Have you seen how astrology is becoming popular in certain sections of the western world? How Feng Shui is getting popular. How alternative medicine is being embraced. How creationism is now touted as alternative theory to
The West is going through a 'post-modern' phenomenon for quite sometime now where certain perceived 'excesses' brought on by the Age of Enlightenment (and Scientific Revolution) are now rejected. However, this phenomenon is not a mainstream one and is still a very fringe movement.
Indian Hindus love this West’s 'post-modern disapproval of science and rationality. This disapproval is lapped up by many Indian Hindus because it seems to rhyme with their own theories of ‘scientific Hinduism’, which posits logic and mysticism as two sides of the same coin. According to these enthusiasts, Hindus didn’t need to go through Age of Enlightenment because Hindus never needed it in the first place. While Abrahamic religions, seeped in orthodoxy, suppression of debate, and coe
West’s rejection of perceived excessiveness of rationality is misconstrued by Indians as rejection of rationality itself.
Indians do not realize where this rejection comes from. West is NOT rejecting the rationality in its entirety. It is only rejecting certain 'excesses' brought about by that rationality – that was brought on by Age of Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, Modern Science, etc. Also, this rejection is not a mainstream activity- it is very much confined to certain small minority populations.
The key message of Age of Enlightenment is establishing superiority of reason over superstition. Indians have not even embraced that rationality and therefore its rejection does not have anything in common with West’s post-modern rejection of 'excessiveness' of rationality.
Hinduism never got rid of superstition in the first place. Superstition is heavily entrenched along with orthodoxy of Hindu religion. Hinduism is a heavy interplay of orthodoxy, superstition, spirituality, philosophy and dialog with heavy doses of mysticism and myth. While dialog and philosophy can be easily touted as liberal and rational arms of Hinduism, it’s NOT the only arm and also it is an arm mostly downplayed and subdued by ritualistic Hinduism.
The ritualistic Hinduism consists of orthodoxy, mysticism, superstition and to some extent spirituality, while the philosophical Hinduism consists of hypothesis on duality of mind and body, debate, agnosticism, atheism, etc. Ritualistic Hinduism is heavily seeped in blind belief and faith. Whereas, the philosophical Hinduism is based in dialog and reason, but still confined to peripatetic investigation and NOT empiricism, much akin to what Greek philosophers were doing two thousand years ago. The advent of Age of Enlightenment is characterized by empiricism deviating from and almost abandoning peripatetic investigation which held Western World in its sway for more than thousands years during the Middle Ages.
While empiricism stands as the seed for the burgeoning of Modern Science- as organized methodology- Hinduism has never embraced empiricism, either in its philosophical side nor its ritualistic side. Therefore, the Indian version of rejection of rationality has nothing in common with West’s rejection of excesses of rationality.
Taking cue from Krish, I would like to qualify the excesses of rationality as ‘pe