Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Of abstractions, stories and practicality

A bunch of frightened and perplexed kids are told stories of Ghosts and God simultaneously, wiping out the concept of rationality in them. Kings and ‘babas’ are born.

Plato puts forward a bromide: ‘this may be true in theory, but not in practice.’ Concept of ‘ethics is subjective’ is born.

Immanuel Kant declares: “It is logical, but logic has got nothing to do with reality.” Compromise becomes the greatest virtue for years to come.

Fair distribution of wealth becomes most popular quote in Marxist lands without bothering to understand source of wealth. A hater of achievement with name Ernesto "Che" Guevara is born.

A small kid is told story of a boastful tree collapsing in a tornado while bending blades of grass surviving. Humility is glorified. The kid grows up and finds sense of life in the lines:
“And how am I to face the odds of man’s bedevilment and God’s?
I, a stranger and afraid in a world I never made.”

Metaphysical vs. man-made argument doesn’t make sense to him.

Great depression calls for war-like scenario and ‘Your life belongs to society’ becomes commonly accepted principle. John maynard Keynes says, “Thus we might aim in practice…at a scheme of direct taxation which allows the intelligence and determination and executive still of the financier, the entrepreneur et hoc genus omne (who are certainly so fond of their craft that their labor could be obtained much cheaper than at present), to be harnessed to the service of the community on reasonable terms of reward.” Reasonable according to whom? By what standards? These questions are never asked… Thus the man saying ‘I work for a Government I despise for ends I think criminal’ is called greatest economist but a certain free market supporter called Ludwig Von Moises is called impractical.

Socialism gains popularity and the productive works of geniuses are put under public good. Socialist ideology of a great country’s first Prime Minister who is ironically amongst the richest people in country almost drives country towards death bed within a span of 40 years.

In an era of unparalleled technological breakthroughs, stories of basket weavers and coolies are used to exemplify human struggle and beg for charity while the struggles and achievements of inventors are taken for granted. It becomes fashionable and glamorous to be associated with social cause.

People suddenly fail to understand if they are witnessing start of a booming economy or are on verge of great depression. How are we to know? They ask. The sky suddenly turns dark. There is a thunderstorm. A philosophical giant called Aristotle seems to be shouting in vain through that thunderstorm and over the centuries: “A is A….. Contradiction’s don’t exist” The shouts fall on deaf ears because: “of what use is abstract philosophy to practical life?”