December 29, 2012

Hayek, Zizek, Heehs and Elst

Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader Sachidananda Mohanty - 2012 - Preview - I believe that Peter Heehs is right in his analysis and observations. While the intersection of religion and nationalism remains an unresolved issue and Heehs has not ventured 'to set forth in systematic form', his own vision of Sri Aurobindo's views—he does it elsewhere—his point about the existing prejudice and misunderstanding against Sri Aurobindo is a valid one. What I propose to do next is to underline key aspects of Sri Aurobindo's social vision that make him a front-ranking thinker of contemporary culture.

Aurobindo's Philosophy of Brahman - Page 132 - Stephen H. Phillips - 1986 - Preview - I think that the case for the interpretation that his overriding motive is empiricist is a good one. My chief reason for identifying this additional affinity is, as before, to try to comprehend his positions as fully as possible, ...
While mystic experience does stand out not only justificationally but in his idea of the nature of divine life, Aurobindo's stress is on a continuity, mutual value, and mutual reality obtaining between the mystical and and our more ordinary ... 

An Indian Sceptic – Philosophy of Daya Krishna from from Centre Right India by Koenraad Elst - Dec 28, 2012. Daya Krishna (1924-2007) had been a member of the Changers’ Club, the debating circle of friends at Delhi University, featuring the later journalist Girilal Jain, economists Ram Swarup and Raj Krishna and historian Sita Ram Goel.  
Daya Krishna wisely avoids pronouncing on the difficult question of their absolute chronology… Briefly, Daya Krishna was a Hindu philosopher who knew his classics very well, and who took a questioning position. He was not a secularist, the kind who know next to nothing of their tradition yet condemn it out of hand anyway. But he was not a believer either, aware as he was of the contradiction between the common beliefs about Vedic literature and what the Vedas themselves say.

One of the defining sentences in the various analyses of post-Independence Hindu revivalism, which is also original is this: Hindus have been playing the game by the rules set by their enemies. [Ed: Paraphrased] Elst wrote this in his masterful Decolonizing the Hindu Mind in 2001. More than a decade ago. As we see, very little has changed since then. If anything, it’s gotten worse in several respects… The Intellectuals: The widely travelled, well-read, and smart ones. The ones who (rightly) want to change the narrative, who point out the inherent bias in our discourse about India and Hinduism.

A Day in the Life of a Sikh Prejudice: Pukhraj Singh DECEMBER 29, 2012 from Kafila Guest post by PUKHRAJ SINGH
“The very ink with which history is written,” allegorised Mark Twain, “is merely fluid prejudice.” By that rationale, religion can often be the quill which defaces the truth with its broad strokes, perverting history than promulgating it. And like the bastard child of these perversions, a few counter-narratives manage to wade through the tides of public opinion, carrying the dim outline of the ossified ideas that led to its tragic pursuit. But one has to have the right kind of eyes, says Hunter S. Thompson, to “see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.” 

From Less Than Nothing, pp. 1007-1009 (yes, I’ve finished the thing):
“Faced with the demands of the protestors, intellectuals are definitely not in the position of the subjects supposed to know: they cannot operationalize these demands, or translate them into proposals for precise and realistic measures. With the fall of twentieth-century communism, they forever forfeited the role of the vanguard which knows the laws of history and can guide the innocents along its path. The people, however, also do not have access to the requisite knowledge–the “people” as a new figure of the subject supposed to know is a myth of the Party which claims to act on its behalf…
There is no Subject who knows, and neither intellectuals nor ordinary people are that subject. Is this a deadlock then: a blind man leading the blind, or, more precisely, each of them assuming that the other is not blind? No, because their respective ignoance is not symmetrical: it is the people who have the answers, they just do not know the questions to which they have (or, rather, are) the answer…. 
Claude Levi-Strauss wrote that the prohibition of incest is not a question, an enigma, but an answer to a question that we do not know. We should treat the demands of the Wall Street protests in a similar way: intellectuals should not primarily take them as demands, questions, for which they should produce clear answers, programs about what to do. They are answers, and intellectuals should propose the questions to which they are answers. The situation is like that in psychoanalysis, where the patient knows the answer (his symptoms are such answers) but does not know what they are the answers to, and the analyst has to formulate the questions. Only through such patient work will a program emerge.” 

(title unknown) by enowning
In Al Jazeera, Santiago Zabala on the thinker of our age
[His ability to fuse together Martin Heidegger's "fundamental ontology", Francis Fukuyama's "end of history" and Naomi Klein's "shock doctrine" in order to undermine our liberal and tolerant democratic structures is a practice few intellectuals are capable of.]

A Must Read New Book on Friedrich Hayek from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy
Eamonn Butler: “Friedrich Hayek: the ideas and influence of the libertarian economist”
It is in his accounts of why markets flourish naturally that Hayek is most persuasive, and Butler is at his best in showing the importance of this side of Hayek’s work.  This means discussing socialism, which at first glance is a debate about a past that is now over. However, lessons from the endemic failures of socialism are in excellent contrast to the superior results of market capitalism, and Butler develops the contrast clearly, highlighting the untold damage done by the rising tide of deliberate rule changes that eventually clog the operations of markets, restraining them from their full potential.
Socialism is a mistaken response to how societies evolve and work.   The “battle lines” may have changed from what they were in the 19th century when socialism was an untried idea, but having been tried and failed in the 20thcentury, the central problem remains today: how does a central agency manage a complex economy? Socialism necessarily means dispensing with an existing market capitalism, which whatever else is regarded as dispensable, the visible success of markets that grew within the margins of the millennia-old human experiences since our ancestors left the forest and plains to become shepherds and farmers 10,000 years ago, suggests that markets are dispensed with at an enormous cost.  
We can contrast the experience of China and Britain since the 15th century; China’s government deliberately ended foreign trade despite its massive technological lead. Meanwhile individuals in Britain continued trading and eventually re-discovered the ‘lost’ technologies of China which led to the spread of local markets, science and unheard of new technologies.  Market capitalism flourishes under conditions of constitutional liberty more than totalitarian socialism can flourish by destroying markets. Gavin Kennedy Emeritus Professor, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University

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