Sunday, June 27, 2010

Buridan's Asses!

 Jean Buridan was a French priest who is most famous for his thought experiment named " Buridan"s ass". that goes something like this:

There was  a hungry donkey standing equidistant from two identical piles of hay. The donkey tried to decide which pile he should eat first and finding no reason to choose one over another, starved to death. This paradox didn't originate with Buridan -- it's  found back in Aristotle's time. A hungry and thirsty man cannot decide whether to drink first or eat first  and dies of both hunger and thirst. It is believed that  Buridan, in his commentaries on Aristotle, chose a dog, but his critics, in their parody of Buridan, turned it into an ass.

This paradox illustrates  a situation that demonstrates the impracticality of decision-making using pure reason, especially a situation involving two equal choices. It does not mean that reason has no role to play in decision making, just that reason alone is not enough ; you need feelings and emotions too. For that matter emotion alone is not enough either . In fact it can  sometimes be  fatal as we see in Kashmir where one death follows another. Since everyone is taking decisions based on pure emotions .And  negative ones at that.

 In the first place people of Kashmir valley have to decide which pile they'll eat from. They can not  choose a democratic government  first and than proceed to take every measure  to  undermine it by supporting one violent separatist demonstration after other.I am not sure whose benefit it  serves , certainly it is not the people's benefit. This is exactly what  ass's paradox is about. 

Government  on the other hand is another classic case of buridan's ass. They do not know if they want to use velvet gloves or the iron fist. Both look attractive . In their confusion they actually do nothing until a violent horde starts attacking public property . And than they start firing live bullets. Time and again we hear of the rubber bullets being used by the  security forces. Question is why are civilian fatalities so high then ? In a country where everything is spurious these rubber bullets are proving very potent indeed!!! More effective than the real  ones. Or is it someone else who is firing live ones on the crowd to keep people  confused, angry and agitated.

I guess it is time for the government to let people smell one of the pile. The pile of independence or self management . Let them see what "independence" is like . Stop funding infrastructure projects; stop rebuilding  destroyed public property. Move all troops to muzzafrabad LOC on one side and across Jawahar tunnel on the other . Let Kashmir police handle things in the valley. Suspend all financial subsidy. Let them spend what tax they collect and If they want to send their fruit  to Pakistan, let them. Let them eat what they grow and let them pay for what they import. Let Kashmir division manage  its economy ,and politics for next five years on its own.  It is the only way to save the ass. It must know which pile stinks.

Can it happen ? Unfortunately government is clueless, gutless and without any ideas. A bigger buridan's ass that will do nothing !

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