Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sri Aurobindo is Jeffersonian in matters of liberty

Tusar Nath Mohapatra - @SavitriEraParty SRA-102C Indirapuram Ghaziabad
Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum (SELF): Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.
264 Following 536 Followers 24,759 Tweets Joined Twitter 4/14/12 
8/22 2015
THE MEANING OF VARUNA [We have the word Varuna from a root which means to surround, cover or pervade.] ~Sri Aurobindo
[Sri Aurobindo, Jeffersonian in matters of liberty, Marxist in matters of equality, Gandhian in his view of fraternity]
[to reduce the voluminous works of Sri Aurobidno to a simple Hindu Nationalism is a failure of hermeneutic integrity]
[Sri Aurobindo is neglected as a literary critic. Because people considered him as a saint but not as a poet of eminence]
[a compilation of Sri Aurobindo's lights on the second quartette of the Chaturvarnya of the Indian system of culture]
[Sri Aurobindo's lights on the first of the three quartette of the four purusharthas of the Indian system of culture]
Goel or Gandhi, no respite from biting facts: A Daniel come to judgement
Correcting our own history like @sarkar_swati and team is much more relevant than Rajiv Malhotra whining against West
Savitri meets the third Soul-Force, the Mother of Light, Joy and Peace who can bring God's power to man but ...
Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
Savitri-Book 7, Canto 4, 3rd part. Listen at:
Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
AIR 1968 Auroville Inauguration via @ YouTube.. AUDIO OF MOTHER'S READING...
Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
Twitter should dispense with the Favourite button as it's a worthless feature and diverts user's attention without any commensurate benefit.
This tweet shows that it got 42 Retweets and 21 Favourites but sadly the 9 Replies it has received is not displayed.
Interesting when Modi fans are forced to vent their opposition to Govt decisions in a circumvent manner by carefully choosing the syllables!
[Despair & Modernity: Reflections from Modern Indian Painting by Harsha V. Dehejia, Prem Shankar Jha, Ranjit Hoskote]
The "good deeds" were ladders and "bad deeds" were snakes.Most of the squares had names like "Sat-pravartanamu (good behavior. Its a ladder)
Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
Tradition & childhood memories exert a disproportionate longing for nostalgia during alienated & stressful mid age years. Philosophy helps.
Mothers go through multiple childhoods along with children & run the risk of undergoing regressive episodes later in life. Philosophy helps.
Mythology, Astrology, and Rituals serve the need for cognitive closure but Philosophy helps by acquainting with more ambiguity & complexity.
New in here & there: Faith caught between racism and resistance.
Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
When Historythieves fall out Revisionism by @sarkar_swati apparently trumps Plagiarism and Libel by @rajivmessage
 Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
@BHPanimalwatch Hope, you use revisionism in a positive sense. Or, any issues?
@SavitriEraParty No, in the negative #Hindutva addled pseudo nationalist racist sense beloved of @dikgaj and @sarkar_swati among others
Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
@BHPanimalwatch Shouldn't their recent works be judged separately from their usual personalities, motivated choice of topics notwithstanding?
@SavitriEraParty How would one do that? They wear their racist hearts on their sleeves. Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
@BHPanimalwatch If one reads the articles on Gandhi and the Revolutionaries, for instance, do you find problems apart from the authors?
If Kashmir is the issue and the Prime Minister takes some initiatives, then the nation should be one to back him for the sake of posterity.
Plenty of jingoism on Twitter but they seem juvenile. The root case of Indo-Pak animosity has to be resolved once for all, today or tomorrow
@SavitriEraParty Yes - the fantasy of a Japanese Imperial army backing Indian liberation for one thing. Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
@BHPanimalwatch @sarkar_swati Revised tweet to include quotes; else I get a smack from papajee @RichardFoxYoung
Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra
@proud_indian5 I feel immortalized! How tweet of you! :-) @sarkar_swati @RichardFoxYoung @SavitriEraParty Retweeted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra

Recents Posts 2015 (45)
August (4)
Battle for Indian History: How to fight it, and ho...
Supreme Court considers probe into Aurobindo ashra...
Battle for Indian History: How to fight it, and ho...
Sri Aurobindo was a Terrorist, says Peter Heehs – ...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

People misunderstand mainstream libertarian position but socialism is actually quite a different beast

Tweets by @harsh___gupta
August 14, 2015
Whether you go by J Rawls or DD Upadhyaya, both talk of helping the weakest in society. Question is over what time-frame? Makes a big diff.
People misunderstand mainstream libertarian position. A strong and effective state is absolutely key. Just needs to be limited state as well.
The key is to first facilitate markets - through courts (quick justice), police/army (peace), infra like roads, public health, v. basic edu.
Once markets facilitated & country has politically decided to have welfare state that is OK - it must be Re-for-Re as efficient as possible.

Tweet by @sabhlok
August 13, 2015
Good riddance to bad rubbish. The end of the pretend ‘economic science’ called Nudge.

This is my further comment on Kanishka Sinha's FB post, that I referred to here.
In this I show Kanishka that the laws of economics are INVIOLABLE. They never change, no matter where you go or live. I will also, by the end of this post, more clearly distinguish socialism from capitalism.

There is no doubt that on most economic benchmarks Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden) are highly successful. They are up there among the richest 20 nations in the world, their national debt is manageable (not like the Greek socialist state, for instance), and their people even claim to be happy. 

This doesn't mean that these are free societies in every respect. They have a strong egalitarian focus, implemented through redistribution. This welfare system has led to some rather extreme negative consequences, as outlined in Manipulism and the Weapon of Guilt: Collectivism Exposed by Mikkel Clair Nissen. I've provided key extracts from this book here.

I won't go into details of this, but it is clear that the welfare state is both unsustainable and harmful to human motivation and dignity. There is no doubt that these states will pull back on the excesses of their welfare state as people realise it is not going to work. There is no free lunch. The sooner these countries understand that, the better for them. While they may not go down the path of failed states like Greece, they will face increasing challenges in maintaining their standards of living if their most productive people start working less (or migrate to other, less taxing countries).

So what are we to make of this?
Well, to understand this, we need to go back to thetwo fundamental theorems of economics.
First you must recognise that free markets ALWAYS work best. That's what the first theorem states. The market ALWAYS creates the most efficient allocation and thereby maximiseswealth. Once that has been achieved, you can, if you so wish, transfer funds to meet your egalitarian objectives. You can redistribute "endowments" to create any pareto optimal outcome you wish, through the market. That's the second theorem.

All economics graduates are taught these basic theorems early in their graduate year. These theorems take tens of pages of non-trivial formal proofs. Kanishka, you perhaps learnt these theorems, as well, didn't you? (Or does ISB not teach theoretical economics?). 

But note clearly that reallocation as part of a welfare state is NOT socialism. It is redistributionwithin capitalism. Socialism involves denial of property rights, denial of the price system, denial of free trade. Clearly the Scandinavian countries are extreme-CAPITALIST societies on these indicators. These capitalist institutional features allow them to generate vast amounts of wealth; which they then redistribute.

The excesses of their welfare state have undoubtedly reduced their potential wealth by harming incentives at two levels: at the top, where high taxes reduce incentives to work; and at the bottom, where excessive welfare reduces incentives to work. The documentation of the adverse effects of welfare makes clear that the welfare system is NOT a good idea and should be curtailed.

However, it is fundamentally incorrect to talk of Scandinavian countries as being socialist. Yes, in casual talk, even I refer to excesses of welfare state as socialism, but socialism is actually quite a different beastp. To identify socialism, look at India, Kanishka. Look at PROPERTY RIGHTS. Look at PRICES. Look at LABOUR MARKETS. Look at TRADE. 

The Hour of God by Sri Aurobindo (free ebook)

Mainstream-Saturday 15 August 2015by Anand Kumar
Independence Day is the annual occasion of remembering the ideals and events of our freedom struggle. It gives the opportunity of assessing the successes and failures in realising the vision of Swaraj which evolved during the national movement since the days of Tilak, Sri Aurobindo, Gandhi, Nehru, Subhas and Ambedkar. From this point of view, 2015 has been an interesting year in the democratic journey of India around the goals of Swaraj. There were interesting developments about political alternatives as well as alternative politics.
It has definitely expanded beyond the frontiers of the AAP. It has also retained the reputation of being an initiative of idealists among the anti-corruption crusaders. The presentation of a new ‘agenda for India’ draft is not an ordinary break- through in these times of power politics.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Emotionally intense and repetitive Negative experiences are remembered the best

GRAHAM YOUNG Entrepreneur-04-Aug-2015
Daily routines are designed to anchor our goals and values to our thoughts and actions. When our behavior doesn't align with the values we have for our careers, relationships, health and wealth, we usually feel out of sorts.
The reason we get out of line from our values and continuously miss our goals is because we've picked up counter-productive habits from our past that don't support us. Morning routines are designed to interrupt past programming and current social paradigms, and propel us forward with new patterns of action.
The science behind the ritual 
Neuroscientist Joe Dispenza has a gift for simplifying the process of what goes on in the brain. He breaks down life in general, saying that the end result of any experience we have is an emotion.
Negative experiences from our past which are more emotionally intense and/or repetitive are remembered the best. Our brain uses this information to create our beliefs and perceptions of the world as we grow older. Any disempowering beliefs create the negative habits that we are trying to eliminate.
Dispenza explains how our brains form these beliefs. He explains that, "Every time we learn something new, we make new circuits in the brain. Learning is making a new connection in the brain. Memory is maintaining or sustaining those connections -- keeping them alive. And the only way that we maintain and sustain connections in the brain is by repetition." 
So, we are left with three questions: How can we create a new and positive experience that will produce new circuits in the brain? How can we make it emotional so our brain remembers it? And how can we repeat it so that those circuits become the sustainable memories which our brain references going forward? If we can accomplish these three things, we will be able to override old patterns and install new ones focused on what we truly want. 
By repatterning your brain, you'll be creating new, more dominant memories that your brain can reference going forward. Over time, those older, negative beliefs will dissipate and your behavior will begin to consistently support every area of your life.

Avoid becoming a miserable entrepreneur. Follow your passion and make it happen BIG time. -
How to Discover Your Calling As An Entrepreneur
If you have that bug to run your own business, you aren't alone. This exercise will help you get focused on work that can be fulfilling long-term for you.
Steps #1 - #3 come from my previous article, which you can read here. Step #4 - #5 is unique to entrepreneurs and startups. 
We all have multiple areas of influence that come naturally. Some are based on life experiences, others are based on ways we are inherently wired. Take time to list your areas of influence, without worrying about how they connect to a particular career path. 
Your "strengths" include learned skills, natural talent, spiritual gifts and resources you have access to. Sadly, there are people who feel stuck in a career that doesn't utilize their strengths. Take time to list all of your strengths without worrying about how they connect to a particular career path.
This is about identifying things you love to do. Things that motivate you. People and causes you're passionate about. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Take time to list all of your passions without worrying about how they connect to a particular career path.
But let's add two more steps to this process...
Step Four: Identify Real Needs
Circle back to your "Areas of Influence" that you listed in Step One. Ask yourself, "what do those people NEED?" If one of your areas of influence are working moms, what do working moms need? What problems do working moms face? What keeps working moms up at night? If you listed 6 areas of influence... 6 people groups x 10 needs each = 60 possible needs / problems / pain points. It should be quite a list.
Step Five: Look for Connections Between Their Needs and Your Strengths & Passions
Any successful startup solves a real problem in a unique way. Take a look at that list of needs, and review your list of strengths and passions (from Step Two and Step Three). 
Two Books that Influenced This Idea:
In "Good to Great" Jim Collins talks about the "Hedgehog Concept" and shows three overlapping circles that helps good companies become enduring great companies.
In "Church Unique" Will Mancini talks about how churches can uncover their "Kingdom Concept" which is like a Hedgehog Concept, but applied uniquely to the church. 

[coercing & nudging people like a herd of sheep instead of making competent is not a promising vision of democracy]
A few years ago, a fad began to rise in the public policy arena. It was called 'behavioural economics'. Although it had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with economics, it claimed to be its branch. Some so-called 'economists' started touting 'remedies' like 'Nudge'. Also an extract from a reader's review of his book, Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions:
"he gently admonishes the concept of nudging (whose most prominent faces are Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein) by writing, "As a general policy, coercing and nudging people like a herd of sheep instead of making them competent is not a promising vision of democracy" [Source]

[psychologists have published faith in science can serve the same mentally-stabilizing function as religious beliefs]
Quartz - Scientific beliefs are destined to supersede and replace primitive religious views, once argued 19th-century French philosopher Auguste ...
In his 2012 book I​gnorance: How I​t D​rives Science, Columbia neuroscientist Stuart Firestein argued, “Being a scientist requires having faith in uncertainty, finding pleasure in mystery, and learning to cultivate doubt.” Ignorance, Firestein pointed out, is not only natural but fertile.
As climate scientist Tamsin Edwards put it in an op-ed for Vice, “Uncertainty is the engine of science.
Psychology, not theology, is at the root of extremism
The psychology of extremism clarifies the essential logic. Last year, the University of Maryland’s Arie Kruglanski detailed evidence that psychology, not theology, is at the root of extremist ideologies.

[the appeal of violent extremism derives from two basic human needs: cognitive closure and personal significance.]
The Need for Closure ARIE W. KRUGLANSKI, OCT 28 2014
From a psychological perspective, the appeal of violent extremism derives from a clever exploitation of two basic human needs: the need for cognitive closure and the need for personal significance. The need for closure amounts to the quest for certainty, and the eschewal of ambiguity; it is the desire to feel assured about the future, to know what to do and where to go. It is the quest for structure and coherence in one’s outlook and beliefs (Kruglanski, 1989; 2004).
The need for closure constitutes a common human experience. Many of us might crave closure when waiting for the results of a test, for example, marking time until our proposal is answered, or “holding our breath” until a murder mystery is solved. Some people experience the need for closure chronically, most of the time. A psychological scale exists [1] that taps this tendency reliably (Webster & Kruglanski, 1994). Moreover, some contexts induce the need for closure in most people (Kruglanski & Webster, 1996). The current world situation may constitute just such a context.
Unprecedented waves of immigration dislocate millions of people these days and prompt what Samuel Huntington dubbed the “clash of civilizations” (Huntington, 1993). The economic recession has left millions of young men and women unemployed, political orders in the Middle East seem to crumble, and multiple world locations are rocked by political instability. All these engender unsettling, anxiety-inducing uncertainties, which prompt cravings for coherence and closure. Fundamentalist ideologies are quintessentially fit to satisfy just such cravings.
They do so by painting a Manichean worldview characterized by sharp dichotomies and clear choices; a world of good versus evil, saints versus sinners, order versus chaos; a pure universe in black and white admitting no shades of gray. A fundamentalist ideology establishes clear contingencies between actions and consequences; it offers a future that is predictable and controllable. Such a perspective holds particular fascination for confused youths in transitional stages of their lives, who drift like rudderless ships and find themselves torn by conflicting cultural demands.

[high need for certainty can be a dangerous thing. It prevents from learning to face uncertainty pervading our lives]
[Terrorists strike twice. First they assault with physical force, & then they assault us with the help of our brains]
Terrorists strike twice. First they assault with physical force, and then they assault us with the help of our brains. The first strike gains all the attention. Billions of dollars have been poured into developing gigantic bureaucracies, including Homeland Security, and new technologies, such as full body scanners that make visible the nude surface of skin beneath clothing. The second strike, in contrast, has received almost no attention. 
What exactly is our brain’s psychology that terrorists exploit? Low-probability events in which many people are suddenly killed, so-called dread risks, trigger an unconscious psychological principle: If many people die at one point in time, react with fear and avoid that situation.
Note that the fear is not about dying per se. It is about dying in a specific manner, namely togetherat one point in time, or in a short interval. When many die spectacularly at one point in time, as in the 9/11 attacks, our evolved brain reacts with great anxiety. But when as many or more diedistributed over time, such as in car and motorbike accidents, we are less likely to be afraid.
Where does this tendency to fear dread risks come from? In human history, it was likely a rational response. For most of our evolution, humans lived in small hunter-gatherer bands that may have consisted of up to twenty to fifty individuals and rarely exceeded one hundred people, similar to such bands in the world today. 
To this day, real or imagined catastrophes have the potential to trigger panicky reactions. The “old-brain” fear of dread risks can suppress any flash of thought in the new parts of our brains. 
My Security Blanket, Please
Humans appear to have a need for certainty, a motivation to hold on to something rather than to question it. People with a high need for certainty are more prone to stereotypes than others and are less inclined to remember information that contradicts their stereotypes. They find ambiguity confusing and have a desire to plan out their lives rationally. 
In an uncertain world, we cannot plan everything ahead. Here, we can only cross each bridge when we come to it, not beforehand. The very desire to plan and organize everything may be part of the problem, not the solution. The problem is that false certainty can do tremendous damage. As we will see, blind faith in tests and financial forecasts can lead to misery. 
The quest for certainty is the biggest obstacle to becoming risk savvy. While there are things we can know, we must also be able to recognize when we cannot know something. The problem is that false certainty can do tremendous damage. As we will see, blind faith in tests and financial forecasts can lead to misery. Not only can it endanger your physical and mental health, but it can also ruin your bank account and the economy as a whole. We have to learn to live with uncertainty. It’s time to face up to it. A first step toward doing so is to understand the distinction between known risks and unknown risks.
The Three Faces of Probability
One important fact is often overlooked. Probability is not one of a kind; it was born with three faces: frequency, physical design, and degrees of belief.10 And these have persisted to this day.
Frequency. In the first of its identities, probability is about counting. Counting the number of days with rainfall or the number of hits a baseball player makes and dividing these by the total number of days or strikes results in probabilities that are relative frequencies. Their historical origins lie in seventeenth-century mortality tables, from which life insurances calculated probabilities of death.
Physical Design. Second, probability is about constructing. For example, if a die is constructed to be perfectly symmetrical, then the probability of rolling a six is one in six. You don’t have to count. Similarly, mechanical slot machines are physically designed to pay out, say, 80 percent of what people throw in, and electronic machines have software that determines the probabilities. Probabilities by design are called propensities. Historically, games of chance were the prototype for propensity. These risks are known because people crafted, not counted, them.
Degrees of Belief. Third, probability is about degrees of belief. A degree of belief can be based on anything from experience to personal impression. Historically, its origin is in eyewitness testimony in courts and, more spectacularly, in the Judeo-Christian lore of miracles.11 To this day, the testimony of two independent witnesses counts more than that of two who talked with each other beforehand, and the same holds for the testimony of a witness who did not know the defendant than that of his brother. But how to quantify these intuitions? That was the question that gave rise to degrees of belief expressed as probabilities.
Unlike known risks based on measurable frequencies or physical design, degrees of belief can be quite subjective and variable. Frequencies and design limit probability to situations involving large amounts of data or a design that is clearly understood. Degrees of belief, in contrast, are more expansive, suggesting that probability can be applied to any and every problem. The danger is that by extending probability to everything, it is easy to be seduced into thinking that one tool—calculating probabilities—is sufficient for dealing with all kinds of uncertainty. As a consequence, other important tools, such as rules of thumb, are left in the cupboard.

Independence Day and the birthday of Sri Aurobindo - Khudiram Bose's 107th death anniversary: The youngest ... It was in 1902, when Sri Aurobindo visited Medinipur and held a series of public lectures along wi...

The Liberated Soul Cannot Be Judged By the Standards Of the Mind - It is a human characteristic to try to judge actions by the rules, standards and codes of conduct developed by the mind and framed into the characteristic ...

The Veda and Sri Aurobindo's Savitri: 02: The unity of the Veda - The Rig Veda is one in all its parts. Whichever of its ten Mandalas we choose, we find the same substance, the same ideas, the same images, the same phrases....

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Disconnect between the academy and the bar and bench

Assorted Tweets:
In @livemint I argue a dysfunction of the Indian political economy is the favouring of individuals over institutions

Return of the pantomime via @sharethis "I scream corruption/you scream corruption/send thepeople to their damnation"
The fourth element in this script is that no political party is capable of self-reflection. 

The Right Posture: The paradox of the Yoga debate | OPEN Magazine #InternationalDayof Yoga

Superb, superb piece on the death penalty by @rahulkanwal For once, I agree word for word with him. And all points.

The Indian Constitutional law blog turns two years old today. Some rambling thoughts:

@IndiaToday My detailed view: The porn dilemma. To ban, or not to ban, is the question. - #YourSpace

An attempt to understand the booming market for the death penalty : The death penalty as a sign of the times?: