Horse & BMAC & much more

Koenraad Elst koenraad.elst at PANDORA.BE
Mon Mar 20 13:34:58 UTC 2000

Herr Witzel!

Please, please, no need for invective about my "twisting" your words.  I
only wrote that i don't mind if you call me a stupid Belgian, and this
remains an apt reply even when the original was: "I will not call you a
stupid Belgian".  I like that old orator's trick, insinuating a label all
while disowning it: "I won't say that you are..."  Incidentally, Belgian
jokes are not confined to Holland: unbeknownst to the Dutch and their German
guest-professors, the goriest Belgian jokes actually circulate in France.
And it was an English editor who expressed his euroskepticism by describing
the perfect EU citizen as (from memory) "humorous like a German, talkative
like a Swede, generous like a Dutchman, modest like a Frenchman,
well-organized like an Italian, etc., briefly, a Belgian".

Back to Indology: thanks in my turn for an Adenauer quote which you just
> Adenauer was a funny man, with his concept of
> three kinds of truth:
> the common truth, the clear truth, and the *real* truth.
Isn't that an interesting case of "Indo-European trifunctionality"?

I still intend to join your fan club.  I prefer your omnipresence in the
debating arena (this month you must have set a record) to the august absence
of most of your colleagues.  At last here's an academic who takes his
responsibility to society seriously.

Sometimes you (and Dr. Wujastyk) even joust with scientists about the
scientific seriousness and autonomy of indology/philology.  And there you do
have a point.  There is an aspect of the scientific temper and method which
is little developed in the hard sciences, as opposed to the humanities.  I
once wrote a report for the Belgian weekly Trends about the Natural Law
Party, Maharishi's international party which promises world peace by means
of 7000 levitating yogis centralized in each country's capital.  To my
half-surprise, the party cadres in most countries were full of engineers,
theoretical physicists and the like.  They are, by training and temperament,
not inclined to "sterile" *critical* thinking, preferring rather to devote
their energies (oops, that word) to something that "works".  Hence their
complaints that you bookworms studying Vedantic enlightenment through the
fine print of the Upanishads are like apprentice-boxers who approach
historians of boxing rather than boxing champions for teaching: hail
practice, down with theory!  Travelling gurus echo this approach with their
dictum: "an ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory".

Kind regards,
Koenraad Elst

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list