the smallest triviality can become the vision that wipes out the world.

The new Ram temple in Ayodhya, consecrated by Narendra Modi and his BJP/RSS acolytes has resulted in a total national fanfare. Heralded as the first step in the creation of a New India, it conveniently buries the fact that the temple was built on the innocent blood of thousands of Muslims and Hindus across the nation from the initial Ram Janmabhoomi processions in the late 80s and 90s.

The initial conspirators have all been pushed out of the limelight with Mr. Modi taking the absolute center-stage in the media circus that has followed the inauguration, cementing his position as Hindu Hriday Samrat (“The King of Hindu Hearts”) before the 2024 National Elections. The ordinary populace of India aren't stupid to see through the designs of Mr.Modi, but his clarion call of uniting the Hindu vote has no virtually no opposition, making al other electoral issues irrelevant before the national elections. For a deeply religious country, the idea of a Hindu State can be appealing with the Muslims othered both in the international and national stage.

The long-term popularity of the Ram Temple can questioned, as the Temple itself was not a theological issue before the political appropriation of it. One might argue that in the span of history, the political converges into theological and the Temple might last a 1000 years, but that's for history to decide. But for now it's an opportunistic monument by a political ideology whose plans for relevance is in subjugation, ethno-nationalism and imposing cultural homogeneity. In this case, the Ram Janmabhoomi movements stands as a testament for everything that the foundational philosophies of the Indian nation-state were and reversing the idea of a secular democracy to a autocratic theocracy. Though India's flirtations with authoritarianism are still feeble, concocting religion with politics as have other countries in the region have done, will lead the country down the path of Pakistan than say the United States, because when you compare yourself too much to your enemies, you'll end up being just like them.

For now the Ram Temple is a fascist monument, one that will be remembered for the political change this young democracy had to go through. Whether it will be remembered beyond this decade, though the BJP wants to build a network of temples using it as a base remains to be seen. Whatever new symbolism the temple might imbue in the future, one mustn't forget what it stands for today.

#BJP #elections #RamTemple

The attention economy has taken over our lives completely. Unless one is enrolled in university or finds exceptional focus it is hard to get out of the content consumtpion loop and shift to the content creation side. After a day's work, doing the chores of adulthood and sleep there's little time to be spent learning new skills and finding the interest to develop them, while doom-scrolling bypasses this lack

The ubiquity of the attention economy makes sure that there's no premium on encouraging people to learn and the onus is put on the individuals to fight their battles with digital addiction as the corporations behind them make bank. Where does one even begin in a sea of distractions where having no phone or internet is equivalent to losing half of one's soul? Modern workplaces, relationships and bureacracy require one to be perpetually online to be on top of things, so being a Luddite and disconnecting from the world is not the solution, nor is the self-discipline, which is the equivalent of telling a coke addict to detox through song and prayer.

Unfortunately, this prevailing trend could have detrimental consequences for humanity in the long run. As more people are encouraged to consume content rather than contribute to it, and to adopt prevailing opinions rather than nurturing independent thought, society risks becoming insulated in a cocoon of global perspectives devoid of critical filtration. A populace accustomed to passive consumption might struggle to confront the unfiltered challenges of reality, impeding the cultivation of proactive and creative thinking.

How does one learn in such an environment? And to what purpose does this learning serve? One of the ways that seem promising is to use the internet as a tool to teach others, shares one's experiences and serve as a notebook of progress, refining one's own learning process while also inspiring others. Another would be to do a hard social media reset and a blanket wipe of distracting apps from every computing device and set-up a daily routine of distraction-free learning, though this method requires immense willpower and one also needs to find a greater purpose towards the goal they're learning for. Either way, the battle to regain our attention from digital corporations to individual selves requires an almost spiritual levels of patience and understanding of our thought processes, environments and the human weakness to procrastinate.

#work #internet #consumerism

Reddit's API changes have left a lot of subreddits in the dark, the long-term users in fury and have broken Google search. Elon's mood swings have reduced Twitter to a joke and the site feels like a standup comedian trying hard to make a joke but is unable to read the crowd. There's Mastodon and whatever that's happening there and the Twitter killer backed by Jack Dorsey, Blue Sky, that at the current moment is inhabited by queer sex workers and a particular shade of sad loneliness that only people on the internet can bask under. Twitter's implosion was a long expected outcome since Musk took charge last year after burning through $44 billion.

Though the fears of a billionaire controlling vast swathes of data became problematic, his purchase came with the tomfoolery last given by Trump as the President of the United States, in yet another demonstration that billionaires are not the infallible behemoths they portray themselves to be. Musk has lost face multiple times over the months making one nonsensical decision after the other and in the process losing a good chunk of his productive work force, while having an influx of Right Wingers and general advertiser exodus. With the unpopular rebranding of Twitter to X, even long-term loyal users are pissed at the changes which have come too fast without a warning.

This year has seen the biggest shift on the internet in a while, most services are becoming walled gardens with a log-in or app usage essential to have any kind of usability. The high interest rates dictated by the US Feds mean that the cheap money that propelled the internet in the past decade dried up and companies are now anxious in monetizing the users, creating silos of information that can only accessed through payment or logging in. Elsewhere, Google search has become a ghost land with advertisements and SEO fluff making a majority of search results, where one has to trawl to find relevant information. With ChatGPT and other LLM's poised to mine free user content to propel their learning models, companies are ever more cautious in letting their precious information out for free.

With a burgeoning influx of new internet users from across the world, whose primary interface to the internet is through social media, creating content for on the internet no longer means open for all but for an algorithmically selected audience, the polarization of the last decade is only set to increase. The old media juggernauts are now replaced by the new media juggernauts, run by people whose vanity is out in the open for everyone to see (the proposed Zuck vs. Musk MMA fight is the cherry on the top).

What is the way forward? One way to think to circumvent the walled gardens is to run personal websites run on one's own dime, giving a granular control on how the data can be accessed while moving away from the advertiser based model of the current internet. Here, away from the shackles from a platform (whose biggest USP is discoverability) one is free to post and maintain content without the fear of censorship or the vitriol that spreads when an idea goes against the thoughts of the mainstream. The other is to post content on social media platforms while still having backups on personal sites for interested users to navigate without privacy invading data being collected. The future of the web should be rooted in a personal ownership of one's data, one where a mega-zillionaire doesn't swoop to dig a massive X making a long history of posting irrelevant.

#twitter #web #socialmedia

The theatrics of Modi's superhero image

The Balasore train disaster showcased the Modi government's active propaganda machinery. In the preceding months, Mr. Modi and his associates inaugurated numerous Vande Bharat trains, which were presented as bullet trains for the aspiring middle class, generating significant media attention for an expensive transportation system. However, the disaster shattered the narrative of a “developed” India. Tragically, 280 individuals, primarily from the lower socioeconomic strata, lost their lives, their existence reduced to unrecognizable rubble that dominated national headlines.

Swiftly, the focus shifted from the victims of the accident to the Prime Minister and the Railways Minister springing into “action” mode. Cameras were activated, capturing a staged video-op featuring the Prime Minister, Home Minister, and the Chief of Staff of the Army, coached on the details of the accident at the site. Positioned at a long table with Mr. Modi at the forefront, seemingly photogenic, the cameras zoomed in on him as he assessed the situation. Subsequently, at the accident site, Mr. Modi, after changing attire, was observed aimlessly walking and engaging in conversations while in full view of the camera. He declined to respond to any media inquiries (not that anyone bothered to ask him questions), exposing the hollowness of his personality in stark contrast to the 280 lives lost in the background.

The entire narrative revolves around a cult of personality, relying on media amplification of the supposed abilities of this strongman leader. However, upon closer scrutiny of his countenance, the shallowness dissipates from the screen. He appears as a manufactured screen hero, devoid of substance and lacking genuine concern for the well-being of others. People who are exhausted from their daily lives or commutes are too fatigued to zoom in on the face and often fall for the rhetoric being presented. This media image lingers longer than the consequences of the actions.

This narrative strategy is also employed by Mr. Modi's Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who wastes no time in promoting his hardworking common man image to deflect any questions regarding the lapses that his ministry may have committed in preventing the accident. Within a swift period of 51 hours, after a hollow proclamation of nationalistic slogans, the tracks were cleared and the dead were forgotten, with the media diverting their attention from the tragedy to find a new manufactured controversy where the leader appears powerful once again.

In Modi's New India the value of a human life has been reduced to less than zero. What matters is politics for perpetuating the idealogy of Hindutva power, a parasitic political manifestation of the RSS that mines people's religion to bolster statehood and identity. At this pace, the government works only for a select few with the rest let to fend themselves for their dignity and their lives.

#Modi #Hindutva #India

Freedom, the fresh air of hope that helps us go through life chained. We vote for freedom and desire for it, our yearning for money is in fact our yearning for freedom, where blue skies and endless beaches help us live life without constraint or worry. Freedom is no person or system dictating to us what we have to do, it is the ultimate human salvation to attain.

It is what we want for us and the people around us, the premise of politics is to ensure freedom for one and for all. Though in practice our experience of freedom (and the closest form of political organization associated – democracy) is enclosed in the system of organization of firms and corporations, where the dominant system is not democratic but quite the opposite: Autocratic. At work places, the system of rules are defined by a singular person (The Boss) or a group of people (The Board), who set aside for themselves the greatest part of the profit pie while treating everyone else as expendable. There is the promise of free speech and “innovation” but everyone knows that there's an invisible line that shouldn't be breached, that freedom of speech comes with its own caveats.

In such a system, how do individuals who rely on jobs, dedicating a significant portion of their waking lives to serving businesses, corporations, or institutions, foster democratic ideals? There seems to be a misguided notion that, since we live in a democracy, all our actions should be democratic. Yet, a considerable portion of our lives is spent confined to cubicles, following the directives of bosses and the whims of market forces. This is where the entire political theater of democracy unravels: our political systems enable the capitalist structure of regulated dictatorships, all the while attempting to whitewash us with the illusion of free choice.

The lines between formal and informal politics are often unrecognizable. If all acts are political (even the altruistic and mindless ones), then there is no barrier between what is expressed as formal and informal politics. Thus, what we see being represented is merely a sliver of the underbelly that props it up. While we celebrate democratic ideals and brainwash ourselves into believing that they are the end goal of political organization, the subliminal cues always point to something more sinister. Our brains, wired with a preference for super-tribalism, tend to seek a charismatic leader who will fulfill our political hopes. This trend is being revived from the US to India. Although freedoms exist on paper and on the ground, when questioned, we realize that they often come at the cost of ignorance. We are discouraged from asking too many questions both at our workplaces and our societies, and this dichotomy plays on the worldwide scale in the shape of fractious politics.

#politics #work #democracy #philosophy

Tendencies to over think and over analyze, the influence of one's words and actions. Perfect grammar now the realm of the AI, imperfections making me human. Dissecting the will to live away from the stem of the collective – always hooked in, to Twitter, Facebook and Link-fucking-din. Who are we? Analyzed, processed and spit back into our faces as nothing as magical. Reduced to binaries, bits and bytes, lines of code that can somehow stand in for our consciousness. I here by permit myself to no life, for my computer has taken over and my AI self will talk to your AI self, our brains ceasing or existing in a narrative of over stimulation. Rejecting customs, here I am, a scribble on the internet.

#internet #philosophy #AI


Where do modern humans go to find their soul? What's the physical space that's share by all that also doubles as a spiritual extension of the self? The churches and temples have been replaced with disillusionment and technological progress. The people who haunt these former spiritual mines are relegated to the forgotten and stupid. Regular attendance to these former seats of glory requires a commitment different from one which modern societies are aligned towards, of constant growth and efficiency. Where do we find our souls then?

Our salves are on the supermarket racks, all redesigned and in “new” formulas, the packaging made to contain all the artifice behind pastoral images of deliverance. In the supermarket, we're all one, our religion determined by our economic preferences.. the organic markets for the elite cultists and the everyday discounters for the masses. The priest is now the cashier scanning our inner desires and sending our payments of prayers to an invisible payment processor, who exists in forms unimaginable but before us it is a plastic chunk. “Pray to thee Mastercard, and let peace be upon us” or “Visahu Akbar”, we internally pray, our life's meaning disintegrated to a point of sale transaction. All transactions are little prayers, one in made in hope that we're not found as frauds or bankrupt. The lowest rungs of hell are populated by those who cannot pay, as anyone with a non-functioning credit card at a supermarket checkout line or hanging outside the supermarket doors with wrinkled paper cups and broken teeth can attest.

Where the damned go to beg is a good indicator of where the collective spirit of our soul lives. While the original spiritual centers become depopulated, there's increasing lines outside the busy commercial centers of the city. Our ideas of green fields, blue skies and cows with bells dangling from their necks, this Alpine idea of heaven is pasted on disposable milk cartons, the only touch with the teats of mother nature. Stories of indifference and exploitation constantly mirror our lives and yet after consuming them our real salvation is in the supermarket racks, finding the best deal, that favorite fruit or a extravagant box of sugar, hallucinating of making a difference while tethered to our irreversible desires. Long live the supermarket, for hell would be a world without one.

#capitalism #consumerism #religion

ChatGPT can probably write this essay with perhaps more quality and depth than I ever can. Though the technology looks like magic now, I can only imagine the upcoming implosion of its adoption, making many jobs and hobbyist pursuits irrelevant, why even try if a simple prompt in a computer can produce the same results?

The age of user generated writing and art on the internet might be nearing an end to be replaced by a dedicated AI assistant that does our job of expressing what we feel. The technology demonstrates that human language processing isn't as complex as thought before, which can both be a cause of concern and rejoicing. The burden of being the perfect animal is thus removed from us, we are at the apex, but our individual selves are not as unique as we'd imagine it to be. A future where shells of AI of our personalities talk with each other into perpetuity (have to pay for a subscription before of course) no longer is confined to the seams of a Ray Bradbury novel.

While the fear of ChatGPT replacing white collar workers is true, how the modern workforce will change is only up for imagination. Thirty years ago most of the world would've scoffed that our desks will be shrunk to the size of a computer screen and communication be made so seamless, sitting in the same vantage point now the next 30 years looks fuzzy enough to be magical. The point remains that technological advances have not obliterated human labor changed forms to that a worker from 200 years ago will have nothing in common with the worker of today (elements of class struggle and owning means of production will be a common ground, which tells a thing or two about the nature of capitalism). The means of production will become even blurred as it replenishes the power of the big internet firms that already control our lives. Having a Ministry of Truth also becomes a possibility, as who will be the purveyors of truth in a world where information can be created on the go without human interference? For those who are not blessed with the gospel of machine learning, the new world will be inaccessible except for the pastors of engineering spewing the greatness of the Church of the Computer.

A storm is brewing right on the screens you're reading this essay, where the course of our lives go from here is left to the algorithm.

#ChatGPT #futurism #AI

Hanging out with people in their late 30s and 40s, a common conversation topic that comes up is the account of their ageing and the constant grunting about how they are older than they seem or how the fruits of youth are beyond their reach. It's interesting to see the decline people perceive in themselves while it's also sad to see it's an inevitable part of life to age. No one in their right mind thinks about ageing as something that happens to them when they're younger, which in essence is the folly of youth. But this is a choice as well, to accept one's ageing with grace and not finding ways to compare and complain shows maturity and also avoids the pitfalls of vanity. Sure, youth is all hyped up with all the popular media around us serenading us with images of nubile bodies or hunks of meat but is that really a true representation of the world around us?

Age segregation serves the interests of capitalism: with children shielded in schools and the old people isolated in their own communities, a wedge is driven deep into all the people in-between in their prime working years. These are the consumers, paying for services throughout their lives. Keeping this working group away from children or ageing people keeps them in ripe productivity until they can be discarded and the next group takes over. The atomization of the family unit contributes to this further, as the irrelevance of the being old reflects back into our faces day-after-day, along with the cognitive and physical decline that are inevitable with every passing year.

Ageing reminds us that we're all replaceable which goes against the conditioning that everyone is special and has an unique place in this world. this paired with the idealistic images and stories we're surrounded with of “perfect” humans that we have a short while to live up to, even as our faculties slowly fade into oblivion. Everyone is isolated in this suffering where individual pleasure is placed at a premium while everything else is irrelevant. Instead of complaining of the missed opportunities and losing abilities, it perhaps worthwhile to twist the narrative around: to be alive is to suffer and to die is to cherish. Party at graveyards for the dead have gone and cry by the maternity wards for the pain we choose to bring in.

#ageing #capitalism #philosophy


2020 by all means was a fancy year, the number had a clang to it. Being the start of a new decade brought an extra spice to our collective dreams and desires. For anyone who listened to a politician’s speech pre-2010 can confirm [1], 2020 was the cool sounding year that politicians and planners projected latent utopias to the simmering masses where problems of the present were cured by a taste of the distant future. 2020 came and went but its memory still lingers in the air, waiting to go through our bodies to the back of our lungs and minds. The times between 2020 and 2021 were a blur, they finished before they even began. Time suspended itself between the lockdowns with an existential weight, its heart beating to the constant deluge of health data from across the world.

A tiny report from the end of 2019 ballooned into the greatest catastrophic event that our current generation witnessed, a shining by-product of globalized dreams and dismantled national identities. Borders became important in parts of the world that pretended as if they didn’t matter and the full force of the State flexed on to unassuming populations burdened with peace. The following three years have carried the various shocks of the virus, kick-starting a new epoch of atomized living symbolized by our faces plastered to our screens. The markets fluctuated, people quit jobs, socialization has become hard and the aged and the sick have been shuttered in. The consequence of the virus is a population that is further aware of its geographical and mortal boundaries as they fiercely tried to keep the enemy at bay,

2023 brings the promise of slow shift away from the COVID narratives, the virus has taken a backseat in our minds [2] while the policy effects are still strong in their presence. While we still live under a cloud of the past, for the fourth year in a row it serves as an important reminder of our frailty hidden behind a muck of ego that helps us march through the days.

[1] – Utopian goals always come with cool year numbers, 2025. 2030. 2050.. by this measure nothing important is to happen this year, 2023 is as drab a number can get.

[2] – The whole vaccination hullabaloo involving the development, approval, the backlash of the crackpots, to the actual inoculation has faded from memory. The vaccination drive remains to be the greatest achievement science has had so far, fighting an otherwise unwinnable virus. It’s hard to imagine a world that has not yet had the vaccine but the problems faced by the economy would be magnified to a much larger degree.

#NewYear #Covid19 #philosophy

Enter your email to subscribe to updates.