What is wrong with the Western political class?

I came across an article that I thought had many important insights about the Western political establishment. Here are some excerpts:

Excerpt 1:
A breakdown of diplomacy doesn’t quite describe how bad things have become. The behavior of US and European leaders has become increasingly unhinged and any semblance of rationality has been abandoned. It is impossible to listen to western leaders without coming to the conclusion that something is very wrong. Firstly, they seem to have created an upside-down fantasy world where Freudian projection rules and opponents are demonized. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are both Satan himself, Russia is still losing, and the West is still almighty – as well as the pinnacle of justice, freedom, democracy and culture. Secondly, they can’t seem to be able to open their mouths in public without insulting the non-western world.

Excerpt 2:
You can’t just hire anyone [to be part of the political elite] for a cultural and literal genocide and there aren’t really many options. You could seek out psychopaths but you might have loyalty problems with them, and strangely, some of them actually have principles. What you need is a person who likes, or even needs to force his will upon others and interfere with their lives. You need a person who has unwavering zeal for the cause and is incapable of backing down. You need a person who can rationalize any actions while not being affected by them. You need a person who can be brainwashed and controlled like a trained monkey. You need a person who can destroy his own home without realizing what he is doing. You need a narcissist. . . . But what are narcissists and why are they ideal for the demolition work on western societies? A narcissist is a person with self-awareness so low that he can’t develop a self-identity without the help of others – and who has been told that he is better and/or smarter than others. On top of that, he has high emotional neediness and dependence on others.

Excerpt 3:
The Ukraine war and the loss of control over the non-western world have caused economic chaos in the West – which will be followed by social chaos. This is bringing the whole house of cards down far too fast and they [political elites] fear they might lose control. They need to react and solve those problems – but they don’t know how – because they are incompetent. All these challenges and failures are causing their models of self to be challenged, which has serious emotional consequences for them – so they escalate on every level. They shout at people, insult people, make up delusional explanations, and then retreat into absolute denial. Everybody can see this – including the leaders of the non-western world. Nobody wants to talk to our political elites these days, because a narcissist who is losing control is not pleasant to be around.

(The full post is available at:

Ideas On Detoxification

I met some distant relatives for the first time recently and was pleasantly surprised to see that although they were almost 50 years old, they were healthy and happy and vitally alive. It made me realise what a strange world we live in, where, if you are a working person, you get progressively unwell as you age. By the time you retire from your job, you are a slave to various unhealthy habits and usually to medicines with multiple unknown side effects. To me one of the main side effects of modern work-life seems to be a loss of vitality, as if we were patients forever stuck in a hospital ward. I have my life markers more or less under control and cannot remember the last time I had an allopathic medicine, but I also feel the loss of vitality that seems to naturally accompany modern life. It is almost like whatever I eat or breathe in or think about or get entertained with is slowly poisoning me. Slowly draining the life away from me like a dripping tap that cannot be closed.

What is it that we can do? I can talk about what I do and what I think helps me and perhaps you can share what your practices are to keep mentally and physically healthy in a world bent on making everyone ill. The following is my incomplete list:

– I make it a point to walk outside in the sun as much as I can. A day when I miss walking in the sun, I consider a wasted day in which I have become a little less well than I was in the morning.

– When I feel that I have become poisoned with too much food over many days or months, I cut down drastically on my food intake and I make strict rules for recovering from the poisoning that I inflicted on myself.

– I am superstitious about missing my Pranayama practice. It feels like the poisoning that happens everyday gets partly reversed with this practice. At least it feels like that to me.

– And this may seem a little far-fetched but I was thinking that having a deep dialogue, a samvaad, with another human being also falls in the category of something that makes us less poisoned. By samvaad I mean an exchange where there is careful, respectful listening and a contemplative, authentic, tentative response, ideally based on personal experience.

– This brings me to the last point I wanted to make here about paying attention to the world around us (people, trees, birds, insects, animals, buildings… everything) and seeing the beauty and sacredness inherent in all of it. I think when we achieve a small part of this, we break free from much of the poison spread by modernity.

I will conclude this post here and request you to add your comment about your experience and what practices work for you. Thanks in advance.

The Myth of Disenchantment

‘The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences’ is a 2017 book by Jason Ananda Josephson Storm, a professor of religion at Williams college. The book argues that even in the West, the epicentre of the project of modernity, evidence does not support that magic and enchantment have been banished.

The following excerpts will give an idea about the thesis.

Excerpt 1:

Paris, 1907. Marie Curie sat in the sumptuous chambers of an apartment on the Boulevard Saint-Germain. As the lights were dimmed, the chemist joined hands with the man sitting next to her, and together they watched the psychic medium across the table begin to shake and mumble, speaking in a strange low voice, overcome by the force of a possessing spirit called “John King.” Eusapia Palladino, as the psychic was called, was believed to be able to make objects move without touching them and to produce “visions of lights or luminescent points, visions of hands or limbs, sometimes in the form of black shadows, sometimes as phosphorescent.” . . . By all rights, Marie Curie should not have been there. She was in many respects a paragon of the period’s scientific establishment, a hardheaded and critical thinker who had made a number of stunning discoveries. The first woman to win a Nobel Prize, she is one of the very few people in history to win it twice (physics and chemistry).

Excerpt 2:

“Modernity” is regularly equated with everything from specific artistic and philosophical movements to particular historical ruptures to distinctive sociological processes, such as urbanization, industrialization, globalization, or various forms of rationalization. I will not unravel all the possible associations and nuances of the term. From among these, I aim to undermine the myth that what sets the modern world apart from the rest is that it has experienced disenchantment and a loss of myth. I am not claiming that industrialization never happened, nor am I denying that rationalization occurred in any cultural sphere; rather, I am interested in the process by which Christendom increasingly exchanged its claim to be the unique bearer of divine revelation for the assertion that it uniquely apprehended an unmediated cosmos and did so with the sparkling clarity of universal rationality. Sometimes this account of modernity has been celebratory, rejoicing in the ascent of European science and the end of superstition. But equally often, it has been a lament, bemoaning a loss of wonder and magic.

Excerpt 3:

For a long time scholars have known that he [Isaac Newton] had an obsession with alchemy and the philosophers stone, and that he dedicated much of his life to searching for hidden codes in the Bible. As contemporary historian Charles Webster argues, “Newton in particular saw himself as a magus figure intervening between God and His creation.” It is not hard to find evidence for this claim, and in Newton’s unpublished papers one can find an extensive collection of magical and Kabbalistic texts and his own translations of alchemical writings. . . . Indeed, Newtonian physics was not the stripped-down mechanism he is associated with, but a dynamical cosmos inclined toward apocalypse and dissolution, which required active intervention by God and angels. In sum, it is hard to imagine Newton as a disenchanter insofar as he explicitly rejected the very clockwork universe he is often said to have discovered in favor of an animated world.

Some aspects of modernity

(Note: The following is extracted from a conversation on the ‘SIDH Discussion Forum’ WhatsApp group. Click here to join this group)

आधुनिकता को सिर्फ intellectually ही नही, उसके उन पक्षों को भी समझना जरूरी है, जिनसे हम एक आम आदमी को समझा सके, सचेत कर सके। इसमें हमे स्वयं ही काम करना होगा। इसमें यानि आधुनिकता में एक तो यही कि इसमें यह इंप्रेशन दिया गया है कि “सबका अपना अपना सच होता है”। इसका implication यह है कि सनातन की बात करना ही दुभर हो गया है। क्योंकि यदि सबका अपना अपना सच है तो कोई सनातन सत्य है ही नहीं, क्योंकि सनातन का अर्थ ही यह है कि “सबके लिए एक जैसा और सभी काल में एक जैसा”। दूसरी जरूरी बात जो मुझे लगती है वह है “व्यक्तिवाद” जो हरेक (हम सब भी उससे कमोबेश ग्रसित हैं) के अंदर तक घुस गया है। यह व्यक्तिवाद फिर अंदर बैठी एक बड़ी इच्छा “लोकेशना” से जुड़ गया है। इस बीमारी से बुद्धिजीवी, राजनीति वाले, एक्टिविस्ट, और आम आदमी सभी ग्रसित हैं। इस पर भी ध्यान देने की आवश्यकता है। आम आदमी पुत्रेष्णा और वित्तेष्णा में फंसा है और जो उससे ऊपर उठते है वे लोकेश्ना में फंस जाते हैं। यह रोग है और आधुनिकता ने इसे अपनी शक्ति बनाया है।

आधुनिकता को समाज रास नहीं आता। समाज का अर्थ ही है की वह बहुत हद तक स्वावलंबी होता है। और साथ ही भौतिक आवश्यकताएं समाज मे स्वतः ही नियंत्रित होती हैं क्योंकि समाज दिखावे को रोकता है, पसंद नही करता, खास उत्सवों के अलावा। और स्वावलंबी समाज राज्य को चुनौती देने की ताकत रखता है क्योंकि वह उस पर आश्रित नहीं होता। यह बात राज्य व्यवस्था को रास नहीं आती। दूसरी तरफ क्योंकि खपत पर अंकुश होता है इसलिए आधुनिक बाजार और तंत्र को भी यह रास नहीं आता। समाज में व्यक्तिवाद पनप नहीं सकता।

शिक्षा और मीडिया और आधुनिक लोकतंत्र और बाजार एवं अन्य सभी आधुनिक तंत्र, आधुनिक technology सभी समाज के विरोध में खड़ी है और व्यक्तिवाद को पोषित और पल्लवित करती हैं, महिमामंडन भी होता है।

और इस आधुनिकता की बात पर एक और बात कहने का मन है। आधुनिकता में अर्थ पर शब्द भारी हो गए है। Written text बोले हुए से ज्यादा भारी बना दिया गया है। इसमें भी सत्य को चोट पहुंची है भले ही सीधे सीधे नही पर पहुंची है। शब्द पत्थर की लकीर हो गए। गद्य की महत्ता बढ़ गई, पद्य पीछे छूट गया । हल्का हो गया। गद्य के शब्द पत्थर की लकीर की तरह होते है, भारी होते हैं और उनके अर्थ सब अपने अपने हिसाब से बगैर मेहनत किए निकाल लेते हैं, बगैर सनातन का खूंटा ढूंढे और उससे बांधे । क्योंकि अर्थ तो वास्तविकता का ही होगा न और वास्तविकता यानि सत्य सनातन। “कुछ भी” अर्थ नही चल सकता। पर मजा यह है कि चल रहा है। अटकलबाजी। पद्य में लिखने या बोलने वाले और सुनने और पढ़ने वाले को अपने अंदर प्रयास पूर्वक झांकना पड़ता है, कोशिश करनी पड़ती है (मैं हल्की फुल्की कविता या शायरी की बात नही कर रहा। तुलसी या मीरा इत्यादि का सोचिए) । इस अंदर टटोलने की प्रक्रिया में वास्तविकता और सनातन के दर्शन हो, ऐसी संभावना प्रगाढ़ होती है। पर आज कल की गंभीर चर्चाओं में और लिखे हुए में ऐसा लगता है की शब्द अर्थ पर भारी हैं। सरन साहेब के लिखे में अलग बात इसलिए होती है कि उनका गद्य भी पद्य की तरह लिखा गया है इसलिए हमे मेहनत करनी होती है। सिर्फ पढ़ने से काम नहीं चलता पर स्वयं भी प्रयत्न करना पड़ता है अर्थ तक पहुंचने के लिए।