Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Review: The Power of Focus

The Power of Focus: How to Exceed Your Own Expectations in Life, Love, Health, Career, Spirituality, Finances, Recovery, Attitude and More, by David Essel is about a simple formula, an extremely unique goal achievement system, that if followed, one will be finally able to exceed one's own expectations in every area of life. 
The book begins with an exhortation from the author. "Slow down and focus. Focus on what we desire. Focus on what is meaningful in life." Next chapter is about the power of focus, which points out the gains of not spinning five thousand plates simultaneously, the benefit of clarity, and that of a sharp mind. The need to focus on one goal at a time is elaborated next, where a new approach called 'one thing theory' is explained. The concept of having an accountability partner and using that leverage to propel one to exceed one's expectations is then discussed.
Manifesting one's goals in a focused way needs three keys, the author says. Intention, gratitude, and concrete action steps, and how these can help, are then described. A chapter about 'karma' then follows. Which elaborates its definition, that “Every thought, every word, and every action that you do or have goes out into the universe and returns in kind.” What comes thereafter is a collection of key tips to stay focused, and few tips about how to avoid wavering thoughts, especially about one's sworn ambitions. The book ends with some final thoughts, author's ideas to prevent one from falling off the path of focus and, accomplishment, joy, success, and happiness, and back into our old way of living. A list of resources and courses is also provided, which can help one to maximize one's potential, exceed one's expectations, and move forward in life at lightning speed. 
This is a short book about great jumps. It constantly discourages one from shooting for less and, finds fault with the belief that “it is better to give than receive.” In reality, it is the best of both worlds, to be able to give and receive; which is what this program is all about.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: The Magical Eye

The Magical Eye, Text by Violet Lim Zi Yan amd Illustrations by Violet Lim Zi Yan, is about a telescope that can help children to learn about the alphabet. This is the one and only one in the world, of this style, says the author, and is called by the name Magical Eye. When one looks through it, quite a magical transformation happens to the picture, the whole scene being presented as a variation of alphabets from 'A' to 'Z', each occupying one whole screen. And can see each alphabet embedded in every bit of our natural surroundings, like shapely clouds, random leaves, flowers, or parts of a street.

This book was written with the objective to develop out-of-the-box thinking, imagination, and creativity of both children and adults. Children can further their involvement by giving color, and by highlighting or circle marking the letters of the alphabet that they find.
Also, this can encourage children to create simple drawings from the alphabet. On the whole, this book will make one's alphabet learning fun and interesting!
I found this an excellent idea, and a unique approach in introducing alphabets to children. Encouraging creativity and imagination at the outset itself, I think this book can mass produce geniuses. This book is a collection of some brilliant sketches, both as intuitive illustrations, and as accompanying prose. See for example, what happens to letter 'B'.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Review: A Cynic Looks at Life

Book Review: A Cynic Looks at Life by Ambrose Bierce
The one purpose of every sane human being is to be happy. No one can have any other motive than that. There is no such thing as unselfishness. We perform the most "generous" and "self–sacrificing" acts because we should be unhappy if we did not. We move on lines of least reluctance. Whatever tends to increase the beggarly sum of human happiness is worth having; nothing else has any value.
Author begins with the first question, "Does civilization civilize?" "No", says the author, "For every mischievous or absurd practice of the natural man I can name you one of ours that is essentially the same". And the author regards criticisms low, as criticism is nothing but "a universal human weakness to disparage the knowledge that we do not ourselves possess". Many books, author says, 'are bad reading, though may have been good hearing". And comes up with a line I liked, except for the "Literature by which the reader is compelled to bear in mind the producer and the circumstances under which it was produced".
Further reflections on death penalty, immortality, mind, etc., give a wealthy collections on cynical notes. "A strong mind is more easily impressed than a weak; you shall not so readily convince a fool that you are a philosopher as a philosopher that you are a fool."
This is an informative book, it gave me many new ideas about how to act cynical. One of the best is this, "Nothing is more logical than persecution. Religious tolerance is a kind of infidelity".

Monday, October 16, 2017

About Future

So there's a lot of valid concern these days that our technology is getting so smart that we've put ourselves on the path to a jobless future. And I think the example of a self-driving car is actually the easiest one to see. Well, a recent study in this regard predicts that 25 million jobs might disappear over the next 10 years, where, even the smartest, highest-paid people will be affected by this change. The rate of change today suggests that we may only have 10 or 15 years to adjust, and we need to react fast. 
If we start taking steps right now to change the nature of work, we can not only create environments where people love coming to work but also generate the innovation that we need to replace the millions of jobs that will be lost to technology. I believe that the key to preventing our jobless future is to rediscover what makes us human, and to create a new generation of human-centered jobs that allow us to unlock the hidden talents and passions that we carry with us every day.
we still hold on to this factory mindset of standardization, We still define jobs around procedural tasks and then pay people for the number of hours that they perform these tasks. We've created narrow job definitions like cashier, loan processor or taxi driver and then asked people to form entire careers around these singular tasks. Unfortunately, such jobs will be the first to be displaced by robots, because single-task robots are just the easiest kinds to build. 

One suggestion I saw in TED is this. We have to start creating new jobs that are less centered on the tasks that a person does and more focused on the skills that a person brings to work.  We need to stop asking people just to come to work and do your job. we need to realistically think about the tasks that will be disappearing over the next few years and start planning for more meaningful, more valuable work that should replace it. We need to create environments where both human beings and robots thrive. 
 If we really want to robot-proof our jobs, we, as leaders, need to get out of the mindset of telling people what to do and instead start asking them what problems they're inspired to solve and what talents they want to bring to work.  "Jobs of the future will come from the minds of people who today we call analysts and specialists, but only if we give them the freedom and protection that they need to grow into becoming explorers and inventors. If we really want to robot-proof our jobs, we, as leaders, need to get out of the mindset of telling people what to do and instead start asking them what problems they're inspired to solve and what talents they want to bring to work." 

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Book Review: DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE by KEN PIERCE. The book begins with an intelligent observation which looks obvious once it is expressed. We have people with different behavioral traits that are quite apart. In nature all these would have been of helping us to survive and so had a useful purpose. In short, an annoying behavior need not be annoying to all, and may be even of help to some. 
The book the talks of the need to focus both externally and internally to understand what is going on with people and organizations. How that will affect respect, trust, resentment, relationships, productivity, and a host of other parameters are examined next.
How to amalgamate nature's laws with the findings so far, is the topic covered next. While analyzing people and their motives, the book introduces choice theory, especially to guide difficult people to their gifts of inspiration, loyalty, leadership, etc. Seven principles which will provide the basis for communicating effectively with difficult people is covered next. Knowing them will give an understanding of why people are perceived as difficult and using them will enable one to deal with such people much more easily.
The last chapter, The Best Way to Deal with Difficult People, talks of the three ways of communicating with people, namely, carefully, carelessly, and in a caring way. In this book, caring communication is suggested as the way to follow. A summary then follows, which presents the essence of this discussion, in the form of twenty one keys to be kept in mind.
I think this a helpful book, not only to those engaged in managing personnel, but also to all who would like to be rational.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Book Review: 500 Words To Save The World

'500 Words To Save The World' by Stephen S. Nazarian, is author's idea of a community where like-minded people could discuss challenges and solve problems together. In the beginning itself, the book attacks a serious issue facing any society - unemployment. Author comes with a classic response: why not redefine unemployment rate as labour under-utilization rate? It then becomes the responsibility of those governing to see that things are utilized properly.
The next one is about the much bloated government bureaucracy, how to replace it with a door on which anyone can knock. A one about encouraging all to fix things by oneself, and another one extolling the virtues of diversity, then follow.
The conclusion of the book brings its title to focus - it encourages one and all, in five hundred words, to start actions in the desired direction, without waiting for all the answers.
This short book bring to focus, the power of little things, and more importantly, how the cascading effect of the insignificant, can solve big things.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Book Review: Truth of Writing

'The Truth About Writing' by Michael Allen. I wish I read 'Truth about Writing' before my first book, the world definitely would have been free of one writer. For the book opens with a loud declaration that 'writing can lead to bitterness and a realization that a writer is someone who is genetically abnormal! 
The book begins by listing the possible rewards of writing, fame and money, and goes on to describe the freedom of expression that accrues from it. Maintaining however, the unlikelihood of someone actually getting those rewards! The author narrates a bunch of stories from the publishing world where the author earned handsomely, but follows it up with a greater bunch of stories where  authors found it difficult to make ends meet. Another benefit of writing is then examined (which I am after!), fame, where he puts it rather bluntly, 'the desire of fame is from ones deep seated sense of inferiority!'
If ambition still exists to become a writer, further chapters of this book offers a blueprint, how a prospective writer can keep his dreams alive. Here, after giving an academic introduction to  the workings of the publishing industry, that too with special attention to much of the practical problems a writer may face. If notwithstanding all the advices someone wants to create literary works, the next few chapters offer valuable advice regarding selling ones work. This  problem  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  or producer, who will open it, read it at once, and weep tears of  gratitude  that  you  should  have  chosen  her  as  the recipient  of  your  wonderful,  fabulous,  incomparable masterpiece.'

 Final chapter of this book contains what every purchaser of a book on writing is looking for: the secret of success. In this case  the  secret  of  success  is  expressed  in  mathematical terms!
I found this quite an interesting book. It offers good advices to writers, like, while writing a thriller and if in doubt, 'have someone walk in with a gun in hand'. Advices on how to find time to write, how to remain energetic, what diet is good for writers, as well as the importance of setting goals are some of the related issues discussed in this book. The humorous touch of the author is continuously visible in the book. For example he proclaims, 'the  degree  of  success  experienced  by  a  writer  will  vary according  to  circumstances and  the  definition  of  circumstance is: everything that the writer cannot control, or even influence'. Or, 'most publishers can recognize a bestseller, but only when it was  published  two  years  earlier  and  they  have  the  sales figures in front of them'. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Theory of Nonsense

Theory of Nonsense by Inavamsi Enganti is an interesting book.
It begins with chapter zero, where a barrage of questions welcome us. We humans use reasoning to give rise to the ideology that the path of reasoning is the superior way.
How does one decide which path is superior? Or
Why should we choose the path of reasoning and explanation, why not blind faith? Thereafter introduced is the Theory of Nonsense, which enables one to reach certain conclusions intuitively, like, 'we can come to the conclusion that blind faith is better than the path of reasoning using blind faith. I one has faith that faith can be used to show faith is true. We can also see faith is contradictory by having faith, that faith to show the path of faith is true is not right. Technically blind faith is not bound by the ideals of logic thus rendering contradictions obsolete'. The next chapter is about logic and truth, as to why science is superior or even the path to the Truth. Here the author introduces a big dichotomy, the humans seem to have overlooked. We humans are so stuck on linear fate and linear phenomena that in spite of so many non-linear mathematical functions that we have discovered we still believe that the path to absolute Truth is linear. This is where, author posits, above drawn sine curve can act as a better representation of reality. Author then comes up with a fantastic story. 'In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other:
“Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”
The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”
The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded......"'
Our search for the perceived essence, or soul, or whatever else we are after, is something like this, the book says. Who can disagree with such remarkable conclusions?
Some more thought-provoking events of similar vein, brings the book to an end.
I really enjoyed this book, it gave me a lot of new ideas to think about, and share with others.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Review: Finding yourself — Understanding yourself and relating to others

'Finding yourself - Understanding yourself and relating to others  by Andy Turnbull begins by discussing ways of understanding ourselves. 
This book explores how we become the people that we are, how and why we “lose ourselves” – and what we can do about it. It then goes on to set out how we can relate to others more effectively and develop high levels of interpersonal skills, enabling us to be our true selves – and create the space for others around us to do that too. 
In Part 1, the book begins the discussion by exploring ways to understand oneself, the existing thoughts on these issues, and an insight into the essential elements of motivation. It speaks at length about the conflicts humans face, what we are, and who we are. Here the author talks about things like alertness, awareness and other needs. 
In Part 2 of the book, how we are to relate to others is discussed. Prejudice, camaraderie, communications skills and other such topics bring the book to its conclusion.
The book looks at a range of ways in which we can create greater understanding of ourselves through
increased self-awareness. It tells, how we can become aware of our priorities at our current stage of life, the roles we play, the scripts we follow and what drives our sense of identity. It suggests to seek out feedback and monitor our own language for hidden clues to our out-dated internal book of rules, and how We can become aware of our prejudices and assumptions about others.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Review: American Poverty

'American Poverty: Why America’s Treatment of the Poor Undermines its Authority as a World Power' By Laurel A. Rockefeller is a historian's view of the current global play of power and why USA is not vocal as it should be. 
Western imperialism in its many forms. From the atrocities committed by the United States against virtually every human being living inside or just beyond its borders, to the profit-motivated colonization and exploitation of the British Empire through its East India Company, and beyond, the West has a shameful human rights record that its former victims have hardly forgotten.It was peoples' voice, the author says, that ushered in changes. Whether it is women gaining the right to vote or, how slaves were freed in the United States, or how civil disobedience led to landmark civil rights legislation, the efforts taken by the masses had a lot to do. "We can do it again when it comes to poverty in America. We can and must do better', the book exhorts.
In Part one is presented some essays exploring the many facets of poverty in our society. How our emphasis on self reliance resulted in the erosion of social consciousness, making a society which is progressively losing empathy. "Most of those on welfare were on welfare because they made bad decisions."  How humans lose humanity as a consequence, comes next. Our idea of unemployment is changing, author says, we are all making a conscious effort to make it look more demeaning than it is. More than that, next essay on 'blurred sexual lines' proclaim, our approach to poverty is changing our notion about human dignity, especially when it comes to poor women.
Part two is about addressing poverty, where the many facets of poverty in America is shown, in search of solutions. Learning civility, especially with those different from us, is perhaps the first step towards re-establishing empathy and, by extension, giving a good fight to poverty.
Part three, the final  chapters explore how four of the United States’ most trusted allies look at and deal with poverty in their own  countries, contrasting this with poverty in America. Finally, a discussion about how, these differences affect America’s sphere of influence, reputation, and effectiveness as a world power. While ending, the book says, "The only people in the dark about any of this are Americans themselves, many of them content to be, as if by closing our eyes and humming hymns we can erase everyone and everything we do not like about ourselves and each other. America has no problems with human rights. America has no problem with the poor. The poor are poor because they are lazy", which I think, is a global feeling.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Future, again!

 Is another industrial revolution is in the offing? It seems, if the discussions during the meeting of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of USA, concerning the expected salient features, namely, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and the internet of things, is anything to go by.
The meeting homed on the main principles that may characerize the future revolution, as the following:
1.Think about Systems, not Technologies. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have civilization-changing impact—on species, on the planet, on geopolitics, and on the global economy. Also, wealth creation and aggregation supported by this phase of technological innovation may challenge societal commitments to accessibility, inclusivity, and fairness and create the need for relentless worker re-education or re-deployment.
2. Technology to Empower, not to Determine. This is a strong possibility, since we are in mastering the use of technology to further our interests, than be caught in its force.
3. A Future, as we design. As inter governmental co-operation is on the increase, this is a likely scenario. Discussions about these topics shall cross national boundaries and other interests.
4. Value as a designed feature than an Accedental Gift. The experience of living thus far and meeting the challenges we have faced would have made us learn the most important requirements of a good life, namely, preseving common good, minding environment, and giving primacy to human dignity.
Those who take leadership in these areas are poised to take the leadership of the world of the coming generations.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review: 'Killing Sacred Cows'

'Killing Sacred Cows', by Garrett B. Gunderson,
 is a book trying to identify and overcome the subtle and destructive myths, lies, and fallacies about money that are perpetuated through social programming and unquestioned traditions, which in fact are crippling us, both individually and in societal way. It begins with a claim - 'everything you thought you knew to be true about money and finances was actually completely false'. And these wrong ideas happened to become solidi?ed by financial institutions that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
Then comes the first myth, wealth is a limited commodity, and here the book makes clear, prosperity is not at others' expense, it is in fact, with others. The second myth follows, that the longer you save, better the yield. Where the book asks, "What good is money if we don’t use it?" After examining a few options of putting money that was resting in long term deposits to use, the third myth is confronted. That we diverting from real wealth when we look at it as numeric entries on a balance sheet, rather than prosperity and happiness. Next myth follows: Financial security means steady paychecks and benefits. We’re entitled to protection and benefits from a corporation, the government, or someone else. Which is contrasted with reality: We are ourselves the only source of security in this life, but unlike those who depend on external forces, we can make ourselves truly secure. To achieve this, the book exhorts all to become producers rather than consumers. Next myth is also on finance: that one has to have money to make money. It is evil but it has  power. The reality here is unique: Money is nothing more than an expression and a byproduct of value created by people.

The book makes many things clear. Like how the scarcity paradigm, which is at the root of so much common
financial advice, limits our financial success. Like, how the “accumulation theory” of wealth, in fact destroys our potential, or “investing” in the stock market can create real wealth, how we land up with a security dilemma caused by avoiding things they fear, which actually decreases their security. It also explains why, money doesn’t equal real power, why the most lucrative investments are by nature the lowest risk, why the best way to reduce the cost of insurance is to buy the most you possibly can, why value is infinitely more important than price
, and how false beliefs about “getting out of debt” affects our financial freedom. Though the arguments look very convincing, in the absence of examples, all the discussions remain as an abstract dream. I had many doubts about how the proposed abstractions, say the real value of money as opposed its value in exchange, will manifest. Even after completing the book, those doubts remained.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Review: Parallel worlds

'Parallel worlds : a journey through creation, higher dimensions, and the future of the cosmos' by Michio Kaku begins with a picture of our universe, and the main themes related to it. Like the two types of cosmologies in religion, the one based on a single moment when God created the universe, and the
other one based on the idea that the universe always was and always will be. Tracing the myths of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other mythologies, the author observes that these mythologies stand in marked contradiction to each other, needing the help of modern science for a possible resolution.
The book begins with a discussion about the theories in vogue. That the universe is made of atoms, each of those is made of tiny strings, which in turn, vibrates at different frequencies and resonances. If we were to pluck this vibrating string, it would change mode and become another subatomic particle, such as a quark. Pluck it again, and it turns into a neutrino. In this way, we can explain the blizzard of subatomic particles as nothing but different musical notes of the string. We can now replace the hundreds of subatomic particles seen in the laboratory with a single object, the string.
Next chapter is about the universe and its riddles. A discussion about Einstein and his brilliance, the birth of a new science, cosmology, and an insight into the theories about the future of the universe, then follow. Future scenarios are rather frightening. "At some point trillions upon trillions of years from now, the stars will cease to shine, their nuclear fires extinguished as they exhaust their fuels, forever darkening the night sky."
The discussion then goes on to the big bang, Hubble and his constant. A good description of rather esoteric topics like phases of the universe, like inflation and phases of the universe takes us to the next part of this book, multiverse.
Discussion about general relativity, black holes, time travel and its converse, chronology protection, negative energy, and a flurry of paradoxes, then follow. (I specially liked here, the grandfather paradox. "You alter the past in a way that makes the present impossible. For example, by going back into the distant past to meet the dinosaurs, you accidentally step on a small, furry mammal that is the original ancestor of humanity. By destroying your ancestor, you cannot logically exist.") More challenging ideas, then follow, like electrons existing simultaneously at many places and making the impnoderables of the world possible, parallel universes, quantum teleportation, and what not.
The book then introduce more such topics, like string theory, m-theory, ten and eleven dimensions, hyperspace, and symmetry. The efforts we are taking to investigate into these abstruse topics are narrated in the final chapters.
The third part of this book, escape into hyperspace, discusses even more complex topics like atom smashers, warp energy and the future possibilities of physics.

This is much more than a science book. Enchanting descriptions, like the one about the secret escape of Bohr to prevent his work on quantum theory from falling into the hands of Nazis, can be seen through out the book. Or the philosophical 'excuse' to the limitations of science, that "we ourselves are part of the mystery we are trying to solve". The book reminds us in the end, "Perhaps the purpose and meaning of the current generation are to make sure that the transition to a type I civilization is a smooth one."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Book Review: The art of logical thinking

'The art of logical thinking, or the art of reasoning' by William Walker Atkinson is about the theoretical and practical aspects of reflective functions of our brain.
The word reason itself is far from being precise in its meaning. In common and popular discourse it denotes that power by which we distinguish truth from falsehood, and right from wrong, and by which we are enabled to combine means for the attainment of particular ends.' The processes of reasoning may be said to comprise four general stages or steps, as follows:
L Abstraction, setting aside from an object, person or thing, a quality or attribute, and making of it a distinct object of thought II. Generalization by which is meant the process of forming Concepts or General Idea. III. Judgment, by which is meant the process of comparing two objects to find similarity or difference. IV. Reasoning, to produce further results of comparison.
Next chapter deals with concept, a mental representation of anything. Here explained is the process of forming concepts, how our concepts are determined not only by our simple perceptions, but also materially by our perceptions. Which is followed by a discussion on judgment, or the process of perceiving the agreement or disagreement of two conceptions. Propositions and how they take part in various types of reasoning is then covered. How all these can lead to formation of theories and syllogisms forms the heart of next chapters. Finally, a treatise on the fallacies one can expect in this branch of knowledge, brings the book to a close.
I liked this book. The last sentence, that “all correct reasoning consists in substituting like things for like things^ and inferring that what is true of one will be true of all which are similar to it in the points of resemblance concerned in the matter”, and “all incorrect reasoning consists in putting one thing for another where there is not the requisite likeness” quite beautifully sums up the duty of all who indulge in logical thinking. That it is as simple as this. Even more brilliant is the assertion that “the rules of deductive and inductive logic to enable us to judge as far as possible when we are thus rightly or wrongly reasoning from some things to others”.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Need for Approval, the Root of all Evil?

Human life can be seen as a constant struggle for approval. Even where we disapprove, it is to earn someone's approval. Why? What is its origin? What is the gain? 
Children are taught from a young age to seek approval from their parents or other elders for the things they say or do. Since the need for approval, love and acceptance from our parents is strong, we become conditioned over time. And we learn to seek the approval of someone, unless there are reasons to be otherwise. Whenever we don’t receive approval, whether of our parents, or from someone who is held in awe, we feel a substantial loss. We assume a loss of trust. And there is a strong desire to win it back, which triggers a host of behavioral quirks.

The need for validation fits into this category. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, the desire for validation is one of the strongest motivating forces known to man.
Whose validation do we want?

Well, it all depends on whose opinion we value most. A child wants to feel the approval of their parents, while a teenager generally seeks the validation of their peers. Wives want the approval of their husbands, and vice versa. But it doesn’t stop there!

Employees want to hear the phrase “well done” from their employer, just as authors want to see their readers pleased. The fact is, we all have a longing for validation, and, the feeling of being approved, helps fill that desire.
Why does it matter so much?

Let us see why approval is so important? I think it is pretty basic. Approval feeds our strongest desire. If the strongest of all emotional needs is directly linked to our feelings of approval or disapproval, what is that need?

I agree, in many cases, it is easy to compare the need for approval and the need for love, as in both the cases, the corrective mechanism acts in a similar manner. The need for love is well understood as one of the primary needs of all forms of life. Especially for humans, the first thing people usually think of for effecting any changes, is the need for love. I think, as powerful as love is, in reality it can be seen to be the same as validation, a feeling that one can expect support and blessings for whatever one is planning to do. In which case, love is just the ultimate expression of approval. So love feeds the same core emotional need as approval does. And in a similar way one can say, any behaviour which is contrary to one's identity and purpose, or what conflicts with the core beliefs, is generally done to gain the approval of someone else. In short we can say, approval gives us the sense of additional validation necessary for a thinking being.

Why do we have this strong desire for approval, in the first place?

I think the idea of approval originated like this. In the early days of mankind, when, a lingering state of dissatisfaction, as explained in my book 'The Unsure Male', would have been very common in animal kingdom. The 'post mating agony', the cause for this, would have more acute, and rather enigmatic in the case of humans, as, unlike all other forms of life, the female does not take a violent avenue to release her dissatisfaction. Also, if such situation occur, the male does not accept it as part of life, as other beings do. Rather than accepting it as innate inadequacy, the male would have been on the lookout for a good excuse. And humans being an altruistic animal, such instances of displeasure would have been appearing in a wide variety of expressions, the true cause being lost to the species in a few generations.  As a result, over many generations, humans would have become a race with a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction with all the activities related to mating. The actual reason for this having lost in the time that passed, this dissatisfaction would have been reappearing in the form of a great number of obscure, anti-female traditions, most of which end up putting restrictions to the activities of mating.
Over many generations, humans, especially the male, would have stopped taking part in any activity whatsoever, unless prodded. Thus would have necessitated, the need for approval at every new step. The philosophic discourses that make it great to be doing things with no worry about the result, as one can see, fits here most appropriately as an umbrella of approval for whatever one wishes to do.

Book Review: Socrates

Book Review: Socrates by Voltaire. This short book describes the last days of Socrates. How, as Socrates say, drinking of poison does not amount to a big thing.
To me, this book made one thing clear. The way Xanthippe, the wife, shows disagreement and reproachful behavior at Socrates's actions, particularly of deeds of benevolence to his friend's daughter, makes this thing quite plain. Domineering is not new for conjugal life, Socrates can vouch for it.
This is followed by a description of his trial and judgement. "Socrates, you are accused of being a bad citizen; of corrupting the youth; of denying the plurality of the gods; of being a heretic, deist, atheist. Answer." How his replies are seen as blashphemy, and how he meets with his end. That is, after telling "Reflecting that pleasure comes from pain. It's in this manner that Eternal Happiness will be born from the miseries of life", he drinks the poison.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Book Review: The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Book Review: The Fourth Industrial Revolution:  Proceedings of a Workshop (NAP)

If the first Industrial Revolution (1784) started production of steam, water, and other mechanical things, the second (1870) ushered in division of labor, mass production, and electricity, and the third (1969) gave us electronics, IT, automation, etc., the fourth could be thought of as Cyber-physical- - systems(?). That, and its implications for manufacturing, as well as its likely social and economic effects, are dealt with in this paper. It explores, the cross-sector collaboration between government, universities, and industry needed to accommodate emerging developments in the key technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, namely artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and the Internet of Things.
The Forum’s perspective on the present and future technological and societal changes is captured in the four principles that characterize the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 
One,  Think in terms of systems, not technologies. The systemic impact of various technologies will matter, sometimes for good, but sometimes also in negative ways. Hence the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have civilization-changing impact—on species, on the planet, on geopolitics, and on the global economy. 
Two,  Empowering, not determining. The Fourth Industrial Revolution shall honor existing social principles, and humans shall be shaping them and decide on how they are applied.
Three, The Future will be by design, and not by default. That calls for active governance, an amalgamation of individuals, governments, civil society, companies and, undemocratic, random, and potentially malicious forces to shape the future of technological systems and their impact on people. 
Four, Values as a feature, not a bug. The emphasis shall fall on preserving the common good, delivering multi generational environmental stewardship, and holding the primacy of human dignity, where the organizational culture changes to accommodate these.
This book, though is not suggesting any concrete plans for the future of technology, is giving sufficient signs that all that we see today shall become obsolete sooner than we think. I am sure this is a warning to all societies those are investing heavily in the present day technologies. More needs to be done for encouraging experimentation and development of new ideas for the future.

Friday, September 8, 2017

What is Beyond Einstein program?

Beyond Einstein program by NASA is a bold attack on the deepest mysteries of nature, since Einstein sought, but never achieved, an understanding of how nature works at its
deepest level.  With Beyond Einstein, we seek that next level of understanding, which will employ a series of missions linked by powerful new technologies and complementary approaches to shared science goals. 

NASA’s program Structure and Evolution of the Universe (SEU) has
identified and prioritized the science objectives in space astrophysics:
1. Find out what powered the Big Bang;
2. Observe how black holes manipulate space, time, and matter;
3. Identify the mysterious dark energy pulling the Universe apart;
4. Explore the cycles of matter and energy in the evolving Universe; and
5. Understand the development of structure in the Universe.
The prioritized Roadmap is in good accord with the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, including the Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium and Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos reports.  Guided by the concerted efforts of the space astrophysics community, this Roadmap puts forward a single integrated program of five missions, technology, research, and education to address the highest priority objectives.  
This is the Beyond Einstein program.
And over the next decade, the Beyond Einstein missions will answer fundamental questions about the origin of the Universe and the nature of space and time.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Recipe for Peace

Why are we agitated? What is wrong with our society? Nothing, but the inappropriate choice of our actions to various triggers. If so, what can we do to correct it? Easy. Let every form of response flourish. The one most suitable will naturally survive.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Without Comments

History of Humans: from an extra-terrestrial's notebook
Human history can be studied by dividing it into three stages. Ancient, quasi-modern, and modern. These can be differentiated by the methods, the people have been using to keep themselves busy. (Why they need to do so, is another topic that merits attention)
As it is well known by all except perhaps the humans, the above mentioned need is served better by the irrational. In ancient times, members of the human race, common people, might have had quite a free life, since every different opinion stood to be equally irrational as any other one. Since people in those times entertained many colorful ideas about natural and magical entities like plants, animals, and other objects of interest, there would have been no dearth of such ideas. Obviously, there was no difficulty in keeping themselves busy.
As time went by, some of those (irrational) thoughts could have turned into real, effectively making those ideas useless, posing a formidable challenge. Well, human race met the challenge, and their incessant efforts to replace those lost (irrational) ideas resulted in magnificent thoughts and great things. This long period of struggle, where human race seem to have excelled in every sphere of social life, arts or science, or, war or peace, can be termed as the quasi-modern era. And humans started leaving behind signs of their existence, since they started to resort to such things as professions and pastimes to keep themselves busy.
Now comes the modern era, when the race is rather free to enjoy the fruits of past centuries of labour. But no, they won't. The developed society is far short of irrational ideas, the excellence of previous eras having wiped off many well serving ideas of such nature. Having no fresh ideas of this genre, those people resort to reinforcing whatever irrational thoughts remain. In that process, they might make their own condition more and more unbearable, leading to extermination of the race altogether. Of course they can investigate deep into the need for the irrational, that is, the need to keep themselves perpetually busy. By doing so, a good solution may be arrived at, which will alter the race for ever. Human race is now faced with that choice. They need to react before the irrational engulfs them fully.
(As evolution is a continuous process, re-appearance of human race will occur, even if it perishes. And the cycle shall go on to perpetuity)

The human future illustrated by Scientific American: 
Well you can see, it doesn't disagree at all, with the above!

Monday, September 4, 2017


The author begins with a witty anecdote of a public speech, when he was greeted with a warning. "In the first two rows there’s a gang come to break up the lecture. Don’t try to start the lecture now". "I laughed, because I really liked the Situation. Here was an audience that wouldn't go to Sleep, whatever else it did." And that is followed by more gems. "A steady, direct look makes speech doubly effective, for it invariably carries the impression of manliness and of power". Or, "When you speak in public let your face light and change with all the emotions of what you say, and make a double appeal to your audience." 
How to Be a Leader in Speech, How to Make a Point of Contact in Speech (eg., by talking about things in which you and your hearers are alike interested), How to Take Advantage of the Light While Speaking,  How to Master Unforeseen Circumstances (eg. Expect the unexpected, and meet conditions gladly, Continue to speak as though you had expected the situation..), and How to Maintain Good Nature in Speech, and many other troublesome spots are cleared one after the other. Well, there can't be many situations one could face while giving a speech, other than those discussed here, that too with intelligent suggestions and adequate remedial measures. Like, when the discussion is about the necessity to Be a Good Listener, the book tells, while speaking, know that "In the first place, everybody likes to be heard". 
This is an excellent guide for daily reference, in addition to being a source of masterly advices on public speaking. I wish I came across this book earlier, that would have been saving much time and effort spent on clearing the misunderstanding I frequently happen to cause.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Rational is Self Centered?

All beings looks after itself, well. We demean looking after ourselves well, calling it selfishness. Is it a wonder that human race is constantly under some threat?
In a larger sense, selfishness is nothing but the acute fear one has of losing whatever one has. Naturally, this fear can occur in one, only when one has something to lose. And such people knows very well, what they are going to miss, if they lose what they have. Hence they are very careful, which, other people who can afford to be less careful, find difficult to understand. But when it comes to other people, they naturally look at the well off with certain jealousy, as, compared to the common people, the well off are noticeably better off. And the common people tend to read the behavioral facets specific to all others differently, mostly with negative connotations. For example, the 'careful nature' we saw above may get christened as an undesirable trait, selfish behavior. Of course there may be a few cases that richly deserve a dressing down, from both the well off and the others. 
However, in the majority of instances, those termed as selfish may only be acting (perhaps offensively) careful.
Making, 'being rather offensively careful' into a social stigma, and an accepted excuse to unleash one's misgivings with impunity, as far as rest of the people go, can lead to something more.
This also results in certain philosophical differences, between those who are well off and the others, leading to a state of natural mistrust between them. Anything that the rich does, becomes a suspect in the eyes of common people, and vice versa. Human society, rather than directing all its energy in meeting whatever problems are there to be solved, gets busy with such internal, unproductive scuffles. And we fail to notice the tell tale signs of social strife, harbingers of impending disasters. Consequently, a problem is attended to, only when it becomes impossible to neglect it. 
Perhaps all the challenges we face today, like global warming, AIDS, or other disasters, owe their frightening look to such a cavalier attittude. That is, these issues wouldn't have been there, had we been able to use the full might of the human race to address each and every difficulty, as and when the initial signs could be seen. And it would have been thus, hadn't we been busy with personal sqabbles on such issues like selfishness.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Book Review: Science, Evolution, and Creationism

Many people continue to have questions about our knowledge of biological evolution.  They perhaps believe that scientific understanding of evolution is incomplete, incorrect, or in doubt. Or may wonder if it is possible to accept evolution and still adhere to religious beliefs. 'Science, Evolution, and Creationism' by National Academy of Sciences, speaks to those questions. 
The book begins with a discussion about evolution and the nature of science, where the scientific understanding of biological evolution is underscored. Further, it explains the composition of the present world, and how evolution leads to it. Each species that lives on Earth today is the product of an evolutionary lineage 
of more than one species. The common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees was a species estimated to have lived 6 to 7 million years ago, whereas the common ancestor of humans and the puffer fish was an ancient fish that lived in the Earth’s oceans more than 400 million years ago. Thus, humans are not descended from chimpanzees or from any other ape living today but from a species that no longer exists.
An insight into creationism then follows. It explains how, various views of creationism typically have been promoted by small groups of politically active religious fundamentalists who believe that only a supernatural entity could account for the physical changes in the universe and for the biological diversity of life on Earth.  How these creationists hold very different views, while citing what they claim to be an incomplete or conflicting fossil record as evidence that living things were created in their modern forms.  
However, the book puts these matters to rest.  The sequence of fossils across Earth’s sediments points unambiguously toward the occurrence of evolution.
 A good set of questions and answers at the end makes this even more clear, where, some of the questions answered are: 
Aren’t evolution and religion opposing ideas? Isn’t belief in evolution also a matter of faith? What evidence is there that the universe is billions of years old? 
This is a short, good guide and, a fitting retort to all irrational souls. This can make one feel confident and happy that the basic components of evolution will continue to be supported by new evidence, as they have been for the past 150 years. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A suggestion for Mental Illness

Various theories are being used to help us in understanding problems related to emotional and behavioral adjustment, and to explore different approaches to mental health and treatment options. 

As a result, we continue to have a plethora of views or theories regarding mental health, giving rise to many specializations or paths. Like, Analytical/ Developmental approach, Behavioral psychology, Cognitive theories, and Social influences. Essentially, all these theories present the problem with two sides, a biological, self-serving side, and, a non biological, predominantly social side (e.g. intellectual, spiritual, philosophic, or aggressive influences), each needing our attention. Of late there is much discussions about how clinicians differentially weigh symptoms of mental disorders in diagnosis and cure.

A review of the broad models of mental health and illness that have been in use can show us how we think about the concept of mental illness.   The first and oldest explanatory system for mental illness is spiritual.  This was followed by the dictum that mental illness is moral in character.  As humans progressed, biological and neuro-physiologic reasons came to be the culprit.  Along with which, we also attributed mental illness to learning and developmental issues and other psychological reasons.  The final explanatory system is sociological, where we are willing to blame ourselves, at least partly.

But one thing is there common with all the above. Unlike other problems of our body, the central philosophical debate over mental illness is not about its existence or cure, but rather over how to define it. And we are constantly busy with questions of such nature. Whether it can be given a scientific or objective definition, or whether normative and subjective elements are essential to our concept of mental illness. Are we are on right track?

I think we need to attack mental issues with a holistic outlook. One can easily see, all our inventions and discoveries owe a lot to the desire some of us felt, for lessening their burden, or for adding to their comfort. In fact our constant effort, like that of other forms of life, is to make one's life more and more comfortable. Accordingly, all the developments in science and technology, which we celebrate as the principal proof of human accomplishment, can be seen as nothing but the result of such a path, that is, the desire to add comfort or oppose discomfort. In fact we actively pursued this thought when we attacked the issue of physical illness and found its cause lying in entities external to diseases, namely germs. Ever since, we are following this path successfully in the realm of physical health. What is causing discomfort to us, as far as the mind is concerned?

Why can't we think about germs of mind? Perhaps some entity external to us, or present in our life, that can initiate mental disorders at will?  Aren't the exhortations we constantly receive from our leaders, be it of spiritual domain, political arena, or cultural playground, a fit candidate here? Or things that can make us too uncomfortable, as well as those that can take us to a state of bliss?

This can definitely make classification and control of mental illnesses, more orderly and structured, like all other branches of medicine. Quite pointed, selective measures can then arise both for prevention and for treatment of mental disorders. I think, as a result, rather than feeling intimidated by a plethora of symptoms, medical practitioners in this area too shall be able to handle health issues objectively.
Isn't this the right track?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

More Proof for my Theory

A nurse inject cardiovascular drugs like ajmaline, sotalol, lidocaine, amiodarone and calcium chloride, orchestrate medical emergencies, and then step in and resuscitate them. Why?
Another proof that we are in the age of the irrational?

Monday, August 28, 2017

What separates human from other forms of life?

What separates human from other forms of life?
There are many views, like: 
1. We Make Tools
2. We’re Killers
3. We Share Food
4. We Trade Food for Sex
5. We Cook Food
6. We Walk on Two Feet
7. We Adapt
8. We Unite and Conquer
So what’s wrong with all these theories?
Many of these ideas have merit, but all are at a loss, when it comes to the question, what caused its adaptation by humans. Why did humans resort to such deviations from the norm, that too choosing activities that are not only not essential, but also dangerous for life and longevity? 
I am of the opinion that there has to be a driving force behind everything. Just as there is something to promote whatever happens in life, whether among plants or animals, in case of humans too, there has to be an agent. For example, hunger promotes eating, or, fear promotes shelter, and there in nothing in nature, which is not widely advertised and rigorously promoted. We therefore need to look for a driving force, one that is responsible for making us behave the way we behave. 
Let us see. How did we acquire humanness? 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? And start social interactions between themselves, establish an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society?
I think there is an easy answer. Walking on two feet is certainly more time taking compared to movement on all fours. Both for the one learning, and for the other who is in charge. So is the case with eating. It takes more time to fetch, prepare and have food in the manner we do presently, than the pattern followed by rest of the animal kingdom. Further habits in this regard, like maintaining access to food surplus, domestication of animals, and the use of metal tools, might have triggered the formation of permanent human settlements. Complex brain and a multi faceted society have opened up a plethora of things to keep ourselves busy in activities other than those necessary for metabolism. 
Basis of this idea is my book, The Unsure Male. As I explain in that book, rather than the influence from an external force, what made us willingly choose the path of acquiring distinctive marks is the advantage we derived from those. In that process, we happened to be enamored by the irrational (since it served us better), and therefore are constantly in its search. Many of our escapades turn out to be rational later, which routinely lead to big celebrations, great names, and extraordinary ideas. A few of those ideas from our distant past still remain, causing consternation at will, especially when the original environment where such ideas would have been of help, is no more present. 
What caused us to choose this path, and for what gain? Yes. It is the ability of humans to substitute at will, one’s needs, desires, and fulfillments, with real or unreal things. Perhaps this is what we see today as the power of abstraction. We mastered the art of using this talent to suit to one’s convenience, unlike all other species of life. Which I think, is what can be called the distinctive human quality, the one that separates us from the rest of life.
(Now also we are behind the irrational; some of it helps us in maintaining peace and harmony, some of it leads to great inventions, and some others to alarming situations, rivalries, or wars, quite regularly)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Book Review: Physics of the future

'Physics of the future: how science will shape human destiny and our daily lives by the year 2100' by Michio Kaku is a scientist's peep at the days to come.

The book begins with the observation that almost all of the old predictions regarding future, like paperless office, or the prediction that the Internet would wipe out TV and radio, did not actually take place. "This", the author says, is thus because "we probably still think like our caveman ancestors." 
Thinking thus, author starts his predictions, dividing the future into three parts. The first part is our immediate future, upto the year 2030, where, I think the current state of the art in respect of the scientific world and its progress, takes precedence. For example, "A visit to the doctor’s office will be completely changed". For a routine checkup, when you talk to the “doctor,” it will probably be a robotic software program that appears on your wall screen and that can correctly diagnose up to 95 percent of all common ailments. Your “doctor” may look like a person, but it will actually be an animated image programmed to ask certain simple questions. Your “doctor” will also have a complete record of your genes, and will recommend a course of medical treatments that takes into account all your genetic risk factors.Or a fairy tale life. "Because computers will be able to locate many of the genes that control the aging process, we might be forever young like Peter Pan."
Next part examines mid centuries, years 2030 to 2070. Here, the author begins with reminiscenses of a previous visit to microsoft where he happened to predict the collapse of computer industry owing to Moore's law, and how it didn't happen. Predictions like a successor to silicon power, an altered computer growth rate,  fully functioning cyberworld that merges the real world, etc., abound this part. Vivid descriptions like the one of a future tourist where, "a tourist walking in a museum can go from exhibit to exhibit as one's contact lens gives a description of each object; a virtual guide will give a cybertour," kept taxing my imagination.
Thereafter comes the far future, 2070 to 2100. "By the end of this century, we will control computers directly with our minds', author begins. The ideas of controlling machines by mind and mind by machines might fructify. Recording dreams, controlling motion by thought, adding consciousness to machines, possibilities of genomic medicine, and a load of amazing scenarios follows thereafter. Then comes the idea of a designer life, where each of us can plan our present or future path at will, and the book concludes with the description of a day in the life in 2100. " drag yourself out of bed and reluctantly head off to the bathroom. While washing your face, hundreds of hidden DNA and protein sensors in the mirror, toilet, and sink silently spring into action, analyzing the molecules you emit in your breath and bodily fluids, checking for the slightest hint of any disease at the molecular level."
I greatly enjoyed this book, which is a scientific look at the romantic future in store for us. The dreaming part of my brain (if there be one) went into an overdrive right from the start of this book to its finish. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Review: Think: A compelling introduction to philosophy

'Think: A compelling introduction to philosophy' by Simon Blackburn
"This book", author says, "resulted from years of wrestling with the problems of trying to interest people in ideas". It is about the big themes: knowledge, reason, truth, mind, freedom, destiny, iden¬tity, God, goodness, justice. Though these belong to the hidden preserve of specialists, through questions like, Why is there some¬thing and not nothing?, What is the difference between past and future?, Why does causation run always from past to future, or does it make sense to think that the future might influence the past?, Why does nature keep on in a regular way? Does the world presup¬pose a Creator?, etc., Simon familiarizes us with ideas and concepts that can be compared with the lenses through which we see the world. 
After such an introduction, the book goes on to discuss an unsettling thought many of us must have had since childhood, that the whole world might be a dream, or what is reality. After Descartes and the ideas of knowledge, we are shown the next big concept, mind, and it's function in making us with the know of things. How the range of our thoughts affect our own freedom, and how it controls our own identity is dealt by next chapter, namely, free  will. What is the self inside us?, is the next esoteric question to follow. Which is followed by the most mystic mytery of all, the concept of God. Does that concept exist only in understanding? Also in reality?
Next chapter takes a very brief glance at formal logic, and the problems of inductive reasoning, as well as some of the elements of scientific reasoning. After examining thoughts about our own existence, thoughts about mind and body, thoughts about freedom and fate, thoughts about the self, thoughts about God, and thoughts about the order of nature, the next chapter deals with the nature of thoughts itself - that is, the very structure of our thoughts, or the way to think properly. What changes we need to make to the premise we made in earlier chapters, for seamless integration of reality with our thoughts.
The last chapter studies the issue of putting all that we learned to use, so far as meeting all that matters to us. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Book Review: Theory of Everything

'Theory of Everything' by Stephen Hawking contains seven lectures. In the first one, 'Ideas about Universe', past ideas in this regard are examined, indicating how, those continue to lead us to newer ideas. Further concepts, principles and thoughts are examined in the following chapters titled 'Expanding Universe', and 'Black Holes'.
In the next chapter, 'Black Holes aren't so Black', author explains how, the principles of quantum mechanics permit leakage of energy from black holes and how, that can affect the origin of universe. Next chapter is quite an abstract discussion. It tries to reason why the past is different from the future. The final lecture is a commentary of our efforts towards unification of quantum mechanics, gravity, and all other known interactions.
All the lectures give equal importance to abstract concepts, historical missives, and entertaining discussions. The book talks of the need to discover a complete theory, one understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all be able to take part in the discussion of why the universe exists. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Is this the reigning thought?

What is matter. It is nothing but space. 
How? The local non-uniformities of space reach conditions of survival, which can be called as equilibrium. Everything is nothing but a transformation of equilibrium. Like, when the transformation is rapid, we call it electricity, heat, light, etc. Or, when the changes of equilibrium happens at a very low rate, we assign the name, matter. And when there is no equilibrium, we see space.

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:

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


'INDIA: WHAT CAN IT TEACH US?' A Course of Lectures by MAX M√úLLER, 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 the idea of a superior will 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?

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Sometimes I wonder , how is that each one of my friends happen to be so memorable a character? One among them, who is also a little mor...