The Philosophy of Pretension (A pretentious piece)

If you are reading this, you are wasting your time going by the pretentious title which sounds interesting to you, it really isn’t!

Despite my warning, if you are still reading this, then let me post some good quotes to make this article even more pretentious –

William Shakespeare – All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts.
Game of Thrones –
Jamie Lannister: I don’t care what people think about me.
Tywin Lannister: That’s exactly what you want people to think about you.
Sherlock (Hounds of Baskerville) –
John Watson: Now you are just showing off
Sherlock Holmes: Of course, I am showing off. That’s what we all do.

So, if you are still reading this, the title and the quotes would have made it clear that this article just intends to slightly uplift the much-maligned pretension and slightly censure the much-celebrated honesty.
Everyone’s saying that they value honesty and appreciate honest people but do they really do that or are those honest people really honest? We as social beings are always consciously or sub-consciously showcasing our personalities in front of society so isn’t that a contradiction to being brutally honest? Isn’t ‘not showing-off’ a way of showing-off that you don’t show-off? Firstly, since we generally learn about other people’s intentions and pretensions from self-awareness, then it just shows that when we call out someone’s pretension which the world isn’t directly seeing, we know that because we have probably been pretentious in a similar way, so even my honesty showcases my pretension. Moreover, if honesty is celebrated way too much, any conscious individual can just pretend to give just the right amount of honest statements and present himself physically and socially in a manner which would be coherent with the same, even though he would have made a number of alterations to his natural self to present himself in that form. Now, since I as a self-aware individual am pointing out the same, so that makes me next level honest, a level above the people perceived as honest individuals. But since, I know that pointing this out would make me next-level honest so do I become secondary level honest or secondary level pretentious about being honest? I am aware of this secondary level as well, thereby reaching a tertiary level of pretension of honesty and since I can keep on doing the same thing, taking it to a higher level each time, I am just stuck in an infinite loop of pretension.
I could have just named this pretentious article ‘The Infinite Loop of Pretension’ showcasing subtly that I am a coder or I could have named it something like ‘The Enigma of Pretension’ like some verbose pretentious writer. The current title just suggests that I dig philosophy and presenting it in the same way with some pretentiously added sarcasm for the sake of humour! Also, I have Grammarly checking my grammatical errors while writing this piece and I will still proofread this to ensure that everything is fine so that I am not ostracized by the elites for incorrect grammar.
The article is just criticizing itself and the author or is it? I told you it’s a waste of time but you were rebellious enough to still read it till here.  So let me break this chain.

When do we break this loop of pretension? As far as my understanding goes, it only happens under extreme emotion when you actually stop caring. It can be ecstasy where you are not bothered about anything because you have invested your happiness in a single object. The object can be another person, an activity, an obsession, anything. But even then, you wouldn’t stop pretending as far as that object is concerned, especially if it’s another person. You will be showcasing your perception of your best personality in front of that person and thus be in your most pretentious form. Oh, I just defined love.
You only truly stop caring about everything under a state of depression and that is when you can actually reach a state of brutal honesty because at least in that moment you aren’t concerned about showcasing your personality. You feel like you have lost everything and that is the beauty of depression. It is addictive, it keeps you there, you know exactly what you have to do to get out of it but you wouldn’t do it. You would only wish to somehow go back in time and correct everything which you feel was a mistake and go as far back as it takes to avoid reaching that state in the first place. Thus, depression becomes your reality and everything else which ideally primarily concerns an individual like its perception in the society takes a backseat.

So, basically we don’t really value honesty because true honesty is a state of a depressed mind, we only value people saying slightly more honest things than us, thus making us slightly more honest in the process, that too only if we can connect with that kind of ideal about which that person is being honest. This is in collusion with Plato’s forms or Hegel’s helical development of everything which especially includes our personalities and ideas. (See, I told you I am pretentious and I totally dig philosophy, just look at the pretentious name – Dialectical Diaries) Also, I have showcased that I watch Game of Thrones and Sherlock but I haven’t read too much Shakespeare, so don’t make that perception about me and I have also showcased that I am quite self-aware.
So, once again why did you waste your time reading my pretentious piece whereas you could use this time to think about optimizing the pretension which will give you the best social result? Also, wasn’t that bit about depression heavy and extremely relatable? Because, in this capitalist, monogamist (a side effect of the former, also known as civilization) world, which makes you reduce your social relations and invest heavily in one person so that you can have a balance of a family as well as some private property, most of us have faced/face/will face depression at some level.
Adios! Let me share this on social media and be a bit more pretentious.

PS – Sorry CIA, I publically criticized capitalism, couldn’t resist! 😛



Microcosm – Communism is love

The world, in general, is divided on many fronts but the one which takes the cake is economics. There is a huge ideological clash between capitalists and communists or socialists and there is a free exchange of arguments, logic, facts, abuses, memes, sarcasm, insults, ego and war. Communists have been guilty of over criticizing every aspect of capitalism and shifting the burden of every problem on capitalism. You can’t really argue against that because we live in a capitalist world and thus every problem somehow finds its roots in someone trying to make money or the class system which exists. On the other hand, capitalists themselves keep preaching that let alone capitalism, even socialism, which is a step towards communism can’t work because of human nature, whereas the wealthy ones try their level best and successfully bring down any socialist movement anywhere in the world. There is a class system based on the ego of IQ points and both sides literally claim that you need a higher IQ to be on either side. I am happy with lesser IQ points than getting into an elitist ego clash of IQ points. I have just seen people asking whether anyone has lived in a communist system or is even such a system possible? I would say we all do.
In this capitalist world, we all live in a communist system at a microscopic level. The answer is love, the answer is family, sharing a common feeling of love and ownership of the all the people in a family. Family members don’t compete against each other, they compete together against other families in this capitalist world. A couple wouldn’t split their bills equally even though they have unequal earnings. That happens when you live with flatmates. A couple’s entire production would be their combined earnings. Also, they won’t keep a track of who is consuming more resources. Yes, there are power relations defined within the family as well. Patriarchy has defined gender roles, but a father as a breadwinner responsible for the entire production would not feel bad that the child or housewife dependent on him is just consuming the resources without assisting the production. A mother would happily sacrifice her needs if the kid needs more. Family members won’t be making rational choices and playing dominant strategies which would ultimately lead to zero production as in a multiplayer communist simulation of completely rational individuals. This is literally, from each according to their ability to each according to their needs! Because the binding love is irrational. And in the field of Behavioral Economics, as Dan Ariely concludes in his book ‘The Upside of Irrationality‘ that money still isn’t the biggest motivation for people to work. It is either a feeling of altruism or a feeling of ownership, a social responsibility. This is because a human being or any other living organism has this embedded irrationality of love in them. It truly is human nature! But this feeling of care never surpassed families or close friends because we were supposed to compete for the limited resources on earth, so we drew our lines of love to whosever was in our immediate surroundings of contact and that line never expanded even with all the technology for communication and connecting the world. Also, because, the technology has never been inclusive for the entire planet but it didn’t happen even for the people on the right side of the digital divide.
Even a lot of startups and organizations are trying to work towards inculcating a familial bond in their teams for the best output. If you have really got to spread communism or socialism or proletariat consciousness, you need to gradually spread a general feeling of ownership towards the human race, towards the world and its resources first. You have got to spread the love. An enforcement with support for the wrong reasons, without any feeling of responsibility, would break down, just spread the love, not cold war!

PS – Obviously, easier said than done, the above said might take generations, maybe even apocalypse!

On Murthal

The Woman Inc.

by Meha Khanduri

This article nearly never got written because as I start to write on the issue I start seeing red. When India was raptly watching students of a prestigious university go through a long drama of whether slogan shouting students had committed sedition or not…rampaging mobs were burning, looting, and ransacking the cities of Haryana, right next door to the capital Delhi. Nobody was really outraged, no resignations were called for, no charges of sedition were made and after nearly two days of looting and burning worth 34000 crores, the government cordially accepted the demands of the rampaging mobs and the burning and looting came to an end.  An amicable solution all around..except for criminality and couple of thousand crores of national property but …..this is India!

Four days later some ghost stories started floating around. The whispers said that not only Haryana’s cities had been burnt and…

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Letter of solidarity from members of the faculty of IIT Bombay

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

[This statement is issued in our individual capacities, and does not represent the institution’s opinion]

We, the undersigned, members of the faculty at IIT Bombay, are deeply concerned with the recent events that have undermined the autonomy of institutions of higher education in this country. We believe that these institutions are spaces of critical thinking and expression. Matters of contention that might arise in the conduct of intellectual and social engagements need to be addressed democratically and rationally. These methods in turn should be within the purview of institutional procedures that are responsible and accountable.

The state cannot dictate on the many meanings of what it is to be ‘Indian’ or mandate the meaning of ‘nationalism’. Rather, the state should be the one that makes sure that multiple ways of imagining one’s relationship with the nation are allowed to flourish especially when it might contradict dominant ways of thinking. In…

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Condemning Caste Discrimination in Higher Education Centres that led to Rohith’s Untimely Death – Students of Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

Guest Post by Students of Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University


( A protest meeting on Rohith Vemula was organised in Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University on 28 th January. Find pasted below a brief report of the meeting followed by the statement which was read and passed in the meeting.)

We, the students of Delhi School of Economics organised a protest meeting in solidarity with the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, University of Hyderabad. It was joined in by students from other departments of the university as well.

The discussion revolved around the presence of caste based discrimination within university campuses and the deadly silence on the matter. It was recognised that Rohith’s investment in progressive politics was crucial in him and others in Ambedkar Students Association being victimised. And the present gathering affirmed its investment in that politics and striving for the kind of change Rohith also aspired…

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Because Indians love to overreact! New victim – Coldplay

It’s not racist when you show a brown person as a brown person, it’s racist, when the brown person wants to be portrayed as a white person.


Let me explain how fake patriots and how big hypocrites people are in this country. They hate everything which they think doesn’t paint the typical Western image of the country, but unfortunately for them, it’s not west and it’s not exotic. Why would a foreign band or a movie director come to India and show Starbucks if that’s what they have in abundance on their streets? If their everyday life is a luxury in India then wouldn’t showing that be more insulting?
I mean, do the people who are reacting turn a blind eye to every beggar they see on street just because it paints a poor image? Isn’t that the reality? Most of the people who are reacting haven’t moved an inch to make this place any better. Most of us contribute towards the hazardous pollution we face and if someone foreign to us talks about it, we cry foul. If a documentary has been made on a heinous rape which resulted in an uprising movement and by some western media and people appreciate the movement as inspiring you cry foul because the rapist’s sexist mentality is revealed even though a lot of people in the country share the same sexist ideology. Isn’t it true? How does proving someone else a hypocrite cover your flaws? And how does BBC, a media house, define the whole Western Europe and US making a collective effort in conspiring against India’s growth out of insecurity?
On the other hand, we make movies where every foreigner is shown as a fool and those scenes are accompanied with whistles and celebrated heavily in forms of jokes and Whatsapp forwards. Similarly, when in the movie 2012, they say that an Indian scientist built it or in Rang De Basanti a British movie director takes inspiration from some Delhi guys we celebrate it with pride. There’s so much wrong with our nationalism. You would take pride in fictional characters, in NRIs of Indian-origins who had nothing to do with India based on achievements but discard every negativity following the suit of individualism and “please don’t stereotype!”
Basically you want your country to be portrayed as UK even though it is way behind and nowhere near in terms of quality of life and you still expect a British band to feel exotic? How is that warranted?
Coming to the important part, Coldplay showed positive feeling, they showed colors and joy in suburbs of Bombay, read it as most of the Bombay. They showed the much celebrated (sarcasm) Indian culture (which is only used to prohibit every fundamental right from being practised). They showed content and satiation and the song had a similar feel. It was a feeling of independence, of joy, of celebration, of colors, of festivity and yet you somehow dragged negativity out of it. India, whose 75% population is rural wants to be portrayed watching movies in multiplexes with popcorns. Let me tell you this, your demand is exotic for most of the Indian population, not the Western Europeans or Americans.

On a lighter note, people are asking why that Sadhu Baba stereotyping footage was used and why Sonam Kapoor’s footage was cut short? Well, in this country, people can’t say a word against Sadhu Babas without landing into trouble and mock Sonam Kapoor everyday. So, stop being a hypocrite. This article puts a lot into perspective –

Incredible India, because I can’t disagree with that!

Since, the last few months there has been an ongoing debate on the growing intolerance in India. Intolerance, as defined by Oxford Dictionary means – Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own. I don’t know what all things have come out of it but I understand that the word has become a joke. People have debated, stats have been thrown, counters slapped back, awards have been returned, comparisons, whichever convenient have been used to prove some point, and people have tried to establish the hypocrisy of people asking questions as the weakest form of defence. Well, as per definition, if there are two sects of people who are fighting over it, then that too is intolerance. There is a difference between agreeing and accepting. If someone says, there is rising intolerance, then your tolerant response can be, “It’s okay if you think so, I just am not in collusion with you, but maybe let’s agree to disagree” and if you want the intolerant responses then just check any social media comments section. There are fringe elements everywhere and I believe in individualism, so I don’t want to comment on the country, a community based on these comments. But the thing is that the debate has continuously, either callously or meticulously been modified from ‘growing intolerance’ to intolerant or tolerant India. Although, there’s a world of difference between these two, but I want to comment on the latter. The former is most probably an attack on the current system and government, whereas the latter is an attack on the Indian society.

Well, people have talked about unity in diversity prevalent in India, cultural variations etc. There are fringe elements who show their intolerance towards that too, there are so many religions, sects castes etc, some people just can’t accept it, let alone agree with it and the govt.’s inaction against them and the statistically rising cases of these are troubling a few or more people but let’s forget about them and talk about majority. We keep on comparing India with Islamic extremist countries to prove a point about tolerance. As far as acceptance of beliefs is concerned, India does not even legally accept LGBT. It’s beyond preposterous, that people can be prosecuted for practicing something they didn’t choose. Isn’t this a clear case of not accepting a belief different from normality? Isn’t that one of the most blatant cases of intolerance? Most of the people in India still can’t marry people of their choice, forget different religion or caste, once again, something which people don’t choose, but is enforced upon them, but even choice in the same caste or religion isn’t a privilege in a lot of cases. Religious laws, be it any religion always oppose women and lower castes and are yet followed as a norm by the society. We, maybe not just as Indians, but a group of humans in majority have always been intolerant towards abnormality or difference. Most of the men, can’t tolerate a woman doing better than them because woman are different from them and men have taken over the world in general by curbing all women rights. You see a commotion on road and you say, ‘there must be a woman driving.’ We have our fake rules of patriotism and respect like Indian flag can’t appear below a person’s waist. ABP News made Mandira Bedi change her saree  as a result of their repeated criticism of Indian flag appearing near her foot and were proud of it. You really want to compare the tolerance level or acceptance level of USA or Europe, then compare these. People in USA, openly deride the churches, the President of the USA, make a TV series deriding the Senate and its elements, stand ups deride Jesus and Evangelists, churches and every other VIP, the people in general and the people mocked tolerate it. India made a movie deriding religion and although the movie earned money, there was enough criticism, theaters were vandalized, and there was a call for the lead actor’s head because he didn’t belong to the religion of the majority in India which was covered mostly in the movie because the movie was based on INDIA. Government decides that a person is good enough to vote and choose who will govern the country, and 3 years later, a person can legally marry but it takes 4 more years to decide if the person wants to drink. And don’t get me started on atheists, I don’t think I will ever see a day when they will be taken seriously, when people, especially their near and dear ones will stop enforcing their faith on them based on the labelled religion by birth. Indian censorship decides, what views or artistic requirements of the artist is good enough for the audience to see, comprehend, accept and appreciate. If there’s always an Indian culture argument to every different, flowing, unconventional thought to prohibit it, then how come Indian culture be accepting of different views. It’s purely ironic. The views of the celebrities, if it matches with your own, idolize them, else put them to a censure where they would be afraid of speaking their minds in public. There is unity in diversity, because a lot of individuals who actually want only their sets of belief to dominate don’t want to get their hands dirty in doing what’s not fair and what they want to. I, being born in India have always appreciated the diversity here, but please don’t tell me that India as a country is the most tolerant and accepting country. Certainly better than a lot of them, but surely worse then a bunch too.

And finally, if speaking against something wrong in a certain country is discouraged for the sake of maintaining a false image of the country, then it’s the highest form of intolerance which the country faces. It’s the most disturbing form of nationalism, the one which leads to wars, both internally and externally. Ravish Kumar covers it brilliantly in his prime time intro –