Archive for the ‘Philisophy’ Category

Chanda re chanda re
August 30, 2009

Now that the Chandrayan is officially declared over, I believe it is the perfect time to raise this issue.

At a time, when the runoff from a five minute rain does not find a proper channel and creates the muddy hole that is officially a road in front of my house, how rational is it to waste my tax on a failed trip to moon?

At a time, when the five minute rain is enough to disrupt the power supply to my house, should my tax be wasted trying to find water in moon?

At a time, when the prices are touching the roof though the inflation shows negative, should we be investigating the feasibility of life in moon? And if yes, why should I pay for it?

Can we undo some of the premature chest-beating we allowed ourselves to indulge in last year?

Free society is not free elections and democracy
May 6, 2009

In Capitalism Magazine Michael J Hurd has written an insightful essay titled “War and Peaceful Majority“. He describes why it is irrelevant what the majority of a nation believes in, because it is the government which gets to make the decisions which affect the future of everybody.

People generally are peace loving, but history has shown repeatedly – in Russia, Germany, China and other countries – that they cannot really stop a government from making gross and immoral decisions. Democracy, it can be argued, can bring in the change for the better. But for that, the democracy has to work; the people should be able to analyze the good from the bad, the ideal from the rhetoric and make their opinion heard. After all, Hitler did not start out as a dictator but he did manage to get absolute power from within a democracy.

The following quote rings so true today for US, as it does for India.

 A free society requires much, much more than free elections and democracy.
These are necessary tools, but they are not absolutes. There’s only one absolute in a free society: The right of the individual—each and every individual—to be free from the initiation of physical force. This right makes the necessity of a strong limited government—with a police force, military and civil/criminal court system—quite obvious.

Pragmatism: The new age philosophy
January 31, 2009

Consider what President Obama had to say about the size of government in his inaugural address. It signaled the rise of pragmatism as a new-age philosophy in the world stage. Not that it did not exist before, but never before has a leader of any consequence declared it in the grandest stage as the basis for taking decisions and made to sound virtuous about it.

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end…”

 

Dictionary.com defines the word ‘pragmatism‘ thus:

(philosophy) the doctrine that practical consequences are the criteria of knowledge and meaning and value

 

By definition it means the absence of any principles. It means taking some ‘arbitrary actions’ having no relation with moral values. The thing that decides what actions to take, is an assumption that it might work, or it might attain the necessary goals. Because, in the absence of any principles, it is absolutely impossible to have any concrete basis to hope that it will work.

 

Rational capitalist, has two excellent posts on the topic.

 

The desire to “compromise with anybody on anything” is the hallmark of the pragmatist and such a desire necessitates contradiction
 

      Pragmatism primed consists of being so disintegrated intellectually that in addition to dispensing with principles in favor of that “which works” you dismiss the possibility of being able to determine if the action does indeed “work”.

      Dying for a cause
      January 29, 2009

      CNNIBN reports attempted self-immolation of a man in Chennai for the Lanka cause.

       

      A computer operator on Thursday attempted self-immolation here, outside a building housing central government offices, to draw attention to the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka, police said.
      Twenty-six-year–old M Muthu Kumaran was admitted to a government hospital in a serious condition with 95 per cent burns.
      According to police sources, Kumaran, who works for a PMK-owned Tamil periodical, said: “the attempt was to open the eyes of the central and state governments to the burning issue of Lankan Tamils”.

       

      It is quite surprising how so many people think they find value in dying for a cause which is so dear to them. What should be more important is to live for it, and fight.

       

      This question was handled immaculately by Ayn Rand in the Playboy interview.

       

       

      PLAYBOY: Would you be willing to die for your cause, and should your followers be willing to die for it? And for the truly nonsacrificial Objectivist, is any cause worth dying for?

      RAND: The answer to this is made plain in my book. In Atlas Shrugged I explain that a man has to live for, and when necessary, fight for, his values — because the whole process of living consists of the achievement of values. […] You ask me, would I be willing to die for Objectivism? I would. But what is more important, I am willing to live for it — which is much more difficult.

      (Are)we, the living?
      February 7, 2008

      Just some quotes as I read the first novel written by Ayn Rand, last.  Kira the central character, Russia the place.

      “How beautiful!” Said Lydia looking at a stage setting. “It’s almost real” . “How beautiful!”, Said Kira looking at a landscape.”It’s almost artificial” .

      “There were novels by foreign authors, in which a poor honest worker was always sent to jail for stealing a loaf of bread to feel the starving mother of this pretty young wife who had been raped by a capitalist and committed suicide thereafter, for which the all powerful capitalist fired her husband from the factory, so that their child had to beg on the streets and was run over by the capitalist’s limousine with sparkling fenders and a cheuffeur in uniform.”

      Kira:“I think that when in doubt about the truth of an issue, it’s safer and in better taste to select the least numerous of the adversaries.” 

      Leo: “Well I dislike womens’ questions, but I dont know whether I like a woman who won’t let me have the satisfaction of refusing to answer”. 

      Kira: “Do you believe in God, Andrei? No. Neither do I. But that’s a favorite question of mine. An upside-down question, you know. What do you mean? Well, if I asked people whether they believed in life, they’d never understand what I meant. It’s a bad question. It can mean so much that it really means nothing. So I ask them if they believe in God. And if they say they do — then, I know they don’t believe in life. Why? Because, you see, God — whatever anyone chooses to call God — is one’s highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It’s a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. “

      Well, well!