The Cloths of heaven


Had I the gumption I would pass for real

Scholar in mortar-board, you may well

Believe yonder yokel is Jackass

Of first rate mind, but given up, yes

His higher calling for hard labour :

But I being born with circumstance

I have no choice but walk the line, sir:

My learning is’nt what I intend practise.




Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light;

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

WB Yeats



In the previous post we discussed about no-man’s land where old rivalries and unfinished business of history are filed away. For anyone who studies history it shall become apparent no war has ever finished with a clean cut. A battle would require some ten thousand little skirmishes which may not catch the headlines. In the ignominious defeat of France in June.1940 lay the devil-seeds of the unsettled business of 1793-94 coming to fruition. The nation that set out to bury the Bourbon dynasty will grovel themselves before imperialist ambitions of Napoleons. Having lost the moral compass what do such genuflections mean? Some glory! some shameless antics!

Napoleon had lost the battle of Waterloo even before it was waged. Napoleon Bonaparte who assumed the title of the emperor of France showed by a series of victories he was worthy to be included among the immortals such as Alexander and Julius Caesar. His brilliant victories created such a condition he could not have sat idle with such a powerful army battle hardened and disciplined under his command. Thus he was caught in the crest of a wave that took him to his Russian campaign. Disaster was the result. What went wrong? Napoleon was weighed in the balance of humanity and was found wanting. Like the king in the book of Daniel.

Morality of man is not without reason compared to a compass. It covers the entire spectrum of man’s conduct through time and place. When Napoleon’s humanity,- and it can only be judged in his interaction with others, there was a serious problem. His ambition did not see people as people but as means to aggrandize himself. (Same mentality can be seen in the manner the French Army threw Captain Dreyfus to ignominy in order to protect its avaunted ‘gloire.’) This moral fault is worse than blindness. Your soul is affected. Physical blindness robs you of vision but leaves the harmony of celestial spheres in tact. It paints in fact colors that the world with its lurid colors can never match. Moral blindness is terrible. It makes you miss your place in the moral compass. You look at it and whatever you see there is anything other than your own humanity. It is almost a hell you have created even before you gave up your ghost, to use the expression in the Bible.

Each of us is like man with one foot in the sticky mess of morass of our own making. On a moral plane our culpability is that of being part of humanity. ‘No man is an island’ as Donne said it famously. This is collateral damages we need accept on a moral plane. In terms of Christian theology we need see it also refers to our fallen state.


As discussed in the previous post each of us is a cause or effect. Law of reciprocity places each as one or other at any particular place and time. If we were to take recent events in Syria the sectarian  divide between Shi’ia and Sunni faction created a dilemma. Assad is a Shi’ite and he has been trying to put down the rebels. Assad is a cause while the ensuing bombardment has its effect in creating some 11 million refugees. Is there a simple relationship between cause and effect? Russia has joined in the fray while the Saudi Arabia and other Sunni factions are whipping up equally an opposition. In each cause and effect relationship consequences as a result of so many other events are in flux which run into an area of ‘no man’s land.’ . (The cold war which the US and USSR waged in post WWII was at first about Germany; how did it spread around Vietnam Afghanistan and Cuba? it shall connect with the Middle East and now in Syria as well. There is no more Soviet empire but Putin’s gambit is to put his own stamp over the International politics.) Thus this no-man’s land is a swamp where all the unfinished business of old and new colonial rivalries shall run into. This is one area where man’s individual certainties tend to blur.

Even if Assad’s regime can survive the conflict for how long?  This long drawn out conflict has drained the population as well as weakened the administrative machinery. Cause and Effect in short is not as simple as Indian arm-wrestling. I started with the crash of MH-17 and that of the Sinai air-crash. Is falling of the Russian aircraft as  a result of the other no one can say. Natural law of nature has a tendency to bring what is up down since gravity is part of the equation. On a moral plane we need see such disasters as the means to contain man’s freedom to get away without being responsible to others. Man breaks moral laws in his individual choices but always such actions come at a price.

Let us consider a possible scenario: Suppose a multinational company in collusion with South American power-brokers set up a company to log timber. The company can destroy the rainforest and beggar the future of so many indigenous tribes with impunity. The company generate so much profit for the company and line the deep pockets of a few corrupt politicians. Where does moral imperative step in? If a flash flood should overrun later on what would that mean? Does it not mean a kind of retribution?


Law of Reciprocity

Reciprocity in social psychology refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions. When you smile at a stranger at a neutral ground say on the street you find him smiling back which is a reciprocal action. It is how man is made aware of his own place and of himself in relation to other. You prove yourself friendly and you are rewarded instantly by the selfsame token of friendliness. There is a cause a slot which you fill, only to be found by another falling into a slot which is that of effect. In short cause and effect are one to one relationship into which our social nature fits us. We initiate certain actions as a cause for others to respond accordingly.
Suppose on the eve of Crystal night (on 9–10 November 1938), if a Jew were to meet a German the response of the Jew would not have been as simple as mentioned above. The German who smiled may have been an ordinary citizen but the pogrom carried out SA paramilitary troops would have made such effusion in return as next to impossible. Events occurring elsewhere made their one to one exchange one that of suspicious.  Shall we say that cause did not connect with effect in a straight forward fashion? The events from outside come in between us to make our responses complex. What emotional cues that guide me need not necessarily be understood by another. We shall see how from the contradictory nature of human personality. A clown who makes every one in stitches is often the saddest man who need break into laugh lest he break up. Charlie Chaplin comes to my mind.
Since we humans as social animals have no other place than the earth to escape into, all events and their consequences are assumed as our collective responsibility to which we have no way of apportioning blame or praise.  Whether we foul up our beds or douse them with perfume we all need lie together for better or worse.  Law of reciprocity makes such cause and effect relationship hold together for our understanding. 
It is said, one man’s gains is at another man’s loss. Obama could have become the President in 2008  only at the cost of Romney losing his bid. Thereafter his taking up with the Sheraton group would mean that his position as a director was at the cost of someone else losing his shot on the Board of directors. Such is the cause and effect relationship that a man’s position is a view of himself into an infinite mirror broken into infinite pieces. In Obama- Romney relationship one is a cause while the other is the effect. Romney likewise is a cause while some other fills the slot of effect. In short no man can be both cause and effect in any relationship. Law of reciprocity distributes each into cause as well as effect in so many order of social relationship.
Having said about redistribution of man in terms of cause and effect after its own order let me indicate the cause and effect is not direct but falls under a corrosive cloud where anyone justifying as innocent is not true.  The rise of Hitler owes to such a cloud (as a result of reparations of the Allies as well as their sense of guilt at the harsh penalties they as  the victor exacted on the defeated. How Chamberlain’s government played into the hands of Hitler at the Munich Pact is a case in point. Into it we need allow anti-semiticsm of the ordinary Europeans at that time). By the law of Reciprocity the entire German nation was thrust into the effect of Nazism. Once cause and effect played of the result was the Soviet Army marching into Berlin. Think of the human cost? If you need explain moral compass of man,  make sense of the cloud into which both cause and effect are drawn.

Sinai plane crash: No survivors on Russian airliner KGL9268

 So runs the news of an airplane crash. It was a disaster waiting to happen, right? If an airplane is built for taking off to the air it is as natural that an air plane is waiting to crash down. It is thus, defying natural laws where the nature of gravity is in-built, must fall under the physical nature of the earth. Its effect must be absorbed by the inhabitants. An airplane develops sufficient thrust to take off but natural laws shall play against it  to bring it down. There cannot be any other explanation if we were to explain why such a disaster occurred. Man and his machine is ever against the earth and its natural laws. It makes no sense even if it was another airplane that came down. Natural law has been broken and law of gravity shall claim its due. Such a law of reciprocity exists on a moral plane, to which I shall come back in the next post.

For anyone who is curious to know more on the nitty-gritty details of the above cited news item let me add what the BBC news have to say: ‘A Russian airliner crashes in Sinai killing all 224 people on board – rescuers describe a “tragic scene” with bodies of victims strapped in their seats.’

If man did not have natural curiosity there would  be no news media to cover the events. It is natural as vultures gather where the dead are. Man’s curiosity is ever drawn to events that he is liable to experience.

In what way is the fate of Russian airliner KGL 9268 different from that of MH 17? Apart from some superficial details as the the type manufacturer etc., both events are identical. MH 17 was brought down by a Buk missile. The Guardian in their Oct.13, 2015 newspaper reports: ‘A Buk surface-to-air missile downed flight MH17, Dutch investigators have said as they unveiled a reconstruction of the plane that showed huge shrapnel damage to the cockpit and front section.’

Naturally this report has been dismissed by Russia. It is widely assumed that Russia-backed separatists were responsible for bringing down MH17, but the US has stopped short of blaming Moscow directly. The Kremlin has blamed Kiev – variously suggesting that a Ukrainian military jet shot down the Boeing 777, or that a missile was launched from a government-held area. Any disaster shall have its critics and yea-sayers. Is it really necessary to follow this line of reasoning if there are no answers? Where the facts are swallowed up by man’s inability to define truth why bother for this or that?

What is truth? No one can say exactly so let us not waste our time here.

In the welter of right or wrongs any blame we attach to any faction is thus, waste of time. Man has made errors of his conduct bind him as well as throw the key into some bottomless abyss. Thus we cannot justify Russia or the west for the disaster of MH 17. We read terrible happenings around Middle East or Palestine issue. Do those Palestinians or Israelis dead ever deserve the blame? Moral imperative of the dead has been lost as to the fact who started it all.

Nations play indeed a dangerous game ever since man set out to kill another for some reason or other. This is a group thing and man would have reasoned himself that ‘the might is right’. It is a group thing that would not have had bite if it were not in the individual first to do wrong. Like Adam whose disobedience owed to an attitude that his gains were more important than accepting the authority of God over his choices. How easy it is? Also what a slippery path it is to make himself more important than another! This same attitude finds itself at home when he bands together with others. Consequently nations have set out to make themselves greater than any natural law that enjoins an individual to respect another  as he would others do unto him. Now we see the Israelis see a knife in every shadow and any Palestine outside his four walls is literally taking a walk through the shooting gallery. There peace is only in the name Jerusalem. Since man Palestinian or Jew has lost the moral compass he is vulnerable. There cannot be any peace since man has set himself to do wrong. Similarly Russia in order to prove it is a world class player has invited disaster. MH 17 and KGL 9268 are of the same weight whatever one may say against or for the disaster.

If man does not want to follow natural justice on earth he shall have to account for many more similar disasters in future.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,683 other followers