Tuesday, August 8, 2017

New Hub

While overall good feeling is associated with lower levels of corruption, there is very little evidence that corruption leads to slower economic growth. Published a hub:
https://hubpages.com/politics/Corruption-A-Benign-Evil

Is Turbulence Inevitable?

Why should human society be turbulent!
I think every pack behaves as the leader does, which is clearly observable, when we watch other beings like birds. And they live in harmony. What about humans?
We can be as we want. Or, as far as we are concerned, the choice is unlimited. Or, is it?
Actually human choice is not of things, but of an abstract property associated with things, which we define as it's attribute.
Everything is a mixture of attributes, some of which makes us like a thing, and some others, cause us to dislike. When we compare things, we actually match the good attributes of things we like, with the bad attributes of things we dislike. Obviously, things we like, always will be coming out in brighter colors. Also, since one man's comparison can never be right for anyone else, all things will get it's turn to be assessed as desirable, sometime. And all members of the human society will be living in total harmony. This is how we should have been.
But what is actually happening with human society is something different. We have, some of us constantly engaged in such comparisons and making various decrees. And the remaining many of us quietly following those guidelines or limits. Now there is always a possibility of some of these limits being unacceptable to some of us. But, we cannot make a change, since those limits are very much acceptable to a reckon-able few. As long as all people does not fancy the same thing, our society will not be at ease.
But both are happy. The ones who make, can find fault with others for not following those decrees. And others can blame, for making decrees that can't be followed.
I think this is how, human society happens to be turbulent!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Book Review: INDIA: WHAT CAN IT TEACH US?

'INDIA: WHAT CAN IT TEACH US?' A Course of Lectures by MAX MÜLLER, is a concise commentary about ancient India, of its rich literature, and, more particularly, of its religion. The object noted here is, not only to place names and facts before the readers, but also to make one see and feel the general state of affairs persisted in some of the oldest chapters of the history of the human race. Accordingly, the Veda and its religion and philosophy is discussed in planes more than mere curiosity. Attention is also paid adequately to link those things with the general concerns of people at large. 
As the author mentions at many places in the book, everyone can learn lessons from the Veda, quite as important as the lessons, one learn at school from Homer and Virgil. With suitable examples, the lessons from the Vedanta can be cited to be as instructive as the systems of Plato or Spinoza.
There are many aspects of our life or society that needs more study, the author mentions. Learning Sanskrit, and further study of Vedic Sanskrit is certainly beneficial. "I do believe that not to know what a study of Sanskrit, and particularly a study of the Veda, has already done for illuminating the darkest passages in the history of the human mind, of that mind on which we ourselves are feeding and living, is a misfortune, or, at all events, a loss, just as I should count it a loss to have passed through life without knowing something, however little, of the geological formation of the earth, or of the sun, and the moon, and the stars--and of the thought, or the will, or the law, that govern their movements".
In seven chapters marked LECTURE I to LECTURE VII, author discusses the complete range of knowledge hidden in ancient Indian writing. Veda, organization of vedic deities, and discussions about the abstract tenets hiding among those, proliferate these pages. Quite tough to read, given the archaic style of writing. However, there is much to learn new.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Is There a Superior Will?

Is there a superior will? How did such an idea enter into human thought? I think our proclivity in abstracting fresh ideas from the similarity of patterns, experiences, and other things is well known. In such instances what really happens is that we derive information from things that are independent of the things itself. I think the idea about a greater will too, originated in such way, that is, out of our interactions with fellow beings, both living and nonliving.
Humans, by closely observing natural events of births and deaths of living things would have acquired greater insights into life. They would have been struck by the fact that almost all things happen in sequence with some other thing. Which could have laid the foundation for a vast area of spiritual search, probably because, the instances where an obvious connection could be found with something real might have been few and far. Remember, people only had certain rudimentary ideas of the material world and it's composition, the prime one being the preponderance of cause and effect. And they would not have been successful in identifying a material cause for every effect, which could have better responded by the spiritual.
Now that the recent progress in science, notably those related to quantum theory, is suggesting a change to our, rather solid ideas of cause and effect, shouldn't we rethink the notions of a superior will?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Book Review: Conscious Body Language


'Conscious body language: Your most sensational soft skill' by Kurt Larsson, as the book mention, is a little primer of conscious body language and soft skills. This book invites us to taste how much more of life is there for actual experience. It also explains how rich, one can make one's professional life too. The book begins with a discussion about Peak hard skills, observing the way people are moving towards soft skills in their effort to conjoin one's success, health and peace of mind. How the fast progressing digital world has altered the old habitual behavioral patterns people were used to.
Next chapter is devoted to learning and practical application of soft skills in a way that one can actually feel the transformation of one's message from “business as usual” into something sensational. This is followed by a talk on inspiration. As can be expected, the discussion veers around certain unseen aspects. "Inspire comes from Latin and means to “breathe in Spirit”. Breathing in Spirit is actually the advanced version as just the process of inhaling more air can make a very inspiring difference." How, getting permission beforehand prevents intrusion into listener’s personal space, how to get one's thoughts, words and body language in line and aimed towards a common goal, and how, resonating with enjoyment makes one's message more contagious, and thereby more effective, are some of the deep meaning topics elaborated here.
The book looks at many practical issues. "Will you still have the capability to respond if you are mad, have a tight deadline or an irate boss standing over you?"  Instead of merely answering questions as and when they arise, the book speaks of the need to ask oneself "What impression my answer will lead to, and to what effect?"
What one picks up from this book will be of instant use. The author has provided a variety of cases as examples, showing one the correct response. 
I enjoyed this book. It looks at the gamut of body language, rather than as an academic discussion, as a dynamic component of social transactions. Over and above the illuminating, intelligent descriptions, an 'author's mark' is visible throughout the book. For example, while exhorting the need to be decisive, the book mentions, "decide originates from the same family of words like homicide, genocide, or suicide. It means, to kill all alternatives". 
A brilliant effort indeed.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Book Review: Rationalism

The word rationalism have been used in so many senses that they cannot be said to stand quite definitely for a particular sense. Empiricist (going by “facts”),  Sensationalist,  Materialistic,  Pessimistic, Irreligious,  Fatalistic,  Pluralistic, and, Skeptical, are some of connotations this word can carry to the general mind, says J. M. Robertson, author of 'Rationalism'.  Rationalism, which broadly, implies the habitual resort to reason, to reflection, and to judgment, should feel uncomfortable with the professed religious beliefs, even of the more educated, he continues. Also, how a rationalist is continuously assailed by cooler attempts to demonstrate that his method will lead to moral harm, with religions becoming the prime opponent in this. 
Further chapters discuss the philosophical questions in this regard. Like, how the defenders of faith, appeal to reason both for arguments against and for supporting rationalism. The special position of 'reason' is then examined. That "no belief whatever concerning life and death and morality and the process of nature can be justified by ‘reason’; and that accordingly no religious belief whatever can be discredited on the score of being opposed to reason".

I liked the views expressed, which are quite logical and thought provoking. Is there a great difference between the rationalist and the religious, the book asks, and so will the reader too. For, "every religion sets aside every other: the rationalist only sets aside one more. Every theist has negated a million Gods save one: the rationalist does but negate the millionth as well." An interesting book, it gave me a lot to think.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Way to Measure Character?


Diffraction can be seen as transmission of light with no visible purpose. However, on close examination, it can very well be seen as the process by which, light makes itself visible. This reasoning can be extended to other all waves, including sound waves, water waves, and electromagnetic waves such as visible light, X-rays and radio waves.

I think diffraction is something connected to living beings too. It is an important part of us, our conduct when we are with no visible purpose. And it can act as a true indicator to our character.

I therefore think, there is a need to change the way we measure fellow humans. The present pattern, of tests, examinations, and trials should be replaced by something that  can measure human diffraction, that is, the way we do, when we are with no purpose.
Imagine of a society that gives equal importance to all acts, however random those be. No pressure to perform, and no hurry to deliver? 
I think, that, then is a society, where absolute calm can prevail.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Review: Metaphysics of Morals

Do moral philosophy and its questions form part of anthropology? How can we find  the sources of the practical principles behind our reasons? These and many related questions are examined by Kant in his book 'Metaphysics of Morals'. The book is divided into three sections, as shown:
1 FIRST SECTION. How common knowledge leads to morality.
2 SECOND SECTION. How moral philosophy leads to the metaphysic of morals.
3 THIRD SECTION. How the metaphysics of morals leads to practical reasons.
In section 1, the book mentions, how, power, riches, honour, health, etc. cannot result in happiness, if one does not correct the influence of these on check. And the intrinsic worth of a person is to be seen, more in moderation of these elements than in other things. Next section examines the true place of actions. What degree an action rests only on moral grounds, and on the conception of duty. And how, by the development of a rather universal notion of morality, the will is effectively placed autonomous, or morality separate from mind. This point is further examined in the next and last section of the book. The idea of a free will is closely linked with our ideas regarding the independent existence of morality, the book points out. 
I liked the author's logic. Unless there is specific reasons, moral studies can be part of anthropology. The reason for it to be seen as a separate topic lies in the impact of moral thoughts on our actions. It gives us an opportunity to make changes to whatever we do, for no specific reason. Hence it has independent existence. 
(Though we do not comprehend the practical unconditional necessity of moral questions, moral thoughts remain with us as a silent arbitrator or controller of human choices, which, as I mention in my book, veers towards alleviating the male's discomfort.)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Book Review: Think: A compelling introduction to philosophy

Think: A compelling introduction to philosophy by Simon Blackburn is an overview of most of the important questions answered by philosophy. The author mentions at the outset: "This book is for people who want to think about the big themes: knowledge, reason, truth, mind, freedom, destiny, identity, God, goodness, justice - the things that men and women wonder about naturally" The first chapter itself set in motion my efforts to think. For, as the author puts it rather dramatically, Knowledge began "on 10 November 1619.      On that date...the French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes...opened the unfolding of the one true way to find knowledge." And the scientific revolution left us with more problems, a significant one of which is analyzed next - mind. How the knowledge of our own minds fares vis-a-vis the knowledge of the rest of the world. How to understand things and describe them we have come to specify various concepts that are rule-governed, which has given rise to realism, conceptual-ism, and nomilalism. Our idea always is to find harmony between our thoughts and the world, the bridge we build between past and future. The sense of what the physical world contains and how our minds fit into it, are all topics which keep the finest thinkers of each generation busy. There always is the hope of a better world.
The book goes on to discuss other such topics, like, mind, free will, etc.

I enjoyed the book. I think it reflected many of my thoughts. For example, see the discussion about self. In one word, self-reflection represent human nature. "Human beings are relentlessly capable of reflecting on themselves. We might do something out of habit, but then we can begin to reflect on the habit. We can habitually think things, and then reflect on what we are thinking." (I have written about this, how the very idea of philosophical thoughts arises from a biological need!)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Review: Internal time management

'Internal time management: slowing the pace of life' by  Harold L Taylor. This book begins with an admission. "We’re not that great at judging the passage of time since our concept of time is influenced by many things." Hence there is a need for holistic time management, which should address the problems involved in ensuring a happier, healthier, longer, more productive and fulfilling life. The first chapter, 'time is in the eye of the beholder', harps on the necessity for internal time management, to account for personal priorities while living a fuller life and achieve significant goals. How to slow down one's perception of time such that one feels fuller, is discussed next. Here, the thrust is on the need to do things slower, as, the faster one goes, the faster, life seems to go. The need to choose memorable events and accomplishments that will stick with one for a lifetime, and will have a major impact on ones life, is covered in next. 
Then comes variety, the spice of life. Its significance in providing each experience unique, is elaborated with reference to the necessity of maintaining a wider circle of frends and associates. What is touched upon then is the danger of overloading, where, if one does not spend adequate attention to  a task, one may lose much more than one's gain.
The danger of rushing through life, multitasking, and always thinking ahead about the next item on a “To Do” list, comes next. Simply put, "Later in life one will wonder where the time went".
 What follows is one of my common doubts, how to do things in a mindfull manner. The use of planners notes, etc. in ensuring one's concentration to the present, is described here.
The secret of assuring a good, successful life is simple - keep life simple. How to keep life free of 'the complexity crisis', 'the paradox of choice', or other pitfalls of modern times is covered. And technology is always there to seduce one. Here, use creativity to one's advantage, author tells.
I liked this short guide. Unlike many books dealing with such topics, where the authors turn one to the abstract and give a permanent feeling of guilt to the reader that one isn't doing things the correct way, this book reasons each and every suggestion well. "Go at you own speed, make your own memories. For, what one person may consider a waste of time, another may see as a gift of time"

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Fermi Paradox: Is This an Answer?

The Fermi Paradox: Many stars are older than the sun and the evolution of intelligence on Earth was a long and slow process. There is every reason to suppose therefore that intelligent life could have appeared on other worlds long before ours. Assuming more or less uniform conditions throughout galaxies, we should expect that technological civilizations have arisen millions if not billions of years ago. But it is just 5,500 years since the earliest writing in Ancient Sumeria and Egypt, 400 years since the first telescope, 120 years since the first radio communications and 30 years since the dawn of the World Wide Web.

If my finding I proposed in my book 'The Unsure Male' is right, the brilliant technological advance of our civilization, to a substantial degree, happened as efforts taken by human beings in avoiding post mating agony. And in that case, we need not expect such a technological civilization as ours, elsewhere. Could this be an answer to the Fermi paradox?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book Review: Sex and Character

The idea behind this book, tells Otto Weininger, the author of 'Sex and Character', is an attempt to, rather than collecting distinguishing characters, to refer to a single principle, the whole contrast between man and woman.
"A blunt Separation of them into males or females no longer suffices for the known facts," the author tells at the beginning itself. Each of us being composed of both the male element and the female element in differing proportions, certain laws can be formed to explain their union, author continues. "For true sexual union it is necessary that there come together a complete male (M) and a complete female (F), even although in different cases the M and F are distributed between the two individuals in different proportions." Thus for a man who is 3/4M and 1/4W, the best partner shall be a woman who is 1/4M and 3/4W.
He then talks of the laws of sexual attraction, that we always should respect the natural. For example, the use of a substituted stallion in impregnating a mare results in the progeny showing extreme nervousness. Which, the author says, should be discouraging marriages for reasons other than love. Here he also observes that the degeneration of modern Jew is because of things like this.
While examining cases of sexual inversion, like homo sexuality, where there is invariably an anatomical approximation to the opposite sex, the book talks of the parts played by both 'very female men' and 'very male women'. The existence of a female mental type and a male mental type and how these affect the social life, along with women and their emancipation is analyzed next.
Now comes the second part of the book, where the sexual types of male and female is further analyzed. The difference between them is notable in the different way in which men and women enter the period of puberty. "In the case of the male the onset of puberty is a crisis; he feels that something new and strange has come into his being, that something has been added to his powers and feelings independently of his will. The physiological stimulus to sexual activity appears to come from outside his being, to be independent of his will, and many men remember the disturbing event throughout their after lives. The woman, on the other hand, not only is not disturbed by the onset of puberty, but feels that her importance has been increased by it." And when it comes to intellectual pursuits, with the woman, thinking and feeling are identical, for man they are in opposition.
Areas like psychology, psychical phenomena, like perception and sensation, and logic and ethics, are then examined to discover the differences between different members of humanity, always, man coming out in bright colors. 
Even in other areas one choose to study, though there will be found a good number of men, representation of women shall be scant. Author says here, "the woman does not interest herself about herself", something I have tried to reason in my book 'The Unsure male'!
While examining other aspects of sexual urge, author mentions of the prostitute instinct, to covet being sexually excited by any stranger, as another feminine feature.
The essence of this discussion, if I put in the author's words is this: "man possesses sexual organs; her sexual organs possess woman."
This book is a well researched one, given the half cooked ideas existing in our midst, especially on matters concerning the female sex. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Why are human societies unstable?

Why are human societies unstable?
In the past our societies were top heavy. Whenever a change was called for, like death or defeat of the ruler in war, the settlement found itself shattered to the core. Lack of stability was writ large on our ancient cultures.
Now there is no weight on top. Each part of the bottom goes on it's own way, the heavier parts make a stable group, and the lighter ones, idle. Though the idle ones  remain poor, others extend a helping hand. And there is every reason for the world to be stable.
But it is not so. In fact it is costly to be poor. People don't realize this as the cost is quietly borne by everyone in the society, except the ones permitted to be poor. Building the necessary infrastructure to enable the poor to lead a life, that too of an acceptable living standard, and constantly monitoring all related aspects, adds to society's load. It is the unequal distribution of this load that makes a society unstable.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Book Review: The Natural History of Religion

The Natural History of Religion by David Hume. The book, author tells at the beginning, examines two main questions regarding religion. One, that concerning its foundation in reason, and two, that concerning its origin in human nature.
The book begins by examining the primary forms of religion. Here, the author finds that the more we go into antiquity, the more do we find mankind plunged into polytheism. Reflecting further, he concludes that in all nations which have embraced polytheism, the first ideas of religion arose, not from a contemplation of the works of nature, but from a concern with regard to the events of life, and from the incessant hopes and fears which actuate the human mind. Also polytheism is more generous in distributing imponderables, the deities themselves do not adorn all the positions of stature.
Towards the last sections of the book, the origin of theism from polytheism is examined. Here, the author mentions of the necessity of a more holistic appreciation. The constantly changing human mind has a natural tendency to rise from idolatry to theism, and to sink again from theism into idolatry.
I liked this book. I can observe that this book poses more questions than answers. If there were reasons that brought polytheism to the early man, how those were met when he resorted to theism? Isn't it likely that we will again resort to polytheism, given that the present religious climate is not at all conducive to a healthy world, an indication that theism is not doing its job? Isn't the rather violent social atmosphere of these days, a pointer to such a move?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: Science of Language

'Science of Language', by Max Muller, is a collection of interesting essays. The first one answers the question, 'how language can be called a science'. Author talks here about the need for re-formation of the word language, which actually should have been 'mythology', a combination of mythos (word) and logos (speech), and would have been accepted as a natural science. And since the word 'mythology' is already used elsewhere, let us adopt "science of language", says author.
In the next 'lecture', author talks about the formation and growth of language from mere gestures of communication, where artificial signs came to be fixed by mutual consent. Hence, the author says, the development of languages would have been taking place independent of each other and driven solely by convenience. There is no locus standi for a mother-daughter relationship here, between different languages, the book posits. 
Next lecture examines how laws could have come to language, when people had no idea about the possibility, benefit or use of laws. Here, author says, man happened to obey certain rules of language without knowing their existence, which over time became definite laws. Mutual consent being the most significant factor here, this is giving rise to plenty of dialects. This fact is the reason why schemes to prune languages of their irregularities do not succeed well. 
After examining the evolution of grammatical structure for different languages, and mentioning why, efforts to establish a relationship between those languages need not see success ("much real learning and ingenuity was wasted on this question"), the author opines that the proliferation of foreign words in languages is only incidental. 
Thereafter occurs a discussion on the language and wisdom of Indians, and how there are signs of mutual influence between Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Persian, German, etc., while supporting author's view that each language is completely independent. "It is impossible to class all languages genealogically, and thus to have a common origin of language".
Next dissertation is about the origin of language. "How images of the eye and all the sensations of our senses could be represented by sounds. Using sounds to express thought as well as for exciting thought, ie., change colour into sound and sound into thought?". Author goes further. "If we want to gain an insight into the faculty of flying, .. compare the structure of birds with that of other animals which are devoid of that faculty,..and thus we can find that man differs from other beings only in mental faculty" Author concludes that language is the result of rational combination of human speech along with mental instinct. The first natural and instinctive utterances of different clans, would fully account both for the first origin and for the first divergence of human speech. And the differing elements of speech we can observe in nature is evidently incompatible with the admission of one common source.
I liked this. It vehemently opposes the most popular idea of language: that it is only a means of communication. Especially, something formally developed for this. I think it adds support to the views I expressed through my hub          :  https://hubpages.com/education/islanguageforcommunucation

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Book Review: Lectures on the Origin of Religion

'Lectures on the Origin of Religion' by Max Muller is a collection of essays. It begins with a lecture on 'Problem of the origin of religion' where the general nature of religion, its meaning, functions, etc., is analyzed. The origin and growth of religions are analyzed with special reference to religions of India. In subsequent 'lectures', the author marvels at the abstract thoughts and original concepts hiding in the religions even of savage tribes. He respectfully observes, "all the ancient religions floats in the air, each one takes as much or as little as one likes". Apprehension of the infinite, Fetishism, a primitive form of religion, The worship of tangible, and intangible objects, The infinite in its earliest conception, Monotheism in primitive religions, are some of the interesting aspects discussed here. Which is followed by a discussion on the tendency towards atheism, with the impact that could make on the concepts of theism, which is analyzed especially in view of philosophical influence of Vedic religions of India. How, the careful observance of one's prayers and sacrifices carried the promise, not only of a long and prosperous life on earth, but also of the highest happiness in heaven.
This book takes pain to remind us of the abstract nature of early religions. Now, when I see many of the, so called modern people indulging in mindless violence in the name of religion, I am sure, nobody would have ever read this. I am also sure, this book validates the thoughts I expressed through my hub https://hubpages.com/politics/evolutionofreligion.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

My Take on Electronic Voting

Nowadays there is much public debate about electronic voting. The major protagonists seem to be election officials who hope that electronic voting systems can improve their ability to conduct and administer elections more efficiently and computer scientists, information technologists, and election activists who are skeptical about the viability of using such systems (electronic voting skeptics) for functions critical to the operation of a democracy. 
We need to understand the perspectives of both the electronic voting skeptics who have been active in the debate, to help them understand what the electronic voting skeptics are saying and why they are saying it, and to appreciate some of the questions about electronic voting technologies that worry many technologists.
Different perspectives play out in the consideration of election fraud. Authorities, or supporters of electronic voting may say that an election fraud, or the appearance of fraud or impropriety, only need to undermine public confidence in elections. But opponents of such voting, and perhaps many computer scientists, will presume that a vulnerability is significant until shown otherwise. Thus, election officials are insist that the integrity of an election has not been breached until some evidence is produced to the contrary. This difference in perspective should be kept in mind while designing the methodology of electronic voting. Also, voters hardly get chances to vote often and thus have little opportunity to develop experience or familiarity with the system.

My suggestion: Have simple paper trail of each vote. Provide a box (each) for every candidate, where the voter is to drop such trails. Where a recount is necessary, these trails can be used.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Knowing Smiles

If everything looks black, you probably have your eyes shut. 

If someone is unable to forgive you when you are sincerely apologizing, it is their problem not yours.

Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.

To love is not to look at each other; it is to look together in the same direction. 

"Why do women like men who are smart, goal orientated and have a sense of humor?
Because opposites attract." 

Are you illiterate? Write to me for help

While the optimist's gas tank is half full, and the pessimist's half empty,... they'll both run out of gas at the exact same spot.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pleasing News

From The Guardian. (05 Jul 2017) “Sex robots are an interesting case study, if you will, to look at the main issues we face with robotics, writ large,” she said. “So this idea of moral de-skilling ... we’re interacting with the robots in these companionship, personalised ways and what kind of consequences does that have on the human users? Does that mean we won’t want to interact with humans any more because it’s just easier to talk to the robot or easier to engage in sexual gratification with the robot?”
Yes, I think it surely fits the remedies I suggested for "performace deficit" among males. Another support to my theories I proposed in 'The Unsure Male'!
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/05/sex-robots-promise-revolutionary-service-but-also-risks-says-study

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Book Review: The Truth About Writing

Michael Allen, 'The Truth About Writing' - This book fits well as an essential handbook for novelists,  playwrights, and screenwriters. If the introduction of the book is anything to go by, where he quotes ‘If you want to be thought a liar, always tell the truth’, I thought one can expect a rich feast in its pages.
And I am not mistaken. The first few chapters talks about the possible rewards of writing and how unlikely will it be to actually get those rewards. Thereafter the book suggests the prospective writers to set one's own aims and ambitions, which in turn shall influence the products. A discussion on the workings of the modern publishing industry is followed by another chapter on the pitfalls of selling one's work. 
Chapters 6 and 7 are thoroughly down to earth, and focus on the practical problems of finding sufficient time and energy to complete one's project. One will often come across people who would definitely write a book if only they had the time and energy. After reading these two chapters, I am sure, they will no longer have any excuses. 
The penultimate chapter provides some valuable advice on how to sell one's work, or at least on how to get it before the public. The problem of selling one's work is normally glossed over by those who write about writing. "They tend to imply that it is simply a matter of putting a typescript into an envelope and sending it off to a publisher' says the author. This chapter attempts to suggest a few ways forward in addition to the orthodox avenues. 
Finally, Chapter 9 provides what every purchaser of a book on writing is looking for: the secret of success. Here the  secret of success is expressed in mathematical terms! Wow! The author gives a scientific formula, one which explains exactly what is it that makes a writer a success overnight! After reading this part of the book, I am sure, people would like to refer to it from time to time. 
Following the last chapter, there is a brief envoi, followed by a list of axioms, which, one would do well to bear in mind. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

A 'hub' about success

Reasons after reasons are being found why human society fails, and many are the new approaches and techniques suggested as remedy. We still fail, or at most produce a result well below what we think as a good one. Should not we look for fresh answers?
https://hubpages.com/education/My-Mantra-for-Success

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Book Review: The Grand Design

The first chapter of 'The Grand Design' by Stephen W. Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Mystery of Being, begins with a few questions. How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? How does the universe behave? What is the nature of reality? Where did all this come from? Did the universe need a creator? 
The next chapter, The Rule of Law, tries to familiarize us with the ways we acquired different reasons and rules for various things in the universe, and the interconnections thereof. In the next chapter, Reality, historical development of science since the days of Galileo, to quantum theory, M theory, etc., is reviewed. Discussion thereafter moves away from ordinary experience and intuition, and goes into other basis for theoretical explanation. How, as we improved our technology and expanded the range of phenomena that we could observe, we began to find nature behaving in ways that were less and less in line with our everyday experience and hence with our intuition, as evidenced by the experiment with buckyballs. 
After explaining quantum theory, the book gives a historical commentary of our quest for a theory of everything, while mentioning in brief, the work done by great scientists of the past and present. Further abstract reflections on many questions like the ones follow, brings this book to a close.
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Why do we exist?
Why this particular set of laws and not some other? 
I liked this book very much. More than the scientific information it contained, what attracted me were a few stories belonging to the old times.
For example, The BOSHONGO PEOPLE of central Africa believes, in the beginning there was only darkness, water, and the great god Bumba. One day Bumba, in pain from a stomachache, vomited up the sun. In time the sun dried up some of the water, leaving land. But Bumba was still in pain, and vomited some more. Up came the moon, the stars, and then some animals: the leopard, the crocodile, the turtle, and finally man. 
Or, the Mayans of Mexico and Central America tell of a similar time before creation when all that existed were the sea, the sky, and the Maker. In the Mayan legend, the Maker, unhappy because there was no one to praise him, created the earth, mountains, trees, and most animals. But the animals could not speak, and so he decided to create humans, and invested in them, the power to speak.
And we think we have a better idea about life, just as the Mayans, or the Bumba might have thought then. That people before us weren't developed enough to be having good ideas of life and God, and whatever idea we have now, is the true one. 
And it will go on. Future generations shall continue to have fresh ideas about these, and show amusement at our idea, as well as the ideas of all our forefathers like the Bumba, the Mayans, and others. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Review: The Truth About Writing

Michael Allen, the author of 'The Truth About Writing' - An essential handbook for novelists,  playwrights, and screenwriters, if the introduction of the book is anything to go by, where he quotes ‘If you want to be thought a liar, always tell the truth’, fits well as a liar. 
No, I think I am mistaken. The first few chapters talks about the possible rewards of writing and how unlikely will it be to actually get those rewards. Thereafter the book suggests the prospective writers to set one's own aims and ambitions, which in turn shall influence the products. A discussion on the workings of the modern publishing industry is followed by another chapter on the pitfalls of selling one's work. That actually what writers are selling is emotion. Quite interesting chapters then follow: The practical problems of finding sufficient time and energy to complete one's project, how to get it before the public, a few valuable suggestions for progressing one's dreams further, to the printer, publisher and the reader. The final chapter is the best one: it deals with the secret of success. That too in mathematical terms! No the book doesn't end here. A list of axioms at the end makes it easy to keep in mind, what would do well to bear in mind. 

I liked this book. Taking the example of Montgomery Clift, who turned down the lead parts in four films, and each of the four actors who accepted what Clift had declined became a famous star as a result, the author mentions of the significance of 'circumstances', the principal element in one's success. You see, none of the above would have happened if Clift had decided to play any of the parts himself. 
I wish the writer actually is a liar, I myself being a writer looking for the elements of success!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Review: Strategic Thinking

'STRATEGIC THINKING AND HOW DO I GET IT?
' by RUTH B MOTT is a short guide about strategic thinking. The author introduces the topic, as nothing but thinking in a systematic way, using appropriate tools and adopting new techniques for approaching various issues.
Mentioning it as a process of thought for achieving a desired outcome, the author begins the short guide with a discussion about the skills necessary for such a thinker. Ability to see the big picture, ability to bring together right people, the knack of changing directions quickly, etc. Thereafter, the book talks about methods for using Strategic thinking 
to develop a Strategic Plan, Ability to think and draw conclusions quickly, Organizational control, Formation of alliances, etc.
 Each point discussed is well elaborated, that too with examples drawn from real life situations.
A helpful guide for a busy leader in the making.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Lesson from Japan

Amakudari ("descended from heaven") is a Japenese word describing the reemployment of government bureaucrats after the termination of their service with the government. This is an important part of Japanese economy, and the practice is well integrated into the framework of the Japanese employment system. In Japan, they consider amakudari as an extension of the mutual commitment of employer and worker within the tradition of lifetime employment. 
The Japanes tradition, that whenever a government official is promoted to the highest position (Vice-minister), all those of same age or older resigns, I think, makes this a necessity too.
And it seems, such a system fosters strong links between business and the state, which is also a top reason for the commendable performance of Japanese industry.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Book Review: THEISM OR ATHEISM: WHICH IS THE MORE REASONABLE?

THEISM OR ATHEISM: WHICH IS THE MORE REASONABLE?
This book depicts a public debate between Christian Evidence Society (WT LEE) and National Secular Society (GW FOOTE). The debate seeks to prove that the Theistic doctrine of the universe is essentially reasonable, because it can be vindicated by lines of argument and processes of reasoning admittedly trustworthy in other fields of inquiry. It also seeks to assert that Atheism, as a doctrine of the universe, is utterly unsatisfactory.
The opening argument by the theist begins with a set of questions designed to unsettle any independent, eager, or keen mind. Like, how could an ordered universe arise from a non ordered state of physical units? How could an intelligible universe arise out of a mindless physical condition? How could an universe manifesting law have arisen from a condition where no law can be found? How could an universe without a moral nature produce beings with a moral nature? How could a number of elementary substances called atoms have produced the unity everywhere manifested in nature? How could life, the power which moulds and builds up organisms, and preserves them from the disintegrating influences which act on mere matter, have been produced from the non-living? 
The opposing side also is ready with quite a number of questions.
The atheist also, like opponent, puts forward a flurry of arguments.  Atheism per se does not deny the existence of God; it only affirms the eternity of matter. The issue with theism is that the theist's mind is not large enough to comprehend the universe.  Morality is a part of natural evolution, without anything supernatural in it. If God imposes morality upon us, why is it not the same in all parts of the world?
Thereafter both of them take turns to show the weak points in others' propositions. The debate comes to an end with observations from the chair: That the topic was discussed with a due regard for the sensibility of the listener. And that it was an enlightening debate with a good deal of useful information. 
But for the archaic language, and the abstract arguments that seemed to perpetually veer around ideas of God, this is an informative book. This book also, like most others dealing with this topic, does not forward any testable ideas for morality, though it propounds it as an essential part of the human. I specially chose this book to read, since I wanted to know what was the idea of the past generations as far as  moral behavior was concerned. (Mine is a rather different idea, which is the theme of my book, The Unsure Male.) 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fake news, another excuse


Of late there is much discussion about the ease with which news can be manipulated using modern technology. And about how, this can be used to influence the free expression of our choice, an important feature of democracy. 
Should there be such an alarm about fake news? Aren’t we all free to choose the news, each of us would like to be influenced by?
I agree. Modern, especially digital technology offers convenience, ease and the opportunity to influence outcomes. So also are the facilities available as part of the same technology or that can be instituted at short notice, to check for such interference. In such a case, I feel the society need not worry much about this issue. A ‘digital war’ may go on between the ones who would like to influence, and the ones who would oppose or would like to influence in a different way.
In fact there is nothing great in this. Our propensity, to blame something else for all the faults on our part, has been in existence since the dawn of history. It is well known. After every crime, especially those involving injury to people, a standard headline to read is: “The accused was under the influence of alcohol”. The more I thought about this, the greater, my conviction became. That such an excuse is being freely accepted by society to prevent us from blaming abjectly, a fellow human. Else, we might have to admit to the prevalence of people among us, who are naturally blameworthy. Read: https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Why-arent-we-Sober-about-Alcohol
Now, luckily we have one more excuse to protect our brethren from the ill effects of whatever they do – FAKE NEWS
https://hubpages.com/politics/What-do-Fake-news-Do

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Is it natural to be spiritual?


Is spirituality natural? That the early humans were enamored by light, fire, rain, thunder, etc., and founded the origins of spirituality in it, is the observation I encountered the most. I find no reason to think so.
I think the discovery of lenses with the property of magnification, initiated our journey into the spiritual world. Because that is when humans would have come to realize that there is something more than what we can see, everywhere. And spirituality is all about transposing that into something which is more in sync with our life. As humans succeed in bringing more and more abstract ideas into the realm of the real, the person of god continues to change its appearance. From fire, earth, and water, to faraway places, planets, and space, and to more abstract propositions of each, the concept of god fluctuates, keeping a safe distance with, or moving in the shadow of, the current umbrella of knowledge.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What makes human society Different from others'?

 How did we acquire human-ness? I mean erect posture and bipedal locomotion; manual dexterity and increased tool use compared to other animals; and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies.  What enabled our ancestor species to create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, like families, kinship networks, and political states? Why did our ancestors start social interactions between themselves, or establish an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together have come to form the basis of human society?
Most common answers pointed to changes in living circumstances. Like access to food surplus, domestication of animals, and the use of metal tools, leading to the formation of permanent human settlements.  
Our forefathers seem to have continued to live in settlements. Perhaps, domestication of wild lfe would have been better when our forefathers lived thus. Over a period of time we lost our ability to confront life on our own, unlike all other species. And we had to continue living as a settlement to enjoy domesticating ourselves, and many other forms of life. And whatever we see today as human-ness is the result. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Peace, and No peace

What is the true reason behind the absence of peace in human societies? Is it desire? So says many. From time immemorial to these days, this is an excuse which has the support of most people, especially religious leaders.
But, I think facts speak otherwise. What has desire done? Nothing but leading mankind to a path of progress. All our inventions and discoveries owe a lot to this. It made man do, all that he did.
What else could be the cause?
We are always under the influence of four variables that affects peace. The desire to progress, Progress itself, The desire to go back to the past, and, Past itself. In one look itself, one can say: progress is natural, linked with the arrow of time. And progress cannot cause any disturbance, as it is nothing but moving in sync with times. Whereas regress certainly can, as every step we take will be against the forces of time.
Then. that is the cause. We show an ardent desire to travel back.
But, why we long to go back to our past? I think we are just choosing an easy option, since it is difficult to travel forward. You see, the desire for progress calls for greater intellectual involvement, which all people cannot.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: 'The Myths and Realities of Teamwork'

'The Myths and Realities of Teamwork' by David Wright.
This is a very interesting take on something I thought I knew too well. In the beginning itself, the myths are introduced - that teams are made of harmonious people, team conflict is to be avoided, most people like to work in teams, it is an essential need of success, and that the management encourage teams. Thereafter, each of these myths are explored critically, telling us how all these in fact have many other facets, some of which, not known to me. And how we can put those to our benefit. Like how, 'the passion for a common goal can be allow conflict, if it helps in achieving goals'. Or how to go forward, when one third of every team likes team work, another one third remain neutral to it, and the remaining one third oppose teamwork.
Next chapter deals with the basic skills for teamwork including meeting skills, which play a significant part in a team’s success. This is then is followed by a discussion about the skills that should be nurtured to achieve high results. Skills like idea formation, good feedback, effective critique, assertiveness, etc are analyzed here. Next chapter discusses various techniques with practical suggestions for bringing creativity in to teamwork. How to have an effective mechanism of feedback is described here. A formal method of feedback, titled BIF feedback, is introduced in this book. Lastly the book examines the question of ledadership, offering a new thought in the direction of 'leadership to all'.
This is a novel approach to a much discussed topic. Both the myths, some of which I thought were facts, and the realities, most of which were outside my view, added immensely to my ideas about teamwork. I never knew some of the angles, the author has chosen to observe the vast area of productivity, ever existed.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Review: Free Will - An Examination of Human Freedom

What should a discussion about free will focus on? I think Magnus Vinding, through this book 'Free Will - An Examination of Human Freedom' has chosen few important features.
 We must go beyond framing this entire subject in terms of: “Do we have free will, yes or no?” Because no one-word answer to this question tells us anything of relevance.
In fact our own freedom in view, for instance that our intentions, motivations, choices and actions do have an impact and do make a difference in the world, while at the same time keeping moral anarchy and fatalism at bay.
I liked this book. The book draws some final conclusions about what is true about human freedom, including what is true about what we ought to believe about it, while focusing directly on this question itself, rather than the contemporary style of debating on the finer, abstract, philosophical aspects of free will.

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