Online college degree Philosophia: 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Philosophy: An Introduction

Hyper Smash
According to Aristotle, philosophy studies the whole Being. Rest of the sciences study slices of Being, but philosophy studies whole Being and as Being as such.

For example physics studies matter in respect of its physical qualities. So physics is a partial study of matter, for though it studies matter as such, it studies its physical properties alone, and not, for example, its biological properties.

Similiarly, sociology studies society, psychology studies psyche. Each science has a limited field of studies. But philosophy is the most generalized studu of Being, of the whole universe.

Philosophy studies Being as such, whatever is, and it does not study it in its partial attributes , but in respect of its essential attribute , an attribute that applies to Being in its capacity of what it is and not in any other sense.

And that attribute of Being is "to be." The most essential attribute , that applies to Being in what Aristotle calls a commensurate Universal manner, is its " isness". So, philosophy studies Being in so far as it "is".

Commensurate Universal attribute is that which applies to a subject in the first place , and nothing prior to that subject holds this attribute. So, triangularity is a commensurately universal trait of triangles and not of any particular type of triangles. "To be ", is the commensurate universal attribute of Being. That it is Being which 'is', and there is nothing , which has "isness" prior to Being, and whatever has " isness" after Being, has it as the attribute of Being.

All genre are from Being. Being is the most generalized concept . Being is divided into many genere. Each genus has the attribute of isness, which it inherits from Being.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Critique on Saussure's Theory of Linguistics from a Nietzschean Point of View: Abstract

Abstract
Saussure's theory of linguistics has an overwhelming influence not only on the understanding of language but also on philosophy and human sciences. However, viewed from a Nietzschean perspective the basic tenets of Saussure's theory seem dubious.His principles of the arbitrariness of the relationship between signifier and signified, his emphasis on the synchronic study of linguistics and paradigmatic structures appear to be inappropriately formulated when viewed from a Nietzschean perspective.

Nietzsche , in his essay 'On Truth and Lie from an Extra Moral Sense', says that instead of signifying the thing itself, the concept part in the sign signifies the human relationship with the the thing. Moreover, the concept , the signified, is formed after overlooking so many differences that exist among the members of the class for which the concept is formed. Thus, the concept , the signified, is an equality of the unequal. No two leaves in the world are exactly similar to each other, yet we designate each of the leaves as leaf. This, Nietzsche describes as the arbitrariness of the relationship between the signified and the thing it designates.

As far as the sound image, the signifier, is concerned, Nietzshe's account reveals that these are previously existed signs used metaphorically to designate a new concept. Thus, the relationship between the sound image, the signifier, and the concept , the signified, is not arbitrary.

Furthermore, Nietzsche, in his book Beyond Good and Evil cites an example for the change in language through associating (in Saussurian sense) the sign 'life' with the chain of signs like life enhancing , life specie protecting, specie preserving, condition for life etc. Moreover truth is associated with the signs like an effaced coin, illusion etc. This association depicts a paradigmatic shift in the extant language which cannot be understood without a historical understanding of language.

These examples show that if studied from a Nietzschean perspective , semiology would be established on the tenets different from that of Saussure's theory. This article criticizes Saussure's principles of linguistic theory mainly from a Nietzschean perspective.



Khalid Jamil Rawat

Grounded Theory Method of Research


Ground theory method was developed by Glaser and Strauss (Barney G. Glaser, 1967). This method is used as a qualitative research method to develop a theory that can explain events, behavior, give predictions and control over situation.

According to Glaser and Strauss (1967):

"The basic theme in our book is the discovery of theory from data systematically obtained from social research."

Grounded theory method follows a stepwise procedure; a procedure that is repeated till such a time when a researcher feels that he or she is no longer able to gain any further knowledge or insight from new data. The procedure is repeated until a researcher decides that whatever he finds from new data is a repetition of the previously collected data and nothing new is known.

Steps involved in Grounded Theory Method:

In order to understand the steps involved in grounded theory method one can follow the analogy of a botanist who is preparing taxonomy of herbs found in a certain location.

Suppose that a certain scientist Mr. A is preparing taxonomy of herbs found in a certain location along with his team of assistants. These Assistants have to search for the herbs and bring whatever they find to Mr. A.

Suppose these assistants, on their very first day brought three hundred herbs to A. Mr. A receiving these hundred herbs, will now proceed on to classify them. 

For these herbs, though they are different in color, yet have other features which are more prominent and more meaningful for the purpose of classification as compared to colors; for instance the texture. Mr. A now selects his way of classification and organizes these three hundred herbs according to texture.  He makes five categories of texture including thorny, very rough, rough, smooth, and silky. He adjusted and organized all the herbs according to their texture. For example there were 50 herbs he recognized as smooth, 60 as silky, 80 as rough, 40 as thorny and 70 as very rough. 

Suppose next day he received 50 more herbs, now about some of the herbs he is unable to decide as to where he should place them. There are herbs that appear to him belonging to the categories of roughness and smoothness simultaneously. This leads him to ponder over the differences and similarities in herbs falling in different classes. On comparison, he now defines each classification conceptually, clearly spelling out the characteristic properties of each of the categories.

On the basis of this comparison and consequent defining of the categories, this person is now ably to compare each new herb with the existing category on the basis of its attributes. However, on the basis of this comparison he finds that some herbs are different in character from the previously identified categories, and in order to accommodate these new herbs he establishes a new category. This new category lies between roughness and smoothness. Similarly there are certain herbs that lie between thorny and very rough, so he has to create a yet another category between thorny and very rough.

He sends his assistant on a daily basis to collect herbs, and his seven categories each day receive some new members. However after a few days Mr. A found that no new herbs are coming and his assistants are bringing those herbs which they had already brought to him. Mr. A. now declares that all the seven categories are saturated and no new inclusion is possible so he is closing the data collection.

Now Mr. A writes a report and in this report he says that the core idea according to which he has classified everything is texture, and there are all in all seven types of texture according to which he has developed his taxonomy. Mr. A's classification is a successful one and in developing this classification he used a method that resembles grounded theory method. 

Suppose you are researching on street violence as a social researcher, in a cosmopolitan city. There are several newspapers that report on the issue, each day you also interview a few people from administration, criminals and victims, and there are T.V programs on the issue as well. So you are getting a lot of data. This data should be conceptualized and analyzed, and then given a form of a theory explaining and connecting various elements of data.

The way a grounded theorist precedes is like this:

Each bit of data, an interview, a news report, is to be broken up into concepts. Concepts are formed the reported data or incidents.  For instance consider the following report:

Hunt for Long Island Killer
Amidst the efforts to comb the New York beach, and to scan it from truck roof tops and ladders, the statement given by the county police Commissioner, betrays that police has not found any decisive clues about the whereabouts of the unknown serial killer, who has allegedly murdered around 04 prostitutes in the city. According to Suffolk county police commissioner, Richard Dormer, they are still searching for additional remains and there is a chance that a new discovery may bring decisive clues with it. According to the sources, police has adopted a methodic approach to solve this case, and they are working on all possible options to identify the murderer.
According to a forensic expert, such investigations proceed slowly and no hasty conclusions are made. However, the investigation is right now directed towards establishing the fact that all the victims were killed by the same or different murderers. Furthermore, police is also trying to find out similarities and differences among the victims, to identify a pattern behind this heinous crime.
Most of the women, whose bodies are found, were prostitutes and were operating their business through Craigslist. This similarity has caused a security threat in other women who are in the same business. Among the prostitutes, the belief that the murderer only targets petite girls who are hardly 4 to 4.5 feet tall is a cause of relief for those who are above five. On the other hand those who are below five are curbing the anxiety through thinking that the victimized women committed security blunders, and they met this Dracula of a client all alone, at an insecure venue.

However, crime against prostitutes and street criminals is nothing new. Since street criminals and prostitute cannot contact police, neither to report violence nor to share any evidence, for snitching makes them a target of violence in their own community, and police never provides any protection to a snitch, therefore the chances that more prostitutes will fall victim to such crimes is greater than ever. Police should provide security to prostitutes to stop what is happening now. Police on the other hand, instead of providing security to prostitutes, is now raiding prostitute rings. Recently seven members of such a ring are arrested to double the feelings of insecurity among prostitutes.    
 A serial killer or any criminal is essentially a highly opportunistic person, who ceases every opportunity to avenge the misgivings he has faced in his life. So, there is no wonder that prostitutes, physically weak and socially out casted, who do not worth any protection from the law, even though they are also citizens of the state, are falling victim to this serial killer.  
 Long Island inhabitants who were preparing for the summer festivities and joys before the discovery of a serial killer in their area, are now feeling threatened. They are not in any sense concerned with the fact that all victims were prostitutes; for them the only important thing is that somebody is killing human beings, and this slaughter should be stopped by the law enforcing agencies.

On this news report researcher can perform what grounded theorists call open coding in the following manner.

The first few lines yield following concepts:

Search of the killer from the truck roof tops
Serial killer
Long Island
Prostitutes as Victims
Clues and whereabouts of murderer
Police Chief
Victims’ bodies 
Forensic Expert
Nature of Investigation
Similarities
Differences
Pattern of Crime
Method of doing Business
Violence against street criminals

Like the scientist working on herbs, the social scientist also has to categorize these concepts. So, looking at data, suppose the researcher develops following categories:

Victims
Investigations
Pattern of Crime
Clues
People's opinion

So this process of identifying concepts and categories from data is called open coding.

Now the researcher has to put under each category, concepts belonging to it. This means he has to put everything that is related to the category of investigation under it, similarly concepts related to other categories are also to be placed beneath the categories to which they belong. This is called axial coding.

After completing axial coding, the researcher has to select a core category from the data, or the list of categories developed in open and axial coding. The core category is such that every other category is related to it and explains it. In the above example, the core category is found as the social response towards serial killing in Long Island. The core category is like the sun and other categories are like planets revolving it.
This selection of the core category and relating it to other categories is called selective coding.
Selective coding yields theory. It consists of the propositions resulting from relating core category to other categories.
Now the developed theory is to be saturated or tested or extended. Keeping in view one of these or all of these aims (as the aims of research require) one has to sample another case. Since this sampling is motivated from the theory, therefore it is called theoretical sampling.


There are certain procedures used in grounded theory. These include, theoretical sampling, Constant comparison and category and theory saturation. A researcher develops categories and tries to saturate them. By saturation it is meant that he is interested in finding new cases or concepts or incidents that relate to a specific category. When a researcher can no longer find anything new related to a category and any attempt to know something new ends up in knowing old things that is called saturation of a category.

Similarly when a researcher finds that nothing is being added to the developed theory, he decides that now the theory is saturated.
By constant comparison it is meant that each time a researcher has to compare the new bits of data with the previously categorized bits. And in doing so a researcher is able to decide where to place a new bit of data.
Thus proceeding, a researcher develops a theory that can explain the data collected on a certain topic. Like a scientist organizes a data collected, through classifications.

By: Khalid Jamil Rawat


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The day Benazir was Killed
That was really an ordinary day that turned out to be the most extraordinary day of the history of Pakistan. Benazir was killed just before the sunset on 27th of December 2007. Most of the people now remembered that incident as a political Tsunami that caused a great havoc in the country. People's experiences of that day were weird and every Pakistani individually , in his or her own-most capacity experienced a life threatening situation. Following is a description of how Pakistanis experienced that murder.
Individual experiences can be described under the following themes:
1. Experience of a life -threatening element in the Environment
2. future worries
3. Adjusting with the situation
Experience of a life -threatening element in the Environment
Most of the people who were out on the streets that day faced a threat to their lives. Importantly most of them did not know the cause of this changing environment and,without knowing what was happening , they acted the way others were acting.
A 35 year old man , from Karachi, who was coming back to his home from the work thus narrated his account:
" I got down from the bus and all of a sudden I noticed that everybody on the street was running and none of them , I believed ,knew what was happening. I saw them and the fear and hazard was so compelling that I also started running. Initially I just ran without any consideration of the direction, but then I found that I was running towards my home . I had never ran that fast, as I ran that day, without knowing why I was running. I ran for half an hour and reached my home, and then I asked people at home that I came running, can anybody tell me the reason why? and then somebody from the neighbors told that it was because Benazir was killed in Islamabad half an hour ago. And listening this the fear in my heart increased and we all locked the doors from inside and sat in a room to see what was happening."
Another person, a girl who was to be married on the 27th of December, was in a beauty saloon along with her mother and a sister, getting ready for her marriage. And like all other brides of the country who were visiting beauty saloons that day , she spent that night in the saloon, amidst fires and fears.
There were people who spent that night on the road hiding beneath wrecked auto vehicles or in garbage drums. Nobody knew whether he would ever be reaching home to see his or her relatives again. So, mobility ceased and roads were burning, and there was turmoil everywhere without any exception.
Future worries
In the main city area , called Sadder bazaar, people from every corner came out in millions and they wrecked just everything. Others were so uncertain that they were grabbing anything of daily need and necessity from the shops left open by the shopkeepers, and among them there were poor people and millionaires both. For neither the millionaire knew that he would be able to get anything afterwards nor the poor. Everybody was in a frenzy. If hazard has some meaning in the world it clarified only that day.
Most of the people were worried about the future of their country. Some were thinking that Pakistan would not survive this shock . And these were the people who had seen and suffered almost all kinds of terrorism and calamities, yet that day their was something qualitatively different. How different it was could be ascertained from the fact that for four day not a boat moved in the ocean , alongside 500 KM long Pakistani coast, with millions of fishermen. Even on the remote mountains where the government does not directly claim any rule, any kind of activity was seen. Everything just ceased, and this was really a threatening situation.
Adjusting with the situation
It took some while before people really came back to themselves. Those who were on the streets were not able to contact people back at home, for mobile services were not working. However, after the night passed people gradually dared to came out of their hidings and started reaching homes. However, in most of the regions no food itmems were available, those who were sick they did not get any medical attention, and all sorts of things happened. Yet people somehow managed to came out of this trauma.
This incident really caused what one can call a political Tsunami, no revolution no political change of modern times can match the hazard of that day. A nation of 180 million people living in an area of around 800000 square Kms, was shaken and spilled out of the land like water is shaken and spills out of a cup.
By: Khalid Jamil Rawat

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sheikh Chilli : A Person who Does not Understand the Law of Gravity

A Tale of Two Generations: A Story from the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization
Sheikh Chilli, a famous character among children in the subcontinent of India, is notorious for his follies and simplicity. One thing that people of the subcontinent always attribute to sheikh chilli is that he never cared about laws of nature. He built castles in the air and in his imagination established great businesses, empires, became a prince, married a princes-and in the end of the story the castle in the air vanished and Sheikh Chilli found him surrounded by the people laughing at him.
One day, Sheikh Chilli, needing a few logs of wood, went to the woods with an axe in his hand, along with his friends. He climbed a tree and sat on a bough. Looking at the tree and the woods he started fancying, as usual.  He closed his eyes and thought that he would cut a log from the tree and sell it in the market. In return he will earn some money and save it somewhere. He will work day and night and save some money and appoint a few people to work for him. With the appointment of these workers he will start timber trade, and progressing ahead in life he will also start a furniture business.
Sheikh thought and thought and built castles in the air. In the mean time he also started his work, for he had to cut some logs initially to start this business. He was then simultaneously cutting the log with his axe and fancying that he became so rich that the king decided to marry his beautiful daughter to the Sheikh. With this thought Sheikh increased the pace of his work and started throwing the axe on the log more vigorously.
Then the time of marriage came and Sheikh was about to proceed to his marriage bed along with his beautiful wife. As he was about to embrace his wife, he found that he had a great fall. He fell from the tree because he was cutting the same bough on which he was sitting. And with this fall, Sheikh’s plane also came to naught. Sheikh’s friends who were watching this episode laughed at Sheikh’s innocence and helped him to reach home.
There are hundreds of such stories attributed to Sheikh ChilThe Ants and the Grasshopper Level 3 [With Video] (Aesop's Fables: Level 3)li and children enjoy his character very much. Each time Sheikh violates a law of nature, not as his disobedience to nature, but because of his innocence and simplicity.
Children find his acts interesting, for they are also in a phase of learning about the laws of nature and most often they also violate the law of gravity to fall down from a chair or a small wall in their backyard.
Sheikh’s episodes are good for teaching the meaning of laws of nature and society and there is no better way of teaching these things to children.

By: Khalid Jamil Rawat

Rousseau: Freedom and Moral Development in Children

Rousseau: Freedom and Moral Development in Children
For Rousseau freedom is necessary for the well being and development of a child. Freedom is so essential to a child's life that if it is not properly bestowed upon a child then it can completely spoil a child to render his life miserable both in childhood and in the later years.
To understand this importance of freedom we have to look at Rousseau's concept of weakness and power. For Rousseau weakness and power are relative concepts. Anyone who wills something beyond his powers is weak. So, if a person wants to undertake a task that lies completely beyond his powers , then that person is weak.
Rousseau writes, " be it a man , an elephant a brute or anyone , if he wills beyond his powers he is weak." So, a person is weak when he or she wills beyond the capacity.
Before understanding the relationship between weakness, freedom and their impact on the moral development and well being of a child, it is good that we clarify what is ‘to will’?
“Will” should be differentiated from mere wishing and desiring something. In a mere wish , one no longer tries to reach the goal of one’s wish or desire ,through assembling and summoning all means that are at one’s disposal . However, in the case of will one tries to move from a certain undesirable situation towards a desirable one and in doing so uses almost everything that one can use; one uses all the power to reach the goal.
The difference between a tyrant and a good person is that a tyrant has no power of his own and wants others to work for him all the time. A tyrant desires and his will is so weak that he has to look at others for the achievement of his goals.
So, a tyrant lives a miserable life. A life in which he never experiences the real happiness that comes to a self reliant and powerful person, who can execute his will through his own powers and abilities. And this truly happy person is the one who does not will beyond his powers.
So there are two contrasting characters. And these characters are the results of proper and improper education.
Rousseau says that if you restrict the freedom of your child right from the beginning, when your child has just started to crawl or walk, you will soon convert him into a tyrant. How this happens?
Imagine your child trying to reach an object and finally get it through his own efforts. Now suppose you think that this object can hurt your child or is something important for you; in both cases you will snatch that object from your child, and your child will cry. You have restricted the freedom of your child.
Again suppose that your child is walking towards a staircase and you fear that he can have a dangerous fall, and you go there and stop him (which you should and must do), your child will cry. You have again restricted his freedom.
By restricting your child’s freedom it is meant that you stop him from doing things that he can do on his own. This perpetual, repeated restriction will leave your child in a state of mind where he will no longer take initiatives on his own and he will always ask others to provide him things that he can’t get on his own or through his own efforts.
So, if you frequently stop your child from doing things that he does on his own, he will become a tyrant, a miserable person who will not do anything on his own, who will desire things that are beyond his powers to achieve.
On the other hand if you stop yourself from stopping your child frequently, your child will become a self reliant, independent and strong person and life will be good for him.
This means that never place your important things in the room where your child walks, remove everything dangerous or important from his reach, and close all dangerous passages and places where you fear that your child can hurt himself.
Don’t let your child learn to desire things beyond his powers. And you can do it through not stopping your child from doing anything that he himself does. Try to avoid such situations. 
So a strong personality can be developed through refraining from the practice of restricting your child's freedom. Instead of stopping him, try to supervise him carefully, and let him do what he does . Don't let your child enter into dangerous places and situations; not through stopping , but through removing dangers away from his reach. Put some kind of barrier to block the places where you don't want your child to go . Have all such places clear out of your child's reach.
By: Khalid Jamil Rawat

Kashmiri Sapphire: A gem of gems

Kashmiri Sapphire: A gem of gems
   A Tale of Two Generations: A Story from the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization
People already know the story of the unfortunate gem called" Kohinoor" , whose story bears similarities with 
that of Helen of Troy, for whom Greeks sailed in thousand ships to sack the city of Troy. Kohinoor so much attracted the British crown that they captured India for it.
Indian subcontinent is famous for its rich deposits of precious stones . From the early Vedic periods , gemology has remained a great important art to learn , and there are thousands of years old texts on this subject .
Right from the beginning , three stones are ranked as the highest among the gems of the subcontinent; these are Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. Out of these Ruby being affiliated with the Sun god, is considered as the most precious , and Sapphires come next.
Kashmiri Sapphire, in the word of Keats,  is famous for its " sapphire regioned star" of five points, clearly visible . These Kashmiri Sapphires were discovered in the late nineteenth century ,  when the members of a Caravan, going to Delhi from Afghanistan Via Kashmir , found these stones. 
According to the tradition they sold them for salt bags and after a few days those stones were found in Calcutta costing more than $400000. However, the Raja of Kashmir got those gems back and kept them as a part of his personal treasure.
Kashmiri gems are famous throughout the world and there is a great Gem Industry in the subcontinent flourishing on the trade of these gems. There are several gemology institutes. One such institute is recently established in Peshawar(Peshawar Institute of Gemology) , a city where one can find any kind of gems at a viable cost. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Eternal Recurrence and Noah's Deluge: A Platonic Perspective

Eternal Recurrence and Noah's Deluge: A Platonic Perspective
It is on two occasions , in his dialog The Laws and in Timaeus , Plato gave a hint towards an understanding of history as recurrence. And on both occasions a mention to the great deluge of Noah is also present.
The Idea of eternal recurrence in its current form is attributed to Nietzsche. According to this idea , everything , every moment will recur eternally, so what one is doing now , he is likely to do it again and again eternally. The same life will repeat itself after death and nothing will change, everything will happen in the same manner and order.
It is strange that Plato also had a similar idea of history and the emergence of human civilization. In his Laws, Plato answers the question about the beginning of the city states. He says that city states don't come into being from nothing , they always already exist.
The reason is that the earth has seen a lots of disasters, in the forms of deluge , earthquakes and heavenly catastrophe. A mention of a heavenly catastrophe can be found in Timaeus. This catastrophe took the shape of a myth according to which the Sun god Apollo lost the control of his chariot and burnt everything in the way creating a great havoc both in the heavens and on the earth. An Egyptian old man was reported saying this that later on this incident was converted into a myth but it was an actual incident, a catastrophe that devastated the whole civilization.
In the Laws and also in Timaeus , there is a mention of the great deluge. It is the same biblical deluge of Noah, and in Plato it is reckoned as a cause behind the disappearance of Atlanta creating a great Mud accumulation in the Atlantic ocean. which kept this ocean practically impossible to navigate for thousands of years.
In the Laws , and also in the Timaeus it is emphasized that the last Deluge(Noah's) was not the only deluge. There had been innumerable such deluges in the past causing ruins to different civilizations. So, whenever a civilization is ruined because of a great deluge , writes Plato, its survivors are mostly those who live on mountains or somehow reach there.
These people live there for centuries and when their fears are alleviated they come down to re establish their states on the land. On the mountains they live a life of perfect goodness; for there they have everything in abundance, trees, animals, clothing, owing to the fact that only few families and people live their. Due to this super abundance they are like gifts to each other and they don't fight or quarrel with each other on any issues. There are no contentions there.
That is why , when they start their new dwellings on the land , they have to develop their laws ab initio, from the very beginning. However, they had some idea of city states and previously destroyed civilizations, for their elders have told them the stories of their ancestral places.
So, no state is established for the first time; all city states are revived , allowed to recur. This gives the idea that Plato also had a recurrence sort of view about the origins. Civilization dis not start from nowhere ; it already existed and then destroyed, and created again.
By: Khalid Jamil Rawat

Emergence of Human Consciousness in Homo Sapiens: Nietzsche's Point of View


Emergence of Human Consciousness in Homo Sapiens: Nietzsche's Point of View

According to Hegel human consciousness emerged hundreds of thousands of years after human beings appeared on the face of earth. So, Nietzsche's saying that human consciousness is still something new on this earth seems highly plausible. And being something new, it is not as reliable as our primitive instincts and unconscious derives and knowledge are.


So what is the reason behind the emergence of consciousness in humans?Nietzsche attributes it to some sort of change of habitat. In the primitive habitat humans were at home, they knew everything about their environment beforehand and there were no worries there. Instincts were sufficient for them to decide all type of issues and problems.


As soon as humans were compelled to leave this old natural habitat, they confronted the new land or terrain, or the new world as a problem in itself. In the new place humans were not at home . Nietzsche writes in his Zarathustra, "uncanny is the human existence and still without meaning."


This uncanniness allowed them to confront everything as a problem in itself. It was like a fish coming out of water on the dry land and finding each of its old aqueous tricks to deal with aqueous problems grossly insufficient to deal with the new world. So, it was the new habitat that compelled humans to think. Elsewhere in his Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche has written that thinking and reflection actually emerged in humans as a problem. 


This metaphor is present in other philosophers' work as well. For Hegel humans were living a life of nature, and then all of a sudden they had to separate themselves from the nature to find them in an alienated environment. And it is in dealing with the challenges of this environment that humans develop consciousness and thought process.


After being alienated from its primitive mode of existence; a mode in which humans were neither reflective nor ethical, man started working on perfecting a new ideal. That ideal was the ideal of a moral existence. Man was at one with nature; he has no checks or ethical responsibilities on him. Human desire and will was not checked by the morality or super ego; man was living aesthetically.


By living aesthetically it is meant that man was living a life of immediacy and spontaneity; an ideal for many of the romantic thinkers. However, as soon as man knew morality, his immediacy no longer remained , and with ethical checks, man had to think about the moral value of his desires. And then there are certain moral values and checks that are almost like a taboo in human society, and no human being can even think of breaking these taboos.


Freud discussed this idea in his totem and taboo that savages have a fear of incest that is similar to the fear found in neurotics. Freud learnt this idea from Nietzsche, who in his writings compared the sudden transformation of character in those who become saints after leading a licentious life for years, with epileptics and savages. He called this sudden transformation a kind of religious neurosis.


So, man after leaving the garden of Eden, the life of immediacy and spontaneity in which man had no neurosis or dis-functionality, a life in which man was free to pursue his desires without any ethical morose and there were no checks on him, found himself in a state where the old tricks failed. man confronted this new existence as a problem in itself.


Not only that the immediacy had gone, but with it the confidence in instincts and natural dispositions, for the new terrain was strange and man , being alienated did not feel at home there. 


Facing these problems humans had to calculate, think and assess before taking each and every step, for this precarious world did not allow an easy going being to survive.


However, according to Nietzsche Homo sapiens were pragmatic thinkers as compared to their truth loving brethren Neanderthals. And this pragmatic attitude allowed them to survive while Neanderthals who were by far more intelligent as compared to Homo sapiens, owing to their love for knowledge and truth did not survive.


Neanderthals , according to Nietzsche lived side by side with Homo sapiens for thousands of years and surely there were cross marriages between the members of two groups. But Neanderthal were slow in responding to the problems, for they thought deeply about the issues and were more interested in knowing the facts and truth rather than finding the practical solutions of the problems. That is the reason why , owing to their deep thinking habits, unable to tackle the threats to their survival, Neanderthals soon disappeared from the face of this earth.


By: Khalid Jamil Rawat



Dream Interpretation and savage Psychology: Nietzsche's Perspective

Dream Interpretation and savage Psychology: Nietzsche's Perspective
In this article we are going to discuss thepsyche of a dreamer from Nietzsche's perspective, and owing to Freud's indebtedness to Nietzsche, we can also assume that this is the only interpretation of dreaming that we have.
So, let us come back to our question. What is the psyche of a dreamer and how does it differ from the waking state? The only difference between the waking and dreaming states is that in dreaming state our critical faculty is no longer operational, while in the waking state our critical faculty works.
But to grasp this phenomenon we have to understand a peculiar ability of our minds. Our mind has a peculiar ability that whenever it receives a message through senses, it immediately does two things:
1. It interprets that message and,
2. It hypothesizes about the cause behind message
So, if you are sitting inside your home and you hear a knocking sound, youinterpret it as a knock at your door, and you also hypothesize about the cause of this knock. You may hypothesize that may be it is one of your friends or it is wind knocking at your door.
So, by interpreting a message received through senses we mean to recognize that message as a particular thing, like a 'knock' , and by hypothesizing we mean that we attribute a cause to this message.
We don't have only five senses , but there is an internal sense as well. So when you hear a sound coming from your stomach , or from your phlegmatic lungs , or you feel some kind of emotion or passion , then these are messages from your internal sixth sense.
This means that a person has five external and one internal sixth sense, and a person receives messages from all these sources.
Nietzsche equates the psyche of savages with the psyche of a dreamer. For in both cases critical faculties are not working at their best. A savage can accept anything uncritically , so as a dreamer does. Even a child in the pre-operational stage, the stage of life between 2 till 07 , has an uncritical acceptance of anything that is told to him, like fairy tales and mythology . The reason may be that that a child has to learn so many things, and if children had their critical faculties working they would have utilized their time in thinking and not in learning.
A savage's mind also hypothesizes about the causes of different things. So a savage mind also needs the reason why it rains, or why winds blow etc. But answers to these questions are accepted uncritically and any cause is assigned to these natural phenomenon. So, for a savage, it rains because of supernatural spirits and winds blow because of other supernatural reasons.
A savage's mind works like the mind of a poet , and anything that he feels intensely , he attributes it as the cause of something else, uncritically. The most recurring passion in savages is that of fear, so they attribute fearful causes to natural phenomenon.
A dreamer's mind also works in the same manner. While sleeping , mind remains awake, though without its critical faculties, and attributes causes to all messages it receives through senses. So, if somebody's bed is shaking , his mind can interpret as if he is on board a ship. If he feels a tingling in his shoulder , his mind can interpret it as if some insects are crawling on his shoulders, and imagination will carve dreams to show these novel interpretations to the sleeping person.
However, there are only a few external messages that break through the spell of sleep to enter the mind, and may be these are the most persistently present messages or stimuli. You don't hear people talking while you sleep. So you don't receive this message. However, at times these voices enter your mind and you immediately start watching a dream that represents these messages in other guise, usually a very creative and artistic one.
So, when we sleep our mind still interprets all the messages that we receive from our six senses, and we see that interpretation in dreams.
As far as true dreams are concerned, dreams that are fulfilled in the waking life ; such dreams are fulfilled because they influence a person so much that he acts in accordance with them either to avoid the consequences or to fulfill the prophecy of that dream.
May be Joseph's biblical dream is an exception to it, for Nietzsche has not specifically denied this possibility of watching true dreams. For instance, let us consider the example of waking life when a person knows that he is about to die. This example is given by Edger Allan Poe, in Tell Tale Heart, when an old man who was about to be killed woke up , while the murderer was entering his room. However, he did not receive any message from his external senses and the impulse that woke him up came solely from inside.
In Eastern medicine, in order to know the condition of internal organs , physicians used to inquire about the dreams of a patient. For dreams at times reveal what messages are received from a sick organ, like a kidney, stomach or spleen.
So, dreams are our mind's interpretation of the messages that we receive from our body.
In enmity between nations, one nation can accuse its enemies for any hardship they faced. Because mind's work is to interpret , to assign causes, and if a nation owing to its vengeance, has turned its critical faculties blind, it can always accuse its enemy for doing the thing which it may not have done. And at times nations weave dream like stories around it as well.
By: Khalid Jamil Rawat