#TREM (The (Re)Enchantment Machine, January 03, 2015):

SynTalk thinks about the disenchantment of the world, & wonders if it is possible for there to be multiple metaphysics for the connection between human beings and nature. Is there always something in excess of what we know & experience? We discuss disenchantment and re-enchantment via contexts of boredom, capitalism, death, art, lullabies, adivasis, rag-picking, ‘​tuning of a tanpura​‘​, pilgrimages, sparrows, ‘a tree growing’​, & more​. The concepts are derived off / from Kant, Marx, Weber, Adorno, Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, Dagar Brothers, & Bhimsen Joshi, among others. Is disenchantment necessarily morally pessimistic? ​How has the desire to create one’s own reality and the ‘cult of certainty’ impacted the possibility of multiple realities & (sometimes) ‘non-epistemic’ routes? Is the disenchanted route almost always a ‘personal’ choice or is it an unequal battle? Is boredom a result of thinking about life in ‘just’ one way? Is one man’s enchantment another man’s bicycle? How disenchantment is an outcome (potentially) of the ascendancy of theory over observation? Is the process of re-enchantment also often compatible with the logic of capitalism, and how it is possible to live a partly liminal life? Can art still say something that truly surprises us? Is it even possible to interrogate the dominant logic of describing the world? Can an enchanted world be substituted, bought, or bracketed by something else? Is the digital world a source of enchantment? Why are we afraid of getting bored? How a ‘2-person system’ is the basic instrument for re-enchantment. Is it possible to imagine a world where every logic is not subservient to the logic of the economy? Is it possible to think of a life which is neither controlled by the State nor entirely vanquished by death? Do we have to take our death less seriously? The SynTalkrs are: Prof. Bishnu Mohapatra (social theory, poetry, Azim Premji University, Bangalore), & Prof. Milind Sohoni (computer science, technology & development, IITB, Mumbai).

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TREM show.

Prof. Bishnu N. Mohapatra (social theory, poetry, politics, interdisciplinary) is a social theorist and poet, an educator and a commentator on politics, policy and culture. Currently, he is a Professor, School of Development, at Azim Premji University, Bangalore. He previously taught at University of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, Delhi), and held visiting faculty positions in University of Kyoto and National University of Singapore. Prof. Mohapatra also looked after the governance portfolio of Ford Foundation’s South Asia office in Delhi from 2002-2010. He has researched and published in the areas of identity politics, democracy and social capital, minority rights, dissenting political imagination and practice. He is currently researching on ‘cities’ by looking into their complicated history and their contemporary imaginings. Prof. Mohapatra is a well-known Indian poet who writes in Odia, & has published three volumes of poetry and two volumes of Pablo Neruda’s poetry (Odia translation). His forthcoming books are: Minority Question in India (2015) and Buddha and Mango (2015, a volume of his poetry in the English translation). He was educated in Odisha, Delhi and Oxford. [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TCOE (The Conundrums Of Embodiment)]

Prof. Milind Sohoni (computer science, mathematics, technology and development) was born in Kapad Bazar, an enchanting and old market area of Nasik, itself an ancient city by the banks of Godavari. He has studied in various cities in the east, north and west in India. He obtained his B.Tech from IIT Bombay, masters from University of Illinois, and Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay. His first job was, by choice in south India (Chennai), as a mathematician. After working as an applied mathematician and computer scientist for a decade, he turned to his older love of back-packing through Indian villages. For the past decade, while back-packing, he has wondered about the problem of drinking water and its connection with science, economics, politics and culture. Prof. Sohoni has been actively involved (recently as its head) with CTARA (Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas) at IIT Bombay. He has taught at IIT Bombay for the last 20 years, & has worked in areas such as combinatorial optimization, geometry, game theory, & formal aspects of distributed systems. He is also the co-author of Sohoni-Mulmuley geometric complexity approach to the P versus NP problem. He has also traveled and lived in several parts of the world but prefers the monsoons of the Western Ghats and the snow-fed springs of the Himalayas. Last year, he was judged as ‘tolerable’ by his wife and two sons and this has made him smug and satisfied.

ŸNote: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

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