Friday, August 18, 2017

Sarkar Maa-ë-Baap - how Indians misrecognise neo-liberal statehood

Kaleidoscope of late has been marginalised in the social forum regularly. The reason of such marginalization is directly linked to his critical stance against the state policies. The systematic marginalization has been of two kinds 1) people have identified him being close, being in an exchange relationship with certain parties especially with Left Front and of late  Trinamool, 2) kaleidoscope is seen as anti-national - yes how can he support JNU antinationals then? How can he write blogs on identifying features of educated chaddis? How can he write against demonetisation?

One way to deal with the problem is to avoid engaging in such conversations. Even if you see on your news feed that some people are believing in having GPS chip in Rs. 2000 notes or even if someone supports beef ban and so on. Another way is to block these people and you have your news feed clearer and hence a happier life.

Kaleidoscope cannot do either. Firstly, he believes that even if someone reading his arguments  rethinks the dominant issues Kaleidoscope would be more than happy. Second, and more importantly he believes that it has something to with much longer history and public spere of kaleidoscope's world is a victim of false consciousness. It is not the falseness which is problematic it is the consciousness which is problematic.

Why is that so?

Keep no misconception here.  Kaleidoscope will not take a cultural relativist position. There is no pride to be a victim of misrecognitions especially if you have so called ignited mind.

Kaleidoscope belongs to a country which for centuries have been taught to follow the power centres and hierarchies without question. Hence, his fellow citizen still calls a Block Development Officer as BDO Saheb (saheb is an honourary siffix for britishers), Pradhan saheb, Doctor saheb, professor saheb and so on.

When they add suffix as saheb they obey and forget to question. Kaleidoscope has grown up in a world which has inherited a legacy of close to selfless leaders! and have seen quality leaders who have done things which phenomenlogically can be called 'being for others' - long live Sartre.
Public sphere has seen policies which they were taught to obey and not question. Now there were policies doing quite well. Sarkar Maa-ë-Baap is hence should be seen as a legacy of 'welfare state' model and not the neoliberal state model.

Hence, kaleidoscope continues to live in a world which is filled with obeying subjects and not questioning subjects. The society continue to misrecognise a neo-liberal state  as a welfare state and it would continue as his fellow citizens continue to salute national flag in a throat deep water in Assam. Yes, Sarkar Maa-ë-Baap!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Everyday casteism and their masks




Kaleidoscope is born in a world where he is encountering caste every now a then. He knows caste predisposition is there and it often determines a lot of other things. The peculiarities lie when apparently unrelated things are linked to caste.

Some prominent discourses:


"There must be a bunch of poor performing students coming from Scheduled Caste background!" - caste-performance interface (yes, loaded!)

"Whom to teach? we have taught such an elite class of students, these students are not in a position to take what we offer!" Class - caste - quality- class-position of teacher (loaded again!)

"You know this service is now more open towards rural counterparts - people are coming from different corners of the state and about their quality - the less said, the better!" rural/urban, elite/subaltern(?) interface (ethnic cleansing, perhaps!)


"The problem with them is that they are coming from nearby areas - they are first generation learners - it is difficult to make them understand what we teach!" elites facing failures (Narcissism!)

"You can't be sure, Das can be SC or Genral (smiles) chowdhury is even more confusing - you know what I mean" uncertainties (template failure, elites need extra effort to even judge as a person)

In the name of positive (?) discrimination:

You have good number of students and you need to know who belongs to what category? You need ease of governance, mark the students as SC/ST/OBC and so on in the attendance register. Therefore, Kaleidoscope is reminded again and again who is who, what is what and hence it not only eases the governance but also helps you to judge their performance!! Medusa, Kaleidoscope's friend has tried to white-ink those categories in another workplace  - but Kaleidoscope knows as others too, white-ink gives you even higher prominence perhaps. Medusa has been successful to stop its recurrence, a success indeed!

Disappearance of identities and further consolidation

Kaleidoscope makes frequent field visits and when he tries to understand the people's caste affiliations, since 2004 onwards he is encountering identities as SCs, STs, OBCs and not any of the traditional caste identities. This was there as early as 2004 and this has become even more profound now. Educated youngsters doesn't even know their traditional caste names, at best they know their clan name! Yes, clan matters in life-cycle rituals, therefore, it is surviving. 

What lies next?

Kaleidoscope knows there would be even stronger identity consolidations as his world will continue to see, discuss and judge people through a casteist lens and those would rather be administrative categories and not the diverse categories. 
Frankly, Kaleidoscope doesn't know what will happen next, but he knows the discourses, their judgements and apparent masks of education - leadership and perhaps even expert opinions!

Next time you encounter a discourse where you find people sympathetically discussing people's failures related to family background, location, etc. keep no misconception - these are dangerously close to casteist judgements. Perhaps there are masks to encounter, masks to tear apart - Masks that Kaleidoscope finds sometimes within himself - and he hates that!

Image source: http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-03-13/caste-away.html

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Data is NOT that Sexy - Civilisation and Illusion of Freedom


Kaleidoscope is failing miserably to cope up with the rapid progress of policies in post 2014. He has failed to be present for his UID - Aadhar which he could eventually obtain as it was made mandatory. He failed to link his Aadhar with LPG and lost the little benefit he could get which soon will disappear. He has tried his online banking and even through his most trusted ATM kiosks to link his Aadhar with his bank account.

Kaleidoscope know even if he has to take a few days of leave it would be okay to continue at pace with the policy changes that runs parallel with dataism! Its not the loss of time-energy-money that makes Kaleidoscope believe that Data is NOT that Sexy - it is rather quite deep rooted that this.

Data flow and vanishing qualitative dimensions: 

Kaleidoscope believes that he is a serious researcher and hence, he is expected to be fond of data. Wouldn't it be wonderful to work on food-habit of people by clicking your mouse once they make Aadhar mandatory to buy daily groceries and vegetables! Yes, it would be - for some, perhaps for many! But how about going to different places, actually tasting and smelling them, actually feeling them - getting people's lived experiences of interaction with food and then write something qualitativde? 

Dataism doesn't want you to do that. Dataism doesn't want you to go for consciousness and subjectivity that has so long continued to make Kaleidoscope's species human! 

No, this is only one reason for which Kaleidoscope finds Data is NOT that Sexy!

What dataism says?

Dataism says that universe consists of data flows and value of any phenomenon or entity is determined by its contribution to data processing (Kelly 2010, Hidalgo 2015). Think about Darwinian discoveries in his series of wonderfully written "descent of man" (Kaleidoscope started translating them but failed in the midway) and think about the invention of computers as data processing machine. It was not a problem when computers could tell in a moment the number of words that my article has so that I can quickly reply to the editor of the journal. It was okay when our bed-partner laptop and tablets could easily say algorithms of chemistry! Yes, it was sexy, but it is not sexy any more when it can calculate and predict the behavioural algorithms of Kaleidoscope's species. 

The problem is it strives for the concentration of immense power to the owner of the means of data sources and analytics. 

How do we contribute? 

Perhaps Kaleidoscope's species is already into one of the major revolutions after the farming/neolitic, urban/writing, industrial/scientific. Yes, data processing revolution. Today one can process data of a lakh people within a moment and can better understand a thing or two and better predict behaviours than what he could do or can do even within families  - in face-to-face interaction. When Kaleidoscope's species goes through a number of behaviour patterns including:

Selfie mania

Keeping the Location tracker on
 
Reviewing restaurants or places 

through a popular mechanism of Record-Upload-Share the entire species is allowing superpowers to access data, to govern and to shape the species' choices more actively than ever before.

These are the things Kaleidoscope's species wishes to share the rest which they do not want to share are taken through UID-Aadhar. 

Remember terminator III dialogue

The dataism wont go beyond functionalist attitude. Wish Kaleidoscope's readers remember this sequence from the movie terminator III.

[John is holding a gun to his head]
Terminator: You cannot self-terminate.
John Connor: No, you can't. I can do anything I want. I'm a human being, not some god-damn robot.
Terminator: [correcting him] Cybernetic organism.
John Connor: Whatever! Either we go, and save her Dad, or so much for the Great John Conner. Because your future, my destiny, I want no part in it, I never did.
Terminator: Based on your pupil dilation, skin temperature, and motor functions, I calculate an 83% probability that you will not pull the trigger.


Now think about the whole future we are dealing with such functional interpretation of data processed through every part of our behaviour? Does it sound Sexy?

The future with freedom struggle looks gloomy:

Science is going to be an all-encompassing sphere seeing and making us behaving as data processor and manufactured behaviours

Algorithms may soon know us better than we know ourselves. Thus Kaleidoscope's blood sugar level might make him unable to buy liquors even if he has the money and will!

...and yes such quantative and functional way of life is definitely not sexy!

See if you like:
Kelly, Kevin (2010) What Technology Wants. New York: Viking
Hidalgo, Cesar (2015) Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economics. New York: Basic Books


Image credit: http://download-wallpaper.net/content/top-hdq-live-terminator.html

Monday, August 14, 2017

The flag of the day

National Flag at Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Govt. College. Photograph: Tuhin Subhra Sarkar

Kaleidoscope's newly build rapidly growing institution for higher education hoists flag and its a game of symbols indeed. The green lawn no matter how unkempt provides the lusty mood of the day. Lust for freedom, lust for being whatever you are, love and respect for others for what they are! Lust for little more of choices, lust for little more of everything!

Does the flag know what the country full of diversity of people lusts for? The flag, however, knows its origin in a cotton field of drought prone Maharashtra, synthesizing itself in chemical industries, sewed by the underpaid tailors and put up on a platform made by labours migrated from somewhere around the Kaleidoscope's hinterland, who doesn't  even have a proper place to spend the night!

The flag however waves, in so far as there is wind. It stands facing the back of the untreated black wall of a recently transformed shopping mall - perhaps reflecting and smiling at the background of shinning India. The flag stands, strongly with young minds, eyes full of dreams, ignited and facing an uncertain glory - yes, perhaps, this is it, this Kaleidoscope's flag of the day.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Post-structural liberation - are we embracing newer prisons?

The  most dangerous philosophical idea in recent times has to be the post-structuralism. Kaleidoscope learned it with much care and attention at one point of his life because it suited his otherwise bohemian self. Post-structuralists demands you question everything in the name of deconstruction and allows you to do things in your way, your own way. It sounds creative, isn't it? It gives you the freedom to do whatever pleases you and gives you power to claim it as your own way of doing things and point your fingers towards anyone who is questioning you. Perhaps this is the beauty and most deadly force of the theory.

Why was it required?

Lets make it straight, we have had enough with uncles and aunties from the neighbourhood lecturing us what to do, how to do and when to do. Similarly, we have had enough with the professors with wrinkles demanding us to follow their template of positivism or whatever philosophy. Yes, Kaleidoscope too was bored and exhausted everywhere, listening to some stereotypes of doing certain things in some supposedly known pathway, seriously!

Yes, the disgust was not for people like Kaleidoscope only, even scholars of highest reputation (whom people refer to but never actually read) were equally frustrated and they challenged it. The most prominent among those Kaleidoscope can remember is that of logocentrism - the search for universal idea about certain things like beauty (Kaleodsocope knows the definition of sexy, like you do!), truth, right and so on. Well Derrida (1978) (dont worry hardly anyone reads him) wanted to dismantle logocentric attitude of our practices. Imagine a theatre - what is there? A set of actors representing a situation. The situation has some cue to the real life. Yes, you heard it right, Kaleidoscope is taking a materialist stand here and firmly believes that everything in idea or in mind has a real - material cue. So, the resulting theatre is a combination of real life experience and ideas of the director. Derrida wanted to have a theatre where actors are not guided by any director, any text of any author! Yes, a state of condition where logocentric forces are withdrawn. Although Derrida was less sure about the actual condition of such a stage where script will absent, Foucault (1980) searched for "rules that determine the conditions of possibility for all that can be said within the particular discourse at a given time" Hence, when Kaleidoscope thoroughly read him he could actually see the existence of governmentality within his very self as a set of conduct of all possible conducts.

Yes, whatever Kaleidoscope does is scripted, foretold and whatever he does not do is forestalled. Kaleidoscope like all others continue to live in a prison-house of words (for Derrida) of conducts (for Foucault).

Therefore when Kaleidoscope sees a young girl shouting out Jeans ka Haq... jine ka haq (right to jeans right to live) in Lipstick Under My Burkha he finds a liberation. The black is beautiful, the acid attack victim is beautiful in the ugly face of society in which Kaleidoscope strives to live, the fat is desirable, one's own body and self even if doesn't match logocentrically is beautiful - is meaningful - is worth a life to live happily. Happiness is happiness, love is love you term it straight, gay whatever - that's your logocentric problem!

Kaleidoscope wont let the aunties and uncles determine what he wants from his life and how does he want that. Kaleidoscope knew for sure what post-structuralism meant to him, but less sure about it what it means to his generation but could sense what it means to the coming generation, which even if has never read Derrida or Foucault would continue to practice "post-structural" way of life. Why is that so? simply, because its an era of mass and rapid diffusion and weathering away of old logocentrisms - does it bring and form new logocentrisms? Yes it does, and here lies the problem.

The post-structuralism of present time

Even the prominent post structuralists like Derrida or Foucault didn't know clearly how that stage without script was possible - surely Derrida didn't claim it to be anarchic - anarchy in itself has numerous logocentrisms. What they did was demanded and trained us to question the very foundation of knowledge as logocentric and attempted to discover the alternatives. Knowing fully well, the alternatives would also create newer logocentrisms and hence the prison cell can only be altered not that Kaleidoscope's species can ever make every prison to dust and enemies of logocentrism free!

Hence, the cycle would continue.

Meanwhile everything that is happening in the name of post-structuralism is not post-structural. It is rather a play of different logocentrisms originated from different societies. The whole idea of cultural diffusionism can be seen as origin and dispersion of logocentric traits from one place to another. Hence, what Kaleidoscope's time experiencing is an ever complicated and complex interplay of logos which were hitherto unknown. Therefore, instead of liberating, Kaleidoscope's species from logocentrism the present mode of existence is embracing newer logocentric traits and actually binding the species even with newer dimensions and micro identities. Earlier it was the primordial identities of country, religion, caste and the like. Now we have increasingly newer identities like Nationalist and antinationalist countrymen, Nationalist/Antinationalist Hindu/muslim country men and the like. There are JNU breeds, JU breeds, IIT breeds, IIM breeds among the aspiring academicians and an even more complex classifications among the left-out 'subalterns' from lesser known universities. There are beer lovers and whisky lovers. Beef lovers and beef haters - you want logocentrism you get it everywhere.

There actually is no post-structural world surrounding Kaleidoscope but the reflections of such world in the name of post-structuralism dangerous:

take these few examples:

"What is corruption? It is just a system of getting things done?"
"I will do it in my way, fuck your morality!"

the arguments continue.

Kaleidoscope knows he is inhabiting in a peculiar world of the games of ever increasing number of logocentrisms which are often legitimised in the name of post-structuralism!




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sarahah, "social selection" and the vanishing boundaries of selves

Kaleidoscope's never ending supply of field knowledge concerning the peculiarities of his species has never been better since the inception of Orkut. He was an Orkut addict at that time, then he reluctantly joined facebook and now a third revolution is in its inception the Sarahah.


Facebook and symbolic interactionism:

Kaleidoscope is watching old and almost forgotten scholars of sociology coming alive with facebook. The school of though which looked at human being as symbol creating and interacting species - the symbolic interactionism. How does his species satisfies symbolic interactions possible is by making a series of ideas of self. The self is Social and individual. It is social in so far it is objective and hence requires a particular mode of presentation. On the other hand there is an individual and subjective self which is constantly there - some call them as the true self.


Kaleidoscope, however, is sceptical about the existing boundary between so called subjective and social self. Does they differ? As pragmatists might say actors and world are in constant dynamic process of interaction and creation of each other and with facebook boundaries between self and world is in a constant process of juxtaposition and perhaps started to blur years ago.


For example facebook page gives you space to nurture your objective self - social self to get its fullest and acceptable presentations. You never present what you are. For example in any given day you are not going to upload your profile picture randomly. You usually chose from the best ones. The category best has a social meaning within. Hence, in a process of "Social selection" you put on layers of make up. You tend to be happy unless a different presentation is needed, participate in a cause, think for future and whatever suits you.


Sarahah and the rise third order constructs:



Now that you are completely immersed in postmodern endless succession of depthless presents through presentation of your layered self suddenly there is a resurgence of your subjective self through "Sarahah." Sarahah is asking you have honest feedback from your friends anonymously. No matter how you have presented yourself towards the world, your presentation of self had another layer of meaning - another layer of objectivity - another layer of "social selection." Now you know what people 'actually' think of you - now another camouflage. People will never say what they really think about you - they will only say what they think you need to listen to or perhaps what would make them feel better to say about you. Moreover, when you tend to repost what people have said about you in Sarahah you (most likely) tend to select those which pleases you.


Now Let us allow Kaleisdoscope to make it little clearer


In facebook:


Reality - Your thought - Your presentation - others reception - your 'socially selected' presentation (second order in facebook) - others' reception (second order) - continuation of your social selection, the cycle continues.


With Sarahah:


Reality - your thought - your presentation - others' receptions - your 'socially selected' presentation (second order in facebook) -  others' reception (second order) - Others' 'mentally filtered' (since anonymous) reactions - your (filtered) repost in facebook (third order).




The third order construct will continue.


Kaleidoscope would love to end by remembering Manning (1992)


The overall tenor of The Presentation of Self is to a world in which people, whether individually or in groups, pursue their own ends in cynical disregard for others... the view here is of the individual as a set of performance masks hiding a manipulative and cynical self.


See if you like:



Manning, Philip (1992) Erving Goffman and Modern Sociology. Stanford University Press.


Goffman, Erving (1959) Presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Anchor

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Civilisation and new academic religion

Early dangerous exposures:

Kaleidoscope because of his years of training in Social-Cultural Anthropology has acquired a peculiar understanding of cultural differences. In the beginning of his study it was his conscious attempt to learn the cultural differences and learn go beyond the 19th Century scientific explanation of Social evolution. This was particularly the time when Kaleidoscope started reading Boas and his students in the very serious National Library, Kolkata. At that time it was okay to take a nap in the library unless you are not snoring. Kaleidoscope was almost half of his present body size then and there was no question of snoring. Therefore, with intervals of nap and reading Kaleidoscope has successfully installed the magical programme called Cultural Relativism. Once its installed you tend to question every assumptions of your culture. You become tolerant for cultural differences but over a period of time you tend to develop particular disgust about them who failed to installs such tolerance.

Eventual transformations:

Moreover, Eventually, with most of the Kaleidoscope's friends especially with people not within the circles of social sciences, Kaleidoscope started to speaking in a quite different language. While his friends continued to ridicule people from different parts of his country with nick names such as Chinkies (designating North East), Meros (designating Marwaris), Khatua or Khotta (Designating people from Bihar) and Ure (designating people from Odisha), Kaleidoscope found these to be offensive. Kaleidoscope always thought that he belongs to a society which is actually not much racist like some of the countries where Kaleidoscope's friends would love to go and never come back (a few have actually done that) or Casteist like some of the other parts of his country, which is of course not true.

Kaleidoscope started taking these languages as offensive. In the beginning he started to counter his friend. But he has actually failed to make them understand why these are offensive and why ethnocentrism is bad for a country like India which has so many variations. Later on, Kaleidoscope has been termed as the 'serious type' - something that he has never been. In much later times Kaleidoscope is designated as "Buddhijibi" literally meaning intellectual but the common usage, obviously is a derogatory sense.

Origins of problems:


Kaleidoscope with such an year long transformation have become a person with near zero tolerance with hypocrisy (although he is not free from it), racist, sexist assumptions (he does not know for sure if he is free of such qualities). Kaleidoscope was happy with it for years and trained himself to become even more intolerant towards such issues.
What Kaleidoscope internalise was an extreme form of cultural relativism. The first problem came when he was asked by University of Calcutta to deliver a course on Human Rights to Post Graduate students. While he developed his course material on Anthropology and Human Rights (http://sumananthromaterials.blogspot.in/2010/06/anthropology-and-human-rights.html) he felt uncomfortable about such a grand narrative. It was brutally against his so long faithful friend of cultural relativism. Even, Kaleidoscope thought, this was so badly distant from the idea of postmodernism!

However, as Kaleidoscope grew, he also understood the problematics of rights of an individual and impositions of society. He could understand them through his own fleeting identity, through his relationships and life course. Hence, accommodating some basic universal principles was no longer problematic for him. However, he nevertheless continued to remain sceptical about the interface of cultural relativism and human rights or any universal grand narratives. The inner conflict is not resolved. Sadly, while Kaleidoscope is forever unsettled in nature, he is quite settled about his intolerance towards a few categories, most conspicuously the communal, the racist, the casteist, the classist and the sexist.

The civilizational taboos:


As the civilisation grew, at least as Kaleidoscope thought that he grew or nurtured civilisation within himself, he internalised certain taboos - no not those incest taboos but something more subtle and serious. The academic taboos which easily gets translated into everyday life. Like taboos of humorous exchanges about the issues of religion, cultural difference and gender difference. Kaleidoscope has increasingly took up an identity which is Atheist and against all 'derogatory' statements and jokes which concerns religion, race, cast, class and gender!   

Yes, Kaleidoscope is happy with such an academic 'elitist' identity of intolerance towards all forms of racist, communal, sexist, casteist and the related jokes, riddles and ridicules. The question however is , where does it take Kaleidoscope?

Yes, Kaleidoscope is careful not to hurt any one's sentiments attached to his identity and culture.

Yes, Kaleidoscope is in a better position to take a stand against anyone doing it because he is clear about his identity of belonging to the so called 'liberal' and 'relativist'

Yes, Kaleidoscope continues and will continue to make people understand the reasons for which one should always avoid such predispositions.

The new religion of academic taboos:


Finally, what are the things that happen hand in hand with Kaleidoscope's 'intellectual', 'educated', 'tolerant' and civilised being? It is that Kaleidoscope has developed  particular disgust towards those who are not as careful as Kaleidoscope is about such things as discussed. He is belonging to a group of touchy, thin skinned, intolerant and humourless species. Now Kaleidoscope thinks actually he has developed a personality which is as consolidated as the extreme as identities which call for riot or warfare. He knows he belongs to a civilizational notions which is so ingrained and he is so involved that even writing this piece can be seen as heresy.

Academic taboos are becoming new religion and Kaleidoscope knows he is living in a society which is barbaric in basic instinct. Even with his slightest inclinations towards such personality predispositions in front of some self declared civillions he could be attacked because of being a "muggle blooded" social scientist.

Meanwhile, Kaleidoscope has taken the risk of asking himself and revisiting some of his assumptions with an imaginary data of a country (think about India) which is loosing humors and becoming touchy. Just like Kaleidoscope but in a much greater scale his fellow countrymen are loosing humors and consolidating identities through outrages on films like PK and vandalism of Hussain-Dosi Gufa.

Fellow academicians can think of Kaleidoscope as muggle blooded but he nevertheless continue to ask such questions and revisit his identities.
 
An imaginary graph representing inverse relationship between Humor and Identity in Kaleidoscope's society


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Letting go15: Phallic chair and liminality

The chair with a phallus

The phallus story

The chair sits with an arm spread like a phallus - a parallel phallus looking away from the window towards an even greater world. The phallus looks at the shallow dark table hole. The chair arms could disappear under the table hole - and can never come back unless it is pulled out externally. Does a chair only has to move towards that dark end of a table - like a patriarch which disappears and find itself facing an emptiness? Or can it also look at the corner of its eyes to see the window, outside of which rain falls - like it always has in the green monsoon.


The liminal story

An empty chair is a liminality. An empty chair is a question that asks other vital questions of transcendence. Does it transcend time, subject and space together? Or does it only challenge the moment? The challenge is  to predict how long this moment of emptiness lasts? Does it last for ever - abandoned or does it an uncertain time lag - a stop gap. Perhaps the chair does not know, or does it?

Water, bridging the gap

It was just another day in the not so charming office with a quick and unexpected break from the class schedule that Kaleidoscope discovered this affair in his tiny little staff corner. Kaleidoscope doesn't know whether the chair focusing towards the table bottom, ithyphallus was part of a regular love affair designed by people since the inception of civilisation? Meanwhile the rain comes and bridges all the classifications. Rain brings water from every corner of Kaleidoscope's classified and culturally mediated world. It washes away all, only to question his cognitive assumptions. Meanwhile, it may so happen, that the chair and table belonged to part of a forest where they have been separated from their lovers for ever - and hence both are in a heterotopic space, lusty and lonely. Kaleidoscope sat beside them to listen to their stories to realise the deep rooted patriarchy in Kaleidoscopic imagination. He could finally lost in the forest of stories to trace the roots of platonic love affairs. The sound of bee and finally the rain. Kaleidoscope knows somewhere the rain is still bridging the gaps between all departed souls, to all the moments who would never stay or come back. The chair however continued to narrate the story, beside the window as Kaleidoscope left the place to an even more deeper liminality and switches off the lights for hours, for the night... for eternity. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Of Everyday Gossiping and Over-rated Civilisation

"The mad tea party" by Mark Bryan, Taken from https://www.artofmarkbryan.com/politics/




Kaleidoscope belongs to a species which is highly ethnocentric in its character. It thinks that it is superior than any other species of the earth.

Enormous divisions and inequalities:

The species within itself is divided based on a variety of symbolic attainments and value perceptions. It thinks, strongly believes and makes it natural that the ability to run a computer is far superior thing than to be able to run itself! Hence, it has a detailed and infinite divisions of the feeling of superiority. Most often it hates each other in the name of certain bodily,  behavioural and fictional differences. It is so important for the species that it adopts symbolic cannibalism! The sense of hierarchy usually ends at an individual level and sometimes even within individual levels divisions are there. Imagine such statements as "I have become a much superior person than what I was a year ago!" Hence Kaleidoscope's species is always going through at least three things:


  1. A growth story
  2. A classification story
  3. A criteria story.

The Gossip theory:

The curious case is it's everyday practices in present time when it attempts to adopt mechanisms to sustain the fictional nature of hierarchy. It usually loves to form group, group within a group, group within a group within a group. The critical problem that Kaleidoscope's species faces is primarily of two kinds, first, the problems of information processing. Imagine when the size of the group is fifty, there are 1225 different combinations of one-to-one relationships! These 1225 individuals in a complex society - such as the one in which Kaleidoscope firmly believes that he lives, has other relationships as well. Therefore,the amount of information that the human brain needs to process in unimaginable. Second, the problems of dealing with heterogeneity and instability.  Even when Kaleidoscope's species is settled (but not sure) about each of the individuals they tend to remain sceptical and seek information to participate in a continuous process of system update, because of insatiable suspicious curiosities. Even in Chimpanzee society groups seldom cooperate (Frans de Waal 2000).

Therefore Kaleidoscope's species tend to form groups and seek information. How to seek information? It is by gossiping. For early humans it was important to know and constantly keep tracking "who hates whom?" "Who sleeps with whom?" "Who is reliable and who is a cheat" - Kaleidoscope's present society continues to remain the same. Kaleidoscope's fellow members continue to gossip through each an every medium of communication! (Dunbar, 1998) 

The re-incarnation of primordial gossips:

What makes present species different through civilisation is its incredible ability to imagine things. Behind the back gossips are often sexually charged or are in a way or other linked to essential nature of the species - looks, Body features (size and shape of breasts, for example!), smell and smile!

Now, when there is rarely any significant data about the rival groups the species tend to imagine things. Remember rivalry can come through a variety of sources: a) rival for different nature/culture/looks b) rival for different opinions, c) rival for conflicts of interests, d) rival for attraction and lack of availability, and so on. When there is a serious lack of substantive data to 'rationalise' rivalry, imagined gossip game helps achieving it. The easiest way in the society in which Kaleidoscope lives in, is to spread rumors about flaws in the imagined standard of living (society calls it morality). Such gossips usually carry sexually charged content and hence become easily popularised. Kaleidoscope would like all his readers to remember the most popular gossips in their office or neighbourhoods. Yes, you know it, its about flaws in the imagined standard of morality- it does not have to be sex only, every culture has different sets of standards and so does different mechanisms of imagined gossips.

The classification of re-incarnated group mobilisers:

  1. The frequent oscillators: These are the people who changes their positions according to the actors and agencies with which s/he is interacting. They usually lack strong personalities and usually able to sense the pulse of group dynamics well. Therefore, these are the people who attempts to remain in good book of every power centres.
  2. The power cravers: These are the members who compromise anything to retain certain imagined positions of authorities.
  3. The open bookers: Represent those who continues to remain open about their positions and orientations and opinions
  4. The opportunists: are those who look for self interest maximising opportunities in every situation
  5. The strategic silent beings: never speak unless something involves their personal interests, but when anything does involve personal interests they raise their voice and take a stand.
  6. Unopinionated: represents those who never gives opinions.
  7. The black and whites: those handfuls who manage to remain relatively unattached with any of the subgroups and continue to criticise everything which in their opinion is wrong.
All these players usually love an equilibrium - which is hard to get. One can remember Foucault's notion of power as a net-like organisation where the concentration of power is never settled and extremely situational.

The changing power terrain:


Usually, in a rapidly changing power terrain the "frequent oscillators" initially exchange information between groups and then change their group affiliations. The "power cravers' usually are driven out of the power centres or are given relatively less important but ornamental positions. The 'open bookers" does not experience much of a stress and remain intact. "The opportunists" seeks new opportunities and usually forgets old power centres. "The strategic silent beings" remains silent unless something disturbs their inner equilibrium. "Unopionated" and "black and whites" remains the same, only the later continue to make new enemies.

It continues, in your family, office, schools, clubs and in nations. Kaleidoscope's species could only mask the primordial craves in the name of over-rated imagination of Civilisation.


See if you like

Dunbar, Robin (1998). Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press

Frans De Waal (2000). Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.