Sunday, February 08, 2009

intentions and actions

Lets consider two ends of the spectrum: a Bill Gates and the poorest (in terms of financial worth) man. Indian traditions 'say' (scare quotes for different reasons) that we are not happy, *not* because some projects (desires, intentions, etc) that are pursued are failed, *but* because such projects are *ours/mine*. Here, both Gates and the poorest man are not any exceptions! There exist natural regularities that interfere our intentions, no matter how rich one is (for instance, I intended to drink milk to quench my thirst, and in fact I did, but my stomach got upset, which I didn't intend. One can imagine countless examples that way). Many do agree that natural regularities affect our intentions, but everybody thinks that there is some *relationship* between intentions and results. Indian traditions claim that there is no relationship between intentions and actions; they further say that the appearance that such relationship obtains is illusion the way that our experience of Sun's movement around Earth--which is our daily experience--is. Just knowing the claim that we are not happy not because of projects being pursued but because those projects are ours, does not make one happy! Something more is required: to experiment, problematize, the very notion of 'self'. Some Indian traditions claim that self is illusory as well. In intentional psychology, which is a product of Semitic theologies and which mgmt gurus sell, self is taken for granted: that our actions are instantiations of intentions of such a self! That's why we hear slogans like 'be positive', 'believe in what you do'!

What Indian traditions say that one can achieve happiness, which is *independent of* what one has, of what one is, of what one attained, etc. One doesn't need to become ascetic, one doesn't need to become renounce family, in order to attain happiness; this doesn't foreclose the possibilities of ascetics becoming enlightened.

Well, there are no requirements for one to become happy. In other words, it is wrong to say that those who go to temple and offer pooja-s don't attain happiness. Of course, some paths are better for some, but not for others: tantriks engage in 'sexual practices', which offend sensibilities of many indians, in order to get enlightened.

There is no eternal quest. It is a goal of every human being, a goal that manifests in different ways: from getting admission, to jobs, to get married, and so on. So, this is amenable to any scientific investigation; in this sense, Indian traditions contributed to human knowledge. Our native languages are laden with such things: people say, one is to die without having any desires, so that one doesn't take another birth; and so on. Here, these junk swami-s, half-baked Indians give scientific gloss to rebirth and karma as though they are dependent on causality, without telling that what causality is. In actual fact, there is no punarjanma, but it is a cognitive strategy, a heuristic. Because we have lost the theoretical framework of our folk psychology because of Islamic and British colonizations, we have taken over intentional psychology, and the other discourses. We think that we know what intentional psychology is, but we are ignorant of both intentional psychology, and our folk psychology; and our folk psychology beats any western psychology that exists in the market: in fact, our folk psychology is true of human nature.

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