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Shun Yata

Shunyata & Representive Democracy: Attempting to bridge the emptiness in Democracy through philosophical considerations of Claude Lefort and Nagarjuna

There is an imminent but unsaid belief of a higher power in IR, as well as that of the state from a Hobbesian perspective. Shunyata and Lefortian democracy take this point, but turn it into a concept of 'all' / 'the people' and 'empty space'.

The higher power doesn't exist in IR. Similarly, it doesn't exists in a Lefortian democracy, as the space is empty. This is because power, the rule of making changes by one person or an institution, government or party or entity is ever changing. Looking past this anomaly, the rulers are the ones who seek power through representation. This works in such a way that a majority, or a pluralistic representation keeps power shifting continually as per the majority will of the people, regardless of their reasons for voting for a particular entity; as seen in a true representative democracy in India and Indonesia. The opposite is true in countries like Japan and Singapore, where the structure of its democratic system keeps the power with the powerful and not with the people, hence, the space is not empty.

Shunyata also states the same. There is no higher power, metaphysics, the origin of our world, our purpose, the question of God (higher power); the sum of our genetic make-up shifts as we grow, as we experience, as we make of ideas spread to us through conditioning and our path towards success (or conditioned being). Thus, coming to a quick conclusion that we exist and do not exist at the same time. The similar is seen in an representative democracy, where the genetic identity of a country and that of its experience and conditioning makes power a continually changing anomaly.

The result of a Lefortian democracy in a flux of 'is' and 'is not', allowing for change to work continually and accepting dissent into itself as it allows consent too. There is no fixed higher power, no identity or idea that can be representative of the people for all eternity (absolutism). Shunyata and Lefortian democracy are not permanent ideologies because of its empty & dis-continual power base; and power held by 'the people' through indirect methods of political representation.

There is no need of a higher power. Anarchy and a zero sum game is not a necessary construct. There is though, an innate need to understand and question Lefort's democratic concept of an empty space; that is not clearly defined, but filled with the indirect will of 'the people'. Any structure that comes into place which is seen as a 'absolute' will break 'democracy', development and 'the will of the majority'. Majoritarian Representation does not mean power to one entity as coalition representation gives voice to the smallest of identities, or to those without one. This theory is not 'perfection' or the best alternative based on an ideology or a belief, but do think that Lefortian democracy has the characteristic to change 'on the basis of...' and not any single and particular belief, makes it a flexible option to consider, depending on the situation and need.

Regardless of the type of regional power, i.e., rural, state, country, regional or international, the need for an empty space which represents the inhabitants to the maximum it can, has to be taken into consideration by the 'realists' (and others) in IR. Whether the entity is the UN, or the P-5, the bridge towards development will never stand for all eternity, thus allowing theoretically (and hopefully practically), to accept an democratic empty space which also is the collective will of 'the people' 'on the basis of...'.

Why you do this English?

Why you do this English?

Hindi! I remember being 'eh!' at it. I remember struggling to speak well and I remember being heckled for it. Another thing I remember is that there were no capital letters in Hindi. There was little confusion in Hindi. I could read the letters as they were, and not how they should be. Hindi was everything that isn't the English language.

Capital letters



Oh sorry. I was watching the news there, a few feet from me, a fight over God. Two groups shouting the same thing, exchanging spit. Then they start pushing. Just pushing. Not hitting, punching or fighting. Just pushing. There was little actual physicality, but through rhetoric and quite of lot of pomp and show and effigy burning and self-censorship and nationalism and and and...

The point is, the term not GOD, but God. Grammatically correct I am.

The capital G comes out of nowhere. Why? Nouns they said. Its to identify a particular...something. Class, people, places, names, things, ideas....IDEAS!

Ideas...ideas have a shelf life. When an idea is carried for a long time. I mean a really long time. They still remains an idea...right? But why are ideas in capitals?

Coz ideas are nouns. Stupid!

But as I put the G down, somehow I feel that G is not within my grasp. Like G's i space, like G's just out of my grasp. Out of all of our grasps. g on the other hand is in my grasp. g is an idea that I can understand. g is common, g is within my grasp. g is within all our grasps. I guess that most people can share a g. But a G? G is not in shared. G is limited, so G is special.
Its a G man! Its not just an idea. Its the Idea.

G, in comparison to g, is limited. Its in short supply. Probably because G is special. So special, that it has been around for a long time. But very few people can grasp G. Who few? G only knows.

But then, I keep coming back to the fighting. And I think. How many Gs are there? I mean, if there was one, or a few Gs, then people wouldn't fight a few feet from me. Would they? G only knows.
If there are many Gs, then shouldn't the Gs become g?

So finally I ask. English! Why you do this to me? Is it a G? Or is it a g? g only knows.

India's Guinea Pig Syndrome

Are we Indians ever guilty of anything?
Yeaaah...They say that we are guilty of mixing politics and religion, of marginalising Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Dalits, Tribals, Women, Children, Poor, Dark Skinned, South Indians, North Indians, Marwaris, those 'Chinis' from North East and so many more. 'They' are India's self-annointed voice of reason, India's true conscious voice who speak on behalf of all, the rationalists who think and reason for us the non-rationalists. 'They' are the secularists, the left leaning news anchors of India's English media, the journalists and authors, fighting capitalism with a badge of honour and courage pinned to their heart. And 'they' say that everything is the fault of the dominant identity in India and their leader, the chosen leader of our democratic nation, PM Narendra Modi.
Within the 'Hindu' tag are the RSS, BJP, VHP and other fringe elements. Well my dear rationalists, there elements you name as reasons for our country's destruction have been around for a long time. But they were not the only reason for BJP coming to power. They are not responsible for the divides in our nation's structure. They are not the villains in India's story. They are a part of society, a mix of good, bad and ugly, just like you. A majority, a pluralist majority voted for Mr. Modi. The RSS did not have a knife to my throat when I voted. I wasn't paid to vote for the BJP, not was I brainwashed into thinking that me and my folks have been victims for 1200 years. I voted by using my right to the fullest, to make the best practical as well as an emotional decision using MY reason to vote for them. While some Hindu fundamentalists make Muslims their Guinea Pigs, the secularists make the Hindus their pets.
So I have a really silly question hanging in front of me like crud in my eye that I just can't shake. Why do we blame Mr.Modi, his party and their ideological institution for all that is wrong? Is the BJP so intolerant that their hatred against the hated is timeless? Yeah we are an intolerant nation. But before the BJP, were we a tolerant nation? Was India Shangri La-ic in nature? I am not saying that less violence is good progress, nor am I insinuating that Mr. Modi is a good and just leader. But it is a tough pill to swallow and I admit this without reservations. A majority voted in the BJP. Since, the BJP has had fewer corruption charges than pimples on Rahul Gandhi's face. Blaming the BJP and making the PM a Guinea Pig will not solve anything. Nor will ignoring or censoring religious hatred in our past and present. If we want a change, we have the right to vote for anyone contesting. At the same time we should allow for all voices, dissenting or otherwise to be said. If we want their voices to be culled, maybe we should start by culling other 'legitimate' voices like the Owaisis. Maybe the brothers they are communal (I think they are) but they have been voted in by some and thus have the right to express.
Its not that religious people are not rational and ideological people are not rational, its just that voices of dissent are as important as voices of consent. I for one am bored sick of this blame game. I don't care who or what is in power and what they look like (suit-boot or khadi or even nanga), as long as there is conscious study of available options and holistic decision making. We should allow for 'all' opinions to be opined, fringe as well as dominant, so that we can reason and recognise options to choose from. Tying a few to the centre post and throwing rotten tomatoes at them will not bring any kind of positive change for all. And if we don't try and detoxify ourselves from this Guinea Pig Syndrome, we will never be in positions to recognise all options.

+ve Genocide

Genocide…the most favored word of my favorite commies and loved secularists. These so called ‘voices of the subaltern’ have been spewing the same rhetoric that they have been fighting against; the same as all the other ‘-ists'. Before I get into art of suplexing all believers who have done the rest of us a favor by directing our attention to the ‘Oh! So real’ issues, let me copy paste the official definition of genocide.
Genocide is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) as, “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
Violence has been the modus operandi for settling power relations among groups and nations for the past three millennia at-least. Though this time violence had only one meaning, more specifically physical violence, i.e. power, to gain control over choice of action over the other. The stronger the military capacity of a state or group, or the coercion power of either, the greater the power to change scenarios in its favor. I mean, look at the US and its power status since the past one hundred years or so; look at the growing strength of the Chinese since the 90s. This thought corresponds at a group, as well as at a person to person contact level too.
Since then, a parallel group of social scientists studied violence, not just as physical power while is very limited in its understanding and explanation at a societal level, but by readjusting their glasses to look at violence as it is, by studying violence at every level of social strata possible. Johan Galtung sliced violence into three parts; physical, cultural and structural. These terms are pretty self-explanatory. Cultural is hereditary, as simple as that. Structural violence is created and recreated every day, they are the overlapping and conditioned dependent bonds within society that bind society through common identities by transmitting information, emotions and ideology back and forth that are multi-polar in nature, i.e., positive, negative, mirrored, and different mixes of all identifications.
And this is where my favorite heroes are screwing up already screwed up situations. The definition that adores the start of this page only touches upon one aspect of violence, as power did for hundreds of years. We all know how that turned out. The commies, and of course liberals and secularists and the lot (…but they would hate it that I put the three into the same sentence…welllll, boo-hoo to you!) are creating situations of structural genocide, leading to conflict at a physical level like in Myanmar against Muslims, or Kashmir against all non-Muslims, or white American against blacks (yes blacks…not African-American), and Shia-Sunni-Ahmadiyya…..and the list goes on, but at a structural yet banal level that precedes physical violence which makes identification virtually impossible. This type of violence according to Galtung is invisible. Hence, the only way of identification, if any, is by the medium of debate.

Looking at situations from a Galtungian (don’t know if there is a term like this but there should be) perspective, there is strong structural genocide that is being committed everyday in the form of ideologies; socialism, liberalism, secularism, communism and all the so called positive ‘isms’ are invariably creating the feared and hated 'other'.

In awe of the blindness of my favorite open-minded and caring people of our society, I call their behavior ‘positive genocide’, because, of course of their dashingly positive, rational, honourable, and empathetic outlook on everything, which as an effect is carrying multiple forced and involuntary ideologies onto the rest. By judging behavior as black and white, good and bad, these liberal commies (yes, yes I said it) have carried on the tradition of making the ‘other’ feel as such. Sometimes the ‘other’ is clearly identified (or created) by physical appearance as done in Rwanda; else it is done by carrying ideas of ‘rationalism’ as done by the media in India. There is very little thought process into ‘how’ the structure of society has shifted the voices in our heads towards hatred or understanding as single point of view do not exist. They look at only the obvious layer and judge, taking the favored from nant approached of western thought — when in doubt, dissect.
For example, just have a look at any news website or channel, social media outlet to pointout situations of positive genocide. For example, one story in Al-Jazeera I came across recently is the ‘Fear, loathing and Australian politics’ article. To quote the PM, “It’s coming after us." Who is this ‘it’? If this term isn’t clearly defined, the majority will look at followers of Islam as ‘it’, branding many voluntary and many more involuntarily (who invariably get shot in the crossfire). At the same time, people on social media (ahem…secularists) and international news channels are supporting the Muslims. By supporting them, there is acknowledgement that the other 'is' the hated ‘other’. There is no effort to understand who they are, just the illusion of being ‘good’ people who support the underdog and the misunderstood (the Rocky Effect?). Another example is at a societal level; there are so many pro ‘same sex’ and pro ‘women’s’ agenda campaigners on social media and such. They paint their profile pictures colorful in support. But when there are marches of solidarity, these people seem to have some work or the other and the number dwindles considerably. The greater mortals preach equality, but never speak for the gutter cleaners and the bus drivers, the slaves who slog in mines, those educated who work in the outsourcing business and such invisibles. All this is positive genocide, when believing that someone who isn’t like you has to be the ‘other’.
The false — positive love for the ‘other’ makes sure that they believe in their segregation from visible society, adding to their treatment from the other half. No identity; male-female, young-old, religion, spiritual, color, height, race, job refrain from this translucent behavior. If I can be a cynical Foucaudian for just a second. There is positive genocide everywhere and at every level of social strata imaginable, and this is done by the ‘good’, ‘nice’ and ‘open-minded’ people, as well as the conservatives, extremists, neo-liberals of our society by convincing themselves and others of their ‘goodness’ and their beliefs and rationality while creating an exclusive society accessible only to a select few.