Sunday, 31 August 2014

Gaucho Marx- Borges as gagster.

If the pages of Roberto Bolano's posthumously unwritten 'Gaucho Marx' are haunted by a specter, it is the imminence of an immanance that never comes to pass, or rather the Permanence of a World Wide Insurrection against the soul-deadening szygy of Trade- which is synoecist precisely because it is expansionary- and Settlement- which is perennially schizophrenic by reason of being so impredicatively imprecise as to constitute the hieratic locution of its own locust like horde.

Borges, in his burlesque incarnation as the libidinous, too-necessary-to-exist, Liebnizian  gagster, Gaucho Marx, unites 'Jerusalem to Benares': id est, on the one hand, the Ivrim & the Arya- Sinai's Jerusalem and what it will always already have become for vast Northern steppe lands- and, on the other, the infloldingly infinite labyrinth of jaguar haunted jungles which lure both Semite & Steppe nomad, than desultory Death, yet farther South.

Not that Bolano's 'Gaucho Marx' actually bothers with any such notions, concentrating instead on taking cheap shots at best selling Indian authors- like Rabindranath Tagore ('I never forget a beard, but since you are Victoria Ocampo's beard, I'll make an exception'- what? it's funny in Spanish especially if you jiggle your eyebrows and gesture suggestively with a cigar) and Jawaharlal Nehru ('Like the covers of his books, Nehru Jackets enclose shite.'- which is funny in any language provided you've met an Indian diplomat or a relict of Swinging Sixties Carnaby Street- or Natkat Singh who is both) and Sri Aurobindo ('fuck off you great big bearded Bengali retard. Seriously. Just fuck the fuck off you utterly worthless cunt.' Not particularly funny, but an immortal truth that transcends language and thus an esprit de escalier worthy of the Superman toiling up Urania's spiral Staircase towards the Omega point of Tielhard's salon.)

Okay, you can give over with the retching, granted this is my worst post ever, still, I think I've given you an idea of why people like Borges's Gaucho Marx are just too metaphysically necessary, therefore real, to ever actually exist. Why? Because conatus now entails being comic in a manner more meaningless than Existence itself. So, and ever sadder than we can know,  all that can be or be thought about-  Parmenides's pining as the Quantum Zeno of every Divorced Dad's, Singles' Complex, House of Night- is re-runs of a Seventies sitcom by, not Ruth Barcan, which would be bad enough, but Barcan-Kripke, which is like totally fucked.
For which, needless to say, I personally blame David Cameron.
That boy aint right.
Mind it kindly.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Borges's Lottery in Babylon vs Rawls's Veil of ignorance

"Imagine that you have set for yourself the task of developing a totally new social contract for today's society. How could you do so fairly? Although you could never actually eliminate all of your personal biases and prejudices, you would need to take steps at least to minimize them. Rawls suggests that you imagine yourself in an original position behind a veil of ignorance . Behind this veil, you know nothing of yourself and your natural abilities, or your position in society. You know nothing of your sex, race, nationality, or individual tastes. Behind such a veil of ignorance all individuals are simply specified as rational, free, and morally equal beings. You do know that in the "real world", however, there will be a wide variety in the natural distribution of natural assets and abilities, and that there will be differences of sex, race, and culture that will distinguish groups of people from each other."[6]

Since we  only prefer clear cut Contracts to 'fuzzy' Relationships or opportunistic Transactions where there is a need to hedge against some specific type of Uncertainty- the 'Social Contract' has to be about the specific sorts of Uncertainty arising out of strategic behavior in the Socio-Political realm.
A quite separate issue has to do with the provision of Public Goods, policing of Repugnancy markets, enforcing of Contracts and so on.
These clearly don't require a Social Contract because Absolute Monarchies, Dictatorships and so on can provide them just as well. Indeed, iff the folk theorem of repeated games is Muth Rational and Evolution has provided our Species with a mimetics that is thus epigenetically canalised, then we can show that a unilateral & universal Social Contract isn't in the Core assuming non-zero information and/ or compliance costs.
Nevertheless, just as Monarchies and Dictatorships still have a 'Niti' type Ethical Discourse such that subject-hood exceeds compliance, so too do Liberal Democracies acknowledge that free-riders remain part of the Social Contract. More generally, it isn't the case that acceptance of a given Nation's Social Contract means you agree to every specific article regarding who or what is protected, or how that protection is provided, by National Defence or Health or Economic Policy.

Indeed, a Social Contract is only needed because every type of Public Justification or Substantive Due Process or Just Entitlement thesis can and will be gamed with the result that we all have an incentive to hedge against the uncertainties arising out of the manner of that gaming. Thus, the Social Contract- unless itself the constitution of a Regime specifically stated to have unlimited powers- to count as falling within Liberal discourse, must conform to a limiting ejusdem generis type canon of construction & therefore have no specific & indefeasible Economic or even Legal content, but concern itself wholly with hedging against Mechanism Design or  Race Hazard or Concurrency deadlock or Moral or Agent Principal type hazards.

By contrast, Rawls believed, epigenetically canalised risk aversion would militate for everybody agreeing that the minimum provision of 'basic goods'- which includes Aristotelian 'Goods' like Self-Esteem and Liberty- be maximised subject to Natural as well as Economic/ Social Science type constraints. Rawls, believed that the Social and Biological Sciences were univocal, so to speak- i.e. no 'reswitching' or multiple equilibria obtain- and thus there would always be an 'overlapping consensus' re. the Social Choice Menu and this by itself would militate for metaphysical differences having nil impact on the 'reflective equilibrium' because the latter only concerned itself with unambiguous, unanimously received, 'material' outcomes.

Borges, however, writing a few years earlier than Harsanyi (whose work Rawls drew on) had looked at the opposite situation- viz. what happens in an established, indeed ancient, Society- the paradigmatic Babylon- when a Lottery (i.e. a new source of Social mobility) is introduced. He shows that, under psychologically plausible assumptions re. 'Preference Profiles' in the General Population- people would wish for more and more random, more and more bizarre outcomes (e.g. Gender reassignment and Social invisibility) to occur with dizzying frequency.
Indeed, if your metaphysics commits you to metempsychosis- then the 'tuirgen' knights-tour of all possible lives is by itself soteriologically liberative and so everybody should choose Borges's nightmare Lottery in Babylon over Rawls's Bleeding Heart Nanny State. This does not mean there can't be an 'overlapping consensus' to stick with widespread compulsory Social Insurance- it's just that some sensible people vote for it because they believe the Bureaucratic nightmare that results will simulate Borges's Babylon, not Rawls's Brahminical Boston.

Meredith Townsend, whose spank mag (the Spectator) permanently perverted the young Jawaharlal, argued that Orientals aint motivated by rational self-interest but Arabian Nights 'interestingness'- like the increasingly bizarre outcomes of Borges's lottery- but, of course, it is only Rawlsian rubbish and Sen-tentious shite which can construct the Kafkaesque Bureaucratic Punishment Machine which instantly breaks down to but butcher its one fervent proponent whose crime is to 'Be Just'!

Abu Nawas, I think it was, who first remarked that, at our Symposium, the Saqi's muslin veil protects her from the wine fumes & Plato from mirth.
Alas! Modi's culling of the Planning Commission is to all us old L.S.E-wallahs, Folly's famine & dearth.
For which I personally blame David Cameron.
That boy aint right.
Mind it kindly

Monday, 25 August 2014

Fuck off- I'm talking about my Mom

Emotionally orphaned, did Mom ever have?
Acceleration equal to Kronos' grav?
 Or-kay!- Krishna Whole levels Libra
 El's worship else but a Kremlin Qibla.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tho' Sons of God taste just fine

Since to dream of Discourse as Public Justification
Is, at its own Symposium, a Rite of Incubation
Tho' Sons of God taste just fine.
Pour, Saqi, a more bitter wine

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Duryodhan Arjun ka land gand shyari

Some years ago I uploaded some of my books to the website. Ever since, they have faithfully informed me any time 'people searched for' me 'on Google.' and what's more highlighted the keywords with which these earnest seekers of knowledge stumbled upon my great Philosophical works.
Mainly the keywords indicated a Provincial, barely pubescent, desire for Spiritually improving Porn- '"master gita facking images" is a typical example'- but not always-  "which incidece made gandhiji to widrow his 'kiser e hindh power'" was clearly the work of Ananya Vajpeyi or Mithi Mukherjee or some other such blushful maiden of umpteen summers researching her next book for the OUP or Harvard's equivalent of the same.
Which brings me to today's keyword search- viz. ""duryodhan arjun ka lund gand shyari"- i.e Duryodhana's and Arjuna's (that is the two great antagonists in the Gita who respectively represent Thymotic and Theistic Religion) their penis, asshole poetry. 
Given that it was Bhima (who, from the metaphysical point of view, represents Magian 'artha' as Vedic 'Rta' i.e. vengeful Varuna which incarnates as the punitive servitude of Dualistic Theism- i.e.  Madhva, Vallabha & c)  who in a swimming pool wrestling match, broke Duryodhana's thighs, clearly the searcher-after-truth of whose existence so kindly informed me, wasn't your ordinary pubescent boy at some provincial Kendriya Vidhyalay BUT NONE OTHER THAN PURUSHOTTAMA BILIMORIA! Or if not him then Arindram Chakrabarti or some similar Hawaiian or Australian 'fusionist' of the sort that has my sphincter tighten by reflex- as should yours anytime Credentialized Brahmins are prowling around- coz otherwise we all end up getting buggered by the vast and coprolite turd Western psilosophy still extrudes.
To see why, we need to firstly take a refresher course in Luce Irigaray- the French Feminist Psilosopher Arindram has, inexcusably, read- and understand that like money is a dick which is why only men can pass money to each other- coz obviously men only fuck each other right?- even if they are actually thrusting into cunts coz cunts don't count coz they belong to women and women are totally shite. (Vide- 'this Sex which is not One') 
Look, I don't know if in a perfect world, Kurukshetra could have been prevented by like Arjuna and Duryodhana just consensually having a whole lotta butt sex.
My point is that in this case, Yoga is subordinated to Sankhya- i.e state of the Art Mathematics- for which Aumann Agreement is too an Open Question.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Ananya Vajpayei proves Sanskrit studies is shite.

Edited- an anonymous commentator has pointed out that I've completely missed 'the meat of the joke' (no doubt because my humorless Tambram genes are allergic to meat). Also Ananya lives in India, not Amerika as I enviously suggested.

Natural languages are interesting because their pragmatics solve a co-ordination problem, whereas their semantics do the opposite.  Classical Sanskrit is particularly interesting because, ab ovo, this was self-conscious and reflexive. Because of its syntheticity, Sanskrit, and Sanskrit influenced Riti type poetry, can always be viewed as a constrained optimization problem- i.e. there is a set of avadhanam questions which is the dual of the text. The hermeneutic method proper to Sanskrit- though far from forgetful of texts- is thus the reverse of historicist. It could be Gadamerian if  potential rasikas trained as Avadhanis- instead of holing up in Libraries to write worthless apple polishing dissertations while pretending to spearhead some vast subaltern revolt of the surd and silent Masses with which Revolt, however, those same Masses will have no truck- and all this at a time when there is a crisis in Student Loan Finance in the West- people realize their PhD in Telugu Tribadism won't even get them a job at McDonalds- so the whole swindle is already on its last legs and even the Pentagon won't come to the rescue because 'Regime Change' has proved a pipe dream.

Bearing this in mind let us look at this cri de couer from one of Sheldon Pollock's students- Ananya Vajpayei. My comments are in bold.

Sanskrit must be taken back (taking something back, means it was once yours and then someone took it from you. My Brahmin ancestors had Sanskrit- they were its leading exponents- then European and American Professors took this from me-so I should take it back from them by beating them or killing them. Is that what you mean Ananya?)  from the clutches of Hindu supremacists, bigots, believers in brahmin exclusivity, misogynists, Islamophobes and a variety of other wrong-headed characters on the right(as opposed to the Left, because we all know those guys are just sweethearts) whose colossal ambition to control India’s vast intellectual legacy (actually, it is Pollock who says only America can now do Indology)  is only matched by their abysmal ignorance (which you amply demonstrates in what follows) of what it means and how it works

An article in this paper on July 30 revealed that Dina Nath Batra,  head of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, had formed a “Non-Governmental Education Commission” (NGEC) to recommend ways to “Indianise” education. I had encountered Mr. Batra’s notions about education during a campaign I was involved with in February (which failed miserably in everything except getting you some publicity)  and March this year, to keep the American scholar Wendy Doniger’s books about Hindus and Hinduism in print. His litigious threats ( litigious threats? You mean he said Penguin was breaking the Law and Penguin agreed without taking the matter to Court?) had forced Penguin India to withdraw and destroy a volume by Prof. Doniger, and this was even before the national election installed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the ruling party in Delhi. In other words, Penguin was breaking the Law. Not some new law put in by the new Govt. but, simply, the law of the land. They decided to stop breaking the law and Ananya is unhappy about this because she wants other people to break the law but prefers not to do it herself. Very brave of her, I'm sure.
Ever since Mr. Narendra Modi’s government has come to power, Mr. Batra has become more active, (you mean effective. He was probably even more active when he was younger.) zealous and confrontational in stating his views about Indian history, Hindu religion, and what ought to qualify as appropriate content in schoolbooks and syllabi not only in his native Gujarat but in educational institutions all over the country.  Nonsense. People like him start out more confrontational so as to gain salience within their own camp. He is backed up by a vast governmental machinery by the fact that Mr. Modi himself has penned prefatory materials to his various books, and of course by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of which he has been a member and an ideologue for over several decades. Oh I see. Mayawati wrote something. Once Chief Minister, U.P 's 'vast machinery of Govt.' totally destroyed Untouchability- didn't it? Nehru wrote something- immediately he was elected, India became a Socialist State without any Princely purses because 'vast machinery of Govt. was behind Nehru. How stupid are you Ananya?
Anything but ordinary

It’s unclear what the status or authority of Mr. Batra’s proposed NGEC is to be, (NO, IT ISN'T. It's a non Government body. Anyone can set one up. It has no statutory force and thus can only have persuasive powers- you know this but pretend not to because like maybe Modi is Hitler and Batra is Goebbels and please gimme tenure already coz I'm such a brave anti-Fascist- like, dunno, Anne Frank or something) but I was struck by the mention of one of my former teachers as a potential member of this commission. Seeing the name of Prof. Kapil Kapoor took me back to my days as an M.A. student in English and Linguistics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Prof. Kapoor first introduced me and my classmates to traditions of literature, language philosophy, literary analysis, poetics, semiotics, grammar and aesthetics in Sanskrit. Many of us went on to write doctoral dissertations about these subjects, deviating from British, American and postcolonial literature, and the European literary and critical theory that constituted the bulk of our coursework.
Prof. Kapoor ended up becoming dean and rector, and later, during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime, setting up the Centre for Sanskrit Studies at JNU. He and I lost touch, partly because I went away overseas and partly because of our political disagreements that were becoming increasingly apparent. But encounters with other scholars like the philosopher Arindam Chakrabarti, the Pa¯n˛ini expert George Cardona, and the Sanskritist, and eventually my doctoral supervisor, Sheldon Pollock made me decide to pursue more seriously the path that I had glimpsed in Prof. Kapoor’s classroom: I took up the study of Sanskrit for real. Okay this tells us two things. You didn't study Sanskrit 'for real' while you were in India. You have no passion or aptitude for it. Only after you went abroad- where opportunities to learn Sanskrit are very limited- and only after you got yourself a heavy-weight mentor like Pollock who could get you tenure track, only then did you start studying Sanskrit 'for real'. No wonder you failed. You may have built yourself a Career but you are a petty bureaucrat of a pedant. and will never be a savant.
One of the reasons this did not seem outlandish to me was because my father is a poet and writer in Hindi, and I had been exposed to Indian literary and intellectual traditions at home from a very young age.  You were living in India. Your parents are Indian. How fucking deracinated is the class to which you belong that you need to say- Dad is a Hindi writer, that's how come I can understand that dehati lingo?Along the way I had studied Romance languages as well, so that adding Sanskrit to the repertoire did not feel at all counter-intuitive. This is crazy. There is no connection at all between Romance languages and Sanskrit.  At Oxford, I wrote an M.Phil thesis about how the study of Sanskrit had shaped the ideas of Ferdinand de Saussure OMG, that old chestnut! Are you sure you're not related to Rajiv Malhotra? the father of modern linguistics in Europe. But after that, when I entered the South Asian Languages and Civilizations doctoral program at the University of Chicago, I did not properly realise what I had signed up for. You had no interest in philology and are obviously too stupid to understand computational linguistics but got by playing the posh brown totty card- which in England means you can get away with laziness and stupidity. Chicago, however, expects Asians to be workaholic geeks able to put in long hours of brainless drudgery.
Learning philology and Indology at Chicago was intensely challenging, yet also proportionately gratifying. We had the best scholars of South Asian studies in the world for our teachers. No you didn't. You had stupid narcissists.  Along with a small group of classmates, most of whom are professors now in America’s top universities but in shite Departments, I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours at the Regenstein Library, painstakingly unpacking sutras, verses, commentaries and arguments in a range of Sanskrit texts, increasingly difficult as we moved to more advanced levels. So you were doing stuff, in your late Twenties, which smart 12 year old kids have been doing effortlessly in Gurukuls all over India, not to mention Monasteries in China and Japan- for thousands of years! Bravo! Except, not bravo at all, by the age of fifteen those kids could make a logical argument. You can't. Nor can Pollock.
Encountering prejudice

It’s hard to describe the peculiar pain and pleasure of this language, so strict are its formal rules, so complex the ideas it allows one to formulate, express and analyse. Yet you can't express a complex idea. You are too stupid. Sanskrit enables thought at a level distinct from ordinary thinking in the languages of everyday life. Rubbish!  This is not to say that one cannot have a perfectly ordinary conversation in spoken Sanskrit: one can, of course, and in Sanskrit pedagogical environments, this is normal. But most of the vast literature available in this amazing language is specialised, technical and anything but ordinary. However, all of that vast literature can and, in general, has been put in to other languages- scholastic Tibetan or Telugu aren't inferior to Sanskrit, in any sense, though, I suppose, Sanskrit is compositionally easier. D. Venkat Rao estimates that some 30 million texts in various forms exist in Sanskrit at this time, the largest textual corpus of any extant human language. English is an extant human language. About 300 million texts that we know about are added to its corpus every year. 
Half of my long years as a doctoral student were spent away from Chicago, in India. For my dissertation, I read a small body of late medieval Sanskrit dharmashastra works. Why? Were you genuinely interested in the subject or was it because you had already made up your mind about their content and it was the least cognitively challenging type of drudgery you were capable of? These were texts of a legal and normative nature that were specifically about shudra-dharma: the rituals, duties and constraints associated with shudras, the social category that constitutes the fourth stratum of the orthodox brahminical fourfold varna-vyavastha, what we now normally designate as the “caste system.” I read with pandits and professors, at mathas, Sanskrit colleges, Oriental institutes and Sanskrit departments within regular universities, in places like Mysore, Bangalore and Pune. I even studied Kannada and Marathi to ease my passage. Poor thing- having to learn Kannada and Marathi just to talk to some beastly natives! Clearly knowing Kannada and Marathi can't help one to grasp Sanskrit better. Perish the thought! Everything you need to know about Sanskrit is in the library in Chicago.
Nothing in my experience or education up to that time had prepared me for the sheer wall of prejudice that blocked the access of someone like me to the particular aspects of the history, ideology and politics of Sanskrit that I was interested in. Here I was — female, a north Indian in south India, a student enrolled at a foreign university, a Hindi-speaker, and only tenuously and dubiously of a caste that pandits considered acceptable (why? Vajayei is considered a Brahmin or Kayastha name) . My teachers and I struggled to communicate, but in the end, most things were lost in translation. (Whose fault was that? An IAS officer posted in Maharashtra learns Marathi- even if they haven't studied Linguistics and Sanskrit. But our little darling 'struggled to communicate!' OMG, these evil Pundits are discriminating against me coz they don't speak Amerikan! A well-known Sanskrit professor in Maharashtra told me that only “perverted women” became scholars, a pronouncement that brought several months of our readings to an abrupt close one afternoon, and ensured I never again returned to meet him. Only a perverted scholar would deliberately chose a subject they find distasteful. Why? It is a waste of resources to study something you already know to be Evil- if the Government has already ruled that it is Evil. You are simply trying to grab publicity for yourself.
The caste hierarchy and sexism, the inequality and misogyny that the social worlds of Sanskrit engender and proliferate are shocking to a modern sensibility. So Sanskrit is shit and people who boast of their credentials in its study are worthless smegheads. No argument from me. However the 'social worlds of Sanskrit' don't 'engender and proliferate' anything. Otherwise you wouldn't have needed to learn a bit of Kannada and Marathi. Clearly, either you are not part of Sanskrit's 'social world' or the people you complain of weren't or else neither you nor they were part of that 'social world' because it doesn't exist. What doesn't exist can't engender and proliferate anything. As for this 'modern sensibility' you speak of- either it is rational or it is what you have which, I'm sorry to say, passed its sell by date in the mid Nineties.
 For a decade, my teachers in India and abroad had taught, tended, scolded and moulded me like their own child. Now I was confronted with a shrinking community of Sanskrit scholars left in a few places in India. They felt embattled inside collapsing institutions that had no space for their learning, demeaned by democratic politics and secular public life that stigmatised their orthodox beliefs, threatened by gender equality that resisted the patriarchy inherent in their practices, and humiliated by their sheer marginality in the economy of new knowledge systems, communication technologies and political common sense. They were bitter and resentful, and the occasional interloper like me — that too someone with an obviously critical agenda — had to face the brunt of their frustration.
Yes, Sanskrit Profs weren't well paid and, in any case, caste politics and scyophancy and so on took its toll- but smart people do Sanskrit for fun- not to get tenure. They make money in their day time job, and practice Avadhanam as a recreation. But this has always been true. Pedants have shit for brains. Which is why you chose that profession.
Another journey

After about three years of fighting a losing battle, I decided to make what I could of the dharmashastramaterials on my own. The dissertation got completed, and later, when I was writing my first book on an unrelated subject, I returned with joy and pleasure to the classics of Sanskrit literature, like Ka¯lida¯sa’s long poem, the “Meghadu¯ta,” sections of the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavad Gita. This is crazy. Every other 'upper middle' Indian I know- including Muslims- likes relaxing by turning over the leaves of favorite Sanskrit and Persian texts. Why? Indians like Indian Literature. Most of us are guilty of writing metaphysical poetry. Some do it with a drink in hand, others after correcting their kids' homework or telling them a bed time story. In the safe cocoon of another great American institution, this time Harvard University’s Widener Library, I could bracket for a few years the dark side of Sanskrit, its complicity with the power dynamics of caste and gender that make modern India the most confounding contradiction of on-paper political equality and lived social inequality. If Sanskrit has a dark side so has Persian and Arabic and every other language in the world. America has on-paper political equality- does Ananya think it has no lived social inequality? Look at China. There has been no great linguistic break but there certainly has been a change in Social inequality. Language- especially a dead classical language- has zero explanatory power in this context. Why pretend otherwise? People will only be confirmed in their low opinion of your subject, Ananya. You really aren't accomplishing some tremendous David vs Goliath triumph by writing this stupid article. You are just a stupid Careerist pushing an out-dated agenda.
But now that India is ruled by the Hindu nationalist government of Mr. Modi, with grandiose and historically baseless announcements being made all the time by the likes of Mr. Batra, it seems the time has come to deal with everything that is wrong with Sanskrit, yet again. Why? Batra is a retired school teacher. Did he teach Sanskrit? No. He taught English and Hindi. Is he using Sanskrit to mobilize support? No. He is using Hindia and English. Why, yet again, deal with everything that is wrong with Sanskrit? When was the last time you dealt with everything wrong with Sanskrit? Did it do any good? If not, what the fuck is your major malfunction you worthless cretin? A language is only a means to an end. Sanskrit is a powerful tool, but whether its uses are salutary or destructive depends on whose hands it happens to fall into. Its rigour and beauty are undeniable; so are its rigidity and elitism, in certain circumstances. Towards what great end have your written this shite, Ananya? To attack Batra? Surely, you need to do that in Hindi or Sanskrit- not English so atrocious that even that former School Teacher from the boondocks will feel only contempt for you?
My former professor, Kapil Kapoor, was knowledgeable and passionate about Sanskrit, which is what made him such a memorable teacher. I cannot believe that he would endorse the ridiculous claims made by some Hindutva spokespersons that there were airplanes and cars in ancient India, and that the Vedic culture invented stem cell research. But, Ananya, he hasn't endorsed those ridiculous claims, has he? Look at the Encyclopaedia of Hinduism he has just edited. Is there one single article there which 'endorses ridiculous claims'? There isn't is there?  So why bring it up? Isn't it because there is not one iota of evidence for your thesis- viz. Sanskrit has a 'Dark Side' and it is threatening to take over India- and Dinanath Batra is like the kid in Omen, except now he has got Super-Powers and OMG, Modi used a Sanskrit phrase on come the Storm Troopers! One of the things I remember about him most vividly was his earthy sense of humour. “If Pa¯n˛ini was at Takshila,” he often joked, “that probably means he was a Punjabi, like me.” We would all laugh,  Would you ALL laugh? Why? Panini came from Punjab. So did your Professor. OMG that is so-ooo funny because like...urm... Punjabis only know agriculture isn't it? You fuckwit racist retard, do you really think your Hindi speaking ancestors were smarter than Punjabis or Marathas? transported for a moment to the vanished classrooms of remote antiquity, when one of the most astonishing works of systematic knowledge of all-time, Pa¯n˛ini’s Sanskrit grammar, the Ashtadhyayi, was probably composed somewhere on the plains of north-western Punjab. Panini work may astonish you- but then you are a very very stupid person- but it isn't 'one of the most astonishing works of systematic knowledge of all time'. How could it be? Other Classical Languages with equal or greater geographical reach got along perfectly well without it and, in any case, Linguistics just isn't very interesting because we're hardwired for it. If you think the device on which you are reading this is less astonishing than the Panini's achievement you are wrong. Patanjali himself would find your smartphone more astonishing.
It’s up to liberal, secular, egalitarian, enlightened and progressive sections of our society who happen to live in America to preserve and protect this unique civilisational resource. But you are too stupid to do it.  Ask Sheldon Pollock. Kapil Kapoor opened a window for his students, from where they could see a breathtaking vista of India’s past, filled with traditions of philosophy, religion and literature unparalleled in almost any other language. Horseshit. Greek has Sanskrit beat for prose, Chinese and Persian are better for poetry, Arabic is very much alive, Hebrew has revived. Sanskrit is a hereditary hobby that Avadhanis and Acharyas, but also drunken shitheads like me, cultivate gratuitously. What Chicago calls Sanskrit is a coprolite extracted from the rectum of Teutonic dinosaurs who once ravaged Philology Depts across the Continent in pre-Darwinian times.
Scholarship like that of Sheldon Pollock and his colleagues helps us to understand the history, the power, the circulation and the importance of Sanskrit knowledge systems in the pre-modern world, not just in India but across Asia. Rubbish. Pollock Bollocks is shite. We learn to really read texts, to carefully unpack their meaning in complex historical contexts of production and reception, rather than merely brandish them as false tokens of identity and imagined superiority in our own times. Sanskrit, for you, was just a Credentialist passport to tenure- but then, you are stupid and ignorant, so being a pedant is the best thing for you. To revive Sanskrit, we must first shoot the Professors.
(Ananya Vajpeyi is the author of Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India,HUP, 2012. E-mail:

Mithi Mukherjee & the British Freedom Struggle

Back in the Eighteenth Century, two Irishmen, Sheridan and Burke, deeply sensible of the wrongs their motherland had experienced at the hands of greedy English overlords tried to impeach Warren Hastings & by extension the East India Company (which Burke thought a greater evil to the Polity than the Jacobins) but failed miserably. Indeed, things got worse not better in Ireland over the next seventy years. Clearly, Sheridan & Burke are part of the history of Literature but have nothing to do with Indian Political History. Indeed, the Calcutta Supreme Court- as a countervailing power- ceased to be effective precisely because Westminster was shown to be Supreme and Parliament ultimately decided issues relating to India on the basis of a peculiar interpretation of the doctrine of Necessity such that Providence had always already contrived hoary conventions such that the 'governance' type work of the 'Civilian' was minimized leaving him free to maximise Revenue Collection.
1857 created an unprecedented situation. The lazy, overpaid, undisciplined Sepoy (not to mention his Officer
- who could still enrich himself unconscionably through loot)  needed to be taught a lesson. Over the next fifty years, the pay of the Native mercenary went from being double or triple the agricultural wage to something like parity. True, land grants in the Canal Colonies sweetened the pill but the fact is by the 1880's it was clear that the 'Hindu' Punjabi who didn't enlist ultimately ended up better off than his 'Sikh' elder brother. Furthermore, the 'jotedar'- or tenant (actually, the English word farmer originally described precisely this 'kulak' type class)- was taking power from the old 'zamindari' class- i.e. the Permanent Settlement with its equation between 'Magistri' and 'Barristri' was breaking down- and this meant ever increasing contestation of entry into the administrative 'intermediate' class. Unfortunately, the Bengali bhadralok put up a paranoid fight against the Partition of Bengal and this meant that people who had heard of Sheridan and Burke were entirely disintermediated from the political process- though, of course, they were too stupid to see it. Foucauldian methods have no relevance to India. Yes there are textual availability cascades but they gain no purchase precisely because nobody who mattered knew the relevant texts. If this were not the case, any statement about Indian politics would be equally true of Pakistan and Burma and Sri Lanka and so on. Nothing of the sort obtained.
 It was only when its comprador class had lost salience or obligatory passage point status that the Brits suddenly got all Bernard Cohn type Caste constructivist and started searching around for a 'Representative' counterweight to the rising relative affluence of a class that had arisen without having been envisaged or suborned in advance.
Fortunately, for beggarly Brahmins and posh Bengali Bhadralok,  Mahatma Gandhi came along at precisely the right time to start prattling utter shit and run around in diapers and give everybody an enema and beg money from Birlas, Bajaj's and every other sort of Bania on the make.
 But even this could only delay the slide towards everyone getting a PhD in Political Science from Godhulia University and embarking on a criminal career. By 'everyone', I obviously every decent son-of-the soil or Sadhavi of the same.
Bengali bhadralok had to clear out or disguise themselves as JNU jhollawallahs.
 Which brings me to Prof Mithi Mukherjee. Disclaimer- I haven't read her seminal, or menstrual, to be Politically Correct, 'India in the shadows of Empire (sic)' but, in view of my own involvement in the British Freedom Struggle (which itself must be distinguished from UKIP's jihad) I was able to read between the lines and thus present for your reading pleasure my interview with that blushful maiden.

Iyer- Professorji, mutatis mutandis, you argue persuasively for the need to ground our understanding of the current British freedom struggle in the light of the political and legal discourse of successive waves of Colonizers from the Continent. You extend Michel Foucault's analysis to the political domain and deploy the categories of discourse and teleology (explained as goal-specific discourse) to remind readers that polity and political processes in Britain should not be simply understood as if they had no history and as if they originated sui generis. Instead, you maintain, this polity has a political and cultural genealogy, and is a product of discourses and conflicts of the colonial past. My question to you is which volume of Asterix the Gaul does all this feature in?

Prof. Mukherjee- Abhay Chutiya! How dare you? Khabardar! I will fuck you up. I will kill your parents and get your sister raped.

Iyer- (OMG, must have called up Prof. Amaresh Mishra by mistake). Salam Aleikhum, Mishra Sahib. Just called to say 'Eid Mubarak'.

Prof Mishra (for it is he)- Eid was last week, why you are calling middle of night?

Iyer- Sarkar, for true devotees of Dynasty like me, Eid does not occur till we see Rahul's Moon like face.

Prof. Mishra- Rahul who?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Byrhtnoth's last words

That Byrhtnoth's words we as Danegeld yield
While yet, too fully, we possess the field
With Hearts for bellows, cold steel to fire
Minds for iron, fellows, mine but ire

Envoi-                                             Prince! Dike polupoinos means, in essence,
Heed mounts as deed lessens
Byrhtnoth's famous last words:
Hige sceal þe heardra,     heorte the cenre,
mod sceal þe mare,     þe ure mægen lytlað. (312'13)
[Thought must be the harder, heart be the keener,
mind must be the greater, while our strength lessens.]

Dike Polupoinos- 'much avenging Justice' which guards the paths of Night and Day. (Parmenides)

Lacrimosa hodie

So the Sun yet burn, let our Moon be Ash
  & thy Dies Irae turn to Daily Trash
Harder yet must our Poets try
So all Madness lust One Stupid Lie

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Rawls's Aristotelian principle & Political conceptions of Justice

In his first and most famous book, Rawls sought to show that Justice as Fairness was also part of the 'Good' by appealing to the following 'Aristotelian Principle' which states that every mugger naturally wants to become a Moriarty, every con-man wants to become a Bernie Madoff, and, by the magic of Metanoia, every Prof. of Political Science wants to end his days spouting shite more obviously shite than he did at the commencement of her career- i.e. a person's good consists in wanting to do qualitatively more and more of what they are good at and actually that's a good thing coz Moriarty is more interesting than a mugger (because he teaches us something about hidden linkages in our Society) Madoff less morally interesting than  a two bit hustler(hence, better for mechanism design) and it's always good to know that Professors- who, after all, are only a superior  type of child-minder- end up with their own nappies full of shit.

The Evolutionary Stable regret minimizing multiplicative update algorithm essentially says that we should want to live in a Society where the Aristotleian principle is enabled for everybody- i.e. Aumann agreement is disabled- such that every Sherlock has a Moriarty- i.e. no randomness is distinguishable from two quite different types of pseudo randomness- and, anyway, Moriarty, as we all know, was actually a Professor.
So was Rawls- worse luck.
In 'Justice as Fairness reconsidered', Rawls restricts the scope of his idea to the sort of Political Philosophy being done in certain sorts of Liberal Democracies where, coz people haven't yet read Sen's 'Idea of Justice', 'ideal type analysis' is still cool. In other words, Rawls basically says 'guys, I got it wrong. Justice as Fairness is nothing but a textual availability cascade and the only reason not to junk it is because it happens to be the most ubiquitous junk food for thought of our time- at least if you are a pretentious little turd from a highly specific and Entitled coterie of fuckwitted assholes.'
The paradox here is that Rawls' own 'life- plan' seems to have obeyed the Aristotelian principle. His restriction of Justice-as-Fairness to Political Philosophy of a certain wholly Credentialist and in-utile type- i.e. his refusal to identify it with Evolutionary Game Theory or Mechanism Design- leaves him safe in his play-pen from the perils of thought or the patripassian pangs proper to a progenitor of the Cavalry of the Capabilities Approach which has nailed Left Liberalism to the Cross of  Steady State Stupidity.
Early Rawls can shade into mystical theodicy- it illuminates such dark sayings as 'can two walk the same road- save they are agreed?' whose dual is 'Can there be Evil in the City, and the Lord has not done it?- but later Rawls- stuff like 'overlapping consensus' & 'reasonable pluralism'- is exhausted committee room jargon long after the rending of the Veil, the day of wrath, has come and gone, and the only outcome is that all language has been unified but only to show the true Apocalypse is Disenchantment- nothing is left of the City save its futile Utopian philosophizing whose practice is punitively enforced by the impossibility of hemlock.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Meredith Townsend's influence on Jawaharlal Nehru

Nehru was just a fresh faced fourteen year in his first year at Harrow when he found Meredith Townsend's article 'Will England Retain India?' in the pages of his favorite Spank Mag.
The experience permanently scarred him and explains much about his later proclivities.

Townsend was a senior journalist who had lived in India. His essay explains that the British Empire had inspired no loyalty whatsoever in any class of native and would be swept away in a moment if it met any military setback. Worse luck for India, because
1) Brown People are all basically Ali Babas and are motivated not by self-interest but 'interestingness'-i.e the desire to live in an Arabian Nights fantasy land of despotic Sultans and sultry odalisques and everybody either getting their head chopped off or being offered a Palace with a well stocked harem, preferably all in the same day but not in that order.
2) If White people have sex with Brown people the kids will be black and Black people live in grass huts and go booga-booga and wave their spears around.
3) Brown people and White people don't like having sex with each other but the mere presence of a very few White people in India had, over the course of a century, turned the local Brown people into Black people- incapable of once again building cities like Benares- though for some reason they still do better than White people in Competitive Exams.

So there you have it. A highly respected editor, writing in 1904, demonstrates that
1) British rule in India is totally unviable
2) The British Ruling Class has shit for brains.
What's the boy Nehru's takeaway point from all this?
Whitey be stealing all our wealth! Fuck you Whitey! Kindly invent Socialism already and explain it to some clever Bengalis so India can have a Planning Commission same as the Soviets do.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Borges's Orbis Tertius vs. Dummett's Frege's

'...for Frege, several people may grasp the sense of one word or of one thought, and that just as the sense of a name denotes an object, the sense of a thought denotes a truth-value'- 
In other words,  Sense (Sinn or Acceptation) is the name Frege gives to the solution of a co-ordination problem which itself is described by the 'Reference' of the word or phrase or 'thought'- i.e. its context. If there is a canonical solution- then Sense corresponds to a 'truth value'. In other words, if you can be sure of finding the Schelling focal point without discussing it with anyone (i.e. gaming it) because there is an obvious, unique,  quick to halt algorithm you can run- then you have a proposition in a first order language of a certain type.
'What is involved in grasping a sense?'
The answer, obviously, is a zero knowledge mimetics or cheap-talk Preference Falsification. But that's not Frege’s response  which is- 'that senses are neither part of the world of spatio-temporal objects, nor do they exist inside the minds of individuals. They belong to a “third realm”, a timeless world, to which all of us have access.'
Access how? Well, d'uh, collaboratively like Borges's 'Orbis Tertius' project.  The Tlon thus collectively created is, of course, a Psychologism- which from the Evolutionary p.o.v it's useful for us to cultivate, even in hyper-mentalist, hypo-mechanist, form. In this sense, so long as one is autistic enough to reject Psychologism as Teleology, there is no ontological scandal- anymore than there is a Christological scandal in Tertullian- in Frege's, surely Game theoretic, not hyper-mentalist at all, 'third realm'.
However Dummett, Frege's greatest English language commentator,' is far from endorsing the suggestion that thoughts occupy a third realm beyond time and space. He describes this doctrine as a piece of “ontological mythology”, the term “mythology” here being used in a purely pejorative sense (Dummett, 1993a, 25). Dummett thinks that these two loose ends should be tied together. Rather than being content to describe the act of understanding as involving a mysterious connection between our minds and timeless entities known as senses, we should focus on the practice of using sentences in a language. This, in turn requires us to think about the purpose of classifying sentences as true or false, and that requires that we think about the purposes for which we use a language (Dummett, 1981a, 413). The result of this process might be to vindicate Frege’s semantics, or it might vindicate the intuitionist position. Dummett’s most influential contribution to philosophy can be understood as an attempt to resolve this unfinished business.'
In other words, here again is that paranoid and programmatic- as opposed to sane for self-sublatingly schizophrenic- 'linguistic turn' which coincided with the de-Industrialization of Higher Education and the Great Credentialist Moderation now nakedly revealed as a Ponzi scheme rendering us all asymptotically Third World.
Why? Coz everybody needing a PhD in order to understand that, like, Language speaks them- is only par for the course for discoordination game Elitism or Chauvinism but fucked for the true purpose of Higher Education-as-Paideia which is Universal and Transcendental and consists entirely of telling kids not to masturbate so much otherwise they'll go blind as opposed to just getting  more and more myopic. Mind it kindly. Aiyayo.

Envoi-               Prince! Since by hic sunt leones  the State's burgeoning is naturaliter permitted
                                Ex ungue leonem,  our I & Thou, is now  to a Third Estate demitted.