Settled Unsettling

Leave taking I have always wondered why the Buddha left his wife and child and went into the forest. The usual explanations are pretty patriarchal aren’t they, e.g., - that he was escaping from the bonds that tie us to this earthly life. - Attachment brings suffering. etc. Here’s how that story is told: A…

The Great Unsettling

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jayjayrobertson/5724336908 Introduction I have written a few hundred essays over the last five years, with a year and a half in the middle being devoted to a single text, the Mahabharata. I might start the Jayary again this fall, prompted by a seminar I am organizing this semester. The Mahabharata is unique in that it…

Every Utopia becomes a Dystopia

A Map of Utopia I remember Reagan saying to Gorbachev “Tear down this wall.” Sorry, that’s fake news. Or at least white lie news. There’s no way I could have heard a live conference in West Berlin in 1987. It was probably past my bedtime in Delhi. I also have a memory of reading it in…

Geocracy

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash Institutions Institutions are the mechanism through which we impose collective order upon our lives. Some institutions are tacit, such as customs, habits and rituals. Why do people in many cultures drink and write with their right hand? Is there a law on the books that says so — usually not. Others are…

The Anthropocene is a Ponzi Scheme

Photo by Joshua Brown on Unsplash TL;DR: Anthropocene = Ponzi Scheme. Slightly longer version: The Anthropocene is the culmination of liberalism and it’s a Ponzi scheme. I started writing this essay as a way of understanding the term “Anthropocene” and its consequences for our understanding of an even more weighty term, namely, “society.” Google tells us…