Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Modern culture has made a cult of time

Empire of Knowledge
Vinay Lal
Vistaar (http://www.indiasage.com/)

Violence of ‘development’

Dissent is condemned to oblivion, cautions Lal, unless it is couched in ‘the rational, civilised, constitutional, and adult-like language recognised by Western parliamentarians and social commentators.’

Chapter 1 reckons with the millennium and notes how modern culture has made a cult of time. “If modernity’s encounter with time is any gauge, we have become creatures largely of sense rather than sensibility,” rues Lal. “The politics of time is yet to open itself to us, but the time when we shall be let in to its secrets is not so far removed,” he hopes.

A chapter titled ‘governance in the twenty-first century’ sees the UN (United Nations) as embodying Neanderthal politics, at the heart of which lies “the exceedingly old view, which no generation has ever been able to relinquish, that might determines right.” The General Assembly has been all but reduced to ‘a ceremonial speech-making body,’ laments Lal.


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