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Ayodhya, a remarkable change of heart

Monday, November 18th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — religious India is divided over the question of the Babri Basjid / Ram Janmabhoomi — was the mosque built over a Ram temple in Lord Rama’s birthplace? and who deserves the land where the masjid was destroyed? The Supreme Court has ruled — but here’s a story that sets the Ayodhya question in a different light ]
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The headline in India Today reads:

Kar sevak from Haryana who was part of Babri Masjid demolition, now preaches Islam, builds masjids

That’s from February 2018, but I only caught wind of it via a Brownpundits post by Dr Hamid Hussain yesterday.

Balbir Singh; a Rajput of Panipat was active member of right wing Hindu organizations Shiv Sena and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He had vowed to demolish Babri mosque and built the Ram temple at its site. In early December 1992, Balbir was part of the large crowd that had gathered at Babri mosque to demolish it. He was one of the first who climbed on the central dome of the mosque and removed brick after brick with pick axe.

He was given a heroes’ welcome when he came back to his town. He had brought back a brick from the destroyed mosque to be kept at local Shiv Sena office as victory trophy. However, his father Daulat Ram; a school teacher denounced his actions. It was time for reflection for Balbir and he was crushed with the guilt.

He found a novel way to atone for his actions. He converted to Islam (he was renamed Muhammad Ameer) and vowed to restore one hundred decrepit and abandoned mosques. So far, he has cleaned and rebuilt over ninety abandoned mosques in north India.

The message of this simple man is as powerful as that of a sage. Even if he had not converted to Islam, remained Hindu and repented in any other way to atone for his destructive act, he would have been a wonderful human being. He became exceptional by his conduct regardless of how rival communities view him.

That’s quite some story.

The Indian Supreme Court has ruled on the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi / Babri Masjid affair, giving a Hindu committee the disputed 2.7 acres on which the Babri Masjid was demolished, holding that an earlier Ram temple had been torn down and its columns repurposed to build the Masjid — and awarding 5 acres elsewhere for the building of another Masjid.

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I like Dr Hussain‘s idea:

This is the story of Ram Mandar/Babri Masjid. If it was up to me, I would convert this property into a peace garden where everybody is welcome to reflect and pray in whatever way he wished to whatever God he wished.

This mother and child might be on their way to such a garden:

And look who they’ll meet when they arrive:

The wandering poet-saint Kabir “in discussion with persons of differing faiths”.

I find JustKnecht’s Loom of Form and Meaning truly brilliant

Friday, September 20th, 2019

[ reposted from BrownPundits — by Charles Cameron — few things in life are as delightful as finding kinships of mind and heart ]
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Brilliant, IMO — and hopefully of use to Ali Minai, Mike Sellers and others in the field of artificial intelligence — here the Loom is, as JustKnecht presents it on Medium:

9 categories can be used to classify how forms, meanings and the connections between them change, develop and evolve in relation to each other. Put anything at the top left of this table, then:

  • re-express the idea of it in a different form (horizontal movement towards the right of the loom, e.g. from Mercury the Roman god to Greek Hermes and Egyptian Thoth), or else
  • reinterpret that particular form with a different idea (vertical movement towards the bottom of the loom, e.g. from Mercury as god to the metal or planet of exactly the same name), or
  • vary both the form and the meaning (with ideas and forms both contrasting towards the bottom right of the loom, e.g. follow Mercury into the domain of trees, according to standard tables of correspondence in European culture, to the fast-growing hazel — hazel groves often being associated with gateways to the underworld, and Mercury himself being a guide to the underworld).
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    Further readings:

  • JustKnecht, The Loom of Form and Meaning
  • JustKnecht, The Loom of Verbal Reasoning
  • JustKnecht, Rattlesnake Games – Introduction and Example
  • JustKnecht, Connecting forms to contexts in Rattlesnake Games
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    JustKnecht‘s Loom would be a powerful tool by which to analyze many uses of my DoubleQuotes format.

    My own HipBone Games, like JustKnecht‘s Rattlesnake Games, are inspired by Hermann Hesse‘s Glass Bead Game as described in his novel of that name — and there’s enough kinship between them that Derek Robinson‘s comments on my own games and Ai may be of use, mutatis mutandis, in setting a context for Rattlesnake Games, too:

  • Derek Robinson, HipBone Games, AI and the rest
  • Pebbles dropped in the Zenpundit pond

    Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — a bumpy ride from the void, geographically and legally envisioned, via strategy to complexity and fiction, winding up in Rushdie territory with his Quichotte ]
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    Just a few odds and ends that spark, I suppose, evens and beginnings.

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    The Mandarin, The rocky road to reconciliation in Australia

    the British declare Australia terra nullius, a place belonging to no one. The land is most definitely not a ‘null’, but the doctrine of terra nullius is a convenient legal cover for theft on a colossal scale.

    Terra nullius — is that the legal equivalent of a cartographer’s here there be dragons?

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    Also a nullius matter?

    Moot for real or mootness as gamesmanship?” the legendary Supreme Court correspondent Linda Greenhouse asked in The New York Times.

    That’s from Garrett Epps, ‘The Supreme Court Is Not Well. And the People Know It.’ in the Atlantic.

    A moot law is a null law, surely. But though both are fascinating, neither one addresses the viod plenum which so interests me. Still..

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    Continuing my meander through one level of abstraction above regular reality..

    WOTR, THE GREAT DUALITY AND THE FUTURE OF THE ARMY: DOES TECHNOLOGY FAVOR THE OFFENSIVE OR DEFENSIVE?

    In war, firepower favors the defensive and maneuver favors the offensive.

    Hm. Assuming this is common knowledge, having two doctrines is one thing — but how many generals have two mindsets, and can switch between them as appropriate. I’m hoping Zen and or other strategy buffs will weigh in here. This is abstract enough to catch my eye, but war is gritty enough that even strategic thinking comes with trench mud and blood attached.

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    A Brexit madman or master bluffer? What’s behind Boris Johnson’s suspension of UK Parliament

    Game theory – the study of strategy and decision making – offers some clues. In the language of game theory, Johnson faces a serious “credibility” problem. He needs to convince the various players in the Brexit game – including the EU as a whole, Ireland, MPs in the House of Commons, the public and businesses – that he will indeed have the UK leave the EU, if need be, without a deal in place, on the October deadline.

    Currently, many of these players do not truly believe that he would – perhaps informed by the inaction of the government of Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, or the high stakes involved of leaving without a deal.

    Hm, a governmental void as strategy.

    That excerpt offers a neat illustration of why human decision-making is so complex and, by extension, fallible

    It also illustrates the utility of a HipBone-variant game board for carrying the voices of multiple stakeholders in mind at once — a polyphony (multiple voices) in counterpoint (point counter point) —

    Time, clipping the wings of possibility, increases tension at a decision fork where, as another Channel News Asia article also notes, Britain is in its “deepest crisis in living memory”.

    Okay:

    Complexity? the national and international interests, personal interests, thoughts, and feelings of all participants, as above. How good is Boris Johnson at evaluating all those influences?

    After a long period of digestion, I’m willing to believe a novelist or TV showrunner might be able to capture the web of influences involved. But that’s after the fact, after the fork — after fatal decisions have been made. And we call them fatal both because they produce fatalities, and because the Fates, and because the Fates, the Moirae spin them.

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    For instance:

    To face a people and catch its cha