Social Justice as white self-regard and self-obsession

A few years ago I made a passing reference to the “Kali Yuga” (I had been reading the Mahabharata), and an interlocutor expressed alarm. “Isn’t that an ‘alt-right’ idea?”

The truth is that the concept has become entrenched in parts of the Western Right through the influence of Theosophy and Julius Evola, but its origins and primary usage is non-Western. Obviously. Westerners repurposed the concept for their own usage (“appropriated” one might say).

I thought of this when our resident archetype of a particular type of “social justice” narrowly “liberally” educated commentator made an observation that some phrases had particular connotations among white nationalists. This was true on the face of it, but it struck me as illustrative of the pantheon of the powerful in the mind of this individual. The phrases in question, relating to anti-Semitism, are actually much more common among non-Western people today.

But this is not of any great consequence for many. Non-Western people do not exist except in relation to Western people, and non-Western people and their views are seen as purely derivative and reactionary to Western people.

In other words, Western people are the agents of history, the only observers of Schrodinger’s Cat.

This is an ahistorical and non-empirical view. Whether you agree with the scholarship in The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies, the fact that this argument could be made in the first place stands testament to the rich textured complexity of the past.

Modern ideologies tend to flatten and diminish the complexity of history.

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10 Replies to “Social Justice as white self-regard and self-obsession”

  1. I confess that I have not encountered any Western appropriation of the kali yuga (essentially the age of men that began on the midnight of 3102 BCE cf. atharvaveda). So the Western RW meaning is a little lost on me.

    However, I do agree that Western tropes (and ideological pathologies) are often appropriated wholesale by Indian “intellectuals”. And their reuse is also quite context-free.

    It reminds me of how Chinese communists had to often arbitrarily create the feudal class / bourgeoisie in the peasant heartland, e.g. a man with a pig = peasant, his neighbour with >1 pig = feudal lord (surely there *must* be a blood-sucking feudal somewhere because this German dude said so!). In effect they suffered from classic confirmation bias of fitting experiment to theory where they diverge. I think some “liberal” commentary suffers from this effect.

    Hypothesis: I believe this ultimately boils down to how general intelligence works. One of the banes of the (Turing-complete) human brains is that re-running a new idea on them does not require any knowledge of context in which that idea was created — even if that idea was never meant for universal plug-and-play (unlike say bonafide scientific theories). Our mind can provide priors where none exist and has the ability to simultaneously juggle all kinds of sensible and totally bonkers ideas.

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    1. I have seen the appropriation of ‘Dharma’, ‘Kali Yuga’, ‘Varna’, ‘BhagavatGita’ in white supremacist circles, at least on-line and it’s disgusting. However, I also agree that Indian (leftists) have appropriated everything remotely left in the West from Karl Marx to Bernie Sanders, Islamophilia, Upper middle class uraban ‘oxford/harvard’ stamped Indian brahmins blindly following upper middle class ‘woke’ urban whites etc. I don’t think Indian right blindly follows western right at least in cultural sense for they known that path only leads to heaven and safety from eternal hell fire (pun intended).

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  2. I was listening to the Realignment Podcast, wherein Rebecca Heinrichs noted that [White] Americans have a propensity to believe that inside everyone (Iraqis, Russians, North Koreans, etc.) is an American waiting to get out, who has been temporarily led astray by a malign government. Obviously we have learned the hard way that this isn’t true at all.

    But I think a similar line of reasoning underlies why Whites (and their mimics) posit everything about Browns as a consequence of colonialism or other European interactions. Their minds simply cannot fathom that we have our own culture and consciousness, and we may want and create different things than they do.

    Social Justice and Neoconservatism are two manifestations of this same phenomenon. They have different approaches and solutions, but neither of them views a non-White as anything but a White-in-waiting.

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  3. A lot of the postmodern postcolonial studies etc. end up being the most Eurocentric of all by attributing all agency to Europeans and treating the rest of us as mere automatons.

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    1. Good research, Pashou (a heart for you). Interesting text from Manasataramgini (2004). And interesting question at the end of the text:

      “And what does all this have to do with the Aryans?”

      M. does not say who were Syrians. He also didn’t know that much older civilisation than Sumerian and IVC existed, which maybe could answer some of his questions.

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  4. In December 1985, Saint Scholar Giani Naranjan Singh Ji, Shiromani Kathakar, told me, “Come the turn of the century, the economy of the world will start to go downhill.”
    I asked Sant Ji, “If the economy of the world will start to go downhill, which country would rise?”
    Sant Ji replied, “India.”
    I asked, “Why?”
    Sant Ji replied, “The time will come when land on which deep meditation took place, that land would thrive.”
    This last sentence, Sant Ji spoke in English. Sant Ji said, ” In the 21st century, India will lead the world.”
    My personal view is that Kalki Avatar ( the 10th incarnation of Lord Vishnu )has taken birth.
    At the appropriate time Kalki Avatar will manifest himself.
    Sant Ji’s grandson, Sant Mohinder Partap Singh has said that Indians should not worry about climate change.
    The reason being that during the Mahabharata war, Lord Krishna ordered Surya Devta (the Sun god) or Helios in Greek mythology, to stop in his tracks, and Surya Devta complied.
    Later, Lord Krishna went to present day Gujarat coastline and told Samundra Devta, or Poseidon in Greek mythology to retreat the waters from the coastline to enable Lord Krishna to build his capital, Dwarka and Surya Devta complied.
    The present problems of the world are beyond the capability of any human to solve.

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  5. So timely..incredibily important. I have spoken on the white entitled behaviors concerning yoga as a spiritual practice vs white women private club for them only. Then the pseudo gurus who have large white only gatherings repeating the words and chants of brown men they would call the police on for looking suspicious if found walking in their communities. Their triggered response…you are a racist. The largest group that perpetuate this is 3HO. Not one person color found in a leadership role…Yogi Behgan must be very sad.

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