The path of modern man is a blind search for a masculine heart. Steeped in confusion, he makes sense out of his impotence, painting the world with the pessimism of grey, calling it colorful. Steeped in complacency, he is unable to transmit ancestral meaning from one generation to the next.
The recent air pollution crisis episode of Delhi has only reaffirmed what most people already know – we need to use less cars, crop stubble in other states has to stop burning, better dust control is needed etc. One attractive idea that has been hanging fire for some time (since the time Mr Praful Patel was minister of industries under the UPA) has been the push for electric vehicles. In recent times, we have seen some progress into the area – we have a much improved car in E2O from Mahindra since their Reva purchase that is developed in India apart from such cars as Prius, Civic Hybrid and Scorpio hybrid being in the market.
In the Bala Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana, there is a chapter wherein Rishi Vishwamitra convinces Lord Rama, the best of men and most resplendent, that it is his duty to slay the dreadful yakshini Taraka. This chapter as well as the following chapter dealing with how the yakshini Taraka was slain contain very powerful insights whose relevance is as prominent today as it was back then.
A discussion precipitated by the publication of an article in the Organiser.
Let’s start from the bottom up.
The problem of civilization is the problem of coordination at scale. Robinson Crusoe has no need of civilization. He is entirely on his own. Once you have more people you need to cooperate. Hence starts the division of labor and trade based on specialization. However there’s a Dunbar limit to this cooperation before transactions cost overwhelm the cooperate-cooperate equilibrium on the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Religion and culture are social technologies evolved to reduce transactions costs over scale. This is how if you’re part of a particular faith community, you can trust someone far removed from you but within the same faith community, on average, far more than you can a random person outside of it.
In the 8th century BC, Sparta conquered [PDF] a neighbouring territory Messenia, rich with agricultural land. It was also rich with a labour force, that later came to be known as the helots. Now the helots outnumbered the Spartans 10:1 but were unarmed . Spartans were known for their military prowess and it is not an urban legend that their newborn male children were subject to physical scrutiny for its continued life. Spartans killed malformed male babies, most likely because of their male privilege I’m sure.
At Devayasna, much of our ideas arise out of free-flowing discourse. Distilling this into a long form post is arduous and on occasion unnecessary. Our goal is to instill pride in the Hindu for his ancestors and to spark a new era of thought among the discerning. To this end we introduce Conversations, a series of posts arising from some of our thoughts on various topics of interest.