Ah. You know, people like you, Ogu, really have no idea what the real India is like. Especially you - South Delhi is such a vulgar place, and your only companion there is Pultukaku, you are bound to get an insane perspective on the real things - appalling poverty and even more appalling ignorance. But, then, look at our education system. Dr. Prem Krishen of Meerut University has written a book on E.M. Forster, India's darling Englishman - most of us seem to be so grateful that he wrote that novel about India. Dr. Prem Krishen holds a Ph.D on Jane Austen from Meerut University. Have you ever been to Meerut? A vile place, but comfortably Indian. What is Jane Austen doing in Meerut? We're publishing Prem Krishen because he'll fetch us lots of money. His book is entirely in a question and answer form. Students lap that up. Why is some Jat teenager in Meerut reading Jane Austen? Why does a place like Meerut have a course in English at all? Only because the Prem Krishens of the country need a place where they can teach this rubbish? Surely they can spend the money they waste on running the department usefully elsewhere. That's why education is a real challenge. And in the years to come, as a bureaucrat you'll be in a position to do something about these things, things that matter. And yet you want to leave the IAS, for callow reasons, just because in Madna you don't see the girls that you see in Delhi and Bombay in their arse-hugging jeans and T-shirts with lewd one-liners.
The “self-actualization” philosophy from which most of this new bureaucratic language emerged insists that we live in a timeless present, that history means nothing, that we simply create the world around us through the power of the will. This is a kind of individualistic fascism. Around the time the philosophy became popular in the seventies, some conservative Christian theologians were actually thinking along very similar lines: seeing electronic money as a kind of extension for God’s creative power, which is then transformed into material reality through the minds of inspired entrepreneurs. It’s easy to see how this could lead to the creation of a world where financial abstractions feel like the very bedrock of reality, and so many of our lived environments look like they were 3-D-printed from somebody’s computer screen. In fact, the sense of a digitally generated world I’ve been describing could be taken as a perfect illustration of another social law—at least, it seems to me that it should be recognized as a law—that, if one gives sufficient social power to a class of people holding even the most outlandish ideas, they will, consciously or not, eventually contrive to produce a world organized in such a way that living in it will, in a thousand subtle ways, reinforce the impression that those ideas are self-evidently true.
Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers' enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.
NO, WE DO NOT HAVE PENS!Bring your own. You'll need them. You see, like every other department in the city, Records runs on Almighty Forms. There are forms that tell the Night Mayor's office what we hunters are doing - starting an investigation, ending one, or reaching various points along the way. There are forms that make things happen, from installing rat traps to getting lab work done. There are forms with which to requisition peep-hunting equipment, from tiger cages to Tasers. (The form for commandeering a genuine NYC garbage truck may be thirty-four pages long, but one day I will think of some reason to fill it out, I swear to you.) There are even forms that activate other forms or switch them off, that cause other forms to mutate, thus bringing newly formed forms into the world. Put together, all these forms are the vast spiral of information that defines us, guides our growth, and makes sure our future looks like our past - they are the DNA of the Night Watch.
These definitions coincide with the terms which, since Greek antiquity, have been used to define the forms of government as the rule of man over man—of one or the few in monarchy and oligarchy, of the best or the many in aristocracy and democracy, to which today we ought to add the latest and perhaps most formidable form of such dominion, bureaucracy, or the rule by an intricate system of bureaux in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called the rule by Nobody. Indeed, if we identify tyranny as the government that is not held to give account of itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrannical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done. It is this state of affairs which is among the most potent causes for the current world-wide rebellious unrest.