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

note to self

In certain moments of living a strange thought pops up, who am I really? There is this body in which I carry myself around and I think for myself and other vessels like me. Under the hood of my body, thoughts come from nowhere and as time passes this vessel shrinks and perishes. The body moves through a 3-Dimensional space which in the context of the universe is largely lifeless. Other forms of life around me have long been conquered and shown their space. Trees forms beautiful shapes and dogs march behind owners. Rules, like straight lines appear everywhere. There is a pattern in which vessels must interact, there are strict sanctums that are not to be violated. I have an identity, a name, a photo and a passport. These are all external, summoning bits of personality when called upon or identified.

On this same planet, dinosaurs ravaged and early life forms emerged through single-celled organisms. A past where my kind were not even the heroes, a hostile planet when lived in the wild. This human life of mine is in the same line-of-command of forces that have fought against an unkind world, braving heat, famines and disease. This illusion of human civilization from a vantage within it seems invincible, yet my fossilized self will have a different story to tell to a yet unimagined species that will rule this planet a billion years from now.

Within the deep silence of myself there is no name and there is no face. I look at my hands and wonder, who is the one looking, who is the one wondering and whose hands are these? Looking around, I belong everywhere and to everything though that is not the case with the world of straight lines and rules. I have to obey and I have to display necessary characteristics of a normal human. Inside me are urges that are at odds with each other. There is a nonsensical attachment to the immediate human world and then another that is far removed like the view of the planet from the a rocket that has achieved terminal velocity.

Why am I even alive? What final purpose does this being alive bring forward? Amongst other vessels there is the question of sanctity, which arises from a self-importance that is illogical when dug deep. Humans telling other humans that they are important. Humans worshiping other humans, these vertebrate, two-legged animals whose nascent evolution has morphed into an inflated, cocaine lined self-worthiness. I am a human but only because I am classed as such. Within the silence of my head there is just confusion of how all signals convert into the live video feed of my day. In this day I have to assume my avatar and give it dialogue, I have to stand for my character and perform day after day.

Chatter, chatter, chatter. Words, faces, smiles, ideas, improvement, skill, focus and perpetuation. There is a cardinal boredom we are all endowed with, a constant tinkering as a mass of animals we have to endure. There is no escape from within this body and this society, the straight lines run in infinite parallels with all of them leading to everywhere and nowhere. Do not ask too many questions, ask the how but not the why. There is a great peace in knowing that there is an upper limit to curiosity. Be curious but within approved domains.

I look at my hands and I wonder about the I. There is a cold breeze and the synapses fire automatically, clenching my jaw and my fists. I take a deep, involuntary breath and the icy breeze works its way inside. For a moment the whole world disappears and in its void, I am free.

#self #philosophy #living

Part One

on anarchism

Anarchy or anarchists have a lot of bad reputation in the media, with constant association to chaos, stone pelting and acts of vandalism. It is often misunderstood with protestors on both sides of the political spectrum labelled as anarchists in American media and in extension, world over. Anarchism has for long been a hard political concept to define and to accept, the question remains what events in the past decade have morphed from anarchic ideas and helped bolster democratic participation and principles. The word anarchy is etymologically derived from the Greek work anarkhia, which means “without a ruler”, strives to be a political thought which functions with hierarchies of power. The definition explains why anarchism does not sit well with established analogies of power and the modern democratic State which has hierarchies built into its bureaucracies and decision-making clusters, making it hard to imagine a system without the structure of hierarchical leadership.

Roughly 2.4 billion people live in electoral and liberal democracies across the world with the rest living in a mix of electoral, mixed, and other kinds of autocracies. Of this, India is the largest democracy with 1.3 billion people which has been classified as an electoral autocracy as of 2020. Inequality, democratic discontent, and populism have been identified risks for democratic backsliding. The gap between the richest people in the world and everyone else has been widening in the past 30 years, where the poorest half of the world population have seen only 1% increase in global wealth while the richest have seen a 50% increase.

Some studies show that economic inequality is a barrier to the democratization process because of the economic elite’s fear of excessive re-distributive reforms under democracy. Through the competition between different economic elites’ democracy emerges, thus positively associating income inequality to democratization, though they do hint that the elites are more powerful when they control more of society’s wealth.

Here the definition of democracy serves as a handy principle, where democracy is a method of collective decision making at an essential stage of the decision-making process where all the participants have a kind of equality. Depressed voter turnouts have been linked to economic inequality, with all income groups voting less. This points to a reduced democratization, with the power concentrating in the hands of a few who profit from the non-participation of a sizable majority of the population. The effects of economic inequality and loss of democratic principles is a problem that cannot be ignored.

According to the Russian revolutionary anarchist Bakunin, a State without the domination of one class by another is unimaginable and as a result a State without slavery is unthinkable, while a more modern interpretation of anarchism based on the critique of liberalization argues that all States are criminal organizations. A common misconception is that chaos and anarchy go together – but that does not relate to the social thought of Anarchy, as anarchists typically believe in high levels of democratic organization, just that it is constructed with bottom-up model. States level societies on the other hand are relatively new introduction in the human political organization, having existed only for the last 5000 years, a recent development when considering modern humans existed for over 300,000 years. This suggests that modern States should be considered as a mixed experiment than an absolute structure. Thus, anarchic activity focuses on refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the structure of power, as the participants acknowledge that they are inherently free from any kind of State obeisance. It is in this case that anarchic principles of collectivized groups forming to serve their immediate interests, invested in good of the people.

Changes to inequality are rare occurrences and they're often associated with other dramatic consequences such as wars and economic depressions. Also, policies to reduce wealth inequality are rarely enforced as the can result in a total upheaval of the entire political system and can lead to severe political events such as wars. This entrenches populism, as populists’ message that elites are corrupt and that the people need better representation, a key indicator in countries such as India under Modi, USA under Trump and Hungary under Orban. The voters supporting the populists want a radical change from the usual politics without their untoward repercussions, that is losing cultural or economic status.

One way to oppose populists is to vote and the other is to take principles of anarchic thought and question the very idea of obedience. This brings forward the question if obedience is simply a pragmatic choice or a strategic one but on the ideas of loyalty to the State and identification with its laws. If the State itself is illegitimate, then participation is merely a choice and not one of a duty. Some might argue that anarchism is incoherent but the issues it brings up are deep, questioning the traditional notions of sovereignty and political obligation, making one wonder about things taken for granted. Anarchism provides scope for organization based on voluntarism and mutual help as well as consensus. From this vantage, anarchist communities can work well if they can shield themselves from coercive authority.

Given the challenges to democracies around the world, it helps understanding different forms of collective organizations and their role in the democratization process, and anarchic movements with their focus of individual freedoms and collective participation can be a healthy paradigm against the oppression of the elites.

#anarchism #democracy #politics

open the window

Yeah, a day happened. Three different beers, rum balls, cardboard cigarettes, chips, and spice. Christmas. Or the day before or in the mood before. A half blotter of LSD, a treasure found along the way. A way of life, Tunisia, Morocco whatever you like. A desert storm, a perfect triangle of dark green, almost black coming from an asteroid covering aluminum foil. A gift, eat it – it's too old to survive the storage. A kiss of mushroom salts, something DMT. Chemicals. Inducing directions to the frameworks of life, an aspect, a reality. Off to sleep, lost in a doomsday scroll as a purgatorial English comedy plays off on the screen. Mark and Jeremy, the peep show they introduce you to. Or the writers behind, people who write or do not. Dreaming about life as a face of life itself, lost in a desert – cut to stone in summer, a bright Mars burns bright. A snake unfolds as a face melts away, the eyes of the squid globs of a cat-eye that was floating next to a rotting corpse. The cat was never found, a mystery up for imagination. Snakes, a family of four or six or sixteen, characters amongst characters. Each individual in this game is a reflection of someone else, connected through birth, art, and love. A perch to live love and life, behind screens, as you probably are right now. OR on a book, or in sentimental thoughts, each our drug. Survive and commit to survival, a game of dice with oneself. Explosions in triangles take numerous shapes, programmed by smiling machines dropping neon flashes against the pitch-black like a ghost wedding reception in the Indian hinterlands.

A solar energy burst destroys the networks of electricity we depend on for connection, obliterating the shared knowledge of centuries. Who remembers to read anymore? The fascists come for the literature, burning books by the tonne. Amidst all this chaos, Newtonian physics will traumatize young students, propagated by the minds polluted by the narrative of action and reaction. The day of Armageddon will come destroying everything in its wake but calculus will live on, as a religious canon, until the last breath of humanity. Neon machines spiral in patterns with the eyes closed sucked through a vacuum tube of a pipe of cosmos. Me, a product of copulation, in a planet filled with the things we think are perverse. Everyone comes from the same slime of existence, for a brief while we possess beauty and muscles. Feel equal in the sense of the word to my fellow people, for the realities we live go far astray than the principles we assemble by. Open your eyes, a family of four sits on the ceiling. An ambulance speeds by and the lights flicker for a moment, a nest of vipers slicing against the white of the room. Awake you're asleep, sleep and you're awake. Look outside the window and the day doesn't seem to start, the sun has finally fled.

The day of annihilation is here and long live Newtonian Physics.

#philosophy #tripreport


PM Narendra Modi with each passing day reminds me of Ben Kingsley's decoy Mandarin in Iron Man 3, who projected as an ultimate super-villain, is revealed to be a farcical character hiding behind a veneer of aura and evil. 7 years ago it was hard to imagine that we'd have a Prime Minister who attends photo-ops featuring grand temples and Brahminical rituals, projecting himself as a super sage statesman. His foot soldiers laud every decision of his historic, putting the very idea of history in crisis across the country. The reality is that there's not a single policy decision of Mr. Modi that sticks in public memory, except for the ones brimming with subliminal hate and enforced with sheer brute force.

Beneath all this veneer, Modi is a frail man with the cracks showing when his job requires him to deliver full accountability. Last year during the COVID crisis or this year during the second wave, his total media presence had been conspicuous. He came from the woodwork only to do some damage control, convincing the world that his acumen has saved the country. Meanwhile, thousands of people died across the country without access to hospital beds, care, and oxygen.

Modi's true power within the country comes from his party's careful control of the media. He is in essence a true media dictator, one fabricated in the minds of the people who look at the news for information. The real Modi is never available for a freewheeling conversation, in the last seven years there hasn't been a single instance of him giving an unfabricated press conference. Like the Mandarin, Mr. Modi might as well be a weakling in the hierarchy of power, whose only ploy to hold on to his position is his narcissistic cult of personality that he carefully curates.

In case of a real crisis or call for accountability, one will find him going the path of Saddam Hussein, hiding in a small cave, a weak man who will shy away from any questions. Until that moment comes we are to be afraid of Mr. Modi the influencer, whose social feeds only motivate us to “like” him.

#Modi #India #democracy

The US and NATO—under the banner of women's rights, human rights, and democracy—occupied my country and pushed us from the frying pan into the fire. Eight years is enough to know better about the corrupt, mafia system of President Hamid Karzai. My people are crushed between two powerful enemies. From the sky, occupation forces bomb and kill civilians … and on the ground, the Taliban and warlords continue their crimes. It is better that they leave my country; my people are that fed up. Occupation will never bring liberation, and it is impossible to bring democracy by war.”Malalai Joya, Afghani Parliamentarian in 2009

Afghanistan has fallen once again. Where can an already fallen state go towards? The current iteration is the Islamic Caliphate of Afghanistan as proclaimed by the Taliban, which follows two decades of failed promises of democracy and peace by the US and its NATO allies. There is disbelief in the way US forces left Afghanistan leaving its own allies in shock, the once derided enemies are back in power again bringing the net benefit of the US invasion of Afghanistan to a big fat zero.

The Afghani’s never mattered for anyone in world politics, when the US invaded Afghanistan in search of Osama bin Laden there was the guise of nation-building and democracy, terms which have since been forgotten. An endless war that ran for 20 years comes to an end with a whimper, with the whole world now praying and fearing for the new Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. But the same voices have forgotten the horrors of the 20 years past because Big Brother America can run its state-sanctioned goons to run amok in the country but the Taliban criminals are somehow different.

The bottom line to the hypocrisy is this: if you fight with the Americans, the world is fair and just. We, the citizens of the world have sold our souls to the dollar dreams made in America, having lost the imagination that the world can be n-iterations different from the one that is now. In our imagined realities, Afghanistan is the window in a world of nightmares but the bombs of America are packages of peace. The perpetrators of future might change but America shall always be our hero.

#America #waronterror #hegemony

The nation celebrates it's 74th Independence day from the British colonizers, giving geographic credibility to a country that has since been India. The British have left but times have ensured that we have new slavemasters that get their subjects high on the attack of nationalism and religious divisions. Why should a country be nationalistic when there's no perceived threats to its sovereignty?

Under the watch of the Modi government there's a constant paranoia that the idea of India is under great threat, from enemies largely manufactured and imaginary. There's a need to avenge for the Muslim past and freedom from 60 years of Congress misrule, but these are bogeymen to cover up the agenda to have an unfettered BJP ruled Hindu state.

Our new colonizers look and talk like us, camouflaging hidden agendas to maim and control. We need to remind ourselves that hard earned freedom from the British is easy to vanquish to the tyranny of home brewed thought systems. Are we citizens free in this New India being envisioned? Except for a privileged few the answer is a resounding no – the foundations for a new independence movement should be based on the problems of the present. Let's not harp over a long gone past and fight the monsters from within.

#India #freedom

Loss isn't about losing an object of affection. Loss is about losing the view of ourselves with the object that is no longer with us. It is everything that could have been different, a yearning for a life that is not now. When we lose we do not cry for our object of loss, we instead cry for who we have become and the choices made in this becoming. It is the painful re-writing of personal history, painful because we are now aware that our destiny no longer matches our fantasy.

When we possess objects and people, we put a part of ourselves into them. We cannot isolate these parts and view them as they are – the birth of these selves are a result of interaction with the object or person. These selves have their own life contained within them and with each loss, we have a micro-death. We know how we react to death, the possibility of not being. A weird imagination to have, unimagining oneself. A unit of time that has come to naught, a brief being and by all means sporadic.

Loss is normal. Loss is what we all are left with. Pleasure is to surf and feel the wind against our faces, loss is that endless jump from the cliff into the sea.

#loss #love #philosophy

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, the Indian government's missives contained a large number of war imagery. Doctors and other essential workers became “Covid warriors” and the Indian government embarked on a War on Covid, vaccines became “weapons to defeat the virus” and the virus itself is an “invisible enemy” which the government is fighting on a “war footing”.

The BJP government's fascination for war and war imagery is well documented, first there was the “war on black money” rhetoric used during the enfeebling demonetization, then came “the surgical strikes”, “war-like fortifications” to protect Delhi against protesting farmers. There is almost a perverse affliction with war with the current regime, as it amplifies the power they have over the people without actually having to do nothing. It also satiates its core voter base and the outliers as it shows that the country is finally doing something, war is not a state of inaction but extreme kinesis, it creates an illusion of progress where no progress exists.

Golwalkar, widely regarded as the ideological architect of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh drew inspiration for the Hindu-state from Italian fascism, specifically Mussolini’s organization of fascist paramilitary forces. In comparing the supremacy of Hindus in India to the supremacy of the Aryan race in Hitler’s Germany, Golwalkar wrote, “To keep up the purity of its race and culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging of the country of the Semitic races— the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here .. a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”

These ideological roots have permeated into the national discourse where war is used as a euphemism to quell any public backlash. Want to question the government over the vaccine policy? We are in an unofficial state of war, we shouldn't expend energy on finger-pointing right now. The state of war is an excuse to collectivize losses while any good news is because and only because of the Dear Leader, whose kindness brings glory to us Indian people. The Dear Leader is at the same time a master strategist, a shrewd politician, and a saintlike figure. Case in point is the length of his beard which seems to exude an idea of statesmanship without anything concrete to show for it.

War imagery also eliminates any nuance that is required in complex problem-solving. It replaces meticulousness with loud bangs, which becomes rhetoric in itself. By playing the “war” card, the BJP further strengthens its brute force persona popularized by the Uri and Balakot attacks in the past years. It is a reflection of the violence-obsessed society we have become, wherein the fight against real violence we infer imagined massacres. The causalities of this war imagery are however real. It is the people of India, whose orphaned bodies burned to ashes in overworked cemeteries and clogged the Ganga. The government's apathy is visible in the statistical PR exercises it does to save face, not to mention its poor war-waging ability as visible from the haircuts it took with the Chinese confrontation in Eastern Ladakh last year.

The war imagery is a distraction from the larger problem facing India, poor public infrastructure, and a middle-class governmental perspective that views and treats its large swathes of poor sections through its elitist lens and religious nationalism. War imagery is a sign of societal decay – one which relegates intellectual operations to a lower class of thought systems, where being loud is smarter than being smart itself.

#RSS #BJP #India #war #covid

An Idea of India

The news filtering from India leaves me hopeless for a country that I am confused to call mine. Having not lived in India in the last three years, each passing day the country goes farther away from the place of imaginations and dreams. I can understand that this physical untangling with a home country can create a dissonance between perception and reality. When I was in India I experienced the place through my eyes and the media reports acted as an accompaniment to refract experiences through.

Now, living in a country thousands of kilometers away one is left with chaotic tweets and servile media to base one's idea of the country upon, without the tangible element to infer the veracity of information. The internet spaces are polarized by the ruling right and the ever warring Left, with a heavy mix of pseudoscience and the general lackadaisical anything goes attitude that is in political vogue at the moment. Official sources of information have become the “battlefields” of misinformation, a place to use mind-numbing statistical exercises to always show India as the best, the largest and the greatest in the world. It does seem in the past years there has not been a single government initiative that cannot be described by a haloed superlative.

This is not the India I remember, where I had access to books and information that encouraged me to pursue knowledge and ask questions. The issues of superstition and blind religiosity were always around in the family but never overflowing at the cost of education. Now science has been politicized as an object of the West and whatever “Indian culture” is supposed to mean has taken center stage. Family whatsapp forwards are filled with recipes for various Ayurvedic potions and concoctions that are supposed to keep Covid at bay. This is a reflection of a macroscopic trend nationwide. No one questions their efficacy, otherwise wouldn't the rising caseload and deaths be already under control?

There has been a collective amnesia towards logic right in the upper echelons of power in the Indian government that has trickled down into the populace through propaganda and social engineering. Any slight against the dealing of the virus is a warring statement against the country itself, to question is to be unpatriotic, while being a nameless mass is encouraged as the greatest duty one can currently do as a citizen.

It is not ironic that the adherents to the BJP/RSS's idealogy are called bhakts (devotees), reason has been long transplanted with worship and the hard rigor of reasoning filled with the ease of blind faith. Why care to understand science when pseudoscience is much more accessible? The land that has enabled me to read and reason has now been replaced by one that demands silence. This thought system has now permeated across all sections of the Indian population and there is little prospects of things to change.

Countries morph all in character all the time and what is happening to India is an abject denigration that has frayed all the pride and character amassed in the past decades. India is shining, but in the bright flames of uncounted bodies and in the dull orb of a fascist reality whose future horrors I do not wish to imagine.

#India #Covid19 #RSS #fascism #BJP

Every sentence is composed of words that can go in their own tangents of knowledge. A simple search for “every”, “sentence”, “composed”...“knowledge” opens its own can of worms, again tangents of knowledge that build on the base of meanings we assign and know. To read or react in a conversation is composed of the selective suppression of these arcs of knowledge and generating meaning through a tunnel vision of absorption and translation.

It is similar to how we see, the world around is made of multiple components that each demand a life-time of inquiry into themselves. We do not wonder about the orange on the table or the technology that makes the screen come to life with what we do. The chairs we sit on, the skies we see and the houses that surround us all invite us with their temptation of meaning but we are limited in what we can react to.

When we interact with other humans the same process takes over, we see a face, we hear some words and we draw our assumptions. The depths that stare back at us when we look into the eyes of other people is quickly filled by their physical dimensions, the limits to our thought paints them into shiny boxes of fixed attributes, an art that we have even taught our computers in the classification of people. Simple definitions make us human, do we like cats? Do we like to sing and hike? Attributes, tastes, definitions all used as meshes to find a meaning, our soul an intersection of infinitesimal tangents off the globs of knowledge. This gives a shape-shifting narrative to the nature of truth as understood by us, absolute facts lie in the relative vantage of our minds.

As Proust's narrator wonders “And wasn't my mind also like another crib in the depths of which I felt I remained ensconced, even in order to watch what was happening outside?”, what we know of the outside world is a scratch of what can be defined. In the waxy darkness of closed eyes, meaning exists without words.

#life #knowledge

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