In Search of Wisdom: Logical Pitfalls of a System of Logic

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Although I scan the gist of happenings of Nepal through the headlines in the Internet, occasionally I venture into the content of the news. As I peeked through Budhabar weekly of Chaitra 07, 2063BS, I came across an interview with Nepal’s famous politician, Mohan Bikram Singh. I knew about him since my Tri-Chandra College days when I loved reasoning on anything and everything. I was more inclined to accept a false answer backed up by a logic than a true answer given without explanations. And around that time, I met some intelligent people who were inspired by Mohan Bikram and carried a culture of answering all questions with logic. And in any logic, you prove or disprove your theorem or theory based on the basis of explicit assumptions. In this regard, philosophy is not far from mathematics, which was a subject of my great interest. I loved this culture where a logical reasoning was required for believing or not believing anything. It took me years to figure the shortcomings of his school of thoughts.

In this interview, the interviewer has posed more than two dozen questions to Mohan Bikram with an intention of making him flounder a bit, but no where Mohan Bikram falls into that trap. He seems to answer all the questions with logic and reasoning. Logically speaking, his answers are brilliant and he deserves appropriate credit for his intellect.

And, perhaps that was the reason why Mohan Bikram attracted and mentored a large number of politicians throughout his life and those people today have become successful professionals and politicians on their own right but are only more successful than Mohan Bikram himself. He calls them revisionists and worthless, but an inevitability of his teachings is that his disciples quit his clan one day or another. And, the primary reasons are his rigidity and questionable assumptions upon which he bases his theories on.

The interviewer made Mohan Bikram compare his political line with the Maoist movement of Nepal. The essence of his answers was that an armed struggle is necessary but conditions are not right in Nepal for it; Maoists had to stop the armed struggle because they did not listen to his assertions in the first place; Maoist movement and leadership is successful because it is careerist and opportunist; that since 1957 he has stood for Constituent Assembly, which the Maoists first opposed and then flip-flopped to support it: he is victorious and the Maoists are losers; there is nothing in the Maoists worth learning by him.

A common sense, however, tells that there must be a substance worthy of research on how the Maoists were able to mobilize those Nepalese, who were thought to be poor, lethargic, and backward, to rise up with such ferocity and persistence. Whatever may lie in the future of the Maoists, we have to admit that Nepal has substantially changed by Maoist movement. Among many mistakes they have made, they have also brought some measurable positive changes in Nepal. In this light, Mohan Bokram’s assertions need some logical scrutiny.

In order to understand the logical foundation of Mohan Bikram’s answers, the fundamental assumptions upon which Mohan Bikram builds his theories must be understood. I like to point out four of those assumptions. One, he must be right because those opposed to him are wrong. Two, his ideas cannot be implemented now because the conditions are not right – as opposed to his ideas being unfit for the conditions. Three, others meet failures because they inherently take incorrect political line and he meets failures because others are not mature enough to follow his path. Four, anyone good enough to be learnt form could not be his opponent. His answers are very logical when analyzed on the basis of these assumptions.

A theory in essence is a collection of theorems that have been proven to be correct. And the theoreticians or philosophers go to a great length to prove them based on some explicit assumptions. But things go wrong when the fundamental assumptions made to prove those theorems are not sound or incomplete. And, therefore, even theories developed by great philosophers and scientist could be flawed. Only through a mental and logical process of questioning those assumptions, or in other word wisdom, we can find the underlying problem. And, only those people who carry such wisdom are called wise. But, I cannot find any political thinker from the left to center to right in Nepal who falls in this category. And, Mohan Bikram is the greatest embodiment of this syndrome.

Therefore, in acknowledgment of Mohan Bikram for the contributions he has made in Nepalese politics, I would like to propose a term “Mohan Bikram Syndrome” to refer to a state of mind that is full of theory or dogma but short of wisdom. And, this syndrome is so prevalent among the leaders, thinkers and visionaries that it is going to be with us for a long time to come. This syndrome is not only causing havoc like a plague in Nepal but also around the world. And, by the way, even “great leaders” like George Bush and “our own Nepali politician” James Moriarty also suffer from the same Mohan Bikram Syndrome.

A philosopher once had said that the wisdom can be read about in numerous publications, but it can be found only within oneself. And, I only hope that Nepal’s leaders find a way to come out of this dreadful syndrome and start finding that wisdom, otherwise Nepal’s future is nothing but a disaster!

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