This is a German movie whose great novelty is the irony free manner in which it alludes to its Hollywood remake which, of course, we have all already sat through umpteen times on Red-eye flights we can't remember having taken.
Ex-hippy, Bill Murray is trying to reconnect with his daughter- Anne Heche- a cold-hearted Corporate drone sent to downsize a cat factory in Louisiana by outsourcing the entire anus assembly line to Romford.
Bill disguises himself as a NAFTA cat anus Inspector so as to play a series of increasingly outrageous pranks on his daughter and her team of Wharton stuffed shirts till she realises her bosses are a bunch of sexist cat anus surrogates and recovers her sense of humour sufficiently to attach a Hitler 'tache to her twat and fist herself furiously all through a Cajun fundraiser for Clinton's cat's anus.
The German version is twice as long, omits stellar cameos and clever symmetries, and thus almost infinitely funnier because Germans know they are so genuinely humourless they don't need to make a big production out of phoning in hilarity on a joyless script. Rumania, where most of the film is set, is well and truly shat upon probably because it's just sitting there taking up space Singapore could use so much more mythopoiecally.
Nalanda now has about 130 students doing Masters degrees in soft subjects like History, Ecology and Buddhist Philosophy.
The Govt. of India, in its infinite wisdom, has appointed a Science guy, Vijay Bhatkar - who built the first Indian Super Computer- as its Chancellor. Bhatkar is an RSS stalwart whom existing faculty are likely to have problems with.
An Engineering College with Bhatkar at the helm would have no problem getting students. But currently only soft subjects are taught there. Even the most Hindutvadi engineering type doesn't want to mingle with stupid cow worshipping History students. Jhollawallah Marxists are fine because they enjoy a tot of liquor, spicy chicken wings and a meditative puff of charas. Actually that last is a Shaivite trait but I doubt goody goody RSS types keep up that particular aspect of our sacred culture.
The other problem with appointing Bhatkar is that Nitish Kumar- Nalanda's Godfather- is bound to feel aggrieved that his pet project is going to turn into an RSS base. Rajgir residents are already pissed off that their sons and daughters are not being provided for while a huge amount of land and vast sums of money have been lavished to attract some foreign students. Maybe Bhatkar can build links to local schools and promote IT education. But, once again, a man of his seniority seems out of place. I'm not saying Bhatkar can't make something of Nalanda. If he actually goes and lives there half of the problem is solved. Or is it? Suppose Bhatkar makes his home in Rajgir for the next 5 years. He goes to visit local schools and to talk with local communities. Students from Nalanda get involved in local projects. What happens? Nalanda becomes what it used to be- a local institution fostering a local community which attracted foreign students because of localised knowledge based public goods. In other words, Nalanda would succeed but only by being the polar opposite of Amartya Sen's dream for Nalanda- viz. an extra-territorial entity whose staff would have diplomatic passports and get paid in US dollars. Surely, that is the true meaning of Internationalism?
The Western world managed the shift out of agricultural jobs into industry, and continued to see economic growth. So will not the jobs being displaced now by automation and artificial intelligence lead to new jobs elsewhere in a broadly similar and beneficial manner? Will not the former truck drivers, displaced by self-driving vehicles, find work caring for the elderly or maybe fixing or programming the new modes of transport?
As economics, that may well be correct, but as history it’s missing some central problems. The shift out of agricultural jobs, while eventually a boon for virtually all of humanity, brought significant problems along the way. This time probably won’t be different, and that’s exactly why we should be concerned.
Consider, for instance, the history of wages during the Industrial Revolution. Estimates vary, but it is common to treat the Industrial Revolution as starting around 1760, at least in Britain. If we consider estimates for private per capita consumption, from 1760 to 1831, that variable rose only by about 22 percent. That’s not much for a 71-year period. A lot of new wealth was being created, but economic turmoil and adjustment costs and war kept down the returns to labor. (If you’re wondering, “Don’t fight a major war” is the big policy lesson from this period, but also note that the setting for labor market adjustments is never ideal.)
By the estimates of Gregory Clark, economic historian at the University of California at Davis, English real wages may have fallen about 10 percent from 1770 to 1810, a 40-year period. Clark also estimates that it took 60 to 70 years of transition, after the onset of industrialization, for English workers to see sustained real wage gains at all.
If we imagine the contemporary U.S. experiencing similar wage patterns, most of us would expect political trouble, and hardly anyone would call that a successful transition. Yet that may be the track we are on. Median household income is down since 1999, and by some accounts median male wages were higher in 1969 than today. The more pessimistic of those estimates are the subject of contentious debate (are we really adjusting for inflation properly?), but the very fact that the numbers are capable of yielding such gloomy results suggests transition costs are higher than many economists like to think.
Industrialization, and the decline of the older jobs in agriculture and the crafts economy, also had some pernicious effects on social ideas. The early to mid-19th century saw the rise of socialist ideologies, largely as a response to economic disruptions. Whatever mistakes Karl Marx made, he was a keen observer of the Industrial Revolution, and there is a reason he became so influential. He failed to see the long-run ability of capitalism to raise living standards significantly, but he understood and vividly described the transition costs and the economic volatility.
Cowan is wrong about the history. The French Revolution and subsequent wars, changed how the British viewed a standing army. It was no longer seen as the tool of the 'Court party' (i.e. increasing the power of the monarch) or as potentially hostile to the Established Church and Property arrangements (as happened under Cromwell). Rather, the military- as represented by 'the Iron Duke'- became a bastion against internal subversion which could be used against working people- for e.g. at 'Peterloo'.
British industrialization failed to raise real wages because the political system became increasingly weighted towards big Landowners and certain vested commercial interests. This happened because the pattern of representation in the House of Commons did not reflect demographic shifts. There were 'rotten boroughs'- once thriving market towns- which contained only one or two voters. Meanwhile rapidly growing urban centres had little or no Parliamentary representation. Under these circumstances, purely political forces, not economic ones, conspired to worsen the lot of the working man.
The Corn Laws kept the price of bread high so that the aristocrats prospered. The Combination Laws criminalised Trade Union activity. The Poor Law was used by the wealthy to reduce their labour cost and shift the burden to the rate-payer. Thus, an independent weaver like George Eliot's 'Silas Marner', or a small farmer working the land with his own family members, was forced by law to subsidise the wage bill for the big manufacturer or large agricultural estate.
David Ricardo, representing the new rentier middle class and a section of the City of London, developed an Economic theory which stigmatised the 'unearned increment' enjoyed by the Landowners. According to his theory, stagnation was inevitable unless the Entrepreneur, not the Landlord, got to keep a bigger share of the Social Product. The movement for Parliamentary Reform gained an impetus from his theory, though the Rev. Thomas Malthus developed an effective 'under-consumption' argument in favour of the idle rich but for whose prodigality the working man would starve in yet greater numbers.
Ricardo died in 1823, at the height of reaction, but had he lived he would scarcely have felt vindicated. The Corn Laws did not disappear after the Reform Act of 1832- after all, the wealthy Manufacturer could invest in, or hold mortgages on, Agricultural Estates- and so the 'Chartist' struggle turned in a more radical direction. However, the lesson of Revolutionary year of 1848 when 'History reached a turning point, but failed to turn', had already been learned by the 'Physical Force Chartists'. It was the State which possessed a monopoly of coercion and was prepared to use it in a wholly ruthless manner.
Marx and Engels differentiated themselves from the 'Young Hegelians' on the Continent by immersing themselves in English language empirical studies of the 'Proletariat'. However, in making sense of the huge amount of data Early Victorian reformers produced, Marx neglected the salience of distortions introduced by the Legal/Legislative system preferring to develop an abstract 'essentialist' theory. Thus, though a Classical Economist like Smith and Ricardo, Marx's oeuvre was not directly linked to contemporary agitation against corrupt rent-seeking in high places. On the one hand, this meant that there were no 'Marxist' politicians who, once elected, did a deal with Vested interest groups- i.e. Marxism retained a sort of intellectual purity. On the other hand, precisely because this intellectual purity would brook no competition, British Marxists resisted the Ricardian or populist conclusion- viz. tax 'the unearned increment' represented by Rent and eliminate other distortions in the Justice and Legislative system which had been introduced by rent-seeking.
One major problem with Marx's theory is that he assumed that 'the organic composition of capital' in agriculture and mining was different- much more labour intensive- than in manufacturing. Further, because his analysis assumes a free market steady state, 'absolute rent' would not exist if agriculture or mining became more capital intensive than the average.
We, of course, live in a very different world from Marx. When Kennedy and Johnson deported hundreds of thousands of Mexican farm-workers, real wages for agricultural labour did not go up but capital intensity did. Crops which could not be mechanically harvested were abandoned. Agriculture adjusted to the supply shock very quickly- within a year. More importantly, 'Agribusiness' used some of its profits for 'rent-seeking' behaviour- i.e. influencing political and legal decisions to protect its own interests.
This is not to say that Marx's world was kinder than ours. In Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland, the Victorians presided over a vast depopulation on a familiar English pattern- sheep devoured the peasants- though the transition was longer and much more painful than in the case of the Mexican braceros.
Tyler Cowan, in his article, thinks that the transition from Agriculture to Industry in England was in conformity with Economic laws, rather than Political and Legal distortions which created rents. He thinks that Marx observed the costs of this transition and thus gained salience. He writes-
Western economies later turned to variants of the social welfare state, but along the way the intellectual currents of the 19th century produced a lot of overreaction in other, more destructive directions. The ideas of Marx fed into the movements behind the Soviet Union, Communist China and the Khmer Rouge. Arguably, fascist doctrine also was in part a response to the disruptions of industrialization in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Cowan, admittedly, is painting with a broad brush, but there is a serious error in the above. The fact is Marx chose, like Cowan, to ignore actual rent-seeking, in order to develop a 'pure' or 'essentialist' theory of absolute rent. However, this theory was understood- for e.g. by Lenin- to mean that it was bourgeois capitalism which benefited by nationalising land. In other words, the Soviet Union, Maoist China, the Khmer Rouge and so on were always disingenuous in their land policy. The subscribed to an abstract essentialist Economic philosophy which classified the peasant proprietor as no better than a capitalist and therefore a 'class enemy'. This pathology in Communist thought did not arise because 'Marx was a keen observer of the (transition costs) of the Industrial Revolution' but because Marx chose to be a theoretician, abstracting from actual rent-seeking in England which is what caused real wages to fall, in order to have salience as the propounder of 'universal economic laws' for thinkers on the Continent where the Legal/Legislative regime was wholly different.
Cowan thinks Marx's mistake was 'the iron law of wages'- i.e. the notion that real wages can't rise for Malthusian reasons. Actually, the Marxist Economic system says nothing about what the physical standard of living will be. If the proletariat won't have babies (which is what the word proletariat means) unless a material threshold is met, then that is the new 'natural price' of labour and everything has to be adjusted accordingly.
If Cowan was correct in his analysis every Marxist in the world circa 1960 would be either a fool or a hypocrite.
More seriously, Cowan by ignoring what Marx, at least the mature Marx, too ignored- viz. rent seeking as responsible for the high transition costs in English industrialisation- is vitiating his own analysis of the likely costs of further automation.
Within the Marxist fold, we may mention Ernest Mandel as having salience here, however it is the American, Henry George, whom Cowan praised as one of the finest advocates of free trade, who really carried forward the Ricardian program and seized this bull by the horns.
Interestingly Stiglitz has a 'Henry George theorem' that is relevant in this context. A Technological revolution is like a public good. If it is associated with localised externalities and network effects then rents go up and can be taxed. This means that either equitable Hicks-Kaldor redistribution or the creation of new jobs can occur.
The problem is that such 'Knowledge Revolutions' may be 'off-shorable'. If Capital too has gone off shore, what is to prevent Technological Unemployment from triggering urban collapse? Increased Agricultural productivity depopulated the countryside. Might not once great cities- e.g Detroit- suffer a similar fate?
Subsidies to agriculture may have some good 'regret minimizing' or external benefits- e.g. maybe farmers can manage the countryside in a ecologically worthwhile manner- but politically motivated subsidies to sunset industries are unlikely to have any such advantage. During the stagflation of the Seventies, State subsidies to manufacturing industry worsened incentives to rationalise and innovate.
A Public good is something which has a zero marginal cost- it is ‘non rival’ and ‘non excludable’- like everybody profiting without necessarily having to individually pay for the benefit from National Defence or the Justice system. We have a free-rider problem here- people who benefit may not want to pay. Stiglitz has a ‘Henry George Theorem’ which says that for a localised public good- e.g. good transport infrastructure- rents go up in a particular way and the Local Authority can tax those rents so as to cover the deficit associated with providing the public good. A new Technology could be localised- e.g. around a Lab or University dept, or a particular company’s R&D facility. Some agents in this local networks can’t be excluded from having this new knowledge and can innovate on that basis. Intellectual property regimes differ but even the most stringent doesn’t allow a general Scientific principle or paradigm to be copyrighted. Since some of these agents are free-riders, there is a danger that the ‘Knowledge’ public good will be underprovided because not everybody who benefits pays for it. However, if some entity paying for the Knowledge production can levy rents, or extract rents by some mechanism, on local properties owned by these ‘free-riding’ agents, then the problem is solved. Take a Govt. which pays for R&D at a University. It can make some of the money back by taxing property in the technology hub. Still, if the Knowledge and associated Capital can be moved off-shore- e.g. factories and labs can be moved overseas- then rents overseas will rise and so Stiglitz’s theorem seems to be defeated. The irony here is that Stiglitz is a champion of pro-poor Globalistation. However the argument could work for Trump. If the advanced country- the US- triggers a bad overseas intellectual property regime by taking Protectionist measures- Knowledge revolutions might yield only local public goods. Innovators will be wary of opening factories or labs in faraway places where the locals might simply steal their ideas. So, maybe, they will do ‘capital deepening’- i.e. double down on innovation in their own country and region. Then the Local Govt. can tax the rise in property values to fund the innovation in a virtuous circle. They could also compensate people who lose their jobs. A Hicks Kaldor improvement is one where we know that some people are benefiting so much they could compensate all the losers and still come out ahead. This is unlike a ‘polluter’ who makes money by inflicting more cost to others than he gets in benefit. Localised externalities and network effects should lead to higher ‘economic rent’- i.e. bigger gap between what can be earned in the next best occupation- for all inelastic factors of production. Land is what Henry George focused on but we can generalise this to other resources of an arcane type like 4G Spectrum. In theory, we can tax this ‘rent’ without a disincentive effect because the alternative occupation is so much less rewarding. In practice, this analysis falls down because longer term everything is elastic and so incentives matter more and more. Artificial restrictions like ‘zoning’ or ‘educational credentials’ (sheepskin effect) will tend to distort things and impose bigger and bigger ‘allocative’ efficiency losses. This is the big argument for Free Trade. Long run, any artificial distortion creates perverse incentives. The problem is that for an advanced country with very rapid Technological change and fundamental Knowledge revolutions, it may be that only the short run matters because faster innovation changes the landscape so much. It could be that by taking ‘offshoring’ off the table, a lot of time and effort which goes into doing things where it is cheapest will go instead into doing things smarter right here. The difference is that local people can capture some ‘rent’ associated with this. In particular, people who lose their jobs in manufacturing or admin can move to well paid service jobs in the same area because even if more work is done by robots or computers still the profits remain localised and so spending on high value added services will go up. One final point. Tiebout sorting means agents have a choice as to which ‘town’ to migrate to. Each town has a different mix of taxes and local public goods. Competition between towns makes for efficiency. Now imagine that Towns compete for different types of Technology/Knowledge goods. If agents are risk averse, the Town can offer a sort of implicit contract that if automation cuts jobs on the production line, locals will get preference in re-employment. Some ‘Company Towns’ do have this philosophy already. Long term, this may be what a lot of voters want- a new type of Social Contract where Knowledge based disruption is mediated by some Henry George type mechanism whereby the winners indirectly compensate the losers. The problem is that this limits the benefits of Globalised free trade. Returning to the story of ‘transition costs’- just as the majority of Britons suffered far more than necessary during the transition to Manufacturing because of corrupt political rent-seeking causing massive distortions, so too might the transition costs of a new type of Globalisation, in which Technology could be almost frictionlessly transferred to low-wage countries, have been greatly exacerbated by all sorts of distortions introduced by lobbyists. However ‘property rights in jobs’ and Trade Union power also represent distortions. A better way forward might be a new ‘Social Contract’ where the needs and fears of ordinary people are better addressed at the local level.
Trump's economics might appear completely foolish. Yet it continues a line of thinking found in Ross Perot- a billionaire with a much better reputation. In Economics, there is always another side to any argument. Thus, if 'Knowledge Revolutions' can be made to behave like 'local public goods' by certain measures we think of as Protectionist- more especially for advanced countries- then it may be possible to increase Equity without too much of an Efficiency cost because a 'Henry George mechanism' would exist so as to prevent net job loss. With subsidiarity, we might see diverse Tiebout models based on different mechanisms. In this case, even if one's job disappears because of new Technology, another job oriented towards the same Knowledge Culture would become available and so no great trauma would be experienced.
Will automation impose heavy transition costs? Yes, unless both mobility and 'Henry George type' Tiebout model diversity increases more quickly. This is unlikely to happen as a result of State action because the knee-jerk reaction would be to focus on the worst affected area and to subsidise a sunset sector while pretending to invest in a new technology centre which, it will turn out, is actually already obsolescent. Labour mobility gets frozen. Rent seeking snowballs. Stupid bureaucrats back losers. Policy Space becomes multidimensional and McKelvey Chaos prevails.
Stiglitz, then with the World Bank, has suggested that Lawrence Summers (then Treasury Secretary) chose to bail out 'private capital' while letting 'social capital' (as represented by entitlements to subsidised food, fuel etc) go hang because Summers was a blind votary of Say's Law and laissez faire policies (the Washington Consensus) who thought that markets would frictionlessly create jobs for poor Indonesians following the 1997 financial crisis.
In his foreword to a reissue of Polanyi's 'Great Transformation', Stiglitz wrote as follows of the
What would have happened if the IMF had let Indonesian debtors default?
Trade and Investment with Indonesia would have suffered permanently.
Every external transaction going forward would have attracted a risk premium.
Some arbitragueurs would have got rich.
Indonesians would have got poorer.
It turns out the IMF and the Treasurey were just doing their jobs.
Why did Summers not let Stiglitz at the World Bank provide soft loans to give the Indonesian working class a soft landing?
The answer is they wanted the dictator, Suharto, and his crony capitalists out.
In practice, what we would actually say is- 'How many car fixing mechanics did he wonder about?' Or just 'How many mechanics?'
Chomsky thinks there's a thought- one that is perfectly fine- behind 'How many mechanics did he wonder whether fixed the cars?- which poses a type of problem which warrants serious study by an independent branch of knowledge. If this were true, Language would truly be something autonomous and as much 'in the world'- to paraphrase Godel's remark on the sort of Logic he hungered for- as Zoology.
Is Chomsky right?
He says- 'The thought is fine — fine thought — but you have to express it in some kind of paraphrase. There’s something about the language design which poses a barrier to communication. You just can’t express a simple thought like that, you need a circumlocution.'
Where is the paraphrase or circumlocution in 'How many car-fixing mechanics did he wonder about?'
What aspect of 'How many mechanics did he wonder whether fixed the cars?' does it not capture?
It seems, this ECP violation of Chomsky's isn't really anything serious at all. It isn't like a CPT violation in Physics. Thus Language isn't really an independent object of serious study- unless it is meaningless- at least by any means suggested by Chomsky.
Nescience is the word an older generation of babus used for Maya- Illusion.
What Parmenides called 'Opinion'.
As in 'every asshole's got one'.
Adluri & Bagchi are perhaps punning on this usage, as well as on the title of a work by Nietzsche, in their recent book 'The Nay Science'- which is an attack on Nineteenth Century German Indology; in particular, its narrowly historicist Philology, not the as yet ongoing Credentialist Ponzi Scheme of its associated, though utterly anachronistic, Academic availability cascades. .
I say this without malice.
After all, Poetry, if only as Socio-proctology, is nothing other than that 'giving the finger' to whatever spewed the questing fewmet of its current dead metaphor- or resurrected Christ- thus occasioning no Pilate like equivocation, or washing of hands, unless 'many fingered' Time is its own Angulimala and, in Guru-dakshina, keeps pruning all but one of its digits, such that Bergsonian Duration is, as kshanikavada, but its own univocal, for scholastic, stink.
Why did German Professors study Sanskrit and Persian and Arabic and so on? One answer is that Germany was divided up into a lot of little Princedoms which competed with each other to attract gamblers to their casinos, invalids to their spas, music lovers to their Opera Halls, pilgrims to their Cathedrals and students to their Universities. German economic backwardness meant that young men had to spend a long time getting more or less worthless academic credentials before either sinking back into pedagogic drudgery or securing a berth in the bureaucracy or the liberal professions.
Life in Germany was very cheap compared to England and some particularly cretinous or declasse English kids, like the 16 year old the older Schlegel had to tutor in Persian, would constantly turn up requesting tuition in 'Oriental languages'.
German pedants, having little better to do, soon established a reputation for scrupulous text editing and other such donkey work in these fresh fields for scholarship. It must be said that these donkeys did sometimes halt and bray their dismay at the incomprehensibility of what they, not studied, but slaved at. This sort of philology wasn't entirely gratuitous because Colonial powers- more especially the East India Company- were prepared to pay a little for this sort of research. Why? Well, a historicist philology or hermeneutic is useful for lawyers and bureaucrats. A forged sunnud or inscribed copper plate might give itself away by an anachronistic reference or collocation. The same is true of a hermeneutic rules- mimamsas- which function as equitable remedies. These can be discriminated on the basis of their metaphysical foundations as having or lacking prescriptive force with respect to a legal dispute within a given sect. In particular, since an inheritance issue might hang on who or what is the proper 'substitute' to discharge a ritual obligation; Philology is first philosophy, Purva Mimamsa, and Hermeneutic's terminus ante quem- i.e. the limit prior to which no apoorvata- novelty and therefore meaning- can arise.
But, for that very reason, Hermeneutics, to get anywhere, is always turning into an Uttara Mimamsa and thus ever thereafter can only propagate itself as infinite defeasibility and supine sublation. This at any rate was the view of such learned advocates and Judges- like Chief Justice Gajendragadkar- as were actually descended from scholarly Mimamsikas. Thus, as a matter of fact, not conjecture, the Indian Mimamsaka tradition turned into a sort of Social Choice Theory- though, alas!, not yet one of a Posnerian, or Coasian, or Mechanism Design type. Instead we had the clown Katju. But the thing will happen- or perhaps already has and I didn't notice coz, gotta face it, I'm often off my head on drink and, in any case am as stupid as shit. Not in a good- id est Mallu- way either; me being, much to the shame of my Iyer ancestors, more dhobi ka ghat, than Palghat.
Quite apart from its use to John Company, Sanskrit- because of its relative artificiality and synthetic nature- turned out to be a good examination subject for signalling purposes and, anyway, one could always get a research degree by editing or translating some freshly recovered text from a midden so orthogonal to Church & State as to itself constitute a mittelstand- prompting, perhaps, Victor Hugo's remark- 'India ended up becoming Germany'- and the pompous pretence that such soulless drudgery would help bring tens of millions of Souls to Christ or Rupees to Mammon or Untermenschen to the Gas Chamber.
Finally, it must be said, Sanskrit literature was a welcome change to Greek and Latin because it didn't revolve so incessantly around fucking little boys in the ass. Indeed, pederasty features hardly at all in Indic literature which, in consequence, attracted the impecunious German pedant who generally spent his youth as a tutor in a bourgeois household sighing for the deep bosoms of the elder sisters of his charge, whose buttocks, by contrast, emblematic of the indignity of the pedagogue's vocation, remained an object of disgust. A French scholar, in a similar position, would have fucked the lad's mother in the hope that she might advance his career, but German matrons were both poorer and less gallant. Indeed, German poverty pushed its young savants into Transcendentalism and Pedantry, rather than Pederasty and Politics, in much the same manner that Sanskrit differentiated itself from Persian in this regard. Interestingly, Persians felt no shame in relying on Dictionaries and Tazkirahs compiled by Kayastha donkeys while, later on, Brahmans were perfectly content to rely on German mules in a similar manner.
Plato, though comfortably off, wanted to set up a College, like Isocrates- the successful teacher of rhetoric. Why did Plato want to become a rector? Was it because he was interested in the rectums of young boys? This is the disarming explanation he offers in his Socratic dialogues- like the Phaedrus- which, on the surface, is about how to get a young lad- who might be richer, bigger and stronger than you- to let you fuck him in the ass by telling him you don't love him rather than that you do and will die of grief unless he bend over right away.
Clearly this sort of literary production, written in graceful prose, would have a ready, if narrow, market. People would say- 'Cool! Plato is setting up an Academy so as to fuck rich young hunks for free. He's a smart fellow! We should get in on the action'.
Actually Plato had a hidden agenda. He wanted kids to study Math and contribute to Knowledge, not just learn Rhetoric so as to make a lot of money as advocates.
How did Plato manage to turn a cunning scheme to get gilded youth to put out gratis into something worthwhile- viz. the cultivation of the exact Sciences? Well, he first pretended that there was a subject called philosophy which wasn't rhetoric though it might look like it and then showed that if rhetoric could get a rich and muscular kid to spread his cheeks for you because you say you don't love him, then philosophy could go one better in that you wouldn't even need to mention love. In fact, you wouldn't even have to actually fuck the kid and go around town boasting about it in order to get credit for your conquest. That rich kid would count as your eromenosnevertheless. Indeed he might even dedicate a heroonto you so you'd be remembered for generations to come as a great big nonce.
SOCRATES: go now to Lysias and anyone else who composes speeches, and go as well as to Homer and anyone else who has composed poetry either spoken or sung, and
third, go to Solon and anyone else who writes political documents that he
calls laws: and say 'if any one of you has composed these things with a knowledge
of the truth, if you can defend your writing when you are challenged, and
if you can yourself make the argument that your writing is of little worth,
then you must be called by a name derived not from these writings but rather from those things that you are seriously pursuing.
PHAEDRUS: What name, then, would you give such a man?
SOCRATES: To call him wise, Phaedrus, seems to me too much, and proper
only for a god. To call him wisdom's lover-a philosopher-or something
similar would fit him better and be more seemly.
PHAEDRUS: That would be quite appropriate.
SOCRATES: On the other hand, if a man has nothing more valuable than
what he has composed or written, spending long hours twisting it around,
pasting parts together and taking them apart-wouldn't you be right to
call him a poet or a speech writer or an author of laws?
PHAEDRUS: Of course.
SOCRATES: Tell that, then, to your friend.
In other words, if rhetoric can enable you to fuck a kid using an argument you can yourself refute, you are actually a philosopher not a fucking pederast because you are free do otherwise- your own argument does not constrain you. If you can't refute the argument you used to fuck the kid, well then, all you did was fuck a kid because you are just a big fat pedo, that's all. What's so great about that? You might as well just have hit him on the head with a blunt object- because that's what your speech or poem or law amounts to- a blunt fucking object you flail about with till it connects with some the cranium of some unlucky lad whom you bestially sodomise. Your parents must be so proud.
Oddly, it turned out, Plato was onto a good thing. Even people revolted by the thought of pederasty have to admit his Academy was a success. Why? Well, there is a sort of opinion, or illusion, which on encountering its antithesis, can stop being merely an opinion or delusion and turn instead into a 'game against Nature'- i.e. a sort of language which doesn't have to be strategic, it can go beyond rhetoric, go beyond kairos (timeliness) and, as its own palinode, feast its gaze on a realm of Timeless Mathematical abstraction or Parmenidean Aletheia.
No doubt, vulgar people may be able to benefit from the discoveries this enables us to make, but by defining philosophy as a type of love which has no goal or bliss point whatsoever, we remain unstained by the circumstance. Our Academy has differentiated itself from the Agora- Town & Gown have been set at odds- there is a 'costly signal' giving rise to a 'separating equilibrium' which henceforth can be used to circumvent an information asymmetry problem in the market for 'domain-general' brain workers or, more realistically, to propagate this 'noble lie'.
Philosophy, it must be said, can carry on as a Scientific Research Project, or as its own species of literary Art- and all Art, Rorty's trajectory reminds us, but Daedalean wing'd aspires, to that thinning of the ether where only its pure Science, or Techne, suspires- id est that Schopenhauerian perfection of Music we now term revenge porn- and so pedants will continue to write books in the hope of being cited by those whose brains they've buggered to buggery but who, it is hurtful to acknowledge, yet will forgetfully breed, despite themselves being the unwitting internet vectors of that by which they are named and shamed.
Of course, Socrates doesn't actually say all this in the Phaedrus. But he closes by praising Isocrates who opened a School like the one Plato will open except Plato's will be better coz it will teach Maths- i.e. a type of language which isn't strategic at all, being actually a self-governing method, a self-learning program- a peeping-round-corners palinode against whatever currently blinds it- and thus not something 'pooling' equilibriating Thoth himself could confine in a book, though that book be Thamuz's vernal- i.e. bitter for costly signalling- bodily resurrection, such as, in the former case, you might purchase for your son in the market so as to spare yourself the stiff fees charged by the amniotic Academy for, as in the latter mode, his 'snatak' second, or Celestial, re-birth- which, I need hardly say, is univocal with Ved Vyasa's loss of Shuka, leaving him at our very morning of the World cheerless and bereft.
This last, raises a question in my mind.
Suppose Ramanujan had access to a first rate Mathematical Library.
Would he have needed Hardy?
On the evidence, yes.
Ramanujan stayed with a forefather of mine in Madras and did have access to a pretty good library.
It wasn't enough.
Is Maths necessarily a Yoga- is it founded upon 'suhrit praapti'- the gaining of like minded peers?
I don't know.
However, there is a reason to believe that if P=NP, Maths needs no Academy.
No pre-destined Wrangler- that acme of Tambram Edwardian educational ambition- need read Math at Cambridge because Maths would everywhere and at all times read univocally- i.e. without pollachos legetai- because its Being would also be its own Nature- i.e. its Purusha would be its Prakriti.
This solitary Yoga, God his own Guru, is the opposite of Grothedieck's or the Gita's.
Well, if it requires a similar number of steps to solve a problem as it does to verify the solution then Math can be completely mechanised. What's more, such a math would be both the physics and the metaphysics of Aristotle in that the Time Class of its solutions and verifications would be the same- i.e. they would feature a broadly commensurable number of steps.
The same point, without loss of generality, might be made about philology and hermeneutics. Why? How so? Well, if a Hermeneutic is non-dissipative of Philology then something like Noether's theorem applies. Essentially a differentiable symmetry must be present and therefore some conserved law or property of the system must be equally available to both. As I've pointed out elsewhere, two symmetries, those of karma and dharma, are a covering set for the Mahabharata and, what's more, its internal author fathers their reciprocal collapse because the very parrot beak of his text's repetition yet is as the unfurling of meta-erotic wings mentioned in the Phaedrus, such that Life, that ultimate of dissipative systems, gives everything a shove and calls it Love. Why is Life so beastly? The answer is that that it is a fractal Red Queen race- if Philology is something living then Hermeneutics can always find a deterministic oracle such that any interpretative solution can be verified by it in roughly the same number of steps. The trouble is this speciates oracles. Thus any Hermeneutic which relies on something we might call 'relativization' creates a scandal for Oracles such that henceforth some must be non deterministic- i.e. some interpretive solutions will no longer be philologically verifiable save adventiously by an almost infinite sequence of steps.
Aesthetics, properly speaking is unaffected by such considerations. There can always be a 'Intuitionist' Brouwerian choice sequence between solution and verification such that their 'light cones' coincide and univocity is retained. However, the thing can't be codified or reduced to a formula.
We can also dismiss certain supposedly philosophical approaches to Aesthetics which claim supervenience on what we know to be incompossible physical processes. They can't be Hermeneutic interventions but, at best, are Philological hypotheses of a historicist type.
For example, we know that one-way functions can't exist, and since Maths can be a Metaphysics featuring strict Aristotelian Time, we can't affirm that there is any logical reason to assume that anything like a hermeneutic of 'metaphysical closure' could have ever spontaneously obtained at any point in history before such a doctrine was explicitly uttered. Rather, the natural reading of Plato and Aristotle is one in keeping with the current state of play in Mathematics and thus features 'oracles' or 'kairos' which are wondrous because they are the precise opposite of the menstrual wound of Heideggerian wonder and give rise to, if not that labour which maiuetics addresses, then at the very least all such useful work as Mathematics immeasurably advances. This, at any rate, is my reading of the Theaetetus.
What this means, put bluntly, for my view of the Mahabharata, is that karma and dharma have to prove so bogus, precisely because symmetries are continuous, that only the Veda gives Life or rather, by Life's exponential-time usurpation of everything merely polynomial, it becomes the mise en abyme of its own Yagnya, that black fire, or hole, in which karma collapses into dharma and dharma into Veda's yet emptier, for Indian all too Indian, giving.
Come to think of it, this is Socrates' first argument in the Phaedo.
Anyway, the above, by reason of its prurience or peurility, is still a positivist view.
You will be relieved to hear, it is not one Adluri endorses.
Of course, it is nonsense to suggest that Phaedrus was an iconoclast. Defacing the statues of Hermes- castrating the father of the City's Tyche, or Luck- on the eve of the departure of the expedition against Sicily, was a political not ideological act. Its purpose was to change what might otherwise be a windfall victory for the Commons into a, 'Manifest Destiny', Imperialist capturing of rents for the Elite. Andocides' part in this is well known- nowhere in his orations on the subject can we find any notion of rationalist iconoclasm as a motivating force. Still, rich kids, like Phaedrus and Alcibiades were, quite properly in the latter case, objects of suspicion. Their overweening ambition recklessly endangered the commonwealth. Plato, here as elsewhere, shows Socrates as a sobering influence, not a 'corrupter' of these influential young men.
Orithuia, contra Adluri- or Derrida for that matter- does not die in the myth after being carried off by Boreas. She becomes the mother of various other mythological figures. She is not a 'stand in' for Persephone at all. Rather, this Attic lass's marriage to Boreas turns him into the son-in-law and saviour of Athens, which is why he destroyed the Persian fleet at Cape Sepias- a firmly held belief, which continued to boost Athenian military morale.
Socrates's inspired speech, at the place where Orithuia was raptured, is meant to serve a similar protective function for his fellow Citizens.
What confused Adluri was Socrates offering an Euhemerist explanation- some girl fell to her death off a rock and so the traumatised community spoke of her as being carried off by the North Wind- but Plato's Socrates, the pharmakos, or scapegoat sacrifice, for his City, is speaking with amphiboly.
On the surface, he is taking an urbane dig at the Sophists. However, in view of his tragic end, we know he is speaking of himself as the fated sacrifice who, though still an ordinary mortal, already partakes of the mystery of the Divine. Thus, Orithuia's girl friend is named as Pharmaceia- sacrificial death being a medicine for both the Philosopher's nescience as well as the misology of the Polis. But we only know this through a prophetic foreshadowing made possible by Phaedrus's presence- the Platonic love this evokes- which causes Lysisas's 'book' to act as a Uranian Galehaut or ecstatic drug such as might be used by an oracle. But Plato's dialogues are also such books. Improperly used, as for example by pedants, they are but the burgeoning of an insatiably gay nescience. However, if taken seriously as testifying to their own virtual worthlessness, they are a sobering cure, or prophylactic amulet, against programmatic stupidity, like Derrida's or Girard's, or even Adluri's, motivated by a false mimesis of their phrarmakon's apparent amphiboly. Not so apparent, actually, if we remember Soma quickens childbirth and that the Platonic pharmakon is essentially maiuetic- though constrained to a couvade.
In the Phaedrus, Socrates puts forward something we might call the theory of 'bracketing', if not epoche, such that the greater mystery of the self puts at nought the endless task of rationalizing myths.
Later, Socrates elaborates a theory about how the soul is affected by the God one associates with and develops a theory or re-birth on this basis. For himself, it is as though he has been seized by the amorous wind god while performing a mimesis of Lsysias's speech, but forewarned by some prompting of his genius, he stops in his tracks and utter a palinode that reverses the argument. Love is madness, it is divine possession, it is the opposite of self-control and superior in the manner that an NP 'oracle' is superior to an algorithm in P. Why? Because the self must always find it most difficult to know what it is that seeks to control. This is in conformity with what we know about Control theory so this is a positive, not historicist, reading. Notice, it would cease to be so the moment someone proves P=NP. However, so long as that problem is open, this reading poses no scandal for philology. What does pose a scandal is glaring errors of fact- e.g. Adluri saying that, for Plato, Phaedrus is free to act iconoclastically. This isn't the case at all. Socrates would have had to make a citizen's arrest of any hermokopidai he caught in the act. Why? Socrates was bound by the law- even at the cost of his own life.
Adluri knows this very well for he later quotes the Phaedo and comes to this conclusion-
All this is nonsense. Antilogikos means debate or more narrowly Zeno's method of paradox. The Phaedrus says that if you can formulate a counter argument to whatever you are urging, you have gone beyond rhetoric and have become a philosopher. This is the familiar dialectical method which no civilisation doesn't have a version of. Obviously, a guy who says 'OMG there's a counter-argument to everything! We're all truly fucked' is brain dead.
What does Adluri mean by saying- 'the argument for the immortality of the soul which is compared to Ariadne's thread?' Socrates gives 4 different arguments for the immortality of the Soul, but does so in a sequence suggestive of some larger mystery or path-dependence, and Phaedo's narrative thread is conventionally compared to Ariadne's as delivering us from the labyrinth of hysteresis ridden philosophical nihilism in a manner it would defy any art we possess to ever ourselves reconstruct or make sense of. This mythopoeic undercurrent in the Phaedo, suggested by the circumstance under which Socrates's death sentence was delayed, reinforces our image of the Philosopher as a sort of Man-god who offers himself as a scapegoat to deliver us from the fear of death. However, this has nothing to at all to do with logosand misology, reasoning and hating to reason, or navigating between the two, like Odysseus between Scylla and Charybdis. Rather, there is a connection we can't see between Socrates's four different arguments which however would be perfectly clear if we could view them from a higher dimension. It is easy to solve a maze shown to you in two dimensions- as happens when viewed from above. It is quite a different thing to do so when you are trapped within it, in a smoky darkness punctuated by guttering torches with a bull headed monster bellowing for your blood.
Philology, as opposed to Hermeneutics, faces no great problem in all this as is proved by the fact that Plato is almost infinitely legible to us, not despite the great lapse of years but because of continuous philological labour from his time to our own.
Facing an aporia- or open problem in mathematics- Philology has no reason to faint or draw back. Hermeneutics might, but not Philology. I suppose a truly misologic philology- like Adluri's- or is it Bagchi? or some minatour composed of both?- can represent Phaedrus as a proto-scientific iconoclast but so can ordinary ignorance or extraordinary stupidity. Nothing very wonderful is happening here.
Arjuna, in the Gita, does not say that mortal life is meaningless. Draupati does say it has something which is the reverse of meaning, it has anti-meaning, if God is the impassable 'mayin' or bloodless puppet-master of an occasionalist universe. Ethical action- in the sense of action which will change your ethos by some subtle 'aashravic' process if we are 'yantra aaroodhani', mounted on molecular machines- is impossible to avoid. Non-action too is action.
There can't be any confrontation of the type Adluri suggests in the Gita.
The paradigm Adluri proposes to use in connection with German Indologists doesn't exist.
What does exist is the hermeneutic coprolites those industrious donkeys left us.
Adluri, believing himself a second Uttanka, feeds on that fossilised donkey shit thinking it amrita.
The turd he protrudes as text, being, to his mind, the ouroborous by which he is fed.
Uttanka, though vouchsafed the theophany of Krishna, tries to exterminate the snakes.
Chthonic oracles, symbolised by the snake, gained salience with the spread of agriculture.
The watcher of the Sky still determined 'kairos'- or sought power over the rain cloud.
The aquifer, on the other hand, was a type of security outside Timeliness.
The Sky watching augur, surveying the fitness landscape from above, provides substantive solutions.
But their real time 'interpretation' or simulation might be non deterministic.
The chthonic oracle showed the labyrinth need not be solved immediately.
One can always go underground.
Delphi, was an Apollonian omphalos which claimed to combine both augury and oracle.
But it only broke concurrency deadlock at the price of indeterminacy in interpretation.
Socrates offered the Self as an underground labyrinth from whose safety one could bracket that of the Minotaur while not ceasing to solve it.
NP oracles must be like snakes, not ladders, or else deadlock mounts into exponential Time.
Uttanka, untaught by Krishna's Visvarupa, urges the extermination of the snakes.
Thus the Mahabharata originates, and like everything else in it, this origination is doubled, but only so as to preserve the snakes' occulted labyrinths. Why? Well, the Mahabharata is unique among Epics in that it says the Just King, who is a Principal, not an Agent, must learn Statistics and Game Theory in order to overcome his Vishada (Depression or abulia). But we now know no one throughout history could have a good reason to believe P=NP. Thus, the snakes must be preserved- like the Kauravas and the Pandavas, like the Tigers and the Forest, like Pythia and Apollo, so too with Garuda and Takshaka- there is a relationship of interdependence here. If the one perishes the other can not survive.
This is a positive reading. It's not the one that Gokhale, a Professor of Statistics, had- Game Theory hadn't yet been formalised nor had Hannan come to India- so we can't blame the poor fellow too much for not warning the Servants of India in blunt enough terms to shun the idiot Gandhi.
Adluri might not be a Gokhale, but he must have seen videos of Indian poverty.
They are the Visvarupa of Gandhian hypocrisy & bien pensant Nehruvian Olympianism.
Yet, Adluri writes as though Gandhi's spinning wheel was not as economically worthless as the Brahminical Yagynya was soteriologically worthless, at least in the eyes of the Gita.
He ends his book reproving stupid, but industrious, Germans, thus-
That's what happened.
Actually, Vinobha Bhave tried the experiment of living upon what he could earn from the chakhri. His conclusion was that he'd starve to death if he persisted. Everybody knows that Gandhian khaddar was not a solution to India's problems. It was a vector for corrupt rent seeking, rabid communalization and secular impoverishment.
Still, it's good to know that us P.O.I desis can be just as stupid as goras.
My worry is that Adluri is intellectually under-powered.
He doesn't yet spew entirely solipsistic, self regarding, shite like Spivak, Sen, Bhabha et al.
Well, his first PhD was supervised by Reiner Shurmann- who wrote in French.
His second Doctorate was from Germany.
Screw Sanskrit, them fucking furriners can't even do English misology proper like wot we can.