Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Finite State Model of the History-Centric Soul

(Work in progress, to be updated)
In this post, we show that the theological soul associated with a History-centric thought system (HCTS) can be adequately represented using a deterministic and finite programmable model (there's an almost Turing Machine like feel to it). As always, feel free to submit substantiated corrections or suggestions.

From previous posts, we know that the human membership associated with a HCTS can be encoded using exactly one bit of information:
1: fully accept the input historical prior P. Output: qualify as a member
0: not fully accept input P. Output: disqualified (all non-humans by default).

There is no other state possible and no other inputs are necessary. Thus HC systems are associated with a finite bounded true/false state, that is only externally controllable and defined only for humans (undefined for non-humans).

Programmable Model Template of History Centric Souls (HCS)
1. HCS have finite starting points denoted T_start and a finite end points (T_end), thus of total duration (T_end - T_begin) and is undefined for any other time.

2. There exists a 1:1 binding-mapping between HCS and human body, i.e., one instance of HCS can be associated with exactly one human instance, thereby precluding the possibility of reincarnation, among other things.

3. The end state of all HCS is collectively and deterministically tied to the acceptance or non-acceptance of the corresponding extraneous input static data set associated with historical prior P (e.g. Nicene Creed). Other inputs are neither necessary nor sufficient.

4. At time T_end, HCS lapse and deterministically receive unconstrained output incentive enjoyable in human form, only if the associated human body validates the static input data within prior P before their mortal end. Thus, infinite reward is at hand regardless of the quality and quantity of all prior finite human acts. This boundless reward is available in an exclusive domain removed from the mortal world and is not accessible to non-members. Note the total absence of causality, sense of proportionality, and Karma, and an exclusive emphasis on continued membership and the keying in of a single collectively valid password.

5. As Rajiv Malhotra notes, the domain of HC God, matter, and the individual HCS are non-intersecting (duality of domains), i.e., the  intersection of any pair of domains = {}.

6. It follows from (4) that HCS of non-members are guaranteed to receive infinite penalty in a non-exclusive domain regardless of how virtuous their mortal life was. 

7. Thus the end state for HCS is deterministically determined, is absolutely uncontrollable by the human and absolutely controllable by and dependent on an extraneous, infinitely distant 'God', i.e., strictly binary: either infinite penalty (-) or unbounded incentive (+), depending only on a single human decision to fully accept or not accept static input data from a historical prior P. There is zero probability of a 'middle-ground' between these infinite extremes showing up in the output, and zero possibility of 'a second chance' to alter an undesirable end-state via rebirth. Claiming ignorance of prior P is not an acceptable excuse either.

8. The starting state (DNA, socioeconomic condition, etc.) of the human form associated with a HCS soul is a one-time randomized draw from an urn, i.e. a human lottery with no chance of a re-draw.

9. At time T_start, all HCS are uniformly scheduled to receive 'infinite penalty' (-∞) upon termination. This default state value is assumed to be sexually transmitted and can be altered (to +∞) only if the human will officially accept the input historical prior P before mortal end. (An example of the direct consequence of this important history-centric property is the aggressive 'harvesting of souls' practiced by agents of Abrahamic theology. In fact, a posthumous attempt was made on the Christian HCS of Mahatma Gandhi recently).

Thus the structural properties of HC soul are (infinitely) different from the 'Atman' of Dharmic thought systems (there are many more differences beyond those addressed here). A key reason for the pattern of a 'bounded, deterministic and programmable model' that repeatedly shows up in Western thought is attributable to a near-exclusive emphasis on history-centrism and its resultant human-centrism, rather than beneficial metaphysics and development (or genuine acknowledgement) of  Dharmic inner sciences that help a human move away from bodily ego and maximize their inner potential. History-Centrism dictates that Yoga may help in the short term, but ultimately, only third-party intervention via a monotheist 'God' can seal the deal (human and HCS being the primary parties). Refer to Rajiv Malhotra's book 'Being Different' for complete details.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Duality masquerading as Advaita

We saw in the previous post ("Contradiction Networks") that the centralized management of the membership associated with History-Centric Thought Systems (HCTS) attempt to redefine themselves by de-emphasizing the HC model without actually eliminating the logical source of the maze of contradictions that characterize HCTS after a finite time period. Such an approach:
a) obfuscates rather than illuminates, and
b) digests, appropriates, and re-brands by stealth, rather than openly borrow, share, or acknowledge.

The level of obfuscation can (and has) reached such tragic levels in the west that the HC-induced duality can (and is now able to) give itself a makeover and present itself in terms of non-duality. Consider this exhibit (thanks to: Atanu Dey): Conference of Science and Non Duality ("SAND").

Years of painstaking analysis and data gathering efforts by Rajiv Malhotra indicates a distinct pattern emerging within those who sponsor and participate in conferences like these (screenshots below are taken from SAND website):

- there are conferences that consist of members, sponsors, and supporters who are overwhelmingly from the west, many of whom appear to have appropriated ideas, processes, and methods from the Dharmic knowledge base and repackaged such appropriated information as their "own" discovery by deleting its Hindu or Buddhist source and claiming its generic nature (note that such conferences are labeled non-dual rather than Dharmic!):

- The patronizing attitude that is symptomatic of duality is evident: Original non-western (Indian and Tibetan) discoverers and practitioners of such "generic" methods are categorized as (non-scientific or pre-rational) philosophers, sages, or mystics, whereas the westerners who are essentially reinventing the wheel or measuring the level of success of the original scientific discovery have hijacked this success and designated themselves as scientists in self-justification of this blatant unscientific knowledge appropriation:

- Commercial Exploitation of such uncredited appropriations from open-source Dharmic thought systems is conducted by filing patent claims, and/or obtaining academic research grants and overseas conference trips in lieu of direct commercial gain. For example, here is the snapshot of the actual patent claim on "Lucid Dreaming" US 2010/0130813 that is almost certainly ripped from prior-art Hindu/Buddhist methods with no credit or royalty given (see video below for details):

- Stifling of voices that point out the unethical practices that many (but not all) have employed in consideration of material benefits rather than allow a two-way conversation: Here is a full two-hour lecture by Rajiv Malhotra (thanks to: Karmasura) that systematically reviews some of the more prominent instances of uncredited appropriation of Indian Methods based on Dharmic thought systems:

In other words, grand titles for "non-dual conferences" similar to SAND tend to be oxymorons. They are both unscientific and anti-Dharmic! Rajiv Malhotra's next book on U-Turn Theory that among other things may expose such cynical and exploitative patterns of behavior, cannot come out soon enough!

Monday, March 12, 2012

History Centrism: Contradiction Networks

What is a contradiction network? Google generates a limited number of results for this phrase, none of which match how we plan to use this fairly simple concept in the latest installment of our ongoing research into the effects of History Centrism, a definitive phrase introduced by Rajiv Malhotra in his recent book "Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism".  First, we provide a brief recap of the work done so far (feel free to endorse or challenge/improve this work by providing substantiated corrections via counter-examples, etc, to help take this research forward).

We present a deterministic analytical model of a History-Centric Thought System (HCTS) that among other things, stipulates membership and non-membership criteria (Part 1). This model also helps in making a statement about the stability of membership (Part 2) as well as predict how the duality implied by HCTS drives its interaction with non-members, including non HC groups and alternative HC groups (Part 3). We then comment on how the Western HCTS shapes the overall 'master narrative', i.e. the monoculture of Western Universalism (Part 4). 

We now analyze how and why the membership based on a HCTS protects the claims listed in its historical prior P. To motivate this, we present another implication of the Separation Theorem stated in Part-1.

Implication: A HCTS is a closed and static system
Proof: Given the unique and non-reproducible historical claims of the prior, it follows that no (extraneous) event or discovery at any point in time can dynamically induce an amendment in the definition and rules of membership since doing so would result in a new HCTS that invalidates prior P.

What are the consequences of this implication? 
a. Since the HTCS was non-existent before time(s) T, the unique point(s) on the time-axis at which the event(s) cited in prior P occurred, any event in the universe that occurred prior to T that contradicts the claims of P is deemed not to occurred and hence ignored.

b. Any scientific theory proposed after time T that if accepted would contradict prior P, is rejected. Such rejection proactively applies to any such future discovery. If a theory is confirmed (and becomes a 'law') via newly observed data, thereby rendering parts of P fictitious, then such implications are ignored. This includes any future scientific evidence that uncover past facts (via carbon dating, archeology, etc).

In general, empirical and scientific contradictions that result from prior P are not resolved but ignored (by resorting to self-referential justifications based on the prior P if necessary).

Contradiction Networks

Over a period of time, such a response by the HCTS results in an accumulation of contradictions leading to many members disowning membership. Such a situation can be conceptually represented by a contradiction network or a contradiction graph, a construct for systematically identifying the sequence of implications underlying a mass of contradictions. Mounting scientific evidence that contradicts prior P results in this contradiction network becoming both denser and larger. Consequently, rather than trying to improve the quality of life of its adherents, the HCTS management is forced to spend a large proportion of its time and resources trying to decipher and defend this maze of contradictions. This may lead to:

- defending against criminal and civil lawsuits around the world,

- proposing and funding support for literature that promotes prior-friendly alternatives and pseudo-scientific theories to refute contradicting claims,

- penalizing members, and in general discouraging dissent by stipulating an infinite posterior penalty for infringements (e.g. "eternal hell")

- silencing opposition via:
   i)  counter-claims of contradiction against competing HCTS,
   ii) reflect back claims of human right violations, superstition, and discrimination against non HCTS, and
  iii) penalties against wavering members.

- obfuscating (but not eliminating) the duality implied by the core HC model by adding additional unverifiable layers of HC thought as well as useful metaphysics and practical methods derived from the inner sciences digested from non-HCTS systems. We elaborate on this particular aspect in the next post.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Monoculture: A cultural outcome of History-Centrism

History-Centrism is a phrase coined by Rajiv Malhotra to describe the thought system associated with religions like Judeo-Christianity. The members subscribe to a belief in a unique, non-reproducible historical prior event and Monotheism is the corresponding theology, i.e.
History-centrism + Divinity ⇒ Monotheism

In this post, we examine the impact of History-Centrism on the dominant contemporary cultural narrative. In this context, a phrase that is becoming popular is monoculture. This term assumes a special significance in the context of agriculture where it describes the planting of a single crop over a large land area. Vandana Shiva argues that such a practice (foisted upon India by the West) has had a devastating impact on Indian agriculture and is non-robust and hence non-sustainable. Just like having a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds affords better protection against market volatility, maintaining biodiversity tends to have a similar positive effect on ecology. In the human world, cultural diversity works much the same way in maximizing the chances of finding alternative working solutions to contemporary world problems.

A good description of monoculture in recent times is given by F. S. Michaels in her recent book "Monoculture: How One Story Is Changing Everything and is neatly summarized here: "The governing pattern a culture obeys is a master story– one narrative in society that takes over the others, shrinking diversity and forming a monoculture. When you’re inside a master story at a particular time in history, you tend to accept its definition of reality. You unconsciously believe and act on certain things, and disbelieve and fail to act on other things. That’s the power of the monoculture; it’s able to direct us without us knowing too much about it.

Note the key-phrases: 'history', 'master story', 'unconscious acceptance of a definition of reality', 'acting on this unconsciously, but disbelieving and not acting on that'. 

We postulate that:
History-centrism + Culture ⇒ Monoculture

What is root cause of monoculture? Where is/was it more prevalent? Where is it not?

Apparently, a culture that is fundamentally rooted in history-centrism is more likely to produce monoculture that issues unwritten and written guidelines on the correct way to dress, how you should be eating your food, how you should raise your kids, ... In short, there is one "best" way of doing things, and if you don't conform, your life can quickly become difficult. The world is split into those who cave in to the master narrative and those who don't. There are no wholly acceptable alternative cultures. This is duality at its best - the same duality that (we argued a few posts ago) is guaranteed by History-Centrism.

So what is the most dominant monoculture (MC) in the world? F. S. Micheals argues that monotheist religion was the dominant MC a long time ago, followed by a MC of science that relegated art and religion, leading to today's MC of economic value. However, the author herself has failed to note that she used 'world' often while implicitly assuming that if a MC holds true for the 'west', then it holds true for the world.

In other words, the truly dominant monoculture in the world is really the Western way of thought and action, of which economic value is just a component. Western Universalism. Today's de-facto global finishing school. Western universalism appears to be what the world (and i mean the world) unconsciously considers to be the standard to live up to in virtually every aspect, without giving his much critical thought. This is precisely one of the themes that Rajiv Malhotra appears to be opposing and presents his counter-arguments in his latest book: "Being Different: An Indian challenge to Western Universalism". Why Indian? India probably had/has the longest continuous cultural diversity on the planet. This is not by accident and is an designed outcome of the pioneering discoveries of Indian Rishis in the world of inner sciences that lead to several co-existing non-dual schools of philosophy (all Dharmic) that has defined Indian thought. Non-duality and monoculture do not go together. Dharmic thought systems look inward and focus on self-realization and has little time to waste on conforming to or prescribing master narratives. Historically, there has always been a healthy and peaceful exchange of ideas and cross-pollination of Indian sub-cultures for a very, very long time. For example, this picture (thanks to @brainpicker) shows the linguistic diversity of India (~1992). The various language labels used are probably West-given and may be inaccurate.

This co-existence based approach of the Dharmic thought system has preserved the authenticity of experience by preventing the sub-cultures from getting digested by a 'superior monoculture' and excreted (which is how history-centric duality works in practice). And it is no accident that Vandana Shiva is from India and is leading the fight against agricultural monoculture.

Is it then any surprise that this western monoculture appropriates and de-contextualizes a Yoga from such a peaceful Dharmic thought system, strips it of its non-dual Sanskrit, turns into a patentable calisthenics-market that spawns patent lawsuits, then proceeds to tie itself up in a pretzel-asana and complains that Yoga is a dangerous practice, and inevitably ends up in a good old dualistic tussle between Yoga and non-Yoga followers, and Yoga-A and Yoga-B followers ....

Monday, March 5, 2012

Analysis of History-Centrism - Part 3

Part-A: Duality Induced Conflict

Summary of arguments in Part-1 and Part-2
A belief in an unique historical prior is both necessary and sufficient to qualify for membership associated with a History-centric thought system (HCTS), terminology that was introduced by Rajiv Malhotra. HCTS guarantee the bifurcation of space and time into two distinct and mutually exclusive zones, i.e. duality, which among other things implies human centrism. Furthermore, the non-repeatability of the prior over time induces a net outflow of members and a non-trivial stable equilibrium is never achievable. All other things being maintained equal, the membership of a fully decentralized HCTS is probabilistically depleting over time. In other words, any HCTS faces a perennial and self-induced existential question, even in the absence of competition (i.e. even if the HCTS has a local monopoly) from an alternative HCTS.

When a HCTS is faced with such an existential question, it is almost certain that a subset of the membership will erect barriers to exit (e.g. blasphemy laws) and/or provide incentives for entry and re-entry. Regions that are characterized by strong socioeconomic variations ("third world") represent the best (in terms of per-capita success per dollar invested) candidates to compensate for a loss in membership in the more prosperous areas. A penalty for non-entry is also common (e.g. Jeziya tax or religious discrimination) and has been prevalent in every major instance of HCTS the world has seen in history.

Active and Passive Duality
This constant need for a HCTS to answer such an self-induced existential question leads to the notion of a 'strong duality' or 'active duality', as compared to the 'nominal duality' or 'passive duality' that is guaranteed in every HCTS. Passive duality is a situation where a group simply differentiates between an 'us' and a 'them', those 'within' and those without. However, it does not automatically imply hostility and a call to arms or to discriminate. Tolerance is a typical example of such a state of mind. However, such a state is most likely to be a transitional and short-lived given that the constant depletion in membership can only be made up in the long run by gaining or regaining market-share.

Active duality is a situation where a HCTS group will almost surely regard any non-member as an adversarial competitor. Such a competitor need not be from another HCTS and only needs to be a non-subscriber to the necessary conditions for membership. For example, it could be a person from a Dharmic thought system (DTS), atheism, or modern science, all of which are non HCTS since they are not defined based on a belief in an unique prior. Active duality involves hostile competition with non-members for increasing market share. Note that such an active duality implies an objective of increasing membership size relative to its competitors at any given location, the mechanics of which are better understood using game theoretic arguments. If the adversary does not respond or is even unaware that it is being targeted, it gets digested, i.e., its most useful ideas and applications are appropriated in a manner that is consistent with the necessary condition for membership (e.g. conquest of Arabic Pagans and Persia). We now present the game theoretic aspects of active duality.

Effect of Active Duality: Zero Sum Game
Postulate: A two-person competition between memberships of two thought systems:
a) where participants subscribe to conflicting HCTS, can be represented as a zero-sum game
b) exactly one participant subscribes to an HCTS, can be modeled an symmetric or asymmetric zero-sum game
c) both participants subscribe to non-dual thought systems, can be modeled as a non zero-sum game

Outline of Proof: Based on the stable-membership theorem (postulate), HCTS based membership size will never achieve stable equilibrium. If it stops growing via extraneous methods, it diminishes. Consequently, from a HCTS perspective, such competition necessarily focuses on the payoff achieved by increasing its market-share at the expense of a competitor. If the participant subscribes to a hostile HCTS, then the membership gained by one HCTS is deemed as lost by the other and thus represents a classic zero-sum game. On the other hand, if a non-HCTS participant does not attach value to increasing market-share, it injects asymmetry into the payoff structure. In fact, unless the non-HCTS participant attaches a suitable payoff value toward (at least) maintaining current market share, it will be at an overwhelming disadvantage under the skewed and asymmetrical payoff structure. In contrast, non-adversarial competition that involves non-dual schools of thought would focus on decentralized inward-looking themes that are not mutually exclusive and win-win situations are not only possible, but also practically achievable and sustainable.

The crusade is the best example of an active-duality induced zero-sum game. The extermination of the Aborigines in Australia and the conquest of Buddhism in India are examples of outcomes of an asymmetric zero-sum game. A good example of a non zero sum game involved the Hindu and Buddhist schools in ancient India where the debates that centered on conflicting metaphysical truth claims were intellectual (it certainly did not involve any systematical discriminatory practices) and required a profound understanding of the opponent's point-of-view, and represents a form of cooperative competition that resulted in amazing progress in science and philosophy that benefited both sides and remains one of humanity's truly divine achievements. For example, it is well known that several Hindu kings made generous endowments to the Nalanda University that was primarily Buddhist-oriented. It is not surprising that Nalanda was annihilated by members of a HCTS in a never-ending quest for market share.

As we can see above such conflicts caused by duality lead the participants (both willing and the unwilling) to constantly re-examine their tactics as well as long-term strategy. In part-B of this post, we analyze the nature of the choices available to participants in this regard.

Part-B: Participant response in Duality-Driven Conflicts

The Yogi's Dilemma
A beautiful Dharmic idea for case (b) is presented by Rajiv Malhotra where one participant is Dharmic ("Yogi archetype") and the other is History-Centric ("Gladiator archetype"), which fits well with the underlying game-theoretic model. As we observed before, the Dharmic participant is not prone to violence, but may have to fight back or get either annihilated or digested. However, by fighting back he/she runs the serious risk of turning into a gladiator himself/herself, i.e win a 'historic personal victory' that potentially becomes a focal 'faith' point for future followers, thereby injecting a degree of history-centrism into a previously non-dual system. This is the Yogi's dilemma associated with such a asymmetrical zero sum game. Per Rajiv Malhotra, the Yogi has two ways of resisting while continuing to remain a Yogi after the struggle. Either adopt a Gandhian non-violent approach and hopefully shame the other into withdrawing. The alternative is to first attempt the Ahimsa method and if that fails, follow the Bhagavad Gita and fight the gladiator with violence but without any self-interest whatsoever. Both are incredibly difficult to achieve because of human ego.

The Porcupine's Dilemma

Consider two clashing HCTS attempting to come to a truce or understanding as a temporary solution to the zero-sum game they are playing. How would such a relationship play out?

Step 1: They recognize their considerable similarities (monotheism, male God, history-centrism, and duality-driven beliefs). These act as centripetal forces that brings them closer.

Step 2: When they get close enough and understood the similarities, they recognize the key history-centric differences that are absolutely irreconcilable with respect to each of their chosen historical priors P1 and P2, which causes them to drift apart, thereby resuming their war of attrition.

After a period of time, as a consequence of certain events, they cycle through Steps 1 and 2, resembling two porcupines who would like to be friends but are unable to get too close because of their sharp quills. The conclusion from this is that nations driven by differing HCTS are unlikely to become permanent friends.

The Prisoner's Dilemma
This is a popular concept in game theory. Its general usage indicates situations where two opposing forces have to decide if it is a better strategy to cooperate rather than fight it out despite having the same objective in mind. In particular, we apply this to the situation where we have two different thought systems trying to capture market share from within a local population.

Example 1: In India, the last Mughal rulers in the 18th and 19th century did not appear to cooperate with the British [to be verified].

Example 2: On the other hand, we have a current situation in India where an atheistic thought system (Indian Communists) that was opposed to theistic groups in the past, appears to have decided that its best strategy is to cooperate with HCTS groups (evangelists and mullahs) even as these parties seeking to entice members away from the predominantly Dharmic thought system into their fold. See this interesting roadside poster in Kerala, India [from the Deccan Chronicle newspaper, 2011]:

It is possible that a similar situation may be prevailing in Europe as well with atheistic groups (left liberals) cooperating with mullahs to score over the established Christian thought system.

Update: April 28, 2012
Below is a "histomap" (courtest Maria Popova) that depicts a western-centric view of the ebbs and flows of world powers over four thousand years. It is apparent that this domination is measured largely in terms of military power, given that culturally and economically, Dharmic thought system based India / Hindus/Buddhists/Jains had a pretty large market share along these dimensions for quite a while prior to the Islamic invasion.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Analysis of History-Centrism - Part 2

In the first part, we analyzed a simple logical model of membership associated with a history-centric thought system (HCTS), a pivotal discovery of Rajiv Malhotra that is delineated in his amazing new book "Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism" where he has reversed the gaze on the west and analyzed their thought systems from an Indian perspective. Using even this simple model, we were able to show that duality, given HC, is a mathematical certainty. The sufficiency condition of the membership rule (which is also necessary) allows a great deal of flexibility and latitude in terms of how members can deal with members and non-members In this sequel, we consider additional implications and start to make statements on how their members are likely to interact with non-members, and comment on the stability of the membership.

Implication 4: History-Centrism implies Human-Centrism
Proof: result follows from the Separation Theorem in Part-1. (It is likely that at some point this human-centrism is practically interpreted as human supremacy over the universe). Similarly, HC also implies Geo-centrism. To analyze how such notions of duality affect the stability of their membership, we first define size:

Given a closed local population system of cardinality N that is in equilibrium, the size is defined as the fraction s (between 0 and 1.0) of the population that are members of a given HTCS

Membership Stability Postulate [work in progress]
If the material socioeconomic incentives and penalties for a local population are equal and independent of membership status, then the rate of change (s') with respect to time, is likely to be negative.

Proof: Since the beliefs in P cannot be verified at any point of time in future give the claim of a unique, non-reproducible event in the history, there is a non-zero probability = the fraction 0 < f/s < 1 of the current members will reject the hypothesis of P at any point in time and become non-members in the absence of any penalty to leave or incentive to stay. In other words, a subset of members think of P as a Bayesian prior. Furthermore, there is no incentive gain for non-members (who by definition have rejected P) to satisfy the necessary condition. Consequently in such a scenario, the size asymptotically approaches zero.

Corollary: The membership size associated with a HCTS in such a decentralized scenario will never be in stable equilibrium.

Given this, the membership can let the HCTS die a natural death or mobilize (via a centralized authority) and attract new members to survive. How? An implication of the stability theorem is that the only viable alternatives are:
a. erect barriers to exit from membership
b. provide incentives to attract new members
c. increase the per-capita family size of members

Example: Christianity in the West and in India
In part-1 we showed that churches that subscribed to the Nicene creed belonged to one particular HTCS. The exit rate from such churches in the west is steady and given that:
a. There is little incremental social or financial incentive for westerners to rejoin the church, and
b. The chronic inability to re-enact the events of P to validate the claimed hypothesis,
has driven an ever increasing number of people in the west into Yoga-based, non-exclusive, non-HCTS systems that focus on the inner sciences, like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism (conjecture: most of them don't know they are H/B/J). The law of the land may stipulate that penalties for exit are illegal, and given that increasing family size is never really a scalable idea, the only viable option for survival is to focus on emerging markets.

A populous country like India that has only recently started re-developing its economy toward regaining its world market share that was sizable until 1750 CE (and then dwindled to near zero due to European colonialism). Consequently, today's India is characterized by significant variations in social and economic status and a lack of clarity and uniformity in laws concerning coerced conversions, thereby making it an attractive region for recruitment, regardless of the negative impact it has on the local culture and society (duality at work again!). Similar to the cost-driven advantage of outsourcing IT work to India-based companies, the church can make a dollar go much farther in India compared to the US or Europe. This move by the churches to expand its membership is laying the seeds for an active duality-driven conflict that existed in a 'cold-war' mode until recently.

Here's a link to an interesting geographical picture of the world religions in 1895:

and this is the 2012 picture (along with future projections).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Analysis of History-Centrism - Part 1

A fundamental difference between Dharmic Thought Systems that originated in India and the Judeo-Christian type that dominates the west is that the former is primarily characterized by philosophical schools of thought focused on self-realization and the 'inner sciences', whereas a defining feature of the latter is History-centrism (HC). This is just one of the many important findings of Dr. Rajiv Malhotra that are mentioned in his revolutionary new book: "Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism". Dharmic thought systems (DTS) of India (including the faiths of Hinduism, Jainism, Sikkism, and Buddhism) are characterized by the absence of such history-centricity. On the other hand,  an examination of their Itihaas, writings, and the recorded debates indicate that the core beliefs were and are guided by one or more philosophical schools of thought.

Reading Dr. Malhotra's book, I was struck by the clearly delineated 'business rule' driven nature of the institutions of HC that centrally manage the religion that arises from the history-centric thought. This meant that it is quite possible to precisely define and represent their membership rules using logical and mathematical models (!)  In this post (first of a series), we begin to explore this idea in depth, and hope to take it to its logical conclusion over time. The use of such a technique allows us to bring into play all the well-defined and universally understood rules of logic and mathematical modeling and infer the rich set of daisy-chain like implications that arise from HC. This in turn will help us better understand the impact it will have in the future on its adherents as well as non-adherents. For example, the hope is that, among other things, it will enable us to go beyond circumstantial evidence and rhetoric and more precisely answer questions like "does the theology of HC religions automatically imply a quest for eventual world domination?", or "does an enforcing of HC automatically imply a violation of the human rights of its own adherents at some level?", etc.

At this point in time, we do not formally finalize rigorous definitions, leaving them tentative and open to discussion, criticism, and corrections. We first state the logical model and then provide a concrete example to illustrate the same. Note: We use the word deterministic here to mean "with 100% probability", i.e. absolute certainty.

[Tentative] Definition
A history-centric thought system (HCTS) is defined by a single unique prior event,  (or fully enumerated and completed prior events, every one of which is unique) 'P' that is assumed to have deterministically occurred in history, even if data corresponding to such an observation is not available for validation or implied in the historical data available at any point in time after the occurrence of P.

Membership rule: A deterministic belief in this prior 'P' is both a necessary and sufficient condition for formal acceptance into the corresponding HCTS. The term 'prior' used here is analogous to that used in the domain of mathematical probability (Bayesian) models and turns out to be a useful aid for understanding and predicting the response of members associated with any given HTCS :
Implication 1
The prior P is non-reproducible

Proof: It follows from the definition that in a HCTS, the events defined by P are expected to never occur again even in a probabilistic sense (because if it did, it implies that either the events of P are likely to be non-unique or have not yet been enumerated with certainty).

Implication 2
Given a set of members of a HCTS, we can plausibly predict that their response to a future event to be consistent with the prior. 

Proof: Follows from the 'necessary condition' part of the membership rule.

Implication 3 
Beliefs in another thought system does not result in disqualification only if it does not conflict with prior P.

Proof: This follows from the sufficiency condition. These implications leads to the following key implication:

Separation Implication (Duality)
A belief in an alternative thought system results in disqualification if and only if it conflicts with prior P. 
Proof: The 'if' part of the statement follows from the necessary-condition, and the 'only if' part follows from the sufficiency condition.

We can call this result the 'separation implication' because it in effect bisects the time and space axis into two distinct regions. For example:

Application of the Separation Implication along the time-scale

Given the uniqueness of P at a point in time T(P), it is clear that the prior bisects the time-axis into two regions: (-∞, T(P)), i.e. before 'P' and (T(P),),i.e., 'after P'. Consequently, for any time before 'P', every entity is disqualified by definition and the member set is empty.

We now use the Christian thought system (CTS) as an illustrative example.

The beliefs of the Nicene creed form the prior P for the CTS. It includes [verification needed here. tentative]
a. The immaculate conception and Virgin Mary
b. Original sin
c. Jesus is the son of God / resurrection

Membership: A belief in each of these three elements this prior is a non-negotiable prerequisite for entry into most of the mainstream churches in Christian HTS (ref: Being Different)

Implication 1
Another equivalent immaculate conception, a return to Adam/Eve, and a daughter or another son of God, an equally divine son of another God, can never occur again. This guarantees the monotheism of Christianity.

Implication 2

Regardless of the context, rational members will never subscribe to thoughts that violate the CTS prior. For example, the movie 'Da Vinci Code' attempted to break the determinism of Prior components (a) and perhaps (c), and thus comes into direct conflict with the defining characteristics of CTS, and thus opposed.

Implication 3 
A member of the CTS can dress like an Indian, learn Carnatic music, light incense sticks in front of Ganesha, do 'Yoga', and use moral ideas from the Vedas, and quote the Thirukkural. None of this comes into conflict with the above prior and thus does not imply disqualification. This result in turn implies that such cultural data can be digested into the CTS without conflict.  A member can marry a non-CTS and permit his/her spouse to retain their original faith (or non-faith). What is more interesting is the membership of the progeny that is an output of such a union. A statistical study may reveal interesting results here.

The Separation Implication applied to CTS
A person can memorize the ten commandments and follow all the positive teachings of love and forgiveness attributed to Jesus, but he/she remains disqualified unless he/she swears belief in prior P. An important and direct consequence of the Separation implication is human duality since it separates the population on the planet into two distinct binary categories. Those who are human and exclusive members and those those who are not (including plants, animals, and all other non-humans on this planet and ETs).

Similarly, a person who believes in the concepts of original divinity and the non-duality of the universe is disqualified from membership since it violates the notion of duality inherent in the prior (why?).

Application of the Separation Implication along the time-scale
Anybody in this universe before the Christian Prior were non-members.

In future posts, we will bring out additional implications and discuss more topics from Rajiv Malhotra's amazing book.

Update: March 25, 2012
Bayesian Prior versus History-Centric Prior
We start with a useful but non-rigorous Wikipedia descriptions of a Bayesian prior:
" [A prior] is meant to attribute uncertainty rather than randomness to the uncertain quantity ..."

"A prior is often the purely subjective assessment of an experienced expert."

At this point in the process, there is little difference between a HC prior defined in this post and a Bayesian prior. However in the latter case, as new empirical data becomes available, the belief, expressed in terms of a probability distribution, is updated to take this new information into account and does not remain static. After a sufficiently many observations, the probability distribution is almost completely data-driven, losing its original subjectivity. On the other hand, a belief based on a HC prior is indifferent to new data and remains frozen in time. It must be noted that a some of the HCTS members will not behave in this manner and eventually reject their membership once they recognize the seemingly irreversible conflicts between the newly observed data and the unique historic prior (more about this in Part-2). In other words, a HCTS can become a relatively more inclusive and rational system by re-modeling its prior in terms of a Bayesian prior. Unfortunately, this means 'loss of membership' and a rejection of prior P.