, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Anonymity isn't usually a great thing

But the reason anonymity is an asset on twitter is because in our society personal attacks are never too far off for the slightest "zara hatke" view

If the downside risk for uncomfortable ideas is too high, few will venture to voice them
Sure...even the most uncomfortable idea can be articulated in a manner that does not cause offence and actually encourages a sane debate

But not everyone is that articulate...
Anonymous twitter exists precisely to encourage insightful people who can't articulate difficult and uncomfortable ideas in a civil, sensitive manner

Insight is not something that emanates only from suave gentlemen like Hindol who can write long form pieces

It exists everywhere
For nearly all of history, the intellectual life has been the preserve of the articulate

Being articulate, and a sophisticated wielder of the written word was a pre-requisite, which even precedes insight, in order to be a public intellectual

That has changed with Twitter and SM
The problem in that old set up was -

You could not influence intellectual life in any meaningful way, if you couldn't write well. Especially writing of the long form type

But today you can
What SM has done is to delink Insight from verbal skills

This is a first in human history

You don't have to have fancy degrees and be chummy with editors, to get yourself published and read by a few thousand people
You can get a moderate readership as long as you have something original to add to the public discourse

It is not even required that you write v well...you only need to write well enough to get the key point across in 280 chars (or in a bunch of tweets in the form of a thread)
This is naturally discomforting to the people of the old school...

Individuals who had a huge edge in the old set up because of their superior verbal skills, and their ability to write long essays

I admire that v much. But the premium commanded by that skill has eroded
We are now in a new world where Insight reigns supreme.

Writing skills are still very important. But not of much use if you are trite and unoriginal
The Indian affinity to SM is particularly great, because ours is one of the few civilizations which de-emphasized writing skills in past millennia

Ours was a predominantly oral culture, where writing was often an aid to thought, as opposed to dictating what one thinks
Eg : Let's compare an Indian philosopher like Badarayana with the great Greek thinkers...

While the Greeks like Aristotle, Plato wrote copious works of prose, Badarayana's greatest work was a collection of 555 one-line sutras - later titled "Vedanta Sutra"
The Sutras by themselves, if read superficially, would do no credit to Badarayana. They are nearly incomprehensible

That's because the Sutras were meant as aids to certain trains of thought among insiders

Today we comprehend them only through medieval Bhashyas (commentaries)
So Badarayana would be a footnote not worth even noting if we were to judge him on his "writing skills" or his ability to elucidate

He gained a reputation on account of the insights others gleaned from his cryptic sutras
Perhaps it is this historical civilizational proclivity against voluminous prose that explains why Indians have taken to SM readily and are more inclined than most in encouraging insights from diverse sources, instead of playing the "credentials" game
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