Democracy: Utopia or Not? – The Debate

Before You Begin Read the Prelude here

Screenshot-2018-2-18 (10) How to recognize a dystopia - Alex Gendler - YouTube

Socrates compared democracy to a ship going on a voyage.

He argued, if you were to decide upon a captain of the ship, then how would you decide? Would you let anyone decide or perhaps, someone educated in the rules and demands of seafaring? Obviously, someone educated.

Vote

Then why do we think any odd person is fit to judge, who should be the ruler. Afterall, Voting is a skill unto itself, that should be taught systematically. If we let the masses vote without proper education, then they may very well, end up electing an imp as the captain of a ship heading into a storm.

But this doesn’t necessarily imply that only a select few should ever vote, instead only those who have thought about it rationally and deeply should vote. As it is written in arthashastra “One should not listen to the advice given by those ignorant of the science.”. Afterall there’s a distinction between intellectual democracy and democracy by birthright. A right which we have granted to all without thinking of the wisdom because we considered democracy as an unambiguous good, rather than something that is only ever good as the education system that surrounds it.

For example, if there were two candidates, a doctor, and a sweet seller. The seller would pitch “The doctor hurts you, gives you bitter potions and tells you what not to eat, He will never serve you feasts like me.”. Do you think the doctor will be able to defend himself by speaking the truth because the truth, “I hurt you to help you.” will cause an uproar.

Chanakya said, “A Nation is not built on good intentions. It is built on the knowledge, wisdom, and expertise of its leaders.”

And when we think about it, people rarely give time to think carefully and rationally before voting. They tend to go with populist opinions, not merit. As a result, we elected far too many sweet shop owner than doctors. These rabble-rousers eventually wreak fear above all, giving way to demagoguery. Demagogue’s who seek to exploit the fundamental weakness of democracy, its people.

How to Spot a Demagouge

  1. Look for these keywords in their speech :

    1. We can’t afford to wait or now is the time or we cannot wait for a discussion
    2. It’s a fact not a theory
    3. Tax breaks for the rich
    4. We have to change or make fair or “fairness” used in almost any context
    5. Healthcare/housing/food is a right, not a privilege
    6. We must take action now for those whom society has left behind
  2. They avoid using scientific arguments
  3. Try to win the sympathy of the audience by displaying emotional oratory and personal charisma, convincing people that they know what troubles them.
  4. Without any care for truth, they use plausible reasoning and Gross oversimplification to impress their audience
  5. They promise to make you happy by promising the impossible
  6. Personal insults and ridicule opponents, accusing them of weakness and disloyalty

They whip up the passions of the crowd by advocating immediate and forceful actions. Usually immediately without deliberations and self-restraint, shutting down reasoned deliberations to quickly sweep into power. And, bamboozled by their claims of representing the common people, the uninformed, ignorant, naive and beholden for easy answers, crowd ends up idolizing them. Revearing them as kings with heredity heirs; Heirs who are elected without deliberations or due-diligence.

Power

Plato said, “The world will not be right until kings, politicians, and voters become philosophers.”

But, even if politicians and voters become philosophers, they will still bow to the whims of power. After all, power determines who gets to determine the rules of the game. Though in a democracy power resides with the people; but when we really dig into it, who really has it seems dirty and almost evil; because what one wants to do with power depends upon how adept they are with power. Power is not about strategy or purpose; it’s about character and benefits because power begets more power. Power is not merely a means to get the community or state to make choices and actions that you want but without power, you can affect nothing.

We always consider power only comes from force or money. But it also comes from social norms or what other people think is okay. Such power is subtle and without a centralized machinery. It operates peer to peer and can certainly make people change behavior as well as laws [e.g: old segregation laws in USA or laws on homosexuality in India].

It’s true that in a well-designed democracy power is fractured among many. The power, taken not with force but with words by persuading thousands or millions of citizens, to if not like you, at least like you better than the alternatives. Yet, the source of this power, “the citizens” are not considered as individuals with individual desires, instead as blocks with different agendas, desires, and motivations. Block that the elected can reward as a group or blocks, who with their money or influence or favors can keep them in power. Why? do you think, democracies have wildly complicated laws and tax codes? These are no accident they are so to reward the blocks that get and keep the ruling representatives in power. Do you think subsidies have anything to do with the money, food or nations needs? If so, then why do countries where subsidized fractions, like farmers, votes don’t swing elections, don’t have subsidies. In fact in democracies, political minorities are always oppressed by the tyranny of the majority. For instance, as younger citizens don’t vote, even if large in number. They for all practical purposes are irrelevant to gaining power, so rarely any rewards are flung towards them.

Keys to Power

Once a party is chosen to power it’s longevity depends on the balance of power amongst their key players. The balance that can be maintained, by making it easier for their supporters to vote and harder for others; or by passing laws to favor their supporters and dilute others. Though it may seem implausible that rulers in democracy would need favors, other than those of citizens to be in power. But remember the players needed to choose, and those needed to rule or to be in power are totally different. As far as democracies are concerned, there are mainly three types of players; those who have the right to vote but not choose, aka the interchangeable; those who actually choose the leaders, aka the influentials; and finally, those on whose support the survival of the leaders depends, aka essentials.

Leaders must forge symbiotic relations within all three because more often than not, their money, influence, and favors keep them in power. After all, politics is nothing but politicians, trying to survive by hook or crook. Even if certain actions by ruling parties look altruistic [Demonetization in India, 2016] while, others contradictory and stupid [100% FDI or GST in India], but their job isn’t to have a consistent understandable ruling policy, instead to balance the interests of their keys to power, big and small. They can’t just promise to give them treasures directly, but they sure do create loopholes for their investments [2G Spectrum Auctions, India: $27 billionRef, The Rafale Deal, India :$162 millionRef] pass laws that they’ve written or print get-out-of-jail-free cards. They may not hande over a wheelbarrow of gold to their doors but, at least contracts for their business.

Since the real selectorate [influentials] is almost the same as the nominal selectorate [interchangables], and the coalition [essentials] pool is large, rulers in a democracy have to balance between social responsibilities and individual liberties such as education, healthcare, and a welfare safety net to benefit their supporters. And you thought, the leader cared about social justice and welfare out of the goodness of their hearts?

Well, actually they don’t. The truth is, the more productive citizens are, the larger is the treasure for representatives, and their supporters to loot from. But despite democratic representatives cutting into public funding, democracies are far better places to live than dictatorships. Not because democratic representatives are better people but because their needs happen to align with the larger portion of the population. After all, things that make the citizens more productive, also make the lives of their leaders better. Therefore they build universities, hospitals, highways and grant freedom. Whereas the incentives in a dictatorship are aligned with the fewest citizens, who are the keys to power, making them the worst to live in. For instance, all dictatorships have something in common, that is their wealth is mostly dug out of the ground, like gold or oil or diamonds or similar., which can be exploited even with dying slaves or foreign companies without any citizen involvement. So, with the citizens, outside the production cycle, they can be ignored by the rulers.

Threshold

To understand, what separates democracy from dictatorship, we must understand why only the best & smartest democracies and the worst & richest dictatorships are stable.

The best democracies are stable, not because a large number of supporters and their competing desires make dictatorial revolt impossible. But because such revolt would destroy the very wealth it intends to capture. The more educated and freer citizens of democracy understand the fact that, once a dictator is in power he is very much likely to cull key supporters of the coup. So, these potential supporters must weigh the probability of surviving the cull and getting the rewards versus the risk of being on the wrong side. Which is a terrible gamble, as they already have the resources and freedoms that people lack in other regimes, so why risk it [e.g: Turkey’s failed coup].

The more the wealth of a nation comes from its productive citizens the more the power is spread out. So, the ruler must maintain the quality of life for its citizens if he wants to remain in power. But, if the same democracy becomes very poor or a resource that dwarfs the productivity of its citizens is found then the odds change making it possible for a small group to seize power [e.g: zimbabwe]. You see, democracies fail not because some men are monsters while others merciful; after all, no king can be good, kind or glorious if his subjects are poor but because states don’t have interests, people do. Everything in politics, from war to foreign aid to political dynasties to corruption is about survival and power.

Resource-Rich dictators build roads only from their ports to the resources and from their palace to the airport and the people stay quiet. Not because this is fine or even because they’re scared, but because starving disconnected and illiterate don’t make good revolutionaries [e.g: North Korea, Iraq]. Whereas a middling dictator without resources has to take a large amount of wealth directly from his poor citizens, so he must maintain some minimums of life for the citizens. And keeping them somewhat connected and somewhat educated and somewhat healthy makes them more able to revolt [look at the two Congo’s in africa].

But understand this, people storming the gates and overthrowing their overlords is fantasy because people never replace the king, the court replaces the king using the people’s protest. The only reason people storm the palace and remove dictators is that the army lets them because the leader has lost control over his keys and is being replaced. In fact in almost all cases of revolts [like in middle east = Arab Spring] dictators were replaced with someone same if not worse, often ending in a stronger ruler less likely to build bridges and more loyal to his keys who put him there [e.g: Iran].

Conclusion

Agreed, there is no “perfect democracy”, and democracies have their strong and weak points, but in comparison to other regime types, democracies tend to provide the most checks on the authority of government while providing the most protection of the civil rights and liberties of individuals. For rulers come in many forms and the rules of politics apply to all and explain their actions and If you ever want the change you dream about, then you cannot ignore structures of power because without power you can affect nothing.

All in all, you be the judge, whether a democracy is a utopia or not? One man’s utopia can be someone’s dystopia, aptly portrayed in 1997 – Gattaca and 2002 – Equilibrium. We the citizens of the democracy do enjoy many liberties but are much more ignorant of the power structures and laws that govern them. The book: “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics” if not the best, one of the best books on politics. I have got an audiobook if you want you too can download it from here.

Reference :

  1. Socrates : The School of Life
  2. Power : Ted-Ed
  3. Rules for Rulers : CPGrey
  4. The Dictator’s Handbok by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, Alastair Smith
  5. How to Spot a Demagouge

 

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झूठ, और उन झूठों को बोलने वाले झूठे

झूठ, और उन झूठों को  बोलने वाले झूठे
हम क्यों झूठ बोलते हैं?

यद्यपि झूठ को असहमति के साथ देखा जाता है और एक सामाजिक बुराई के रूप में माना जाता है, लेकिन झूठ निश्चित रूप से सामाजिक और जीवन के भौतिक पहलुओं का एक अभिन्न अंग है। समय के साथ, हम इंसानों ने इसे कला में रूपांतरित कर दिया है, कई अलग व्यक्तित्वों और रूपों वाले बहुमुखी कला में।

हालांकि हमारे पास लाखों बनावटी तथा छद्म-स्पष्टीकरण हैं कि हम झूठ क्यों बोलते हैं, लेकिन यह सब एक ही सार्वभौमिक सच्चाई पर आकर रुक जाते हैं और वह है कि हम महत्व की हमारी भावना को बढ़ाने के लिए झूठ बोलते हैं। हम उन चीज़ों को प्राप्त करने के लिए झूठ बोलते हैं जिन्हें अन्यथा इनकार किया जाएगा, हम सजा से बचने के लिए झूठ बोलते हैं, या शायद हम झूठ बोलते हैं क्योंकि हमें काल्पनिक से तथ्य का भेद नहीं पता।
झूठ का जो कुछ भी कारण हो, एक बात एक संदेह की छाया से परे है, हालांकि हम निश्चित रूप से हमेशा सच्चाई जानते हैं, जानते हैं कि सच्च क्या है और झूठ क्या परन्तु झूठ सभी मानव घटनाओं में इतना प्रचलित हो गए हैं कि लोगों को सबसे अधिक विरोधाभासी झूठों के लिए भी सरल स्पष्टीकरण मिल गयें हैं। झूठ का तथ्यों के विरूपण के साथ कुछ भी लेना-देना नहीं है, अपितु मानव भावनाओं और गर्व से सब कुछ है। झूठ तो असल में अहंकार और आत्ममोह का प्रतिबिंब है। लोग हमेशा, राजनेताओं और प्रचारकों को झूठ का प्रतीक मानते हैं, लेकिन क्या यह पक्षपाता नहीं ? आख़िरकार झूठ तो सभी बोलतें हैं ।
यूँ तो झूठ की अपनी कोई विशेषता नहीं होती ,लेकिन इसे झूठ बोलनेवाले की विशेषताओं द्वारा आसानी से पचाना जा सकता है। और शयद इसीलिए हमनें झूठ को नहीं, बल्की झूठों को वर्गीकृत किया है।
हमारे पास हैं :-
कुख्यात झूठे : जो झूठ को सच्चाई की जगह पारित करने के ईमानदार प्रयासों के बावजूद, अपनी घृणित प्रतिष्ठा से ही जानें जाते हैं। ये सिर्फ़ एक अजनबी को ही बेवकूफ़ बना सकते हैं, परन्तु वो भी लंबे समय तक नहीं।
माँझे हुए झूठे: इन्होंने झूठ बोलने की कला में महारथ हासिल की है। ये अव्वल दर्जे के और सहजवृत्ति वाले झूठे होते हैं, यह असंभव है कि कोई भी इनके जैसी निपूर्णता के साथ झूठ बेल सके। इनके झूठों को हमेशा सफलता का ताज पहनाया जाता हैं, क्योंकि ये अपने शब्दों से किसी भी श्रोता को मंत्रमुग्ध कर सकते हैं। श्रोता जाने-अनजाने में इनके हर झूठ को सत्य के सुसमाचार के तैर पर में मान लेते हैं।
छंटे हुए झूठे : झूठ से इनको अभेद्य प्रेम तथा एक प्रकार की अपरिहार्य दासता है। इनके झूठों को अकसर पकड़ा जा सकते हैं, इसके बावजूद झूठ बोलतें हैं।
कट्टर झूठे : ये आदत के जीव हैं। अब झूठ न बोलना सीखना इनके लिए बहुत मुश्किल है। झूठ ने अपनी जड़ों को गहराई तक मजबूती से बांटा है, जो की इनकी आदत का रूप ले चुकी है। उनके लिए झूठ बोलना सुबह की चाय या कॉफी और टोस्ट लेने जैसा है ।
जन्मजात झूठे: इनका मिथ्याकरण का इतना लंबा इतिहास है कि कोई नीसंदेह कह सकता है, की जब ये अपनी मां के गर्भ में पुनर्वास कर रहे थे तब इनका उपाध्यक्ष शुरू हुआ। दूसरे शब्दों में, और प्रभाव के लिए अतिशयोक्ति का उपयोग करते हुए आप कह सकते हैं की ये अपने जन्म के क्षण से झूठ बोल रहे हैं।
झूठ के आदी झूठे: इन्हें कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता, ये कभी भी झूठ बोलना बंद नहीं करते। लोग अवसरों पर या अक्सर विशेष कारणों से झूठ बोलते हैं, लेकिन ये लगातार झूठ बोलते हैं, कभी-कभी या कभी-कभी नहीं, अधिक से अधिक झूठ बोलते हैं।
तर्कहीन झूठे : इन्हे एक आजीब बीमारी है। इनको सच्च और झूठ के बीच के अंतर की चिंता नहीं होती , और न ही ये तथ्यों को फंतासी से अलग करने के लिए परेशान होते हैं। वास्तव में, इनका झूठ बोलना एक लाइलाज़ बीमारी की तहर है , जिसको किस भी एंटीबायोटिक या दवा से ठीक नहीं किया जा सकता।
निर्लज्ज झूठे : ये बेशरम होते हैं, इनके लीए इन्हें मायने नहीं रखता, कि इनके झुठों के कारण निर्दोष पीड़ितों को क्या-क्या झेलना पड़ता हैं। इन्हें तो इसका पछतावा तक नहीं होता। पूरी तरह से बेईमान, इन वक्तियों से घुलना-मिलना खतरनाक होता हैं।
निपुण झूठे: इनके पास एक जीवंत कल्पनाशक्ति और लप-लपाती ज़ुबान होती है , ये तथ्यों को आसानी से तोड़-मरोड़ लेते हैं मनो जैसे अपना नाम कह रहें हों। हालांकि ऐसा नहीं है की इनका झूठ हमेशा पकड़ा नहीं जाता पर, फ़िर भी, इनकी हर बात को हमेशा संदेह से देखा जाता है। ये इतने हाज़िर ज़वाब होते हैं की अक्सर इनके उत्तरों को सच मानने में कठनाई होती है। भले ही आप इनके झुठों को तुरंत पकड़ लें, परन्तु आप पिछले बुरे अनुभव से यह जानते हैं की, जब ये बात कर रहें हो तो महत्वपूर्ण संकायों को निलंबित नहीं करना चाहिए। यूँ तो लोग इनकी चुस्त बुद्धिमत्तता की प्रशंसा करते हैं लेकिन इनको हमेशा संदेहास्पद स्वरों से ही सुनते हैं।
झूठ कैसा भी हो, वे बुरा ही है, और अक्सर अन्य लोगों के लिए हानिकारक होते हैं, परन्तु कभी-ना-कभी किसी विशेष रूप में आप पर भी खतरनाक प्रभाव दाल सकता है। अच्छे में अच्छा, यदि आपके झूठ को पकड़ लिया जाए तो केवल आपको कुछ शर्मिन्दगी भुगतनी पड़ती है। जबकि बुरे में बुरा, यदि आपको अपने धोखे में सफलता मील जाये तो पर भी, आपके चरित्र की ही विकृत होती है और ऊसूलों को छत्ती पहुँचती है।
संक्षेप में, सभी झूठ हानिकारक हैं, पर ये अनैतिकता से कम नहीं। यदि आप इनमें से किसी एक तरह के भी झूठे हैं, तो भी आपके सभी झूठ –  निन्दनीय, अनुमानीत , पूर्वनिर्धारित, नीस्नेह और जानबूझे हैं।
झूठों का वर्गीकरण वर्ड पावर नोर्मन लुईस, 1 9 4 9 [आईएसबीएन: 8183071007], से प्रेरित

 

What is Life? 2.0

What is Life? 2.0
What is life? Isn’t it an abyss full of unrealized dreams and shattered hopes. You may spend an eternity, it’s improbable that you will ever be able to comprehend its grandness or the sheer scale of it. Even if you have the courage to scale its depths to piece together those shattered hopes and unrealized dreams, it will still be an incongruous endeavor.

Nothing matters, you will always remain insouciant and capitulated in a quotidian disarray praying, maybe the next day will better than today. The more you will try, the harder it will become, to end this perpetual commotion and slumber of thoughts or to gaze into that rabbit hole. In fact, a will of steel and wit of a child is needed, to even garner courage of peeping into that bleak hole.
Your inner-voice keep on saying, not to get too bothered, but the bickering world never stops meddling, unless you jump into this chasm. But, the moment you leap over the ledge and plunge into this darkness, a never-ending stream of thoughts overwhelms you. And suddenly you realize that this realm of darkness is not all black, but there’s something to it that is surreal, almost dreamlike.
A dream from which you don’t want to wake up. Though the sense of euphoria accompanying this endless emptiness feels almost haunting and you think maybe you were content without exploring, but in reality, you were much more curious than a 2-year-old child. The adrenaline rush now fuels your inner self to go deeper. And as you go deeper you become more conscious and confident that you are the king of this realm, all you had to do, was try, try what nobody ever tried. The moment you realize this, you will see the darkness giving way to light, and there’s a mirror at the bottom of this never ending Abyss.
It’s you looking at yourself staring at the skies, from the bottom of a well. Staring at a vanilla sky full of hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
Read the original here : What is Life

What is Excitement

The anticipation of something new or unknown is always much more euphoric than that thing itself. Your imagination goes into a frenzy, painting vivid and ebullient pictures of the events about to unfold. You feel giddy, butterflies start titillating your innermost desires, enticing feelings like that, of a new love or the passion of a consummated one. Summoning emotions that transcend mendacity of this pretentious world, absolving you of your dark desires. Yielding an amalgamation of thoughts with emotions & desires that elates you into a trans, as if you have achieved nirvana and are ready to ascend to a final abode.

Excitement is a drug so powerful that even morphine seems like an overrate artisanal water. The whirlwind of thoughts, comotion of emotions and beguilement of desires, that it entrails are like the ubiquitous longing of a chronic methhead. You start contemplating the improbable; imploring to elements to incite time dilation. So, that you can have both the physical and the metaphysical experiences at once.

Though it is hard to comprehend or possibly explain such longings. Perhaps our inner child could explain it as we adults are overly-cautious and intensely disturbed about the directions of our own thrills. Unfortunately and Ironically, the baroque explanations pulled from deepest childhood memories, are so odd to ourselves, that we unwittingly try to repress them.

Enthusiasms arising from excitement is so overwhelming that we thwart for in its obviation. This may sound odd but this enthusiasm is in fact motivated by a search for extrication of truth and eloquence. It not only paints a utopian perspective of things about to unfold but, also provides solutions to the thing we fear; making us feel more at ease, more relaxed and true to ourselves.

What is Altruism ?

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Altruism is not for those who are inherently perfect nor is it for those trying to be perfect. Altruism is for those who show disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of other or for those who believe in doing the selfless deed without ranting about it to the entire world. It is all about being magnanimous, showing benevolence and performing self-sacrifice.

But tell me, have you ever found a deed that is selfless or magnanimous. It doesn’t matter whether you are a saint or an ordinary man. Some way or other your altruistic instincts are always fed by the hunger for glory or fame. Whether consciously or unconsciously, it is this thirst for glory and fame that is steering you towards generosity and bounteousness.

In fact, the entire premise of altruism is fueled by the insecurities and paranoia instilled by religion over the centuries. Take away the premise of heavenly adobe or nirvana and poof goes the concept into the thin air. Even Atheist, heathens and agnostics are no better than theist or deist. The atheists may not believe in God or religion but they sure do believe in making a name for themselves in history.

Just think about it, If people donate for the construction of churches, temples or mosque they are glorified for generosity and poise. But wouldn’t it would have been same if they just burnt that money on a pyre. There are far more important issues in this world than making a glorified hall for someone whose very existing is questionable.

This society condemns philanthropy by labeling it as a means to rinse one’s sin. But why the heck does it forgets to look at a mirror when it does the same every day. You or me paying a beggar is not altruism at the very best it’s egotism.

People act for many reasons; but for whom, or what, they act or should act is immaterial. No individual can ever act only according to his or her own interests without regard for others nor can they ever truly act for others in complete disregard for his or her own interests.

In fact, a person’s acts are determined by prior events; essentially taking away the concept of choice. But as it turns out in the grand scheme of things, a person obviously possesses some control over his or her next action. So, morally speaking, the ideals of altruism or egotism or egoism are illogical. One should pursue their own interests but without disregard to others’ interest and to an extent which is praiseworthy when compared to self-regarding acts.

The definitions in case you were wondering:
Heathens: Those who don’t adhere to a widely held religion (pagans)
Theist: believes in God but does not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, nor in a divine revelation
Deist: believes in God but does not believe in his superintendence and government, not in the doctrine of the trinity or divine revelation.
Agnostic: believes only what is knowable.

 

 

Spirituality and India

What is spirituality?

Its was an alien concept in India, Only the west knew spirituality. The word spirituality was defined by Christians. India never wanted spirituality.
All india wanted was to be a salve to dharma a concept far boarded and complex then spirituality.
Dharma a 1000’s of years old concept that almost per-dates religion itself or say spirituality.
Yes! dharma is not religion. Its more a way of life or perhaps a pathway that leads to a peaceful of life.
This concept was lost somewhere along the history. Now a days spirituality starts with money and ends with money.
We have some how got it mixed with the ridiculous notion that listening to hypocrite and god-men rant random verses from books of wisdom is spirituality.
Spirituality is not something you can earn its something that can only be experienced. You cannot share it nor can you preach it.
Yes indeed, India or for that matter the entire world lacks spirituality. We have polluted it with religion and terms like self-discovery.
Spirituality is more about self-belief, awareness and empathy.

What makes life worthwhile 

Be humble to your present, modest about your past but always, always be hopeful of future. Being alive itself is worthwhile, so why bother with the charade of the perpetual motion of the social or religious norms. Just respect what you have today and aim to maintain the same if for some reason you are unable to add-on to it. People say life is a gift but i have always believed it’s lottery. Be thankful to the tide of time for it has brought you to the shore in-spite of the entire universe conspiring against it.
It doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the throne because one victory doesn’t make you a conqueror. As, dharmic philosophy says “glory is only once but karma is forever.” So, to make life worthwhile to live try to conquer your fears and conjure courage to undertake deeds not for glory but to quench cosmic karma.