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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Is ORKUT coming back?

Is ORKUT coming back?

Orkut went out in the first place because as per international surveys it had more than 80% of only juvenile stuff and that too of stereotyped sharing.

In my opinion , in a way that was catering to children between 8 to 16 or 18 years and could have continued as a platform for them .

Now, WhatsApp is flooded by more juvenile GM msgs and all sorts negative , humourless memes [mostly stereotyped ones and themes being predicatbly political stuff or some filmy gossip or routine refrains of glories on different religious outfits] .

Actually it is full of FORWARD class who keep forwarding even without reading it. Like some Suresh kumar is brain dead and his kidneys have been available for the past 2 years on WhatsApp!!!

The problem is not with any platform but the users fault and lack of original content.

Almost all platforms are starved of original content.

Like our Indian films and serials, they are caught in a vicious circle where the viewers blame the producers trends and commercial constraints and the producers blame the viewers tastes and demands and as a result we never have serials like Lie to Me, Big bang, Grey's Anatomy, House, Castle, Bold and Beautiful.

We are struck between new nonsense and sensational stereotypes and trite traditions.

We don't have the mentality to allow transition from traditions and tested trends into the terrain of transformation especially in the field of entertainment and social media content.

We  are all aware that everyone is racing  against time without the luxury of  leisure time , except the blessed retired people , and therefore attention span is shrinking  too much that we are going back to Avaiyar the first SMS creator  and Tiruvalluvar the first Twitter creator.

I have been suggesting to our lethargic tourism department to make short documentaries on many  wonderful places in India and its many traditions and cultures like [ what an excellent work that 5 individuals as a team do].

We have  youth with immense potential and energy but without guidance, encouragement and freedom to pursue  their passions.

No doubt the world at present has immense opportunities for those who are street smart and /or focused but then there are equally powerful constraints  of  financial investment  and  socio-religio-cultural presssures.

Controversies -the how and why of them?

Controversies -the how and why of them?

Writing on controversial and sensitive issues is like simultaneously doing tight rope walking, swinging and leaping as trapezium player, shooting arrows and training to avoid bullets.

In the present day there is a highly competitive race to generate controversy  it is indeed a bold attempt to write on an extremely controversial as well as a volatile issue like "RACE".

Because there is a sickening tendency to  cherry pick and twist  certain, observations  and statements even out of reports of ordinary facts and information.

It is so bad that even auto spell check mostly does not allow the word 'Humane'.

So,  it is really welcome that Gautam Adhikari has ventured to write is column about one such controversial issue  in today's TOI Chennai edition and I am also happy that he quotes from 'Metaphors We Live By' written by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson

My rejoinder below as comment is more of an observation on the root causes of such vexed issues that  disturb humanity periodically and at regular intervals  and this comment is rather long as usual spiced with many links and sublinks because I feel we must address root causes rather than jumping to offer quick fix remedies or offering sweeping statements or sermonizing.

While almost no aspect of the issue racism can be justified on any ground it would be hypocritical to deny that it exists .

However , unfortunately human perceptions and perspectives have not matured to evolve to implement impartial frames of references at least in the domain of social cohabitation as a species to share the natural  resources and opportunities for survival with normal humane compassion.

We cannot solve any wrong doing or  problem by denying  certain obvious facts, nor can we correct any historical blunders through histrionic reactions.

Evolution of civilization as well as civilized evolution both depend on adaptation, adjustments, accommodation and assimilation of multiple ways of life and valuing the verity and virtue of variety.

It is sign of immaturity as well as symptom of  sick mentality to get cocooned in identity cages avoiding intruders and restricting migrations.

It is equally bad and sad when terms or words or labels like 'liberal' that refer  to some lofty  ideal are appropriated by  some self proclaimed vested interest groups as a batch of self certification.

It is equally bad and sad when terms or words or labels like ' racist' or ' sectarian' are wantonly assigned to certain outfits again by vested interest groups to engage in brain washing techniques to manipulate the narratives.

Certain inevitable aspects of life are accretions that act as both a protective carapace as well as an extraneous luggage which may not be not intrinsically necessary to live a life like certain identities that emanate out of socio-cultural , religious , political, regional, linguistic affinities. There is nothing wrong even feeling proud about such identities because they , very often, define our personalities too and are inevitable part of our  personality but  what is more important to have the maturity to acknowledge everyone has  a right to wear a proud batch of their own identity without mocking at or hurting others' identities.

While all of us feel the need for unity  what unity needs is felling for all by all.

Unless we accept facts and realities, willing to include every human beings with all his/her strengths and weaknesses ; shed our strong prejudices [though difficult at times] ; appreciate different identities and proactively promote acceptance of differences ; kick off xenophobic  attitudes; inculcate tolerance and compassion as inevitable values,; value variety to vindicate unity we may not be able to get rid of divisive designs of vested interest lobbies.

Unfortunately, unintentionally, unconsciously we may all end up extolling the wrong things. Both our individual self and social self are to a large extent shaped by how we relate with our circumstances and how our contexts relate with us.
Cognitive neuroscientist Bruce Hood's exploration of the building blocks of what we experience as the “self” in "The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity'

Amazon review of the book runs  excellently as , "Most of us believe that we are unique and coherent individuals, but are we? The idea of a "self" has existed ever since humans began to live in groups and become sociable. Those who embrace the self as an individual in the West, or a member of the group in the East, feel fulfilled and purposeful. This experience seems incredibly real but a wealth of recent scientific evidence reveals that this notion of the independent, coherent self is an illusion - it is not what it seems. Reality as we perceive it is not something that objectively exists, but something that our brains construct from moment to moment, interpreting, summarizing, and substituting information along the way. Like a science fiction movie, we are living in a matrix that is our mind.

In The Self Illusion, Dr. Bruce Hood reveals how the self emerges during childhood and how the architecture of the developing brain enables us to become social animals dependent on each other. He explains that self is the product of our relationships and interactions with others, and it exists only in our brains. The author argues, however, that though the self is an illusion, it is one that humans cannot live without.

But things are changing as our technology develops and shapes society. The social bonds and relationships that used to take time and effort to form are now undergoing a revolution as we start to put our self online. Social networking activities such as blogging, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter threaten to change the way we behave. Social networking is fast becoming socialization on steroids. The speed and ease at which we can form alliances and relationships is outstripping the same selection processes that shaped our self prior to the internet era. This book ventures into unchartered territory to explain how the idea of the self will never be the same again in the online social world." 

The author does all these while analyzing the biography of the most paradoxical character .Howard Hughes, at once a legendary aviator, movie mogul, tycoon, and socialite, and a reclusive billionaire housebound by his deathly phobia of dirt. He was a fearless aviation pioneer who set and broke countless records, yet he remained terrified of dying from germs. Hughes spent his final days unbathed, dressed in rags, with long sticky hair, curling nails, and the remnants of five hypodermic needles in his arms. He was worth $2 billion!!

Reality is neither any axiomatic certainty nor is it a frozen faith to be scrupulously followed by blinkered believes operating within fixed fences or identity cages but it is mostly contextually shaped by relationships and how we relate to others and things and environment etc . No human being can be know all or omniscient personality to dictate anything to the rest but we all need to respect certain time cherished and time tested values for the good of everyone.

All media persons must realize that  the world has evolved beyond and besides stereotyped and homogenized narrow  labels  left and right.
Identities of all hues while they enable creating social groups at the same time enfeeble options for universal acceptance.
The whole gamut of identity -its veneration and votaries of its politicization

Differences are
Variety is
Inherent and
Synergy is
Indispensable to
Nicely the Oneness of all. 

 “In the end nothing less than the whole of everything can be the truth of anything at all”- William James

 “We live in a changing universe, and few things are changing faster than our conception of it”-Timothy Ferris

 “There is no tomorrow. There is only a planet turning on its axis, and a creature given to optimistic fancies”-Robert Brault

 “Evolution itself is an open ended and indeterminate process”… “Given the remarkable progress in our understanding of biochemistry, molecular biology, and evolution as a whole … we have failed to develop concepts, ideas, even a language that could capture the dance of this life” - Guy Murchie

 “Humans have a need for a stable frame of reference. Religion apparently fills this need. In effect, humans crave answers to questions that no other source of knowledge has an answer to, which only religion may seem to answer. However, a sense of free will must be given in order for religion to appear healthy. An authoritarian notion of religion appears detrimental.”- Erich Fromm.

In the end media integrity must be emphasized over press freedom.

Matured and diplomatically  worded reporting of facts must be emphasized over manipulative controversy generating and sensationalism and scandal peddling  journalism.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Idea of an Ideal India

                              “Idea of an Ideal India”

"The spirit of Advaita is not to keep away from anything, but to keep in tune with everything." -  Swami Chinmayananda

 “In the end nothing less than the whole of everything can be the truth of anything at all”- William James

All these three terms have to be very clearly defined, at least with legal fraternity conducting it, i.e. Idea, Ideal, India.

Without clarity in definition it is difficult to proceed based on wishes, conjectures and vague assumptions.

Definitions are also in peril , especially with  professional lawyers and main stream media personalities [ the two experts of terminological terrorism] around.

I am not saying this out of any bias, but because recently a combo of lawyers and journalists have given a new definition for pedophilia as ' cross generational physical attraction'.

They can kill everything with their verbal narratives, and sometimes, worse still, these self acclaimed intellects act as mass opinion molders for the gullible public.   

Debates with differing views are conducted with lot of dignity and panache in BBC. I shall give just one link to show how it is done even on very controversial topic without politicizing, sensationalizing, or extrapolating it with any exterior influence or propagating it with any ulterior motive or hidden agenda.

Besides, ideas too,  like everything else emerge and evolve in due course not necessarily sponsored by any individual or group but by the exigencies of life’s imperatives and as a result of the churning process of life and ends up injecting meaning to life itself.

The individual who delivers those ideas or the group that espouses such ideas are just the privileged and trust worthy means or tools.

It is ideas whose time has come and in certain cases it is hastened due to excessive depravity, crisis or damage that want of such ideas can cause.

How to have a dignified debate or discussion? [You may listen to it at your leisure time]

Very interesting group discussion on evolution especially with reference to gender
The Darwin Debate: Steven Pinker, Jonathan Miller, Steve Jones and Meredith Small - BBC

Coming back to the very interesting topic ‘Idea of ideal India’, and unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of changing the topic as ‘Idea for a greater or better India’.

However, I request, the organizers, if possible to slightly ensure contextualizing the topic as ‘Idea of ideal India at the moment’ as that would not imply there was never an ideal India before and also ensure the speakers to confine to context rather than resurrecting selectively historical events or issues or individuals, though those things could be very spicy but not in Chennai’s heat.

In fact the most ideal thing is not even to confine the idea of a nation by identifying it to a real estate space in atlas with a name but to the real contributions it has made, makes and its willingness and ability to create conducive atmosphere to others everywhere to make similar contributions or at least enjoy the benefits of such contribution for the sake of all species inhabiting a planet called earth.

Hence forth for reasons of brevity let us confine the ideas and ideals to human species.

When we look from any perspective at the functioning real world out there, we know, does not allow practically a very conducive and cooperative atmosphere for various reasons both justifiable and otherwise.

So, this dichotomy of natural variety and the inability to create unity bothers humanity.

However, if we observe without any bias there are certain aspects, areas of life and things that unite and generate enthusiasm among people everywhere. They can be broadly summarized as:-

The benefits of systems of science further enhanced through tools of multiple technologies ; the systems of economic developmental activities and the benefits that they deliver; the humanitarian approaches to social systems; the systems of spiritual aspects and philosophical concepts of religious sermons that contribute to the betterment of life; various systems of  artistic expressions like painting, literature, music, dance and so on that help to manifest many human aspirations and imaginations; multiple systems of optimum generation and better utilization of natural resources and energy; different systems of  agricultural growth; myriad systematic ways of preparing  food;  certain fundamental humane  value systems and pleasant attitudes common to whole of humanity etc.

There is one common thing for all the above i.e. the word system.

So, if some systems are in place then competition is a healthy cooperation, cohabitation leading to comfort and not a conflicting confrontation.

If systems are in place then the scope for individual or group whims and fancies mutilating it are minimized, even if it cannot be totally avoided.

Each system generates its own beliefs, isms, ideology leading to the inevitable identity.

This is a vicious circle which leads us back to square one i.e. Varieties of identities trying to dominate and in the process homogenizing for uniformity rather than contributing to unity.

So, it seems more complicated but then if we make a ven diagram of the statements above and leave out the circle of systems and do not bother about generators of systems and resulting isms, beliefs and so on. Then the items that stand out are what humanity actually need and want.

However, unfortunately we create conflicts and confrontations clinging on to the generators and the result, making dubious claims and appropriating credit for or assigning labels and worse still look out for numerical strength to justify especially through predominantly two wheels Politics and Religion and propagate everything as if they run on only these two wheels.

We give more than due importance to politics and religion and try to look at, perceive and portray everything and everyone only through these two prisms of politics and religion.

Let us recapitulate the items that stand out which are what humanity actually need and want:-

Science; [electricity has no political identity or religion]

Economic benefits; [currency has no political identity or religion]

Humanitarian approaches; [Kindness has no political identity or religion]

Spiritual aspects and philosophical concepts of religious sermons that contribute to the betterment life; [Helping and sharing with others have no political identity or religion]

Artistic expressions like painting, literature, music, dance and so on; [the sound of music or the color of a painting have no political identity or religion]

Better utilization of natural resources and energy; [Sun light has no political identity or religion

Agricultural growth; [plants and trees have no political identity or religion]

Food; [Coffee or a fruit has no political identity or religion]

Humane values; [compassion has no political identity or religion

Pleasant attitudes [helping a child or a old person has no political identity or religion] etc.

So, in this context what an ideal India needs is not refrains of [repeated references to] its past glory [which has survived and shall survive at any cost] nor restless anti-nationalism masquerading as revolution and freedom of speech to restrain ideological emancipation of Indian youth to benefit from multiple options as global citizens with broader perspective and act as ambassadors with pride of ancestry and hope for the future rather than sulk under the umbrage of  projected and exaggerated victim hood [whose sponsors have a political agenda] while  media which prioritizes sensationalism over sense propagates it.

All these negative influences want to leave the youth in suspended animation in vacuous inanity or inane vacuity so that the sponsors can fill in that vacuum or feed into that inanity with their ideology.

Idea that need to be emphasized for an ideal India are governance imbued government;

Policy driven governance;

Execution and delivery of policies;

Economic development as a result of those executions and delivery ;

Deliveries of policies becoming the focus of  parliamentary debates and discussion;

Parliament debates not to be misused to settle political scores;

Political scores not to be projected over everything else by main stream media;

Main stream media learning something known as positive aspects and contributions by India, Indians and for India;

Indians must stop giving too much of importance to main stream media and instead try to savor and share all the benefits of positivism through social media;

Social media to emerge as a mass moment to ensure all the above are put in place as a system;

That system will  result in positive economic development and social welfare oriented activities leading to a better India. 

It is actually good and healthy to have debates and discussions with people with various and different ideas and not pronounced biases, especially the ones scrupulously nurtured through outdated ideological identities [ideologies which deserve to be kept in the attic of a museum for fossil genetic samples- especially the breed of leftover Indian Left not the real socialist Left of the West].

There is a world of difference between exchange of ideas, thoughts and reasons on one side  and ideology based masturbation of opinions ensconced in pleasant vocabulary on the other side.

So, it would be better that participants speak with conviction and clarity, and courage born out of them, which may not necessarily be liked by all, but will motivate thinking and not generate and instigate controversies.

Besides, whatever idea that is envisaged to be made as a suggestion in good faith must not be too idealistic and thereby becomes practically not executable and hence, every idea proposed in any domain of activity must look into ground realities.

Otherwise, they will only remain as sound policies only on paper or end up as noisy theoretical headlines for debate and empty political rhetoric.

First, policy framers as well as ideas suggesting people must have a clarity about what is meant by ground reality.

Preferably  ground reality must include or at least create conditions to generate synergy between feasibility factors region or sector wise and the necessary changes required to be adopted to globally compete.

All said and done, no nation can afford to either haughtily or out of xenophobia or any ideology think of either growing or functioning in isolation however, great or large it may in its real estate area or its natural resources or its strategic geographical location or its dominant military or economic or technologically supremacy.

More and more, the world as a whole, and more so individual nations are being pushed towards the inevitable  realization that no nation can function in isolation in a intricately and intrinsically inter-connected life where the planet earth [ which by itself is wrongly named though more than 70% of it is water] is seen as single entity where everyone has some role to play as global citizen with pride in one's national identity.

Ideas must not pander to any ideologically confirmation biases but on the contrary it must an exercise where multitude of ideas must be collated to generate some sort of synthesis and synergy offering optimum benefit to humanity as whole in the long run.

I always feel that there are some wise words handed down to us over the centuries which must be running in the back ground to remain rooted in humility and certain time tested vital values.

So, in a sense all ideas must be seriously studied and whenever necessary some ideas must be shed for a humane evolution of life.

Here are some of vital words of wisdom :- 

  “We live in a changing universe, and few things are changing faster than our conception of it”-Timothy Ferris

 “There is no tomorrow. There is only a planet turning on its axis, and a creature given to optimistic fancies”-Robert Brault

 “Evolution itself is an open ended and indeterminate process”… “Given the remarkable progress in our understanding of biochemistry, molecular biology, and evolution as a whole … we have failed to develop concepts, ideas, even a language that could capture the dance of this life” - Guy Murchie

 “Humans have a need for a stable frame of reference. Religion apparently fills this need. In effect, humans crave answers to questions that no other source of knowledge has an answer to, which only religion may seem to answer. However, a sense of free will must be given in order for religion to appear healthy. An authoritarian notion of religion appears detrimental.”- Erich Fromm,

 विद्या ददाति विनयं विनयाद्याति पात्रताम् 
पात्रत्वाद्धनमाप्नोति धनाद्धर्मं ततः सुखम्   
vidyA dadAti vinayaM, vinayAdyAti pAtratAM |
pAtratvAddhanamApnoti, dhanAddharmaMtataH sukhaM || 5 ||

(true/complete) knowledge gives discipline[humility], from discipline [humility] comes worthiness, from worthiness one gets wealth, from wealth (one does) good deeds, from that (comes) joy.

This particular quote is an outer shell of the egg which contains these:-

"All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is necessary is only to try to think them again." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”- Isaac Newton

 Shakespeare once said “I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people”.

William Lyon Phelps puts it, “One of our secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute”. 

Or as Thomas H. Huxley says, “Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.”

With this composition of the team I am not sure whether we can expect to get any ideas at all which can be collated to the idea of India itself, leave alone ideal India.

It is actually good to have debates and discussions with people with various and different ideas and not pronounced biases.

Polarity principle is inherent in nature; identity is also inevitable aspect of evolution. 

But nurturing polarization and creating divisions are negative aspects leading to puerile perceptions based on petrified ideologies and putrefying the very thought process with senseless slogans and this is precisely these lefties are known for.

They exaggerate differences and instigate an imagined victim hood projection.

Importance of definition

Inevitability of evolution in everything

What is wrong with the left?

Unity and Variety

How you define decides what you need as well as what you want

I suggest reading Dr. S.Radhakrishnan’s ‘Idealist View of Life’.

We must also be open enough to entertain works similar to the following in Indian context like ' What Is Your Dangerous Idea?: Today’s Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable' and 'THIS IDEA MUST DIE' both by  John Brockman


and 'Globalized Wisdom of the XXI Century' by Federico Sulimovich