Power dynamics – finding your place

I see a lot of people talking about differences. What they hold dear, what they despise… sometimes it is language, sometimes religion, sometimes it is how they treat women, and sometimes it is about the sports, or even looks.

There is certain fun to be had in recognizing these differences and pulling each-others leg over it, but it is important for an adult to realize that these do not matter in the long run. The true value of these differences is in how much fun they provide, and if they don’t, it is important for an adult to let them go.

Unfortunately, due to huge advances made in the richness of life in recent history of humankind, a lot of us are forced to dwell into these differences more than we ought to. Now that we are busy watching goats on Discovery channel instead of maintaining farms, we have allowed ourselves a certain level of freedom to look at everything from a distant perspective. And in this process, I believe, we have forgotten the true purpose of these differences. Instead of having fun, we have made it an identity issue. By being more free, we have become more enslaved instead of liberated. An average man works more hours today than 100 or even 50 years ago, while, apparently, everything has become easier to do. By being surrounded by people who are free, we have put ourselves in a race and that binds us to its constraints.

Instead of having fun, these differences are why people are fighting, living a powerless life full of misery! Hence, to live a more content life, it is important to go back to the basics and realize the only thing that can affect your life – power.

There are 4 types of people in a society:

  1. Those who are in power. Let’s call them (A). Those in power don’t want to let it go and so are by definition, conservative.

Those who don’t have it can be divided into 3 categories

  1. “I want to do the nitty-gritty to have power” (B). These are the opposite of conservatives, and so we call them liberal politicians.
  2. “I want to be draw attention to my victimhood, and someone should come and take care of myself” (C). These can be far-left/far-right plebs.
  3. “I want to continue just like this but I support those who talk good about me” (D). Affluent people who haven’t been forced into a harder life, yet.

That’s it. Those are the true definitions of conservative and liberals, and those are the only differences that actually have an effect on your life. It has got nothing to do with individual freedom or culture or values etc. Those who talk about individual freedom, time and time again it has been proven, are actually more… liberal (excuse the pun)… in silencing critics by ignoring/making fun/showing overt hostility etc. They are passive aggressive. Conservatives, on the other hand, when in power, are persecutory. They are openly aggressive. That is the only difference between conservatives and liberals. When liberals come into power, they become (A) and openly aggressive, and conservatives become (B) and passive aggressive. And thus the cycle has continued forever.

All the other labels that create differences, it is important to remember, have zero meaning outside of your very close circle. You can test it by getting into a debate with a total stranger and soon you will find yourself being frequently misunderstood.

In historical context, one finds Holocaust to be one extreme where fighting over differences has lead towards utter destruction. It has been studied over and over and it has left marks on the psyche of both the Jews and Germans. If one instead accepts that Jews had a lot of money but no power, and were effectively part of (D), one begins to see the sad inevitability. One also begins to appreciate the current state of affairs in Israel.

The people we see today, spreading hatred against men in the name of feminism, are part of (C). It is important to note here that Hillary Clinton is outspokenly (A) and she is getting support of large chunk of (C). I cannot see the future so I cannot tell how large that chunk is, but I suspect we are going to have very dangerous times ahead of us.

Seems like reputation of politics is in need for a reboot. People say that it used to be an honorable profession, but it has now become entrenched with sleaze and corruption and that is why public has become very cynical about it.

I find this thinking to be basically running away from responsibility. Politicians are but a reflection of their constituencies. The skill of politics is all about finding out the true hierarchy and then bargaining your place in it. When those in power define what is good and what is bad, how can anyone find that corruption has increased? Only the powerless can talk like that, for they know this talk has got no value. The truth is that all politicians are same – no more or less corrupt than previous ones – and that is the exact reason why it never gets better or we never move towards utopia. In fact, I will go ahead and say that all the good in our society has come via sacrifices made by some great souls in (D). Our safety depends on them. They are the soldiers, the doctors, the engineers, scientists, and artists.

Once you realize this truth, that you have the power inside you, to chose which category you fall into, you become part of the group (Z), those who have peace of mind.


What is the problem?

Here is a sample conversion from my Facebook feed:

Hindu friend 1: Be wise…vote BJP. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/27-communal-riots-in-up-since-sp-formed-govt-cm-admits-in-house/1083234/ (The secular SP government has overseen more riots in last 2 years than the communal BJP in Gujarat which saw only 1 riot in last 10 years)
Muslim friend: solution of communal riot is communal party??? I wonder how
Hindu friend 2: Extraordinary Popular Delusion #1 is that India is a Secular country. A Secular state treats all its citizens equally irrespective of religion – which means same laws govern all citizens. Abolishing the Muslim personal law is required to make this communal country Secular. BJP is the only party that would probably do that. Male reactionaries and conservatives in the Muslim communities who want to perpetuate their dominance and subjugation of women are the most vehement critics of these reforms. Muslim psyche in India is fearful and paranoid but the reality is opposite – Rest of India has much more reason to fear totalitarian, monolith Islamic ideology. “Communal Party” will do more good for Muslims than Congress and SP ever will.
Hindu friend 1: @Muslim friend Riots in BJP ruled sates vs Congress/SP ruled states in last 10 years?

You can’t help but feel sorry for the Muslim friend. What he says is logical, but somehow the data doesn’t match.

Even if 0.1% of each sect is problematic/extremist, minority will still encounter more problematic people than vice versa. The chances of meeting a person of different sect rise exponentially with total population. Thus, sectarian issues become much more important for minorities than the majority.

Communalism in India is not an issue for Hindu voters. Most of them can’t be expected to care either – they have never faced it! Where minorities see systematic problem, Hindus have more basic concerns like economics (how to earn money) and corruption (how to keep that money). Christians aren’t that loud against the system because the prescribed ideal system is based on christian values in the first place. Sikhs, at least after 1984 riots, are either scouting foreign countries or, as of yet, are unsuccessfully trying to create a Sikh country. Kind of like Jews before Israel. Muslims, as the biggest minority in India and as one of the biggest religions in the world, end up mostly alone, and due to the (consequential) varying response among them, let the louder mouths be more prominent.

Solution to Muslim problem? I am not a Muslim so I won’t know.

But personally, as a Buddhist/Atheist, I think Sikh’s are mostly right.

Do Ankhen Barah Haath – 1958 Film

The movie is good. Without a doubt. But a little too Christian for my taste.

For starters, the protagonist is called Adinath, meaning ‘Lord of the beginning’. This is not a Hindu concept, and I have never heard it used by anyone to refer to (any) God. It is used by Jains, but V. Shantaram is not concerned with it, he is concerned with making something he can sell in the west.

  1. The idea that God (Adinath) is different (as compared to Hindu idea that God is present in everyone).
  2. The idea that God is inherently superior (everyone starts calling the protagonist ‘Babu-ji’ immediately). He is not better, he is just different.
  3. The idea that God has a father figure to play.
  4. Babu-ji is western (and characteristically wears western clothes), while rest of them are ‘savages’ (with raw expressions and uncivilized movements).
  5. Men carrying the burden of sin, of which they are never absolved, but forgiven.
  6. The idea that God is ‘disappointed’, but always gives another chance to those who ask for it.
  7. That the right way is to surrender yourself to the God. (I mean, they leave their wife and children to stay with ‘Babu-ji’!!!)

I might be forgetting some more points, but the fact that movie is all about christian morality being bestowed over lowly Indians is beyond doubt. Not to mention that the director’s other movies also bear his trademark pandering to Western audience.

Due to this reason I put this movie in the same category as The Birth of a Nation, though probably much more thinly veiled and not as controversial. And looking at current day India, probably apt.

Technically good never the less.

Male Chauvinism, Masculinity and Logic

I have encountered following traits as socially being interchangeable:

  1. Male Chauvinism
  2. Masculinity
  3. Logic

If you don’t follow this list, try reading it from below. Examples:

Men are logical while women are not.
Men don’t cry.
Women are emotional.
Girls are’t good at Maths.

I mean to say, it is fairly obvious that masculinity is confused with logical thinking. This has historically been understood, and it is easy to find proofs of it in historical texts. I will not dwell into it further.

No, the point of concern here is how often masculinity and male chauvinism are confused. For example, these are sentences I have heard from my friends over time:

  1. A man should control his woman’s mind. It shouldn’t be allowed to wander too much.
  2. It is better if your woman sees the world through your eyes.
  3. A younger girl is better because she will trust you more than herself.
  4. Women crave a commanding authority.

As such, a ‘masculine’ liberal is a man who forces freedom upon the women (and not shares it). A ‘masculine’ conservative is a man who doesn’t think freedom is for women.

It is easy to digress from here into a discussion about women’s rights. But that would be missing the subtle charge laid upon men to be ‘masculine’. Or rather, accept the authority of those who are more masculine. By forcing a man to govern over a women, and thus derive masculine identity from it, one forces a man to accept an order. That the indicter, by the very fact of being a part of such an order before the latter, is proven to be more masculine becomes an essential side effect.

Of course, once indiction is completed, one needs to find another victim to boss around and include in the hierarchy.