Finitude and Wokeism
Empathy is a universal emotion, which is why people cry over suffering in books, stories and movies (even those about animals).
Suffering at an epic scale as in a war or in the bombing of cities is rationalized by the mind as something over which no one has control. Despite modern life striving hard to hide this, death is the companion to life (Sanskrit yama means dual), and the killings at the battlefield, the earthquake, and the tsunami wakes us up from our make-believe.
How to explain violence when it is not used to defend at the personal level, and where evil is done without apparent reason?
The list just from recent years is huge: enslaving of Yazidi men and women, serial rapists in Britain, beheaders triggered by perceived blasphemy, deniers of education to girls and their abductors, bombers of trains and congregations.
The answer is simple: humans are like animals with one difference: the wild animal kills only to satisfy its needs for food, whereas the human can kill for no real reason if it fits the cultural template for action.
I have discussed this elsewhere explaining the incredible power of the story on humans. The social scientist does not understand that some stories elevate while others diminish.
Cloud over the mind
Some stories cloud the inner sky, obstructing the light from reaching the mind. A clouded mind does not relate to universal ethics; it belongs to its own world. Evil comes from this darkness and is not inherent to nature.
The perpetrators of evil deeds think they are doing it for the larger cause of justice or to instill fear amongst opponents. For example, the deposed Tsar, his wife, and their five children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei, and their entourage were murdered by the Bolsheviks on the night of 16–17 July 1918 for no apparent reason.
In the Wandhama Massacre, 23 Kashmiri Hindus in the town of Wandhama were shot dead on 25th January 1998. The victims included four children and nine women; a 14 year old boy survived by hiding under some hay and has never recovered from the shock.
The shadow is like a cloud from Danu, a primordial aspect of the mind (thus a Dānava, if one wished to understand Sanskrit terminology) that blocks the flow of consciousness, destroying insight. This spreading (Vritra) cloud is vanquished by Indra, the personification of the Self within our senses, in an experience that feels like a thunderbolt (vajra). The light suffuses the mind and things appear clear.
Those who have never received this insight are the children of Diti (finitude) and they may be called Daityas. The Daitya view of the world is promoted by the mainstream media and entertainment. It informs government policy and its false vision explains why America never understood Afghanistan (and so lost it), or why American schools cannot inspire their own children to get into the sciences.
The ubiquitous use of computers in all sectors of life has been a great driver of the belief that humans are like computers. This idea has become dominant even if it is not stated upfront in considerations of public policy and philosophical discussion.
This belief is in contrast with notions of spirit and mystery that were accepted by learned people and laypersons alike in pre-modern times.
Across history, these two contrasting visions of people being just bodies on one hand and body together with the spirit on the other guided individuals for making sense of reality.
But no longer. The dominant paradigm now is that of the body-machine that produces consciousness as an epiphenomenon.
One would think that those espousing the body-centric view (with or without belief in a life in paradise) would have more empathy, but they don’t. It is paradoxical that “life is finite” believers generally insist on uniformity of thought and action, while those who believe in consciousness complementing life are accepting of true diversity.
The extreme votaries of body-centric cosmology are the wokes who seek a perfect world, believing they must act to eradicate social and political injustice. They are modern-day warriors for cultural Marxism.
The wokes don’t want newspapers or colleges to allow ideas other than their own. They support canceling people. As literalists, they want language to be used only in a specific way. For example, Stanford University recently prepared a document where words and phrases such as guru, bury the hatchet, the pronoun “he”, the pronoun “she”, ladies, gentleman, American, blackbox, or white paper were discouraged.
It is no longer proper to say prisoner, or prostitute, or rule of thumb. The last because this phrase is attributed to an old British law that allowed men to beat their wives with sticks no wider than their thumb.
The corruption in the media and the social science academia is tragic and pervasive. Money is their real currency. We need someone to overturn the tables of money-changers and declare: The school will be called a house of knowledge, but you are making it “a den of robbers.”