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Monday, October 01, 2012

Other people's writing

There are three blogposts that I want my readers to go through, and, if possible, comment upon.

The first is an issue raised by my daughter in her latest blogpost. I myself have written on this subject before, I am both a teacher and parent myself, I broadly agree with her views (in the formation of which I have had no little influence), and I should very much like to hear what others have to say about it.

The second is the latest post on Sayan and Rashmi’s blog. Surely, unless all our readers want to brand themselves as utterly mindless, a lot of people ought to have much to say about it.

And finally, this post on the website titled The Public Discourse. Does it, in your opinion (assuming you understand what it says), rightly describe the way the world is going?

Nice post, short and sweet, isn’t it?


Shilpi said...

The Lemmings article on the Public Discourse blog, in my opinion, is a very well-written and clever if somewhat of a meandering article and points out to what has been going on and is going wrong in the last 50 years and even more forcefully over the last decade. It reminded me of the movie Matrix – and the choice that Neo faces between the blue pill and red pill. The red pill meant Neo could think as a human being, he could make choices, and act on the basis of what he felt he needed to do because it was the right choice even if he didn’t believe he was The Messiah come to save the world. Currently, human beings are more or less happy and content with the blue pill.

1. The article is premised on a basic assumption: a great majority of human beings do not know about even having a Real Self – that is the part of the Self which is most meaningful, which matters, and which stays fixed on course, and which “looks on tempests but is never shaken”. One must connect with one’s inner Self or at least have a sense of this presence before one can in any manner be true to this Self. Little Girl Guides do not have this Self and may be utterly confused as to what it even means to be true to ‘myself’ and ‘my’ beliefs. It makes far better sense to tell a girl of 5 that it is better to be true to ‘God’ or something other than one’s own changing if not confused self.

2. So what do we have in this world: the great majority of confused hordes who “take in” whatever is the taste of the year, the particular decade or the mindless sensation of the moment. Currently I’d say that it’s the world of consumerism that controls the great average, and yes the media even though I don’t blame the media. Buying, splurging, shopping, boozing, eating, dressing down and leering, spending money on things that one doesn’t need or really want, and doing anything which doesn’t require much of any mind activity whatsoever even if many from the hordes might think that they are very radical and intellectual for running after the politically in-slogan or the fancy economic protests.

3. Average people are being led by the nose if not “led” and have no firm moorings, no sheet anchor, no direction, no real abiding interest in nurturing and fostering meaningful enjoyment, worthy acts, solitude, quiet contentment, and genuinely loving relations even when they have the economic privileges intact because they have been adequately brainwashed into believing that the self can live on a moment-to-moment thrill or simply be indoctrinated by whatever is popular and that one need not then think or reflect on anything deeply or be connected to something other than the little petty self. It’s been given the go-ahead by the most dominant and all pervasive of cultural indoctrination systems in the current world – the ads which tells us about women’s fashion and the toys for boys. And to think of a time when the mass media and the Guttenberg press made it possible for common people to access information and knowledge which they were otherwise debarred from.

3. The one thing that the article probably doesn’t mention is the necessity of having genuine teachers and different kinds of leaders who can actually set the standards of the good and the beautiful and the meaningful, and teach and live by example more than anything else.

4. To conclude this comment I’ll say that what are considered to be ‘objective’ truths by the writer (since he doesn’t actually say what they are) are probably more of values. values are basic axioms which cannot be defended any further but are taken as a starting point for discourse and beliefs and action and for civilizations to progress. Beauty, justice, truth, reverence for life, devotion, love are basic values. There is nothing “objective” about them in comparison to say when a book when dropped will fall to the ground. Since these are values which cannot be defended any further they need to be defined very carefully and then can be elaborated upon.

That’s all for this comment. Thank you for linking the post.

Shilpi said...


This is a youtube link with a brief clip of the Solomon Asch conformity experiments carried out by Asch in the 1950s at Swarthmore. This is an example of humans being 'social'? I don't think so - but lemming-like, yes and it's just about what we 'see'. The second bit is from some candid camera experiments, although I remember some social psychologists carried out similar studies to check for conformity.

I forgot to mention that the Public Discourse article was very humorous to read - 'stupidity needs work' was probably the best one.