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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

History and the controversies

History or no history, life is an unmapped atlas which gets its maps based on our innate attributes, choices, beliefs, actions, reactions, thoughts, attitudes etc either as individuals or as a collective group with some identity, and it is in our hands to make each one of these continents as great and as good as possible.

" God is UNITY but always works in VARIETY" RALPH W.EMERSON

Greatest contribution that one can make to the pride of ancestry is to not merely give hope for future but bequeath values, comforts, wisdom, wealth, happiness, great wisdom etc to posterity and be clear in mind that there is no use merely parading our past glory [though there are many documented, undocumented, purposely suppressed etc] while letting the present in constant worry. [1-read it last as foot note]

This is as bad as reacting to historic blunders with histrionic reactions.

Saffronization of history.

Let us first move away from these media appropriated and projected labels like ‘saffronization’ [O-orange] ejected very often by the greenhorns of red brigade [ R-red]. It is an intentional tool to divide with ideological label and paid media are master at that, perhaps only at that as if there are two contrasting groups like saffron versus secular, previously they were using communal versus secular and in the process they have distorted the meaning of all these words beyond any sane recognition by their meaningless usage. No one minds about main stream media’s Yellow Journalism [Y-yellow] but bringing to light what pure white hearted souls from all places and spheres have created the purple pages [V & I - Purple representing Violet and Indigo] of past glory through their contributions  from dark ages agitates certain minds and they are green [G-green] with jealousy how come those whom they have labeled repeatedly as belonging to dark ages can become the blue-eyed [B-Blue] boys of  rational perception across the globe and what has happened to the white wash done by centuries of political and academic hegemony? How come that white wash is revealing the hidden colors of  VIBGYOR beneath that white ? We must break those prisms?

Coming to the main topic about history, there are, of course only limited ways of knowing truth of what happened or supposedly happened in the remote past like DNA studies, archeological samples, fossil genetic samples, architectural, cultural, literary works etc.

I still cannot understand terms like prehistoric times. What is meant by that?

Chronology, especially as used today was something which by itself is a comparatively recent discovery and adopted as a measuring tool of time  for whatever it is worth, along with all the controversies involved in various methods of calculating time as such.

Is study of history or mythology important or relevant? Undoubtedly a big yes because at least we can learn to follow useful things and avoid great mistakes which have caused damage in various dimensions to everyone, everything and environment.

Are we as human beings doing that?

Often yes, and sometimes not doing that for some reasons which are either justifiable or justified or unjustifiable.

Mostly most of the writings are subjective or at least not totally objective because of the impact of our inherently inadequate tools of perception []; imprint of our inextricable identity of certain ideological, cultural social, linguistic, religious, regional influences []; inspiration of certain popular trends or instigation of certain forces; added to these are certain hyper imaginations and exaggerations of the authors as artists etc.

When all or some of these factors fall in line with or suit our confirmation bias we lap it up , wrap it up and write paeans and provide more versions or perversions but when it is otherwise we tend to portray ourselves as too wise and pillory the versions.

History is after all a string of facts of purported events, happening etc, and not hypothesis for us to keep churning till we come to a conclusive discovery or proof, that are joined together like beads of a chain.

Facts are extremely vital but they not reveal the truth.

Ayn Rand seems to view it when she says "We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality." Even as facts Reality has immense value as John Adams says, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Jessamyn West said, “We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don't it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions”. They have this tendency to presume some mal intention in everything because of their perversion and they should always be told what Milton Friedman said, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their [ presumed-italics mine]  intentions rather than their results”

Contradictions are also because of human psyche’s penchant for generalizing variety, oversimplifying the complex, sometimes confusing the motives to be either the means or meaning of the quest, justifying all means, fear of various kinds, predominance of certain types of thinking, passing everything through a prism of some popular or prevailing liking, seeing things with jaundiced vision and prejudiced views, presuming that we need to judge everything and everyone, applying irrelevant metrics to evaluate everything rather than evaluating anything through its inherent merits and so on.

Contradictions are very often camouflaged as dichotomies and dichotomies are the indoctrinated and engraved part of many domains of life as Dudley Lynch puts forth very nicely, “The brain forever has dichotomies on its mind-The ancient Taoists did it with yin/yang. Religious types with good/evil. Philosophers with mind/matter. Particle scientists with wave/particle. Psychologists with nature/nurture. Law officers with good cop/bad cop. On and on and on. You just had to know that it was only a matter of time before “dualism”—or … harrumph! … co-eternal binary opposition—infested neuro discussions like kudzu” and continues “Maybe, as one thoughtful observer has suggested, even as old dualisms get knocked down, “it seems that there is something about the wiring of the brain that leads to new dualisms springing up.” Talk about Whack-a-Mole! That was certainly what the late George Kelly, the father of personal construct psychologythought. “Our psychological geometry is a geometry of dichotomies[italics mine] rather than the geometry of areas envisioned by the classical logic of concepts, or the geometry of lines envisioned by classical mathematical geometries.” (Double harrumph!) in his blog  {do not miss to read the comments about George Kelly in the link as well } []

“Across planes of consciousness, we have to live with the paradox that opposite things can be simultaneously true.” 
― Ram Dass.

“All of us have our own inner fears, beliefs, opinions. These inner assumptions rule and govern our lives. A suggestion has no power in and of itself. Its power arises from the fact that you accept it mentally.” 
― Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Every region, civilization has certain weaknesses and if that weakness happens to be something that is used as a bench mark or a measuring yard to evaluate everything then that weakness really pinches hard on that region or civilization.

 Indian civilization’s greatest weakness was lack of documentation of many great things and coupled with its weakness to accept documentations provided by others besides its lack of synchronization with the concomitant trend or thing of greater importance from the late 18th century till a year ago i.e. total indifference to material/financial/economic/commercial empowerment of the nation as a whole. As a result, inevitably, we allowed ourselves to be at the mercy of others. So, most of our claims of great discovery and counter claims and attacks are inevitable. Obviously because hungry stomach creates a biological set up that does not allow the chemistry of mind to bother about any history or philosophy or geography as its priority is purely biological.

A great work of history, though too idealistic, almost very difficult , would be to create a synthesis of various factors and contextually find a relevance from  a huge cauldron consisting of a mixture many of the following- various events, impacts of  some great individual souls, evolutionary biology, evolutionary sociology, evolutionary changes in the march of civilization, evolutionary political trends, ideas, philosophical inquiries, psychological perception, emotional reactions, discoveries and inventions that have contributed to life enormously and the selective static or stiffness or suppleness of various religious edicts etc- and weave a very meaningful relationship among these or decipher a pattern of occurrence or recurrence of certain events or evolution of certain factors or emanation of certain ideas or the emergence of certain individuals etc

Though there cannot be any single great work manifesting this amount idealistic expectations, still, there have been some extraordinary souls like Guy Murchie who have made a modest but great attempt to chronicle history in this way.

Jacob Bronowski says,  “Every animal leaves traces of what it was; man alone leaves traces of what he created” and not only this human beings are much more wise as William Gladstone observes, “To comprehend a man's life, it is necessary to know not merely what he does but also what he purposely leaves undone. There is a limit to the work that can be got out of a human body or a human brain, and he is a wise man who wastes no energy on pursuits for which he is not fitted; and he is still wiser who, among the things that he can do well, chooses and resolutely follows the best.”

This is inevitable as Maria Mitchell says, “The world of learning is so broad, and the human soul is so limited in power! We reach forth and strain every nerve, but we seize only a bit of the curtain that hides the infinite from us.”

"By contemplating the relationship between the objects in our lives and the forces that created them, we can arrive at the 'thing itself' and know its inherent identity." ~ Dennis William Hauck [here the word inherent identity must be taken as meaning ‘attribute of’]

As Sherlock Holmes declares, “From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagra without having seen or heard of one or the other. So, all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a link of it.”

Very few have documented history without their view or observations, if they had done so no one would have bothered to read history.

Even the most extraordinary historians like Will Durant couples Will and Ariel  [in my opinion they deserve Nobel Prize for literature] have expressed their excellent and fairly unbiased observations on facts and have ensured that they have never distorted facts to suit their opinions.

For that matter the great Arnold J. Toynbee’s history books in several volumes also is spiced with his observations and commentaries.
History for a united world-by Edward Herbert Dance 
Our Fragmented World-by Ronald Harvey
Here I would like to quote Simone Weil, French social philosopher, mystic and activist in her work ‘Gravity and Grace’

“The world is the closed door. It is a barrier. And at the same time it is the way through.
Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but it is also their means of communication. … Every separation is a link.”
When talking about boundaries , barriers etc we cannot avoid these very meaningful messages reiterating the vagueness of boundaries from Ken Wilber in his work ‘ No Boundary: Eastern and Western  Approaches to Personal Growth’ like these two small pieces, “ Even to say ‘reality is no-boundary awareness’ is still to create a distinction between boundaries and no-boundary! So we have to keep in mind the great difficulty involved with dualistic language. That "reality is no-boundary" is true enough, provided we remember that no-boundary awareness is a direct, immediate, and nonverbal awareness, and not a mere philosophical theory. It is for these reasons that the mystic-sages stress that reality lies beyond names and forms, words and thoughts, divisions and boundaries. Beyond all boundaries lies the real world of Suchness, the Void, the Dharmakaya, Tao, Brahman, the Godhead. And in the world of suchness, there is neither good nor bad, saint nor sinner, birth nor death, for in the world of suchness there are no boundaries.”  And  "The ultimate metaphysical secret, if we dare to state it so simply, is that there are no boundaries in the Universe. Boundaries are illusions, products not of Reality, but of the way we map and edit Reality. And while it is fine to map out the territory, it is fatal to confuse the two."

“Everything changes as you move through three stages of awareness:
first, that beliefs are the result of conditions;
second, that beliefs are the cause of conditions;
and third, that beliefs are themselves conditions.”
― Eric Micha'el Leventhal

What can we do about things like these?

“For example as early as 601 AD in the Vaghbata complied by Indian physicians there is mention about the medicinal herb ‘RAUWOLFIA SERPENTINA’ and only in 1949 in the prestigious British  Heart Journal an Indian physician Rustom Jal Vakil published that powdered root of ‘RAUWOLFIA SERPENTINA  is very effective in lowering blood pressure. Then in 1952 Reserpine was isolated by Swiss chemist employed by CIBA under the direction of Emil Schlitter who produced pure crystals of active ingredient in ‘RAUWOLFIA SERPENTINA and Boston heart specialist Robert Wallace Wilkins observed that Reserpine not only reduced blood pressure but also reduced anxiety. Now to whom will you give the Patents’? Leave alone all the controversies surrounding the product itself.

Unfortunately the things are further complicated, especially in the field of science, by the nexus and fights between industry and academia. While one of it has credibility the other has incredible influence. They generate with the help of media and publicity wings many questions of morality versus utility etc and the ultimate causality is truth.

Justin Pollard’s book titled BOFINOLOGY which reveals the ugly ‘the real stories behind our greatest scientific discoveries’ like for example ‘”Archimedes never said ‘Eureka’ and hated baths anyway”, Thales “credited as ‘the father of science’, whose only real claim to fame is that he often fell into ditches” and this book reveals how eleven people have claimed to have invented the stream engine etc

However, beyond all these dirty politics and polluting trends and catastrophic cultures ,still , if there is any field of activity that has helped humanity’s advance more tangibly meaningful and life in general more comfortable and brought people out of their caves of blind beliefs and trite traditions and helped them to see and savor the world with ease and in better ways than all the rest the credit must go and still goes to scientific inventions, discoveries and the multiple technologies that they have given to the world. In short it is a supra religion, along with bold philosophical inquiries, which has pushed aside the many useless diatribes of centuries of religious edicts, narrow ethnocentric pronouncements and bluffs of history which were irrelevant to life.

And we would all do well to remember at the basic level we are, as we mostly identify ourselves with our physical self, are after all biochemical organism which has to decay or die or disappear i.e. it is mortal.

For further reading visit                    

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