Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sentiment,Sense and Non-sense

It's been one year since I landed in US, in search of pachhe pul.

Not the best year of my life.. but lots of things learnt.

No grand celebrations, no deep regret..

Have had the greatest fun in this year, and need I say, and adequate quantity of quality disappointments.

I am trying my best not to get boring and philosophical.. but seriously, this is the first time in my 23 years of experience, I am, theoretically, "on-my-own" .

Not a bad job, mate :P

My Top 5 main regrets (aka ..future tasklist) are :-
1)With paradesis like me abounding in Gatech, I am yet to make a real "desi" friend
2)I want to learn to play guitar, or flute.
3)I want to know in more detail, what I would like to work on for the next five years of my life.
4)I want to become an author of a best-seller :P
5)"..And treat those two imposters just the same!" (If I'm rambling,I forgive myself)

Was just now wondering how humour and spirituality go together... I really cant stop my flow of thoughts right now.

Humour should be used as a litmus test for those getting inclined into "spirituality" or "meditation". If you cant laugh, one should , proverbially "get a life", and pray God to help you.

For those who are seriously into practicing religion, or meditation, here are the details of the my golden tests :

1) Imagine jerry chasing Vadivelu around a traffic signal in circles, and Jayalalitha dancing on top of both of their heads, and you are on the spot, and say in all seriousness "That's sad"

( If that triggered a smile, you are safe. Anyway proceed further. If mot, buck-up, you have two more tests to go. You CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!!!! )

2) Imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger in Veshti ,Thorthu,Pattai singing "Kannodu kanbathalam " from Jeans in high pitch, full bhava, while PV Narasimha Rao does Moonwalk.

(If you dint smile now, make sure you try to laugh your ass off for the next one)

3)Imagine yourself on the gates of heaven, and the guard says "Sorry Boss, Tickets booked. There is one vacancy if you trans-figure yourself as Britney Spears and say, "I'm Basanti, not Britney" sing in a nasal la-reshammiya voice," Aapka suroooooor ", and dance on broken glass.

(Kindly note.. This was intentionally a bad joke, and the aim was to make it harder for a person to laugh/smile. If you smiled for the first two, you passed ..don't worry. Else, my young lass/lad, get a life, forget religious austerities and God, time being!!)

On a more serious note, I find it unusual that while Hinduism has deities incharge of creation, destruction ,preservation, knowledge, wealth (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva,Saraswathi,Lakshmi) , there is no God for Laughter/ Humour.

See.,.That should have been the most logical deity to have. For the un-initiated, villages in South India abound in more varities of "Amman" , or personal Gods, than one can phatom.
(That's classic usage of'peacock terms' - refer wiki.. I don't have evidence to support my claim).

A God of humour who would be prayed every ammavasai /poornami , to give a better sense of humour. Who would have to be satiated by narrating something humerous for all audiences every Friday.

And see.. this is a Global conspiracy. All the proponents of all the major religions on Earth suppressed humour, and preached that the way to ultimate way for "bliss" or "happiness" is making sure you are sad throughout your lifetime and undergo severe austerities,before being promised "something that would make you happy" in your after-life.

So.. next time when someone tells a clean, decent joke, and you crack up, just remember that you are probably half-way to eternal bliss !!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

This too shall pass :P

Before proceeding at all, let me be clear- This is not a "I am sad, I studied philosophy, I prayed God, and I realize that mental state of mind is fleeting and state of affairs, are transistory, and hence, and hence I'll be happy some other day post "

I once got a mail on my gmail id, signed with those same words "This too shall pass" .
I am not a big fan of mails signed with quotes, and I usually don't bother to read them at all. (Though, I can at times, be jobless enough to google the quote, to find out who said what, and when, and in which era!)

A mail stored on a Google server, disappearing? getting DELETED? GONE FOR EVER? Even if google had a hundred thousand back-ups of the mail on 10 zilion servers, powered by electricity generated from nuclear fusion, bio-fuel,air, sun or cow-dung?Even if Google somehow secured control of all the hydro-electric power generation in the world by buying each dam constructed over every river, and every tidal- power project built on all the seas, and oceans? This sounded as crazy to me as a bunch of tribals in deep amazon jungle, creating a tech-start up,aimed at making improvised silica-poisoned arrows from a computer chip and shooting at wild pigs.

Yet, really, you have to face it and accept it - "This too shall pass away" . Sometimes it takes a triffle longer (polythene, Great wall of china) , sometimes not. Any crumb of bread, anything man-made, man-modified, sooner or later is destined to fade away. Inevitable.

Makes you realize the solemn fact that we are, what we are today, for the simple reason we don't know what we need. This is not something ambiguously philosophical- it is a necessary reason for our very existence.

Philosophies or Policies that have countered this have not survived. Humans "need" Food, clothing,shelter and sex. Take consumerism, for instance- The couch /chair on which you are sitting and reading this, would be having a dozen competitors to manufacturer a "similar" product. You could be reading this on Windows, Mac Linux, or on your mobile phone. You could be using Safari,Firefox,or IE, Opera, or Netscape Navigator(you might be living in a cave as well!) Why does each product exist? Some folks in each organization have down some market analysis, and have figured out that if they implement a particular feature, or "add value" as rivaled to a competitor, people will migrate from what they are using to the new product. So Why really? People don't know what they wan't, and will change to a new product, if they feel it suits them better.

This is an underlying theme recurrent in our life. We don't really know. We exist on this planet, not knowing what we want. We make our choices based on what's offered to us. The important thing is having the freedom to choose.

"Volatile" Democracy and capitalism, have fared better, as opposed to more "stable and controlled" authoritarianism, and socialism. The origin of nature worship is more ancient than any religion on earth. The fear the environment induced in him was an important factor, and worship was limited to the phyical elements. How does one explain the existence of different religions,then? We have different rational, and not so rational explanations of this. The documentary "Zeitgist" gives a rather unflattering opinion on the origin of religion.

My rationale is this- 20,000 years ago man was'nt born with religion.Neither is one today. You make a voluntary, or involuntary decision on what "religion" you follow. Each founder of a new religion was a guy (Btw,Is there any religion, whose origin is attributed to a woman? ), who by inward deliberation, and contemplation,upon his origin, and the world around him, got a few good ideas, and said "folks, I am sure there is a big, nice guy up there, and if you do so-and-so, and you don't do so-and-so, you will make him happy,and you too will be happy.I can tell you this is true.. Look at me!" . How religion inevitably became deeply intertwined with governance and mythology is a different issue.

Religion's origin was open-source. A guy had a better understanding about himself and the world, and he explained to others about his "implementation". He dint just give the API.
Now well intentioned fools around him, got bugged by explaining his "implementation" to every dumb-wit around, and created an API and started convincing people around to use it.Now,as any normal person, nobody uses an API simply, without knowing what the hell it actually does.You ask a thousand-and-one questions. The API is either the most optimized one that is available,or you have to use it, cos it is the only one that comes bundled with other things, without which you cant lead a sane life. Most folks , as normal human beings again,didn't bother much about optimization, but wanted to lead a sane life.So they started using the API. However, the fools kept the fact away from them that the API usage is machine-dependent. So, for millions and millions of years, we have been using one API or the other.That, I think, summarizes a large part of world history.

We kind of forget that each guy who circulated his implementation,dint mean to shove it down everyone's throat. The intent was to offer a better choice- a buyers market at the end. Again, the crux of all religion boils down to the same-there is an omnipotent,omniscient force,which cant be described qualitatively well enough.

Religion, as is practiced today, has an origin in time.Hence, it will have an end. It too shall pass away. Dinosaurs dint practice any religion!

We exist and go about our normal life,because, deep down , we cant answer the simple question what we need.Right from the brand of shoes, a laptop and search engine(Yahoo is still doing business!!). MBA graduates get a fat pay-check, because ultimately their understanding of human psyche, makes them guess the choices the human mind makes.

Sometimes, I wonder why inanimate things last longer- I mean, seriously.. this is grossly unfair. A diamond remains the same until some other diamond comes along and decides to scratch it... a secure,unspoilt lifetime for 500 years is not an over-estimate! Humans are a little unlucky :P

Though from perspective of pure science, this might sound bullshit.Ultimately, at the level of chemicals we are nothing more than a combination of Oxygen, Carbon,Nitrogen,Hydrogen,Potassium,Calcium,sulphur,chlorine and a bunch of other chemicals which you can google out. And ofcource, at lower level of abstraction, we are obscure protons,electrons and neutrons, and probably smaller sub-atomic particles. We dont yet know what is the most basic building block of our body.

If popular myths have any shred of truth in them, sages in india who practiced an austere life of meditation and yoga, lived a longer, and healthier life. Does meditation somehow cause a change in alignment of atomic or subatomic particles to offer greater resistance to the forces of nature?

Forget meditation.. look at the feats that have been achieved by various individuals. Some can solve a rubik's cube in the order of seconds, some can withstand a car being run over them.
Where does each person derive their abilities from?Physical strength? Intelligence?Yet the same carbon, hydrogen and bullshit.

A diamond has makes no choice on how it want's its carbon atoms aligned to last for the longest period of time. It's system is closed, and not subject to change -A bunch of chemicals do not enter a diamond three times a day, and exit 'n' number of times. Human's on the other hand, are an open system , and need the right combination of chemicals to enter,and leave their system.These chemicals, chemical processes , electrical pulses, are all something that we have control of-choice-food that we consume, our thoughts, and inputs from our environment.

Perhaps,in thatv perspective, meditation and yoga are the attempts to optimize the most dynamic and complex system-human body.

Yet, when we are confronted with choices with respect to anything that we do in our life, our life itself has no choice.We never are asked, if we would be liked to be born, or whether we want to spend 50 years on earth, or 75!

I really think human species would stop existing if this non-flexibility really sinks in. Nobody would really bother to make the little choices, that eventually make us to dream. There would be nothing called "economy".

God bless Maya!!!!!! :P