Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Truth, power and peace

"Only power can protect peace", Says China Air Force Commander (refering to imminent unavoidable militarization of space) and "Only power can protect truth", says RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat (in news on TV, can't find link). Without endorsing the philosophical background of both, let me agree with "power can protect peace/truth" and disagree with the word "only".

Power is an easy solution to protect peace and truth, but a very dangerous one. All the history will show that centralization of power has always led to its abuse more than holding up peace/truth. While Bhagwat acknowledges that truth has a way of staying dormant and that it never dies, my contention is why do you need power in the first place.

An easy argument is that in order to preserve your identity, you would prefer that someone powerful doesn't arm-twist you for his personal interest. All the politics at national and international levels in its most genuine form keeps coming back to "I want to be powerful because I don't want other powerfuls to dictate my life."

The difficult part is to understand that the power is not over others, but over self - one, in preserving myself while being arm-twisted, and two, controlling myself and avoiding arm-twisting others. Even if I suffer or even die in the process, the truth does not, it never will. I end up living through the truth that lives beyond me and everyone else.

In the long term, majority people (and I am sure other animals and plants) want peace and truth. The natural path is of peace and truth. By the logic of evolution, life moves to a path of 'fit'ness to the environment around. The environment is the facts - the truth. Keeping it sustained is peace.

Any suppression of truth only builds a temporary imbalance. Unnaturally tackling the imbalance using power only creates another bigger one somewhere else, until it all collapses and ends up abusing the power. It is like entropy and the second law of thermodynamics (more on it sometime later).

Without contradicting oneself at different points of time, the only long term sustainable strategy of life is truth and power over oneself, thereby implying peace and benevolence (not necesssarily altruism).


Ashish Sarode said...

Nice post Kartik. I agree that "Only" is not needed.
I think corollary is also equally true -
"Truth can protect power" and
"Peace can protect power"
^^^ I am if the person in power is truthful and if he keeps peace then it is more probable that he remains in power for long time.

Kartik said...

Agree. Truth/peace can elongate power.

But again, why do you need to be/remain in power (over others) is my basic question. Doesn't it often lead to undue dominance over others' actions?

I do not have the authority to arm-twist someone. Nor should anyone have that authority to arrogate over ny actions.

Sandeep Chauhan said...

"The difficult part is to understand that the power is not over others, but over self"....very true.....but subtle to understand.....I think that truth is a path which no one but you yourself has to find out and stick to......I think power, dominance, fame...are the biggest enemies on the path of truth.

really nice post....

Kartik said...

hmm.... subtle to understand is an understatement i guess :-)

the irony is, that most people don't seem to have willingness/patience/courage to discover the path themselves and nobody else can do it for them.

Sandeep Chauhan said...

thats very very true.....