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Academic views, controversies, liberal views, eclectic discussions and so forth. Also, extended debates may be moved here. May contain discussion on views that a devotee may find objectionable.

Polytheism Versus Monotheism - Religion, Society and the Individual

adiyen - Thu, 27 May 2004 12:20:41 +0530

Please have a go at reading the above essay, on one of the most important contemporary philosophers and his struggles with the issues listed in the title of this thread.

The writings and writers listed in the essay have been on my mind since I first encountered them 10 years ago, and I think they contain some profound but subtle insights for those trying to situate Gaudiyaism outside India, or anyone trying to live a religious life in the modern world.
vamsidas - Fri, 28 May 2004 02:32:47 +0530
QUOTE(adiyen @ May 27 2004, 02:50 AM)

Please have a go at reading the above essay, on one of the most important contemporary philosophers and his struggles with the issues listed in the title of this thread.

The writings and writers listed in the essay have been on my mind since I first encountered them 10 years ago, and I think they contain some profound but subtle insights for those trying to situate Gaudiyaism outside India, or anyone trying to live a religious life in the modern world.

I'm still digesting that article from the May issue of First Things, and I'm determined not to post my thoughts until/unless I am fairly sure I have something worthwhile to say.

So why this note? smile.gif I just wanted to call your attention to an article in the June/July issue of First Things, titled "Hinduism and Terror."

I don't have the time or energy to type it in, but once it is posted (presumably within a couple of months) I suspect it will provide fodder for some interesting discussions in this forum.
dirty hari - Fri, 28 May 2004 04:31:07 +0530
These atheists and their psychology/social science have been spouting off similar stuff for years, in fact the U.S. educational system was created by the adherents of this kind of rhetoric.

Ever wonder how in a society like the U.S. of A where by far the majority of people have faith in God and are religious still we have had in the school system a concerted teaching of views like the stuff Rorty or Dewey or Hegel et al believe ?

It's been a concerted effort by these establishment statists/atheists/upper crusties from the east coast "establishment" ever since their takeover of the U.S education system in the 19th century.

While some may call this conspiracy theory the facts are there for anyone to study,

Reading that article is like getting a window into the minds of the people who have controlled and in fact created the american educational system, ever wonder why in such an overwhelmingly religious society as america that atheistic "sciences" like Darwinism, Big Bangism and a materialistic vision of the world is what the mass media and public schools cram down everyones throats ? And if anyone tries to question the sacred science of Evolution in schools you might as well declare war on whomever finances Academia, they fight and scream like banshees if anyone even considers the idea of creationism or a god existing being allowed to compete with 100% atheism in the Academic tyrannical prison state/school system.

As conspiratorial as it sounds there is a pattern and a history behind these "philosophers" and their supposed "greatness". It was concieved as a tool for creating a society that has a worldview desired by the creators and money men behind american academia and the public school system.

This is why Evolutionary theory was created, this why it is still taught, and this is the milieu of our good friend Rorty, These guys come from a social class that is hell bent on coming up with an alternative to God as a viable reality to impose on society through the school system, both public and university level.

While I read the article I had deja vu all over again, it's the same ol stuff in a shiny new package.

This excerpt from the article is straight out of the educational propaganda handbook for the subversive elite's who have dominated america for quite a while.

In several of his writings, Rorty describes the role of college professors in almost fundamentalist terms: professors should see their work in the classroom as nothing less than an exercise in conversion. They ought “to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.” With no hint of his usual irony, Rorty writes that “students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents.” Parents, he writes, ought to be forewarned that “we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable.” Although Rorty is on record as agreeing with Judith Shklar that liberalism means that “cruelty is the worst thing we do” and that the “redescription” of another’s most central beliefs is about the worst form of cruelty imaginable, he seems willing enough to visit such cruelty on college students who happen to wander into his classroom.

If American colleges and universities are catechism classes for young Americans, then American democracy itself serves as a kind of substitute church (albeit a large and diverse one) for Rorty, who claims to long for some human community and an opportunity for solidarity in the absence of transcendent and mystical communion, and who offers us such solidarity in a return to civil religion in the tradition of Rousseau but in the language of Whitman and Lincoln.

try this

The Educational System Was Designed to Keep Us Uneducated and Docile

"It's no secret that the US educational system doesn't do a very good job. Like clockwork, studies show that America's schoolkids lag behind their peers in pretty much every industrialized nation. We hear shocking statistics about the percentage of high-school seniors who can't find the US on an unmarked map of the world or who don't know who Abraham Lincoln was.
Fingers are pointed at various aspects of the schooling system—overcrowded classrooms, lack of funding, teachers who can't pass competency exams in their fields, etc. But these are just secondary problems. Even if they were cleared up, schools would still suck. Why? Because they were designed to.

How can I make such a bold statement? How do I know why America's public school system was designed the way it was (age-segregated, six to eight 50-minute classes in a row announced by Pavlovian bells, emphasis on rote memorization, lorded over by unquestionable authority figures, etc.)? Because the men who designed, funded, and implemented America's formal educational system in the late 1800s and early 1900s wrote about what they were doing.

Almost all of these books, articles, and reports are out of print and hard to obtain. Luckily for us, John Taylor Gatto tracked them down. Gatto was voted the New York City Teacher of the Year three times and the New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991. But he became disillusioned with schools—the way they enforce conformity, the way they kill the natural creativity, inquisitiveness, and love of learning that every little child has at the beginning. So he began to dig into terra incognita, the roots of America's educational system.

In 1888, the Senate Committee on Education was getting jittery about the localized, non-standardized, non-mandatory form of education that was actually teaching children to read at advanced levels, to comprehend history, and, egads, to think for themselves. The committee's report stated, "We believe that education is one of the principal causes of discontent of late years manifesting itself among the laboring classes."

By the turn of the century, America's new educrats were pushing a new form of schooling with a new mission (and it wasn't to teach). The famous philosopher and educator John Dewey wrote in 1897:

Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth.

In his 1905 dissertation for Columbia Teachers College, Elwood Cubberly—the future Dean of Education at Stanford—wrote that schools should be factories "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products...manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry."

The next year, the Rockefeller Education Board—which funded the creation of numerous public schools—issued a statement which read in part:

In our dreams...people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple...we will organize children...and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

At the same time, William Torrey Harris, US Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906, wrote:

Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.

In that same book, The Philosophy of Education, Harris also revealed:

The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places.... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.

Several years later, President Woodrow Wilson would echo these sentiments in a speech to businessmen:

We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forego the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.

Writes Gatto: "Another major architect of standardized testing, H.H. Goddard, said in his book Human Efficiency (1920) that government schooling was about 'the perfect organization of the hive.'"

While President of Harvard from 1933 to 1953, James Bryant Conant wrote that the change to a forced, rigid, potential-destroying educational system had been demanded by "certain industrialists and the innovative who were altering the nature of the industrial process."

In other words, the captains of industry and government explicitly wanted an educational system that would maintain social order by teaching us just enough to get by but not enough so that we could think for ourselves, question the sociopolitical order, or communicate articulately. We were to become good worker-drones, with a razor-thin slice of the population—mainly the children of the captains of industry and government—to rise to the level where they could continue running things.

This was the openly admitted blueprint for the public schooling system, a blueprint which remains unchanged to this day. Although the true reasons behind it aren't often publicly expressed, they're apparently still known within education circles. Clinical psychologist Bruce E. Levine wrote in 2001:

I once consulted with a teacher of an extremely bright eight-year-old boy labeled with oppositional defiant disorder. I suggested that perhaps the boy didn't have a disease, but was just bored. His teacher, a pleasant woman, agreed with me. However, she added, "They told us at the state conference that our job is to get them ready for the work world…that the children have to get used to not being stimulated all the time or they will lose their jobs in the real world."


That was from a guy named Russ Kick, He utilized John Taylor Gottos "The Underground History
of American Education"

the books online here
braja - Fri, 28 May 2004 05:39:33 +0530
Bit OT but Gatto is a good read. Not too sure about his argument that Hindu education played a large part in the development of Western Education though: (and the subsequent two pages)
adiyen - Fri, 28 May 2004 11:09:38 +0530
You don't need to wait to read Paul Marshall's views, Vamsi. They are elsehwere on the 'net. I suspect, though, that the recent change of govt in India pulls the rug out from under his argument. He is mostly concerned, of course, about rising Hindu intolerance against Xtians in India. Understandable. Also the RSS, Shiv Sen and similar groups are rather dubious, with Shiv Sen apparently even shutting down a perfectly good Iskcon hospital in Bombay (Bal Thackeray is just a goondah, as are some others). But many current political analysts of India are rather shallow if they don't see that Congress is also a Hindu party, or that it has its own skeletons in the closet like the Sikh massacres following the assassination of Indira.

Rorty's point is that there can be no such thing as pure secularism.

See here for Marshall's writings:

Not sure what Marshall means by 'hard decisions'. Does he realise that Congress was always much more anti-American and anti-Xtian? His understanding of India appears to be superficial and sketchy.
vamsidas - Fri, 28 May 2004 14:48:28 +0530
QUOTE(adiyen @ May 28 2004, 01:39 AM)
You don't need to wait to read Paul Marshall's views, Vamsi. They are elsehwere on the 'net. I suspect, though, that the recent change of govt in India pulls the rug out from under his argument.... His understanding of India appears to be superficial and sketchy.

I think you are exactly right that Marshall's views are largely discredited.

Perhaps you misunderstood my message; I said I didn't have the time or energy to type in Marshall's article (from the printed version of the June/July issue, which I recently read). From comments you had made earlier, I assumed that you were also a subscriber to First Things, and I just wanted to give you a "heads up" regarding Marshall's article. Having read the article recently, I suspect that (once I can link to it online) it will help bring the participants on this forum together (for a change), "bashing" the flaws in his argument.
adiyen - Fri, 28 May 2004 15:42:49 +0530
QUOTE(vamsidas @ May 28 2004, 09:18 AM)
From comments you had made earlier, I assumed that you were also a subscriber to First Things.

Ahh, no. Serious lack of funds. I just wait a month and read it free on the 'net. Sorry for confusion.

I'm a real fence-sitter on this question. I'm sure Hinduism is bigger than its modern exponents say. My favourite is Nirad Chaudhuri:

As you will see, he's quite a character!
dirty hari - Sat, 29 May 2004 02:53:07 +0530
Ever since the BJP took power there has been a campaign of misinformation like that of Paul Marshall in western media about the dangers of hindu extremists, their agenda seems to be to rile up people outside of India by portraying the Hindutva proponents and BJP as akin to muslim extremists.

I've seen quite a few articles, although they are usually written by Indians, they all have the same kind of rhetoric, they all use the tactic of telling partial truth to agitate their readership.

I would not be surprised if these people were paid by Congress party to foment hate and discredit the BJP.
vamsidas - Wed, 16 Jun 2004 03:45:03 +0530
In short, Rorty proposes to unify the public and private spheres under a metaphysical notion. The clear implication of Rorty’s religious turn is that when orthodox theism conflicts with the American civil religion of democracy, traditional religious belief must yield or risk public disapproval and a range of possible, though as yet unnamed, threats.

At least in the United States, there already is a pervasive "secular civil religion" that frankly does supplant traditional monotheistic orthodoxy. Certainly American Protestantism has been subsumed by the "cult of the Constitution" -- a large segment of American Protestantism believes either that the Constitution was divinely inspired, or that its laws and principles are fully consistent with their Christian faith.

Many American Protestants consider themselves "good Christians" when in fact their Christianity has become a blinkered nationalism subservient to the United States' founding documents.

One of the primary tensions in current American political life is occurring as many discover that their personal beliefs are no longer compatible with American "civil religion." Some few are willing to abandon the Constitution in order to better achieve their religious ends. This, however, horrifies the majority of "establishment" American Christians for whom rejecting the Constitution would be a greater blasphemy than rejecting Jesus.

How this tension is resolved in the next few years will affect the shape the United States takes in the century ahead.
dirty hari - Wed, 16 Jun 2004 04:52:09 +0530
I have been personally told on more then one occasion by a christian that the constitution of the U.S.A is a divine document.

What they dont realize is that the constitution was written by businessmen and that they had purposely sent Jefferson to europe so they could try and push through the constitution. It was written solely to give business advantages and power over the government to the wealthy and was meant to keep the non wealthy as unempowered as possible.

From "Triumphant Plutocracy"- Chapter 10-Who made the Constitution by Richard Pettigrew

The Constitution, as framed by the Convention, says nothing about the rights of man.  It contains no guarantee of free speech, of free press, of free assemblage, or of religious liberty.  It breathes no single hint of freedom.  It was made by men who believed in the English theory, that all governments are created to protect the rights of property in the hands of those who do not produce it.

The revolutionary scrip-paper money, to finance the Revolutionary War, had been used to pay for supplies and to pay the wages of the men that did the fighting.  In the years that followed the war, this scrip had been bought up by the financiers and great land-owners and their attorneys for about nine cents on the dollar.  The Constitution, as adopted, made it worth one hundred cents on the dollar.  This is but one of the many facts which prove that the Constitution, as drawn up by the Convention, was made to protect the rights of property rather than the rights of man.

Throughout the document the framers were careful to guard against too much democracy.  The Government was erected in three parts—legislative, executive and judicial—each with a check on the other two.  The House of Representatives alone was elected directly by the people, but all of its legislative acts were subject to revision or rejection by the Senate, the members of which were to be selected, not by popular vote but by the vote of the state legislatures.  Thus, even the legislative branch of the Government did not represent the popular will.  If the legislative branch had been responsible to the people, there were still the President, elected, not by the vote of the people, but by the vote of electors, who were elected by the people ;  and, last of all, and by no means the least, from the point of view of the vested interests, there was the Supreme Court—its members selected by the President, confirmed by the Senate, sitting for life.  Over these supreme judges, the people could not exercise even an indirect control.

This was the Constitution drawn up while Thomas Jefferson was in France.  It was submitted to the states for ratification and the states refused to accept it.  In all probability it never would have been ratified had Thomas Jefferson not returned from France and thrown his great influence in favor of the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights that was added to the Constitution by its business backers, as the necessary price of its adoption by the people.

It would appear Rorty is a card carrying member of the financiers and their groupies club, they fear devotional religion because to them it brings in the element of the irrational into their comfortable little worlds, the people become a mob to be feared when they follow their religious leaders instead of the state propaganda i.e public education. This is why evolutionary theory was rammed down everyones throat, they want to take away as much credibility as they can from the personalist religious world view, impersonalism is fine with them, there is no personal God to inspire the people to rise up against "sin", no personal God who makes law of what is "sin" and unacceptable.

The oligarch class learned this lesson in the 19th century, slavery was abolished due to christians coming together to fight against a percieved injustice, they forced the oligarchs to back down and outlaw slavery (in europe).

It was right after this that Darwinism and then eugenics became popularized, the beginning of the "scientific dictatorship" which became the basis for public education systems. It was all about indoctrination of atheism, the oligarchs saw how faith and belief in "sin" and a reward for fighting "sin" was bad for business, so they propagandized fiercely, the modern educational system that promotes atheism exclusively and viciously fights against anything else was started and is continued today for the same reason, people like Rorty are the mouthpieces and propagandizers for the oligarch class. If atheism doesn't work for everyone they will settle for impersonalism or pantheism, as long as there is no lawgiver and "sin" counter watching over us, then religion is tolerable among the mass of exploited workers.

They will even promote "spirituality" for the sole purpose of converting personalists into impersonalists.