27 June, 2011

Discerning the materialist in me

Am I a materialist?

Yes and No.

Yes: In the context of non-idealism; in my manners of understanding everything around me. This tinge of materialism in me is what has enabled me to grow an outlook endorsing rationality and self verification, and am usually not driven by the momentum of the legacy of beliefs. 'Doubt everything', as one great philosopher put it is the underlying perceptive principle, out of which the materialism in me emanates.
Looking for the logic behind events, reasoning for occurrences, with an incessant urge to question is how life should be lived. It gives immense gratification, which is otherwise impossible to be rendered by the other ubiquitous means for 'pursuance of truth' like spiritualism, religion or superstition!

No: If being asked in the context of being 'materialistic', i.e.,belonging to the creed manifesting greed, in the purest sense of commodity seeking behaviour. This category of consumers are technically not materialists, but only materialistic in nature.
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Materialism

I recurrently am encountered with questions about my aims in life.
And even before I start to formulate my ideas, the questioner starts off, "A plot of land","A posh flat", "A gizmo car", "A heavy account balance", and blah blah. If these are not blah blah to you, you are one such prospective questioner I would despise if you go on to presume something on those lines. Contradictory to the conventional trend as it may appear, I treat commodities as mere commodities, and not goals of my life.

It doesn't mean that I do not want to lead a comfortable (economic stress free) life. I would not give any more reverence to the commodities beyond that. My objectives in life, if I were to even think of them are more on the lines of expanding my own abilities, bettering my skills and in this course to throw some positive influence on others.



22 June, 2011

Inside WikiLeaks, and inside Inside WikiLeaks!


 I am a self proclaimed admirer of Julian Assange [J] and more so of WikiLeaks[WL]. Let this trait of mine not induce an idea that this post of mine is in favor of J or WL, in manners more than what they deserve.

Daniel Schmitt [D], actually the pseudonym of Daniel Domscheit-Berg is the author of the supposedly tell all book about WikiLeaks in his recent hurriedly written, crib-log Inside WikiLeaks.

I took up reading this one for, this is the first account of any details from within the secretive whistle-blowers platform WikiLeaks. But, as ridiculous a book could get, Inside WikiLeaks is majorly the yanking of D about J's personal habits, dressing sense, his perception of women, arrogance, egotism and everything that should have been confined to one's personal observations about a fellow comrade in their struggle against secrecy, and for transparency.

Non conformity with the book

WL has always propagated that "Transparency is only for Governments and big corporations, and not necessarily for individuals". I think D had got this idea distorted and goes on yanking about J's personality, and reporting nuances of J's behavior like kids would do in kindergarten.

J eats with his hands, and wipes off on his pants.
J taps the keyboard hard, creating disturbing noise.
J wore the same white shirt for both the days of the conference.
J eats faster and leaves me little to eat.
J gets more importance, and not the team, or myself.
J wears my jacket, and goes to sleep.
J pounces on my cat.
J is not bothered about selling the T-shirts, he's busy philosophizing.
J is paranoid!
And lots of commentary on J's sexuality, to the extent that D brands J a sexist.

D, for all the credibility he has as being an important person who was working for WL, hailng from the Chaos Computer Club, and to come out with a kindergarten complaint book of this sort is silly firstly, and also puts the work he had contributed to WL in bad light. I can very well anticipate the quality of work he would have been contributing to WL with a mindset such as this.

The claims of him being sidelined, and that J was getting more attention is again a point not worth debating. WL is the ingenious and courageous brainchild of J, and if he gets credit better than his counterparts, there's nothing wrong in it, unless you have peers who are trivially bothered about it. This is a normal issue in any team, and I can testify with first hand experience, like many of you would as well.

The most importantly ignored aspect about J, or WL in the book has been the security threats they have been undergoing. D pretends as if they were functioning in a safe and secure IT firm, just writing code. Even if some of the threat claims made by Assange have been exaggerated, instances where WL whistleblowers were killed, or Amazon, Paypal, VISA withdrew their services reveal to great extents the opposition WL was/is being conditioned to. And because J had to front end WL in times of most turbulence, even his safety and well being is at evident risk.
The circumstantial allegations of the sexual misconduct by two women, to get J grounded is more than a normal reaction to what could have been J's actions.

Conformity with the book

Although the book is filled with nonsensical commentary on J, the details about how WL functioned initially, or at least to the point of narration where D is still not jealous of J is quite a read.
A single decade old server hosting WL for the first whole stint, and portraying it differently to the external world, or about the impact their leaks had is enjoyable.

The criticism on the disorientation of WL from its core principles of neutrality, because J wanted to go head on with the US, if true is a point I too would be worried about. As far as D has written in this book, J's anarchist tendencies have driven him to a war with the US. But, I cannot deny the fact that, when you take World politics and are trying to make it transparent, the US of course would emerge from under everyone's carpets. And to expose the world, is in reality exposing the US, for, the US is so intrinsically involved with the rest of the world!

Holding back of leaks, or if any bias has happened to them as D alleges, that again is a matter of immense concern. Although, apart from the commentary which influence the opinions of the audience, the material by itself will be authentic, or the concerned authorities would certainly pull WL into intended espionage.

About alleged mishandling of the donations to WL, which is the core motive which has driven D to write this book according to me, must sometime come under scrutiny, or better if J would publish the transactions to shut the critics.

The internal structure, and inherent secrecy of WL as an organization is understandable for, they're in a tough game, playing big opponents and functioning with transparency is something a small team like theirs cannot afford to.

About Open Leaks [OL], I am certainly looking forward to it taking off. For, if OL can be better than WL, by not influencing the nature of leaks, or precedence, or of the recipients of the leaks, it will certainly be better. Transparency on their platform theoretically sounds very promising, and if accomplished it can certainly become the baton holder of whistle-blowers after WL.

D says,
"There's enough injustice in the world to occupy more than one (whistleblowing) platform.", and let us hope both together can make the world a better place.

All said and done, WikiLeaks made the world aware of the importance of whistleblowing to a greater extent than ever before in the History, encouraging a lot of dissidents to take up the cause. Julian Assange, irrespective of his gray shades personally, has been the spokesperson for transparency of Governments globally and will remain an icon ( maybe not of Pop icon nature, as claimed by Daniel), but more important than that – A role model to today's technologists to take up issues of social concern, without secluding themselves from the realities around...


15 June, 2011

Self deception in the process of gross deception...

It's quite amazing as to how we can make ourselves believe, almost in a manner of self-deception, by repeatedly emphasising on something fictitious to be factual, either about our own persona or of our perceptions.

Being absolutely honest about oneself is impractical, and more so not pragmatic. There is a trade-off between the quality of the character we possess and would aspire to possess as depicted to the external world. And many a times, these aspirations transcend to become traits, because even we start to believe that these fictions are facts, just like we would have wanted the rest of the world to perceive.

There are principles, and then there are beliefs. While principles are the schools of thoughts endorsed by the mind and there is a tinge of stubbornness attached to it. Beliefs are more on the aspirational lines.

The realities as portrayed by us to the ones other than us, slowly creep into our being and after a certain threshold level of belief, these 'beliefs' become one with our set of principles, mostly attributable to one's depleting ability to discern between the facts and fiction. We convince ourselves while in the process of convincing others, that some of fictitious beliefs are facts as well.

Just like the creator getting lost in his/her own creations, our mind creates a panorama of beliefs to either influence others, or sometimes just to move on with the proceedings.
After having succeeded in making others believe in these created projections of ours, ironically even we end up believing in these projections.
Self deception in the process of gross deception is what all of this seems like.




10 June, 2011

Asymmetric geniuses!

Thanks to one of my fellow rationales for discussing this observation with me,  which I have only tried to substantiate in this post.

It indeed is a very good observation that many of the 'geniuses' are in fact asymmetric. Asymmetric as in, either they aren't the best at their 'social etiquette', or  the best of the home-makers!
But, does that mean they are unworthy of their ingenuity?

What most of us, who want to be the "Jack of all, Master of none" accomplish in the end is tagging ourselves onto the humongous and over-crowded cloud of mediocrity.

In order to focus and excel in all domains, the resources allocated to us when we are the conscious part of the Universe are in deficit. As a result, we can channelize our efforts to few domains, and can succeed in fewer.

So, becoming the "Master of all" isn't feasible, in reality.

When such is the case, geniuses from any field have tried to make a trade off between their work and social/personal lives. The likes of Newton, Tolstoy, Marx, Shakespeare, Einstein, Feynman and many other minds who have put us at awe with their groundbreaking work have had 'problems' in their social or personal lives, gauging them with the rest of the mediocrity. Criticism and attacks on these minds for not being upto the society's mark in their etiquette has testimonials throughout the course of civilisation, which is absurd.
Weird, really??
Recently, Julian Assange the founder and Chief Editor of WikiLeaks, a genius and maverick of sorts, has had to face a lot of mud-slinging. This coming from, as expected, the rest of the mediocrity.
My point has always been, why bother about the individual's personal/social life unless it affects you directly! Whether he/she likes cats or not, if they wear the same shirt for more than a day, or if they keep changing their girl friends?
It should be of no concern for, the work from them is what influences us. Unless they try to influence their supposed wierdness onto us, we should be least bothered, or distracted about their lives.

In the case of WikiLeaks, this has been an extensive smear campaign against Julian Assange , who has been the Spokesperson and the front-end to the entire movement of WikiLekas. By distracting the audience from the essentials, the media certainly has done its job of trying to reduce the credibility of WikiLeaks amongst the gullibles,  of course. But, where has all the grey matter of people vanished? Most people actually seem to be concerned more about Assange's wierd hairdo than the ideals he has brought to life with his work.

Asymmetric nature of minds at work should be recognised as a necessity for them to concentrate their efforts on the work they do, rather than expecting them to be the clich├ęd, stereotype social animals.

06 June, 2011

To be, or not be?

When an intimate episode of life is hinting at its formal end, how do you respond to it?
Do you rejoice in a reminiscing mode, or regret in a remorseful one?

The conflict has been if I should bid adieu in a delightful manner for, I can forever be nostalgic and hence indebted to those memories. Or, do I go cribbing about it?

But then, I directly arrive at the logic and /me missing it now, makes no sense at all, as I knew it was coming, and coming this way.

Life to me as yet, has been a beautiful compilation of lovely chapters, with each one embodying special protagonists other than me. Everyone of these other protagonists have changed me, and all for the good, or that's how I see it.

Like I have always said - It doesn't take me long to get off my obsessions.
I had done it before, numeorus times, and will be doing it again.
This particulaar trait in me sometimes makes me believe I am the most strong headed person I have known!

The question 'To be or not be a remorseful cartoon' surfaces up, only to find the obstinate answer ever ready.
Thanks for the memories...

PS: As a rare coincidence, I happened to listen to this great track by Fall Out Boys in the morning, and these lines have been lingering in my head. So apt!

It's always cloudy, except for,
When you look into the past.

One night and one more time
Thanks for the memories
Thanks for the memories...


05 June, 2011

Fast Forwarding India: Anna and Baba way!

If I were one of the high TRP media channel ( almost all the hundreds are in fact of high TRP!), who feeds junk to people, at this moment I would be gleaming at my own fortune! Drama, action, emotion, music, and even some Indian acrobatics ( yoga) in impeccably packaged episodes running to full houses for quite sometime now.

By the way, if there's anyone apart from me, who's also finding it difficult to relate to the time period we actually are living in, given the course of events unfolding, here's a reminder: It certainly is the 21st Century, after the age of Communications, well into the age of Information and Technology.  And in this time frame, we are witnessing some of the greatest regressive approaches to revive India, by Fast Forwarding her: : Anna and Baba way,

Corruption is not something new to India, or to any society for that matter. The sudden surge, a giant leap forward in the scale of corruption is what has come to the notice of the civil society off late. Thanks to some loyal Govt. officials like the Lokayukta and a specific Gandhian to have had it echoed throughout the country, which otherwise is comfortably dormant, highly middle classed society.

Looking back, before a couple of months during the Anna phenomenon, almost all of the tax paying, middle class citizens were poised together with Anna Hazare to put a full stop to corruption in India by tweeting, facebooking, reading the bill draft, participating in meetups and discussing out of desperation the pros and cons of an inherently flawed approach towards tackling corruption.
This entire fuss about eradicating corruption and the antidote in the form of another parallel bureaucratic system called the "Jan Lokpal", which has been under way is, if at all implemented going to be a superficial medication for a deep rooted problem in a severely wounded system.

The entire polity and economics of the system must be resuscitated and revived to see any hope of betterment.

Without delving into this repetitive argument on my blog, let us look at the situation at hand.
A Yoga Guru, who is left out of the Drafting Panel of the LokPal committee for obvious reasons, decides to redo the exercise of emancipating the country within a couple of months after the hysterical Anna Hazare movement. He is doing it again because.... I'm not really sure! Maybe the Lokpal committee didn't want to incorporate his ingenious demands to curb corruption. Demands like capital punishment for the corrupt, demonetizing Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/ currency notes, and the Prime Minister being directly  elected by the people, which apart from being unviable are simply ridiculous.

With other demands like undoing Indian black money in foreign banks, Ramdev had hit the chord of double standards: While he has declared his own assets which reach upto Rs. 1000 crores and Islands as property (with suspicion on the sources) he seeks an anti-corruption campaign!
Like the Congress is now branding Ramdev as a thug, he is at the first place unfit to call for a campaign for a cause of this nature. I might even tend to pardon him, but not the gullibles who went behind him, including the UPA Govt. Imagine the spite of the Government,when it sends four of its ministers to negotiate with a thuggish Baba who threatens to go on a fast along with his followers.

Now, when the police in a surprise action has shaken up the India Fast Forward program by the Baba, in an agreeably undemocratic manner, they have made an unnecessary Hero out of a thug. I can only hope not for all the drama that is going to unfold in the bleaky days to come.

And the BJP with their saffron connection with Ramdev and his act, would be more than happy to lift off from the "Ramlila Maidan atrocity" directly to power. They have already started comparing the incident to JalianWala Bagh massacre of 1919 and PM and Sonia Gandhi to General Dyer!

Where has all the sense in this country vanished!

I only can hope that there aren't anymore Fast dramas,and people concentrate on the real issues which are giving rise to these high levels of corruption and injustices.

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