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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Is the Pacifism of Germany and Japan Permanent?

Germany and Japan were the world’s most violent and warlike nations during the first half of the twentieth century. The two populations were convinced that they were the ultimate masters of mankind, and that it was their destiny to rule the world. They were transformed by their defeat in the Second World War and became utterly pacific.

Germany was broken into two parts—the Eastern part went under Soviet control and the Western part under American control. While Japan was not broken up, two of its industrial cities were nuked and other cities were extensively firebombed. After 1960, both nations have made an amazing economic and political recovery. In 1968, Japan became the world’s second largest economy, after the USA—it retained this status till 2010, when China raced ahead to become the second largest economy. The two halves of Germany were united in 1990, and the reunited country became the driver of European politics. Neither of the two nations has so far made an attempt to rekindle their violent and warlike character. They continue to be pacific, preferring to use diplomacy, not military power, to resolve their geopolitical issues. 

The transformation in the national culture of Germany and Japan, after the Second World War, was too sudden. Such sudden cultural transformations are generally short-lived. Pacifism might not be as deeply rooted in the German and Japanese mind as it is in the Indian (Hindu) mind that has been exposed to pacifist ideologies and religions (Buddhism, Jainism, and other movements) for more than 3000 years. A violent and warlike nature could be simmering beneath the surface in the German and Japanese societies, waiting for a reason to erupt. In the 21st century, these two societies could undergo another sudden cultural transformation. They might discard their pacifism and become heavily militarized.

On America's Aspiration to be the World's Professor

In the last two centuries, the American political establishment has taken its ideal of manifest destiny seriously—more seriously than it takes the ideals of democracy, liberty, and free markets. They believe  that they are the good guys and that it is their manifest destiny to be the professor of the world. But that requires all humans to be the obedient students of the American political establishment.

Monday, November 29, 2021

In Defense of Tribalism

A tribal society has a poor reputation because tribalism is incompatible with the modern capitalist or communist state (the leviathan, in the words of Thomas Hobbes), in which social order is maintained through an establishment consisting of big government (the bureaucratic institutions), large crony-capitalist companies, the military and police apparatus, and intellectual institutions (academia and the mainstream media). Since both capitalism and communism aspire for total power, they have vilified tribalism by spreading false propaganda.

In tribalism, social order and adherence to egalitarian principles is achieved through a very small government. Instead of police and law courts, the tribal elders use moral and religious teachings, and the notion of loyalty to traditions, to persuade their people to behave in an orderly manner. Those who break the tribal norms are punished by a committee of tribal elders. In good tribal societies, justice is swift and exemplary. People in tribal societies (at least, the men) are mostly armed, both men and women understand the tribal way of life, and they are capable of acting to defend themselves and their tribe. The tribal societies can be individualistic without devolving into anarchism and nihilism. When a society discards the tribal way of life, then the alternative is some form of capitalism or communism (welfare state). 

A good society should have elements of both—tribalism and a constitutional system of governance. In large democracies, every aspect of life does not have to be under the control of a centralized government. When some areas of society are under tribal control, it will ensure that the bureaucratic and intellectual establishments do not become too large, insular, and ossified. Even in matters of foreign policy, the government can be guided by tribal aspirations. There are several areas of social life, in which people can find much better resolution for their problems by coordinating with each other at a tribal level.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The West’s Totalitarian Mission to Promote Capitalism

Why did the capitalist mission (led by America and Britain) to build a pro-Western democratic paradise in central South America, the Middle East, and Africa fail? 

It failed because the mission was totalitarian—it was a brainchild of the Western political establishment. This establishment called itself capitalist; they claimed that they wanted to create a democratic and capitalist paradise. But they were after total control. Their real agenda was to create a global geopolitical order which they could dominate. The people of central South America, the Middle East, and Africa refused to accept Western hegemony. 

In capitalist societies, the government is as totalitarian (especially in the areas of foreign policy and warfare) as the governments in communist countries. Why do capitalist governments launch so many covert military operations in foreign countries? Because they know that their military operations do not enjoy public support. If they told the masses the truth about what they were doing in foreign countries, they would lose the next election. 

The masses in capitalist countries are brainwashed by academia and the 24/7 media—they are ignorant, naive, divided, and lacking in political skills. They are incapable of taking united action to force their government to change its policies. The capitalist academia and media are part of the political establishment. They endeavor to keep the attention of the masses focused on irrelevant issues. The important issues are never analyzed and debated. 

The political weakness of the masses, gives the capitalist governments a complete monopoly on power. They are free to commit any atrocity anywhere in the world and they are not answerable to any institution or to the voters. The irony is that the erstwhile Soviet Union’s foreign policy was more transparent and non-violent than the foreign policy of the so-called bastions of democracy and capitalism, the USA and Britain.

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Four Stages of Capitalism

Capitalism has not made man a better being—it has only made him a better killer and plunderer. The philistines in earlier times were armed with swords, spears, and clubs. The philistines in our times, thanks to capitalism, are armed with tanks, fighter planes, missiles, and nuclear weapons. By bringing the power of technology to the philistines, capitalism has worsened the state of humanity. The capitalists of our time might be dressed in Armani suits, they might have college degrees, they might be capable of sophisticated speech, but at the mental level they are no better than Genghis Khan’s Mongol warriors who smashed into several kingdoms, massacred millions, and conquered the largest land empire in history. 

Looking at the history of North America in the last 500 years, it can be surmised that a capitalist society passes through four stages:

First stage: Dominated by conquistadors, imperialists, warlords, and enslavers.

Second stage: Dominated by demagogues, robber barons, expansionists, technocrats, and conservatives.

Third stage: Dominated by fascists, democrats, liberals, hippies, libertarians, neoconservatives, and multinationals. 

Fourth stage (the final phase which is yet to arrive): Dominated by Crusaders, Nazis, Stalinists, or some new type of totalitarians. 

The number one capitalist country in the last 120 years, the USA, is now on the verge of reaching the fourth or the final stage of capitalism. This country has already lost a lot of its civil liberties and in the next 10 to 25 years, it will be under a tyrannical regime. Try to imagine the kind of destruction that a tyrannical regime can unleash once it gains control over the politics of the USA. The military infrastructure that American capitalism has created will fall into the hands of tyrants. In the initial days of the fourth stage, most Americans would not realize that they were living in a tyranny because their intellectuals and  24/7 media would convince them that their government was democratic. By and by, when the violence would start, they would realize that they had lost everything—by then it would be too late for them to oppose the regime. 

It is possible that the USA might get weakened by a series of civil wars, revolutions, and counterrevolutions—if this happens then the Chinese, Middle Eastern, South American, and Russian forces might try to capture slices of American power. Once the religious and demographic character of America is transformed then that will lead to similar transformations in Western Europe. No one can predict how the world will be in the post-capitalist phase. One thing is certain, it will be unlike the world that we had in the modern age (last 400 years). The entity called “the West” could vanish forever into the pages of history books.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Problem of Great Art

“Art is what you can get away with.” ~ Andy Warhol (1987)

It is clear from Warhol’s work that he got away with a lot (a lot of nonsense). But that is true of all famous artists. The world hails them as famous artists because they could get away with a lot. Good art can never be defined. What is good art for one person might be thrash to another. Why do people claim that the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is great art? There is no scientific or mathematical way of proving that the Mona Lisa is great art. A lot of propaganda and marketing has happened in the last 500 years to emblazon on mankind’s collective consciousness the idea that the Mona Lisa is great art. Without propaganda and marketing no work of art can be great.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Imperialism, Racism, and the Human Genome

“Imperialists, calling upon Darwinism in defense of the subjugation of weaker races, could point to The Origin of Species, which had referred in its subtitle to The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Darwin had been talking about pigeons, but the imperialists saw no reason why his theories should not apply to men… Had not Darwin himself written complacently in The Descent of Man of the likelihood that the backward races would disappear before the advance of higher civilizations.” ~ Richard Hofstadter in Social Darwinism in American Thought

Ethnic prejudice could be as old as civilization itself. Most societies of the past have used derogatory labels like “barbarians” and “philistines” to describe people of other ethnicities, but the modern notion of “racism” is of recent origin. The word “racism” appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1910. The idea of racial superiority was developed in the nineteenth century when Europe had colonized a large part of the globe and the European intellectuals were under pressure to come up with a moral justification for the domination of people of other races. 

Can it be true that the Europeans are racially superior? In the areas of politics, warfare, and technology, they were probably superior. I use the past tense “were” because they were not always superior. Their superiority manifested itself from the fifteenth century to 1950. There could be genes which determine performance in politics, warfare, and technology—perhaps the Europeans had evolved a dominant form of those genes. According to geneticists, about 14 percent of the human genome has changed in the last 30,000 years. Many changes in the human genome have happened in the last 5000 years. 

Being superior in the areas of politics, warfare, and technology does not make the Europeans morally, religiously, and intellectually superior. Some of history’s worst wars, massacres, genocides, enslavements, and civil wars have happened in lands that were under European domination. European societies are easily corrupted by wealth and power. Nihilism, anarchism, and utopianism are a much bigger problem in European populations than in Asian populations. Since 1950, European civilizations have been on the decline.

On Capitalism and Communism

Western capitalism must commence with an enormous act of conquest and theft. Those who want to create a capitalist paradise must be prepared to kill or evict those whose land and wealth they plan to steal. The same must be said about communism (and socialism). Both capitalism and communism are extremely violent and tyrannical Western ideologies. They never lead to the creation of liberty and free markets for all classes of people. The contest between capitalism and communism is a myth propagated by the Western ideologues and politicians. The truth is that these two ideologies thrive by feeding on each other. The communists win support by narrating the stories of the capitalist atrocities, while the capitalists win support by narrating the stories of the communist atrocities. Both ideologies must be rejected.

Monday, November 22, 2021

On The Brahmi Script

The Brahmi writing system was being used in the Indian subcontinent in the third century BC. It was probably created through the efforts of Emperor Ashoka of Mauryan Dynasty who ruled from 268 to 232 BC. He was the first emperor to rule over almost the entire South Asia—a densely populated area as large as Western Europe, stretching from present-day Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east, and covering much of central India. He ruled from Pataliputra (present day Patna), and had provincial capitals in Taxila (a city in present day Pakistan) and Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh). 

Several of Ashoka’s rock edicts, which are spread throughout modern-day Pakistan and India, are written in Brahmi script, which has influenced the Sanskrit-based languages that are currently being used in North India and the four Dravidian languages that are being used in South India. The languages in Southeast Asia are also influenced by Brahmi. However, over the centuries, these languages have transformed so much that their connection to a common Brahmi language is not easily detected. The Brahmi script was deciphered in the 1830s by James Prinsep.

There are a number of theories about the origin of the Brahmi script. Some scholars have suggested that the Brahmi script was developed from the Semitic script via Aramaic. But there are other scholars who insist that the Brahmi script comes from Indian sources. Several attempts have been made to connect the Brahmi script with the Indus script, but the connection between the two writing systems is not clear, since the Indus script remains undeciphered. The theory that I find plausible is that Brahmi was created when Ashoka ordered his officials to create a writing system based on the existing sources in India. His officials could have used the system of record keeping then used by Indian merchants to develop the Brahmi script.

The sounds in Brahmi script match the sounds of Pali and other popular Indic languages which are founded on Sanskrit. Pali is the language in which Buddha has preached. A number of Ashoka’s rock inscriptions are in Pali.

On Eric Hoffer’s View of Holy Cause

“Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves.” ~ Eric Hoffer in The True Believer.

This statement by Eric Hoffer is not logical because he fails to define the term “ourselves.” How do we recognize ourselves? A consciousness cannot focus on itself. The only way a man can become conscious of himself is by becoming conscious of something else. The term “ourselves” does not represent a vacuum—it represents our worldly experiences, including our experiences of the causes that we see as “holy.” 

Who are we? We cannot know ourselves without considering the causes that we see as holy. A man without faith in a holy cause will be a man without a self. He will be a faceless and causeless stranger to himself and to the world. In my opinion, faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a sign of faith in ourselves.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

On the Sintashta-Arkaim Culture

An eastward migration from the Poltavka culture (an outgrowth of the Yamnaya culture) gave rise to the Sintashta-Arkaim culture during the Middle Bronze Age (2100 BC to 1800 BC). This culture was located east of the Ural Mountains in the northern steppes. 

The archeological evidence seems to indicate that the Sintashta were highly militaristic—they created extensively fortified settlements, 23 of which have been found. The weapons found on their sites include spearheads, trilobed arrowheads, chisels, and large shaft-hole axes, It is not known why the Sintashta created such fortified settlements which are unusual in the nomadic steppe culture. Against what enemy were they defending their settlements? 

The funerary complexes located outside the Sintashta sites contain the remains of extravagant sacrifices, including whole horses. They also contain the remains of some of the earliest chariots. Some scholars have theorized that there are parallels between the funeral services in the Sintashta sites, and the funeral rituals described in the Rig Veda. They suggest that the Sintashta might be the inventors of the chariots with spoked wheels. 

The word “asva” (horse) occurs in the Rig Veda 792 times, and the word for chariot, “ratha,” is equally numerous. In the verse 1.162.22 of the Rig Veda a prayer that accompanies a horse sacrifice is described—in it, it is said: “May this Steed bring us all-sustaining riches, wealth in good kine, good horses, manly offspring.” 

Did the people who built these strongholds [Sintashta fortifications] invent chariots? And were they the original Aryans, the ancestors of the people who later composed the Rig Veda and the Avesta? These two questions are asked by David W. Anthony in his book The Horse, the Wheel, and Language.

There is a problem with the thesis that seeks to connect the Sintashta with the creators of the Rig Veda: There is not a shred of evidence that the Sintashta spoke an ancient version of Proto-Indo-European which is supposed to have led to the development of Sanskrit and several other languages. We don’t know what the language of the Sintashta was.

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Problem of History: Emic and Etic Perceptions

“History is the memory of states.” ~ Henry Kissinger in A World Restored. In a simple six-word sentence, Kissinger has divulged the truth about Western historiography. He has revealed that the history written by Western historians is essentially a memory of the Western states. 

History is of two types: Emic and Etic. Emic history gives you the perceptions of the people from within the civilization or social group. Etic history gives you the perceptions of the people from outside the civilization or social group. Since much of world’s history has been written by Western scholars, when you read a book on the history of the West, you generally have an emic perspective (the perceptions of insiders, the Westerners), but when you read a book on the history of Asia, the Americas, and Africa, you generally have an etic perspective (the perceptions of outsiders—the Western view of other civilizations).

The history of the conflicts between the Ancient Greeks and the Persian Empire, comes mostly from the records of the Greek elites. Quality of life was much better in the Persian Empire as compared to the Greek city-states which were plagued with violence and poverty—that is why the Persian Empire was home to more Greeks than the combined population of Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, and Argos. The Greek city-states had a huge slave population (in Athens and Sparta 75 percent of the people were slaves). The Persians and the Greek slaves did not leave self-glorifying records. The Greek elites did that and they have a stranglehold on history.

We know little about the people that the Romans (during the Roman Empire) described as barbarians. We have no information on the Hun Empire, even though in the third and fourth centuries, the Huns were a significant empire in Eurasia. We know about the Western view of the Mongol Empire but we know little about the Mongol perspective. When you read the history of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, you are reading how the European imperialists (Columbus, the conquistadors like Hernán Cortés, the Catholic preachers, and the European settlers) viewed the Arawaks, the Aztecs, the Incas, and the Native Indians. 

After reading the books based on the accounts of the Spanish conquerors, people become convinced that when Columbus and the conquistadors arrived, the Americas were a land of philistines, savages, and cannibals. The Western historians do not tell you about how the Arawaks saw Columbus, the Aztecs and Incas saw the conquistadors, and the Native Indians saw the European settlers.   

We know little about the towns and cities that existed in North America before the Spanish, British, and the French arrived. We know little about the culture that existed in Africa before the Dutch and the British arrived. We read the history of the Boer Wars mostly from the perspective of the British and the Dutch—we know little about the view of the Africans in whose land this war was being fought. We know how the British, in the nineteenth century, viewed the Chinese but we know little about how the Chinese viewed the British. When we read the history of India, we read mostly about the perceptions of the British imperialists and their Indian devotees.

History shows the West in good light, not because they have always been the best, but because they have written most of history. In his novel 1984, George Orwell said: "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” The non-Western civilizations will have no control over their present and future as long as the West controls the past (history).

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Yamnaya Migrations and Lactose Intolerance

The closest ancestors of modern humans first appeared 200,000 years ago in Africa. It seems that for 97 percent of the period of their existence, the human populations were lactose intolerant— they could not consume dairy products. In Southern Africa lactose intolerance is still fairly high but the country with the world’s highest lactose intolerance is South Korea. In his book The Horse, the Wheel, and Language, David W. Anthony writes: “Recent genetic research on the worldwide distribution of the mutation that created lactose tolerance, which made a dairy-based diet possible, indicates that it probably emerged first in the steppes west of the Ural Mountains between about 4600 and 2800 BCE…”  

This means that the Yamnaya could be the world’s first lactose tolerant population. Historians believe that they spoke a late Proto-Indo-European language which they implanted in all the regions where they migrated: Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. David W. Anthony conjectures that since the cows give more milk than any other herd animal (twice as much as the mares and five times more than goats), the Yamnaya developed the religious practice of revering their cows. In their culture, cows symbolized prosperity and the blessings of the divine. The Yamnaya probably counted their wealth in cows—those of high social status would maintain large herds. The Sintashta and the Andronovo cultures are also identified with the Yamnaya culture. 

One of the implications of this finding is that the religious practice of revering the cow did not originate in South Asia (India) but somewhere in the Central Steppes. In my opinion, the problem with this thesis is that it is based on genetic research that is centered on European populations. The only reason the Yamnaya were intensely investigated by the geneticists is because they had a European connection. The Yamnaya invaded (or migrated) into Europe about 5000 years ago, and they completely replaced Europe’s original population of native hunter-gatherers. Hardly any trace of Europe’s population, before the Yamnaya arrived, can be found. Currently the lactose intolerance level in Europe is between 18 percent to 26 percent.  

The genome of the ancient populations of the non-European populations has not been extensively studied. There could be other ancient populations which became lactose tolerant at the same time or before the Yamnaya did. 

The Yamnaya arrived in India around between 2000 and 1600 BC. They mingled with the population in North India. This has resulted in higher lactose tolerance in the North Indians as compared to the South Indians. A recent study shows that lactose intolerance was 27.4 percent in a sample group taken from New Delhi, while it was 66.6 percent in a sample group taken from two South Indian centers at Trivandrum and Pondicherry. In East Indians lactose intolerance is higher—this is because of their mingling with the East Asian populations which are generally lactose intolerant. These conjectures have been made by the study of samples taken from a few urban centers. The countryside was not a part of the study. 

Some Indian scholars have conducted astronomical calculations by using the star and planetary alignments described in the Vedas and other ancient Hindu texts. They hold that Vedic culture became rooted in India several millennia before the Yamnaya arrived in North India. They place the Rig Veda between the sixth and eighth millennium BC.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Funeral of the Western Empire

“Knowledge advances, funeral by funeral.” ~ Paul Samuelson

Samuelson is right. Most intellectuals, especially those who occupy influential positions in universities, research institutions, and think tanks, tend to extreme conservatism. They stick to their theories with the tenacity of bloodsucking leeches sticking to their prey. They use their influence and power to prevent the analysis of new evidence and the acceptance of new theories. Until they die, and a new generation takes over, the advancement of knowledge is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. 

The phenomena of advancement happening funeral by funeral applies to the empires too. It is the fate of all empires to become ossified and decadent—they lose their zeal to conquer, build new infrastructure, conduct scientific research, create new technological marvels, organize new philosophical movements, and create new institutions to transform the global economy and politics. There is decline in their moral values, work ethic, and political and artistic standards. 

When such ossified and decadent empires accumulate too much geopolitical power, they have a pernicious impact on the entire planet—because they use their military and technological might to hinder progress and push humanity deeper into the abyss of tyranny and nihilism. The decline of such empires is generally in the long term interests of mankind, as this clears the space for the rise of new empires which could prove to be more energetic, creative, and innovative. 

I see the West (primarily America and Britain) as an ossified and decadent empire. Since the eighteenth century, the West has been exercising a disproportionate amount of power on global economy and politics. The Western empire started declining after 1930. Between 2030 and 2050, I expect it to fall. Until the West falls, or is radically transformed, there will be no further progress. The funeral of the West will be the biggest event of this century—just as the fall of the Soviet Union was the biggest event of the last. 

The post-Western world will be a new world—I believe, a better world.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Genes, Race and Human History

“Analysis of genomes from around the world establishes that there is indeed a biological reality to race, despite the official statements to the contrary of leading social science organizations.”

“Racism and discrimination are wrong as a matter of principle, not of science. Science is about what is, not what ought to be. Its shifting sands do not support values, so it is foolish to place them there.” 

~ Nicholas Wade in A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History

If you want to accuse someone (or something) of racism, then you should begin with the human genome which is the fountainhead of all races. The difference between the capacities of various races are so clear that only a politically correct intellectual could ignore or evade it. In his book, Nicholas Wade accuses the community of academicians and scientists of suppressing the scientific truth about the significant racial differences among human populations. 

The Ashkenazi Jews have won a disproportionate number of Nobel Prizes (about 100 times the world average). Since 1980, every finalist in the 100-meter race at Olympic games has had a West African ancestry. The Tibetans and Andean highlanders are suited for living at high altitudes. Some populations are lactose tolerant. In some populations there is a high incidence of certain devastating diseases. Some populations have high average IQ. The East Asians score around 105 on IQ tests—this makes them intelligent but intelligence does not imply morality. 

Wade notes that there are three principal races: East Asians (Chinese, Japanese and Koreans), Africans (those living south of the Sahara), and Caucasians (Europeans and the people of the Near East and the Indian subcontinent). The first modern humans appeared 200,000 years ago, and it took them 185,000 years to settle down in different geographically isolated communities. The races that we see today were created in the last 15,000 years through a process of natural selection in the three primary racial groups. 

The most troublesome argument that Wade makes is that “genes and culture interact.” The orthodox academicians prefer to see genes and culture as entirely separate realms. Wade writes: “Each of the major civilizations has developed the institutions appropriate for its circumstances and survival. But these institutions, though heavily imbued with cultural traditions, rest on a bedrock of genetically shaped human behavior.”

This means that economic systems, political institutions, and moral norms are not easy to transfer from one culture to another. “American institutions cannot be successfully implanted in Iraq, for instance, because Iraqis have different social behaviors, including a base in tribalism and a well-founded distrust of central government, just as it would be impossible to import Iraqi tribal politics into the United States.”

We are free to ignore the revelations that genetic science is making but that will not make the differences between the populations vanish. The troublesome truth is that race is not a human invention. The differences between the populations are biological. Biology creates the races and the races create their culture—having said this, I will argue that the differences are not insurmountable. Within populations, some people do well. If some can do well in certain kinds of activities, then why can’t the rest?

There are sections in Wade’s book which are speculative. In his discussion of human behavior, he talks about an “inbuilt sense of morality,” which is not convincing. It is understandable that he has included the speculative sections. Concrete information is not available. The human genome was decoded just eighteen years ago—in 2003. In the next twenty years more information will become available. Overall, Wade has given a fine explanation of the role that genes play in creating the races and driving history.

Monday, November 15, 2021

The Battle for the Rig Veda and Sanskrit

The Europeans possess the great talent for weaponizing anything that catches their eye. In the late eighteenth century, they became aware of the Rig Veda, and within a century they had weaponized some of its verses and its language: Sanskrit. The Rig Veda has been revered as a holy text by the Hindus (most people living in South Asia before 1000 AD) for more than 3500 years. The Hindus never thought of weaponizing its verses and language—the Hindus were never as warlike as the Europeans have been in the last 400 years. 

The story of the European weaponization of some of the verses of Rig Veda and Sanskrit begins in 1783 when Sir William Jones, a British judge in India, decided to learn Sanskrit. By 1786, he had reached a startling conclusion, which he expressed in a line that is often quoted: 

“The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists.” 

Jones had concluded that Sanskrit had originated from the same ancient parent language (Proto-Indo-European) which gave rise to Greek and Latin. He added that Persian, Celtic, and German too were probably linked to the same parent language. But who were the people who spoke this language? Where did they live? Where was the Rig Veda composed? Germany was in the middle of an intense Romantic movement in those days—and many German scholars proclaimed that Germany was the home of the ancients who spoke the parent language. 

The Rig Veda talks about the Aryans who are people of divine virtues and great abilities. In Europe, the term “Aryan” was appropriated to refer to the ancient European master race who brought civilization to mankind. In his 1916 book The Passing of the Great Race, American author Madison Grant claimed that the Nordic people (British, Scots, Irish, and German) were the descendants of the original Aryans, and that America was meant to be an Aryan homeland. (This book was a bestseller in America and Europe, and was praised by Hitler.) 

The Europeans associated the term “Aryan” with racial purity even though the Rig Veda does not preach racial purity. The Rig Veda’s verses are on cosmology, history, moral values, and the right ways of performing prayers and sacrifices. Some supremacist groups in Europe and America still call themselves Aryans. 

Grant warned against the weakening of the superior American (Aryan) bloodline by interbreeding  with inferior races. In the category of inferior races, he included the Jews, Czechs, Poles, and Italians. When the Nazis acquired power in Germany, they made an absurd connection between the Rig Veda’s conception of Aryans and Plato’s discussion of Atlantis. They said that the German Aryans were the original inhabitants of the Platonic Atlantis and the original speakers of the ancient language which had given rise to Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and other languages. 

The Nazis desecrated the symbol of Swastika by appropriating it as a symbol of their version of the Germanic Aryan race. The Swastika has served as a Hindu symbol for divinity and spirituality since 1000 BC. It is often used in Hindu marriage ceremonies. In the Vedas, the word “Swasti” occurs frequently. The Swastika is mentioned in Pāṇini’s Ashtadhyayi and several other Hindu texts. The Buddhist and Jain movements use the Swastika for their religious ceremonies. 

It is certain that the Sanskrit language, the Rig Veda, and other Vedic and Puranic texts were created by the people who were the ancestors of today’s Hindus. It is likely that these ancients lived in South Asia—in the region stretching from Persia to North India. The Rig Veda was probably composed in the region of Punjab. The Europeans and Americans are not the Aryans. They have been very successful in the last 350 years, but that does not imply that they have been the masters of the world for thousands of years.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

On Political Power and Biracial Couplings

A significant theme in the biracial couplings which took place during the age of imperialism has been the coupling of European men (who were politically powerful) with non-European women (who were often powerless). The Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors coupled with native women and created a new people—the mestizos. The word “mestizo” comes from the Spanish word “mestizaje,” which means miscegenation. 

The most famous biracial coupling of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries was between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, a black slave girl. They began their relationship in 1787, not long after the American constitutional convention, when Jefferson was in France on some political business. There was a thirty-years age difference between them—Jefferson was 44 and Sally was 14. They had six children together. Their relationship was disputed by some scholars but a genetic study conducted in 1998 confirmed a Y-chromosome match between the male-line descendants of Eston Hemings Jefferson (Sally’s youngest son) and the male-line descendants of Jefferson’s paternal uncle. 

Jefferson was a very powerful and wealthy man—he was one of the founding fathers of America and later on he became the president. He owned a large plantation in Virginia, a state where 40 percent of the population was enslaved. Sally, being his slave, was dependent on him. In France, slavery was illegal. Sally could have continued to live in France as a free woman. According to their son, Madison Hemings, she agreed to return to America with Jefferson on the condition that their children would eventually be set free. 

Sally was biracial, since she had three European grandparents. She continued to be a slave because, under Virginia law, the status of a slave was maternally inherited. There was a reason why Virginia had this law. Almost all the biracial couplings in America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were between European men and African women. There were hardly any African men uniting with European women. By linking the status of a slave to the maternal line, the state of Virginia was ensuring that power remained in the hands of European men. 

The genetic pattern of the present day African Americans shows that the Jefferson-Sally kind of biracial couplings were replicated a number of times. The contribution of European men in the genetic makeup of the present day African American population is four times higher than the contribution of European women. In the time of slavery, the sex bias would be far greater than this. The civil rights movement, and the cultural transformation and sex revolution after 1960, resulted in an increase in the number of couplings between African men and European women. 

Throughout the history of mankind, men in positions of power have spread their seed on women from weaker sections of society. We have the example of the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan and his descendants. Between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, they conquered the largest contiguous land empire in history. A 2003 study on the places where the Mongols had ruled shows that a significant part of the population had descended from one ancestor: Genghis Khan. The powerful men of the past have left an extraordinary impact on the subsequent populations. They have influenced our religion, politics, culture, and the genetic character (DNA) of our species.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

On Reagan’s Naive War on Communism

"I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written." ~ Ronald Reagan

This is such a naive statement by Reagan. Communism is not a sad, bizarre chapter of human history, as he asserts—it is a fundamental feature of the Western civilization. He and Margaret Thatcher tried to make the case that communism was a Russian phenomena, and that once the Soviet Union was defeated, communism would vanish. They failed to remind their people that communism was a Western ideology—conceived and propagated between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries by white intellectuals and politicians based in England, Germany, France, and America.

In the time of Reagan, communist doctrine was thriving in the American government, universities, media, entertainment industry, and big businesses. It was thriving on a much higher scale in Western Europe. There is some truth in the statement which the communist intellectuals, who feel frustrated by the fall of the Soviet Union, often make:  “The Soviet Union was not real socialism.” Western liberty and capitalism are a myth—in 1991, when the Soviet Union was dying, “real socialism” was thriving in the USA and Western Europe.  

If Reagan and Thatcher were serious about fighting communism, they would have done something to reform the intellectual, financial, and political establishments in their own nations. They did nothing of that sort. Being conservatives they found it easier to put the blame on outsiders—the Asians, in this case. It is hard for the Western conservatives to introspect and examine the flaws in their own character, history, and culture. They prefer to blame the outsiders for every woe that bedevils mankind.  

To defeat the Soviet Union, Reagan’s government trained, financed, and armed the religious fundamentalist forces in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North Africa, and South Asia. America’s flawed “war on communism” was the progenitor of America’s equally flawed “war on terror” which is still raging in several parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa. Reagan destabilized South America by authorizing the intervention in Nicaragua and other South American countries (in the name of stopping communism and the war on drugs).

The irony is that 42 years after Reagan’s presidency, communism continues to be the world’s most powerful ideology and political movement, while America is a spent force—some analysts say that the “last pages of the American Empire even now are being written.” In the twenty-first century, America represents the last stand of the Western civilization, which has dominated the world since the sixteenth century. After America, there won’t be another Western power. When America falls, the Asian countries will have a chance of asserting themselves in the world.

Is Man the Highest Product of Evolution?

Man is the last of the great species to emerge—the Darwinian theory takes this idea as a proof that man is the highest product of evolution. But it is not necessary that the highest product should come at the end of any process. A glitch in the process of evolution could have led to a steep downfall in the quality of species being churned out. What if the highest product of evolution was created tens of thousands of years or even millions of years ago? We might not be the last of the great species. The best outcome of earthly evolution might be lost in the mists of the past. We might never know about that earthly being who was smarter than us.

Friday, November 12, 2021

On The Yamnaya Migrations

The Yamnaya civilization emerged five thousand years ago (around 3300 BC) in the region between the Southern Bug, Dniester, and Ural rivers (the Pontic steppes). In his book Who We Are and How We Got Here, David Reich says that the Maikop culture or the people who preceded them made a genetic contribution to the Yamnaya population. Maikop technology of horse-drawn wheeled carts, and their way of raising mounds of earth and stone over graves, which are known as Krugans, was passed on to the Yamnaya. 

The Yamnaya spoke a late Proto-Indo-European language. About 46 percent of the world’s population (3.2 billion people) speaks an Indo-European language as their first language. They could be biologically related to the Yamnaya. There are striking parallels between the Yamnaya and Europe’s Corded Ware culture—both could have descended from genetically similar pre-Yamnaya populations. The presence of Corded Ware culture is seen as evidence of the Westward expansion of the Yamnaya.

In his book The Horse, the Wheel, and Language, David W. Anthony says that Yamnaya were more efficient in managing their resources than their predecessors, the Maikop culture and others, and they replaced the population of any area that they came to dominate. Genetic studies show that the Yamnaya started dominating Europe in 3000 BC, and their descendants reached South Asia in a thousand years (between 2000 to 1800 BC). They transformed the demography of Europe and several parts of Asia.

Britain is separated from the rest of Europe by the English Channel, but the Yamnaya found a way of moving into the British Isles. 90% of the people who built the Stonehenge no longer exist. They were replaced by people who have Yamnaya ancestry.

Genetic studies show that the present day population in North India has a strong connection with the Yamnaya. The period between 2000 and 1800 BC, when the Yamnaya are believed to have arrived in North India coincides with the fall of the Harappa Civilization. It would be simplistic to hold the Yamnaya responsible for the fall of the Harappa Civilization. The Harappans were not a warlike people. Historian Gordon Childe found the Harappa civilization to be unique in its lack of attention to weapons of war. 

The ruins of Harappan towns and cities show no sign of external attack. Most buildings are well-preserved and seem to have been abandoned. People probably migrated to other parts of India. Disease, environmental factors, and sudden decline in trade (due to the fall of the Mesopotamian civilization) might have something to do with the fall of the Harappa civilization. 

Many historians believe that the branch of Yamnaya civilization which arrived in North India spoke Vedic Sanskrit and they could be the primary creators of several ancient Hindu texts (particularly the early texts). After 1800 BC, Vedic Sanskrit started taking root in North India. Some scholars have posited that the present day Tamil language has some similarities to the Harappa script. If this is true, then it might be surmised that as the Yamnaya spread their dominance in North India, the Harappans migrated to the South.

The Harappans were acquainted with horses and chariots but the Yamnaya could have played a major role in popularizing the use of horse-drawn wheeled chariots for transportation and warfare. The Harappa script has not been deciphered, and there is a lot of controversy about Harappan religion and politics. We don’t know if there is any connection between Yamnaya and Harappan religious and political thinking. The word “Yamnaya” means related to pits (or graves) in Russian, but in Sanskrit, it points towards “Yama,” the Hindu god of Death and Justice. 

The Harappa civilization extends back to 3300 BC, which is the same period when the Yamnaya civilization came up in the Pontic steppes. Perhaps there was a connection between the Harappans and the Yamnaya from the early days of both civilizations. But I have not found this being suggested in the work of any historian.

From Civilization to Barbarism

“I want to know what were the steps by which men passed from barbarism to civilization.” ~ Voltaire 

I want to know the exact opposite—I want to know what were the steps by which men passed from civilization to barbarism. Barbarism is the fountainhead of civilization. The barbarians were the founders of all the past and present civilizations. Unless you understand barbarism, you will not understand civilization.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Myth of Democracy and Capitalism

Democracy and capitalism are the trappings or “packaging” of the exercise of political power; they cannot be the fountainhead of liberty, free markets, and good life. A nation can be democratic and yet be a brutish and extremely poor slave society—example, Ancient Athens. A nation can be capitalist but its economy might be in the control of oligarchs and crony capitalists—example, Mussolini’s fascist Italy. The history of the twentieth century tells us that the democratic and capitalist nations are as tyrannical, corrupt, and warlike as the nations which shun democracy and capitalism. It is a myth that a nation makes economic progress when it is democratic and capitalist. When the West became the world’s dominant power (between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries) it was being ruled by very tyrannical monarchs and warlords. After 1980, China became the world’s largest economy despite being a fascist state.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Rediscovery of Neanderthals

The first Neanderthal remains were discovered in Belgium in 1829. But the recognition of Neanderthals as ancient hominid creatures happened after the discovery of remains in Germany’s Neander Valley in 1856. Throughout the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, researchers depicted Neanderthals as cannibalistic and unintelligent brutes. Such views of Neanderthals could become popular because, during the age of imperialism, the Europeans were inclined towards demonizing the past and present non-European cultures. 

In his Views and Reviews essay, Sir Harry Johnston, the British explorer, botanist, and colonial administrator, wrote: “The dim racial remembrance of such gorilla-like monsters, with cunning brains, shambling gait, hairy bodies, strong teeth, and possibly cannibalistic tendencies, may be the germ of the ogre in folklore…” Till this day we hardly know anything about the brains, bodies, and food habits of Neanderthals, but Harry Johnston could decide, by virtue of his imperialistic mindset, that they were gorilla-like, cunning, and cannibalistic. 

Johnston and other European researchers demonized Neanderthals just as Columbus had demonized the native population of the Caribbean islands, and the conquistadors had demonized the Aztecs and the Incas. In a letter to the Monarchs of Spain, Columbus had described the cannibals of the Caribbean islands thusly: “there were men with one eye, and others with dogs’ noses, who ate men, and that when they took a man, they cut off his head and drank his blood and castrated him.” 

In the 1940s, when imperialism came to an end, and the non-European cultures started asserting their political, cultural, and moral values, some scientists and writers rejected the biased approach towards Neanderthals. They started looking at Neanderthals as people. 

In his 1955 novel, The Inheritors, William Golding does not accept the idea that Neanderthals were unredeemed brutes. He intuits their spirituality and humaneness. He gives them the marvelous capacity of telepathy—they can convey their thoughts without pictures and words, though they possess a basic language. Their sense of smell is so sharp that they can analyze an environment with their noses. Their feet can read the vibrations in the ground. They do not create, which is their limitation. They take whatever nature provides them. 

Golding portrays the last surviving band of neanderthals as meek, intelligent, and compassionate people who were wiped out by the barbaric Homo Sapiens. When there is a clash of civilizations, the meek do not inherit the earth, they get killed. 

In the 1990s, Neanderthal DNA was isolated and analyzed, and it became clear that most groups of human beings have up to 2 percent Neanderthal DNA. To explain the presence of Neanderthal DNA in humans, researchers have come up with the theory that between 50,000 to 40,000 years ago, primitive humans had mated with Neanderthals. Mating does not happen without exchange of culture. We have inherited not just Neanderthal DNA but also Neanderthal culture. That is why Golding calls his novel The Inheritors.

Neanderthals were discovered in 1829 but in the second half of the twentieth century, there was a remarkable change in perception and they were rediscovered as people.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Thomas Sowell: Defender of Slavery and Imperialism

“Thus slavery has been depicted as if it were a peculiarity of white people against black people in the United States, or in Western societies. No one dreams of demanding reparations from North Africans for all the Europeans brought there as slaves by Barbary Coast pirates, even though these European slaves greatly outnumbered the African slaves brought to the United States and to the thirteen colonies from which it was formed.” ~ writes Thomas Sowell in Chapter 9 of his book Intellectuals and Society

Sowell has a polemical style and he is very good at coining quotable sentences. Most of his books are bestsellers. His articles are widely read. But he is not a serious historian. In his books and articles, he often inserts blatant exaggerations, outright falsehoods, and biased analysis, which have nothing to do with real history but are intended to make his readers (most of whom are American conservatives) feel good about their culture and history. No serious historian would believe that the Europeans enslaved by the Barbary Coast pirates greatly outnumbered the African slaves brought to the thirteen colonies of the United States. 

The Barbary Coast pirates were operating in densely populated areas where farming was traditionally done by local farmers. They did not need hundreds of thousands of slaves, since they were not in the business of building industrial-scale plantations in sparsely populated lands like the Americas and Australia. Most importantly, more than a million Europeans in the lands of the Barbary Coast pirates would be hard to control—they would have rebelled like Spartacus during the Roman Empire. The Barbary Coast pirates never developed the systems of crushing the spirit and mind of their slaves like the Western slave traders had. 

In the notes section of his book, Sowell reveals that he is making the claim regarding European slaves on the basis of Robert C. Davis’s book, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters. Davis is the only historian who has claimed that the Barbary pirates had captured and sold between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans. These figures have been strongly disputed by other historians. In his book The Corsairs of Malta and Barbary and The Pirate Wars, David Earle says that Davis’s figures are a “gross exaggeration.” Earle also notes that the ringleaders of the Barbary pirates were Europeans: John Ward and Zymen Danseker, Hayreddin Barbarossa and Oruç Reis. 

In the same chapter, Sowell comes up with an outrageous defense of Western imperialism. He tries to make the case that Western imperialism was not too bad since most great civilizations had conquered other territories in the past. Here’s an excerpt: “it is impossible to read much of the history of the world, ancient or modern, without encountering the bloody trail of conquerors and the sufferings they inflicted on the conquered. Like slavery, imperialism encompassed every branch of the human race, both as conquerors and conquered. It was an evil that was never localized…” He adds that the Ottomans and the Hapsburgs were tyrannical empires. 

I will repeat what I have said earlier in this article, Sowell will write anything to please his conservative audience. But if he is defending Western slavery and Western imperialism, then he does not stand for liberty and free markets. He is a conservative polemicist.

A J Ayer’s Near Death Experience

A year before A J Ayer (1910-1989) died of pneumonia, he choked on a piece of salmon, lost consciousness, and in a technical sense died. For four minutes his heart had stopped until he was revived. Within a day, he had recovered sufficiently to chat about his near death experience. He claimed that he saw a bright light which was created by the government of the universe. He could not see the ministers who were in charge of the light but at a distance, he could see the ministers who were in charge of time. Ayer was instantly struck by the thought that Albert Einstein had theorized that space and time were the same. So he tried to attract the attention of the ministers of time by walking up and down and waving his watch and chain. His failure to attract the attention of the ministers of time made him feel desperate but before he could make other efforts, he regained consciousness. Ayer, a lifelong atheist, was shaken by the near death experience as it provided a "rather strong evidence that death does not put an end to consciousness.”

Monday, November 8, 2021

Contributions of the Failed Civilizations

A clash of civilizations is not a winner-takes-all type of game. Our world is enriched by the wisdom of many civilizations which have failed and died in the past.

In the words of the Nigerian poet Christopher Okigbo:

We carry in our worlds that flourish
Our worlds that have failed.

In the words of the British poet T. S. Elliot:

Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Hegelian Dialectics and the Clash of Civilizations

An important teaching of Hegelian philosophy developed in the nineteenth century was that the march of history proceeds in a dialectic which begins with a “thesis,” followed by an “antithesis.” Progress is achieved through a coming together or “synthesis,” which transcends the conflict between the opposing forces. 

Before the fifteenth century, Europe and Asia were in a state of synthesis. They were one continent: Eurasia. At least till the rise of the Greek civilization in the sixth century BC, Europe was Eurasia’s backwater. Europe’s economy was smaller than the economies of India and China until 1450. Most technological innovations before the thirteenth century took place in Asia and North Africa. The major European religions, including Paganism and Christianity, were born in Asia. 

In the fifteenth century, Europe (particularly Western Europe) freed itself from Eurasia—it became an independent and warlike entity. From the fifteenth century to 1950 (the end of the Colonial Empires), Europe was the thesis, and Asia was the antithesis. The Europeans went on a rampage, forcing many nations to accept the European thesis. They destroyed several primitive cultures and radically transformed those that they could not destroy. 

In the twenty-first century, European or Western civilization has lost its momentum. The European thesis can no longer counter the Asian antithesis. Asia is on the rise. After 1960, some of the major centers of Western intellectualism and political power have come under the control of Asian and other non-Western cultures. This trend will continue in the twenty-first century. 

The European thesis had manifested itself in the form of European imperialism which led to a clash of civilizations. This was history’s new dialectic. In the first 350 years of this new dialectic, the European thesis has dominated the world. But the unintended consequence of imperialism, and the clash of civilizations that it inspired, was the rise of nationalistic movements in several nations. The West does not have the power to end the clash.

According to the rules of Hegelian dialectic, the clash will not end until there is a synthesis of the opposing forces. A synthesis means a decline of Western civilization. The former colonial masters are in the process of becoming colonized. By the middle of the twenty-first century, Asia will take control of the West. The next 350 years will belong to Asia.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

On The Foundational Stage Of Capitalism

A capitalist society is not built in a vacuum. Massive resources, including unearned wealth (gold, silver, coal, iron, petroleum, etc.), land (entire continents have to be subjugated), slave labor (millions of slaves), and colonies (for plunder, cheap labor, and resources), which are acquired through imperialistic and totalitarian methods, are necessary for developing the political and economic environment in which a capitalist society can arise. For a poor country, which has never been an imperialist power, capitalism is an unachievable ideal. The old truism, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime,” is valid for capitalist fortunes. 

There is no doubt that communism leads to a bloodbath: the excesses of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Kim Il-sung are well-known. But the founders of capitalist societies are not saints—their body count is not less than that of the communist tyrants. How many people were massacred by the European imperialists between the fifteenth century and the middle of the twentieth century? How many wars has America fought in the twentieth century to propagate its ideology of capitalism? The irony is that America has fought more wars in the twentieth century than the erstwhile Soviet Union and China (under Mao). 

Lenin was wrong when he said that “imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism.” History tells us that imperialism is the foundational stage of capitalism. It is a myth that capitalism can be developed by liberalizing the economy. The road to capitalist utopia starts from the point of imperialism. Economic liberalization in a non-Western country leads to the capture of its culture and economy by the Western forces which masquerade as capitalists. Crony capitalism is the highest form of capitalism. The communists lust for total power; the capitalists lust for total profits. In communism, the war cry is dictatorship of the proletariat. In capitalism, the war cry is manifest destiny.

In his unfinished book the Dialectics of Nature (1876), Friedrich Engels has succinctly reported on the central problems of capitalism. Here’s an excerpt: 

“When individual capitalists are engaged in production and exchange for the sake of the immediate profit, only the nearest, most immediate results can be taken into account in the first place… What did the Spanish planters in Cuba, who burned down forests the slopes of the mountains and obtained from the ashes sufficient fertilizer for one generation of very highly profitable coffee trees, care that the tropical rainfall afterwards washed away the now unprotected upper stratum of the soil, leaving behind only bare rock? In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of production is predominantly concerned only about the first, tangible success; and then surprise is expressed that the more remote effects of actions directed to this end turn out to be of quite a different, mainly even of quite an opposite, character…”

If a non-Western country aspires to become capitalist, then it has to do everything that the Western powers have done from the fifteenth century to the twentieth. This entails becoming an imperialist power, founding colonies, enslaving millions of people, and plundering many lands.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Who We Are and How We Got Here

I am reading David Reich’s book Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past. In Chapter 5, "The Making of Modern Europe,” he writes: “People like those at Stonehenge were building great temples to their gods, and tombs for their dead, and could not have known that within a few hundred years their descendants would be gone and their lands overrun. The extraordinary fact that emerges from ancient DNA is that just five thousand years ago, the people who are now the primary ancestors of all extant northern Europeans had not yet arrived.” The human genome is capable of providing some major insights into the story of our species. The geneticists are now presenting a completely unexpected version of prehistory.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The Hindu Cosmology of Seven Continents and Seven Seas

Most major civilizations believe that they are God’s chosen people. Their ancient texts contain cosmological theories which portray the place that they inhabit as the center of the universe. 

In Ancient Hindu cosmology (as described in the Puranas and other ancient texts), the world is divided into seven concentric continents: Jambudvipa, Plaksadvipa, Salmalidvipa, Kusadvipa, Krouncadvipa, Sakadvipa, and Pushkaradvipa. These concentric continents are separated by seven seas: the first sea is filled with salt water, second with sugarcane juice, third with wine, fourth with ghee, fifth with curd, sixth with milk, and the seventh with water. The last sea, on the outer periphery, is surrounded by the mountain range called Lokaloka (world and no-world) which is ten thousand yoganas (one yogana is 12 to 15 kilometers) in breadth and as many in height—it forms the boundary between the knowable world and the dark void of nothingness. 

Hinduism was founded in Jambudvipa, the innermost of the seven continents. Jambudvipa is also known as Sudarshanadvipa. In Markandeya Purana, Jambudvipa is described as a sublime land that is depressed in the southern and northern regions, and in its middle there is an elevated and broad land called Ila-vrta or Meruvarsha. In the center of Meruvarsha, there is the golden mountain called Mount Meru, on whose summit there is a vast city called Brahmapuri, the abode of God of Creation, Brahma. Around Brahmapuri, there are eight cities, each presided by its own God, one of these Gods is Indra, the King of heaven and all Gods. 

In another visualization given in the Markandeya Purana, Jambudvipa is divided into four regions, which are shaped like the four petals of a lotus. Mount Meru rises from the center, and the city of Brahmapuri is surrounded by the river Akash Ganga, which flows from the foot of Vishnu. Akash Ganga meanders through the lunar regions, before descending from the sky. After encircling Brahmapuri, it divides into four streams which irrigate the entire continent of Jambudvipa. 

How old is the Hindu cosmology of seven continents and seven seas? It is impossible to date the Markandeya Purana and the other Puranas. Most scholars believe that the Markandeya Purana (which is probably the oldest Purana) was developed in the seventh century BC. But the Puranas could belong to prehistory, which in Indian context means during or before the Harappan era (5500—1900 BC). But the Harappan era did not begin in a vacuum—Agriculture and settled life began in South Asia around 7000 BC. The cosmological theories in the Puranas could be rooted in cultures that are very old. Some of these theories contain information which correspond with the findings of modern science.

All human beings in the world are the descendants of the homo sapiens who moved out of Africa about 70,000 years ago. They reached India (South Asia) 65,000 years ago. They reached Central Asia and Europe between 60,000 to 40,000 years ago. As they moved across Asia and Europe, they wiped out the Neanderthals and other Homo species. The last group of Neanderthals was exterminated in South-Western Europe. Analysis of DNA shows that the population of Europe was replaced twice by Asian groups in the last 10,000 years: the first replacement was 9000 years ago, and the second was 5000 years ago. Between about 45,000 and 20,000 years ago, India or South Asia saw a massive population growth and became the world’s largest center of humanity.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Hume: The Power of Propaganda

“Nothing appears more surprising to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.” ~ the opening lines of David Hume’s essay, “Of the First Principles of Government.” In this essay, Hume was commenting on the Western governments, the European powers in particular (America was not a global power in Hume’s time). The West has always been good at propaganda (using fancy speeches and literature to drum up support for its agenda). Carnage and propaganda—the West excels in both. The West has won in the last 400 years because of its swords, guns, warships, and canons on the one hand, and the power of its wordsmiths or propagandists on the other hand.

Monday, November 1, 2021

The Myth of American Humanitarian Intervention

In the 1950s, the Americans invented the term “humanitarian intervention” to create the impression that their wars were motivated by altruistic and philanthropic concerns. They monopolized this term—only they had the right to attack another country for humanitarian reasons. If any other country intervened, the Americans would adamantly oppose the intervention and brand it as a savage invasion. In most cases, the American humanitarian interventions led to much bigger humanitarian disasters, probably because the real purpose of these wars was to capture natural resources and install puppet regimes in nations of geopolitical importance. 

The first American project of humanitarian intervention was launched in Indochina, between 1955 and 1975. In the name of saving Vietnam from Soviet communism, the Americans perpetrated all kinds of horrors on the country. Hundreds of thousands of heavily armed American troops poured into Vietnam and they conducted saturation bombing of several densely populated areas. The American dead have been counted—about 52,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam. But what about the Vietnamese casualties? Most analysts believe that the American military machine slaughtered around 2,000,000 Vietnamese civilians and 1,100,000 fighters. 

The story of America’s “humanitarian intervention” in Indochina does not end with their defeat in Vietnam. In the 1970s, the American establishment encouraged the insurgent movement called Khmer Rouge, led by the Maoist leader Pol Pot, in Cambodia. The thinking in Washington was that the Maoist communists of Cambodia would battle against the Soviet communists of Vietnam and that would worsen the situation in the region to such an extent that the world would beseech America to intervene. But once it captured power in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge went out of control. They slaughtered about 25 percent of the country’s population in just four years. 

The American humanitarians did not intervene to save the Cambodians from the Frankenstein monster, Khmer Rouge, in whose rise they had contributed significantly. Ultimately, it was left to the Vietnamese to overthrow the Khmer Rouge regime. Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in December 1978 must be seen as a major humanitarian intervention. It saved the lives of millions of Cambodians. But the Americans didn’t appreciate Vietnam's intervention. They proclaimed that Vietnam had violated the rights of the Cambodians by invading their country. They encouraged China to attack Vietnam. But the Vietnamese were able to repulse the Chinese attack. 

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan declared that the policies of Nicaragua were an unusual and extraordinary threat to America’s national security and foreign policy. Nicaragua was (and still is) a virtually defenseless country—how could it be a threat to America? After the Vietnam debacle, it had become the policy of the USA to fight only the defenseless states, which could be defeated decisively and rapidly. The Americans intervened in Nicaragua because the country was defenseless. They attacked Saddam Hussain because Iraq was defenseless—it did not have any WMDs. North Korea had WMDs so the Americans would never dare to challenge its regime. 

Look at the global mayhem that the Americans have caused with their constant warfare. What have they done to Libya, Egypt, and Sudan? What have they done to Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and several other nations in South America? The botched American war on drugs has led to several drug cartels taking over large parts of South America. The American war crimes never get investigated. If one American soldier dies, there is saturation bombing of the TV channels, newspapers, and social media with the pictures and videos of the dead soldier. But if a 1000 civilians are killed in a botched American attack, there is no coverage. 

The conservative thinker Samuel Huntington has rightly noted that much of the world sees the USA as a “rogue superpower” and “the single greatest external threat to their societies.”