'Do you know', Napoleon once said to Fontanes, 'what astounds me most about the world? The impotence of force to establish anything. There are only two powers in the world: the sword and the mind. In the end, the sword is always conquered by the mind'
Conquerors, you see, are sometimes melancholy. They have to pay some price for so much vainglory. But what a hundred years ago was true of the sword is no longer true today of the tank. Conquerors have made progress, and the dismal silence of places without intelligence has been established for years at a time in a lacerated Europe. At the time of the hideous wars of Flanders, Dutch painters could still perhaps paint the cockerels in their farmyards. The Hundred Years War has likewise been forgotten, and yet the prayers of Silesian mystics still linger in some hearts. But today, things have changed; the painter and the monk have been drafted - we are one with the world. The mind has lost that regal certainty which a conqueror could acknowledge; it exhausts itself now in cursing force, for want of knowing how to master it.
Popular posts from this blog
Pakistan and National Unity is an important position paper of the Communist Party of India, and a far-reaching text in the history of the Indian communist movement. The resolution dated September 19, 1942 contains an outline of the CPI's support for what it called the 'just essence of the Pakistan demand'; and the Report by Gangadhar Adhikari is a detailed explanation of the resolution. The resolution was confirmed by the First Congress of the CPI in May 1943. Its arguments may be contrasted with the pamphlet titled Who Rules Pakistan? published in Bombay in August 1948, as a 'Communist Party publication' - and is one of the earliest position documents of the Communist Party of Pakistan. The document is titled File CPI-31/1942 ; and forms part of the P.C. Joshi Archives at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The text of the resolution and report is also available in the book entitled Remembering Dr Gangadhar Adhikari: Selections from Writings, Part 2 ; e
To, Professor Malabika Sarkar, Vice Chancellor Mr. Ashish Dhawan, Chairman of Board of Trustees Ashoka University. The resignation of Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta from Ashoka University on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 is a matter of great anguish for the university faculty. It is not just an occasion for sorrow over the departure of a deeply respected and admired colleague. It also raises urgent questions about the university’s commitment to academic freedom as well as its internal processes. In light of media reports that circulated before the official announcement of Professor Mehta’s departure from the university, it seems quite plausible that his resignation was a direct consequence of his role as a public intellectual and critic of the government. We are greatly troubled by this scenario. Even more troubling is the possibility that our university may have acceded to pressure to remove Professor Mehta or to request, and accept, his resignation. This would fly against the principles of
There are still people who admire Godse for shooting a defenceless, unarmed old man at point blank range in a prayer meeting.. After all, modern society is awash with extremist beliefs, including support for suicide bombers and vigilante violence. E xtremism has taken centre-stage i n the guise of communal ideology and prejudices. People in high of fice believe in collective guilt (denouncing entire communities for the sins of a few), controlled mobs, revenge killing and vigilantism. Click the title for Parts 1 & 2 of the Report [of the 6 volume document] of the Commission of Inquiry into the Conspiracy to Murder Mahatma Gandhi by Justice Jeevan Lal Kapur [Supreme Court of India]. The commission was established in 1965 & submitted i ts report on 30 Sept 1969 . A whiff of evil A message and an appeal Peace as a punctuation mark in eternal war The Supreme Court,Gandhi and the RSS Apoorvanand: गांधीजी का आखरी महीना - Talk on Gandhiji's Last Month Pune, Oct
And night has come upon my land, the carrion birds encircling and prayers ascend on pyres lit, the shadows fast descending And leaders know not how to lead, they gape, they watch in silence while each new day brings grief afresh, no help, no rest, no guidance And those who come with sturdier boats, will row perhaps to safety, but most, will flay, in desperate need, expendable humanity What will remain, when the storm has passed, when many so loved are lost, what will be changed, within our hearts what will this time exhaust May then we not allow ourselves to be led by those inept, for want of air while many died, unmoved, while many wept May we never again be fooled, by words, by power, by greed, put not our faith in men of stone who use us for their need And know that when the night was dark, who came to hold our hand, it was the stranger, the ones unknown, who share this wounded land It was the one you did not trust, the ones who were the other, and when the
Total responsibility in total solitude – is this not the very definition of our liberty? Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the most important philosophers and writers of the 20th century. He lived through World War II first as a French prisoner of war, then as a professor of philosophy associated with the underground socialist movement. Sartre writes of the Occupation: “Because the Nazi venom seeped into our very thoughts, every accurate thought was a triumph. Because an all-power police force tried to gag us, every word became precious as a declaration of principle.” Some of Sartre’s post-war writings have recently been collected in an English Language edition as The Aftermath of War and is published by Seagull Books, Kolkata. The Republic of Silence ( Lettres francaises , September 1944) We were never more free than during the German occupation. We had lost all our rights, beginning with the right to talk. Every day we were insulted to our faces and had to take it in silence.
Alexandre Koyré: The Political Function of the Modern Lie (1945) /John Keane: lying, journalism and democracy
NB: This line of theoretical and sociological inquiry is crucial for an understanding of the contemporary world, and has been neglected (in the main) by political scientists and historians. Alexandre Koyre (1892-1964) was a Russian-born philosopher and historian of religion and science. His 1945 essay on The Political Function of the Lie was used by Hannah Arendt as a source for insights into her study of the origins of totalitarianism . Some observations and extracts are supplied below, along with links to Koyre's original essay, as well as a 2010 lecture on lying in journalism. They are worth reading, as a reminder that the deceitful and intimidatory atmosphere of our times is rooted in political phenomena that were commented upon decades ago - DS A perceptive analyst and a close reader of Alexandre Koyré, Arendt described totalitarian regimes as being “ secret societies established in broad daylight .” (see Koyre, pp 296-7). By imitating the apparatus of secret societies wit