r shite u worthless Bong.
'But that did not happen: several continents and their populations were still left out of history. Very careless of History, I'm sure, but does that prove malice?.  To understand why, let us consider how in this usage prose relates to world and history. Linked by a semblance of uniformity, prose here stands both for a condition of language and a condition of being. WOW! YOU ARE TOTALLY BLOWING MY MIND!  Do you actually believe that language began in song and that everybody talked blank verse in Miltonic times? Fuck is wrong with you worthless Bengali shithead? The frequent and surprisingly fluid traffic  (why surprising? when is communication a traffic other than fluid?) between the two is characteristic of much of Hegel’s writings on history and accounts, to an extent, for some of their turns and twists. Rubbish. The guy was an ignorant cunt- just like you goo ha ha.
Why don't you, fucking Bengali Mule that you are, just give up the pretense of having a brain and just go back to your true status as a 'sugar loving parrot' squawking  this sort of shite?-

'The twofold prose (i.e. as representing a condition of language and being) belongs to a hierarchy of stages in Spirit’s progress towards self-realization in history. No it doesn't. You know it doesn't Why are you telling such stupid lies? You are Bengali. You must know some Math, some fucking Phil. What is the fibration here such that, out of a dialethia, a fucking partial ordering neverhteless arises?Guha, you cunt, either you know more than any fucking living Math maven or YOU ARE A CORRUPT, MERETRICIOUS, SOCIO-FUCKING-PATHIC, LYING SHITHEAD MORE VIRULENT IN WITLESS ALETHIC VANDALISM THAN ANY SHAMAN OR BRAHMIN OR MISSIONARY OR MARXIST OR WHATEVER THE FUCK BHADRALOK CUNTS LIKE YOU NOW CALL YOURSEVELVES.
'To start, in ascending order, with the prose of the world, it signals the end of the primordial unity celebrated by poetry since the beginning of time. In that undifferentiated universe nature had been conspicuously lacking in mediation between “life in general” and the living individual. The division
of genus into species and of species into individuals made no difference in this regard. Unable to break away from their originary bonding with the earth and its environment, all such “moments of simple
determinateness” would be absorbed in “the process of Becoming merely as a contingent movement.” For, as Hegel reminds us, “organic Nature has no history.” By contrast, “Spirit is time,” and the
prose of the world heralds the advent of consciousness—“the middle term between universal Spirit and its individuality or sense-consciousness.”
The latter mediated in its own turn by the “structured shapes”that consciousness assumes as “a self-systematizing whole of the life of the Spirit,” realizes “its objective existence as world-history.”
'The twofold prose belongs to a hierarchy of stages in Spirit’s progress towards self-realization in history. To start, in ascending order, with the prose of the world, it signals the end of the primordial unity celebrated by poetry since the beginning of time. In that undifferentiated universe nature had been conspicuously lacking in media Historicality and the Prose of the World tion between “life in general” and the living individual. The division of genus into species and of species into individuals made no difference in this regard. Unable to break away from their originary bonding with the earth and its environment, all such “moments of simple determinateness” would be absorbed in “the process of Becoming merely as a contingent movement.” For, as Hegel reminds us, “organic Nature has no history.” By contrast, “Spirit is time,” and the prose of the world heralds the advent of consciousness—“the middle term between universal Spirit and its individuality or sense-consciousness.”
The latter mediated in its own turn by the “structured shapes” that consciousness assumes as “a self-systematizing whole of the life of the Spirit,” realizes “its objective existence as world-history.”

I'm not kidding. The fuckwit really wrote this shite.
Siddhanta- Guha is a guy with a nice wife and he's fucking 90 for fuck's sake. He writes shit BUT only because HIS SUBJECT IS SHIT.
 He don't need a relationist barzakh of bliss. He's got something better. Munafiqat. Hypocrisy.
Telling stupid lies over a very long period pays off.
Mind it kindly.

Ranajit Guha & the praxis of stupidity

Ranajit Guha is an historian. He is over 90 years old. He was born in India and only emigrated some 12 years after Independence. Thus he must have known that the vast majority of Indian peasants under the Raj
1) couldn't read or write any language, let alone lawyerly English, and literary Persian and scholarly Sanskrit and so on.
2) didn't know the 'series of codes which defined his very existence'- because some of those codes were written in lawyerly English and very very few of the people who knew lawyerly English also knew precisely what 'series of codes' obtained and how they related to each other. The Viceroy didn't know-he'd ask his Principal Secretary. The Principal Secretary didn't know but thought he might meet someone at the Club willing to chance his arm and venture a guess. This guess if sufficiently canvassed and contested by vested interests might call forth a countervailing guess and mark the beginnings of a debate which might trundle on noiselessly, decade after decade, in dry-as-dust academic circles such as those in which the 'Subaltern' school of Indian historians displayed their Revolutionary credentials to each other as part of a Crendentialist Ponzi scheme.

Why does Guha tell us such absurd lies about the Indian peasant?
Well, he wants to prove that-
1) Peasants who rebelled under the Raj did not do so because they were at the end of their tether. Not at all. You see they were all, each and everyone of them, expert philosophical hermeneuts with plenty of leisure and cognitive capacity to just go on 'manipulating the familiar symbols they saw around them'- as in a Lullian zairja, or Glass Bead game,  so as to 'extract a meaning out of the harsh world around him and live with it'.
In other words, peasants under the Raj- though underfed, overworked, suffering from chronic and debilitating ailments, subject to corporal punishment and so on- nevertheless burnt up precious calories, not learning to read and write, but reading 'the familiar signs around them' so as to 'manipulate them and extract meaning'. Why? Well it's coz if they didn't undertake this very complicated hermeneutic task then their life would be unbearable and they'd rebel but do so in mere absence of mind.

I mean, suppose you took Heidegger and Gadamer and Ricouer and you beat them and starved them and forced them to work in the fields, what would happen? Would they 'manipulate the familiar symbols' of your whip and your cane and your gun so as to 'extract meanings' of the sort that can be found in the books they wrote while living comfortably off their Professor's salaries? Certainly not. They'd either rebel or die or get real depressed. Indian peasants, under the Raj, however were quite a different breed of men. Even when they did rebel it was simply part of this exhausting and exhaustive process of 'manipulating familiar symbols to extract meaning'.  That's why real history, genuine historiography, aint about how and why and when people at the end of their tether can and do rebel, nor is it about studying how those rebellions can succeed in making things better- no, perish the thought!, what a vulgar suggestion! you see, real history, real historiography- at least when we speak of Indian peasants under the Raj- is actually something highly cerebral and baroque- like sabak-e-hindi mystic poetry, where wine doesn't mean wine, it means mystic illumination, or Sanskrit verse, where 'the laundress with big breasts' doesn't mean a hot chick with big bazoongas but mystic illumination, or Aurobindo's verse where mystic illumination doesn't mean mystic illumination but 'T.S. Eliot is shite at Greek and fucks up soooo bad in Latin it aint even funny.'

2) if the Raj disappeared or went into occultation or suspended its operations- as in fact constantly happened at the margin and on a wider scale from time to time- the the peasant could afford to rebel in a state of absent mindedness. Since it is only safe to rebel absent mindedly when no serious sanction attaches to so doing, it follows that Ranajit Guha believes that there was some magic punitive power invested in those codes maintained by the Raj which alone posed an existential threat to the peasant. In other words, suppose Lord Curzon got drunk and said to the Imperial Code Conservator-in-Chief 'Tell you what, old boy, just you suspend them codes for the weekend. Don't tell anybody. It will be our little secret.'-what would then happen is the peasants would rebel. Kitchener would get the fright of his life and his mustache would uncurl completely. Of course, on the Monday, the Rebellion would collapse on its own because the Codes would be back in place and so the Indian peasant would have to go back to his drudgery of reading the familiar signs around him and manipulating them and extracting a meaning from them and that would keep him busy.

Why does Guha want to make such an absurd claim? Well, it is because he wants to show that Indian peasants weren't ordinary human beings. They didn't act or react like ordinary human who have been pushed too far or have had enough and decide to rebel. You see, these expert hermeneuts were actually doing something quite different and magical called the praxis of rebellion. 

Prior to Guha, Historiography was very nasty and mean to the Indian peasants. It said stuff like- 'they were angry about x and so they rebelled' or 'they scented an opportunity to throw off their shackles and so they rebelled' or 'believing such and such rumors, they rebelled'- which is tooootally unfair and diabolical and Racist and Eurocentric and Bourgeois and like CULTURAL RAPE AND GENOCIDE SAME AS McDONALDS & COCA COLA!

Now, while we can all agree that Historiography is fucked because people who get PhDs in History have shit for brains, it does not follow that Indian peasants, under the Raj or otherwise, have been fucked over by Historiography. This is because peasants know that who owns what and who owes what is determined by dominant coalitions- indeed, as I have written elsewhere, village politics is much more sensitive to barometric shifts in Shapley values and shadow prices (indeed, this has a seasonal aspect) arising from the underlying core stability dynamics than are our psephological computer models- and, moreover, unlike the proletariat, peasants can change both their class and inter-class status through rebellion- something Indian vernacular history amply testifies to.

What militates against this is not Manu, or the Manchester School of Econ,  but Marx- at least the corrupt, Credentialist, Marxist Historiography which valorizes peasant rebellion as having a deep hermeneutics of an Idealist type rather than representing an instrumentalisable  pragmatics from which the body politic can benefit Economically.

Indeed, the Developmental State in its take-off phase is nothing but a series of bloodless insurrections of this type. Read Vishvevaraiah's Plan from the 30's. He wanted 10 per cent growth. The Industrialists behind the Bombay Plan settled for 7.5 per cent because they were frightened by the Marxists. Once the Leftists gained ascendancy this was scaled back more and more.

Guha emigrated to the U.K in 1959. He currently lives in Vienna.
The odd thing is that he rose to fame in India at precisely the time when the true desires and potential of the Indian peasantry were becoming apparent. Historiography, it seems, only fucks up its own. For which, I need hardly add, I personally blame David Cameron.
That boy aint right.

Thursday 27 June 2013

Barzakh in the Mahabharata

Women are Water tho' into the World they bring
Vedic Earth, Fire & an heir to the King.
 No Bhishma, I, tho' my head's uncrowned
My Ganga is but babies drowned

Beowulf & barzakh- the Babu version

All who kill are Cain save their Loaf-Lord live

& to Murder's Mummy, Blood Money give

Or, patripassian son, by beot's lofgeornost

Tread the barzakh wyrd of Tiamat lost

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Coming home

In the dozen years since he last saw her, his mother had grown old. The skin around her neck was loose and fell in folds, like her flesh coloured tights around her ankles that last time he battered down the door of the downstairs cloakroom and slit her throat as she sat frozen on the commode.
As ever, she didn't recognize him. Instead, her fury was directed against the big Cameroonian Community Psychiatric Nurse though it was actually the tiny- not dumb but, Trinity Coll., Dublin- blonde from the Housing Association who was most culpable for this latest bureaucratic balls-up.
'It's the bed-room tax, Missus', boomed the big, black, apprentice Fanon, trying to hide his Francophone accent the way he'd been taught on the Atos crash-course on the cost-effective handling of Alzheimer's patients.
  'Aren't you the lucky one now,  what with yer sonny boy moving in with yer and looking after you when there's many as wouldn't give de toime o' day to thaar own macushla?' the little colleen chirped, tactically exaggerating her strategically affected brogue.
'You can't do this to me!' but the old woman's protests were already feeble for she'd made the same protest too many times before. 'It was all a mix-up at the hospital. I only went in for a gallbladder operation.  Then, out of the blue, you people turned up on my doorstep insisting I'd had a son. I was just 17 and not even married! And then, thanks to the baby, I never could be. Every ten or twelve years he tries to saw my head off. Surely, it must be somebody else's turn?'
'Yaas, Missus, yo' is the lucky one sho' nuff. Yo'r son dun come look after you somefin chronic, Alleluia!'
'Och, and him a broth of a boy, may yer shadder ne'er grow less, bigob & begorrah!' the winsome blonde, who too had attended that same Atos course, enthusiastically attested, dashing a  professional tear from her cheek preparatory to signing off on the case & re-holstering her Nexus 7.
Now all eyes were upon our soon to be Big Brother hero. But eyes seeking confirmation of which class or ethnic stereotype? Things are so confused these days. Generic English English will have to do.
'Hello Mum,' he said and walked past her into the kitchen where the knives whispered welcome. Thank you, Clegg & Cameron. It's good to be home.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Why Pico dreams of Paris

 A friend sent me this link to a recent piece by Pico Iyer in which he asks why he so often dreams of Paris, a City he has rarely visited.

'Paris is always bright shopping streets, at Christmas time, at night; I’ve just flown in and, jetlagged, quickened, I race out to roam along the river, past the festive windows, through the dark.
'The content of my dreams has long ceased to interest me; but their proportions, the way they rearrange the things I thought I cared about, the life I imagined I was leading, won’t go away. Why do I almost never see my mother in my dreams, although, alone in her eighties, she fills my waking thoughts so much? And why, conversely, do I return again and again in sleep to Paris, a city I haven’t visited often in life, as if under some warm compulsion?
'I went there in life not long ago, to try to chase the connection down, but of course my search yielded nothing. Why, as I keep revisiting Paris in the night hours, do I very rarely see Santa Barbara, where I’ve been officially resident for almost fifty years? In my dreams, when it does appear, it’s simply a wilderness, a blank space in the hills next to which I stay, through which some cars are edging, tentative and lost.'
Why Paris? Well, for American writers, Paris has a special importance. Oscar Wilde said 'When good Americans die they go to Paris.' Henry James explained why this might be when he remarked- 'To be an American is an excellent preparation for Culture'. For Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein, Paris was a finishing School. What aleatory alethia or dismal deontics might Paris represent for Pico? His oeuvre is unusual, for a man of his generation and profession- he taught writing at Harvard in the early Eighties- in its lack of engagement with French Post Modernism. Is Pico's Jungian unconscious trying to tell him that there is some trick he has missed in his training as a writer? After all, at Eton & Oxford, he could scarcely have been unaware of the traditional English feeling of of inferiority with respect to the Philosophically, Politically and Culturally synoecist quality of Parisian literature and thought. Pico was 11 in 1968- i.e. at the time when a child becomes politically conscious. What was happening in London was a pale reflection of the student unrest in Paris. Tariq Ali scarcely caused Harold Wilson a moment's disquiet. De Gaulle almost fled before Cohn-Bendit. In other words, Paris represents everything Pico and his Global Soul has refused to engage with, Intellectually, Politically and Culturally. At about the same time, of Pico's 'two fathers', one was throwing in his lot with the Club of Rome while the other continued to contribute to Vatican II. Spiritually, Pico rejected the latter and clove to the former thus making himself as irrelevant as his father. Irrelevant but armoured, irrelevant for armoured, in an unmeaning and mean spirited impassability. Perhaps this was the telephone message the father, voice choked with tears, left for his son shortly before he died.
Pico writes- My dreams are simply bringing forth what I think but don’t admit to myself, perhaps; they’re not revealing any truth so much as reflecting my projections back at me.
In other words, Pico is saying 'my Jungian anima has no intuitive knowledge of the Truth about me. It's just an echoing chamber for my own insecurities which- precisely because they are mine- aren't true at all because I can change them. There is no Man within me who is angry with me- it's just a projection on my part and so doesn't mean anything. But, then, why should anything mean anything at all? '

Thus Pico feels able to go on to say- 'Yet the way they (i.e. my dreams) upend what I think I think speaks for some intuitive truth: the least important moments may transform our lives more radically than crises do. I stopped off for an overnight stay at Narita Airport in 1983, and those few hours moved me to relocate to Japan. Meanwhile, the times when I have watched people go mad, try to take their lives in front of me, or die, seem barely to have left a trace.
So Jungian synchronicity- i.e. spooky chance happenings- is important but not because it is linked to the search for wisdom, the yearning for wholeness, the project of individual metanoia but because, in a sense, one's life is preordained and has a seamless quality which makes the sufferings of other people irrelevant- even if they 'go mad and try to take their lives in front of me, or die'
Pico carries on- 'Perhaps it’s the very chanceness of a chance encounter that suggests to us that it’s observing some secret logic deeper than the one we recognize?

But 'synchronicity' is easily recognized. Its logic may be secret or it may be open. We don't care. Why? Intuition tells us the conclusion is true. In 'Hitchiker's guide' Douglas Adams speaks of a 'Babel fish'- a little thing which you can put into your ears so as to be able to understand any language. This fish evolved by pure chance. It disproves the existence of God precisely because only God could, from the mathematical point of view, have rigged randomness in advance such that the fish could exist. Thus the Babel fish proves God can't exist even to God. Thus God disappears. 

 Certainly, my subconscious—doesn’t every writer find this?—returns again and again to an idle morning along the Malecon in Havana and never seems able to do anything with all the real Shakespearean drama of my, or any life.

Very true. Mummy got Daddy to kill Gandhi so he could inherit the throne. Then Mummy went mad  with guilt. Pico, poor chap, was witnessing this Shakespearean drama too much I yam telling you! That is why he is going to his happy place in Havana all the time. Castro persecuted gays and his country turned to shit. Castro street prospered.

Perhaps we impute too much to dreams precisely because we cannot control them; we infer that they come to us from some larger or at least external place that knows things that we don’t. 

In which case we impute too little to dreams.

Certainly my interest in their reapportioning of the dimensions of my life began to rise when I recently spent eight years writing on the kinship I felt with the unmet novelist Graham Greene. 

Misprision is not kinship. Greene wrote well and always had something interesting to say. Pico is a complacent prig. 

The fact that there was scant basis for my sense of affinity was precisely what gave my presumed connection potency; what one can’t explain away keeps echoing inside one as the explicable never does.

Both Greene and Pico had an upper class British education and both had travelled a lot and written about exotic places. Greene was Catholic. Pico was born into Theosophy- indeed, he had precisely the education Annie Beasant wanted for her protege, Jeddu Krishnamurty (an Iyengar, not an Iyer), whom she believed would be the Universal Messiah. 

For Greene, it was in the childhood of Judas that Christ was betrayed. Pico never did redeem his Theosophist father. But there was never a betrayal because there was never a childhood. 

That, I felt, was the basis of Greene’s own faith, hedged and reluctant though it was; he may not have allowed himself to believe in God, but he certainly had a strong belief in the inexplicable, in mystery (even in the devil), which made it hard for him to rule out anything and be as skeptical as he would have liked. 

He was a misery-guts- that's true enough. Booze will do that to you. 

His life as a novelist, a professional conspirator with the subconscious, only deepened this sense of the dark places around him (or inside him): he wrote in a story about a dead woman found in a British railway station and, four months later, a woman was actually found dead in a British railway station;

because dead women do get found in British railway stations. Dead unicorns don't. Similarly so long as there are ships, ships will sink. Pico, cretin that he is, suppresses whatever extra detail it was that made the thing spooky.

 he dreamed of a ship going down in the sea, again and again, and, again and again, awoke to find out that a ship had truly gone down in the night.

Let us compare Greene and Pico. What do we find? Every time Greene wrote a book about a far away place something awful happened there. Greene's dreams were prescient nightmares. Pico's dreams and books are the reverse. Does Video Nights in Kathmandu predict the massacre of the Royal family and the Communist Revolution? No. It's a silly magazine fluff piece. Does 'Lady & the Monk' predict the Japanese economic malaise? No. It's superficial tosh. What about Greene? This is an extract from my book 'Tigers of Wrath' 
Pico dreams, Pico travels, Pico writes- Greene did the same things. Why is Greene an artist and Pico a shit-head? Greene cares for poor people. His Heraclitean fire is a Patripassian flame. Worldly injustice is the Passion of Christ. What about Pico, pal of the Dalai Lama, and meditator in a Benedictine Monastery? What keeps him awake at night? Nothing. He dreams. But his dreams have nothing to say to him. This Brown Man is just so goddam superior to Greene- gotta bless them Iyer genes.

Monday 24 June 2013

Pico Iyer's Global Soul

Why was the soul invented?
One theory, I'm thinking of Obeyesekere, is that'Small-scale Societies' used the notion of metempsychosis to reinforce O.L.G bride exchange and notional agnatic kinship ties. State and Tribe formation instrumentalized this for elite coalition stability and the more general political purpose of manufacturing an ethos for ethnicity.
Another theory, suggested by Bruce Chatwin's 'Songlines', is that the soul is linked to a landscape in a manner that invests it with inter-subjective landmarks and meanings of a collectively adaptive type.
Finally, there is the notion that the soul is the locus of a therapeutic practice which itself arose out of mutual grooming and the exchange of marking services. This easily links up with the other two ideas creating a geographically delimited healing community based on the notion that certain maladies and metanoias are group and terrain specific.
However, such a notion would be intrinsically unstable, dissolving by reason of either metic immigration or emigration beyond the pale, and yielding place to a vertical, Euhemrist and Universalising, ontology whereby terrains reincarnate each other by a methexis of something on High which is also the soul's true fountain and bourn of repose.
When did the soul become Global and Historicised as opposed to Universal and Transcendent? My guess is- the second half of the Nineteenth Century when the American fad of Spiritualism, which the Russians called 'Spiritizm' and which Mendeleev vainly battled, gained global currency and suddenly every drawing-room and boarding house harbored some dotty little charmer with recovered memories of having been Cleopatra, a Red Indian Chief, a Japanese Samurai, and, of course, Napoleon, in a previous life.
The Theosophical Society, started by, the Russian, Madam Blavatsky and, the American, Col. Olcott, was perhaps the most successful attempt to institutionalize and define something otherwise inchoate and omnivorous- in short a wild-fire in danger of destroying the fuel by which it spread leaving, in its wake, not just 'burned over districts' but a burned out world.
Annie Besant's conversion to Theosophy and her leadership of this World Movement from Adyar, South India, firmly yoked its propagation in India to progressive ideas, reaching a peak of influence with Besant's election as President of the Indian National Congress in 1917. However, it was Besant's endorsement, in 1909, of the notion that a young South Indian Brahmin boy, Jeddu Krishnamurti, was the new 'Universal Teacher' which gave a sort of extra soteriological force to her support for Indian Home Rule. This was because Besant, whose mother had been a House Matron at Harrow, had wanted to educate Krishnamurti at Eton and Oxford, thus qualifying him to take a leading role in the elite Indian politics of that period (to which Gandhi, a Mahatma of a distinctly non-Theosophical sort, put paid) and combine the twin roles of World Statesman and Universal Teacher.` It was not to be. Besant herself was marginalized within India and Jeddu, who had settled in California, while retaining and returning her love, renounced the role of 'World Teacher'.
Still, Adyar's ambition of producing a Universal Messiah did not die with Jiddu's self-abnegating act. The Tamil Brahmin had tasted strong meat and would not meekly return to thair-shadam. Such was the case with U.G. Krishnamurti- history repeating itself as farce-who at least managed to attend a couple of years of College, though he didn't get a degree and thus qualify himself to be a Nariyal Panee wallah- as in Krishna Iyer Yem Ay- who lifts his lungi to show disco in the film Agneepath.
Around the same time that U.G. was confirming himself in a belief in his own genius, another young Tam Bram- Raghavan Iyer- was sweeping up all the glittering prizes- a first class M.A from Elphinstone at the age of 18, a Rhodes Scholarship, and a long and distinguished career as 'an expert on East-West cultures'. True, his books are shite; you can take the Tam Bram out of his agraharam, you can even send him to University where even he is bound to realize the extent of his own ignorance,  but you can't beat him to death every time he starts talking meaningless high minded shite because that's against the fucking Law so just unhand me, Madam, and go about your business. Mind it kindly.
Anyway, unlike the 2 Krishnamurthis- whose love lives were tangled- Raghavan was the beau ideal of the bloodless Tambram boy. His love marriage with Nalini Nanak Mehta- a sound Religious scholar in her own right- was, from the first, purged of carnality; the couple did not commence marital relations till they were ready to conceive, but that was not in India but the England to which they had returned. The fruit of this immaculate conception was Pico Iyer who amply justified their self abnegating decision not merely by the precocious intellectual qualities he showed but something more which speaks to a strength of character, perhaps even a belief in his own destiny, of a type which must always be rare and unheimlich. I say this because, when his parents moved to California, Pico persuaded them to let him attend Eton and then Oxford despite the fact that every Public School boy in the moribund England of the Sixties yearned for nothing more intensely than South California with its sun kissed blondes and spunk bleached beaches. It seemed that, at last, Besant's dream of an Eton & Oxford educated Theosophical Messiah was on the point of being realized.
However, Pico's self-abnegation did not stop there. Returning to America and gaining instant recognition, indeed a measure of celebrity, for his suave, nay beautiful, Keynesian Beauty Contest, style of journalism, Pico chose not to develop into a Dinesh D'Souza or Fareed Zakaria or Arianna Huffington or even Christopher Hitchens, but, instead, to devote himself to the most meretricious branch of magazine journalism- viz. travel writing, that too of the most superficial and self-regarding sort. Surely, this was a penance, a metaphorical hair-shirt, a deliberate seeking of that which must most embitter the spirit and exhaust the soul, an intellectual inedia, an anorexia of the heart, a shameless junk food bulimia of idées reçues- this is the Magazine columnist being infected by the heroin chic of the cat walk hunger-artistes whose glossy photos punctuate his fluffy pieces and add a pair of dazzled and famished eyes, riddled with the flash-gun's lead, to disclose a point of view which is the blindness of Narcissus now Liriope is as a polluted Love Canal, its waters but flame.
There was a moment when Pico might have changed trajectory and at last lived up to his promise- 'the Lady & the Monk' could have been the germ from which our generation got its own Lafcadio Hearn- but it wasn't to be. Even Steven Segal has Pico beat.
Why? What went wrong?
My guess is that the Theosophical project of a Global Soul was always Knowledge based. The failure of the two Krishnamurthis to run with that ball comes down to their imbecilic Tambram know-it-all mentality. Raghavan Iyer, though bright, also passes up on real Economics, real Internationalism, for Club of Rome shite which shades into witless Gandhism of the stupidest sort.
Behind Theosophy there was the notion that Evolution might have led to a migration, from our physical world to the astral plane, of certain adepts who remain in touch with good people here so as to lead us to a better destiny. Clearly, one can easily abandon Clairvoyance or Jungian shite for a notion of Schelling salience or Canonicity w.r.t  what it would profit us all to agree is the message from these 'Mahatmas' on an imaginary but still Stalnaker-Lewis 'closest possible' Universe. But this immediately makes travel-writing not witless Magazine fodder but central to 'theoria', central to 'teerth darshan', central to Hajj.
England- and Pico is very English- has produced great travel writers. But they do a lot of research before setting out. They learn the language. If they can't do that, at least they'd have the Classical sources at their finger-tips. They identify and interview those people who are making history in that country. They bring something back from their travels which is not mere meretricious ephemera nor sententious spiritual aridity.
Why? How so?
They have been touched by the flames of a Herostratian Pentecost and been transfigured by Heraclitus' patripassian fire. They have brayed with the ass of Apuleius and have snuffled for acorns beside the skirts of Circe; they have gone down to the Sea in ships and, tossed to the Heavens, plunged in the depths, done such great business that they have torn out their own hearts as a sacrifice upon the altar of the Unknown God. They have felt Majnun's shame in the desert and Buddha's humiliation in the jungle.  They have looked upon Ozymandias and known despair. They return, yes, 'untaught by the wisdom they have uttered, the Laws they have revealed', but what is that to them now save a memory of strange music, the sharp stab of a nameless odor, for at home, discovering Poverty, they find Charity and, in an atmosphere of intimate domesticity, that brave and cheerful face put up against every blitzkrieg unleashed by such Evil as ever roosts atop the high places of this World.
This is the realization of Vasudhaiva kutumbakam- the oneness of the Human family- yes- but only via the desert-wandering travails of the vivikta-sevi.
Pico learnt Greek and Latin. Sanskrit, of the above sort, would have been child's play to him. I don't say he should have returned to his ancestral roots, 'to imbibe pure milk of Spirituality, sans Sexy Shanigans, from pulpy breasts of Mother'- us guys are stupid enough on our own; fuck we need more Iyers turning up to lecture us on fucking Advaita and Cow worship or whatever shit it is that our Ancient Culture flings around when in party mood?
Still, Skt. opens doors to Zen, to Sufism, to both Jerusalem and Athens; it establishes a bardo, or barzakh, or 'antarabhaava' between things such that not a boundary, not a limit, but an imaginal passage or isthmus is created and, if only for people with Pico's talent, writing needn't be shite.
Or perhaps it does. I don't know. There's probably some malevolent karmic reason for Pico's almost infinitely foolish and self-regarding 'Global Soul'. Has he really not seen 'The accidental Tourist'? It came out in 1988 dude! Fuck is wrong with you? The answer, of course, is we made him this way. Publishing is a business. We are his market. We dragged him down to our level just so fuckwits like me can sneer at him. Perhaps Heidegger- great Nazi turd that he was- got it right. This is that 'planetary technology' whose 'Global Soul' is the Moloch to which us soi disant savants sacrificed our childhoods in vain.

Saturday 22 June 2013

Sceve, the Saone & 'le sujet surpasse le disant'

If I knew the City where now you are
I'd shed my tears in its Reservoir
As it is, I can but sigh
Thy peignoir perilous else skin to dry

 Midons! As blason is, a rough tongue- thy towel
& as to the Saone, that sad Celt eliding vowel
Peace hath a Prince! now, turning away the meek
Mine the lachrymae with no terroir in your cheek.

Friday 21 June 2013

Pliny 28.13

Vestales nostras hodie credimus nondum egressa urbe mancipia fugitiva retinere in loco precatione, cum, si semel recipiatur ea ratio, et deos preces aliquas exaudire aut ullis moveri verbis, confitendum sit de tota coniectatione.

Thy Vestal fury, to my back, a rod
Am I the altar of the Unknown God?
Your eyes and lips yet concur
Some kissing of you might occur


Go to her now her Beauty dims & this World's glory has faded
& tho' she still calls out to her kids, my ears have grown jaded
Thou blessed among gossips, God, this truth also tell
To serve in thy Heaven she must reign in my Hell

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Properties are theft

Foci diametrically lustrated in every fibration
Heart hurts the head by its each vibration
Yet my frozen, geometrically frustrated, rime
Is holocaust to many fingered Time

Properties are theft & to Essence hurdles.
Prince! if God's proof lessens Godel's

Saturday 15 June 2013

Poetry's Wine is its own Klein bottle

  Why might a poet, even a crap poet like me, feel a need to believe his oeuvre has, at least potentially, properties we might call closure and connectivity? In other words, why might a poet want everything he writes to be mutually contiguous or inter-navigable? 
   A reporter does not have any such desire or expectation of his body of work. Today, he is covering a gangland killing, tomorrow it's a fashion show, the day after a Party Political Conference, and finally he might end his days running a Trade Magazine for Chemical Engineers or Pigeon fanciers or whatever it is that pays enough to keep him out of jail for defaulting on alimony or child support from his string of failed marriages.
   Why can't poets be like reporters?
 Why do they instead insist on aping that most contemptible type of journalist who begins with gossamer jeu d' esprits then graduates to spinning out eccentric feuilletons before- now firmly stuck to the auriferous thread connecting every Beaverbrook's ring of bright water to Shelob & Sauron's eye of blazing fire- finally settling down to a Midas like senescence of Inedia recycling the same old bromide or jeremiad for the Op Ed columns while still believing it to be gold not dross?
One answer is that perhaps poets see themselves as 'the unacknowledged legislators of the world' and therefore are committed to knitting everything together according to a principle of harmonious construction made prescriptive by the lyric beauty of its 'bright line' aesthetic judgements.
   If this is the case, can neglect, as opposed to obloquy,  ever really constitute a sufficiently condign sanction against the  unimpeded practice of the poet's vocation? Masturbation, at least on this side of the North Sea, is still stigmatized, yet to be called a versifier no longer carries the same freight of opprobrium as the ubiquitous 'Wanker!' with which not just our elderly Mums, or the avuncular  Emeritus Professors we've kept in touch with, but virtually everybody we turn to hoping to discuss the finer things in life, greets our effusions and either slams down the phone or unfriends us on Face Book.
  One important reason for the de-stigmatisation, if not rise in status, of the practice of writing verse has to do with the wide-spread belief that it is now confined to menstruating women of mean intelligence, recovering alcoholics of extreme belligerence and such moralising lunatics and inept terrorists as harbor a malice against the common weal not even its own all too dramatic, or democratic, self-destruction can blunt.
  Another, perhaps actually intimately related, point has to do with the manner that the persona of the poet has been individuated and abstracted out of both the craft of poetry and that which it navigates.This means that any two poets can constitute a barzakh- an isthmus between two bodies of water, one salt, one sweet- and writing poetry becomes the project of populating that imaginal limbo. However, something topologically more complicated- like the Hopf fibration pictured above-  obtains when a poet identifies more than two poets as providing a 'covering set' for his poetic universe.

   For example, the American poet, Jessica Greenbaum, writes-
'Here is the handful of poems that cover the thought-world particular to me:
“Under One Small Star,” by Wisława Szymborska
“Brief for the Defense,” by Jack Gilbert (this can alternate with “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” by Adam Zagajewski)
   The problem here is that though the resultant covering militates for closed paths,  orientability- think  of the Klein bottle- is going to be a much taller order because the fiber bundle constituted by the covering poets is going to generate holes and toruses and Moebius strip like weirdness and, for some cardinalities, Strangeness so beautiful it must be true.
  Now, the older notion of poetry as something impersonal, like Math, meant that you could simply turn poets into ideal types, or make them synonymous with specific lemmas or Research Programs so that the covering space defined by a list of poets is orientable and has a canonical or high salience Schelling type solution- so partial ordering comes as standard. Here, just as in the barzakh of the ghazal- or the type of poetry that arises from the conjunction of two poets- e.g. Dante and Laforgue for early Eliot- the task of populating the isthmus or limbo between them can proceed with high orientability and algorithmic or zairja like fecundity. Milton is into both the Bible and boring epics- no problem, Satan can soliloquise and Angels fire canons. Michael Madhusudhan likes both Valmiki and Tasso- no problem, we get the interminable Meghnad Bodh Kavya.

  Those were the good old days. Greenbaum, naming her covering set of poets, asks  'Is there any blank space left for a new poem, old subjects? 

  My concern is less noble
Not that Heaven we blame that our throats are dry
Nor our drunken Mullah's obscene reply
But that all these years we've of the Saqi thought ill
When Poetry's Wine is its own Klein bottle

Friday 14 June 2013

The riddle of Rushdie- revenge of the Anima

Salman Rushdie, from childhood, stood out in three respects
1)  verbal dexterity and linguistic prowess
2) outstanding logico-analytical left-brain skills  making him a good scholar marked for success in our ‘enlightenment’ day-time culture.
3)  Rushdie had a powerful anima, in other words a strong right brain, and ability to process information in this non-linear, visual /symbol dominated hemisphere. 

This meant that his transition from childhood heteronomy to autonomy happened at both the level of submission/internalisation of the law (Kantian autonomy)- thus qualifying him to be a spokesman of the ‘Enlightenment’- as well as the level of the anima, the unconscious.
 My guess is that Phantasms of early infancy were what he mapped the powerful but unpredictable beings and forces around him onto. (His father, bitter at being denied 'Heaven Born' I.C.S status by reason of a trifling technicality, developed problems with alcohol and had a chip on his shoulder against the son he himself had insisted on Anglicizing).

Thus following the non-linear, ‘magical’, adventures of these phantasms enabled Rushdie to achieve autonomy- not in the complete sense of having a fully predictive model of his milieu inside his own head- but a feeling of familiarity, a sufficient sense of security to be able to follow the adventures of those phantasms in the knowledge that ultimately wisdom would be gained, everything explained.
In other words by putting himself in the hand of his anima- like a foreshadowning of Al Khidr in a Sufi dastaan- Rushdie would gain a intuitive type of wisdom.

If it is the case that left brain logic operates in a binary manner- good/bad, boy/girl/ etc- whereas the spandrels of the anima permit a more complex, multi dimensional ranking of judgements then it follows that Rushdie’s strong anima would give him superior tolerance, by making him less judgemental and moreover have further boosted his powers of observation by reducing cognitive dissonance. In other words, he, Rushdie, gets a comparative advantage as actor or novelist.

However there is a price to being anima ridden. The anima rebels strongly against changes in its milieu which cause the left hand side to impose a new ‘Universal Law’ to regulate cognition and therefore behaviour. The anima’s night time rebellion forces the individual into a manic protestation of ego-unassailability  against an abrupt and abject reversion to infantile heteronomy,which takes the shape of attitudinising, posturing, in other words turning into a prancing ninny. Now elite coteries have a soft spot for  prancing ninnies- they consider ninnydom a hallmark of authenticity, while prancing is a ticket to the inner circle . Indeed the Cambridge Apostles cult of Nous rapidly degenerated (or, if you actually went to Cambridge) achieved apotheosis as the cult of the prancing ninny.
Now the psychology of migration is actually (for most people) about a strenghtening of left brain autonomy- i.e. the emergence from the thymotic to the legalistic and contractual. Thus, though elite sub-cultures may encourage their ethnic college chums to represent the migrant as prancing ninny and ludicrously celebrate this as a reclaiming of authenticity, no actual migrant (i.e. a guy who moved for a better life) does this. Rather you see migrants focusing on legal and institutional matters. Nostalgia is a different kettle of fish- it brings on poetic or mystic reveries but, clearly, it is not of such stuff that prancing ninnies are made.

If Rushdie was to achieve ego-integration he would have needed to compartmentalise his life- the enlightenment part of himself working with others in a rational Weberian organisation, the prancing ninny- who at any moment (by the clemency of the anima) might turn into a real mime- like that Memphis who could communicate the whole of the Pythagorean philosophy with a twitch of his butt cheeks- the prancing ninny part of Rushdie could have been employed in experimental theatre or lunatic fringe politics or cult religion or something like that- while the anima ridden part of Rushdie could have had a night-time career as a fantasy novelist. In other words Rushdie could have followed his phantasms wherever they led and thus furnished the world with a topography of a lost continent of our own unconsciousness.

Rushdie, who I believe had a Jungian theory of himself coz that was the zeitgeist of the time, refused however to so compartmentalise himself. That was the way the pre-independence provincials had played things, greatly to the benefit of their vernaculars, but Rushdie was determined to be different. He felt he owed it to the spirit of the times to use all three parts of himself in his next book-Midnight's Children- his big gamble. He almost pulled it off. He actually had all three qualities needed. All the information was available to him. Yet he failed. Why? His anima rebelled. It wouldn’t work to order. So powerful were the villains he conjured up, his power to make balanced judgements deserted him. He reverted to prancing ninnydom & thus made his name & sealed his fate. Ultimately he was the prancing ninny chased off the stage by the pantomime horrors he had himself cut out of garish coloured cardboard. Rushdie’s life became more fantastic than his books.

But was this inevitable? Not at all. Let us look at the concept for his Midnight’s children. It is based on Attar’s parliament of the birds. Now Attar shows how Spirituality and Social Reconstruction on the basis of equality of outcome are mirror images, two sides to the same coin. Thus, the book Rushdie is really writing exactly parallels  the Gandhian novels of Social Reconstruction of the late 20's and early ’30’s- or the Marxist novels of the succeeding generation. Rushdie could have been doing something similar except in a New Age idiom which would provide a template for individual metanoia going hand in hand with mutuality and Social Reconstruction. Rushdie’s left brain was on the side of the angels. Yet his anima subverted the project, brought the roof down on him and condemned a whole generation or his sedulous apes to prancing ninnydom. Why? He had tried to force her and she will not be forced.Rushdie, as prancing ninny has to depict authority figures as Pantomime villains. That strain of vulgarity in Rushdie we would like to mistake for the joi de vivre of a Mumbaikar untraumatised by Partition and unashamed of his ‘post-colonial’ status is actually nothing of the sort. Rather it  is the uttering of obscenities by a priggish child who is so terrified of the bogey man under his bed, he is trying to prove to the grown ups that he is actually a tough little street-urchin.

Now, Rushdie as prancing ninny, becoming the Solzhenitsyn of Islam is exactly what the doctor ordered as far as his Cambridge was concerned. But, how does it help us Indians? Prancing ninnies from Cambridge fucked up the economy, the polity, the legal system- and were richly rewarded for their pains. Even where their own Frankensteins rose up to strike them down- think Bhutto, Bandarnaike, Indira, Rajiv, Benazir- it was only so they could become immortal and fuck us all up for all eternity. In this context, why people  call Rushdie a great author is totally beyond me. In every book, he attempts something interesting and then totally fucks it up to incarnate the apotheosis of the prancing ninny. If Rushdie were serving himself (his real self, the object of his literary metanoia) fine. Praise him. A guy who is doing well for himself should be celebrated so that there is a template for others to follow. But if he’s fucking himself up- what’s the point? The only answer is in terms of the crudest sort of Girardian mimetic desire. 

The real tragedy is that the anima had actually given Rushdie a degree of prescience- like a great actor whose skills verge spookily on that of the Spiritualist Medium- except, like most Mediums, once attuned he channeled increasing silliness- still, that's something no one else had. Take his novel 'Fury' - read the first few pages and you think 'this was written just before 9/11- WOW!"- except it soon disintegrates into utter silliness.
So where's the tragedy? Well it has to do with the Kashmir 'intifada' which- coz of the Gandhi-Abdullah poll fixing pact- started shortly after, the M.P, Syed Shahabuddin had written his infamous letter demanding the banning of Satanic Verses. 
We all thought Rushdie, being a Cambridge man, only wrote shite coz, being a Cambridge man, he knew we could digest nothing better. However, now his life was being threatened, he'd turn into the ultimate street-fighter and kick Shahabuddin in the goolies.
This was easy for him to do. Rushdie just needed to pick up the phone and talk to any Indian journalist here in London. He'd have found out that Shahabuddin was a former diplomat,  inducted into Politics by the B.J.P., who had visited , the previous year, the Sankaracharya of Kanchi (a sort of Hindu Pope) in company with, his friend, the infamous pro-Zionist, Dr. Subramaniyam Swamy (whom Harvard has sacked for his rabidly anti-Muslim views).

So all Rushdie has to do is play the Kashmir card.  He had good credentials. "Midnight's children' had attacked Mrs. Gandhi. He'd written his anti-American book about Nicaragua. 'Shame' had won a prize in Iran. Khomeini and Khatami were totally on side re. Kashmir- they had a history of allying with 'secular' lefties for strategic purposes. The Pak I.S.I would have got the Mirpuris in Bradford to demonstrate outside India House in favor of Rushdie- how dare an Uncle Tom Muslim M.P call the Religious faith of one of their own into question? They take our land, they humiliate and torture us- but now the Hindus have gone too far! They use one of their 'token' Muslim M.P's- to utter a libel upon a true son of Kashmir, such that he may appear a blasphemer and an apostate! Take my life, spit on me, humiliate me, but do not impugn my faith! Just see, the cunning of the tyrannical Pandits  has overstepped all bounds! The want to continue humiliating and denigrating an innocent Muslim Kashmiri- even after he has escaped, even after he has got British Citizenship- why? What is his crime? Hubb al watan min al Iman. Love of country is part of Faith. But love of Kashmir is the crime for which this Muslim is being denounced as an apostate! But by whom? Nimrod! The tyrant, the idolator! How long shall we keep silent? 

In any case, plenty of academics would have come forward to show Rushdie had written a satire on Saidian 'Orientalism'. 

Once Rushdie played the Kashmir card, he would have humbled Rajiv and emerged as the Edward Said or Noam Chomsky of the sub-continent. The Indian intelligentsia- once Rushdie had cleared himself of having written a 'Rangeela Rusool' type porn novel- would have fallen on their knees to Rushdie. Nobel Prizes rather than Bookers would have rained down on him.
Deservedly so. If Rushdie had been on Kashmir watch, the Centre would scarcely have sent Jagmohan there. Frankly, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved. South Asian history might have developed very differently.
But, no. 
Rushdie was and is a prancing ninny and greatly honored for being a prancing ninny coz of where he comes from. Supply and Demand, I'm afraid. The Market knows best.