Minimum Required Conditions for Life in an Acceptable Degree of Natural Harmony

There cannot be any duties without any rights. This is true of even machine parts, because if you deliberately interfere with the working of a machine part with malevolent or even unclear or uncertain purpose, then you are likely to break down the machine, perhaps even irreparably.

Human beings are anyway not machines and they cannot be supposed to behave like machines. It cannot be expected that on giving a certain aggregated input, a certain aggregated output, previously decided, will be produced. This can work with machines under certain well-designed conditions, but it is guaranteed to fail with human beings.

It may, however be possible for human beings to live in a certain degree of natural (not artificial) harmony, where the meaning of the word ‘harmony’ can be taken as similar to that for notes in good music, keeping in mind that being off-key within limits can, in some ways, enhance the quality of the harmony, not spoil it.

In order for such a society of human beings to exist in a natural harmony, which allows occasional off-key notes and even violations of human-made rules of music in order to allow the music to evolve, diversify and improve, certain conditions must exist for individual human beings, excluding none whatsoever, including the ‘freaks’ and those found (or suspected to be) ‘criminal’ or some such, based again on human-made rules, which might go wrong (or be insufficient) sometimes, as can rules of music. In any case, the human-made rules keep changing all the time, so they are self-evidently more than imperfect.

As a first attempt to define such minimum conditions for naturally harmonious society to exist, the following are proposed:

Rights:

1. Basic human rights, which are already well-defined and globally accepted, at least in theory

2. Minimal basic income: This too is well known, and is now finding increasing favour globally. Minimal here means an as high a basic income as is possible under the circumstances, without giving precedence to any particular individuals, sets of individuals or collectives (including entities like corporations) or sets of collectives

3. Total freedom of thought and maximal freedom of speech, without which no human being can really *be* a human being. This too is well-studied, but has now, unfortunately, become a matter of contention. Maximal here means maximum possible, i.e., maximum subject to some minimum required constraints, the less the better (constraints, that is, not freedom).

4. Minimal freedom of action. This is required for humans to not act like machines, because if humans are forced to behave like machines, nothing good can come out of that. The word minimal is defined in a way similar to the point 2.

5. Minimal knowledge: Just as Minimal Basic Income is required for a minimal degree of economic equality, so is minimal knowledge required for minimal epistemic equality. As the common saying goes, knowledge is power. It is also essential on principle, because a human being, for harmonious existence, is required to think, speak, listen and act on the basis of truth. And knowledge provides that truth. It’s not a static entity, whether for an individual, or locally or globally. Instead, it’s a constantly evolving dynamic ‘corpus’, for want of a better word.

6. Maximal Justice: Maximum justice has to be available to any and every individual, subject to the real Rule of Law as it was supposed to be in theory when this field has matured and had reached its peak. This is the formal justice. This too is already well-studied, well-documented and, in some cases, well-practiced at some points of time.

7. The Right to Physical and Intellectual Sanctuary: This is as proposed in the landmark book Surveillance Capitalism. The reader must refer to that book.

Conditions of Social Participation:

1. Knowledge: It is generally believed that in social interactions, particularly of private or intimate variety, there has to be consent. This is definitely true. However, there is another even more basic condition that has to be satisfied even before the matter of consent comes up. And this is the condition of knowledge. This point may, perhaps, be better understood with reference to crimes, particularly of the private and intimate nature — crimes, that is, where one or more individuals (or collectives) assault or harm other one or more individuals or even collectives. A simple question can illustrate the overarching importance of the condition of knowledge in social interaction. What are the most terrifying crime thrillers or horror films involving crimes of private and intimate nature, i.e., involving violations of not only privacy, but also consent? The answer is these are the ones where the victim(s) have no knowledge about the perpetrator(s) or their motivations etc. This absence of the condition of knowledge make the crimes (whether supernatural or not) not only more terrifying, but far more abhorrent than even those involving the lack of consent, because the presence of at least such knowledge, even without consent still leaves the victims with some degree of human dignity as victims (or survivors, if they do survive) of the crime. Absence of knowledge take away even this dignity. More importantly, and more diabolically, it almost eliminates any possibility of seeking redressal and the perpetrators and their motivations are not known and it is almost impossible to prove the crime. This was not possible earlier, except in thrillers about psychopaths, but now it is possible even for ‘normal’ people to participate in such crimes due to weaponisable remotely operated technologies that are may not be very ‘intelligent’, but they are capable of untold and unimaginable cruelty. This should not be surprising, as it is well-known, well-documented and well-studied that it takes much less to turn a powerful technology into a weapon, than it does to make it really proven source of good. You need to have talent and skill and immense amount of practice, for example, to throw a basketball in the net perfectly to score points, or for repairing a broken machine, which may involve the use of, say, a hammer. However, you don’t need much intelligence, skill, talent or practice to throw a rock or use a hammer to hurt someone. This should be very obvious with regard to technologies, but for some ‘understandable’ reasons, it is not.

2. Consent: After knowledge, comes consent. This too well-known to be elaborated here.

3. Acknowledgement: With the presence of knowledge and consent, if one participates in social interaction or activities, the least that is expected is acknowledgement from others. In other word, no individual can be made an unperson or outcaste.

4. Social Justice: Most of the above are conditions required for individuals. However, since individuals exist in and interact with other individuals and collectives in a society, the conditions above have be equal as far as possible for all individuals. This is where social justice comes in. It too is well-know and well-studied, but it has to be reimagined in the light of the above conditions required for individuals.

Meta-Rights:

1. Natural Self: There has been a great deal of philosophical and other kinds of debate about the existence or non-existence of the self. It seems obvious to the author that most of such debate is the result of confusing individuality with extreme individualism. For us to be human beings at all, we have to have a self. If there is no self, than the whole framework within which we live, whatever may be the political system, ideology or the local culture, breaks down completely. Just to give one example of schizophrenic nature of the debate (in many circles, not all), the same people who deny the existence of a self, are the most extreme in ascribing accountability exclusively to individuals. If individuals have no self, then how can they be accountable for anything. This brings us back to the idea of humans as machines. If humans are just machines or machine parts, then they have no accountability. The designers, producers, maintainers, and operators etc. of the machine can and should be held accountable. That obviously is a nonsense scenario. Yes, circumstances do matter, but they do for all individuals, less for som and more for some. So, as is also well known (outside of the self-denying ideology), individual behaviour is the result of both the self (the nature) and the societal and environmental circumstances (the nurture). Note that the term used Natural Self, which means the nature endows us all with some kind of natural self, which can’t be wished away, if we want to avoid catastrophic results.

2. Maximal Natural Privacy: Apart from the self, which only needs to argued for, as it is a natural phenomenon, privacy is a function of circumstances and the environment. So, it has to be fought for. It is the most basic or root condition for any other condition above to exist, as it is a meta-right. Even the self can be crushed without privacy. Privacy, i.e., maximal privacy, not unlimited privacy, is not a matter of luxury. It is the most fundamental requirement for our existence as human beings. It is not possible to exist as a human being without meeting this condition. Like in the case of the self, this is a much misunderstood topic. It has been claimed that, like the self, privacy is also the creation of a particular kind of ideology, such as the ideologies based on the idea of private property. This confusion between privacy and private property has led to much wrong in though and action in our modern history. Just like there is a natural self, so there is natural privacy. It is the advent of invasive technologies that has converted privacy into something like property (private or otherwise). Nature didn’t evolve it that way.

3. Maximal Autonomy: Once we are allowed to be our-selves and have the maximal natural privacy, we can try to fulfil our responsibilities to society as autonomous sentient, conscious, self-aware and moral living beings, as human beings. Otherwise we are either machines, or at most pets or cattle.

4. Minimal Secrecy of those in power: The primary reason why the above conditions are not fulfilled is that those in power operate in secrecy, and therefore without accountability. This is not a new idea, of course. We just note here, again, that in order to ensure the above conditions to avail for a naturally harmonious human existence in a society, the secrecy of those in power has to be mimimised. Otherwise, there is no possibility of achieving the above conditions or natural harmony. The only possible harmony with maximum secrecy is 16 ton weight kind of harmony, as we know from Monty Python sketches, to end on a lighter note.

Sun is Not an IT So Far

It is being said the Star

Of our own Solar System

The one with Seven Horses

That it can be dimmed

 

It can be made to dim they say

They want it as an IT, you know

 

You don’t know IT?

You say everyone does

But what I say doesn’t

Make any sense at all

 

That’s because the IT

For you is something else

Which everyone knows

 

That’s not the IT I am talking about

I mean quite another, is what I say

Very different from what you think

Yet not completely unrelated, I say

 

I am talking possibility of cosmic Zersetzung

I say, the Sun is not an Individual Target

 

The Sun is dimming, yes that’s very true

But it is dimming on its own, of its own

The Sun is decomposing, yes, we know

And Zersetzung means decomposition

 

It is natural decomposition, is what I say

It’s not planned artificial decomposition

By a gang playing God for the targeted

And perhaps for the whole world, who knows?

 

But the Sun is out of their reach so far

What lies beyond now, I don’t know I say

The Sun is not yet targeted is what I say

The Sun’s so far still an independent Star

 

But Zersetzung in all its variations

Has really Big Dreams, I can’t deny

The odds are against them, I say …

So I will still go to bet for the Sun

 

Though I am not at all very sure

Of the fate the Mars and Moon

And of Venus as well as the noon

 

That’s because a chorus is heralding

The coming of Trillion Suns Shining

Shining and connecting and mining

Chiming and dining and wining, sort of

 

That’s more’n enough cause for

Serious human concern, I do say

 

Serious human concern, I do say

Then I also say, what do you say

 

Unprecedented Scientific Censorship

Scientific discourse is considered one place where you can present certain kinds of truth as accurately as possible, regardless of whether they conform to the prevailing orthodoxies or not, whether they are truths that most people want to listen to or not, and whether they agree with political ideologies or not. It used to be the case that most of scientific discourse was on matters which did not directly and immediately interest or concern either the general public or, to a lesser extent, even the powers that be. And so, scientists were able to pursue their research with tolerable hindrance from the circumstances and people in which and among whom they lived and worked.

This started changing when the modern Industrial, and then Corporate — apart from the state — establishment developed not only huge stakes in scientific research, but started funding most of it, not just for courtly splendour as was the case in the age of old feudalism. With funding came control. Simultaneously, with the neoliberal/neoconservative dominance of the world, government funding for independent research started diminishing at an ever increasing rate. This inevitably meant that scientific community came under heavy influence of state and corporate actors.

In the 21st century, this influence is transforming into more and more tighter form of control over not just what research is carried out, but how, to what end, and even with regard to whether it produces ‘desirable’ results or not.

The Pandemic of 2020 has made this phenomenon of tight control over scientific research more widespread as well as more visible. With it, however, has come (perhaps fittingly) an extremely shrill rhetoric of “You don’t believe in science?!” and “Science says so and so”, where so and so could be a very obviously a debatable matter (or not: it doesn’t make a difference). In other words, on the one hand, science is becoming more like religion, both in terms of concepts like heresy, blasphemy and blind (or at least uncritical) belief, and in terms of censorship of expression, even scientific expression. Genuine scientific debates are becoming more like theological conflicts, as the science wars about the Pandemic have revealed.

This is also the time when Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all the rage. It is being touted as the Silver Bullet to solve all of humanity’s problems, current and future. No wonder then that AI too is seriously in danger of becoming a theology and a church, rather science and technology. Perhaps the best example of this is the recent case of a paper on ethics of AI, co-authored by mainstream AI ethicists and researchers, which caused Google to ask one of its authors to retract the paper. Timnit Gebru, the co-lead of Google’s ethical AI team, was a co-author of the paper. She has since left her job rather than agreeing to retract the paper. Many researchers cannot afford to do that, and the paper might be published, but still this case is unprecedented.

I had my own experience with scientific censorship recently. I have been working on a paper about the impossibility of humanoid artificial intelligence, but I could not think of a suitable venue for this paper, since it seems to go against one of the most dearly held ideas about AI: that true humanoid AI is not only possible, but inevitable. Since the draft was written in a semi-formal style, using arguements against the possibility of humanoid AI, analogous to the arguments philosophers have been using for and against the possibility of a Single Supreme God. In my view, building humanoid AI will require AI as a whole to become a Single Supreme God, at least as far as human affairs are concerned. The arguments centred around the distinction between Micro-AI and Macro-AI.

Then I came across an unusual research workshop at the most well known AI conference (Neural Information Processing Systems or NeurIPS 2020), which was titled ResistanceAI. It invited papers and even media, including those not in an academic form or format. It seemed perfect to me, so I decided to submit my draft at this workshop. Since it is a common practice now to post such drafts (preprints) on the best known scientific archive or preprint hosting site arXiv. I already have posted several papers on arXiv. Since such preprint sites are meant for archival purposes, they do not put the papers through a peer review process, as that is going to happen anyway when the paper is submitted to a peer reviewed venue. Usually, the paper is posted directly after a kind of sanity check. Sometimes, however, arXiv puts a paper through moderation, which usually involves reclassification of the paper under suitable categories. In very rare cases, a paper can be removed. The reasons for such removal are supposed to be:

  • Unrefereeable content
  • Inappropriate format
  • Inappropriate topic
  • Duplicated content
  • Rights to submit material
  • Excessive submission rate

Based on the description of these reasons given on their moderation page, none of these apply in anyway to my draft. I had submitted the paper on 8th October 2020. I first received a mail saying it will be ‘announced’ (that is, posted) the next day. Then, on 14th October 2020, I received a mail saying that the paper has been ‘put on hold’. Initially I assumed it must be for reasons of reclassification. However, on the same day, I received another mail saying the paper has been removed. The mail said:

Dear arXiv user,

Our moderators have determined that your submission is not of sufficient interest for inclusion within arXiv. The moderators have rejected your submission after examination, having determined that your article does not contain sufficient original or substantive scholarly research.

As a result, we have removed your submission.

Please note that our moderators are not referees and provide no reviews with such decisions. For in-depth reviews of your work, please seek feedback from another forum.

Please do not resubmit this paper without contacting arXiv moderation and obtaining a positive response. Resubmission of removed papers may result in the loss of your submission privileges.

For more information on our moderation policies, see:

https://arxiv.org/help/moderation

Regards,
arXiv moderation

The reason given (“your article does not contain sufficient original or substantive scholarly research”) was a kind of review itself, which is not supposed to be there as a reason for removal, since duplication means direct duplication, not extending existing ideas. The reason can be reasonably interpreted as saying simply that some references were missing from the paper, meaning that it was a kind of feedback to me about the paper, which arXiv is not supposed to give.

This came right before the deadline for submission at the ResistanceAI workshop. So I added a few of the missing references, given the page limit of four pages. The paper was, however, rejected at the workshop, although I did receive a review of the paper. Note that one of the reasons for removal from arXiv is “unrefereeable content”. So, clearly, the paper was not unrefereeable.

The review from the workshop is given below:

Reviewer #1
Questions

2. Please provide constructive feedback to the authors
This paper address some timely questions about what we might expect the “Singularity” to look like. Unfortunately, section three–the meat of the paper–is somewhat difficult to follow. Rather than listing many different arguments, it may be more helpful to focus on a subset of these arguments and explain how they are related. As currently written, it is difficult to understand the argument and how it reaches the conclusions that “Singularity at the level of Micro-AI is impossible” and that a Singularity at the “Macro-AI level” would be an existential threat to human intelligence.
3. Please give this submission a score
Weak Reject

Reviewer #2
Questions

2. Please provide constructive feedback to the authors
1/ The paper, while looking at the impact of a hypothesized ‘Macro AI’ on human beings in the future, ignores the issues that AI technology is causing in the present.
2/ In particular, it fails to inspect and analyze the material impact that AI is already causing in the lives of human beings, whether or not it is a ‘humanoid’ AI which is doing that.
3/ Overall, the paper does not fit the theme of the workshop — which has more to do with how AI concentrates power in the hands of a few, rather than hypothesizing about the future of AI and what that means for humanity, without grounding it in a material analysis.
3. Please give this submission a score
Strong Reject

Although I at least received reviews of the paper, the reasons given here are highly questionable, particularly in the light of the fact that the workshop has accepted not just papers, but also poems, rants, essays etc., and even an anonymous submission, which is never the case at a research venue. In particular, the reviewer statement, “ignores the issues that AI technology is causing in the present”, does not make sense. In a four page paper, when dealing with a topic like this, how can one include a survey of harms already being done by AI? I have, in the past, written at least one paper on such harms, which is (ironically) hosted on arXiv. That paper was rejected without review from the conference where it was submitted simply because I mistakenly did not notice that the paper, before submission, had (at the last moment) exceeded the four page limit by a two or three (one column) lines.

I had then two options, apart from working further on the paper and submitting it to another peer reviewed venue. One was to appeal the decision by arXiv, which I might still do, and the other was to post the draft on some other preprint site. I found two alternatives for the second option. One was the PhilSci Archive for preprints in philosophy of science. The second was HAL Archive.

I posted on both of them. The draft was again rejected from the PhilSci Archive, giving the following reason:

Unfortunately the item could not be accepted into PhilSci-Archive. The item lies outside the range of material suitable for PhilSci-Archive. We regret that because of the volume of material posted, the archive cannot enter into correspondence concerning submissions that have been refused.

This may be debatable, since it seems to me the paper is well within the scope of philosophy of science.

The preprint has finally been accepted by the HAL Archive, after they asked me to first post a paper already published in a scientific journal ‘in order to establish a confidence contract’, which sounds reasonable.

I am working on improving the draft with the possibility of submitting it to another venue, preferably peer reviewed. However, in the fifteen years since I first published a peer reviewed paper, this has been the strangest case of rejection by multiple venues, not just by peer review, but by two different preprint sites, one of them (PhilSci) does not even have a moderation process according to their policy.

Even so, this is not the first case of strange rejection that I have experienced from peer reviewed venues. Till recently, it could be attributed to the inherently imperfect nature of the peer review process, but now it seems to be clearly going beyond that, as the Google case shows, if not also the case of my paper.

गलबे का मालिक

मलबे का नहीं, गलबे का

गैजेटियर सुने हैं ना?

नहीं गैज़ेटियर नहीं भाई

गैजेटियर की बात हो रही है

अच्छा गैजेट तो सुने ही होंगे

वो सरकारी वाला नहीं

नेमड अंटटी वाला भी नहीं

वो फुनवा वाला गैजेट

अउर कैमरा वाला गैजेट

लेपटपवा वाला भी तो

वही सब गैजेट बतिया रहे हैं

अइसा है की हमरे पास जो है

इन सब की भरमार है घर में

इनमें ज्यादातर जो है हमरे पास

ऊ सब तो मलबा गया है जो है

मार पइसा डूब गइल ई सब में

बात कुछ अईसी ठहरी है कि भैया

कुछ जन हम से दुसमनी समझ लिए हैं

अब काहे समझ लिए हैं ई न मालूम

तो हम तो जो है कंगाली पे खड़े हैं हियाँ

गैजेट का मलबा हमरे पास जमा ही जमा है

हम इसको गलबे का नाम दिए हैं जो है

काहे की हम किसी जनम में इक ठो

उपनियास पढ़े रहे ऊ मोहन रकेसवा का

उही से हमरे दिमाग का बलब जल पड़ा

अउर एको बात है, आपसे ही बतिया रहे हैं

किसी भी और से नहीं बतइबे का, समझे?

एगो दौर माँ हमहु को गैजेट का सौक रहा

काहे की हम रहे मार गरीब तभ भी कंगाल

अउर ऊ रजिबवा देस को इकअईसीं सदी

में जो है ले जाब का बात करी गलोबवा माँ

ऊ बात अब आप जानत हैं तमाम बढ़िया गई है दुनिया माँ

कऊ बचा हब ई बाढ़ से तो हमको तो नहीं दिखता नहीं बा

दिल्ली में इंतजाम जो हब ऊ तो सभी कुछ गजटियाव का

पेट पर पट्टी बाँध कर ठान लिया है सुना कनुनवा के साथ

चुनाव-उनाव भी ऊ सब तमाम गजटिया दिए है ई सुना है

गजट से परेसानी है तो कौनो कोना पकड़ लो और राम भजो

अऊर कोई आपसन नहीं है काहे के अब दुनिया गलोब बा

तो जो है हमहुँ बह गए ऊ धार में उस बखत

माने रजिबवा के बखत जब हम पढ़त रहे

हम भी तो अंजीनियर रहे ना आखिर तो

चाहे सौक असल सौक हमारा तो जानत हैं

उही सब लिखबा पढ़ी करे का रकेसवा माफिक

तो अब जो है हम अपने को गलबे का मालिक समझबा करी

बहुत जोर ताले में बंद कर के रखी हम अपना अनमोल गलबा

पर जो दुसमनी बना लिए हैं और हमारे गलबे के जिम्मेदार हैं

ऊ सब के मन में हमरी कंगाली से अब भी जो है ठंड न पड़ी

मतलब ये की आए दिन नया खेल होवत है परेसान करी को

अब कोई हम के बताय सकत है की ई सब दुसमनी काहे है

तो भइया आगे आव और हमें कुछ समझाव की ई मामला

है क्या आखिर? क्या हम किसी का कुछ बिगाड़ दिए हैं

तो साफ साफ बताव सायद कुछ नतीजा लिकलबा करे

तब सायद उनके दिल में ठंडक पड़े अउर हमरे दिल में भी

तनिक जो विदवान लोग ठहरे ऊ ही से बिनती है

इस मामले का कुछ खुलासा होय दोनों तरफ से

नहीं तो भैया हम तो इसको ज्यादती समझत हैं

अउर आप लोग तो हम सुने हैं सबहुँ तरह की

ज्यादती के खिलाफ हमेला संघरस करत बा

हमरी गिनती नहीं है क्या आपके दरबार मे?

हैलो, हाँ बताइबा …

Binary Oppositions and the Hard Hard Problem of Solidarity

It seems that these days everyone is saying that the world is undergoing a radical change, and rightly so. It may be that the reasons for saying so and the motivations behind it span the whole of social, political, moral, economic and technological spectrum. It is also widely recognised that this change has been underway for at least two decades now. During much of this period, one has been following discussions on various kinds of forums such as mailing lists, group discussions and open digital publication venues, including blogs.

More recently, one has been following (and to some extent participating in) this particular forum*. Going through discussions like those on this forum on the one hand, and some other usual kinds of forums on the other, one can’t help observing that:

* Don’t form an opinion about the forum based on a couple of posts as there are wide variety of people on it.

1. If the people in a forum are only after totally selfish gains, solidarity consolidates extremely rapidly to the lowest point possible, as if enabled by gravity. It is like collective free fall that does not even harm the people involved in it, as they get a kind of immunity and can say or do things with impunity. It is like leaping down a cliff collectively. Of course, there will be a crash at some point, but things can move from one crash to another as if nothing happened, as long as life itself doesn’t become totally impossible for everyone on the planet.

2. If, on the other hand, the people in a forum are motivated by completely or mostly unselfish concerns, it is extremely hard to achieve even the minimum level of solidarity, climbing against all odds, as if against gravity, a bit like a group of people trying to fly together. Even if a good degree of solidarity is established, it comes at a great cost. And it can fall apart quite easily.

This has become more true in the last two or three decades, as we enter the hyper-digital age. One can think of it as binarisation of politics and of all the social and political (and other) issues of life on the planet. Some examples are given below.

The world, it seems, is divided into binary classes and all you have to do (in fact the only thing you are allowed to do in terms of political decision making) is to perform instant binary classification on all the individuals and groups in the world. Some example binary classes are:

– Those who are against J. K. Rowling and those who are not

– Those who are in favour of ‘fighting the virus’ and those who are not

– Those who are against Putin and those who are not

– Those who are strictly in favour of masks and those who are not

– Those who are against the new Michael Moore film and those who are not

– Those who are against Israel and those who are not

– Those who support Israel and those who don’t

– Those who are in favour of the ‘cancel culture’ and those who are not

– Most importantly, for the last four years, those who are against the Reality TV POTUS and those who are not

These are like binary constraints and after a point it becomes impossible to satisfy all the constraints in any way at all. Everyone is forced into innumerable binary classes, because if you are not in one class (that is, declare yourself into one class), then you are, by definition, in the other class. As a result, the good kind of solidarity becomes impossible. It may still be achieved, but only by collectively ignoring the existence of some or many such constraints and collectively pretending they don’t exist. This naturally implies implicit sacrifice from a large number of people who are affected by these ignored constraints, who are usually already the people most at disadvantag as far as life on the planet is concerned. It should be pointed out that most of the ignored constraints, in reality, are not binary.

There is a name for this phenomenon and it is well known: polarisation. It was always there, but the difference is that, in the hyper-digital age, binaries are not about complicated matters like the interactions between global social welfare, human rights and justice and truth and sustainable growth. They are like being against J. K. Rowling or not and so on.

How do we deal with this hard hard problem of solidarity for unselfish purposes without sacrificing a (large?) number of people? This is perhaps the biggest challenge facing us, if we stick to truth and justice both (not one or the other).

The irony is that this is happening at a time when a consensus is emerging (rightly) all over the globe against a specific kind of binarisation which had existed for ages: Gender binaries.

***

Why do binaries exist? Why do they proliferate? Why do they dominate?

One can try to answer in common sense terms, using informal logic and common sense psychology.

One reason is a deterministic view of the world, but that alone does not explain it, as even that view allows for non-binaries.

Another reason that seems obvious is along the same lines as why did religions, full of superstition, originate?

In a world that they could not understand and were afraid of, human being tried to make sense of it. As a secular view of the reality became more and more popular and established, this need did seem to decrease with scientific and technological developments. However, these developments, along with social, political and economic developments (or regressions) brought about radical changes in societies.

At this point, in 21C, we have reached a situation where, due to things like Reality Shows and Social Media (among other things) it is more and more possible to manipulate the perception of what is the reality, thus making it difficult to make sense of the world again. One could say more even than during prehistoric days.

So once more we look for certainties where none exist, at least as far as known human knowledge is concerned. Perhaps none exist in reality.

Every belief in total certainty about any non-trivial matter usually gives rise to a new binary opposition, perhaps more than one. Sometimes binary oppositions are created through diktats. When faced with any complicated matter which leads to some kind of fear(s), a perhaps natural response of those in power (i.e., those with the blessings of the materialistic Holy Trinity, even if they claim divine blessings), particularly those with regressive minds, is to issue a diktat. A common kind of diktat is to ban something, to prohibit something, as if by that act alone the problems that give rise to the fear(s) will magically disappear.

Strict binary oppositions are very much like using diktats to ban things, even if the motives are driven by the urge to achieve truth and justice.

So again, in a world full of deadly uncertainties, we seek refuge in creating artificial certainties of our own.

If we are secular, we might even try to use science to justify these artificial certainties, working backwards with logic and evidence.

One way to deal with uncertainties is to abandon all principles and become totally cynical, as some ideologies and their followers do.

Another way is to ignore uncertainties and pretend they don’t exist, that everything has been worked out by groups of some seemingly superhuman people with some authoritative labels.

Still another way is to stick to the principles and at the same time face the uncertainties of life. This is much more difficult and it imposes a great deal more responsibility on us.

It is true that such responsibility is too much for us, but the question is should we still face it? Because that is the ‘path of truth’. So far so good, because if we only care for the truth, then it is still relatively easy to make good enough decisions and to act on them. But if we care equally for justice (recognising the fact about the uncertainties even there), then it is much more difficult to make decisions, to act upon them and to explain them and to justify them. This is often called, in the age of neoliberalism and neoconservatism, ‘policy paralysis’. This is supposed to characterise the total inability to act, as if by just taking some action rapidly, any action, even radical action, we would have solved the problem. This is the “do something, anything, *now*!” philosophy/ideology, which has an infamous historical record. It even has a name: Kissingerism, as described> so well by Greg Grandin in Kissinger’s Shadow.

One is not suggesting that all those creating these strict binaries are followers of Kissingerism. The truth is, whether we like it or not, this calamitous ideology has seeped into our global social, political and economic fabric, and is corroding that fabric quite fast. No political faction seems to be immune to this societal toxin. It has affected even arts and literature. One can argue it is not an ideology, but a meta-ideology. And a dangerously fallacious one.

Do something (specific) now is never the only option. There is always an obvious alternative: Do something else. Or do something later. Or both. Statistically speaking, it is common sense to say that if we have a strict binary opposition between doing something or not doing something, then, all things being equal (which is the case when we don’t know *exactly what* to do), doing something (specific) is likely to be more dangerous than doing something. It should be emphasised that not doing something (specific) is very different from doing nothing. You can always do something else. Or do something later. Even doing nothing at a certain moment or duration can actually be sometimes far better than doing anything at all right at that time or duration. It’s true of individuals, but it more true of collectives because collective action has much bigger consequences. This is, perhaps, a lesson for achieving sustainability, as even some regressive people understand. So do many progressive people, but less so now. This common sense should not be mistaken for ‘historical imperative’.

Coming back to well-intentioned people, perhaps naturally (?) we shy away from taking the last way, the most difficult way. And so we take refuge in either cynicality (as opposed to skepticism), or in artificial certainties (maybe for the Greater Good).

But science says there is no justice in nature, doesn’t it? I don’t agree with that. Why? That is for another day.

***

As I posted the above comment early morning today, a shout of “O Chhakke!” (“Hey *untranslatable*), loud and clear enough for me to hear inside my house today evening, full of contempt, reminded me that my statement about an emerging global consensus against gender binaries was perhaps an overstatement. Or not very accurate.

The *untranslatable* Hindi word (also used in many other South Asian languages) is the foulest word used by homophobic and transphobic people, and it is used very commonly. A bit like ‘faggot’, but more offensive. Some other English words or terms similar to this are ‘fudge packer’, ‘pouf’, ‘fairy’, but they all are unambiguously (less) offensive. The main offence is the knowledge of the impunity that it provides, and therefore the helpless humiliation it causes.

The word literally means a ‘sixer’, which is the cricketing term for when the batsman hits a ball out of the ground, earning six ‘runs’, the maximum you can earn in a single ball. It is a word that can be used in normal conversation, but also as an expletive. Like other common expletives, for example the four letter f* word in English, it has many meanings, and fluid meaning under different circumstance.

It may even be possible to write an academic paper in Linguistics or Sociolinguistics, like that famous paper on the word (?) ‘OK’. Perhaps the word originated in card games, or became common due to them. Or it may have a relation to, yes, the number theory. The logic seems to be this. There are ten basic numbers in the decimal system: 1 to 10. The number six, even though it may be called the first Perfect Number in number theory, it is seen as the middle number. It perhaps then got associated with the ‘middle sex’, or the third sex. That is why the closes translation of this word in English is ‘eunuch’, and its closest synonym in Hindi is also ‘hijra’ (made famous recently by Arundhati Roy in her novel Ministry of Utmost Happiness), which also translates directly to eunuch or hermaphrodite. However, since there were no terms in Indian languages in common usage (as far as I know) for other non-binary genders, these highly pejorative words are used for all people who identify as (which is rare) or are seen as belonging to to any non-binary gender. So, these words are used for homosexuals also and for effeminate men or impotent men.

Apart from the literary meaning, in which it is used rarely, it is more commonly used as a slur, to insult someone or even a whole community. Communities abuse each others with these terms. However, if the word ‘hijra’ is used, then it is clearly an insult, but the c* word can be used in the normal course of a conversation as a dog whistle. Certain kinds of dog whistles are more hurtful and dangerous and actual unambiguous expletives.

In the context of this article, the word can be seen as manifestation of the dangers of having strict binary oppositions. If you don’t belong to one of the two genders, then you are outside genders, or belong to the third gender (or sex). That makes you fair game for everyone. You didn’t join either of the allowed binary categories, so you are a danger to the society and will be treated like that, even more than the members of our opposing binary category (think of misogyny).

You, however, have the the to option to join one of the categories. Since the third (or fourth or fifth, or a scale-based) category is not allowed, you can save yourself from social condemnation and censure (abuse, even violence) by joining one of the categories (as per your ‘biological gender’) by going through the necessary ritual: getting married. Once married, you are, so to say, one of us. This is why the criticism against J. K. Rowling has a validity. But cancelling her is another matter.

How does it concern me personally? That is a long story that has to told some other time.

I understand personally how this word (or any other word like this) hurts. Should the word be banned? I think it is counterproductive. If you send ideas — dangerous idea — underground, they have a way of coming back at us in unexpected ways and then we may not have any defences against them. Just as words like the c* word reduce a human being to a single trait or tendency, a binary based on whether someone uses this word or not will also reduce people to a single trait or tendency, and is not a good idea. Something similar applies to J. K. Rowling, in spite of her latest defiant action of announcing her new novel as a kind of revenge (or justification?) for the criticism against her.

If we ban certain things, people are likely to find ways around them. It takes time for deep seated prejudice to *really* go away. The c* word has multiple senses and it is hard to ban it as India is a cricket crazy coutry and hitting a sixer is like the ultimate momentary action in a game, like getting someone ‘out’ on a ball. It invites the loudest cheers. This point is related to the idea that it is perhaps impossible to ban dog whistles, because they are born out of ambiguity of language and interpretation of linguistic expression. It is also about one way that impunity works.

Even though we can’t ban the above, it is still offensive and hurtful. People still need to realise this. Related to this is the point about how widespread homophobia and transphobia are in our region.

Even so, while the strict gender binary still continues in some places, those most vociferously fighting against this binary are also creating their own strict binary oppositions, believing in often non-existent certainties. When you do that, you force those people who don’t fit neatly in either of the binary categories into a catch all ‘illegitimate’ category, just like in the case of the c* word.

The Will

Here I am in 2020. And here The Will that was written in 2009:

(Damn Hitchcock. May he rot in hell, eternally. Perhaps he is.)

मरने के बाद क्या होना

Hope someone volunteers to be the faithful executioner of The Will. If you do, please stick to the letter and spirit of the document, kind of poetic though it is. Hope you don’t mind it: the poetic part.

Two minutes silence not necessary, but if you insist … get it done at the drain where the The Will is fulfilled. Better still, cheat on the two minutes. And steal a laugh or two, as one knows from experience it is difficult not to do so.

It could be any drain. The more stinky, the better, unless you can’t bear that smell. Or those smells. In that case, please just find the one you can bear, i.e, as stinky as you can bear.

Signed in full sanity,

Anil Eklavya

Dated: 30th June, 2020

Place: Varanasi (not really Kashi, but there is no harm in pretending, if you so wish)

(But The Will applies to any relevant place.)

Note: This is a serious document. Don’t take it lightly. That is, if you volunteer to be the executioner of The Will. Otherwise, of course, you can. That’s your freedom of expression, short of gaslighting.

An Easy Proof of Behaviourism

The Experiment

Confirming that stimulus and reward change behaviour.

Participant (Subject): Consent not necessary, as it avoids chances of bias.

A Human Lab Rat

Behaviour

Waking up early based on the stimulus.

Stimulus

Holding a gun to the head of the participant and threatening to shoot him/her if they don’t wake up at the pre-decided time.

Response

The participant wakes up. It may not happen the first time, as they might not understand or believe that the threat is real. But ultimately, as it is made clear to them that the threat is, indeed, real, they will ultimately wake up on the intended time. The intermediate steps might involve hitting them on the head with the gun with increasing force or frequency with each passing day.

Reward/Punishment

The hitting on the head is the reward. The ultimate reward is shooting in the head. This is useful if you have spectators, either physically or virtually. These are negative rewards (punishments). There might also be positive rewards, which could be anything. One low cost reward can be designed like this:

Hit the participant on the head arbitrarily at any time of the day. Rewards can mean decreasing the force or the frequency of this hitting on the head.

Outcome

The participant (subject) wakes up on providing the stimulus.

***

The above is a crude experiment, a kind of thought experiment, as it is possible only in certain settings such as physical concentration camps. A more realistic experiment is given below, which has become possible with the latest developments in technology, as we move towards the technological Utopia of the 2030s.

***

The Realistic Experiment

Confirming that stimulus and reward change behaviour.

Participant (Subject): Consent not necessary, as it avoids chances of bias.

A Human Lab Rat

Behaviour

Waking up early based on the stimulus.

Stimulus

Holding a ray gun that produces painful levels of radiation (radio frequency, electric field, magnetic field or any combination of these: ionizing radiation should be avoided, but can be used in exceptional cases) or physical Dog Whistles based on untrasound or infrasound  to any part of the body of the participant and pushing the button on the emission device if they don’t wake up at the pre-decided time.

Response

The participant wakes up. It may not happen the first time, as they might ascribe the pain and the discomfort to some illness or other transient problem. They may blame themselves or their bodies. Even when they finally realise the cause, they might not understand or believe that the threat is real. But ultimately, as it is made clear to them that the threat is, indeed, real, they will ultimately wake up on the intended time. The intermediate steps might involve radiating them (with electromagnetic or sonic pulses) with increasing intensity/power or frequency with each passing day.

Reward/Punishment

The electromagnetic or sonic radiation on various parts of the body is the reward. The ultimate reward is *__redacted__*. This is useful if you have spectators, either physically or virtually. These are negative rewards (punishments). There might also be positive rewards, which could be anything. One low cost reward can be designed like this:

Hit the participant on any part of the body or the whole body with radiation (electromagnetic or sonic) arbitrarily at any time of the day. Rewards can mean decreasing the force or the frequency of this hitting on the body or body parts.

Outcome

The participant (subject) wakes up on providing the stimulus.

***

Many experiments have been conducted based on the second design and they have produced (and reproduced) the expected results with exceptionally high accuracy. The results have been released in certain forums. The forum membership is strictly by invitation only. The results may be released publicly at an appropriate time.

***

IMG_0703

***

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***

Can radiation from mobile towers cause cancer? The scientific and legal debate continues

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B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior

A Review of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior by Noam Chomsky

Wireless Power Transfer

Stanford Scientists Are Making Wireless Electricity Transmission a Reality

Kipling’s As Easy As A. B. C.

Skinner’s Walden Two
***

Diamond device paves way for first practical microwave lasers

Demonstration of a High Average Power Tabletop Soft X-Ray Laser

Ultrasonic laser soldering

Physiological and Psychological Effects of Infrasound on Humans

The Influence of Infrasounds on the ElectrocardiographPatterns in Humans

***

(You just have to trust them. There is no reason not to if you have nothing to hide. Moreover, if the happy healthy Scandinavians are planning this, it definitely could not be a bad thing.)

***

Screenshot_2020-01-19_21-01-28

सांस्कृतिक-कार्यक्रम

शिकार-की-इजाज़त

खान-पान-का-मौसम

***

Zersetzung 21C Journal

Radiation Logs

Songs for Walden II

How we Gravitate towards Evil, Collectively

The same results can be obtained even after reversing the genders.

And the results are far more diabolical when the individual mademoiselle is replaced with a collective mademoiselle. Or monsieur, or whatever other gender on the spectrum, because the phenomenon is gender-neutral.

The results are already quite diabolical due to the effect of the collective gravitating towards the individual evil, but they become exponentially more diabolical when the evil itself is collective and even bigger collective gravitates towards the collective evil.

The above is an example of the malignant type of this phenomenon.

In a highly organised social collection of individuals, as we have in our world at a global scale, individual evil is (at the worst) like a cancerous cell. There exists what we call cancer only when there are a very large number of such cancerous cells. Individual cancerous cells can’t do much damage.

Even a small group of cancerous cells is usually benign. Unless, of course, the collective gravitates towards it.

Here is benign type of the same, that is, some of the seeds of it, lest we forget completely, shown in a very much sanitized version:

We all carry some seeds of individual evil: some more, some less. Most of these seeds are supposed to lie dormant and they often do. They are there, at least partially, for evolutionary reasons. There are more than enough technologies of power (in the Foucauldian sense) to keep individual evil in check (but also keep individual good in check if it conflicts with the interests of the powers that be).

The problem is, these same technologies of power create and facilitate collective evil and/or make the collective gravitate towards it for reasons of their own (such as The Greater Good or The Higher Cause, whichever way these causes are defined, which may not be really good or higher).

So, yes, in that sense it is more a political matter, less a psychological matter.

Who decides what is Good or Higher? Who decides who decides? The collective? Those who represent the collective? Those who claim to represent the collective? Those who have the power to decide on behalf of the collective? Those who have the power and just pretend to decide on behalf of the collective? Those who convince the collective that they are deciding on behalf of the collective or for the good of the collective?

To convert a mainly political matter into a totally psychological matter has always been a tactic dear to socio-political establishments to maintain their power and to maintain the status quo (or to change it to their interests), particularly to totalitarian systems such as the Stalinist Soviet Union or the Maoist China or Nazi Germany. That is what the Re-education Camps and Gulags were for, in terms of the justification given for their existence.

There is no reason why a Capitalist Establishment can’t or won’t use this tactic.

We do know for sure about the use of medical ‘treatment’ for gender-related ‘illnesses’ or ‘disorders’ or ‘diseases’. That is not a Conspiracy Theory. The people — good people, nice people — genuinely hated and dreaded the people with such ‘illnesses’ or ‘disorders’ or ‘diseases’, to the extent we hate pedophiles, for example. In many societies, such gender related phobias (is that the right word, considering what I just said about the psychological and the political?) are still the norm. Not just phobias (or whatever is the right term), there are still laws applying them.

The one below is a less benign case of the same phenomenon, hinting towards the malignant form:

This one, as the others, shows the pushes and pulls (well, technically only pulls) of gravitation between entities, both good and evil, whether in the same person or not, and also (more importantly) between the individual evil and the collective evil. The political here is much more explicit. The psychological is just what humans are. The political is what humans have made for themselves, collectively. That last one is the keyword.

In that case, are there some Special Ones or Chosen Ones, or is the Higher or the Good for everyone?

In the fight between good and evil, the evil always has the upper hand. This is almost a cliche. But also in the fight between the individual evil and the collective evil, the latter is a guaranteed winner.

The collective just brushes aside the individual good. And it crushes the individual evil as a giant can crush a little thing. It does that only when the interests between the two don’t align well. Otherwise, they can get along just fine. That is part of how the world works.

There is less evil in a room with a view. A room at the top, however, is a very different matter. The evil there is immeasurably more.

The room at the top is the control centre of the technologies of power. An evil Mademoiselle or a Monsieur is just the kind of asset that they need there.

Only as long as the interests align.

A room at the top comes, not only with a view, but with much evil, with or without the Mademoiselle or the Monsieur.