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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Universal mantras of Contextual relevance, Evolution and Menstruation

Universal mantras are contextual relevance and everything that provides  comfort, convenience; begets benefits and profits; ensures utility,happiness, pleasure etc and evaluating everything or anything based on its inherent attributes/merits and intrinsic value/purpose.

1.    Ok my first period in the morning is starting with the topic on ‘periods’.

2.    Unfortunately most aspects of traditional practices, rituals, customs etc are forced on us as social obligations [ok no harm in it]. But further energizing the inherently vulnerable hypocrisy and putting forth vocal justifications for not only following them blindly but trying to perpetuate them without any valid reason is bad.

3.   It is these very types of traditional attitudes that we need to address. For example recently one prestigious institute banned girls from wearing sleeveless t-shirts and jeans and there was a huge hue and cry about western influence bla bla. They cleverly diverted the issue. The issue involved was about wearing a dress that covers the body that’s all. I asked the status quo addicts why not go back to times when India had the first most wonderful attire ever, when women were draped in unstitched nine yard sarees without blouses but it served the purpose of covering all parts of the body that needed to be covered but haven’t we moved from that to sarees with blouses to churidhars to nighties. My whole question is why this selective objection that too when it concerns women and their attire.

There are certain universal mantras from which no one can veer away humanity’s preference they are change and the constantly changing context created by that change along with its many concomitant characters like comforts, convenience, benefits, utility, profit, happiness, pleasure etc.
All wisdom and value systems must be woven around these universal mantras or at least relevant to these. Otherwise something else will replace all values, wisdom, principles, practices etc.

The most important wisdom is to make the necessary adjustments to emerging changes and contexts.

4.    ‘Inconvenience’ like many terms is a purely relative terminology based on/proportionate to the level of tolerance /adjustment/compromise one is willing to display,  I mean the areas human beings can exercise their rational choice.

I think we all must be equally aware and have the humility to accept the fact that we all think/presume what we know or claim to know is the best /most perfect or ultimate truth. This precisely means that nothing in any aspect of life as we are aware or we claim to know today is neither perfect nor the ultimate stage nor the finale or the only truth which can be established as the truth with axiomatic certitude.

Like everything in nature, evolution also attempts or has attempted many adventures in its stride some have been a boon while some have been a bane. That’s way when I use the term ‘inconvenience’ I remember G.K. Chesterton’s definition as the best ‘An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered’ 

But I personally feel that any oozing from any part of the body   that too involuntarily [most small children and very old people experience contusion and people who are allergic to many things experience oozing nasal passage as a reaction [excuse me for lack of appropriate medical jargon like liquefied sputum etc] is definitely an inconvenience even though for argument's sake one may wish to give any other nomenclature to it.

And interestingly enough we must acknowledge the fact that we evolved out of our imbibing only certain selective features of that evolutionary adventure and ended up adapting them.

First great biologist Darwin, I would prefer to call him the father of evolutionary biological science-who incidentally advocated the theory of natural selection, because he laid the first blue print for such a specialized study [some of them may be wrong or all of them could be disputed and radically changed], and he had the honesty and humility to declare, “Variation proposes and selection disposes.”

5. I would like to add that in the arena of human species psychologically selection is further influenced by selection bias and bias is conditioned by various factors. For example the mode of communication that we are using now, i.e. the electronic media and internet causes so many  side effects, environmental ill effects , including huge amount of clean water used for manufacture of many components, interference of  electromagnetic waves with many life forms and none of these are either repairable , recyclable or replaceable for posterity but the benefits we derive out of this far outweighs ill effects  that we have preferred to choose this medium over  meeting and talking in person [ which is besides not always possible] which is the least harmful to environment though when we speak it affects the life of certain microbes near over mouths.

Unfortunately and inevitably most of our understanding of science is through the reverse engineering process or dissection analysis or through micro analysis and measurements [because some form of measurement is inevitable]

6.    I will try to address most of the issues raised not in any specific order or issue wise but hap haphazardly so that readers at liberty to collate them as they wish into categories they prefer. I am just writing something like a box of assorted chocolate of different brands as I have taken various comments, taken some vital terms like tradition, practices, rituals, sanitation, carbon, non recyclable material and  most importantly a vast subject like evolution etc to name a few and churning them all to drive my point of view using lots of references which I have enjoyed reading and which have enhanced my knowledge of many aspects of life. I would also be addressing most aspects with very general observations of socio-psychological perceptions and reactions to scientific issues rather than purely scientific facts as such.

7.    For scientific materials I am providing lot of links and references of books which are really useful.

8.    At any cost a male writing about periods is like a mechanic who never owned a car but it is a matter of sensitivity as a human species that prods one to be concerned about it at least to reply to those who never bother about the inconvenience that menstruation causes for women.

9.    I hope all of you have also read this link as well from the same social organization which made me write on this subject first time some years back 

With a picture of Godess Kamakya Of Assam during Menstruation. [Supposedly taken originally]

10. When human intellect resorts to defend or justify, more than define or explore or accept facts for what they are worth, normally it becomes more sharp with additional vindications from very vast allied areas like pollution, carbon etc because the defense is further enforced with adrenal reactions which are all normal as I, myself, am more used to it rather use it more, so I can understand it perfectly well.

11. Socially certain societies, why most human societies, are groomed as a group with more incentives and encouragement to follow than explore; exercise hypocrisy rather than skeptical questioning and this is precisely the technique adopted by all religious institutions either with or without organized set up. However change in every aspect of life is an inevitable truth that cannot be avoided or wished away.

12. As Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” I may add taboos and tradition may tuck it in or turn away but truth is ‘inconvenience’.

13. As Guy Murchie declares, “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” 

I would like to add it is because of our intellectual reluctance and religious impediments.

He adds, “Darwinism is agreed and uncontroversial: humans are an accident of evolution, because everything produced by evolution is strictly incidental to the process”.

14. But the whole malady started when certain societies, already well connected, intellectually more advanced ones and therefore got so well conditioned by their traditions and religiously prescribed ways of life based on such sound base, obviously ended up, out of lack of humility and refused to or blocked to accept alongside biological evolution, evolutionary psychology and evolutionary sociology as well.

Greater the comfort with abundance of resources and intellectual advancement providing a sense of or false notion of intellectual superiority made them get insulated in their ethnocentric arrogance and moved away from humility. I think it happened to certain societies, naturally so because of its great advancement when most parts of the world were in dark ages. Where there is no humility or lesser humility there is less and less attempt to learn. So they developed certain systems or practices which were superior at that earlier time compared to the rest of humanity and therefore felt that such practices had no expiry date at all.

ON Humility this one I picked long back from a very aggressively and nauseatingly written website:  “The problem with this is that humility is not natural for people, particularly for people in power.  And without humility, there can be no advancement in objective knowledge.  So we should ask what is the source of humility?  There is only one answer that I know of, and that is religion.  Religion teaches us to respect something greater than ourselves.  In modern Western religions, that something is God.  But whatever it is, the important thing is to recognize something sacred and above humanity.  As long as God (or the gods) is recognized as above humanity, people learn humility.  But when people place themselves on the level of God, humility is lost.  So religion only works when religion restricts what is sacred to non-human things like God or nature.  When human institutions become sacred, and people thereby compete with God, humility is lost, and so scientific advancement becomes impossible.” 

16. [ Steven Pinker on Evolution of the mind]
Certainly humans didn't evolve to their present state in one instant, in one fell swoop, because we know that our ancestors, the species like Homo erectus and Homo habilis already had a pretty big brain for a primate of that size. They were already using tools. They were almost certainly cooperating with one another. So it's not as if our species was the first to do it; it was building on some earlier stepping stones.
And it's unlikely that it happened all at once. You have to remember that not every creature that was evolving left behind its skull or its tools for our convenience tens of thousands of years later. Most bones or most tools rot or get buried and are never found again. So the earliest date at which we find some fossil or artifact is not the point at which the species first appeared; it was probably doing its thing for many tens of thousands of years before we were lucky enough to find something that it left behind that lasted to the present day.”
Steven Pinker “describes the self-described field of evolutionary psychology as a stepping stone toward this end. He calls for more integration with evolutionary genetics and more generally the fully rounded approach associated with Nobel Laureate Niko Tinbergen, who stressed that all evolved traits should be studied from functional, mechanistic, developmental and phylogenetic perspectives. He also shares his own best idea that has not yet received the attention that it deserves.”

17. Here is a list of very worthy articles available fortunately free on the net [ incidentally I have all his works along with all the works of other evolutionary biologist like Richard Dawkins and the great Guy Murchie’s ‘ the Seven Mysteries of Life ‘ and I wish for a more comprehensive understanding one must also read Kathleen Taylor’s ‘The Brain Supremacy’ Walter Gratzer’s ‘Giant molecules’, Frank Close’s ‘The Infinity Puzzle’ and most importantly Tirumoolar’s Tirumanthiram,  Vilayanur S. RAMACHANDRAN and for a more sane philosophical and rational non religious outlook  also read Neale Donald  Walsch, JK, Osho, Bertrand Russell etc

19. Again talking about evolution, a very interesting and vast subject by its very meaning indicates the innards of all species with inevitable strengths as well as short comings, rather embedded contradictions. The best we can do with all our brains and technological advancements available at our disposal is to minimize/compensate for our weaknesses like starting from using basic tools to using spectacles to implanting stunts and pace makers for heart problems to name a few.

20.While innards and inherent qualities are inevitable and beyond our choice, at least, our utilization of strengths /reactions to shortcomings can be sane and more sensible, that is what must be the attempt of any subject be it philosophy, spiritual science or pure science.

21. Evolution goes about its jobs unmindful of whatever we do or do not do, that decides and determines everything including our birth and death as biochemical organisms which are bound to decay or to die or to reorganize or to be reborn or to recreate into something else eventually.

“adaptations to bipedalism restricted the width of the birth canal and, hence, the size of the baby that can pass through it. Human babies are thus born when their brains are less than 30 percent of adult brain size so that they can fit through the narrow passageway. They then continue development outside of the womb, with brain size nearly doubling in the first year.”

In leaving a rich and massive tradition of nuanced moral reflection and argument untapped, while resorting to single-sentence dismissals and caricatures, Pinker displays shocking irresponsibility for a scholar, especially one who is addressing such a serious matter. Pinker himself criticizes such an approach to moral discussion in How the Mind Works: “The debate over human nature has been muddied by an intellectual laziness, and unwillingness to make moral arguments when moral issues come up.”5 Exactly! So why, when it comes to something as serious as infanticide, doesn’t Pinker practice what he preaches?

24. This is a very incisive and excellent criticism of all tall claims of evolutionary psychology

another excellent and thought provoking read though a book  criticism

25. Another great work a must read is Action!: Nothing Happens Until Something Moves  By Robert Ringer

26. Facts and myths of menstrual cycles:

27.Recently i.e on TOI on 19th July Santosh Desai wrote 
Moonless in the City?
Nothing unified the world more than the moon. We marked our days through our nights, giving time a lunar name. In lunar calendars, time grows out of life, with every day being marked with an individual and independent character. Poornima, the night of the full moon was imbued with a sense of fertile celebration, while Amavasya, the state of moonlessness, was seen with trepidation, as it underlined the power that nature, always a fickle friend, held over us. The moon had many powers, not only over the oceans but over the bodies and minds of animals and humans. The full moon made us wild and primitive; madness (lunacy) after all has some lunar origins.
The moon is not that useful anymore, and lives on in our imaginations as vestigial habit. Its light carries little meaning for the city is ablaze with its own and it is difficult to make out a full moon night from a moonless one. It is no longer a marker of time. Time itself has lost rhyme; it now refers to nothing else outside of itself. It offers no proof, and comes with no markers. Day and night do exist of course, but in a globalised world, with decreasing meaning. Time is now a purely conceptual entity, a convention that we have collectively agreed to submit to.
Its mysteriousness too has lost luster. The moon was once beyond human reach and as fables have it, made available to children crying for it, by casting its reflection in a bowl of water. Landing on the moon might have been a human fantasy but it made the moon prosaic, a mere satellite, which the human race had managed to vanquish. Flags have been planted on the moon, and in the ultimate sign of mastery, samples from the moon have been tested in our laboratories.
Science has been nature’s ally in demystifying nature and its complexities. Gradually, nature is being erased as a point of reference for our lives. The conceptual, abstract and the virtual are replacing the natural. The internet is humankind’s most ambitious rejoinder to the natural universe. Here is a universe of another kind, hewed out of the recesses of human imagination, living in a space constructed out of electronic signals. The digital marks an independence from the physical, and takes the separation from the natural to its logical end.
What does it matter anyway? The moon was romanticized out of need, and is neglected today because it no longer serves the purposes it once did. The question perhaps is a larger one. With time it seems that the our sources of wonder are diminishing. Once we marveled at everything, out of ignorance often, but the world seemed full of things much larger and mysterious than we were. Now, technology produces wonder just as easily as it destroys it. We still seek wonder in other ways- in new gadgets with frequent updates, in fantastic stories of the superhuman and the otherworldly, by making nostalgic artifacts out of our past, by converting nature into a monument, by using the word awesome an an awful lot, and by clicking on links that promise us that we will be amazed or blown away by what we are about to see. I saw the moon the other night, and i was transfixed. Or blown away if you prefer.”

28. What we must be actually teaching the present generation is to expose them to the positive aspects of our great heritage which do not contradict any rational approach or curtail any acceptance of change or constrain seeing facts as they are and help them to address any issue based on such premises.

29.Human psychology is  more comfortable and conversant dealing with  premises, frames of references and observations rather than through indoctrinations, conditioned prejudices which will collapse at some point of time when the poor people will be left to suffer in a  vacuous inanity without a proud socio cultural and psychological identity and will also be very vulnerable to adopt anything and everything irrespective of its long term benefits or inherent value  so let us impart more importantly  humaneness and humanitarian values along with our rich cultural heritage like     of-india.html

32. More problems crop up when we as a species try to feel that we must authenticate every aspect of life through social approval further validated through sanctification by either religion, or substantiation by accepted scientific practice, commercial success or stamp of socio cultural sanctions.

33. Very often 
“Everything changes as you move through three stages of awareness:
first, that beliefs are the result of conditions;
second, that beliefs are the cause of conditions;
and third, that beliefs are themselves conditions.”
― Eric Micha'el Leventhal

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