cognitive quicksand

I think the problem of caste is much deeper than people consider. The difference between a bad idea and a really bad idea is that bad ideas dont work and people walk away from it as it doesnt work, a really bad idea is an idea that actually works by tapping into cognitive biases leading us into a cognitive quicksand.

The problem is much deeper than simply one of dogmatic belief with regards to hierarchy. Unlike other places, Jains, Buddhists competed with Hindus, many Hindu traditions also competed as well , some egalitarian. Lingayats for example rejected both vedas and caste for example , there was also ramanujacharya as well. 

Question is, what were the utilitarian features of caste that allowed it to exist until Industrial revolution. It was never the case that people did not have choice to choose sampradaya . Infact the biggest feature of India and Hinduism was diversity of beliefs itself.

If one would assume to study the evolving nature of changing paradigms in connection to the actual choices they could actualize, One could consider that actual egalitarianism in practice was possible only after Industrial revolution. Before that, societies made compromises on it. Some went further to bring in slaves from elsewhere, here too Hinduism is different, there is not much evidence of them bringing slaves from elsewhere.

If caste did not offer any relative localized material benefit, it would perhaps not have persisted. some might choose to believe that for thousands of years , people were brainwashed into believing their own submissiveness and were basically turned into serfs with total lack of selfishness for wealth, power and individuality. I trust biology over beliefs and think this is ridiculous. I think that men of all backgrounds would prefer to have access to wealth, female partners of their choice and power.

Even now in democratic period, caste offers political networks and material benefit as well. Especially for lower castes, without which they could not have achieved their relative success given Indian economy was pathetic overall for most of post Independence period.

The reason for existence and persistence of x in face of competition and also when its traditional guardians were out of power with the islamic period and later british period as well and even now in democratic period points to relative localized benefits. One answer could be that lingayats,ramanujacharya, buddhists,jains ,atheists and later Islam and christianity ,marxists and liberals were not sufficiently evangelical. Or lack of study of history in India made people ignorant of possible choices they could actualize. But that only points once again to the effort it would take to undo it. I assume only when India is much richer will that challenge the material side of benefits leaving the political side of it and dogmas.


The hierarchical feature tallying with it simply has to do with the first mover advantage. It is easier for individuals to rise and fall over time than entire chunks of different communities. If one focused on explaining persistence of x in face of competition and also when its traditional guardians were out of power , it explains a lot. It just is the case that sometimes societies fall into stable configurations that persist for long even if it hurts them overall, it hurt Hindus and Hinduism more than it did good. I think Human cognitive biases in favor of kinship tribalism accounts for this. And idea of caste was a really bad idea that they stepped into a cognitive quicksand. I think scientists from field of evolutionary psychology should find it interesting to study.

8 Replies to “cognitive quicksand”

  1. Desi American guys need to take a chill pill. India is a Feudal Society hastily retrofitted with democracy some 70 yrs ago, it has some growing pains to go through before you can expect Rural India to move beyond Clans. Rural Indians prefer living in a time capsule of 18th Century, just let them. India will shed caste for good once it becomes completely urbanized.

    “Lingayats for example rejected both vedas”
    I told you that Dravidians were not Hindoo! Vedas is like Quran or Bible, because Hinduism is based on a central dogma of the Vedas… right? Vedas is a Dogma…. RIGHT!??
    ~~ Saurav

    “I think Human cognitive biases in favor of kinship tribalism accounts for this”
    Give’em a break, even the so called “Inclusive” and “Liberal” Westerners are part of a naked Racial Hegemony, which REEEs at the slightest whiff of brown skin. At least rural Indians have the excuse of being uneducated hicks.

  2. Military dictatorships are fine: those who put their physical body on the line daily – physical shell that houses mind and heart plus atma and Atman are the ones who by divine right are worthy of ruling – nobody else. Republic is superior to any monarchy past present future .
    Voice of people is voice of God.
    It’s infuriating the pseudo*elite feign to not understand legitimate satire.
    Wounds of Dresden Holocaust will almost never heal . Time alone is the healer .
    The aforementioned sentence is not satire .
    Hurting Mithraix and Mithra homelands greater Afghanistan is a crime against God and mankind – all earthlings suffer as a result of heinous neocolonialistic looting: im serious not satirical in this sentence . Beovulf lingo englis damaged 1066 AD
    Tschuss
    PR108
    Vandematarm

    1. Dresden, the town founded by Serbs and still has a Serbian name, so as Berlin (Branibor) and many other East-German cities. The center of Prussian militarism (Prussians – Serbs germanised in the 12th c.AC and spoke Serbian until 200 years ago when it was forbidden by law). The distraction of the city and its citizens was not coincidental. It is on the battlefield line where R1a and R1b were fighting for thousands of years.

      1. While we are still here it could be interested to pundits…

        So much unintentional Serbian (and SA) history in this short P108 comment. I briefly mentioned about Dresden, some other time I will write about Mithra/Mithraism and Beovulf, but for now only a short note about Berlin.

        Berlin was originally a small Serbian fishing village, so after the fall of the Serbian principality, it came under the rule of German counts. They still call Berlin – ”Brlin”, because it comes from the words “brto”, “berto”, which means barriers from sticks in the water, where fishes are caught in trap. Numerous family names in the area, from Berlin to Dresden are of Serbian origin and end in: ov, ski, ić, ć, etc. Brandenburg was a Serbian village which name was Branibor. Among the people around Berlin today, there are legends about the Slavs and their princes, and they refer to Serbian rulers, cities, temples and frequent wars. The Germanised Serbian population also cultivates these traditions. It is interesting that Germans started publishing old pre-Germans maps with Serbian toponyms and hydronyms.

  3. Let’s consider what utility/purpose did the claims regarding equality & hierarchy served and to whom ?

    Indians historically were more interested in trying to represent their views as clearly as possible {reason why grammarians like Panini, Brahthari & even non-grammarians wrote so much about language, reality etc.}

    So obviously Indian texts were trying to represent reality not utilitarian ideal & people must remember this distinction before discussing issues which go as far back as caste. So Indians observed inequality in society which they reflected in their texts but not without trying to find some common grounds by subverting prevailing ideas.

    https://www.academia.edu/43971455/Dignity_and_Status_in_Ancient_and_Medieval_India

    Think now from Abrahamic perspectives –
    All Abrahamic religions claim it’s adherents to be ‘superior’ but they wanted to spread this message in the poor masses which they did by claiming everybody to be equal in the name of Utilitarianism. So Abrahamic elites were able to kept both superiority in the internal functioning of religion while claiming to bring ideas of equality to the rest of the world so instead of trying to represent reality Utilitarianism was justified in Judeo-Abrahamic world view to lay claim to both types of conceptions of the world as per their convenience.

    Now here is a thought experiment –
    Stop thinking about communities or groups in terms of identity instead think about the markers by which a community could have been recognized, think which potential markers can you come up with ?

  4. lingayaths are in a strange position in actual reality. on one hand they cannot disassociate with the general hindu frame work of the surrounding society, and on the other hand they need to maintain their separateness.
    in addition, they need to contend with their veerashaiva cousins, who have not rejected vedas etc.
    further, most of the maths teach sanskrit and manthras.
    in karnataka they wholeheartedly support bjp and cannot say that they are not modern hindus.

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