Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Coronavirus Crisis: Facts & Predictions

A crisis often leads to a blurring of the boundary between fact and prediction. What is a prediction from one perspective is viewed as a fact from another perspective; this is what we are witnessing in case of the coronavirus crisis. There are many hysterical and terrified people who believe that between two to five million people are going to die from coronavirus infections—they claim that the high casualty figures are a fact because experts on TV are saying it, but this isn’t a fact; this is a prediction made by public figures with a history of making incorrect predictions, and there are other, more reliable, public figures, who disagree with such high casualty figures. There is no easy way of divining a future from facts—but I stand by what I have been saying for the last ten days: the toll from coronavirus will not be high enough (it will be much less than the toll from the seasonal flus which come every year) to justify the complete lockdown of the world.

The Tyranny of Virus

A measly flu virus has achieved in less than a month what the great tyrants of history—Alexander the great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Stalin—dreamed to achieve but could not in their lifetime: World domination. Modern civilization is weak, corrupt, and pathetic; it has allowed a flu virus to gain a total stranglehold on the life of billions of people. Hail the tyrant coronavirus  In another couple of weeks, I am optimistic, this tyrant coronavirus will be overthrown and society will try to find a new normal, but its short reign will leave an indelible mark our politics, economy, and culture.

Monday, March 30, 2020

A Fantasy on the Problem of Certainty

It's not possible for a man to be certain that he is not at this moment the Emperor of a civilization, located on a planet in the Andromeda galaxy, dreaming of being billions of lightyears away from his kingdom, on a planet called Earth, in the Milky Way galaxy, where there exists a primitive civilization and he is locked inside a house because the local government has issued a lockdown order to save its population from a virus called “covid-19,” which, unknown to the earthlings, originated in cloud of stardust located in the other end of the Milky Way and was transported to Earth by a meteor which, fifteen-months ago, fell on the Wuhan region of a nation called China and from there spread across the entire planet.

The Problem Of Journalism

Journalism exercises excessive control on our lives. The problem is that the people are filled with an insatiable desire to have an expert’s knowledge on everything, and this is a need that journalism fulfills—the news reports are designed to make the people feel that they are full of knowledge. The politicians come and go, but journalism is always there to tell people what the issues are and what constitutes knowledge. The nature of journalism is such that it coerces the people to focus on a single issue and forget about everything else, and even on this issue, it mostly disseminates incorrect information—so instead of making the people knowledgeable, it makes them confused and dumb. Exposure to too much journalism is not good for a society. (The absurd coverage of the current coronavirus crisis is a proof of what I say in this post.)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Wars, Epidemics, and Philosophy

The philosophy of the past consists of the unhappy reactions to the post-war and post-epidemic distress that the philosophers have encountered. The Socratic, Platonic, and Aristotelian philosophy can be seen as an outcome of the anti-establishment thinking that was catalyzed by the distress that Ancient Athens was put through after its defeat in the Peloponnesian War. The philosophy of the late middle ages and the early modern period carries the mark of the trauma that Europe went through from the multiple plague epidemics, which, in many regions, decimated more than half the population. I believe that the present pandemic might spawn a philosophical thought that is significantly different from the philosophical trends of the last fifty years.

Society & Risks

People have become convinced that their community can be free of all risks, that they don’t have to worry about disease, unemployment, inflation, poverty, crime, and any other problem, and that the government will always be there to shield them from every risk. But it's impossible to have a community in which there are no risks; if you shutdown your community to avoid risks, then you will remain shutdown for a long time and then there will be no community left.

Sartre’s Being and Nothingness

Jean-Paul Sartre is not among the philosophers that I like; I despise his nihilistic political opinions. But I am now reading his Being and Nothingness (Hazel E. Barnes’s translation). In her Introduction, Barnes writes, “What critics usually fail to see is that Sartre is one of the very few twentieth-century philosophers to present us with a total system. One may at will accept or reject this system, but one is not justified in considering any of its parts in isolation from the whole.” That Sartre has founded a “total system” is a pompous claim—after the 1980s, his works became irrelevant. However, I intend to read this 850-page book to the end.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

On The Journey From Liberalism To Conservatism

The journey from liberalism to conservatism is the trend in all democratic countries. The young man is a liberal; he thinks he can achieve anything; he is contemptuous of the social norms; his mind is a cauldron of idealism and he is full of enthusiasm for changing and reforming everything—but when he gets older and mature, the realization dawns that there are limits to what can be done, that change and reform do not always lead to desirable outcomes, and then be becomes a conservative who takes a hard-headed view of the world, who realizes the importance of conserving the basic structure of his society. “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains”—this saying, I think, captures the difference between the liberal and the conservative.

On Quarantine

The community that uses quarantining as a method of protection from disease is in the long run infinitely more weakened than it is by the prevalence of disease. The more effective the quarantine, the less immune people become to new diseases and the less incentive they have to develop better methods of treatment—and this makes them more vulnerable to any future outbreak.

Friday, March 27, 2020

On Democracy

In a democracy the mob and the monarch come together and create a system of governance in which there is brutalization of the people, by the people, for the people.

The Old Flu Versus The New

The modern mind is enamored by the new and contemptuous of the old. They are contemptuous of old traditions; they are contemptuous of old books; they are contemptuous of  old relatives; they are contemptuous of old wisdom; and lastly, they are contemptuous of old seasonal flu. On the subject of flu—between three to five million people get infected, and between 290,000 to 650,000 people die every year from seasonal flu, but the media and the politicians have never paid any attention to these high casualty figures. I think, they can disregard the seasonal flu because it’s an old flu; our society prefers to be tormented by the new flu, the ultimate arriviste: Coronavirus.

The Platonic View Of Isolation

In the Republic (496d), Plato says that a man has to retire “under the shelter of a wall in the storm of dust and sleet”—or live in total isolation from others—for realizing the unknown potential that may exist inside him. I wonder how many people will realize their unknown potential, now that they are being forced to live in some kind of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Plague Of Athens

The plague that struck Ancient Athens in 430 BC—the second year of the Peloponnesian War—wiped out a third of its population of 300000. The historian Thucydides, who was in Athens, contracted the plague and survived. In his History of the Peloponnesian War, he claims that the plague entered the Greek world by the way of Egypt and Libya, before moving into the wider Mediterranean—wherever the plague went it killed close to 30 percent of the population. He writes, “...the catastrophe was so overwhelming that men, not knowing what would happen next to them, became indifferent to every rule of religion or law.” The physicians, he says, were the first to die since they were in contact with the sick.

The Athenian general Pericles and several infantry and sea commanders were among those who succumbed to the plague. Thucydides laments that after Pericles, Athens was led by weak and incompetent rulers. However, Pericles may have made Athens vulnerable to the plague because, to defeat the Spartans, he developed the strategy of making all Athenians live inside the city walls—he could not have foreseen that the crowded city would become a magnet for the plague which would consume his own life. Had Athens not been struck by the plague, it might have emerged victorious in the Peloponnesian War, which they continued to fight for more than two decades before accepting defeat at the hands of the Spartans.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

On The Malaria Pandemic

No one cares that malaria is causing more than 400000 deaths worldwide, almost every year, since 1972, when a ban was placed on the use of DDT. The publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, in 1962, played a pivotal role in getting DDT internationally banned—she alleged, without presenting any scientific evidence, that DDT has carcinogenic effects and can lead to a cancer epidemic that may wipe out the entire human population within a single generation. The ban on DDT made the people in several poor countries an easy prey to malaria. Millions of people died because Rachel Carson lied. Her lies were widely popularized by her backers in mainstream media, politics, and environmentalist movements—they turned her into a cult figure. But DDT is safe; it does not have any carcinogenic effects (WHO confirmed this fact in 2006).

Plagues and Peoples

A disease that becomes a pandemic might be the result of an enemy action. In his 1976 book Plagues and Peoples, William McNeill examines the effects of smallpox in Mexico, the bubonic plague in China, and the typhoid epidemic in Europe, and presents the thesis that infectious diseases have traditionally served as a means of enemy action and often have had a revolutionary impact on cultures. The book also has a chapter on AIDS.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

On The Intelligent Design Theory

Darwin’s theory of natural selection assumes the existence of organisms with the capacity to reproduce; it does not explain how the first batch of self-replicating organisms arrived on this planet. Reproduction depends on the ability to self-replicate the information-rich proteins and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA); therefore, the origin of DNA and RNA is precisely what the Darwinians must explain, but they can’t.

I am reading Stephen C. Meyer’s book, Darwin’s Doubt, which tries to refute the Darwinian theory and rekindle the intelligent design movement. The crux of Meyer’s argument is that the Darwinians fail to explain two vital issues: the Cambrian explosion and the existence of the information-rich molecules (DNA and RNA)—both these issues, he asserts, can be better explained through models based on intelligent design.

On Saving Humpty Dumpty

Once Humpty Dumpty falls and breaks, the nursery rhyme rightly notes, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put him together again. The confused fight against the pandemic has pushed Humpty Dumpty (the world economy) dangerously close to the wall’s edge. The power-drunk politicians and intellectuals should exercise caution—if they continue to push with their draconian measures, they will make him fall. Once Humpty Dumpty falls and breaks, the political establishment in several nations is going to fall and break, resulting in the ultimate social chaos.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Establishment Versus The Pandemic

I do not fear the pandemic. Left to their own resources, I believe, most people (including the poor) possess enough self-discipline and inner-strength to overcome this pandemic. But I fear the global political (and intellectual) establishment, which appears quite clueless and politically motivated, but is hell-bent on using all its power to “rescue” humanity from the pandemic. By their draconian measures they are creating a psychological and economic nightmare for millions of people—I fear that their response to the pandemic will prove as costly, fruitless, and messy as the global war on terrorism that they have been waging for almost two decades.

On Apocalypse & Hope

When people lose hope, they invite an apocalypse on their entire society. When hope returns, they realize that the apocalypse was a figment of their own imagination.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Progress Breeds Pessimism

Progress breeds pessimism. The last 100 years have brought a significant improvement in the political and financial systems in most nations, and this, in turn, has resulted in large-scale technological and industrial progress and a comfortable lifestyle for many people. Yet, paradoxically, the thinking of our intellectuals has taken an apocalyptic turn—there is an avalanche of books and movies on holocaust, cataclysmic global pandemic, devastating climate change, epic battles with powerful manmade or alien forces, asteroid impacts, or a dystopian post-apocalypse world in which few remaining humans are engaged in a battle for survival. The more advanced we become, the less faith we have in mankind’s future.

Totalitarianism & Liberty

There has not been a single totalitarian movement in the last 250 years that has not proclaimed that its aim is to bring liberty and dignity to the people.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Nietzsche’s Attack On Socrates

Since Socrates identified reason with virtue, and virtue with eudaemonia (human flourishing), Nietzsche despised him. In his work on Ancient Greek thinkers, Nietzsche asserts that the truly great spirits (destiny’s children) are motivated by instinct and that the frigid, self-aware reason, which Socrates represents, was not only antagonistic to instinct but also a sign of decadence. According to Nietzsche, the teachings of Socrates (and his disciple Plato) precipitated the decay of Ancient Greece’s vibrant culture. He conjectures that Socrates may not even be a Greek, noting that Socrates was ugly and ugliness is symptomatic of a perversion; the man with a monstrous face, Nietzsche maintains, must have a monstrous soul.

Revenge of the Sith

“So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.” ~ Padme Amidala in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith #coronavirus

Friday, March 20, 2020

Woolf’s Last Lines In "To The Lighthouse"

The last lines in Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse: “It was done; it was finished. Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.” The exhaustion of the protagonist (Lily Briscoe), and perhaps the writer, is palpable in these two lines.

On The Myth of Cosmopolitanism

Cosmopolitanism preaches that people of all kinds of cultural backgrounds should feel equally at home in a nation. But human beings do not have the capacity to be at home everywhere. Truth is that many cultures are incompatible with each other and there is very little scope of unity and harmony between their people.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dystopian Future Versus Dystopian Past

There are people who believe that the dystopian future has already arrived, that the enemies of their way of life have uprooted them from a golden past that would have been their life—they will make any sacrifice to take the world back, back to the golden past. But there are those who abhor the past which they believe was dystopian and which refuses to go away; they protest that they are being forced to live in a past to which they do not belong and they demand a future—any future, they think, will be better than the dystopian past which is devouring their present.

The Advanced & The Backward

Nature favors the economically and culturally disadvantaged. Communities that are mired in poverty, ignorance, and intractable conflicts have a high birth rate, while the advanced communities have a low birth rate. A community, it seems, can either produce the BMWs and iPhones or it can reproduce large number of children. There has never been a community that has achieved technological advancement and growth in its population at the same time. In case of a devastating global pandemic, it is the advanced communities that undergo lot of pain while for the backward communities there is hardly any change—they continue to exist in the same sort of backwardness in which they have always lived.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hope & Socialism

Humankind is hopeful, but it hopes without knowledge. Hope without knowledge entails spiritual bankruptcy; it entails a civilization’s premature old age, its temporary death. The popularity of socialism in the 21st century is a sign of the triumph of hope over knowledge.

On Frank Sinatra’s Opinion

"The best is yet to come!" —This is Frank Sinatra’s own opinion and not something written in stone. I think the best has already happened—the best is the gleaming specter of an impossible long-ago era that will never return. #coronavirus

Will to Self-immolation

If Nietzsche was living in the 21st century, he would have written a book called Will to Self-immolation (instead of the one that he actually wrote: Will to Power). The ones whom Nietzsche called “beasts,” have, in the 21st century, lost their lust for global power; they are plagued with pessimism and are terrified of the shadow of their own past achievements. Imagining cataclysms of one kind or another is their sole pastime. #coronavirus

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

On The Metaphysics of Lucretius

Stephen Greenblatt describes the metaphysics of Lucretius in a single 108-word paragraph in which every line points towards the word “atoms,” which appears at the very end. Here’s the paragraph from Greenblatt’s book The Swerve: How the World Became Modern:

“That Lucretius and many others did more than simply associate themselves with Epicurus—that they celebrated him as godlike in his wisdom and courage—depended not on his social credentials but upon what they took to be the saving power of his vision. The core of his vision may be traced back to a single incandescent idea: that everything that has ever existed and everything that will ever exist is put together out of indestructible building blocks, irreducibly small in size, unimaginably vast in number. The Greeks had a word for these invisible building blocks, things that, as they conceived them, could not be divided any further: atoms.”

On Nihilism

Nihilism is never inborn. It’s learned. It’s learned in the world’s best universities. It’s taught by the world’s best professors. It’s propagandized around the world by the world’s best media companies. But the final foot soldiers of nihilism are the world’s gullible masses.

Monday, March 16, 2020

On Mainstream Media

The mainstream media is the parrot that talks too much but flies too little. Most of them represent absolutely no values, they are thoroughly negative, but they enjoy a great power on our civilization—their power is similar to the power of a bandit or a tyrant. #coronavirus

Zeno’s Paradox & Progress Of Civilizations

Zeno’s paradox against movement is easily refuted; however, it can be used to draw some conclusions regarding progress of civilizations. The case can be made that no civilization founded with the aspiration of attaining moral value X can actually reach point X, because it must first cover half the distance between where it is and where it aspires to be, and before that, half of the half, and before that, half of the half of the half, and so on till infinity. This means that perfection is unattainable for any civilization and that all civilizations exhaust themselves in trying to achieve goals that are unattainable and then they vanish.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Politics Of Crisis

When people become convinced that the crisis they face is massive, their collective intelligence vanishes and they become conditioned to act according to blind instincts and reflexes. This is the seventh heaven for those who control the government, because, with the people transformed into unintelligent creatures, they are free to use the crisis as an excuse for advancing their own political agenda. They can redesign any political process or institution, pass new laws, impose new restrictions. The crisis has turned them into the god of the political system, the savior of the people, and there is nothing that they can do wrong. #coronavirus

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death

I am thinking of Edgar Allan Poe’s story, "The Masque of the Red Death,” (published in 1842), in which Prince Prospero and many of his wealthy nobles try to save themselves from a dangerous plague by fortifying themselves in an abbey with high walls. They are having a wild revelry inside the abbey while the country’s population is succumbing to the plague. Unfortunately, the plague manages to enter the abbey in the form of a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death. #coronavirus

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Is Freedom Of The Press Necessary?

When we think of freedom, we are apt to confine ourselves to freedom of the press. But this is because the press is telling us 24/7 that their freedom, and only their freedom, is a necessary condition for everyone’s freedom. They happily campaign for all sorts of restrictions on almost every other industry and on the general public, but they themselves want to enjoy an absolute freedom of speech; they want to be free to propagandize any kind of views, right or wrong, rational or irrational. Their attitude is indefensible. I no longer see freedom of press as a necessary condition for freedom in society—the press in most advanced democracies functions as a tool for spreading false propaganda to brainwash the gullible sections of society.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems And Philosophy

One of the philosophical implications of Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorems is that an all-inclusive definition of philosophical truth is not possible. The human brain has built-in limitations of its own, and there are several problems that it is incapable of solving. The obvious truths for which cogent proof is not possible are generally accepted by the philosophers as being prior to philosophy or axiomatic. But there can be a number of true statements which cannot be formally deduced from a given set of axioms and are neither provable nor refutable. It follows that philosophy is not possible without intuitions, creativity, and rationalization. It follows, also, that the nature of philosophical truth cannot be fully formalized, and new perspectives on this truth will forever await invention and discovery. Therefore, no limits can be placed on the inventiveness of the philosophers in their development of new methods of truth.

The Advantages Of Appeal To Authority

Appeal to authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) is a logical fallacy, but one that is quite useful in philosophical discussions. Citing something written in a book or paper by a popular scholar tends to shore up your own arguments, and that is why “appeal to authority” ranks among the commonly used logical fallacies—most people, who love to discuss philosophy, will be guilty of it.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Darwinianism Versus Classical Liberalism

Darwin’s theory of evolution is a challenge to the classical liberal movement. Instead of defining progress as the existence of free individuals in an environment of brotherhood and happiness, Darwinianism hypothesizes that progress entails the purge of all the unfit forms of life. If the Darwinian model of life on earth is true then we may draw the conclusion that all individuals are not equal or fit and that the purge of the individuals that are deemed unfit by the forces of nature is the very means by which space gets created for the rise of new types of species.

On External World

The existence of the external world cannot be proved by using philosophical arguments because the knowledge of its existence is prior to philosophy and serves as the basis for all philosophy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

On The Good & The Bad

Every idea will have good as well as bad consequences. There is no known way of introducing good ideas in society without the introduction of some kinds of evil. This implies that good and evil always go hand in hand and that a society free of evil is outside the bounds of possibility. Human nature is so mysterious that the notion of creating a perfect society, in which all is good and there is no evil, is not worth the price of the paper on which it has been printed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Yoda's Version

My version: You lift weights when you want a workout; you lift a book when you want to learn philosophy.

Yoda’s version: Workout you want, lift weights you will; philosophy you want, lift a book you will.

Don’t Feed Trolls

Edward Feser is being harried by trolls. In his post (on March 8, 2020), he says: “If someone seems to be a crank or otherwise not worth engaging with, then don’t engage with him. He may have nothing better to do, but surely you do… Sometimes I delete this garbage in the hope of saving the thread, but other times, by the time I see it, it is too late… Do your part! Don’t feed trolls!”

In an early paragraph in the post, he notes: “[Trolling] is a continual problem, and sometimes bigger than it needs to be because of people who keep feeding trolls. Occasionally I have to ban people outright, but as you know, I prefer not to do that. A handful of trolls over the years have been so insufferable and psychotic that they simply have to be cast forever into that outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

On The Hegelian Notion Of Civilization

As individuals grow to maturity, societies make progress from barbarism to civilization, but the civilizations are like snowflakes in the sense that no two civilizations are alike. If the term “civilization” is interpreted as an inexorable movement towards a single, unalterable, universal, and final form of society (as Hegel has envisioned in his Phenomenology of Spirit), then instead of moving towards civilization, society will regress into barbarism.

Monday, March 9, 2020

The Last Philosophy Book You’ll Ever Need

Imagine a philosophy book with the ghastly title: The Last Philosophy Book You’ll Ever Need. The title is ghastly, because it isn’t the last philosophy book that you’ll ever need. Philosophy is not a destination; it is a never-ending process of arguments and counterarguments, propositions and refutations; it is marked by chaos, conflict, and detours which result in unexpected theories.

But modern philosophy has been motivated by the hope of writing the last philosophy book that humans will ever need. The Enlightenment philosophes wanted to write it; Hegel was convinced that he had written it, so were Marx and Auguste Comte; the twentieth-century figures like Wittgenstein, the logical positivists, and the analytic philosophers wanted to write it, while Ayn Rand and Jean-Paul Sartre were convinced that they had written it.

It is noteworthy that no two philosophers have ever agreed on philosophical issues—unless they are part of a cult.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Plato and His Enemies

It is impossible to visualize philosophy without the great figure of Plato. But there are three twentieth-century philosophers—Bertrand Russell, Karl Popper, and Ayn Rand—who have tried to destroy Plato by depicting him as the formidable enemy of reason and liberty.

Russell refutes Plato in his A History of Western Philosophy, but he does not build a thorough case—that is something that Karl Popper does. In his The Open Society and Its Enemies, Popper indicts Plato as the father of modern totalitarianism. It is likely that Ayn Rand picked up her notion of Plato from her reading of Russell and Popper; she targets Plato in her essay, “For The New Intellectual,” which has her describing Platonism as “a monument to the Witch Doctor’s metaphysics”.

The interesting thing is that Russell, Popper, and Rand were opposed to Marxism, but only in politics and economics, never in the domain of culture. I think that it is their cultural Marxism that made them describe Plato as an arch-fiend while ignoring his great philosophical achievements. (Plato is generally admired by the thinkers of the cultural right and hated by the cultural left.)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

On Excellence And Culture

The excellence that a nation achieves is directly linked to its culture. Another nation cannot achieve the same kind of excellence if its culture is different and if it’s not prepared to transform its culture. But cultural transformation is a time taking, divisive, destabilizing, and often a violent process, and the people in most nations are not up to the task. This implies that the excellence of nations with different cultures cannot be replicated for the creation of a perfect world, and that the world will always be divided between nations that are better managed and those that are failing.

Agree To Disagree

I use the phrase, “agree to disagree,” quite frequently in discussions on politics and philosophy. But I can’t imagine people agreeing to disagree. How is that even possible? They just get tired of arguing and accept the phrase, “agree to disagree,” as a polite way of ending further discussion. While they “agree to disagree,” they get out of the discussion knowing full well that they “disagree”.

Friday, March 6, 2020

On Slave Mentality

Aristotle says, there are some men who are by nature slaves. He is right. The world is full of knaves and savages whose is a slave mentality—they can be from any strata of society; in fact, many of them are the progeny of high culture. They are the reason why a nation with total freedom can never survive. The model of freedom that may work is the one that is founded on rule of law, and rule of law is founded on a system of authority which cannot be subverted and beyond which there is no appeal. My point is that without a system of authority freedom is impossible.

On The Liberals

The liberals are sourpusses. They are negative through and through, and have nothing positive to say about their nation and its people. Yet they manage to score a victory in election after election because they enjoy the support of the people who want to wallow in self-contempt and self-pity, and love to hear the liberals talk about how vile their countrymen are and how decrepit their nation’s political system and culture is.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Science And Philosophy

Science and philosophy often move in parallel and opposite directions—when science is making progress, philosophy seems to become mired in irrationality, and when philosophy is marching towards rationality, science seems to become a handmaiden of mysticism. The claim that rational philosophy is a necessary condition for scientific progress is absurd. Philosophy is not a fight of science; and science is not the son of rational philosophy.

On Unconnected Philosophies

A philosophy that has not forged deep connections with the great philosophies of the past can be tricky, because it may lead the individuals, who accept it, away from the path of righteousness, and, if it becomes popular, it may become the motivating force for movements which cause large-scale damage to society. Violent and destructive civil wars and revolutions are generally inspired by the philosophies which spurn all traditional thought of mankind.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Principle Of Entropy In Human Affairs

The principle of entropy is immanent in the universe; this means that everything in the universe naturally moves towards greater and greater chaos if it is left to itself. Even the things created by human beings cannot transcend entropy. Everything—cultural and traditional groupings, religions and philosophical movements, familial and business associations, and even the nations as a whole—will fall into disrepair and decay, and then break apart, unless regular efforts are made to keep them in a healthy state. The fight against the forces of entropy is imperative and never-ending.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Immanuel Kant And Ayn Rand

Immanuel Kant succeeds in making an impression on all those who read and understand his works. But the problem is that the number of people who read Kant is limited; and the number of those who understand his philosophy is even more limited. Only those can be convinced by Kantian philosophy who are willing to make the effort to study his works.

The animus that Ayn Rand’s devotees have for Kant makes no sense. Rand never read Kant and she has not written a single complete essay on him or made a comment on his philosophy that can be taken seriously by a real scholar. She writes for the young folks, people with lot of passion, but little knowledge and practical experience; whereas, Kant's audience consists of people with knowledge, wisdom, and experience.

Rand’s devotees have no real interest in Kantian philosophy. The irony is that they call themselves objectivists (which means having an objective view of the world), yet they loathe Kant without any inkling of what he stood for.

Imagination And Reality

For a philosopher, imagination is more important than reality. For a scientist, reality is more important than imagination.

Monday, March 2, 2020

“I” Versus “Me”

When you over-glorify a word, you distort its meaning—which is what the individualists have done to the word “I”. With their relentless over-glorification, the individualists have politicized the word “I”, making it appear like a raised middle finger directed at humankind. They are convinced that when they use the word “I”, they are not only referring to themselves but also flaunting their egoism and proving their intellectual independence. But “I” is just another word, like tens of thousands of other words, and it’s not logical to encumber a word with political agendas. In my opinion,“me” and “myself” are far more honorable and upright words than “I”.

On Original Philosopher

An original philosopher must start philosophizing in order to find out the denouement of his own philosophy. Only after he has completed his thesis does he know where his philosophy goes.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Inevitable And The Obvious

A politician is energized by the things that are inevitable. A philosopher is energized by the things that are obvious. But history is made by the few politicians who thwart the inevitable and give a new direction to politics—and philosophical greatness is achieved by the few philosophers who identify the flaws in the obvious and describe a new worldview.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Unknowability Of Personal Philosophy

A man’s personal philosophy exists only in immanence and its ultimate content is unknown and uncommunicable. Through introspection and by recalling and evaluating the choices that he has made in the past, a man may have a vague idea of what his personal philosophy is like, but since personal philosophy operates at the level of subconsciousness, it cannot be comprehensively understood and described in precise words. Even the philosophers who develop entire systems of philosophy fail to practice what they preach, because the philosophy that they describe is never wholly their own personal philosophy.

On Those Who Submit To Philosophical Doctrines

Whoever accepts a particular philosophy as his ultimate guide in life is intellectually and morally weakened by it. A man’s submission to a philosophy, irrespective of whether that philosophy is brilliant or mediocre, is as good as committing intellectual and moral suicide.

Friday, February 28, 2020

On Atheism And The Universe

When we yield to atheism, we deny to ourselves the power of gaining a proper understanding of the universe. All atheistic systems fail in the end because the universe as it appears to man is governed not only by rational laws but also by the laws that are divine.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

My Favorite Philosophers

My favorite philosophers (from ancient times to the 19th century) are: Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Machiavelli, David Hume, Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, G. W. F. Hegel, and Friedrich Nietzsche.  The 20th century philosophers whose works I find most intriguing, interesting, and enlightening are: Bertrand Russell, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Isaiah Berlin, and Leo Strauss. My reading of these philosophers is not done yet—it’s ongoing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Closed System Philosophy: The Village Idiot

A closed system is the ultimate village idiot philosophy because it exists in an environment that resembles a closed or isolated village. Since the village idiots have been brainwashed into believing that the world that lies outside their village is their intellectual enemy, they cannot venture out to learn new values and possibilities, or seek new allies for the cause of their own philosophy. Because of their self-imposed isolation, they develop an intolerant intellectual hierarchy which is obsessed with preserving their philosophy in its puritanical purity. This hierarchy demands total submission which most village idiots are happy to render.

The Peril Of The Best & Brightest Minds

What the best and brightest minds can make, they can mar. The best and brightest can be rational and moral, but they can also be terrifyingly opposed to rationality and morality. Nothing will endure in a society if the best and brightest attain political power. A nation is doomed if its best and brightest venture into the areas of power: politics and philosophy. The successful nations are usually those where the folks from the middle class dominate politics and philosophy while the best and brightest make contributions in the areas of business, science, and art.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Skepticism: The Fountainhead Of Progress

The paradox of skepticism is that its rise coincides with the rise of realism in science and politics. In the last 3000 years, whenever philosophy has taken a skeptical turn, the world has seen a great flowering of innovations, inventions, and discoveries.

Philosophy in Ancient Greece, from 6th to 1st century BCE, was dominated by the skeptics—Xenophanes and Democritus were the first major skeptic philosophers, and after them came the Sophists. In the 4th century BCE, Pyrrho founded the skeptic school of Pyrrhonism which continues to be influential till this day. Ancient Greek skepticism went on to gain massive influence in Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire went into decline in the 4th century, skepticism ceased to be the dominant philosophy, but it got revived in the 15th century through the works of Michel de Montaigne, Pierre Gassendi, and, most importantly, René Descartes. David Hume took skepticism to a new high in the 18th century. The Logical Positivists and the Analytic School, both of which denied the existence of metaphysics, dominated the philosophy of 20th century.

An analysis of the periods that I have mentioned—from Ancient Greece, to Ancient Rome, Roman Empire, Middle Ages, and finally the Modern Age—shows that the rise of skeptic philosophy is concurrent with great advancements in politics, economics, and science. Therefore, I come to the conclusion that skepticism is the fountainhead of progress.

Politicians, Philosophers, and Adventurers

The best nations are those where the politicians are pessimistic (it hinders them from enforcing utopian policies), the philosophers are skeptic and pragmatic (it hinders them from becoming dogmatic), and the adventurers (artists, businessmen, scientists) are optimistic (it encourages them to make new discoveries and innovations).

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Divisions Of The Political Man

In the realm of politics, man is a mythical creature like the unicorn; he does not exist. What exists is an English man, a French man, an Indian man, an American man, a Chinese man, and so on—or a brown man, white man, black man, yellow man, and so on—or a Christian, a Hindu, a Jew, a Moslem, and so on—or a rich man, a poor man, a middle class man and so on. The political man is perpetually divided and politics of mankind is the science of managing the different factions of man.

On History And Philosophy

The purpose of history is to narrate events through which the cultures have evolved. The purpose of philosophy is to make the historical events understandable by demonstrating their inevitability and necessity, and revealing their impact on the present and their implications for the future. Without history, there can be no philosophy. Without philosophy, history will have no significance. A compelling narration of history is a necessary condition for the development of good philosophy.

The Stoic Wise Man

The possibility of the wise man plays a central role in stoic philosophy. The stoics believe that being wise means being satisfied with what one is. The stoic wise man is not emotional, he desires nothing, and he does not aspire to change the world. Since he is not a man of action, he is the man who “is” and who does not “become”. He identifies himself with himself and is satisfied with his identity.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Libertarianism: The Impossible Ideal

Libertarianism is possible only for god; if not god, then for an angelic intelligence. It’s impossible for non-divine intelligence (normal human beings). For normal human beings, time moves from the past to the future by way of the present, but the libertarians believe in the primacy of the future. Disinterested in the past and dissatisfied with the present, they pole-vault directly into the future when their ideal free society is destined to be realized. The libertarian future is perpetually in the future; it has no potential for becoming the present or the past.

John Gray On Isaiah Berlin's Thought

Saturday, February 22, 2020

On The Wise Man Of Philosophy

Much of philosophy is a theology; however, its god is the wise man. The problem is that the wise man of philosophy is yet to be discovered—perhaps he is yet to arrive.

On The Laws Of Morality

It’s in man’s nature to be skeptical on moral issues with respect to his temporal existence. The man who claims that he has always been moral in life is not only a liar but also lacking in moral standards. There is no chance of men being perfectly moral because the human mind is incapable of comprehending the origin and scope of the laws of morality. The moral theories of the world prove the impossibility of people writing them down at any point of time—moral theories explain every action of man except the actions that man may undertake to write the laws of morality.

On Three Types of Progress

Progress in philosophy means theological progress (quest for ultimate truth and certainty). Progress in science means material progress (creation of material things). Progress in politics means anthropological progress (development of modes of human relationships).

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Five Pillars Of A Good Nation

Liberty and free markets are not the “cause” of a good nation; they are the “effect” of a good nation. This conception entails the very important consequence: You cannot make a convincing case for liberty and free markets by philosophizing directly about these two concepts. The ideas of liberty and free markets make sense only when a good nation is already in existence. You have to begin by making a case for the five pillars which support the edifice of a good nation. The five pillars are culture, religion (theological philosophy), history, nationalism, and patriotism. Once these five pillars have energized the political community, and a nation has been formed, not only liberty and free markets but also other good things will automatically follow.