Tuesday, 7 January 2020

On Winter’s Reading Binge

To detoxify my mind from the clutter of information, analysis, and chatter, I kept away from cable TV, all print newspapers and magazines, video streaming services, and Internet during the last 20 days (December 19, 2019 to January 7, 2020). While I held on to my mobile device, I didn’t use it to browse social media, news sites, or to send emails. I used this period to read the following books:

1. The Roots of Romanticism, by Isaiah Berlin
2. New Science, by Giambattista Vico
3. The Decline of the West (Volume I), by Oswald Spengler
4. In the Shadow of the Sword, by Tom Holland
5. Classical Indian Metaphysics, by Stephen H. Phillips
6. Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy, Edited by Matthew R. Dasti and Edwin F. Bryant
7. The Collected Essays of Bimal Krishan Matilal (Volume 1), Edited by Jonardon Ganeri

These books (especially the first four) have enabled me to solidify my view of the relation between culture and politics. Culture, and not ideology, is the fountainhead of a good society. The 20th century movements—communism, socialism, liberalism, and libertarianism—have failed because they are too ideological and utopian; what they lack is cultural roots. Every culture has its own possibilities of self-expression; the good political and economic ideas get implemented in nations whose culture is ripe for accepting such innovations. A political community (nation) is culture unadulterated.

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