There is a spontaneous demand from the larger society for the end products of engineering, medical, and scientific professions, while whatever demand there is for the end products of sociologists, linguists, or historians comes largely from educational institutions or is created by intellectuals themselves, mostly by stepping outside of whatever academic specialty they are in, to operate as “public intellectuals” offering “solutions” to social “problems” or by raising alarms over some dire dangers which they claim to have discovered. In short, the demand for public intellectuals is to a considerable extent manufactured by themselves.

-Thomas Sowell

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Message to Younger Students

It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.
-Arnold J. Toynbee

The world today is increasingly competitive. Those who will be coming in 10th and 12th should realize this. They shouldn’t aim at marks as their main challenge, because doing that will be hitting too low. Everybody scores marks nowadays. Think beyond that. Try to learn alternative literature. Instead of watching pure entertainment based TV series, and playing no brainer video games, look for videos which feature great thinkers. Come in touch with ideas of great thinkers. You will notice that the general populace who usually think of themselves as quite exempt from any intellectual influence are usually the slave of what a philosopher scribbled down centuries or decades ago.

I recommended videos and not books because if you’re not a book person, videos will probably propel you into book reading. Logic, Language and Maths are going to be the only tools you will need to enable you to take a stint at almost any subject. Work on that. Work on your power of concentration. Learn to sit alone. Contemplate a lot on the nature of things.
If you cannot sit for 2 hours alone in a room, all by yourself, you’re headed for great emotional shocks in your life.

India has a disproportionate number of people who spend their daily lives in misery. They suffer poverty, malnourishment. They suffer inhuman indignity. They struggle to make both their ends meet. Figure out what you can do to help them. When I see any destitute on road, or a laborer making a meagre living by working too hard, it pains me to the core. I consider myself a failure for not being able to help them. Make sure you never feel that when you grow up.

Lastly, and most important, base your feelings on what you do to others instead of what others do to you. Actions of others are often not in your control. But you will always live by a clean conscience if your own actions are always just. Act in a manner, which, if it became a general law or practise for homo sapiens, all our humanity will prosper. Honesty is one such virtue.

Do as I told you above, and I promise you will have a great life indeed.

Some Quick Musings on Philosophy

I was listening to Shankaracharya of Puri, and he remarked that the fundamental difference between Vedic philosophy and Western Philosophy is that Westerners(Meaning those who adhere to Western thought. This include Indians too) consider body as Atman while we do not consider body as Atman. I frowned and scratched my head thinking this statement is absurdity and is of no use. On contemplation I realized the enormous implications of this. If one keeps in view this distinction, most of the critiques of our texts for oppression and violation of human dignity will loose or cease to have any weight whatsoever. Just think over it.

As far as I understand Vedanta, the quest and central aim of it is to arrive at the Reality. Now, what is Reality? Reality is not something that we percieve through senses. Why? Because what we percieve through senses is specie specific. Different beings experience it differently. For example, a being with 100 eyes will not percieve an object the same way as we do.

On reflection we further find that essentially everything which is causal is specie specific, therefore Reality is something which is not contingent on any cause. And the nature of Reality is understood to be that which is complete in itself. That which is it’s very condition. That which is inborn. That which is not accidental. And that which doesn’t cease to be itself. This Reality is called as Brahman in Vedanta. The Atman of humans is a part of Brahman.
How? Its argued that assuming that you’ve dreamt 10 times till now, that means your 10 dream bodies have already been destroyed, but you haven’t been destroyed. Since infancy till now, your body has changed but you have not changed.

Some of you might wonder what I mean by the word you. By it I mean pure consciousness. Your thoughts are in ceaseless flux. To recognize such a flux there must exist something which is not in flux. That unchanging subtratum is consciousness, or Atman. It satisfies all the preceding tests of Reality.

The goal or quest of life as per Vedanta then is realization of this Atman where realization doesn’t technically mean knowledge as is commonly understood, for that will entail causation. Jnana(or Gyaan) is understood as cessation of all the causation, and thus realization of Atman lies in cessation of knowledge and thought, which in Yoga is called as Samadhi.

But to arrive at such a state one needs reasoning through thoughts. That entails using body in service of cessation of all the Vritis accompanied by justified reasoning. These are all contingent upon our bodily experiences. Body, in Vedantic metaphysics, is thus NOT AN END IN ITSELF, BUT A MEANS TO AN END. Body is regarded as a mere tool to achieve this state. That action is regarded as pure or good, which helps in furtherance or achievement of this state. That action is considered as base or evil which does the opposite of it. Social life is to be organized in a way which facilitates the furtherance of this realization.

Contrary to that, human body is the center of philosophy of say Kant, or Bentham or others. Social life is organized keeping human satisfaction as its center or human dignity as its center and its through this lens that Srutis and Smritis are read which is the source of fundamental misinterpretation of almost everything it says.
I have a lot to say, but the piece is already quite long. So next time, maybe.

Note: The language that I have used is unsuitable in conversation of what Vedanta wants to convey, just as plain English is unsuitable to convey what a Physicist wants to convey. This is because language has a certain structure, surpassing which we cannot speak.

Mises on Socialism

Even the opponents of Socialism are dominated by Socialist ideas. . .For if it’s only possible to argue against the socialist programme that it endangers the particular interests of one part of humanity, one has really affirmed Socialism. If one complains that the system of economic and social organization which is based on private property in the means of production does not sufficiently consider the interests of the community, that it serves only the purposes of single strata, and that it limits productivity; and if therefore one demands with the supporters of various ‘social-political’ and ‘social-reform’ movements, state interference in all fields of economic life, then one has fundamentally accepted the principle of the socialist programme. Or again, if one can only argue against Socialism that the imperfections of human nature make its realization impossible, or that it is inexpedient under existing economic conditions to proceed at once to socialization, then one merely confesses that one has capitulated to socialist ideas. The nationalist, too, affirms Socialism, and objects only to its Internationalism. He wishes to combine Socialism with the ideas of Imperialism and the struggle against foreign nations. He is a national, not an international socialist; but he, also, approves of the essential principles of Socialism. The supporters of Socialism therefore are not confined to the Bolshevists and their friends outside Russia or to the members of the numerous socialist parties: all are socialists who consider the socialistic order of society economically and ethically superior to that based on private ownership of the means of production, even though they may try for one reason or another to make a temporary or permanent compromise between their socialistic ideal and the particular interests which they believe themselves to represent.

-Ludwig von Mises, Socialism

Rise of Marxists

Its been long since Marxism was intellectually buried in the world. So long that most people don’t exactly realize what it is and why its fatal for human cooperation and existence. Why its a road to serfdom and poverty. Why its a cult which fails under scientific scrutiny.
Most people who passionately oppose Marxism do not have good arguments against it and are, in fact, themselves infected by its ideas.
It’s a sad sight to watch the rise of popularity of Marxists in India. Part of the blame goes to the low Indian intellectual standards and the arrogance of intellectual elite in India.

Nevertheless, whatever be the reason, dark times seem to be coming for India.

The Goal of Life

In very small children, it is cute to observe how they misapprehend the world but in adults that same behavior is pitiable. Anyone who takes time out for solitary contemplation realizes by the age of 25 –at most — that the pursuit of happiness is a fool’s errand. The world is such that:
1.) There’s no such thing as perpetual happiness or sadness; and,
2.) Happiness and sadness happens inspite and despite of what you do. Both even out by the end of life just as a coin tossed infinite number of times tends to even out number of heads and tails to 50-50.
And yet people are ceaselessly engaged in a futile yearning for happiness when nature is yelling and screaming — quite literally — that knowledge and NOT happiness is the goal of this life.

Chaos in Kashmir

What are our ministers and bureaucrats taking salary for if even after decades they have been wholly impotent in amicably resolving the Kashmir issue?
Having talked with some Kashmiris myself, I find Indians royally ignorant of the Kashmiri position. Solution is a distant ambition considering that public has been continuously duped into slogan mongering to the extent that they don’t even know the realities of Kashmir.
Kashmiris regard Indian occupation of Kashmir exactly as we Indians regarded British occupation of India. Kashmiris have been demanding referendum, a demand to which Pakistan is sympathetic, which is why Kashmiris have a soft corner for Pakistan. Those whom Indians refer as terrorists, like Burhan Wani, are their Bhagat Singh. In their continuous demand for referendum Indians have been using armed force for decades to supress their voice. The result is needless death and casualties on both sides. This is not to suggest that I blame soldiers for what they’re doing. What army men are doing is their duty. They work as per policies decided by the royally incompetent bureaucrats and ministers. The only purpose of this post is to make people aware of things they are not aware so that they stop getting overwhelmed by bedlam which is the result of retard Indian policymakers.

Nikola Tesla on woman

Following is what Nikola Tesla said about women in an interview where he was asked why he didn’t marry. I disagree with Tesla at some points, but broadly, I am in general agreement with him.

I had always thought of woman as possessing those delicate qualities of mind and soul that made her in these respects far superior to man. I had put her on a lofty pedestal, figuratively speaking, and ranked her in certain important attributes considerable higher than man. I worshipped at the feet of the creature I had raised to this height, and, like every true worshipper, I felt myself unworthy of the object of my worship. But all this was in past. Now the soft-voiced gentle woman of my reverent worship has but all vanished. In her place has come the woman who thinks that her chief success in life lies in making herself as much as possible like man – in dress, voice, actions, sports and achievements of every kind. . .Women, are becoming stronger than men, both physically and mentally. The world has experienced many tragedies, but to my mind the greatest tragedy of all is the present economic condition wherein women strive against men, and in many cases actually succeed in usurping their places in the professions and in industry. This growing tendency of women to overshadow the masculine is a sign of deteriorating civilization. Woman’s determined competition with man in the business world is breaking down some of the best traditions – things which have proved the moving factors in the world’s slow but substantial progress. Practically all the great achievements of man until now have been inspired by his love and devotion to woman. Man has aspired to great things because some woman believed in him, because he wished to command her admiration and respect. For these reasons he has fought for her and risked her life and his all for her time and time again. Perhaps the male in human society is useless. I am frank to admit that I don’t know. If women are beginning to feel this way about it, and there’s a striking evidence that they do, then we are entering upon the cruelest period of the world’s history. Our civilization will sink to a state like that which is found among the bees, ants and other insects – a state where the male is ruthlessly killed off. In this matriarchal empire which will be established the female rules. As the female predominates, the males are at her mercy. The male is considered important only as a factor in the general scheme of the continuity of life. The tendency of women to push aside man, supplanting the old spirit of cooperation with him in all the affairs of life, is very disappointing to me. Women’s independence and her cleverness in obtaining what she wants in the business world is breaking down man’s spirit of independence. The old fire he once experienced of being able to achieve something that would compel and hold a women’s devotion is turning to ashes. Women don’t seem to want that sort of thing today. They appear to want to control and govern. They want man to look up to them, instead of their looking up to him. I am not considering this question merely from the standpoint of a man, I am thinking of the woman’s side of it. As we contemplate any change, we naturally take into consideration the results that may follow such an innovation. One of the results to my mind is quite a pathetic one. Woman, herself, is really the victim instead of, as she thinks, the victor. Contentment is absent from her life. She is ambitious, often far beyond her natural equipment, to attain the things she wants. She too frequently forgets that all women cannot be prima Donna’s and motion picture stars. Woman’s discontent makes the life of present day still more overstressed. The high pitch given to existence by people who are restless and dissatisfied because they fail to achieve things wholly out of proportion to the health and talent which nature has endowed them is a bad thing for the world. It seems to me that women are not particularly happy in this new newly found freedom, in this new competition which they are waging so persistently against men in business and the professions and even in sport. The question that naturally arises is, whether the women themselves are the gainers or the losers. Discontent makes for cranks and unnatural people. There seems to be an uncommon number of them about today. This is one of the reasons I remain apart from the crowds. The public, or semi-public, character is the target for all sorts of attacks and unpleasant communications. It seems to me that anything which adds to discontent which we observe on every side today must be a bad influence on our life. Women who keep themselves agitated by their tremendous ambition to beat man at his game are losing at the same time something that counts for more in the end than the empty honors that success in business or one of the professions can ever give. The power of a true woman is so great that I believe if a beautiful woman – that is to say, one beautiful in spirit, in manner and in thought, in fact, beautiful in every respect, a sort of goddess – were to appear suddenly on earth, she could command the whole world. Her leadership, I believe, would be universally recognized. History has given us many examples of the wonderful influence exerted by unusual women. Among these have been the mothers of great men. But their influence lay not in their determination to outdo mam, or even to compete with him. Perhaps because woman is a finer and more highly sensitized instrument she knows by her instinct her power and understands that the extent of it lies in the high position she takes for herself. But the superior never descends to the level of the commonplace.

Did You Agree to be Bound by the Constitution?

Atanu Dey on India's Development

Some time ago I published the draft of a “Constitution for a Free India(click to read, right-click to download pdf) which I propose should replace the current Indian constitution. In the preamble of the draft, it says —

“… The people of India as the principals agree unanimously through this constitution to empower as their agents governments at the national and state levels which shall carry out the legitimate wishes of the people as expressed by their political choices in elections. … “

What does “agree unanimously” mean and imply? When you agree to something, you give your consent, assent. Agreeing implies coming to a common understanding or arrangement.

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Swami Vivekananda

I am writing this with great trepidation.

I had heard a lot about Swami Vivekananda and had seen his quotes here and there. So I decided to read him. I must confess that he was not a clear thinker. Even if he was, his writings most certainly doesn’t depict clear thinking. He uses same words with different meanings repeatedly, makes hasty generalizations, takes leap of conclusions based on mere analogies and metaphors, is inconsistent logically and is at times contradictory.

However, I got an idea of what he was trying to say. It maybe that this was due to his inability to express in english what he believed in simply, clearly and logically.

In my opinion, defect in his writings is the reason why Ramakrishna Mission has not been able to produce a person of at least equal caliber ever since he passed.

I will end by suggesting that reading Bertrand Russell or Ludwig Mises is a better option than reading Swami Vivekananda.