Shahzahan Bachchu was known locally and within the secular Bangladeshi movement as an outspoken, sometimes fiery activist for secularism. He printed poetry and books related to humanism and freethought via his publishing house Bishaka Prakashani (Star Publishers). He was also a political activist, serving as former general secretary of Munshiganj district unit of the Communist Party.
He was reportedly shot and killed this evening near his village home at Kakaldi in Munshiganj district near the capital Dhaka.
I would define the “intellectual dark web” as the confluence and convergence of leaders from classical European enlightenment, hard sciences, technology (including neuroscience, bio-engineering, genetics, artificial intelligence), and east philosophy streams. Among the intellectual dark web’s many members are Dr. Richard Haier, Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Haidt, Ben Shapiro, Weinstein brothers, Sam Harris, Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Yuval Noah Harari, Thomas Friedman, Maajid Nawaz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku , Dr. VS Ramachandran, Steven Pinker, Armin Navabi, Ali Rizvi, Farhan Qureshi, Peter Beinart, Gad Saad, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Dave Rubin, Joe Rogan, Russell Brand. If Steve Jobs were still alive, I would include him among them. They defy easy labels and are high on openness. I hesitate to label others without their permission, but our very own Razib Khan strikes me as a potential leader of the “intellectual dark web”; although I will withdraw this nomination if he wishes. 😉
Some see the intellectual dark web as the primary global resistance to post modernism. I don’t agree. Rather I see them as ideation and intuition leaders thinking different:
Welcome back Mahathir Mohamad, our favorite 92 year old PM of Malaysia! Malaysia was one of the centers of the great Arya civilization for thousands of years; now enriched by Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, Islam, and expats the world over. One of the most diverse and immigration friendly countries in the world. One of the most pro business, pro capitalist, pro globalization, pro neo-liberal, pro enlightenment values, and pro moderate Islam countries in the world. A country that fought against the full might of the Soviet Union, China and the global communist block and won. A shining city on a hill. A self assured, self confident Asian Tiger without inferiority complex. One of last great bastions resisting the global post modernist wave.
I’m really not incredibly invested in these internecine BP conversations, but this kind of comment honestly convinces me of deep incommensurability:
Perhaps if you don’t go around publicly announcing that you are an ex-Muslim, you will face less problems.
There are lots of “Muslims” who barely practice the religion. But for form’s sake, we say that we believe in Allah and in the Prophet of God. Especially if we have family in Muslim countries.
First, I don’t face problems. But I sympathize with people who are being murdered on account of their irreligion in Muslim countries. I have friends who are Bangladeshi immigrants who were friends with people who were murdered for their lack of belief. It’s pretty disturbing.
So why do I announce my atheism? Because in this country I can. I’m an ex-Muslim only from the perspective of Muslims and anti-Muslim racists. The two groups actually agree on a lot. Because Muslims and anti-Muslims assume I’m a Muslim theist of some sort, of course, I have to announce it so they won’t be confused.
It’s my own conceit and privilege to be wedded more to substance than forms. Now, there are American Muslims like Omar Ali who seems at peace with the substance as well as privileges of Western liberalism (I believe the above individual is an American Muslim?). So I’m not going to full Islamophobe, but these sorts of attitudes suggesting it’s more seemly that we irtidads go back into the closet so preserve public sensitivities really make me suspicious of the Submitters.
I guess this sort of exchange has actually made me more sympathetic to “internet Hindus.” When judgment day comes, go with the side less likely to kill you!
Not sure if I would have believed this tweet existed if it didn’t. But it does.
But wait, it gets better! More white presenting people defending the cultural sensitivities of people of the Dharmic persuasion.
Now, I do think it is true that Dharmic religious perspectives tend to be made light of on occasion. For example, Hindus have “mythologies.” As opposed to the presumably real Abrahamic “God of history”?
But I don’t think this is going to help the situation. In fact, these sorts of public posturings are more about the person posturing than about what they are posturing about.
In “The Principles of Newspeak”, the appendix to the novel, George Orwell explains that Newspeak usage follows most of the English grammar, yet is a language characterised by a continually diminishing vocabulary; complete thoughts reduced to simple terms of simplistic meaning.
“What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?” technologist Aviv Ovadya warns/asks in this interesting journey through the existing and coming technologies for manipulating words, images, networks and people..
“Alarmism can be good — you should be alarmist about this stuff,” Ovadya said one January afternoon before calmly outlining a deeply unsettling projection about the next two decades of fake news, artificial intelligence–assisted misinformation campaigns, and propaganda. “We are so screwed it’s beyond what most of us can imagine,” he said. “We were utterly screwed a year and a half ago and we’re even more screwed now. And depending how far you look into the future it just gets worse.”
That future, according to Ovadya, will arrive with a slew of slick, easy-to-use, and eventually seamless technological tools for manipulating perception and falsifying reality, for which terms have already been coined — “reality apathy,” “automated laser phishing,” and “human puppets.”
He then describes how rapidly the technologies for manipulating images, mining personal information and using AI to tailor messages specifically to each user are developing. And he fears that:
“fast-developing tools powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality tech could be hijacked and used by bad actors to imitate humans and wage an information war”
Of course they will. And the technology development will not stop just because it can be put to scary uses. I cannot think of an example from history where technological development was stopped because X “enlightened individuals” predicted it would be destabilizing. (Aviv is not saying that either, I just wanted to get that out of the way). So eventually everyone will be playing with these tools, and so? Didn’t everyone start using print and then radio, and then TV and then the internet? Maybe it made it possible to coordinate people in larger numbers towards common ends (not necessarily good ones, but I mean the game of politics did not change to some new game, it just ramped up a level), but the numbers coordinated by religion/culture in the past were not trivial either, just slower moving .. The question is this: is there a point where quantitative change becomes qualitative? and what does that mean? What will be radically different? Leaders? followers? patsies? useful idiots?
This is not a rhetorical question, I am really curious what people think will change and what will not.
By the way, i read that while he was waiting for Stalin to shoot him, Bukharin was reading philosophy and this was the question that stumped him; the question of quantitative change versus qualitative change..
In my life time, I have seen more bigotry against people of Jewish heritage than I have against any other group of people. The reasons for the intensity of this bigotry around the world has always puzzled me.
Perhaps the most courageous thing to do it to address it head on. Here goes my attempt. Below, a Buddhist Canadian Nazi leader, Brian, attacks Jews in an interview with the always authentic, honest and perceptive Armin Navabi:
Armin means protector of the Aryan peoples. I think Armin is a protector of all people, not just Aryans.
One aspect of this interview that might be troubling to Hindus and Buddhists is that it reminds them of how Hindus and Buddhists were blamed for Nazis and the Holocaust in the 1940s by post modernists, marxists, socialists and the global left. Nazism is the convergence of nationalism, socialism, autocracy and German Indology. German Indology is the study of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sanskrit derived linguistics.
Number 1, I don’t think Hitler understood German Indology and it is unfair to blame German Indologists for much of what Hitler did, including Hitler’s rabid anger at Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and Slavs. I believe that Hitler came up with these ideas on his own rather than from German Indology.
Number 2, I don’t think German Indologists understood Buddhist, Hinduism and Sanskrit scriptures very well and it is unfair to blame Buddhism and Hinduism for German Indology. This said, Germans had the right to visit South Asia in the 1800s, 1900s, learn from Buddhists and Hindus, interpret Hindu/Buddhist scriptures any way they chose, and formally convert to Buddhism and Hinduism–which many did.
Brian, the Canadian Buddhist Nazi, is a meditator and chaneler of subtle “heavens”. Another way of understanding this is that Brian practices transcending gross thoughts to experience more subtle thoughts, feelings and emotions by using parts of the subconscious and unconscious brain. This is a common practice by the Eastern faiths and use to be practiced by many Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The Nazis tried to in conjunction of modern science use consciousness, meditation, sound power and the technologies of visual machines (Yantras) to increase competence, capability, intelligence and power. This explains part of the conversation between Brian and Armin.
Brian frequently mentions how Hitler praised Iranians, Arabs, Palestinians and Indians. Brian also emphasizes how Hitler allied with Iranians, Arabs and Palestinians. How should this issue be handled? I think Iranians, Arabs and Palestinians need to be fully open and honest about the past and the large numbers of Iranians, Arabs and Palestinians who fought shoulder to shoulder alongside the Nazis in WW 2. And at the same time carefully analyze Hitler’s critique of Jews in great detail; sharing their nuanced thoughts on each aspect of Hitler’s critique.
Brian mentions that different groups have different statistically measurable life outcomes and different measured IQ. Jewish people have far higher life outcomes and IQ scores than other people, including other caucasian people. Doesn’t this suggest that Nazis should greatly admire and learn from Jewish people? Is it possible that everyone else, Nazis included, should carefully study what Jewish people do right (whether that is breathing, stretching, exercise, dance, art, music, song, poetry, study, contemplation, meditation, religion, networking, collaborating, team spirit, family) and adopt the best aspects of Jewish culture?
Brian says that Jewish people dominate global entertainment, global finance, global business, global culture. Number 1, Brian overstates the degree to which this is true. Number 2, isn’t Jewish success a great and good thing? For Jews and for everyone else? Don’t we have a single global consciousness and super-mind and benefit from the success of others? In economics the greatest driver of global material living standards is total factor productivity, or product development and process innovation. Therefore if Jews who live in Israel invent something, the whole world benefits from it. This is why the world should celebrate the success of Jews. The success of Jews derives from competence, capacity and intuition (or intelligence) rather than hierarchies of oppression, exploitation, imperialism, colonialism, hegemony.
Brian also claims that Jewish people use their power and abilities with negative intentions to harm others. I think it is exactly the opposite. Jewish people benefit from the rise and success of others much the way others benefit from the rise and success of Jews. This is why Jewish global citizens (our heroes) have lead NGOs, civil society, human rights, and development.
Brian also sides with the Khamenei regime against Israel and Jews. Brian completely misses the point. Shouldn’t the whole world side with the great and good Iranian people against Khamenei? Hasn’t the 26 century alliance between Persians and Jews been very good for the world? Shouldn’t we try to breathe new life into it? Can’t an Iran that is a close and trusted ally of the great and good Israeli and Jewish people do more to help the Palestinians? Iranians are justifiably very proud of their Aryan heritage. I applaud and welcome this. The Aryans are the traditional friends and allies of the Jewish people. There are many close similarities between the Jewish faith and Aryan faiths [Zorastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, atheistic Hinduism (Charvaka and Ajivika)] that might be a topic for a future article.
Brian also emphasizes how Hitler was pro Palestinian. Here is a possible response. Anne Franks reminded us everyone has at least some good in their heart. Lucifer, Al-Masih ad-Dajjal and Hitler included. Lucifer, Al-Masih ad-Dajjal and Hitler do bad things; but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t good in them and that they don’t also do good things. In practice the most evil beings that have ever existed are partly good and do a combination of good and bad things. In this spirit, sometimes Hitler also said things that happened to be true. They don’t stop being true because Hitler said and believed in them. Palestinian rights included.
Honestly I couldn’t understand much of Brian’s attack against Jews? Why does Brian think Jewish people don’t desire the welfare of non Jews? Can the many wise commentators on Brown Pundits explain this to me?
“These are Rohingya terrorists who killed Buddhist monks in Myanmar,” the monk said in his live commentary on Facebook, pointing to Rohingya mothers with small children in their arms.
Sri Lanka’s extremist Buddhist monks have close links with their ultra-nationalist counterparts in Myanmar. Both have been accused of orchestrating violence against minority Muslims in the two countries.
South Asians understand that the power of religion as opposed to race more than most people. The craven and obsequious respect granted to Arabs (and to a lesser extent Iranians and Turks) by South Asian Muslims is so natural and taken-for-granted that it only seems that way to outsiders. Despite the fact that Muslims and Hindus of any given region are clearly related by blood (in some cases, whole portions of castes convert in toto), they often speak as if they are racially distinct. Muslims somewhat sincerely, but affirming obviously false West Asian Asian, and Hindus more performatively, by asserting that India is for the Hindu race, from which Muslims are excluded.
The above story is a different dimension: the identification of Sri Lankan Buddhism monks with the Buddhist Burmese against the Rohingya. There is some historical background to this, as both the Sinhala and Burmese are predominantly Theravada Buddhist peoples. During periods of Buddhist decline in Sri Lanka lineages were reinforced form Burma, and vice versa.
The Rohingya, as I have stated, are racially really no different from the people of Bengal. And like Bengalis the Sinhala are a dark-skinned South Asian people (there are still debates as to whether the Indo-European language in Sri Lanka came from Gujarat or Bengal). The Sri Lankans I’ve met could easily pass as Bengali, and in general vice versa.
It’s an interesting observation from an American perspective, where race is the most salient factor in social-political identification. At least explicitly.