Paolo Magnone p.magnone at AGORA.STM.IT
Tue Jun 1 14:35:24 UTC 1999

Dear friends,

Dramatic as the subject line sounds, I think that what should be
resisted in the first place is the temptation to retreat to some
secluded spot where we may entertain our cherished thought
schemes without ever any hint of uncultivated prattle to disturb our
academic slumbers.

Let me remind you in this connection of other more strictly
regulated academic lists where the traffic is virtually non-existent. It
is true that a plethora of "unripe ideas" keep popping up in this list,
that could have been better spared for personal reflection; but I
doubt whether other lists are better off with a scanty trickle of
posts on academic positions, event announcements and the like. It
is also true that those with "ripe ideas" are not always readily
willing to share them freely with others; so let them speak who
care to.

I am afraid the kind of weariness Lars M. Fosse is referring to

> that parents have at the end of the day when the kids have been
> howling, kicking and screaming for the last 5 hours.

is typical of *old* people that do not know how to cope with new
challenges. Let us (Western) indologists not grow old, let us
always be "curious" as befits the Greeks that we forever are -- we
who are here in numbers to quest for ancient Indian wisdom, while I
suspect that not the hundredth part of Easterners is to be found on
lists discussing Plato, Dante or Shakespeare...

I admit, though, that vituperation from often less than informed
people is sometimes hard to stand, and I myself cannot help being
incensed when I read trenchant lines such as "he is wrong and so
are you" from people referring to themselves in the plural
majestatis, or when I find Western scholarship systematically
disparaged, or rather wished away with arbitrary and often
grotesque charges of ignorance or worse. But what can we do
about that (except, perhaps, on an individual basis)? (And consider
that Indians love eristic, as we did ourselves in some past era).

Also, consider that the so called "noise" generated by the list is an
imperfect metaphor: unlike acoustical noise, it cannot really
overwhelm the signal, that is always no more than a few keyboard
presses away...

Paolo Magnone
p.magnone at
Jambudvipa - Indology and Sanskrit Studies

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