A 'critical' conversation


Just a few days after I had posted this I had a long conversation with one of my friends. It was just another phone call but this one was a lot less personal than others, so I thought I'll publish parts of it. Our conversation is quite pertinent to the post I had made earlier, about socially constructed notions of beauty.


Original location


A lot of what is said in the podcast may overlap with the posts that I have made here. I'll cite some of them for a quick reference: ref 1; ref 2

20 comments:

Suresh said...

Before you comment, I request you not to say anything like this

(A comment from podbazaar):

hahahahahahahah! onnume puriyale ulagathile! r u sure about ur own theories?

niraiya sollureenga! nallathuthaan! nalla padichittu sollunga! niraiya correcta sollureenga ana niraiya thappavum sollureenga! aadhangam puriyuthu! kovamum puriyuthu! ahukkukaga thappana karuthai solla koodathu! Kuranaiyum Biblaiyum fullum padichirukeengala? Nicahiyama padichirukka maatenganu nalla ung apechilarunthe theriyuthu! Unmaiya nalla padicahvan ippadi pali pesa maattaanga. Oru engineer thappu senja, engineering fielde thappunu solla koodathu. Neenga innum padikkanum. Mudincha padeenga. Nalla paddenga! Bhagawad gitaiyayum padeenga! unmaiya purinchikkuveenga. Ippo kooda neenga thiruppi oru perya badhil eluthalam en commentsukku! athu ellam priyochana padathu. Purinchu padichathukku appuram, eluthunga.

BTW, I really appreciate u for ur open comments. Unga podcast ellam nalla irukku.
--end of comment--

Basically, he/she is saying that I have not read the Bible or the Koran. That's why I'm making all those erroneous claims. If I had read them well I wouldn't be saying the things I've said in the podcast (and an irrelevant simile that you cannot blame engineering just because an engineer's mistake).

My reply:

Your condescending tone is really getting on my nerves. I'm really trying hard to hold 'em back. I have read almost half of Bible and 10-20% of Koran. These are not epics; you don't have to read the whole book to get the gist of it. Besides, both these books repeat the same nonsense over and over again.
Forget about me, there are scores of scholars who have critiqued these books in detail. If you're interested I can suggest you a few books. You don’t have to personally sit and go through everything to understand them.
Letters to a Christian Nation
End of Faith (both my Sam Harris)
The Bible and colonialism: a moral critique
Feminist Interpretation of the Bible (A summary of the book )

There are several other journal articles (I suppose you know the difference between an ordinary article and an academic journal article).

If you want to see videos instead, I can suggest you a few documentaries available online.

But no! No matter how many books I suggest or videos that I link-to you’ll always think that I and the scholars who criticize religion don’t know any better. You will ask them to read the books again, “carefully”. You’ll be satisfied only when they diss everything scientific and go on frolicking that all religions are for peace. Bullshit.

Ask me if I've read the Gita, wait till I answer. If I say I haven't read it even once, then you may want to suggest me. But, no! You have already decided that I have not read BG. Still, I think I need to let you know that I have 2 versions of BG with me, right now, and I have read them both over 3 times each - end to end. I'm not going to say I've mastered it, because I'm far from even reciting a single verse accurately. But I know the essence of all the chapters (I think it's decent as a religious book; very good, as philosophical edifice; excellent, as a literary work. And way better than Bible or the Koran in all these areas)

I hope I did not hurt your senitments. But I want you to understand how irritating it is when people who have not done much critical reading come and preach people like me. I’m glad you like my other podcasts, I’m pleased indeed. I hope you don’t take my response personally. Thanks
--end of reply--


So, there. Don't even try to argue with me about Chrisianity and colonialism. I know what I'm talking about, I have no patience to talk to idiots who think god created a man and a woman and let them fill the whole earth. Seriously, you are an idiot. You may be a "calm and nice" person, but you're still an idiot. I don't talk to idiots who try to preach their idiocy with condescending authority.

Peelu said...

I dont understand why your friend has to equate slavery of Indian kings to British as being potentially a racial thing. I call it opportunism, of both the kings and the British. If Indian kings were more powerful than British, I am sure it would have been different. It's a power struggle in the world then, now and will always be in the future. The whole idea of white skinned being superior or that we Indians look upto them is bunch of bullshit. For example, I dont care a shit about white guys and I work with several of them. Also, what about Indian Origin children in US? Do they feel intimidated by fair skinned people? No. They are as good as any child in US can be. I am still listening to your podcast.

Peelu said...

Your friend is literally arguing for 'racism' as a social construct without realizing it.

Peelu said...

Suresh,

What are the forums that you visit da? The assols to sane people ratio in forums is so high that it is not advisable to judge that as the popular opinion.

I agree with your views on Christianity and Islam. And Hinduism too.

Subhash said...

How will a world without religion be? More like love without pretensions of sacrifice, just pure lust. How many people do you think can handle that truth? There are fools in this world who want to believe that there is some purpose for their life and that God has decided it for them. It makes their life easier to live.

you said that there are 3 basic instincts for a man. Survival of a man and his off-springs depends on the survival of mankind as a whole. So the smart ones invent things like religion to keep idiots from finding that even if someone decides to end their life, it would make no difference to the world. It's actually a disturbing thought to many that a human is only useful as a decomposed body adding to the hydrocarbon reserve in the world.

The trouble is that most humans are comfortable within their own set of belief systems and it is hard to shake them out of it. So to ask them to rise above their menial lives is a futile exercise. Instead, playing to their weakness is an obvious ploy to get their attention and hence some money from it. Why else do you think religion as a thought survived centuries. It is a free world and everything is done for money. The movies are doing it, the music is doing it, why not let religion too do it? That's my question.

Reason. That's one big weapon that some smart people have against religion. But that pales in comparison to another big weapon that religious guys possess. Irrationality. In reality, the presence or absence of religion doesn't change anything. If not religion, there will be some other avenue for those idiots to vent off their frustration with life. It might be drugs. Aren't we better off with religion? Not all humans are rational. Not everybody wants to deal with the truth.

Finally, one question? Do you think mankind has progressed since 2000 years? Yes, technologically. But how have they progressed in their understanding of life and who they are. Yeah, there are literate people who have liberal views, but I am talking about popular opinion. It hasn't changed much. Man and church still try to fit in the facts with their original theories and not to change their theories. Like you said about an opinion of dinosaur fossils being placed by God to challenge our faith in him. Funny argument. 2000 years from now it will be the same. Man is inherently weak and will always be willing to believe in a 'higher power'. It's almost impossible to change that perception. In short, let the others burn in hell when it doesn't affect you.
At least, thats how I live.

Suresh said...

@ peelu

If you read postcolonial literature, "the power struggle" had its roots both in economic exploitation and racist oppression (which had its roots in Christianity). It also would explain the fascination we had/have for light skinned people. Read works of Gayatri Spivak, she draws clearly draws from public discourse in various period in Indian history and how the light skin was attributed purity superiority etc.
Products like Fair and Lovely, Fairever; songs that go "chekka chevanadhavale.." or "gora gora mukhda" are proofs to this.
As Gurumurthy once said, Sonia Gandhi would not have enjoyed the mass support she does had she been a black woman.

Whether you realize it or not, there is something called white privilege in the entire western world. It's something that overwhelming majority of the coloured people don't get to enjoy. If you don't believe me, I can recommend relevant qualitative literature that will throw light on this issue. You can even gather some anecdotal evidence, just talk to Indian kids who were born in America. They'll tell you how if they truly felt one among the other when they grew up. Racism does not necessarily mean that a certain colour is looked down up on. It but a person of certain colour is often associated with demeaning stereotypes. It boxes people into broad classifications simply based on their colour. To say that coloured people are just as equal as the white people is a myth. It's not a social reality (not even in Canada).
I'll quote a passage that I found relevant:
"Heart, I must respectfully ask you: What freaking planet are you living on? Everything in US society is racialized; we are a white supremacist settler state after all. Gender is racialized, sexuality is racialized, and feminism is racialized."
http://brownfemipower.com/?p=764

I'm feeling really sleepy now, I'll try to give a better comment on this topic, later.

I used to post regularly in sysindia.com and forumhub. That was 4, 5 years ago. After a period I reduced posting and eventually stopped (at least on these topics). ippo I read stuff in keetru, tfmpages, and a few communities in orkut. Just to see if the nature of the "arguments" have changed.
Will talk later. Thanks.

@ Subhash

I find your points quite defeatist, assumptive and extremely hypothetical (I guess it’s out of frustration from your part). Scientific truths don't have any underlying motives, true, but it's not a good reason to substitute it with something that has exploitative motives.

The world already has a good number of atheists - in fact, some of the best minds in the world are atheists. I don't see them "destroying" their lives because they understand that there is no external purpose to their lives. I think we'll be underestimating people's selfish will to live if we said they'll kill themselves if they realized it too. Even if they did, it will at least be a decision that came out of a reasonable understanding of the world. Not some misguided idiocy. If the truth will trigger mass suicides, so be it. At least, it's better than wars and mass killings in which people who had no intention of dying are killed too.

(I'm really sleepy now, I'll try to reply to you further, later.) Thanks.

Subhash said...

Suresh,

I agree that my arguments are quite defeatist and hypothetical. Did you see a program called 'Jesus calls' in Raj TV? Can you even imagine talking sense into people like that?

And I am peelu too. I haven't come across 'white privilege' in Sydney yet. I am sure there must be something like that, but I don't agree that Indians look up to Whites. I mean there is no reason to unless a White is your boss or he is an extremely good worker.

Anonymous said...

Suresh,
I completely, 1000%, agree with Bharath. Frankly, you are arguing for a normative rational society, Bharath on the other hand, & me as well, well we are ok with status quo. Yes, blacks and dark skinned people are looked down upon realtive to fair skinned ppl. Yes, tall people will be given many more chances for success than shorter people in any given corporate situation. To address your main point ie. your quest for attention from opposite sex - All things equal, a lady will prefer a secure rich tall fair guy as opposed to the opposite. No girl is going to say, ok he has no money, he is karuppu & short, but he is a fantastic social deconstructor & he can do podcast in kongu tamil, so I will chase this guy. No way! She will say fuck this shit & go with a normal regular fair guy with no major accomplishments - there is nothing you can do about this. This is reality da. Yenna panna pore nee ? Yes it is completely unfair in some sense, and if you want to find solace in social construct or Bible or some other philosophical concept you discovered day before yesterday, fine. Ten years from now, your concept would have changed & your attitude would have changed, but the reality will be the same.
Suresh, don't conflate Tamil Movie Masala with Tamil Nadu Politics with economics with religion with Dravidians with deconstruction with Bible with Ferrari Car with ... you will fucking go mad and end up in some mental institution.

Komjam relax pannunga. I really really want to talk to you over the phone and make sure you are safe and all right! I mean, don't confuse yourself machi.
Whether Suresh believes in evolution is fucking irrelevant. Does evolution believe in Suresh ? Yenna solla varen na, why are so fucking obsessed with Suresh and how others perceive Suresh, whether they are heathens or religious or fair skinned or rich or whatever. Let them have their preferences, you have yours. That is not defeatism, pls check your dictionary. If Iyer has computer let him fucking have it. Onakku yenna ? Nee venam na microscope telescope testtube yellam vaangi veetla lab setup pannu. No Iyer will stop you. Like you said, Iyer is too busy fighting caste wars on tfmpage, so nee yellam jujube.
If you really believe in evolution, well, EVOLVE! Evolve to a stage where you don't care about these fucking fair skinned computer iyer and darkie dravidian and bible thumper and social deconstructor. Evolve so they and their preferences don't matter to you. That is what Bharath has done. You want Bharath to reverse-evolve and become like Suresh and find some rational basis for everything. Not necessary. Suresh is irrelevant. So is Bharath. Adha purinjuko. You are like that Srividya in Aval Appidithaan. Better to be like Saritha & feign ignorance, because life will be much more peaceful. Srividya will spend the rest of her life doing podcasts about the evil male species, while Saritha will happily sleep with Kamal & have great sex. You tell me what matters more - Sex or Podcast ? This is why the best character in that film is Rajni. Better to openly accept you are a fucked up racist sexist MCP and live a life according to your preferences, than do bullshit things like make documentary about women's lib like Kamal, or keep whining like Srividya. It must be clear to you that Saritha is just a female Rajni. Both are saying the same thing. She says she doesn't know about women's freedom when in fact she just doesn't care, just like Rajni, who just wants to fuck women, not get to know them and their issues.

Seri idellam ok, what about the Veyil followup podcast ? First do that. Also I really need to talk to you da. Phone number post pannu, I will call you sometime. Don't take all this internet squabble seriously. Google is losing money hand over fist, only matter of time before they pull the plug on blogger and all this conversation vanishes into ether.

Babu

Suresh said...

@ Subash

I know what you are talking about. I’ve been far more cynical about these things (still am). I think cynicism is in forefront against all attempts to rationalize at least key aspects of our lives. People who know what’s rational but don’t believe any change is possible/necessary (this includes a ‘good % of me’, you and Babu). But there’s also another side of me that thinks that the attempts are, if nothing else, ‘fun’. They should be made just for the heck of it, regardless of the results. Just to diversify our intellectual pursuits.

White privilege is a very subtle invisible form of racism. It’s hard to perceive with our naked eyes. Toronto, which was thought to be devoid of racism, is one of the most racist cities in Canada. It’s hard to see it or feel it. But it exists. Several studies have shown that white graduates are 4 times more likely to get a white collar job than coloured people. The numbers are staggering in cities in Chicago. This is not something the applicants would know directly.

Indians, as a matter of fact, do look up to whites. ‘Look up to’ may not be the right term, ‘assess favorably’, ‘affable to’ etc? Of course, I’m generalizing. You don’t, I don’t, our friends don’t, but the overwhelming majority of us (in India) do.
Think about this: would a black man in Indian streets get the same treatment as a white man?
To classify broadly, we have aesthetic bias and then we have cultural bias. To think ‘black’, as a skin colour, is unpleasant or less beautiful than lighter tones, is aesthetic bias. To think ‘black’, as a member of a “race”, is violent or unclean or uneducated is cultural bias. Either way it leads to racist segregation of people.

We (again, most of us) are obsessed with light skin. Be it Indians or non-Indians. I repeat, how else you would explain all this?
“She’s getting married to this ‘fair’ boy, lucky girl!”
Or
Dark skinned? No Job! Use ‘Fairever’ – become an air hostess (or use fair and lovely – become a commentator and sit next to Shrikanth while is ogling at you).

Heck, this racist obsession is not even sexist anymore. They are selling ‘Fair and Lovely’ for men. Gender equality at last: now even men can reinforce their false insecurities.

Suresh said...

Babu,

Unfortunately, Bharath himself doesn't agree with what he said, not anymore (so one man less in your racist reactionary crowd).

I'm not arguing for a normative rational society, but a society in which rationality guides at least some of the primary aspects of one's life. Or agree that most of what they do is irrational and not try to justify it.

Don't want to believe in evolution? - fine
Don't want to believe in ‘social constructivism’? - fine
Don't want to believe that racism is a construct? - fine

Just say that "I'm a sexist irrational bigot and that's how I want to be.” I'm fine that. I'm fine as long as ignorant assholes call themselves that.
I have a problem only when they try to masquerade their no-knowing ignorant delusions as the “social reality”.

{{Yes, blacks and dark skinned people are looked down upon relative to fair skinned ppl.}} - Please don't think it's a social reality all around the world. Once was, not anymore. And it won’t be, someday, in India too.

{{No way! She will say fuck this shit & go with a normal regular fair guy with no major accomplishments - there is nothing you can do about this. This is reality da.}} – This is the reality that racist assholes know. This is the reality that they want to live in. This is the reality that they are happy with.

{{Yes it is completely unfair in some sense, and if you want to find solace in social construct or Bible or some other philosophical concept you discovered day before yesterday, fine. Ten years from now, your concept would have changed & your attitude would have changed, but the reality will be the same.}} – Babu, I know little about you, but I think you know lesser about me or anything in general. My podcasts, as open as I come across in them, don’t say who or what I am.
These are not concepts that I discovered, there is vast literature on every single word that I said. Scholars and intellectuals change the world every second. Ten years from now you’ll probably be the same patronizing racist, but the world won’t be. It may not be what I imagine it would be, but it won’t be what it is now.

I cannot believe you missed some of the concrete examples that I gave in the podcast. That’s the difference, evidently, between you and Bharath. As conservative as he sounds, he’s a reasonable guy. He changes his opinion on account of logical explanation of things. I’ll repeat the example here,
150 years ago blacks were slaves – it was the “social reality” then for over 200 years.
50 years ago blacks did not have civil liberties – it as the “social reality” then for over 300 years
What’s the “social reality” now? How did this change happen?

The “social reality” is a fluid entity that is constantly restructured by people of power in various levels. I agree, my agency is limited, my power is extremely limited, and my influence is limited even further. But in spite of all this, I have the leverage to change a little. I’m not going to say it’s for an improvement. I don’t even believe in improvement. But suffice it to say that I have the power to construct “social reality”, however fleeting and insignificant the extent is. And I’d be damned if I don’t wield it.

(And I don’t have to be afraid to say this because some random asshole will puke on this. Let him!)

{{Suresh, don't conflate Tamil Movie Masala with Tamil Nadu Politics with economics with religion with Dravidians with deconstruction with Bible with Ferrari Car with ... you will fucking go mad and end up in some mental institution.}} – Chomsky did not, Edward Said did not, Dawkins did not, Gayatri Spivak did not, and scores of scholars who think/thought a million times louder than me did not (end up in mental institutions). Given that evidence, I think that should be the least of my (and your) worries.

Have you seen the movie ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’? It’s an excellent metaphorical representation of the world as it exists. The world is a mental asylum with the wicked and powerful controlling the “insane” in inescapable cordon. The lone “sane” man finds himself locked in a place where he cannot communicate with the “insane” beyond abstract expressions and vague feelings. All his “sanity” is just another manifestation of the “insane” in the eyes of the powerful.
What am I trying to say? I’m in a mental institution already, only with wider boundaries – filled with people who I cannot communicate with (you) because they are living in the bliss of “madness”. They are even inviting me to join them (and in the movie, much against his will, he does).
But the movie also has a positive note. As with all human sensory development, his abstract expressions’ comprehension develops further in the “insane” people’s weak minds. Their thoughts widen, emotions diversify, almost threatening to overthrow authority.
(Read Foucault’s ‘Madness and Civilization’ for an elaborate discussion
Or try reading this paper)

People like Saritha or Rajini cannot keep ignoring me. They cannot keep ignoring my “conflations”. They cannot ignore them when a lone man’s “conflations” become too loud for their ear plugs, for I’m not alone, for I’ve never been alone. I’ve just joined the clan that has been carrying out this fight, if I may, since the inception of human consciousness.

{{Whether Suresh believes in evolution is fucking irrelevant. Does evolution believe in Suresh ?}} – As clever as you may think it sounds, your question makes no fucking sense.

{{Why are so fucking obsessed with Suresh and how others perceive Suresh, whether they are heathens or religious or fair skinned or rich or whatever. Let them have their preferences, you have yours. That is not defeatism, pls check your dictionary. If Iyer has computer let him fucking have it. Onakku yenna ?}} – Since you address this to my imaginary, angry friend who’s obsessed with me, I’ll let him answer this question. He makes highly hypothetical arguments, and he’s got a dirty mouth. I’m sorry about that (but, you asked for it!)

He says,
I’ll answer why I’m obsessed with Suresh if you tell me why you are obsessed with Suresh. Let Suresh have his preferences; if he wants to deconstruct and “conflate” things and “confuse” himself, let him. He wants to change things (for better or worse) because that’s what helps him sleep everyday. He finds peace in all this chaos. He enjoys pretending like an all-knowing, super-clear, post-rational intellectual. He likes playing around with smug reactionaries like you. He likes giving them ‘atomic wedgies’.

“Sex or podcast”? He is asexual; he was born without sexual organs or sexual feelings. He doesn’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. For him sex does not mean anything: for a blind man does not care if his walls are painted red or blue. So there, he just gave a big “fuck you” to you.
Being an ass as you are, you are now welcome to make fun of the blind man for not having eyes - I mean, Suresh, for not having testicles.

PS. He also wanted to quote the dictionary meaning of defeatism

defeatism n.
1an excessive readiness to accept defeat.
2conduct conducive to this.

--end of his answer –

{{Evolve to a stage where you don't care about these fucking fair skinned computer iyer and darkie dravidian and bible thumper and social deconstructor. Evolve so they and their preferences don't matter to you.}} – It’s easy for a reactionary rich white male to “evolve” to a position where others’ preferences don’t matter.
But the marginalized sections of the society can’t settle for that bullshit. They don’t have to believe that’s their “fate” – this is the Karmic doctrine that enslaved the Dalits for thousands of years. They were forced to “evolve” into voiceless low lives. They were forced to “accept” the “upper caste” assholes’ preferences. Most of them don’t believe in that bullshit anymore. Good for them.

Evolution (biological) does not make things harder for a species. What you’re suggesting is not evolution – nowhere near it. It’s delusion you’re suggesting. It’s all bliss as long the delusion lasts. Unfortunately it doesn’t.

Rajini can be an asshole because at that moment he can afford to. When he gets into an accident and gets castrated, his only source of “bliss” would be destroyed and with that his ‘assholic’ notions.

Besides, Saritha does not feign ignorance, she really is. That’s why she is “happy”. That’s why it’s not an option for us. If we feign ignorance, we’ll have to feign happiness too. And we don’t get rewarded for feigning happiness or orgasms (like a porn star). But sure, we get rewarded for feigning “we care”, so we do.

(We – self proclaimed rational, asexual, pseudo-intellectuals like me).

PS. Babu, if you were sarcastic with most of what you've said in your comment, don't take my reply seriously.
If you were serious, indeed, "evolve" yourself to believing that I never replied you.

Anonymous said...

suresh,
Good reply. Expected reply, but still, good that my expectation is satisfied :) Unakku vayasu kolaru, can't do anything about it until you grow up ( literally I mean ) by atleast one decade. Assuming blogger, you and me are all alive by then, we can take a look back and have a long laugh. If I dig out my emails from 10 years ago, I wrote the exact same shit that you have written here. You haven't gone into Bharath's brain & seen the neurons to verify if he has changed. And if he can change so easily, based on one podcast, that change is not at all reliable - he can change back based on one more podcast :) And so can I.
The funniest bit was - Scholars and intellectuals change the world every second. Perhaps you should give literature a break and take up history. Nothing has changed that much, in the relative scheme of things. We still have slavery, we just don't call it that.
All said and done, is there some way to contact you over IM/voice/chat whatever ? Not to beat you up or anything :) Just very appreciative of your tamil skills, that's all. Could do with a nice talk. Perhapds your talk could change me from racist MCP to goody goody Chomsky ultraleftist :)) That is nice bonus, consider panni paaru.
Babu ( Fair computer iyer, quite racist, sexist, whaever else )

PS you haven't really gotten Saritha's character at all, in my opinion of course. Best corollary is that girl Kamala. When Chenthil asks Kamala, nee yain ippidi irukkey ? I laughed my heart out. Fuck, it is her choice. This dude thinks he has completed some major journey from village to Kerala to Chennai. She meanwhile has stayed back in her village and gotten married and has 3 kids. What's his problem ? But one thing we should agree - Cheran is God. He has completely understood Saritha's character. Kamala is just Saritha in AvalAppidithan ripoff.

Suresh said...

Babu,

You know how irritating it is when people talk about age? Or to hear "you'll change as you grow up?" of course I will. All of us do. But there’s no reason to believe that our fundamental ideologies will change or not change. Just because you switched polar extremes, it does not mean I will do the same too. I'm not you. I don’t know what kind of experiences that you went through and how you experienced them. You might want to run through the discussion that I had here.

You see, this is exactly what I've been criticizing. Boxing and packaging people's agency, consciousness and diversity in thought processes based on yours or a weak anecdotal observation. Once again, take those intellectuals that I’ve mentioned, they started writing about what they are writing now – against authority, invisible structures – when they were in the twenties. They are still writing the same. You don’t even have to go there, take Cho (or the ‘Dravidian politicians).

I don’t have to check Bharath’s neurological response to verify if he has changed. I don’t care about what’s happening in his head. I just don’t want him to go public saying “fair skins is beautiful”. I wanted to him know that it’s a bullshit notion and people will call it out if he tries to justify it.
At least now he is one man lesser in the crowd that teaches the young ones these racist notions; one drop lesser in the fountain that poisons millions of minds.

Ever heard of the expression “a little spark triggered my enlightenment?”. That’s all it takes. (It wasn’t a podcast, at least for him, it was a 4 hour long phone call.) There are so many ideas that change because of information exposed in 5 minutes or less. That’s the difference between propaganda and truth. That’s the difference between a reasonable logical man like Bharath and you (and the person who had left the comment I quoted from podbazaar). I don’t care if you don’t change. But I’ll embarrass you by exposing your false conceptions. I’ll make your racist life hard to defend.

“Relative scheme of things” – this is such a useful tool for all wiring all kinds of logically flawed statements.

As a “part-time nihilist” I use (exploit) this argument very often, myself. But as I had pointed (in reply to Subhash), change is not necessarily what motivates intellectuals. The act - the attempt to change - is rewarding enough. It’s fun. Any outcome, good or bad, is auxillary.

And I also want to point that everything has changed in the “relative scheme of things”. I don’t want to quibble, but yeah, everything has changed. For one, we are closer to the day where there will be no fossil fuel left (which changes everything that stem further from there).

{{We still have slavery, we just don't call it that.}} – In America? You mean people like the ‘leather man’ in ‘Pulp Fiction’? You can’t be serious.
Fine, even going by your own logic - we still have slavery, we just don't call it that – isn’t that some change? The way we address something/someone is a big leap in itself. Oh man, you force to me be wordy by stating the obvious. Because, your replies sound like you don’t even agree with the obvious.

Saritha’s character appears for less than 5 minutes in the movie and says 5 words. I don’t know how many ways there are to understand her character. She doesn’t understand English, then she doesn’t get the Tamil equivalent either. I don’t know how she can “feign” ignorance here. But of course, you can use the very same thing to your favour and pull a bunny out of it. You can even say the she went to PSG tech in Coimbatore, just pretends to not understand English. There’s no way I can disprove it.

Babu, I’ll be glad to talk to you. For one it’s a lot less energy conserving. But I don’t know if I’ll have the time for another week. Why don’t leave me a mail? We can fix a time sometime next week and talk. This is my email address: englisthamil @ yahoo . com. Thanks.

Durga said...

"I have no patience to talk to idiots who think god created a man and a woman and let them fill the whole earth. Seriously, you are an idiot"

hahaha OK so in your books I'm an idiot.

damn! I was going to ask for your phone number lol
Just kidding.

Though we have different views on this matter + few other things, I still can't help but like u.
I like that u read widely and have an opinion and aren't scared to voice it.

Suresh said...

@ Durga

haha that's an easy question to answer. But hard to say it out.

For someone who talks in length about nationality, cultural identity etc., I'm surprised that you didn't try to get to the roots of all this. I don't want to make any judgments (I'm sorry if I sound like I do), but I presume that you experienced your share of racial discrimination when you were young. Or at least witness it happening to others.
Did you not think about why it was happening? or how it all started? I wouldn't ask this question to just any coloured person; but because you talk about these things in your blog, because you are conscious about these things, I'm somewhat perplexed.

Yes, Durga I do read widely, because every little thing that disturbs me will disturb me further until I get to know a very reasonable explanation for it. I cannot, as Babu and you seem to have, settle for the simplest answers - like, "that's the way things are" or "God made it like that." Especially if I have access to that information.

What's the point in living a democratic country if you don't even read what's out there for free? What's the difference between us and the millions of Chinese teens who don't know anything about the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident? We criticize Chinese (govt) for obstructing information to its citizens while we obstruct ourselves from knowing anything that will change our current belief system.

But no! I will not, even in my wildest dreams, imagine that "people of faith" will just start reading about these and things leave their faith. No. If only it is so easy, if only they were so open, if only they were so critical.

Anyway, I don’t let any of it stop me from being friendly with them. I have friends who are religious. Just that I’ve argued with them so much that they are scared to bring that topic when I’m around (which is a very good step towards change :p). I call them my “idiot friends” and they call me their “dickhead friend”. I’m pleased that you haven’t called me that :)). Cheers

Durga said...

Suresh, I agree with u wholeheartedly that there are some....or many who profess to have faith in God and state and settle for "that's the way things are", "it's fate", "it's how God intended it to be". But I am not one of those people.
I do have faith in God, but I like to think that I understand God in a different way to these people. I think it is much easier to blame God than to blame ourselves or our ancestors for the way things are in the world. I think that's why many people choose to do this.
There are so many people of faith who feel it's better to avoid any confrontation or stimulation or emotion by having and professing your opinion than to learn something new, get up and change things around them.
People of power have made some really crappy choices, and still are which impact millions of other people all over the world in ways that may not be so obvious. i.e US Administration blah blah.
I believe that we have free agency/ choice...I believe that u are as good as dead when you are ignorant to things around you and live for yourself.
But let me leave that for some other time.
As a person of colour (a “Curry” person) ...and of one who believes in God ...I don't feel that God has done stuff to make things harder for dark/ethnic people. I believe PEOPLE have made things harder for me in the name of religion, God, culture, nationality etc. I know God believes in equality between colours and races etc etc because I have feel that in things of creation. I cannot accept all of science's answers. A few hundred years ago the earth was flat, a few months ago Pluto was a planet. I strongly believe that there are things that we as humans don't understand yet and there is a God (not a puppeteer) who is greater than us.
Coming back to colour and equality and the Blacka nd White issue....in this changing world of territorial imperialism to economic imperialism....those in the top end...those in the majority making decisions on behalf of the rest of the world in the 1st world are WHITE. Though there are millions of coloured people in the world....we are mostly stuck in 3rd world countries...and globalisation, capitalism and democracy is shoved down our throats (like steak down a baby's throat) and we sell out to racism, sexism, sovereignty and pieces of paper called UN charters and international law so that we might live another day.
Suresh, the difference between some people of faith u've met and me is that I don't pray to God to change things for me/ the world....I pray for the spiritual guidance so that I can work to become that change, toward that change. I know somethings seem impossible but is life worth living without challenges? My religion and belief in God is a lifestyle choice, it's not imposed upon me by charismatic men in robes but found through close study, pondering and personal choice to take up certain rules to live a life that meets certain ideals.
I am not one of those Arunthathy Roy's or Rotary Club members. Neither am I striving to be Gandhi or Mandela or whoever. I'm trying to get my head around the world, live a standard life, enjoy my youth but not waste it on just gaining theory and material things.
There is one thing I wish to overcome and that is to stop being a hypocrite. If I am to tell someone to believe in something- I want to be that working example. I want my faith to be a contemporary working model not a theory in dusty old books.

It's way late. I probably don't make sense. I need a nap.

:)

Priya said...

Suresh,

I think you have probably read the book, The God Delusion? It's a really good book to read. And I think those believers who read these books will soon become a non-believer. The book is really fantastic in explaining how religion has caused a lot of problems and why we can still be "good" without religion.

You have put really good points down here to read. Not only in the conversation itself, but also in this comments page. It'll take me more than a day to read all this and fully understand them:P

Suresh said...

@ Durga
{{A few hundred years ago the earth was flat, a few months ago Pluto was a planet. I strongly believe that there are things that we as humans don't understand yet and there is a God (not a puppeteer) who is greater than us.}} - The Earth was flat only for the Europeans. Not for Indians (we even had a very good measure of Earth's circumference as early as the 4th century AD).
The Earth was flat for the Europeans because the Bible said so (and still says so). It changed when the scientific method got solidified. About pluto - it's the terminology that was called in to question not the existence or the absence of the object in question. Bu you know what? Never mind.

@

No, Priya. I'm yet to read the book (it's been off the shelf since it got to the library :p). But I heard it's mostly a consolidation of some of the articles he had written after his last book and bits and pieces of his speeches.
Yeah I have said more that what was probably sufficient. But it's ok, I'll use it in my other posts.

Zero said...

----------------
Don't want to believe in ‘social constructivism’? - fine
Don't want to believe that racism is a construct? - fine

Just say that "I'm a sexist irrational bigot and that's how I want to be.”
----------------

Suresh, I think rationality/belief is irrelevant to your implication. A non-racist or a non-sexist doesn't necessarily have to believe/understand/agree that racism is a construct or believe in social constructivism. One can just be. (If it's about one being irrational or ignorant in not believing in these constructs, it's a different matter.)

Suresh said...

Zero,

True. It was a contextual implication. If a racist/bigot/aesthetically biased person does not show any signs of approving rationally backed notion of what constitutes racism etc., what else can you say?

Zero said...

Because, I don't believe in those constructs per se, nor its contrary, myself!

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