Strange Brouhaha

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I didn't actually read the article I'm not going to link to it. I just read the abstract on Arts and Letters Daily. Apparently it is an article accusing Hinduism of being Orwellian because they "combine opposing ideas" by "declaring them different paths to the same end."

It's been a long time since I've seriously studied Orwell and *never* since I've seriously studied Hinduism, so take this with a grain of salt. But as far as I remember, Orwell's totalitarian characters never said it was okay for different people to believe contradictory things because it all turned out the same in the end. Orwell's totalitarian characters chose to believe contradictory things seriatim ("We have always been at war with Eurasia," "We have always been friends with Eurasia") or simultaneously ("2+2=4," "2+2=5"). That is not the same thing as allowing your co-religionists to believe whatever the hell they want (one god, many gods, yoga, meditation, asceticism, hedonism, whatever) with the idea that "all roads lead to Oz." In fact, it is exactly the opposite. The Hindu strategy is a way of encompassing diversity, even extreme diversity, so that people won't start calling each other heretics and deciding to kill each other. Orwell's terrifying characters obviously were quite happy with calling people heretics and killing (or mentally breaking) them.


Post a Comment

<< Home