[section_title title=Totalitarian Autocracy]
‘Philosophers [must] become kings…or those now called kings [must]…genuinely and adequately philosophize.’ (The Republic, 5.473)
Although righteousness in Plato’s didacticism can be argued Karl Popper has indeed mercilessly critiqued Plato to have favored the legitimization of totalitarian autocracy. Nevertheless it’s imaginable how difficult it must have been on the part of philosophers to be resisting the temptation of being kings. After all, they are the most ‘learned’ among all fellow citizens.
A few news items from different parts of the globe recently appeared on my Facebook wall. A physicist who was given a ticket for not having stopped on a red light in San Diego appeared in court equipped with a specialized mathematical demonstration on the relationalality in perception of motion and was eventually released. From the comments following the first post it was clear that people were in appraisal of the ‘wisdom’ of this scientist than they were bewildered by the strangeness of the incident. Needless to say, the amount of obscuranticism involved in the idea of science/the scientist elevates it to a mythical level – as though with exemption from the law that is for the common citizens – with little or no connection to the ‘lifeworld’. A scientist is after all the best kind of academic!
Second, another scientist from Kolkata had been arrested for mobilizing protest against the Nondanga-eviction and has also been released after successful campaigning/petitioning from his peers in academia. I received one such petition that began with his short biography, as if an abridged CV showcasing the accolades he won, quite dazzling actually with degrees earned abroad and more. It’s no longer a matter of any human life rotting in jail; it’s a scientist’s after all! I know a few of my friends, CPIM(L) members and others who are arrested for the same reason. I hardly received any petition; and there are not too many ways I can know if they are/would be released. The inherent assumption in writing the petition the way it was written is to convince that one is indeed petitioning for a life way dearer than others for it has academic-scientific missions to carry out elsewhere when released.
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