Unmasking AIT - Printable Version

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Unmasking AIT - Guest - 01-30-2007

Post 200:
this above message contains a refutation of the neo-western contention that china harbored a more ancient strand of normative virtue ethics. these herrenvolks never do seem to stop with their allegations, limitless in number and directed at all and sundry. really amazing if you think about it..<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Dhu, could you please post the message itself? Not being a member of the yahoo group, I can't access it. Would like to read it.

Post 199 and particularly 201:
Incredibly perceptive and very true.
Balagangadhara's insight and understanding is deeply cool (#201). He clarifies the matter like someone clearing cobwebs to reveal the shape underneath.

Post 197:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Joseph Jacobs in 1888[24] offers a less coercive interpretation of how the Panchatantra/Kalila and Dimna stories might work more effectively to modify human behaviour: " . . . . if one thinks of it, the very raison d'être of the Fable is to imply its moral without mentioning it."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Yes, I thought the stories were self-explanatory too. It kind of holds a mirror up to you, and you decide what you want to be.

What I always thought was that the character you naturally sympathise with, or whose actions you approve of, need not always be the character that triumphs in the Indian fables. It triggers a response of some sense of not wanting unrighteousness to be allowed to win, and wanting to make the world and human behaviour - particularly one's own - such that positive characters/actions are not met with unwarranted disaster. It speaks to the innate righteousness in young children, and tells them to sharpen their wits at the same time. IMO.

And what's up with 'Professor' Edgerton describing the Panchatantra as 'Machiavellian'? And writing:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The morals of the stories are often amoral.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Why did the west always need the morals spelled out to it, when one can develop them by having stories that get you to subconsciously reflect on them?
Makes me wonder what 'professor' means when such experts don't even 'get' what they profess to be experts on. Explains Wendy Doniger et al.

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 01-30-2007

An important point is your side remark about the inability of the Chinese language to express counterfactuals. In fact the situation is even more intriguing. As you know, Confucius wrote his "Analects" in the Classical Chinese language. In order to see where I am heading, consider some of the thoughts that Rosemont, Jr. expresses. (Rosemont, Jr., H., "Against Relativism." In Larson G. J. and E. Deutsch (eds.), *Interpreting Across Boundaries: New Essays in Comparative Philosophy*. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988) Not only is there an absence of the concept of 'morality' in the Classical Chinese, but also the very cluster of concepts required to speak about moral issues.

Consider as a specific example the classical Chinese language in which the early Confucians wrote. Not merely does that language contain no lexical item for 'moral', it also does not have terms corresponding to 'freedom', 'liberty', 'autonomy', 'individual', 'utility', 'rationality', 'objective', 'subjective, 'choice', 'dilemma', 'duty', 'rights', and probably most eerie of all for a moralist, classical Chinese has no lexical item corresponding to 'ought' - prudential or obligatory (Rosemont Jr. 1988: 61).

This claim is as puzzling as it is startling: in classical Chinese it is not possible to speak of 'moral duty' or 'moral dilemmas' or 'moral choices'. It is not even possible to formulate a rule which uses the notions of 'ought' - either obligatory ("All ought to
do X") or prudentially ("If one desires X then one ought to do Y"). In the western intellectual tradition, we believe it to be the 'essence' of a moral principle or norm that it is formulated using the 'ought' - either in obligatory or prudential form. Without 'ought', there would be no difference in kind between factual and evaluative statements. Yet, it is impossible to do precisely that in Confucianism. The philosophical significance is immense:

Speakers (writers) of languages that have no terms (or concept clusters) corresponding to 'moral' cannot logically have any moral principles (ibid.: 60).

But, rightly enough, we take Confucianism at least as an example of a moral system. What is the upshot of the above remark? Rosemont formulates the issue as follows:

If one grants that in contemporary western moral philosophy 'morals' is intimately linked with the concept cluster elaborated above, and if none of that concept cluster can be found in the Confucian lexicon, then the Confucians not only cannot be moral philosophers, they cannot be ethical philosophers either. But this contention is
absurd; by any account of the Confucians, they were clearly concerned about the human conduct, and what constituted the good life. If these are not ethical considerations, what are? (ibid.: 64).

The intriguing question, apart from the truth-value of these claims, is about their intelligibility. What is the structure of the moral domain if it is not defined by norms? If one does not act morally simply by 'following rules', how does one learn to act in a moral way? How is an ethical judgment possible without referring to norms? How are ethical disputes settled? And, above all, how is an identification of such a domain possible at all?

What I am trying to say is that these questions arise typically (at the least) in all Asian traditions, including the Indian one. And that what has been argued as the weakness of these traditions is actually their *greatest* strength.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 01-31-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I was thinking of Olender's paper and origins of Pauline Christianity and the AIT and have come to a new conclusion.

The AIT completes the work started by Paul. Paul was the one that broke the social link to Judaism by allowing non Jews to become Christians and rejecting circumcision. However he was unable to take the Hebrew origins out of the Bible. The Greek and Latin versions were explained as trying to make the message reach Europe but the real reason is to take the Bible out of Hebrew. The AIT with its core idea of Sanskrit as the link language for IE languages enables this transformation. Till now I was thinking all these German scholars of AIT were trying to get a glorified ancestors to refute the Brits calling them descendents of Huns and other tribes, but now I see it as the greater project of gettig the Bible out of the Hebrew language in order to make it more universal.

Thus European scholars AIT seeks to break the language link of Hebrew.

But how to reconcile the fact that most AIT scholars are now Jewish? And that the AIT has stagnated now and is going nowhere.

Maybe the real reason is to ensure to goes no where.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Jan 30 2007, 06:28 AM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Jan 30 2007, 06:28 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->And what's up with 'Professor' Edgerton describing the Panchatantra as 'Machiavellian'?


herrenvolk ethics is restricted to the genre of "manifesto" and this restriction has been increasing in severity for a very long time (see quote below). the fact that the prototypical semitism was a leading characteristic of greek thought was a minor scandal for certain quarters when balagangadhara's theories were first aired, as well a polemical point against balu's theory. if the give and take between romans and jews can be traced to the effects of this type of ethics predominating among both, then this would essentially confirm ramana's contention that "The AIT completes the work started by Paul." I mean, we already know that aquinas massively imported greek normative thought to buttress the semitism of christianity. if paul was the one who started the process, by obviously relying on his roman background, then where does that leave the question of the semetic "ethical" "revolutionary locus?? why selectively forget the pagan past of the jews.

AIT allows for IE development within a normative europe, but this an absolute impossibilty given the specific nature of vedic ethics (acc to balu, non-normative (indian) ethics cannot be derived from normative (euro) ethics, while the opposite is certainly possible, given certain specific circumstances. these circumstances were the invasion of indic into europe. notice the early native manifesto polemics accompanying the gypsy migrations into europe which continue down to this day . notice the slight change of parshu zoroastrianism into an "ethical-type prophetic religion", as it migrated into the ME/Med from the east. the panchatantra misinterpretaion and reformulation is just another example. by contrast, there is nil manifesto-type demonization of parsis in india. narratives can travel freely within asia, given that the "the strategy of social interaction is the same within the Asian culture" (balu). such is not obviously the case when going into europe..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->“This absence of the terminology to talk about ethics differentiates the Indian traditions from the Greek culture. <b>That is to say, there is a difference in kind between the Greek ethics and the Indian ethics: </b>one had the words to talk about it, whereas the other does not. Secondly, this difference has some significance regarding the 'reflective' thinking that VL is supposed to exemplify. How is it possible to reason and think about ethics, when you do not even have the words in which to do so? Obviously, you cannot. That is, there is a second kind of difference too, a consequence of the first: the Indian culture did not have the ability to reason and think about ethics. (That is why VL provides “a mosaic-like picture of feelings, attitudes and thoughts”.) Thirdly, <b>if this is the difference that separates Indians from their Greek (or Roman) counterparts, even though coming after the Greeks by almost by a thousand years, the Indian thinkers are at the lower rung of the moral ladder: the Indians (of about a thousand years ago), followed by the Greeks (more than two thousand five hundred years ago),</b> and then the contemporary moral philosophy. There is, however, a degree of difference between the Greeks and the contemporary moral philosophy: the latter is 'more' reflective than the former. [/B] (Pp.96-97) balangangadhara citing a western theorist<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

kazanas too makes note of a concretedness in ME narratives, which he generalizes to the western sphere:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The Vedic tradition is not encaged in gross material forms </b>and its deities are not such anthropomorphic (or zoomorphic) figures <b>as in other [narratives],</b> <b>like those of Mesopotamia, Egypt or Greece. </b>In the hymns and in later texts we find abstractions, qualities and essences to a greater degree than concrete characteristics and actions. Thus there is creation with gross materials as in the RV hymn to Viövakarman X 81 or the dismemberment of Puruêa in X 90 but also, and more often, with subtle forces like mÄyÄ or asuratva through will, inner vision and meditation as in the nÄsadÉya X 129, or in X 190, and in the upanishadic formulas sa aikêata ‘he envisioned’, so’kÄmayata ‘he desired’, sa tapo’tapyata ‘he meditated/brooded or practised austerity’ in BÖhÄdaraèyaka Up I, 2, 5-6. Thus the Vedic mind, even if only in few and select individuals, could conceive and accept that Manu and the Seven Seers took with them on the boat the seeds of creatures and that through tapas Manu would be able to create anew all the creatures including devas and asuras (MB III 185, 49-52).

The Mesopotamians, on the other hand, do not display a similar capacity for abstraction: there is nothing like mahazd devÄZnÄm asuratvazm ezkam ‘single is the great god-power of the gods’ (RV III 55 refrain) or the One that breathed without air, of itself, prior to existence and nonexistence (X 129). The creation of men in AtrahasÉs requires gross materials like clay and blood, specialist gods like Nintu (Jacobsen108), who is the great goddess Ninhursag now in her aspect of womb-goddess or divine midwife, and concrete actions as when “She pinched off fourteen pieces (of clay)/… seven pieces on the right/ seven on the left” and “She covered her head/ … / Put on her belt…” etc (MM 16-7). In the Enäma Elish Marduk creates the universe from parts of Tiamat, deification of Mother-chaos, again in very concrete terms (MM 255-7), like the dismemberment in the Puruêa Säkta. Consider also the Mesopotamian need for temples and statues of gods, whereas the rigvedic people had none and were content to know their deities by their attributes (and as expressions of the One) and made their offerings on any patch of ground strewn with sacred grass. The Tablet of Destinies (symbolic but solid) is another example of the Mesopotamian concrete concepts. Thus the Mesopotamian mind apparently could not deal in abstract entities like IáÄ (in the ¬B version) or the Seven Seers (in the epic) or a sacrifice that creates a new generation of humans or the mere ‘seeds’ of creatures.

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 01-31-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->1. Are Western traditions innately richer because they have the moral ought?

My answer: No. In fact, in my book on ethics I will prove the following: the non-normative ethics are richer: <b>Under specific assumptions, in limited conditions, one can derive a normative ethics from a non-normative one. </b><b>The relation between non-normative ethics and normative ethics is analogous to the relation between Einsteinian theory and Newtonian theory: </b>under specific assumptions, in limited conditions, you can derive the Newtonian theory from the Einsteinian theory.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Islam could certainly intrude upon india, but islam could never develop into the hinduism of India. A trivial point but it needs to be emphasized in the similar case of AIT.

Unmasking AIT - ramana - 01-31-2007

Dhu, Thanks that you found my idle thoughts of some value!

You quoted Kazanas' quote
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In the Enäma Elish Marduk creates the universe from parts of Tiamat, deification of Mother-chaos, again in very concrete terms (MM 255-7), like the dismemberment in the Puruêa Säkta. <b>Consider also the Mesopotamian need for temples and statues of gods, whereas the rigvedic people had none and were content to know their deities by their attributes (and as expressions of the One) and made their offerings on any patch of ground strewn with sacred grass.</b> The Tablet of Destinies (symbolic but solid) is another example of the Mesopotamian concrete concepts. <b>Thus the Mesopotamian mind apparently could not deal in abstract entities like IáÄ (in the ¬B version) or the Seven Seers (in the epic) or a sacrifice that creates a new generation of humans or the mere ‘seeds’ of creatures.</b>

Dhu we need to work on a unified history of the world taking into account the migration from out of India by early man as the Openheimer work shows. Is it possible that the Mesopotamian types needed statues etc as they were far from their homes while rigvedic types never needed symbols to keep their faith as it was original to them?

One more thing that strikes me is the idea of 'sacrifice' to create new generations of humans. Wasnt Judaism really started with Abraham's 'sacrifice' of his son and same way Jesus crucification was also portrayed as a sacrifice to save the believers? So these were appeals to the sub-consicious India roots of humanity?

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 02-01-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Regarding the first issue.<b> Yes, I do think that there is a *fundamental divide* between these two cultures as to the nature of the ethical domain. </b>This forum is not the place to argue for it: in a book I have almost completed, I show what this difference is.<b> Very briefly put: the structure of western ethical thinking is ‘normative’ in nature. </b>(That means to say,<b> it makes use of ethical categories like ‘obligatory’, ‘forbidden’ and ‘permissible’ to evaluate actions. </b>Or that <b>the ‘moral ought’ is central to its talk about morality.) </b>By contrast, the Indian ethics is ‘non-normative’. There is no distinction between the ‘normative’ and the ‘factual’ statements in our culture, whereas it is fundamental to the western intellectual thinking. (For example, the scientific statements are seen to be ‘factual’ whereas the ethical statements are said to be ‘normative’ in nature.) You are right, therefore, in sensing that this divide is the backbone to my argument in the passage you cite. <b>This divide, however, is not a simple ‘postulation’ from my side but one based on arguments and evidence which, as I have already said, are not presented in this article. </b>nature.)link<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 02-01-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Homer's Influence on Greek Religion

In the course of the Archaic epoch, the poems of Homer became normative for Greek culture. The poems' descriptions of the gods decisively shaped a Panhellenic mythology and iconography. <b>But the anthropomorphism of the Homeric gods that made them act and react like humans provoked the criticism of religious thinkers who were devising a theology in which the gods were viewed as ideal moral beings and who were transcending anthropomorphism for the sake of theology.</b> <b>Xenophanes of Colophon (c. 570–c. 480 BCE) rejected anthropomorphism as a human projection onto the divine, and he heavily criticized Homer and Hesiod for their representations of immoral gods who "steal and lie and commit adultery."</b> <b>Plato (c. 428–348 or 347 BCE) went even further. In the Republic he proposed that the ideal state would censure poetry and prohibit immoral representations of the gods.</b>

As a way of dealing with these criticisms,<b> rhapsodes and later Stoic philosophers developed the allegorical explanation of such Homeric scenes. </b><b>The assumption was that the poet was hiding physical or ethical statements behind a misleading narrative surface; </b><b>allegorization would reconstruct these original intentions of Homer. </b>Originally developed by the rhapsodic interpreters of Homer, such as Stesimbrotos of Thasos (fifth century BCE), allegorical interpretation turned into a major tool for adapting the understanding of canonical texts to a given society without changing their textual forms.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 02-01-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->There is a recent book by Thomas McEvilley (of Rice University) showing how Indian philosophy influenced Greek thought in very important ways. In any case, what exactly is the point of this statement in the discussion? I could just as easily say, “so what”? You deliberately excluded my next sentences, where I said India contributed much in return. I have <b>Mc Evilley’s book, and he draws a startling portrait of the ancient world, persuasively arguing that presocratic monism is indebted if not completely derived from Indic thought. </b>link

Unmasking AIT - ramana - 02-02-2007

Did Balagangadhar ever finish the book he was writing in 2002?

Some presentations by SBN and his students

In google e-books there is an old 1850's book called "India in Greece". Wonder f McEvilley referred to it.

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 02-02-2007


his 2002 book is "the heathen...."
he has another one coming out soon.
talageri also has another book coming out as intimated by Dr. Elst on akanda..
i would expect that massa will have the finishing heart attack when these two things happen.

did you see how the greek critiques of homerian narratives were similar in kind to the christian reformulations of panchatantra? it is quite astonishing that european ethics is completely separate from that of asia. of course we can merely make a casual note of this fact or follow it up with hard hitting questions... the first one to come to mind is whether normative ethics is native to europe or was it a transformation of asian ethics. obviously there was a unique conflict in this part of the world that such normative ideologies did in fact spring up, and their roots are definitely traceable as prechristian. add to this the fact that the entire christian edifice is traceable to buddhism and zoroastrianism (as summarized by K. Venkat (see below) which did not register well with the natives, unlike in east asia, tibet, SEA, etc...

yes the entire western history is up for grabs.

the tapasya element is missing in the west/ME, as pointed out by kazanas, and where it is feebly present is almost certainly a direct indic import, as pointed out by mcevilley. in medical parlance, concrete thinking is a sign of schizophrenia, maybe a societal "double bind" situation that developed with "mixed signals" from too many diverse sources.

on top of all this kazanas takes mcevilley to task for denying the central role of india..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->CLT is a very good model, and he presents a lot of evidence that
Christianity borrowed from Buddhism. Thundy disagrees with some of
CLT's linguistic interpretation but Thundy reaches the same larger
conclusion as CLT. In fact, I will categorically state that everything
positive in Christianity came from Buddhism, Mithraism etc while
antisemitism and parochial hate mongering alone is Christianity's

Unmasking AIT - ramana - 02-02-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-"Dhu"+-->QUOTE("Dhu")<!--QuoteEBegin-->did you see how the greek critiques of homerian narratives were similar in kind to the christian reformulations of panchatantra?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I wonder if the Greeks encountered the ancient persians and came up with these critiques to bring about differentiation?

Also in the other quote granted the good came from Buddhism and Mithraism the dogma also came from pre-Christian Greeks when they Helenized.

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 02-02-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->xenophanes wiki
Because of his development of the concept of a "one god greatest among gods and men" that is abstract, universal, unchanging, immobile and always present, <b>Xenophanes is often seen as one of the first monotheists, in the Western philosophy of religion.</b> ...
He also wrote that <b>poets should only tell stories about the gods which were socially uplifting, </b>one of many views which foreshadowed the work of <b>Plato</b>. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 02-02-2007

form husky's link:
pdf file of "the heathen

Unmasking AIT - acharya - 02-02-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Feb 1 2007, 05:57 PM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Feb 1 2007, 05:57 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->form husky's link:
pdf file of "the heathen

"The Heathen In His Blindness" Chapterwise

* Introduction: Contents , Acknowledgements and Introduction
* Chapter #1 : Some Puzzles and Problems
* Chapter #2 : “Not by One avenue Only …”
* Chapter #3: The Whore of Babylon and Other Revelations
* Chapter #4: Made in Paris, London, and Heidelberg
* Chapter #5: Requiem For a Theme
* Chapter #6: Shall The Twain Ever Meet?”
* Chapter #7: “Guilty as Charged, my Lords and Ladies?”
* Chapter #8: A Human Tragedy or The Divine Retribution?
* Chapter #9: Blessed are Those Who Seek…”
* Chapter#10: “Imagine There is No Religion…”
* Chapter#11: Prolegomena to a Comparative Science of Cultures
* Chapter#12: At the End of a Journey
* References: References, Name Index and Subject Index

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 02-03-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->That man invents gods when confronted by his fragility before the
terrors of nature or horror before death is an old idea, which stretches
back to the Greeks. <b>Popularly known as the ‘fear theory’ of the origin of
religion, it is attributed to Democritus.</b>
(heathen 5.2.1)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Unmasking AIT - ramana - 02-16-2007

But Hindus had Gods before the Greek encounter. How is that explained? It definitely was not the fear factor. Indian theogny was fully created way before the Greeks.

Unmasking AIT - ramana - 02-18-2007

any comments on this?

The genesis of India according to Bernard Sergent -- a review

Unmasking AIT - dhu - 02-19-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It remains possible that in some outlying regions, the early Indo-Europeans arrived on the scene in time to capture this movement of expanding agriculture, but it did not originate with them, <b>because Anatolia and the Balkans were demonstrably not the IE Urheimat. </b>On the contrary, in the northeastern Mediterranean, the presence of pre-IE elements in the historically attested IE cultures and languages (Greek, Hittite) is very strong, indicating that the Indo-Europeans had to subdue a numerous and self-confident, culturally advanced population. It is this Old European people, known through towns like Catal Hüyük and Vinca, which gradually spread to the northwest and civilized most of Europe before its indo-europeanization.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Unmasking AIT - Guest - 02-21-2007

ran into this recently..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->From 1978 to 1980 Roger Pearson, well known for his theory of white supremacy and his fascist sympathies, was chairman of WACL. Pearson concentrated his efforts in Europe and attracted more radical fascist elements to WACL. For a time WACL appeared to be more anti-semitic than anticommunist. (11) Pearson and the more radical WACL branches attempted to oust more moderate groups, but his attempted coup failed. In 1980, WACL expelled Pearson and said it had purged its fascist elements. As with the separation from the UC, however, the separation from the fascists was cosmetic only. Most of the individuals involved were reported by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers to be among the attendees at succeeding annual conferences. (2,31)


Unmasking AIT - Guest - 02-21-2007

Prof Vahia has intimated to me that he disapproves of posting his replies to me , in this forum. I agreed that i should not have done so without his permission and will remove the post.