I’m on Urban Chatterati again!

Best comment: “Razib guy is trying so hard to keep his woke islamism under check and I appreciate it.”

7 Replies to “I’m on Urban Chatterati again!”

  1. The dominant theme to me which arose from it is, it backs the old adage about India, i.e. Land of Contradictions. Or a Place where generalizations die & thrive, since anecdotes/stereotypes/tropes are generally grounded in some reality and exist at Scale but so does the diametric counter of that reality and that too at scale.

    This survey had many such weird, contradictory bits.

    On the Caste bit which gets touched in the video a bit.
    How could this survey account for the fact that Caste System is basically baked into the existence of day to day living of people (and not just upper or lower here). So what might appear discrimination (even this needs to be clearly defined what this is) to a lower caste person may very well be taken to be a sort of, This is Their Life Now, and all they know is this.

    If this so called emancipation from discrimination implies uprooting of their local community fabric, it is obvious even a lower caste person would not really find such emancipation particularly appealing. Tribal bonding is quite powerful and even economic progress takes years, decades, generations to dilute this.

    Not all surveys are created equal, Perception surveys (which is this Pew India survey is in a way) are susceptible to such biases which are internalized into the fabric of the society through generations of existing in that cultural milieu.

    The other surveys reports that happen are post-fact statistical data based. Things like economic conditions of different groups and per-capita metrics, education and job profiles, inter-generational (father-son) education-job dynamic, social mobility metrics across decades, land holding per-community and per-capita, the yield factor of the land which are under different communities & castes, health fertility metrics, etc.

    I am not convinced by that bit in the survey which tried to suggest Caste discrimination is not as high and that even lower case people don’t really experience it. This to me just flies in the face of statistical data and observations from historical timelines.

    The destruction of human capital through an egregious caste system has been the bane of India since millenia. If India was the only place on this planet it might not have matter much but since India is not alone, it means there is a natural fitness competition among these Memes, not all Class Hierarchies are the same, they exist on a curve, the degrees to which some are more worse than some others is the reality.

    This will become more apparent in coming decades and centuries and also with Religiosity. Different human groups will demonstrate that certain practices are just silly because they don’t work all that well.

  2. @Razib

    I listened to the bit where you were puzzled by the fact that Muslims held the validity of Karma but did not extend it to re-incarnation. There are three types of Karma –

    There is the one that produces a result within one’s own lifetime – this one is simple, works within a first order system and is immune to second order feedback loops. So like….if you were in a joint family and you respected your parents in front of your kids, you will then reap the benefits of those actions in your old age. Straightforward – so simplistic that it approaches the Moses Ten Commandments in the race for “Religion for Dummies”.

    The second one is a mindfuck. The complexity of its causal logic approaches the wavefunction collapse explanation for Young’s double slit or the more modern quantum eraser experiments. Let’s say you abuse a co-traveller on a passenger flight and after the flight, the co-traveller picks her car and drives distractedly into a crowd killing a man who is planning to kill his wife. Now you will accumulate bad karma of the first order and good karma of the second type. Now the question that the universe has to play out – Does the wife who survives goes on to do good deeds or bad deeds? Think of the nurse who assisted Hitler’s mother through her difficult childbirth. Now – this is the kicker – this type of karma triggers reincarnation – the universe has to figure out until the accumulation of the branches end. So you have to wade through a “sea of births and deaths” – as Tiruvalluvar the Tamil Saint puts it.

    The third type is, more or less, like entropy. You just accumulate it by the simple act of existence – eating, breathing, loving, desiring, sleeping, helping etc. This one is a clinger – you cannot escape it. Buddha was famous at this sort of mental calisthenics – he would tell his disciples not to do good or bad deeds – as they cannot estimate anything worthwhile about the effect of their actions.

    Indian Muslims only believe in the first type – prarabdha karma – the most simple one – and I don’t think they even know the fine distinction.

      1. Tiruvalluvar is feted as a Tamil icon. Credit to the professional historians and litterateurs who have prevented a hijack. The word “Dravidian” has never appeared in Tamil literature until the 19th century. It’s kind of like the term “Hindu” – a hazy descriptor used at first by non-locals. In fact, the word Dravida appears for the first time in the Mahabharata and it is not clear if it’s a geographic or kingly appellation.

  3. my take is that until the first order karma is done, second order karma exists only in a state of quantum superposition. all possibilities for its outcome exist simultaneously, but its wave function collapses only after the execution of first order karma. a subject executing the first order karma has no prior knowledge as to how the second order karma will play out. so personally i think it is unfair to hold a person accountable for second (and higher) order karma, but then who says the universe/god is fair.

    1. @ Scorpion Eater

      I was awakened to these insights when I read “A passage to England” by Nirad C Chaudhuri. He says that Indians never consider poverty to be a simplistic first-order phenomenon. They are firmly confident that poverty is a accumulation of varied second order effects.

      Unlike socialism or communism which blame poverty on first order explanations, Indians know that poverty is the accident of birth. You are poor when you are born into a poor family. Who decided that? 🙂 I used to be ambivalent about this for some time.

      Then I read second order thinking by Charlie Munger. The billiards table, the solar system and the stock market – these are all places where first order effects don’t matter. Lithium mining companies are going through the roof – but what did they do to earn this?? In fact, the lesser they produce – the more the cost of lithium per ton.

      You have to give credit to the Upanishadic Thinkers. Simply leagues ahead of any other philosophy in this world.

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