Trivial Truisms & Authorities

“Twice two equals four: ’tis true,
But too empty, and too trite.
What I look for is a clue
To some matters not so light.

  • (from W Busch, Schein und Sein, 1909), translated by Sir Karl Popper.

Above lines came to my mind, when I received this from a reader…

He wrote…

this was reaction of one of topmost astrophysicist of TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research).

In reply his(astrophysicist) remark is as follows : “Regarding dating Mahabharata etc., I suggest you exercise extreme care. For one, the references are not clear, second, the ephemeris and computer simulations are not accurate once you go beyond 3000 BC, there is a periodicity in many stated observations like eclipses within 13 days of each other etc. So do be careful.”

Warning of our TIFR expert, to our reader, is a trivially true statement and for that very reason most useless piece of advice.  It is useless because it is not actionable.  The only actionable advice that may come out of this suggestion/warning is to ‘DO NOTHING’.

Exploration of Indian history (and all worthy endeavors in history, science and art) requires an attitude that is exactly opposite of this advice.  Advice of Bhagavad Gita for an explorer to be fearless but humble’ is the most suited attitude.  One must be fearless in conceiving bold theories and wild conjectures and at the same time be humble in testing each of them… consciously looking for falsification of one’s own theories , and accepting them only as tentative but better than previous attempts.


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