A colleague with whom I disagree abt fundamental things regularly receives horrible hate mails. What could explain the fact of sending horrible insults instead of sending emails of open disagreement? I can think of two reasons (let us discuss later whether they are justified)
1. You think that the academics you are attacking are themselves disrespectful, so it makes sense to be even more disrespectful (but why? Why is being disrespectful to God's creatures, for instance, a good way of showing them that they should respect God?)
2. You're frustrated because the academics are in a position of power (they can read the sources, have spent ys in archives etc.) and you don't have enough substantive counter-arguments, but want nevertheless to express your outrage.
Am I missing something? #AcademicTwitter 3/3
@shrikanth_krish has a great thread on this topic here (I am copying it here so that I can keep track of all arguments): https://twitter.com/shrikanth_krish/status/1361345849813565442?s=20
Personally, I don't think that history and religion and that faith and understanding should be enemies. I rather think that they can strengthen each other. You deepen your understanding to acquire a mature faith (as opposed to a childish belief that needs to be protected 1/2
against possible counterarguments, like the children's belief in Santa Claus). If you are scared of arguments, your faith might be weak. This being said, even if you agree with the premiss, I am still not completely sure I understand the reason for hate mails. Do you? 2/2
Another interesting reaction by @entropied, pointing out that the initial academic might get something wrong (sure!). https://twitter.com/elisa_freschi/status/1361348291355676674?s=20
Again interesting points by @entropied: https://twitter.com/entropied/status/1361350950145855490?s=20
And my answer: https://twitter.com/elisa_freschi/status/1361351413209702410?s=20
Another clarification by @entropied: https://twitter.com/entropied/status/1361352716929302534?s=20
And again @entropied's answer to my reply. Don't miss also @YinDuZhuZhu's comments over in the thread. https://twitter.com/entropied/status/1361358849123360771?s=20
Another point by @priya_27_ highlighting further reasons for the frustration: https://twitter.com/priya_27_/status/1361362561216614401?s=20
@samopriya points out something I had overlooked, namely the lack of a shared language of disagreement. Some of the authors of hate mails might not know how one disagree in academic circles (i.e., by attacking the argument, not the person). https://twitter.com/samopriya/status/1361401459586314242?s=20
Pity if this were to happen among scholars trained in Nyāya rules about proper debates. 2/2
Another interesting part of the debate: How to recognise expertise? (See the whole thread for my answer): https://twitter.com/hamsanandi/status/1361398692960370694?s=20
Again, another sub-thread on expertise. I personally agree that MUTUAL DIALOGUE would be highly desirable and that post-colonial Sanskrit treatises should be read and praised more (see, for an example by me, my threads on U.T.Vīrarāghavācārya): https://twitter.com/bygonedesires/status/1361394951586635779?s=20
Adding it here, so as not to lose trace of it, but I am not sure that this is a productive way of arguing. See my answer in the thread: https://twitter.com/entropied/status/1361395744872128513?s=20
A further interesting point: Is Christianity per se something that should decrease a scholar's reliability? I think that this should not be the case in the asnwer to this tweet: https://twitter.com/Bhaktirassagar/status/1361410777740050433?s=20
Further point: How can we foster collaborations with traditional scholars in India? Should we try to revitalise #DayaKrishna's saṃvādas? https://twitter.com/entropied/status/1361415396281098247?s=20
The one below is a crucial point: Why are Sanskrit studies not a point of encounter? Why do we antagonise the groups working on Sanskrit texts instead of fostering collaborations? Don't tell me that this is only one-sided. https://twitter.com/entropied/status/1361419356551278597?s=20
Sure, collaborating requires mutual trust. You might not trust me nor any other non-Indian scholar. In which case, however, I don't think the situation will ever improve in EU or NA. This might be fine if you think that Skt must be studied only in India https://twitter.com/jilpakumar/status/1361421445507637251?s=20
My problem here is: There are literelly millions of Sanskrit manuscripts that will not survive long. Many Indians prefer (understandably!) to study Economics or Computer Sciences. Given the Kaliyuga, isn't it better to make knowledge preservation a global concern? Just asking
Another important point about the role of emotions: https://twitter.com/VishwaguruS/status/1361422547753918464?s=20
And a general doubt: Isn't oblivion better than preservation outside of a living culture? https://twitter.com/jilpakumar/status/1361423779201765376?s=20
The OP says that yes, oblivion is better. This is legit, of course. I am inclinded to think that preservation enables continuation also in smaller groups (like Zoroastrians today): https://twitter.com/jilpakumar/status/1361427197320441864?s=20
And here it comes: I am a suprematist. This might be, but I am not sure that generalising instead of engaging in a specifically targeted debate helps. And, yes, I think that some beliefs (e.g., the tooth fairy) are childish. Belief in Śrīkṛṣṇa is not. https://twitter.com/Musashi_Nair/status/1361427329684176897?s=20
Again, good point about the role of emotions and imbalance (I do not think hate mails help in changing it, but one might hope to intimidate): https://twitter.com/gheeshakkar/status/1361428556941832195?s=20
Thanks to all who participated without insulting anyone! Several metaphors you mentioned surely helped me. I am also grateful for the mention of the need to foster a culture of dissent and disagreement which can express themselves in more cultivated ways than hate mails 1/2
and of the need of more balanced collaborations, perhaps text-based so as to avoid the obstacle of ideology (on both sides). We can disagree about the broad frame of the universe, and still collaborate on the understanding of a śloka. 2/2
I need to go back to work (today was a holiday, but tomorrow is not), so please expect less engagement in the next hours and forgive me if you can.
Adding it to the thread so that all is somehow easy to locate (see my answer in the thread): https://twitter.com/Musashi_Nair/status/1361433976540327941?s=20
Someone mercifully helping me to understand the point (see my answer in that thread): https://twitter.com/Hooey_Parrot/status/1361443187378716675?s=20
Other problem: Friedrich Max Müller's biases. These are real (like the Nazi-inclination of Erich Frauwallner while speaking of Aryas) and I agree with the OP that one needs to be aware of them in order to counter them. 1/3 https://twitter.com/Musashi_Nair/status/1361449868238053378?s=20
This being said, I don't think that the faults of the forefathers remain for seven generations on the shoulders of their children:-) Also, we are back to the original problem: Engaging with biased scholars is a GOOD THING and we should foster disagreement 2/3
(instead of only saying "great paper", "great talk" etc. to our friends and "allies"). But… hate mails? Do they help or hinder your points? 3/3
Just to be sure: I never said that one should not reply to wrong arguments. There would not be scholarship without disagreement! The question is whether it would not be good to build a culture of disagreement that does not need hate mails. 1/2
The OP here seems to think as in my point 1 above (you disrespected me and I will disrespect you). 2/2 https://twitter.com/Bhaktirassagar/status/1361369501762154496?s=20
Another person highlights the PTS of many people in India, after the destruction of temples (not by scholars, let me hasten to add!). This may make some reactions understandable. Does it justify them? Are they useful? https://twitter.com/Hooey_Parrot/status/1361469125088792579?s=20
I am not sure, and I am inclined to think that deepening the divide among scholarly worlds will not help. For instance: I receive plenty of emails from younger colleagues asking for help. Most of them are from Indian colleagues or students 1/3
and I guess that the same applies to many of my colleagues in EU and NA. Who would be more damaged by a crevasse? Would not it be exactly younger colleagues and students? And: Should not we as human beings try to go beyond past wounds? 2/3
I see that some people have already replied no and quoted Malcolm X, but others might want to think about it once again. 3/3
So, one possibility is to go with Malcolm X. @Hooey_Parrot upholds sth like: "We" can start talking again to "you" once "you" (plural) apologise. This is understandable, but how much apology will be considered enough? Germany did a great job https://twitter.com/Hooey_Parrot/status/1361476427128795136?s=20 1/4
in recognising its role in the holocaust. No other country I know of comes far to this high standard. The Pope apologised to Jews for prosecutions. However, scholars of Sanskrit are not a nation, they don't have a head, thus while single scholars have recognised the damage of 2/4
colonialism, it's hard to imagine that there will ever be a complete and satisfactory apology. It's also hard for today scholars from, say, Romania, to apologise for the British colonization or Monier Williams' intention in writing his dictionary. Thus, insisting on the 3/4
"apology first" principle risks to go in the same direction as Malcolm X's quote. Legit, just sad (from my humble perspective), because it deprives one from agency and leaves one hopeless in front of the crevasse. 4/4
Isn't this (below) so SAD? End of discussions, end of engagement, just talking to your own people? Where would Kumārila be without Dignāga? https://twitter.com/Hooey_Parrot/status/1361492952057487361?s=20
This is an interesting thread, raising some valuable points: https://twitter.com/pinakasena/status/1361494604315566081?s=20
I especially like their point 3 and it happened to me several times that someone here explained to me a detail of a ŚrīVaiṣṇava ritual I had read about in a Maṇipravāḷam text and could not understand. But can we say that also the opposite is the case? Being born a 1/
Vaiṣṇava, for instance, does not mean understanding the niceties of the śeṣa/śeṣin debate, calling oneself a Hindu does not mean that one is an expert of Pāṇinian Grammar or Navya Nyāya. In these topics, the role of a logician or a linguist (Indian or not) should be key! 2/2
But one may disagree: https://twitter.com/SanghiTitor/status/1361508693683040257?s=20
Another reply goes back to the beginning. I tend to think that academicians are often lonely people and that there is no global plot among them. Nor do I believe in "the West" as a monolith. https://twitter.com/kw841/status/1361511674096812036?s=20
A further point: adhikāra. I agree that acc. to śāstra I should not be allowed to read some texts and accept that some teachers might prefer not to teach a strī (I would prefer them to focus on good will, but most śāstras group strīs w śūdras, period).1/2 https://twitter.com/pathaspati/status/1361507982618492931?s=20
However, calling oneself a Hindu is also not enough to have an adhikāra. Are the people who send hate mails endowed with sādhanacatuṣṭaya? Where is there vairāgya? Thus, perhaps focus adhikāra on religious and Vedic texts only? 2/2
In sum (since it's time to go to bed!): I see many of your points about adhikāra etc., but I think that some of you overestimate the power of single academics in EU and NA. There is no spectra, and many are literally vidyārthins. I also think that you overestimate the role of 1/2
insider-knowledge in the understanding of complex logical, epistemological or linguistic texts (I am sure things are different when rituals are discussed). Thanks to the many open-minded contributors. I hope that we can take leave having changed a little bit each other's mind 2/2
Another day, new tweets. Personally, I don't think that people who are not in the academic world don't read texts. I interact fruitfully with many people who are not in the academic world. I am less ready to interact with people who don't read Skt 1/2 https://twitter.com/hamsanandi/status/1361651273972543488?s=20
just because I don't think that there can be fruitful exchanges about philosophical issues in that case. And yes, if one were to think that being in NA or EU means that one is better, that would be terribly wrong, no need to argue about it. 2/2
This is a crucial point of disagreement: https://twitter.com/jatadhari22/status/1361638191204167682?s=20
I, personally, believe in expertise. If you are a "traditional Hindu scholar" and are trained in music, I will accept your opinion about music, not about logic (and vice versa). And, I will value the opinion of a Japanese scholar who spent decades reading Navya Nyāya 1/2
(experts know whom I mean) more. Why so? Because I believe in the criteria for āptatva as discussed in th Nyāyabhāṣya ad 1.1.7 (āptopadeśaḥ śabdaḥ). 2/2
Should scholars of Sanskrit philosophy have as their *first* objective fostering living Sanskrit? I like reading contemporary Sanskrit, but disagree. My main duty is to engage with texts, try to understand them as good as I can and teach them to others. 1/ https://twitter.com/bygonedesires/status/1361679814306852867?s=20
I am happy that there are people like Sadananda Das who teach and encourage the use of Sanskrit as a living language, but I don't think that everyone should converge in this single goal. Others are welcome to, I think that splitting hairs about bādha is also needed. 2/2
Are the best Sanskrit scholars always going to be Hindus? Perhaps. Are there enough texts which are still unedited, untranslated, unstudied, so that we need additional scholars to work on them? I, for one, would suggest a truce until they are all edited. https://twitter.com/jatadhari22/status/1361683921365176320?s=20
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