Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nothing happened in India 100 years back

[In some contexts, Gandhi still remains supremely relevant. There is little doubt, for instance, that the Palestinian cause would have succeeded far more if it had taken a Gandhian turn. His manner of constructing a fearless and inventive self remains supremely instructive. As the first genius to master mass politics, he remains, to use the defining aspiration of our times, cool. -- Why Bapu matters Pratap Bhanu Mehta Indian Express: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research] 7:29 AM
[Despite his lifelong interest in religious pluralism, Gandhi had not the leisure to work out a systematic treatise on the subject. -- His faith, our faith History Matters Ramachandra GuhaEmail Author HT January 30, 2008 Ramachandra Guha Historian and author of India After Gandhi] 8:05 AM
Columnists, commentators, and historians straddling our national newspapers continue to pretend that nothing happened 100 years back. For them, India before Gandhi is a sort of a Dark Age. All attempts then for the liberation of the country from the foreign rulers are contaminated, and hence not to be discussed.
Sri Aurobindo is fighting a grim battle at this hour in 1908 through his stirring speeches and writings in the Bande Mataram. But even our versatile bloggers are silent about them. Sri Aurobindo will be put in the jail for one year in May. Can’t there be a commemoration at a national scale? [TNM]

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s thesis endorses the Varna system

[Judges are appointed with the intent of serving the political ends of the people appointing them. No more, no less. Trying to assign these complex motivations to judicial selection is like trying to put a dress on a pig. — Posted by Ben Williams, NYT January 28th,2008 4:44 pm] 9:25 AM
[The institutions that command the most respect are the Supreme Court, Election Commission and Army. All three are unelected. We have little respect for the elected and immense respect for some who are not...
The fundamental mark of a democracy is not elections but an institutional framework that lays down the rights of the people and rules of political engagement, and cannot be trampled on by the ruling government. The framework is typically a Constitution... So, democracy stands on two pillars. One is Constitutional democracy, which lays down the rules of political engagement. The second pillar is popular democracy, which elects politicians...
The Constitution created other unelected bodies - such as the Supreme Court and Election Commission — which are the most respected in India precisely because they keep elected politicians in check. Democracy needs unelected positions of power, no less than elected ones. - SWAMINOMICS Democracy depends on the unelected STOI 27 Jan 2008, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar] 11:23 AM
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s thesis, in a way, endorses the Varna system. The unelected guardians practicing selflessness and high ethics are of Brahmin temperament while the elected politicians conforming to the incentives system belong to the Kshatriya or Vaishya mentality. [TNM]

Monday, January 28, 2008

We too need more Savitri Eran foot-soldiers

[deploy the marchmen. Europe is boosting its common diplomatic corps, while China is deploying retired civil servants, prison laborers and Chinese teachers — all are what the historian Arnold Toynbee called marchmen, the foot-soldiers of empire spreading values and winning loyalty. There are currently more musicians in U.S. military marching bands than there are Foreign Service officers, a fact not helped by Congress’s decision to effectively freeze growth in diplomatic postings. In this context, Condoleezza Rice’s “transformational diplomacy” is a myth: we don’t have enough diplomats for core assignments, let alone solo hardship missions. We need a Peace Corps 10 times its present size, plus student exchanges, English-teaching programs and hands-on job training overseas — with corporate sponsorship. -- Waving Goodbye to Hegemony By PARAG KHANNA NYT: January 27, 2008] 9:48 AM
We too need more Savitri Eran foot-soldiers spreading values and winning loyalty. [TNM]

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Multiple symbolisms and Market stimulant

[The spectacular Republic Day parade that will troop down from the imposing Raisina Hill and onto Rajpath this morning marks the 59th such event since free India became a republic and gave itself a detailed Constitution with the most unexceptionable and normative objectives. There are multiple symbolisms associated with the day itself, going back to January 26, 1930, when the Congress party sought full independence from Britain and the more evocative moment of January 26, 1950 when Rajendra Prasad became the first president of the republic. Over the years, the event has become mega in more ways than one and the pomp, military pageantry and precision complemented by the addition of state tableaux and the participation of schoolchildren makes the Indian Republic Day parade a spectacle without peer.
It is also an occasion to pay homage to the oft forgotten martyrs and it is indeed fitting that the prime minister leads the nation in laying a wreath at India Gate. The grand finale is marked by the poignant Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk on January 29, where the massed bands of the armed forces leaven music with marching to enthral the crowds. And when the lights come on almost magically to illuminate Rashtrapati Bhavan, the entire visual spectacle embellished by caparisoned camels silhouetted on the ramparts of South and North Block, it is that 'lump-in-the-throat' moment, however many times one has attended the ceremony.
I am personally an ardent votary of military ceremony and the Republic Day parade is an all-time favourite. Before the advent of television, it was estimated that up to 5,00,000 people flocked to see this spectacle and it was common to hear about thousands of aam-aadmis without the privileged chhabbis janvari pass spending the night before in the unreserved enclosures to find a place to see the parade. But now in its 59th year, when the spectacle still arouses enormous enthusiasm and fierce but fleeting patriotism, one would venture to suggest that the time has come to give the Republic Day parade a final farewell in its 60th year, that is in January 2009.
There will be many angry protests and some may even see this suggestion as blasphemous, but an objective review and a national debate is called for. Spectacle as related to the power of the state serves a deeper societal purpose and from imperial Rome through the Soviet experience to present times, the historical continuum provides the contextual relevance. -- LEADER ARTICLE: An Unnecessary Ritual C Uday Bhaskar TOI 26 Jan 2008]
[The Ecology Narrative is different. It starts with the premise that investors and borrowers cooperate and compete in a complex ecosystem. Everyone seeks wealth while minimizing risk. As Jim Manzi, a software entrepreneur who specializes in applied artificial intelligence, has noted, the chief tension in this ecosystem is between innovation and uncertainty. We could live in a safer world, but we’d have to forswear creativity. -- Op-Ed Columnist Two Cheers for Wall St. By DAVID BROOKS NYT: January 25, 2008]
"Spectacle," not only "serves a deeper societal purpose," but also functions as fuel for the financial and economic engine of a nation. Carnivals accentuate "tension between innovation and uncertainty." [TNM]

Thursday, January 24, 2008

System T and Model T

[The unveiling of the Tata Nano is something for which Ratan Tata and the Tata group should be applauded. Yes, there are detractors galore, whining about the environment, congestion, road safety and so on. What they are missing is that this car, soon to be followed by numerous others, is another step in the economic development of the country. This is similar to the introduction of the Ford Model T or the Volkswagen, which led to the building of highways and autobahns, and to the creation of thousands of jobs. -- Avinder Bindra]
[The system T was originally investigated (with the name T) by Gödel ([Gödel, 1933]), (as reported in [Lemmon, 1957, p179]). This system was investigated independently, also under the name T, by R. Feys in [Feys, 1937] (as reported in [Lemmon, 1957, p179]). This system was independently investigated under the name "M" by G.H. von Wright in his book "An essay in modal logic" von Wright, 1951, appendex II, p85-90] (as reported in [Lemmon, 1957, p179])
Bolesław Sobociński proved "M" and "T" to be the same system in "Note on a system of Feys - von Wright", in The Journal of Computing Systems, v. 1(1953), p171-178 (as reported in [
Lemmon, 1957, p179])...]
Thirst for new systems and models must last for ever. However, accessing the power of perceiving the underlying unitary principle would receive priority. [TNM]

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Creativity, community, conversation

[Historically we are at a point where information is so rapidly and easily exchanged that artists can no longer afford not to speak for themselves, and students, educators, and critics of the music can't afford not to listen. The field is so exceedingly diverse and the technology is so exceedingly simple to make the kind of idea-sharing and community building that's only been dreamed of in the past a definite and immediate reality. -- WHY WRITE? Posted by Kris Tiner at 2:57 PM Labels: , 4 comments: 8:38 AM]
Where are the artists and architects, actors and dancers, musicians and photographers belonging to the Savitri Era fraternity? Where is the dialogue? Where is the community? Surely, we are busy pushing the frontiers of art and creativity; must spare some time for conversation, nonetheless. [TNM]

What transforms the water of the brain into the wine of the mind?

[William James disavowed any scientific method that tried to dissect the mind into a set of elemental units After all, the real paradox of the brain is why it feels like more than the sum of its parts. How does our pale gray matter become the Technicolor cinema of consciousness? What transforms the water of the brain into the wine of the mind? Where does the self come from? Reductionism can't answer these questions. Misreading the mind If neuroscientists want to understand the mystery of consciousness, they'll need new methods. By Jonah Lehrer LAT Home > Op-Ed: Sunday Current January 20, 2008 7:47 AM]
[Mental and Spiritual Development:
The great Indian sage Aurobindo divided psychospiritual development into 12 progressive stages. His work falls within the great philosophical and spiritual traditions, East and West, that identify an ascending development of consciousness reaching from a survival-based instinctual life, through progressive levels of mental experience to the highest attainment of direct spiritual experience. This final apotheosis transcends all previous levels of cognitive mental experience. Main January 22, 2008 Notes From a Fellow Traveller
Elliott S. Dacher, M.D.
author of Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing]
[Intelligent Stupidity in the Age of the Descending Curve
by Gagdad Bob This is a subtle point, but when a man lives in mere "thought," his habitual thoughts eventually wear grooves in the psyche in a manner described by Sri Aurobindo. As a result, something curious happens, a kind of "erosion of truth. ...
One Cosmos -
Where William James leaves off, Sri Aurobindo delineates in his The Life Divine. [TNM]

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sensex trouncing Hang Seng may not be that distant

[Another Volatile Day: Sensex ends down 875pts BS Reporter / Mumbai January 22, 2008
The Sensex opened with a negative gap of 721 points at 16,884 after the 1,400pt fall yesterday on weak global cues. The index hit the 10% lower limit at 15,889 within minutes, and trading was suspended for an hour. The index staged a dramatic recovery on resumption of trading, and zoomed to a high of 17,069. The index was unable to hold gains as a fresh round of selling saw it slide to a low of 15,332 - down almost 13% (2,273 points) from the previous close.
Fresh buying in the last one-hour of trades saw the Sensex recover once again and finally finish with a loss of 875 points (5% ) at 16,730 - a recovery of 1,398 points from the day's low. The NSE Nifty slumped to a low of 4,449, down 14.6% (760 points), recovered and ended with a loss of 6% (310 points) at 4,899. Business Standard] 2008-01-22 10:36:48 Source : CNBC-TV18
Union finance minister P Chidambaram said the economy is expected to grow 8.5% next year and 8.9% this year. So there is "no reason to allow the worries of western world to ovewhelm us, our economy is very strong," he reassured, adding that liquidity is not an issue.]
An analyst on TV advised the investors to remain calm and composed. The Finance Minister counseled nonchalance. So, to be a successful investor, one, it seems, must be a kind of yogi. For, booking profits by selling one's holdings on such days can be construed as immoral. Enduring the burden of notional loss for sometime ahead is rather virtuous.

Besides, there is the patriotism angle also. Just as the soldiers are guarding the country's borders, civilians having disposable funds must stay invested to protect the frontiers of our financial might. And then, Sensex trouncing Hang Seng may not be that distant. [TNM]

Monday, January 21, 2008

Weeds and cobwebs; Wiki and Diwali

One person who alone symbolizes the spirit of new India is Sam Pitroda. It is a matter of great disquiet that his ideas at the National Knowledge Commission are being resisted [8:52 AM]. Kaushik Basu points out that the Industrial Disputes Act “is hurting workers” and urgent reforms are necessary [9:13 AM]. But the Government at the Centre seems to be in limbo thanks to the Left physicians.

All our laws including the Constitution need to be rewritten. In the age of Internet this can be done by grassroots participation in the Wiki model. All corporate bodies, similarly, should throw open their manuals of rules and regulations for public scrutiny and suggestions. Weeding out outmoded installations and removing cobwebs should be an annual feature in the Diwali spirit. Let it be institutionalized by celebrating a particular day of the year. [TNM]

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bharat aptly denotes the nation's future role

[Last updated : Jan 19, Sat 2008, 4:39 pm पर्थ में हारा ऑस्ट्रेलिया, भारत ने चुकाया बदला
भारत और ऑस्ट्रेलिया के बीच पर्थ में खेला गया मैच भारत ने 72 रनों से जीत लिया और ऑस्ट्रेलिया के विजय रथ को उसके घर में ही रोक दिया।]
[On the same line but on a much higher plane, the great freedom fighter and a seer, spoke on the day of our Independence at length about his dreams about India’s future... Sri Aurobindo’s words, though appear to be too dreamy and high-brow, befitting a true seer (Yugarshi), are too weighty and meaningful to be brushed aside. Every line of his provides a deep insight regarding India’s past, present and future. -- Posted by Barada Charan Sharma at 10:17 PM Monday, January 14, 2008 LET THERE BE LIGHT: A NAMING PROBLEM]
[Have you the other strength in you? Have you realised what Nationalism is? Have you realised that it is a religion that you are embracing? If you have, then call yourselves Nationalists; and when you have called yourselves Nationalists, then try to live your Nationalism. Try to realise the strength within you, try to bring it forward, so that everything you do may be not your own doing, but the doing of that Truth within you. Try so that every hour that you live shall be enlightened by that presence, that every thought of yours shall be inspired from that one fountain of inspiration, that every faculty and quality in you may be placed at the service of that immortal Power within you... *A lecture delivered under the auspices of the Bombay National Union by Sri Aurobindo to a large gathering at Mahajan Wadi, Bombay, on Sunday, the 19th January, 1908. Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > Bande Mataram Volume-01 > The Present Situation
How long should we have two different names of our country? Bharat is a much more inspiring name than India and aptly denotes the nation's future role within the global community. [TNM]

Friday, January 18, 2008

Subordinating universities to every purpose but the cultivation of the intellect

[The drive towards a uniform syllabus for all Indian universities is symptomatic of the dangers that afflict the system. Such a move undermines the very integrity of the concept of a university. The very core of the idea of a university vanishes if it cannot, within some constraints, control who it can teach, what it can teach, and how it teaches. It is a community of professionals accountable to students, peers, and a sense of vocation...
The decline of Indian higher education can be traced to that peculiar combination of the Congress and the Left that dominated higher education in the seventies. It killed higher education through a combination of state control, populism, patronage and subordinating universities to every purpose but the cultivation of the intellect. The combination continues: Pratap Bhanu Mehta One size can’t fit all Home > Edits & Columns > Indian Express: Monday, January 07, 2008 The UGC proposal to standardise curriculum will destroy creativity. The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research]
It came as a rude shock when Pratap Bhanu Mehta chose to resign in a huff from the National Knowledge Commission, where he had the opportunity in contributing to implementation of ideas. His noble pleading for “the very integrity of the concept of a university” amounts to a cruel joke when we look at the stranglehold of Marxist Professors in top universities like JNU and DU. [TNM]

Integral = Indra

[This evolution, this process of heightening and widening and integralisation, is in its nature a growth and an ascent out of the sevenfold ignorance into the integral knowledge.
heightening = Agni
widening = Vayu
integralisation = Indra

Humility, not hubris

It is abominable to see Gautam Adhikari rush in to educate the readers, of the difference between “leader articles” and “editorials” so condescendingly, and then go on to threaten, “you don’t have to buy the Times of India if you find it a repulsive banana newspaper, whatever that means. Just don’t try to intimidate us by ridicule or threats.” This is insolence and hubris of the worst kind. He seems to be oblivious of the notion that both producers and consumers are stakeholders.

Newspapers are one of the most prominent blessings of modernity, and each country has created a few favourites. The role of Gautam Adhikari is nothing but a speck in the 170 years’ history of the Times of India. His name indicates that he is eminently entitled to be pervaded by light and knowledge. Fine, but why should humility is a casualty? [TNM] 2:30 PM 5:07 PM

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bipin Chandra vs. Bipan Chandra

[Sri Aurobindo, Bankim Chandra Chetterji, Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal offered a national significance to religious signs and festivals. They were of the opinion that the basis of Indian nationalism is indisputably linked to the ancient Vedic . The revivals of the Ganapathi worship and Shivaji festival in 1893 and 1895 were in tune with this ideology. Bipan Chandra wrote:
“Many extremist leaders like Aurobindo Ghose, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Raj used Hindu symbols, ideas, and myths in their political speeches and writings. India was often referred to as Mother Goddess or compared with Kali, Durga and other Hindu Goddesses. The early revolutionary terrorists swore by the Gita and Kali and some even saw in the Hindu tinge a revolutionary feature, many leaders of the anti-partition of Bengal agitation tried to give a religious colour to the boycott movement in order to popularise it among the masses” (Communalism in Modern India)...
Sri Aurobindo came up with the theme of nationalism being the personification of immortal religion. . He says: “I say no longer that nationalism is a creed, a religion, a faith; I say that it is the Sanatan Dharma which for us is nationalism. This Hindu nation was born with the Sanatan Dharma, with it moves and with it grows” (Sri Aurobindo, collected works). -- Iqbal and the Advent of Pakistan 16 January 2008 CE KALIM AHMED]
It should be remembered that the political activities by Sri Aurobindo were part of his strategy to mobilize people with the objective of fighting against the British rule. [TNM]

Vedic symbolism of the struggle between Death and Immortality

[If on the other hand this is a symbolism of the struggle between spiritual powers of Light and Darkness, Truth and Falsehood, Knowledge and Ignorance, Death and Immortality, then that is the real sense of the whole Veda...
Our object is only to see whether there is a prima facie case for the idea with which we started that the Vedic hymns are the symbolic gospel of the ancient Indian mystics and their sense spiritual and psychological. Such a prima facie case we have established; for there is already sufficient ground for seriously approaching the Veda from this standpoint and interpreting it in detail as such a lyric symbolism. -- Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > The Secret Of The Veda Volume-10 > Summary Of Conclusions]
That the Veda is poetry as well as philosophy has been proved by Sri Aurobindo beyond any dispute. To read it on the same footing without harboring inhibitions of rupturing a scripture is the most prudent approach to profit by it. [TNM]

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

To Nano or not to Nano

[Not surprisingly, there are many who have expressed concerns about the prospect of the masses accessing personal automobiles. The issues they raise range from the impact on oil prices and a concern for global warming, to traffic congestion. Most such commentators have not been known to eschew their personal automobiles, or other modern conveniences, but have no qualms in frowning upon the masses enjoying some of the same benefits. This desire to keep others off the life-boats of their standard of living is a common feature of many who claim to have social or environmental concern in their hearts...
Also as more Indians learn to drive, the appreciation of basic road rules and etiquettes will improve, as drivers begin to realise that the purpose of the rules are not to hinder movement, but to facilitate it. -- Barun S Mitra Tata Nano: Small car, big vision, stained by Singur Liberty Institute India 12 January 2008 Author: Mr Mitra is the director of Liberty Institute, an independent think tank based in New Delhi]
[By calling the economy ‘human’ we insist on putting people first, making their thoughts, actions and lives our main concern. Such a focus should also be pragmatic: making economy personally meaningful to students or readers, relating it to ordinary people’s practical purposes. ‘Humanity’ is a moral quality, implying that, if we want to be good, we should treat other persons, people like ourselves, kindly...
If you have some money, there is almost no limit to what you can do with it, but, as soon as you buy something, the act of payment lends concrete finality to your choice. Money’s significance thus lies in the synthesis it promotes of impersonal abstraction and personal meaning, objectification and subjectivity, analytical reason and synthetic narrative. Its social power comes from the fluency of its mediation between infinite potential and finite determination. -- The human economy from The Memory Bank 3.0 by keith] 6:01 PM
Till the time consumerism ceases to be a pejorative epithet in India, let's learn to play by the rules and with fellow-feeling. [TNM]

Savitri Era Party favours a free market place of ideas

[It exposes an inherent hypocrisy in our political system where in spite of an embrace of the free market, we still feel a need to bow before the altar of socialism. It’s time we shed these double standards. -- TODAY'S EDITORIAL: We're All Socialists The Times of India 15 Jan 2008]
[We are a ‘liberal’ newspaper in the classical sense of the term. Our job is to offer you a wide variety of opinions to help you reflect and form your own views...
Yes, we have a motive. It’s to stick openly and steadfastly to liberalism. Unfortunately, the poli-tical landscape in India leaves little room these days for the play of liberalism as we understand it. Our liberalism compels us to be socially tolerant and economically as well as politically ‘free to choose’. That’s why we are neither socialists nor extreme nationalists. And that’s why we support market forces, which are all about choice, while continuing to believe in an effective role for the state as regulator, facilitator and provider of security for life and property so that, with good governance, we can lead peaceful and prosperous lives in an interconnected world.
Strangely, in an age when you might presume it’s improbable in a modern democracy, it’s actually difficult to belong to our bandwidth in the Indian political spectrum. It isn’t only because the extremes of a fiercely Hindu nationalist right and an obtusely Neanderthal left, with the Congress party being a muddle in the middle, leave little space for reasoned debate along classically liberal lines. In fact, a party professing market-oriented liberalism can even be termed unconstitutional. As we have argued in an editorial next to this article, you cannot under the Constitution register a party that debunks socialism or, for that matter, secularism...
All that Goldberger wanted to emphasise was that freedom of speech must be defended, even when the beneficiaries of such defence were not the kind of individuals we would associate with out of choice. And that’s the kind of liberalism we in the Times subscribe to. So, we defend the right of Taslima Nasreen to write what she likes, perhaps angering Muslim fundamentalists, as well as M F Husain to depict Saraswati as he wants, infuriating Hindu bigots, while impressing upon the state not to interfere by banning expressions of art, which are viewpoints. -- Gautam Adhikari LEADER ARTICLE: Where We Stand The Times of India 15 Jan 2008]
Savitri Era Party wholly agrees with Adhikari's impatience with the "Hindu bigots" and the "Neanderthal left." But when he complains of "little space for reasoned debate along classically liberal lines," we disagree. The Times of India, under the aegis of "the gang of four," has systematically banished intellectual discourse from its pages. A book like, A Secular Age by Charles Taylor should have stimulated wide ranging debate in our media. Savitri Era Party favours a free market place of ideas. [TNM] 3:58 AM

Ratan Tata should be awarded Bharat Ratna for his in(a)novation

[Orissa CM seeks Bharat Ratna for Biju Patnaik Hindustan Times - PTI: Lobbying for Bharat Ratna continued on Monday with Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanding that the country's highest civilian award be conferred on his father late Biju Patnaik.]
[Nano to breed innovation in accessory market Economic Times - NEW DELHI: Time was when people were riled by their rides. Public transport in India is no joie de vivre. Time will be when they may get pride in their rides.]
Ratan Tata should be awarded Bharat Ratna for his in(a)novation. [TNM]

Evolution is the aim, and transformation is the utility

The whole debate on humanities is based on eclipsed learning. The earliest text of humanities is the Veda wherein evolution is the aim, and transformation is the utility. Without reading the book, The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo, it is futile to make any comment. [TNM]

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rules vs. principles

[The United Nations should establish a monitoring unit devoted not to elections, but to the work of election commissions. -- Observe Early and Often By EDWARD P. JOSEPH, NYT]
[I think some people on some occasions do tend to interpret laws, rules, regulations differently. This brings me to a larger subject the philosophical debate of principles based regulations and rules based regulations. Everybody seems to be arguing against rules and in favour of principles. But you talk to people at middle levels and compliance functionaries and they will tell you that they want the rules to be written out in all the specificities because we are the guys whose heads are on the chopping block and our higher management might talk about principle based regulations. A healthy compromise between those is what we are attempting. -- 'Brokers, FIIs, banks will comply better if the writing of regulation is a consultative process' SEBI chairman M. Damodaran In an interaction with Express staff, Date: 13-Jan-2008]
[Regulation succeeds market; else it would kill the market. If you grow a market in size, one individual will not have a disproportionate influence in the market. There is an element of investor protection in this. -- M. Damodaran 'India's first self-regulatory organisation within a year' ET 14 Jan, 2008]
Should the regulators be elected by the people, considering the clout they acquire as the market expands? [TNM]

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Subjectivity is always-already distributed

[To define ourselves in relation to others, ultimately, causes us to invalidate them, simply because we can’t fuck two people at once, even if we pretend that we can. Hence, in essence, we favor one over the other, because that is what comparing does, and this is what defining ourselves in relation to others amounts to, in practice. Relating isn’t about self-defining, but collaborating. Relating is about showing face rather than putting on a mask—which is what self-defining is, unavoidably. Failing to self-define who we are causes us to project ourselves onto others. Self-defining is the result of inquiry; self-defining is how we become aware of our own bias, assumptions and denials. Self-defining is a necessary step in the transcendence and inclusion of ourselves, as a person or a collective of people. Self-defining in relation to others is a boundary violation, from which suffering is born, because no one other than us can define who we are.
We continuously define ourselves by talking, but most of the time we do so without taking ownership of it, because self-defining comes at the price of bearing our own responsibility. Exclaiming that we don’t matter or that we are just an illusionary construct is a cheap way to absolve ourselves of our own burden; refraining from self-defining is counter-productive to relating, meeting, merging and being seen. -- Second-Tier Community—Or the Myth of Unity January 13th, 2008, posted by christoph]
[As Badiou so nicely articulates it, ontology will be the science of multiplicity qua multiplicity without any identical terms or unities pre-existing these multiplicities. The aim will be to explain how we move from these inconsistent multiplicities to consistent multiplicities…
This leads to a paradox in which social agents simultaneously produce society and are produced by society. The social is nothing but the activity of the individuals that produce it, yet the relations composing society exceed the intentions or mastery of any single individual…
Luhmann treats social systems as autopoietic systems that are operationally closed and which reproduce themselves in time…It is not the outside that determines the system, but rather the organization of the system itself determines itself…Luhmann’s theoretical premises lead to a very pessimistic view as to the possibilities of social change through any sort of activism, because each system and sub-system is operationally closed and only relates to its environment through the mediation of its own code.
That is, under this model we will not have any ultimate unities or identities, but rather it will be multiplicities all the way down, where one multiplicity constitutes another multiplicity as a unity for itself…
The idea of a discrete subjectivity is a myth or optical illusion of sorts… As thinkers such as Lacan and Deleuze and Guattari teach us, subjectivity is always-already distributed in the sense that subjects are always already individuated within a social field…Territories of Music: Distributions, Productions, and Sonorous Individuations by larvalsubjects 8 December 2007]
[Individually we know so pathetically little, and yet socially we use a range and complexity of knowledge that would confound a computer. -- Knowledge and Decisions Thomas Sowell]
Does the Myth of Unity correspond to Ontology as the science of multiplicity? [TNM]

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Markets are a discovery process

[Markets are a discovery process, with firms and investors learning as they try new ideas and react to changed conditions. What markets need is a stable regulatory environment, in which every dip in the market does not produce a new set of rules. -- Andrew P. Morriss, Professor, Institute for Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois Market Correction Competition is a Discovery Procedure from Cafe Hayek]
[So why is the umpire being left behind? There are instances where technology could have changed cricket record books — Derek Pringle’s appeal of LBW against... Should technology replace umpires? Economic Times, India - 10 Jan 2008]
Even the best of regulators and umpires are vulnerable in the absence of an Archimedean Point. [TNM]

No quarrel over teaching Darwin's theory of Evolution in schools in India

[Bolton discusses this question of uniqueness in Keys of Gnosis, but I would use slightly different terminology. That is, I would say that each snowflake is an individual, but they are not individuated. Only a human being can individuate, which is to say, achieve a destiny which is unique to him. So yes, there is a kind of "predestination," but it's very different from the materialistic predestination of a snowflake. Human beings alone can become something they're not, and thus arrive at the wrong destination. No one has to tell a pig to be one, but you can never stop telling a liberal to be a Man. In fact, there can be a fine line between destiny and fate. Only destiny is within the realm of providence, whereas fate implies its opposite...
In a Christian context, predestination reduces you to a plaything of God, whereas in an Eastern context, you are just a plaything of maya. But the whole point of Christian metaphysics is that time is both real and irreversible, so that true and eternally valuable novelty occurs within it. "For this reason," as Bolton explains, "supposedly spiritual teachings for which the total system is the only real agent [i.e., monism] are only disguised expressions of Fate," and fate is not providence, let alone destiny. Predestination explains precisely nothing, but unexplains everything. -- Providence, Destiny, and Fate, Oh My! from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob]
[It is no surprise when a dictator wins an election. With one name on the ballot the election is, of course, a landslide victory and no one is fooled by the self-congratulatory victory speech. The situation would be laughable except that the dictator holds all the power. Something like this occurred in the scientific world last week when the National Academy of Sciences published the latest version of its on-going assault against anything and anyone not aligned with evolution. According to the new 88 page booklet, entitled Science, Evolution, and Creationism, Darwin's theory is unquestionably true, required for scientific research and, in fact, the only choice to begin with. -- by ARN Staff 10:19:11 pm, Categories: Commentary - OpEd, Critique of NAS Report on Evolution - Part 1 Hail Darwin! by Cornelius Hunter]
It should be seen as a great civilisational advance that in India there is no quarrel over teaching Darwin's theory of Evolution in the schools. [TNM]

Friday, January 11, 2008

The sun has not only set on the British Empire but the lights have gone out as well

[NEW DELHI: President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday endorsed the UPA government's description of India as the world's "fastest growing free market democracy" as she urged the diaspora to contribute in their homeland's development and invest in its human capital. The description from the President came at the valedictory of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas meet, and only days after Supreme Court refused to entertain a suggestion (in a PIL) seeking deletion of the word "socialist" from the Constitution, inserted through 42nd amendment. -- President Patil endorses 'free market' stand The Times of India 10 Jan 2008, 0134 hrs IST, Ashish Sinha]
[The disposal of Jaguar and Land Rover by Ford is just another sign that the sun has not only set on the British Empire but the lights have gone out as well. Ford may have been an American multinational company, but its long history and substantial presence here always made it feel as though the two charismatic brands had stayed within our grasp. But Ford’s hopeless inability to manage Jaguar, in particular, has served to underline that the world is looking to the East for its salvation. Tata could be a prime player in the British luxury car market, if it gets hold of Jaguar and Land Rover. At least under Ford the two Midlands-based companies could be promised an interchange of high-technology, design ideas and talent with their parent business. -- Kevin Eason From The Times January 11, 2008 Ambitious Tata has designs on famous British names Home]
[The British Empire no longer exists. Learn to live with it and quit whining. The UK is a lapdog of the USA, and will be insignificant in the world compared to China and India in a few decades. All good things must end, my friend, and world domination for you has ENDED. -- Isiah, Washington, DC, USA]
[The key link is between freedom of movement/labor and globalization. I have more study to do (a lot) in behavioral economics & game theory – though I do know that game theory gels well with evolutionary theory/psychology, see Nonzero by Bob Wright on the subject, also an Obama supporter interestingly.
Movement of people and labor in a globalized world also means movement of religion, cultures, languages (some dying, others hybridized), which links with Obama’s biography but also his sense about culture, race, and the need for discourse – from the “evil” Republicans to the “evil” Iranians. --
Left-Libertarian from Indistinct Union by cjsmith]
Demographics and economy is forcing fast changes in the geo-political equations. A large reservoir of social capital is the only bulwark that would help sustain the growth momentum. Practice of Integral Yoga, to a large extent, is ethics. No wonder, Sri Aurobindo put it pithily, “All life is yoga.” [TNM]

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Corporation's supramental possibilities

["THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Footage from pop culture, advertising, TV, news, and corporate propaganda, illuminates the corporation's grip on our lives. Taking its legal status as a "person" to its logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?" Provoking, witty, sweepingly informative, The Corporation includes forty interviews with corporate insiders and critics - including Milton Friedman, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change." I Am Watching The Corporation... from ~C4Chaos by ~C4Chaos]
["We think of corporations as immutable, but they were designed. It was a conscious design which worked as Adam Smith said: the principal architects of policy consolidate state power and use it for their interests. It was certainly not popular will. It’s basically court decisions and lawyers’ decisions, which created a form of private tyranny which is now more massive in many ways than even state tyranny was. These are major parts of modern twentieth century history..." ‘Education is Ignorance’ by Noam Chomsky (1995) (The full interview is here)
Chomsky lives in the USA, hence the main focus of his despair at the state of the world is directed at corporate capitalism – the list of their infamies are long and vile – but I think we need some perspective here. -- Chomsky Fuming About Distortions of Adam Smith's Legacy from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy]
[Ashoka has long recognized the importance of collaboration with other sectors, particularly business, whose models of competition and innovation provide critical lessons for citizen organizations. Our work in this area is helping close the historical gap between the business and civil society, creating important avenues for integration and synergy between both communities. Home » What We Do] 2:26 AM
Infamies notwithstanding, the corporation "person" does have supramental possibilities. [TNM]


[It seems to me that Ranciere’s understanding of the “distribution of the sensible” here goes far beyond his preoccupation of politics, converging in a number of interesting ways with Deleuze’s project of formulating a “transcendental empiricism”... There is a tendency in discussions of Deleuze to assimilate his transcendental empiricism to classical Humean empiricism...Deleuze is not, of course, reducing all sensibility to the domain of “vital sensibility” or the biological...In the Kant of the first Critique, aesthetics is treated rigorously in terms of its etymology as aisthesis, and refers to the domain of sensibility.
For Kant there is thus a “transcendental aesthetic”, or the pure, a priori, forms of sensibility or space and time, and an empirical aesthetic referring to the various sensations that populate sensibility such as the various feels, sounds, tastes, and smells we encounter in space and time. Deleuze proposes to unite these two senses of the aesthetic so as to account for the very production of sensibility in a “distribution of the sensible”: The Visible and the Invisible from Larval Subjects] 8:12 AM
[It may be that consciousness studies and affect studies are too different as approaches to the mind (or, as I’d rather say, to experience) to be integrated at all easily)...Crucial here is James’ sense of how what he calls “emotions” are visceral before they are mental: my stomach doesn’t start churning because I feel afraid; rather, I feel afraid because my stomach has started churning...The affect is an overall neurological and bodily experience; the emotion is secondary, a result of my becoming-conscious of the affect, or focusing on it self-reflexively.The Head Trip; consciousness and affect from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro] 9:35 AM
These audacious attempts at integration can find easy resolution if the top-down formulation of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss-Supermind and its fourfold mundane Other are taken as the basic scaffolding. [TNM]

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Singur signals the liquidation of Marxist economic ideology in India

[100 seems the magical figure for Tata Steel this year. As India's oldest steel company completes 100 years, it is all set to cross the magical figure of Rs 100 thousand crore in turnover this year. CNBC-TV18’s Kenan Machado and Krupali Pandit Yadav report, that Tata Steel won't just stop there. Life seems to have come full circle for Tata Steel. Having started operations in 1907, India's largest private steel maker sees its turnover for fiscal 2008 slightly more than Rs 100,000 crore or nearly USD 25 billion. And that's thanks to its USD 12.9 billion acquisition of Corus early last year.
B Muthuraman, MD, Tata Steel said, “The Corus turnover is USD 18 billion and Tata Steel turnover is about USD 6 billion, which is USD 24 billion. Between Natsteel Asia and Tata Steel Thailand it’s more than a billion and a half.” But age hasn't seemed to have slowed down the steel giant. Having had to move the setting up of a new 6 million tonne steel plant within Orissa to Kalinganagar, from Gopalpur, Tata Steel has turned a roadblock into an opportunity. It plans to set up a new 150,000 tonne colour coated galvanizing plant in Gopalpur with an investment of Rs 250 crore rupees. And 3,200 acres of land acquired for the original steel plant there won't be wasted either. “As you know, Gopalpur is SEZ land and we are looking for partners who will come and implement it,” Muthuraman said.
It is also getting a fresh lease of life from the beleaguered Chattisgarh and Jharkhand projects. While work on the Chhattisgarh project will start this year and be commissioned four years later, work on the new 12 million tonne project in Jharkhand will start in 2009 and will be commissioned in 2013. That, it seems, may be enough tonic for Tata Steel to face another century.
Tata Steel gears up for another century: Moneycontrol » News » Business 2008-01-07 source : CNBC-TV18]
[We are in desperate need of a Thatcher-Reagan revolution. We must be able to republish the 1962 manifesto of Rajaji and Masani and honestly embrace the market, not play footsie with it surreptitiously. Is there hope for this? --
Revive the Swatantra Party Because India remains one of the last citadels of confused statism The Indian Express Monday, July 25, 2005] 5:08 AM
Tata Steel in 1907 marked the beginning of the end of the British Empire. Their car factory in Singur signals the liquidation of Marxist economic ideology in India 100 years later. Even Jyoti Basu is now convinced of the primacy of private enterprise. At this juncture, it is appropriate to remember Rajaji, K.M. Munshi, Piloo Mody, the founder of the Swatantra Party and Minoo Masani et al who carried forward their minority opinion. [TNM]

Monday, January 07, 2008

Reconquer money and power for the Divine

To succeed at politics - especially at the national level - requires duplicity and shamelessness rivaled only by arrogance. For my son to become President he would have to abandon nearly every moral precept that my wife and I try hard now to impart to him: honesty, forthrightness, decency, respect for others, and modesty. We emphatically do not want our son to yearn for power, for to do so would inevitably corrode his humanity.
Thomas, like nearly everyone else in this world, will be fit to rule himself when he is an adult. He is not, and never will be - again like everyone else - fit to rule others, even if those others elect him to do so. Sincerely, Donald J. Boudreaux Thomas Boudreaux, Future President of the USA? from The India Uncut Blog by Amit Varma]
[Money is a sign of universal force, and this force in its manifestation on earth works on the vital and physical planes and is indispensable to the fullness of outer life. In its origin and its true action it belongs to the Divine. But like other powers of the Divine it is delegated here and in the ignorance of the lower Nature can be usurped for the uses of the ego or held by Asuric influences and perverted to their purpose.
This is indeed one of the three forces - power, wealth, sex - that have the strongest attraction for the human ego and the Asura and are most generally misheld and misused by those who retain them. The seekers or keepers of wealth are more often possessed rather than its possessors; few escape entirely a distorting influence stamped on it by its long seizure and perversion by the Asura. For this reason most spiritual disciplines insist on complete self-control, detachment and renunciation of all bondage to wealth and of all personal and egoistic desire for its possession. Some even put a ban on money and riches and proclaim poverty and bareness of life as the only spiritual condition.
But this is an error; it leaves the power in the hands of the hostile forces. To reconquer it for the Divine to whom it belongs and use it divinely for the divine life is the supramental way for the Sadhaka. You must neither turn with an ascetic shrinking from the money power, the means it gives and the object it brings, nor cherish a rajasic attachment to them or a spirit of enslaving self-indulgence in their gratifications... Fourth letter in "The Mother" (Money) by Sri Aurobindo]
Sri Aurobindo's advice to reconquer money power should also apply to Boudreaux's objections to politics. [TNM]

Sri Aurobindo after Gandhi

[Rarely in any country’s history have so many men and women of intelligence and integrity taken—at more or less the same time—to the political life. We Indians are insufficiently aware of (and certainly insufficiently grateful to) the country’s Founding Fathers and Mothers. We owe them much more than we realize. Now, intelligence and integrity have mostly left the sphere of politics—although they are visibly present in the realms of social work and social activism, entrepreneurship, and in professions such as medicine and the law...
I guess I must have the four modern Indians I admire above all others—Tagore, Gandhi, Ambedkar, and Nehru. Then the great (or at least brilliant) Indian whose politics and personality is somewhat at odds with this quartet—namely, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. That will surely get the sparks flying. Finaly, the socialist-turned-social worker Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, not to fill in the gender quota, but because of the range of her experience and the independence of her mind, not to speak of her penchant for puncturing pomposity wherever it was to be found... The Books Interview: Ramachandra Guha from The Middle Stage The publication of Ramachandra Guha’s thrilling history of India from 1947 to the present day India After Gandhi was one of the highlights of Indian literature in 2007. by Chandrahas]
The Mother and Sri Aurobindo don't count in this esteemed historian's estimate. But the title of his book has a special significance as Sri Aurobindo outlived Gandhi by nearly three years to guide the nation. [TNM]

Transforming our racial or rational temperaments

[Crucial here is James’ sense of how what he calls “emotions” are visceral before they are mental: my stomach doesn’t start churning because I feel afraid; rather, I feel afraid because my stomach has started churning...The Head Trip; consciousness and affect from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro] 9:35 AM
[Both the Romantic movement and organized religion have contributed a great deal to the arts and to the spirituality of the Western mind, but they share a hostility to modernity... Blind Faiths By AYAAN HIRSI ALI The New York Times: January 6, 2008] 9:16 AM
The Science of Living by The Mother emphasises the fact that it is possible to live in a progressively higher consciousness, thereby transforming our racial or rational temperaments. [TNM] 8:47 AM 9:05 AM

Friday, January 04, 2008

Algeria, Egypt, England, France, India, Japan, and Turkey

[Recommended reading: The Roots of American Order from The Daily Goose by Matthew
This book by Russell Kirk is fantastic. I’m just a third of the way through, but every page is rewarding. The book’s back cover blurb adequately describes its contents:
What holds America together? In this classic work, Russell Kirk describes the beliefs and institutions that have nurtured the American soul and commonwealth. Beginning with the Hebrew prophets, Kirk examines in dramatic fashion the sources of American order.
His analytical narrative might be called “a tale of five cities”: Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and Philadelphia. For an understanding of the significance of America at the dawn of a new century, Russell Kirk’s masterpiece on the history of American civilization is unsurpassable.]
To string together the Savitri Erans narrative, we shall have to traverse through several cities spreading over Algeria, Egypt, England, France, India, Japan, and Turkey. [TNM]