Monday, July 6, 2015

The Map Problem:

In my previous article I mentioned regarding a dearth of writing from certain perspectives. If someone asked me what my perspective was, I would be tempted to reply "Hindu Civilizational Perspective", and yet it remains fuzzy. What is HCP? Is there one and unique HCP? Such issues prop up. It is also true that it is arduous to define HCP.

Recently I came across a quote, attributed to one Chief Justice P. B. Gajendragadkar. Please read the quote before proceeding. I twitted:

The Judge erred in the final sentence. It should be: "It is a way of life, and Much More." : Dakshinamurthy.

I wonder why such  errors happen, that is, why do Hindu intellectuals traverse a valuable path and then suddenly falter or dither. I want to share my current understanding of the situation.

Here I place before you two pictures, each purporting to be a map. For convenience you can assume one to be map-A and the other to be map-B. Now, notice that there are various roads shown in both maps.



Now I ask you a simple question, which road will take you to your destination? Can you answer it? Don't jump to a conclusion, please think slowly, carefully, and coolly. Further, if I told you that you need to take some particular road (say, some specified route), will you accept my answer? Again, please don't jump to a conclusion. Please read the preceding paragraph, and this paragraph, and think a while. These are not difficult questions, but take some time to think.

I am assuming you have indeed taken some time.

Now, as one tries to answer the said questions, one realizes that one needs additional information. For example:
1. Where am I? Where will my location (call it point S) appear on map-A and/or map-B?

2. Where do I want to go? Where will my destination (call it point D) appear on map-A and/or map-B?

If it turns out that both my starting point and my destination point are on the same map (whether A or B), the task becomes much easier. However, the moment it turns out that my starting point and my destination points are on different maps (one on map-A, and the other on map-B), we run into further complexities.
Further assume that neither map, shows its scale or its compass. The language and naming is disparate too. So what do we do? How do we go about finding an answer for ourselves?

We at once realize that we need a larger map which can place both the maps into one with appropriate scaling and directions. Then, and only then, can we hope to answer for ourselves. Now imagine what happens when we want to depict our geographical-social-political-cultural-civilizational condition/situation rather than mere geographical location. Doesn't the problem get much more complex?

Now I present to you my bigger hypothesis. I believe that we suffer from an even more complicated problem. In our present case, we in fact have three maps. Say, map-A, map-B, and map-C. Let us assume that they correspond to our historical situation (pre-Buddhism/Jainism etc.), present situation (Secularism, Democracy, etc.), and our desired situation in the future, that is our destination.

I also say that most of the terminology in present use is somewhat accurate to describe only a part of the picture of our present situation, that is map-B (not even where we ARE on map-B). About maps A and C, we have much less accurate depictions, and even these are often clouded by either fancy or prejudices. The difficulty is compounded by the limitations and constraints of the usage of the present day terms.

While the situation is so complex, our leaders (thought-leaders, political-leaders, etc.) are self-assuredly telling us that they have unambiguous and guaranteed-to-work solution to our problem. [Recall that the problem is: Where are we, and where do we want to go?] Why are the leaders promoting dubious solutions with great confidence? Doesn't that baffle you? It does me! And yet, we must not be averse to supposing simple and straight explanations, viz., they, many if not all, could be so selfish and short-sighted that they just don't care.

In my opinion, unless we address this map problem sufficiently, we will remain confused.

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