Sunday, September 24, 2023

Rationality is a myth; man is a creature of emotions

Goddess Saraswati 

(10th century)

The idea that man is a rational creature is a myth propagated by the power-hungry intellectuals and politicians of the modern age. They proclaimed themselves as the “voice of rationality,” because they wanted to propagate the myth that they were superior to everyone else and hence best suited to wield political power. 

Man is a creature of emotions who is capable of rationalizing. Too often we confuse our rationalization with the aspect of being rational. But rationalization has nothing to do with being rational. A super-advanced computer (an AI) can be rational, but Man is incapable of being rational. 

What is the rational course of action in any context is impossible for man to decipher. All the knowledge of humanity is not sufficient to decode the mysteries of the limitless universe. With his limited knowledge and experience man is incapable of identifying the ultimate truth. How can man be rational when he is clueless about the ultimate truth? 

The man who says that he knows what is the rational course of action is either a fool, who does not know what he is talking about, or a power hungry tyrant. 

The ancient sages of Sanatana Dharma did not exhort people to be rational; they told them that the world was a sea of consequences and the eternal truth is hard to find because it resides within infinite myths and falsehoods. They told them that one can try to move close to the eternal truth by being patient and by developing wisdom and empathy. 

Dharma is more about wisdom than rationality, it is more about empathy than ethics.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Lord Kalki: The end of metaphysics, the beginning of new universe

Lord Kalki, an avatara of Vishnu, appears at the final or ultimate moments of the Mahayuga. 

Metaphysically, Lord Kalki represents the end of everything: mind and matter, space and time, life and non-life, the cycle of birth and death, all history and memory come to an end with his coming. The universe goes out of existence. But the end of the universe is the fountainhead for the creation of a new universe. 

The cycle of a new Mahayuga and new universe begins after the dissolution of the earlier Mahayuga and universe. The Upanishads mention that there are four yugas in every Mahayuga: Krita (Satya), Treta, Dvapara and Kali. The current universe is in Kali Yuga, which began in 3102 BC, and will last for 1200 divine years, or 432,000 human years.

The Puranas describe periods of time much larger than the yugas and the mahayuga—these are called manvantaras and kalpas. One manvantara comprises 71 mahayugas; 14 manvantaras comprise one kalpa, equal to a day in Brahma's life. Thus, a day in Brahma’s life consists of an infinite number of years from the human perspective. 

Since Lord Kalki appears at the end of the Mahayuga, it can be surmised that, according to the Upanishads and Puranas, the universe comes to an end and is reborn several times in each manvantara and kalpa. The Puranas talk about thirty kalpas. The present kalpa is the Varaha Kalpa which came after the passage of the previous kalpa, the Padma Kalpa.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

John Galt: Ayn Rand’s world-destroying, world-conquering conquistador

John Galt was the postmodern conquistador who happily presided over the slaughter of tens of millions of people and the destruction of an entire civilization to create a social and political vacuum which would be filled by a mythical way of life based on his own philosophical and political opinions. 

He was convinced that he knew what was the best possible way of life and that he had the moral right to decide how every other human being should think and live. 

In the climax of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, John Galt and his acolytes destroy all the major industries, they facilitate bridge collapses, plane crashes, rail accidents and nuclear explosions, they engineer the collapse of the monetary system and the political establishment, they decimate the law & order machinery, and they become indirectly responsible for the death of tens of millions of people. 

In Ayn Rand’s convoluted worldview, these mass murderers were the good guys. They were the good guys because they did their destruction and killing in the name of Ayn Rand’s so-called values—the values of reason, atheism, individualism, freedom and capitalism. 

Ayn Rand was a big fan of Columbus, Hernán Cortés and the conquistadors who had wiped out the native population of the Americas to create space for the rise of modern America. In her historically-ignorant and morally-decrepit essays, she has denigrated the Native Indians and suggested that they deserved to die. She believed that America had lost its way in the early 20th century and that a new band of conquistadors must arise to utterly destroy society and pave the way for the development of a new world in which every human being would accept and live by her values.

She did not preach violence but she realized that most people in the world would NEVER accept to live by her set of foolish values, and give up their religions and traditions, unless they were demoralized and tyrannized by large-scale social and economic collapse and mass slaughter. This is what John Galt and his acolytes (conquistadors) set out to achieve in her novel. The conquistadors of the 16th and 17th centuries killed by swords and spears, but Ayn Rand shunned violence, so she got Galt and his men to destroy by words.

In Atlas Shrugged, Galt is the smooth-talking pseudo-philosopher who brainwashes people with his words and gets them to do the dirty work of destroying and killing. In the final part of the book, he gives a long speech, of around 60-pages, which is an elucidation of Ayn Rand's rather silly and insane philosophy. The tone of speech is hectoring and dictatorial. He is clearly stating that either you accept everything that I say as the ultimate truth or you will be left to rot and die. Every human in the world is given a stark choice: dreary death or slavery to Ayn Rand’s values. 

Ayn Rand is seen as a philosopher of classical liberalism and libertarianism, but she was not a philosopher. Her knowledge of philosophy and history was atrocious—this is obvious from the naive and laughable comments that she has made on Aristotle, Plato, Kant and a few other philosophers. She was a mediocre fiction writer and politically, she was a tyrant. She believed that the world belonged to “only one type of people”—those who lived by her system of thought. 

In the last three decades of her life she tried to start a movement. She attracted a small ragtag bunch of semi-educated and ill-experienced youngsters. The intelligent ones in this bunch quickly saw through the contradictions in her thought and they fled from her, never to come back again. Only the mediocrities stuck with her. She spent the final years of her life in the company of these mediocrities, who pampered themselves with the notion that they were like John Galt. They venerated her as their God and her movement became a cult.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Rajiv Malhotra's Being Different: Arguments against the ideologies of sameness, multiculturalism, assimilation

Started reading Rajiv Malhotra's book Being Different yesterday. Now on Chapter 3. 

This book is full of arguments against the postmodern ideologies of "sameness," "multiculturalism" and "assimilation." Rajiv Malhotra argues that "sameness," "multiculturalism" and "assimilation" are not humane and development-oriented ideologies. These are brutal political strategies. 

Whenever these ideologies take root in any society, they result in the "devouring" and "digestion" of one culture by the other. The culture which tries to follow the principles of "sameness," "multiculturalism" and "assimilation" is the one that gets devoured and digested.

Malhotra also argues (in the pages that I have read so far) that being different is not a bad thing—it is a fact of nature. He propagates “being different” as a virtue practiced by long-lasting civilizations with highly advanced philosophy, literature and religious theory. 

He notes that the cosmos is full of different heavenly objects, atomic objects and lifeforms. Nature does not push these objects and lifeforms towards losing their differences and becoming one. The sun does not yearn to become like planets, the deer does not try to become like the wolf. The objects and lifeforms in the cosmos try to find a balance while retaining their unique character.  

Why should human culture and civilizational principles defy the fundamental principles of the cosmos and try to make all humans alike? Malhotra argues that ideologies of "sameness," "multiculturalism" and "assimilation" are political and cultural strategies to disarm and weaken other civilizations and then devour and digest them.

(More on the book later…)