30 November, 2011

Religion: That which relies upon relics

Another installment of the Godly religion debate makes an appearance on my blog, and this time based on a series of discussions with an entourage of a different kind. Without delving into the nature of the entourage, let me dive directly into the arguments.

Religion: That which retrospects relying upon relics
Science: That which refines itself based on skepticism

Science and religion coexising? Impossible!
The aforementioned snippets of wisdom, that I have come to arrive at, based on all the incessant, intense and invigorating discussions on religion and science, kind of encapsulate the two ideologies and place them in a clear scale for dialectical analysis.

If you have been one of those fortunate persons to still have a deep religious faith system and have been part of a debate with me, you would realize your big, bold, blind spot. The dead end one would eventually bump into while sliding down the the tunnel of religion is that religion does not evolve in principle, and I make no mistake in leading you to that point of revelation. It relies on relics, and is never looking into the future. It is simply retroactive.

Like anything that stagnates - goes stale - ends up being perilous to the system, religion with all the centuries of stagnation and more of deterioration has of course hampered the system in a deep and cancerous manner. The pros and cons of this flaw in the society have been elaborately presented in my previous posts. I will only try to talk about the obstinacy that comes inherent to the religious avatars.

Living by a set of principles is any sane and civilized person's natural tendency. If the society feels it necessary to impose these principles based out of unverifiable texts, each boasting to be more antique than the other, onto a system which is dynamically changing on a daily basis - Could it get more ridiculous? Although most of the teachings or rules presented in these texts might be deemed as eternal and universally applicable, I doubt the veracity of this claim, as would many of you.

My problem has never been religion, but the imposition, propaganda and obstinacy that comes inseparably attached to it. Like Kamal Hassan says, “Your religious beliefs must be personal like your sex life, without going gaga in public about it!”.

Now, let us take up the counterpart of this debate – Science.

Science: That which refines itself based on skepticism

Skepticism is inbuilt in the modes of thoughts perpetrated by Science. It is designed to scrutinize itself and to evolve better. This alone has been the common trait through the millenia of science that has happened. Science scrutinizes itself ruthlessly unlike any other ideologies. It is honest, humble and rational. Science too depends upon relics, but of different kinds – fossils they are called and play their part in reasoning, to prove the concept of Darwinian evolution by Natural Selection.

Further, to the minds endorsing scientific thought, it only teaches one to learn and get better. When one endorses the scientific perception, an air of arrogance seemingly would surface up; It is nothing more than a vent out of frustration, for having to look at the world as it is today entangled in multitudes of religious fangs.

In all, the debate of religion and science could go on forever, they can never be coexistent as many claim to synthesize.

Science is when you've realized what religion is, given that in this process you've used your brain.

26 November, 2011

Industry-education: Connected via a disconnect

ITEC's convention on bringing in awareness about frauding IT companies brought out some interesting paradigms, to look at a seemingly straightforward problem of frauds and cheats.

Of all the reasons discussed on the lines of labour-capital friction, to the lawlessness one other important and at the same time profound cause that surfaced up through the discussions was the role that professional education has been playing.

Bangalore, is tirelessly addressed as the knowledge capital, and adding to this tag today it is also the IT capital of India. While this entire new diaspora of IT'ians, and all the changes ushered in using them as the vents are remarkable, in terms of the impact and the pace at which it has coalesced into what it is today. A whole gamut of structural changes have been impinged on to the society, and the population has responded by altering a lot of itself. As in changes in the culture, politics, policies, priorities of people, etc... are substantial enough.

One of the most important things that has had a slow,subtle, yet huge impact is the education sector.

First and foremost, the notion of education becoming a "sector" of business can be attributed to the rise of big businesses via the IT revolution India has witnessed. Who else, other than Bangalore could be a better contendor to serve as an analysis point?
A full hundred engineering colleges, churning out the work force in a production line model, without being concerned about the quality of its throughput is a sight observable in Bangalore with ubiquity. This throughput supposedly is to cater to the plethora of IT MNC's based in Bangalore, while that sector itself has one perennial complaint about the 'employability' of these products from the higher education machinery.

As the discussions conveyed: A connected disconnect!

What is the purpose of education?

This question itself needs a whole dedicated discussion. Nonetheless, in the current context of Industry and education, would it not be outrageous to percieve education, even the so called 'professional courses' working at narrowing down the learnability of students to a small cone of technologies, which translate into a smaller window of career opportunities? Is this the role of education?
To educate a young mind in a system is to prepare him/her to become agile and glide through the alleys of life, and not to chain down in one spot, which would grow worse by the day.

Role of corporates in education

Now, Mr. Narayanmurthy of Infosys, is the new mascot of gleaming India, looking into the future of the world, carrying the young generations to advancement; or at least that is what the media is portraying him to be. He's credibly being accused of nosing into too many domains, certainly beyond his realms of expertise. Recently, in an ironic interview in NDTV he was being questioned about the growth of India in the last two decades, to celebrate 20 years of Neoliberalism in India, beyond the License permit raj. Now, why is it ironic?
Like in Chaplin's The Kid movie, if a window glass is shattered, it certainly is beneficial to the window tile seller! Allowing you readers to ponder further on this, let me delve into the corporate influence on education.

Mr.NRN represents to all our vivid imagination the 'big business doing, good samaratins'. These good samaratins are obviously doing good, but not to the general public but their own vested interests.

The education sector is being modulated to the tune of the market forces. Specialization in education is being performed to accommodate the skills necessary for the industries being set up, and that is deeply influenced by the current trend of businesses thriving. "Education system is dancing to the songs of market forces", as Sridhar, Senior Editor from the Hindu said.

Higher education system, at least the engineering colleges are offloaded IT company training institutes; preparing the workforce as they perceive the industry would want, and becasue the industry is always ahead in terms of technology the efforts by the education system are deemed inadequate!

Higher education should allow people to specialize in their interests, not what the market is interested in. The higher education climate in the last decade at least in Bangalore has been : get hold of an engineer's tag and get into an IT company, lead a happy life! Each portion of which is a hoax of nth order!

While there are bigger and immediate problems to be addressed about the IT sector and its perilous impact on the society, in the long run undoing to education what IT revolution has done would be of highest import, to make the society a balanced one.

25 November, 2011

ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ

ನನ್ನ ಬ್ಲಾಗಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದಿರುವ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಕನ್ನಡ ಲೇಖನಗಳೂ ಯಾವುದಾದರೊಂದು ತೀವ್ರತೆಯ ಸಂಗತಿಯ  ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಇದ್ದಿವೆ. ಈ ಲೇಖನದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಂತಹ ಯಾವುದೂ ತೀವ್ರ ವಿಷಯವನ್ನು ಮುಟ್ಟದೆ , ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಬರೆಯುವುದಾಗಿ ನಿರ್ಣಯಿಸಿದ್ದೇನೆ, ಹೇಗೆ ಮುಂದುವರಿಯುವುದು ಎಂದು ನೋಡೋಣ.

ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆ ಯಾವುದೆಂದು ಕೇಳಿದಾಗ, ನನಗೆ ಎನು ಉತ್ತರ ಹೇಳುವುದೆಂದು ಇತ್ತೀಚಿಗೆ ಗೊಂದಲವಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಮೊದಲು ಮಾತೃ ಭಾಷೆ ಎಂದರೆ ಏನು ಎಂಬ ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟನೆಯ ಅವಶ್ಯಕತೆ ಇದೆ!

ನನ್ನ ತಾಯಿ ಮಾತನಾಡುವ ಭಾಷೆ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯೆ?
ನಾನು ಹುಟ್ಟಿದ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಆಡುಭಾಷೆ ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯೆ?
ಅಥವಾ, ನನ್ನ ಮೆದುಳು ಆಲೋಚನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡುವ ಭಾಷೆ ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯೆ?

ಈ ಗೊಂದಲದಿಂದ ಹೊರಬಾರದೆ, ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯಾವುದೆಂದು ಪರಿಗಣಿಸುವುದು ಅಸಾಧ್ಯವೇ ಹೌದು. ಮೇಲಿನ ಮೂರೂ ವಿವರಣೆಗಳನ್ನು ಕುರಿತು ನಾನು ಒಂದು ಭಿನ್ನವಾದ ಉತ್ತರವನ್ನು ನೀಡಬಲ್ಲೆನು.

ನನ್ನ ತಾಯಿ ಮಾತನಾಡುವ ಭಾಷೆ ತಮಿಳು. ಈ ಕಾರಣ ತಮಿಳು ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವುದು ಸುಲಭವಲ್ಲ. ನನಗೆ ತಮಿಳು ಓದಲು, ಬರೆಯಲು ಬರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ - ಈಗ ಕಲಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತೊಡಗಿದ್ದೆನೆ!

ನಾನು ಹುಟ್ಟಿದ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಆಡುಭಾಷೆ ಕನ್ನಡ. ೧೨ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಕಾಲ ವ್ಯಾಸಂಗ ನಡೆಸಿ, ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ, ಆ ಮೂಲಕ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಇತಿಹಾಸದ ತುಣುಕುಗಳನ್ನು ಮೆಲುಕು ಹಾಕಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಈ ಕಾರಣ ಕನ್ನಡ ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವುದು ಅತಿ ತಕ್ಕದಾದ ಉತ್ತರವಾದರೆ,

ನನ್ನ ಮೆದುಳು ನಡೆಸುವ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಆಲೋಚನೆಗಳು, ವಿಚಾರ-ವಿಮರ್ಷೆಗಳು, ಕಲ್ಪನೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯಗಳೆಲ್ಲವೂ ಆಂಗ್ಲದಲ್ಲಿಯೆ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವುದು ಚಿಂತಾಜನಕವಾದ ಸಂಗತಿ! ಈ ಕಾರಣ ಆಂಗ್ಲ ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯಾಗಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವೆ?

ಆಲೋಚಿಸಬೇಕಾದ ವಿಷಯ ಹೌದು!

ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಎಂದು ಹೊರಟು, ಒಂದು ಕಷ್ಟಕರ ಸುಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಲುಕಿಕೊಂದಿರುವಂತಿದೆ. ಆದರೂ, ಎಲ್ಲವೂ ನಡೆಯಲಿ, ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ!

24 November, 2011

Journalism, contorted

I was at a book release function of a senior journalist MS Prabhakara, and some lessons on journalism were there to be absorbed. Journalism our generation knows is entirely different from the work that the people in that hall have lived through.

Nupur Basu, raised a concern asking a question; she apprehended, "Where have our generation of journalists gone wrong, that the best practices we adopted have not been carried forward to the contemporary journalists?"
Although the question itself was deemed beyond the scope of the discussions there, it made a mark on me.

The aforementioned apprehension about journalism having gone out of the ethical and passionate ways of reporting events and honestly communicating to the people is of grave concern.

I am a severe critic of the paparazzi mouth pieces of the day, which spew junks of futile brouhaha, brands propaganda and rarely some news which is either "paid", or extensively contorted. A newspaper which fits this description is the largest and pompously read English daily in most of the metros.

P Sainath in one of his talks mentions that the success of this trendsetting newspaper under discussion is that, it was successful in creating an audience of its own - a mirage of Westernization backed by the globalized market bouncing off the neoliberal policy framework. Treading in its path, even today, people read this particular newspaper to feel "urbanized"! Pity.

Influencing public opinion by whatever means is the most important political tool that could be devised. Print media, although mellowing down has substantial impact even today with all the tens of "news channels" (a term that annoys and antagonizes me simultaneously). Reporting honest news and ethical journalism are confined to few publishers, who in the Page3 world not fashionable enough for the gullible population to read.

Although with the intervention of internet, there is not much of polarization in terms of opinions, the perilous impact of bad news in bad form is out there to be seen - Most of the bad newspaper reading readers feel good about the goodness of emulating other populations, without analyzing the good or bad of bad and good of what is served to them! 

22 November, 2011

Disassembling Logic

Well out of the lot many things running in my head competing to get out onto my blog, the following post has made it first and for reasons evident in the following paragraphs.

The question of thoughts, ideas, imagination, rationalization, reality and materialism are eternal queries which keep haunting the small gray web that's built within our heads.

Imagine a discourse, in which someone is trying to put forth these very ideas in the most simplistic manner, and you're wondering "No, this can't be real!", as if transported into The Matrix.

Distinguishing thoughts from reality, although is a natural skill each one is designed with, the exercise of documenting this design as an outsider is super cumbersome. Cumbersome because, as all simple things in life, this notion is easy to experience but sophisticated to express. The essence of expressing obscure concepts is to clarify, but when one sets on a goal to express intuition, or common logic is where the pinnacles of obscurity reside.

The very fact that something is simple, and it comes coded in our genes makes it a part of us, like thoughts for example. Now, if one wants to analyze these thoughts as an outsider, it requires immense expenditure of efforts and a great level of associated detachment from oneself and the community around to treat the self as the subject of study. These are the very processes which seem counter intuitive and end up creating the most scintillating works of research, philosophy and literature.

For instance, Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud, with all the criticism to Psychoanalysis taken into account, is still a marvelous piece of literature which talks about the subject of dreams; here, it is the analysis on the subject and not the subject itself that is expanding into realms of disbelief! Now, one would ask what value is the analysis of, if in the first place there were no subject to analyze! It is precisely on these lines that my current reading is going on :)

In the book Dialectical Logic, one of the best confluence of philosophy, rationality and literature I have ever dealt with, the concepts in it tackle simplest of our notions like thoughts, ideas, rationalization etc.. And the initial flow by itself has taken me aback. I am reading it all along in disbelief. By the time I end up reading this assimilated masterpiece I hope to have fathomed the Dialectics of Logic!

A grand extrapolation to the theory of Coexistence of conflicting opposites.

18 November, 2011

Gabriel Marquez's The General in His Labyrinth

Reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez (GGM) most known for his book One Hundred Years of solitude (I'm yet to read), is an acquired taste I'd say when it comes to this book of his General in His Labyrinth.

After Oscar Wilde's wit in writing, for the style I would certainly endorse GGM's mannerisms of writing. Even the simplest of the observations are presented in a form that is hard to ignore. Metaphors, similes and verbal decorum are plentiful in his verbiage and keeps the readers entertained.

Talking about the content of this book, an interesting topic to write about - The last days of Simon Bolivar. The dusking life of one of the greatest Generals of Latin America is the protagonist of the book. It is not even Simon Bolivar, but all the nuanced insults, regressions and declines he faces towards the end of his life are unsympathetically, as if in a mode of enjoyment are described by GGM through the book.

Personally, for me the content in the book was super negative, and I for obvious reasons do not enjoy such literature. The main savior for the reader like me to savor this book is GGM's style of presentation as mentioned before.

A couple of pages where GGM describes Simon Bolivar's romantic interests, from the perspective of one of the ladies and Simon Bolivar are the most enjoyable. If it was congruence with my own volatile state of mind, or the pleasure of reading some wonderful writing I might not want to probe into, but those are the pages which stand out, and I might want to quote a couple of lines from memory!

He would leave her on any pretext in a foolhardy effect to escape the servitude of formalized love.
I'll never fall in love again.It's like having two souls at the same time.
He went back, knowing he would sink in her quick sands....

And a whole gamut of zeniths of imagination through the book shaping up as pinnacles of verbal creativity:

Dignified decorum of nostalgia
Lost in the lucidity of advanced levels of insomnia
He had buried her at the bottom of a water-tight oblivion as a brutal means of living without her.
He had the patience of a drowned man..

It is things such as these which kept me afloat through the book, and certainly not the hundreds of Latin American names and places which one is expected to correlate to when incidents are narrated.
Now, I for sure know that Geography of places, and History with names and dates are never going to be my domains of expertise!

In all, looking forward to read One Hundred Years of Solitude sometime soon. And GGM will of course be on my list of favorite writers.
When it is pure genius, it shows!

15 November, 2011

Crazy and poetry

I lay here, unaware of the intricacies,
Intertwined with unfathomable intimacies;
While I thought it was, it was you,
You come out as something really new;

Not that I claim I already fully knew,
Did only know better than the other few.
Are you the one I thought you still were,
Or have you juggled yet again like her!

Well, was that a tinge of gleam,
Or am I the oneiric still in my dream?
Why know not, still not know why
Want you here, and do stay by.

If to lose me is to find you dear,
Shed all that you know it as fear.
I am lost, well lost am I?
Confessed I have like the open sky.

Started a rogue, reached here have I
Didn't know the path, nor the reason why.
This way seems not the road too easy,
Ain't it why I'm known to be this crazy!

It's you, and you is all I seek,
You would know it, give my mind a peek.
You're the one, only one you are
Reach me well, before I get too far.

13 November, 2011

Staying inspired!

Inspiration is another of those neural obscurities, directly impacting our daily lives and in the long run shaping up our core principles and our personalities.

Deriving inspiration from multiplicity of sources influences our take on life and molds us into the projections of the images of various of these inspirations.

Nature is the grandest of the sources of inspiration. She has been perpetually inspiring some of the greatest minds to accomplish what ever they were to do. Both in the form of art and science, nature gives boundless inspirations, clues, troubles and joy driving our efforts bidirectionally - within us so that our passion gets deep rooted into us, and beyond us to engulf the world with our passion.

Apart from nature, deriving inspiration from ideas is the next and the best way to keep oneself motivated. Ideas are the most tangible of human attributes, which although not quantifiable by themselves have shaped up our history and have constant influence on our future. Identifying oneself with some of the eternal ideas which weave humanity together is necessary to put ourselves into the context of the journey that we have all embarked upon. When we identify and align our ideologies with a school of thought is when it becomes conducive for us to ideate based on this school of thought, or dissent and influence the rest of the world with our ideas, radically.

Nature and ideas are, to put it in a way inexhaustible sources of inspiration. Nature and ideas have a small disconnect of being abstract to some extent.

But, if a person were to derive inspiration from another human being, the inspiration comes with all the gamut of human potentials and flaws, and emulating them helps one correlate well to the pragmaticity of life.

Again, people and inspiration can be of two variants: One from the lives of people who have been immortalized in the pages of history, for the lives they had. Seeking inspiration by reminiscing such great minds is still an indirect but excellent way to position ourselves in relation to their lives.
Galileo, Newton, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin, Oscar Wilde, Einstein,Che Guevara, Feynman, Ramanujan, and the list goes on. Deriving inspiration from these great minds also has the benefit of making abstraction associated with ideas to correlate to real people.

The other category are from our contemporaries and peers. Knowing someone in person and wanting to emulate some portions of that person is in fact the most effective source of inspiration. For, when we know someone in flesh and blood, the efforts that goes into making their lives worth looking up to are visible to us; To know the amount of dedication one needs to put in is something we lose out when seeking inspiration from other abstract means. Sheer luck, or coincidence never can create sources of inspiration in people.

I have been lucky in this regard to have known in person a handful of real inspiring people, and to look up to them - trying to emulate them and in the process knowing that I have grown, is bliss of the highest order.

Staying inspired is the only way of life forward :)

11 November, 2011

Indulging in wordplay

I'm not sure if this is a personal fancy, or if many of you have this trend of favorite words: Some word which occupies your mind, conversations and writings either due to its phonetics, or simply its implications. I regularly have these whimsies, and in most cases end up overwhelmingly using these words in my conversations and writing, with surplus utterances and occurrences!

Indulgence is the first of the words which I remember being obsessed about. There is something to the sound of it and more importantly the essence of it. It still is really special - Just to say it slowly, and passionately!

Other words in my favorite list:
cliche :used it until it became what it means. Now stick to using it when necessary only

highfalutin: I remember the first time I read this was in Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. And ever since then, if none of the other fascist ideas,I have been using this word quite effectively.

diaspora: Well the current Diaspora* which I keep talking about did not introduce me to the term :) I think because it is a favorite word that I got hooked on to Diaspora* as well.

jargon: It is more to do with the phonetics of the word. To say it gives a nice sensation in the mouth (no, I'm not crazy, just try it out!)

commandante: Spanish word, from a farewell song to Che Guevara. Admire the the man, love the song, and hence the word

chauvinism : Certainly for phonetic reasons only!

There must be tens more. For now, the current word is phantasmagoria . Although very poor sounding phonetically, like sapiosexual it is an experience revelatory term. So just love it.

06 November, 2011

Mental lethargy: A societal peril

A recent observation which has been groping me in frustration is the mental lethargy as I call it, observed in many of the minds around me. Now, if all of this is a late revelation, or is there an alteration in the perception in people - I know not. What I know is that, it is a deep problem, with profound ramifications.

Firstly, let me articulate the problem as I perceive it:
Mobilizing people for a common cause, without the paparazzi hype and  corporate media incentives, for genuine purposes is one of the most arduous tasks in the ironically 'social network'- ed world. Even if one succeeds in projecting an incentive for the audience, and gets them together at a place, now surfaces a deeper problem : reluctance of the herd to open up their minds.

Without making it abstract, I shall try to convey the fact which is so commonly observed amongst many of us. A sense of reluctance, seemingly emanating out of a tinge of disinterest is gripping a majority around us.
This I would argue is no reluctance or disinterest - it all boils down to an aversion of sorts towards "thinking". Aversion directly based on laziness!

Aversion to think and laziness?
Does it strike as unusual. Well, please shelve the exclamation, for majority of us in reality are lazy, contrary to the third person criticism each one would want to spew out.

While the occasional sense of laziness in physical toil is common and pardonable (in a restricted and relative sense), for not always does one wants to expend physical efforts burning calories and breaking sweat;

But, there is another perilous laziness; This in many cases is permanent and ineradicable: Laziness associated with the mind - An inhibition to think!

While, I do see this as a serious problem, the usual causes which are attributed to it like upbringing, systemic constraints, genetics, etc are superfluous, and serve the least but as an inadequate explanation.

Thinking requires conscious efforts, and focused thinking leaves you with headaches (and me with my migraine attacks!). But, when it is ready made  solution that many of us seek, in most cases endorsing them even without questioning the proposals offered, where is the question of 'thinking' at all here? And this precisely is the demon haunting the "public".

We end up absorbing injudiciously all the views perpetrated by media and the ones in power, we seek a revolution with the least intent of self change, we want solutions without understanding the problems! These regressions that have become not so uncommon today are results of a simple, yet cancerous symptom of "laziness to think!".

Now if I were to be asked what is the solution I have thought of to this problem, I'd invoke Morpheus' line,

I can only show you the door; You're the one that has to walk through it!

It is proactive change that can set a mind free from its shackles of lethargy. If one cannot be inspired to attain this change, as History stands as a witness, man made calamities (fascism & racism) do instigate people to think!


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