Indology constraints (contd.)

George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Wed Jul 7 02:27:46 UTC 1999

In response to S. Palaniappan's eloquent plea for a change in list policy,
and George Cronk's eloquent articulation of the "non-professional's view":

The list is explicitly intended to be a vehicle for those who are
*informed* about the delimited subject matter of Indology. If I understand
the list guidelines accurately, all lurkers are welcome but active
participants should be *reasonably* well informed. No one, as far as I can
tell, has ever objected to an occasional 'innocent question' from a novice,
but the list has all too frequently been over-run by clearly uninformed
ideologues who do not have anything interesting to contribute *to scholarship.*

S. Palaniappan is right to observe that scholars need to be open to
insights from any sources whatsoever. But the internet is filled with
self-proclaimed geniuses who plan to revise the way we think about just
about everything.  When I seek insight from such geniuses I go to the
countless 'unrecognized-genius' lists that are all over the internet map.
But when I want insight from scholars, I go to scholarly lists, and when I
want insight from scholars on Indological matters, I go to Indology.

No doubt a certain amount of creativity is desirable, even necessary, in
scholarship.  But unlike art, scholarship requires not only creativity. It
also requires, well, scholarship.

If the list does not hold to the principle that scholarship has something
to contribute to the discussion of Indological matters, then it has failed
to live up to its stated goals.

A direct question to S. Palaniappan: would you bother to attend a
conference on Indological matters which allowed presentations by *any*
interested parties whatsoever, including new age gurus from New Mexico? Or
would you go instead to the conference which offered  a series of
presentations by people who you knew were recognized specialists in the
fields that they were discussing?

As for myself, I come to this list because I want to learn about the
discussions that take place at conferences like the one recently advertised
by Jan Houben on the problem of identifying soma/haoma, etc. Perhaps
someone who attended that conference will be kind enough to give a summary.

Best wishes,

George Thompson

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