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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Why are religions losing their relevance?

 “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 has taken us from Kuru disease generators to cyber Guru Venerators.

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.

The status quo may get disturbed but it is a necessary adventure for emancipation of human spirit.

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’.

G.K. Chesterton’s definition is the best ‘An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered’ 

When human intellect resorts to defend or justify, more than define or explore or accept facts for what they are worth, normally it becomes sharper with additional vindications from many allied areas because the defense is further enforced with adrenal reactions which are all normal.

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 mostly due to our intellectual reluctance and religious impediments.

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 the evolutionary trends in  psychology and sociology as well.

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.”

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.

Problems crop up only 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 practices, commercial success or stamp of socio cultural sanctions.

Any topic I normally throw into the cauldron of life in context as it is happening now along with all that has happened and churn it with a churn staff or kirn swee of contextually relevant observations and also observe the external impacts that play their part in the evolution of anything/everything.

Too much of criticism and analysis [especially using a cocktail of Meta terminologies, remotely relevant or totally irrelevant factors with a mix of strong spirited information infusion] creates critical paralysis.

Loads of suggestive or justificatory information do not necessarily contribute to or help a better understanding and projecting them as if distilled wisdom of some unique religious or spiritual knowledge when most of the writers are aware of only distilled spirits.

Nothing eternal can be known eternally by anyone because everyone of us is basically a mortal as a conscious living being leading a life inside a human body and mind.

So, when we do not know what is eternal, how can we make claims or counter claims or worst of all try to exercise control over or exclusive marketing rights for it?

This is where religion pitched in as it primarily evolved if one were to analyze intellectually perhaps as Scott Atran, a respected  Anthropologist called as “belief in hope beyond reason”.

Erich Fromm, “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.”

Individual opinions, ideas that inundate the social media space must be followed, observed and encouraged because after all they manifest reactions and participation of individuals.

They can at best produce islands of 'micro beliefs leading to macro behavior' or confirmation bias enhancing group coherence but not homogenizing madness insisting on ignoring variety and marrying up with specific identity which was what the mass opinion molding and belief manufacturing and/or marketing domains mentioned above do namely- religion, politics, media and any other biased ideological or cultural identity based outfits or communities.

In evolutionary biology we find that all creations have shed the unnecessary parts or shrunk them for better survival; in evolutionary sociology too human race has shed too many models of social groups and narrowed down on a few that would be easier for global interaction; in languages too, from a few thousands languages that existed humanity has reduced the number to just a few hundred languages.

Why it is not being done in religion, i.e. shedding the contextually irrelevant parts – aspects of socio-cultural life that have outlived their expiry date.

As the great scholar and my favorite author Bertrand Russell writes in POLITICAL IDEALS (1917) CHAPTER IVINDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND PUBLIC CONTROL

“The creative impulses, unlike those that are possessive, are directed to ends in which one man’s gain are not another man’s loss. The man who makes a scientific discovery or writes a poem is enriching others at the same time as himself. Any increase in knowledge or good-will is a gain to all who are affected by it, not only to the actual possessor. Those who feel the joy of life are a [source of ] happiness to others as well as to themselves. Force cannot create such things, though it can destroy them; no principle of distributive justice applies to them, since the gain of each is the gain of all. For these reasons, the creative part of a man’s activity ought to be as free as possible from all public control, in order that it may remain spontaneous and full of vigor. The only function of the state in regard to this part of the individual life should be to do everything possible toward providing outlets and opportunities”.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017



We need to start from the beginning.

We need sex –education [not to be confused with training] in school without any hypocrisy and irrelevant cultural objections because we our life itself is due to the sexual act of some people.

What is the point in not even getting to know about the primary reality?

Are marriages mere socio-cultural package devised to increase the shelf life on some or any relationship?

Or are they trade off of many things to assure a future companionship?

Or are they real firming up of momentary romance or meaningful emotional bonding with some well defined roles and responsibilities?

Or are marriages mere contractual obligations involving a multitude of major compatibility factors ranging from the food, language, traditions, culture, physical pleasures, emotional understanding, intellectual comprehension, material comforts, social cohabitation etc beyond all the mumbo-jumbos and entertainments in the name of wedding ceremony?

I think the main stake holders, the boy and the girl involved must interact and try to place their prejudices and preferences frankly to know what are the areas of life in which they can adjust or compromise; whether the trade off of their time and other things for the compromises of either couple are reaping adequate returns /compensations; whether there is reciprocation and so on.

I also think some meaningful premarital exposure to all aspects of marital life beyond inviting relatives and selecting the dress must be allowed and if there are short comings at that juncture itself it is better to call it off.

Even after all the rehearsals on all aspects, as individuals either one of them may and can change in any area of life as a part of evolutionary inevitable metamorphosis, it depends on both of them as to how they handle the situation.

In this case, if the boy made the call and had the girl’s boy friend had picked up the phone and said she is a little high on drinks and also sends a photo of her hugging him in her shorts would the boy or his parents have accepted?

Most of us live our life through believe systems, concepts and ideology [and miss the charm of encountering and experiencing life with a child like curious involvement] wherein every belief system or ideology has its own rights and wrongs, strengths and weaknesses.

I would say nothing wrong in what the girl did. At least she was not hypocritical.

There was a news of a girl refusing to marry a boy because when she called his parents took the phone and said he was doing sandyavandhanam in the evening.

How many who have forwarded this message would prefer to get their daughter married to someone who has a nice tuft [kudumi], with diamond ear rings, wears only panchagacham and performs Sandyavandanam three times  a day?

Everyone has a right to follow their beliefs even if they are not in sync with any modern trends or expectation.

Similarly, everyone has a right to make a choice as per his/her wish.

Help and Hurdles in making any CHOICE

                  Help and Hurdles in making any CHOICE.

Let me start with a great quote by H.P. Lovecraft, in The Call of Cthulhu “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

Then the following three quotes remind us about the vast ocean of existing literature and references available to us which can make our job easy in most domains and inject humility into our inflated egos which are always keen on claiming credit of great originality and creativity.

"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”.

Lo and behold how are we to make a choice?

Are we to take into account multiple factors and more so, factor in all those factors, which may or may not have relevance, to what we are likely to choose?

Wouldn’t that make the act of choosing more complicated and difficult?

But we cannot consciously omit anything because what if we miss out something about which we regret later on and feel that it could have enabled us to make a better choice.

What can we ordinary mortals do to overcome this dilemma, especially when we are interested in something or someone and are keen are realizing the presence not to possess or to become possessed

Tune into correct frequency to realize the presence.

If something is always present awaiting for our choosing it or meant for us as such and then, the only thing that is required is our tuning in such a way that we are able to link with the correct frequency to realize the presence

Sometimes in etymology, the more we go back in time , it can also throw unbelievable facts as the great and most renowned linguist David Crystal writes in his wonderful book ‘Words, Words, Words’ that the words Nice, Science, Conscience and Shit have a common origin when traced to a few thousand years back.

Incidentally the word Religion itself is made of Re+ligare [latin] Re+lier [French] literally meaning re-link , i.e. linking again the ‘individual soul’ with the ‘Universal soul’ which by extension probably could mean our ability to find commonalities ,inter-relatedness and inter-connectedness among all and with conscious awareness choose to cooperate, cohabit and create more grounds of compatibility through reciprocation  in the interest of all.

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.”

So, despite all the scientific approaches while making choices, the component of mystery and many unknowns will linger around.

Sascha Vongehr  mentions in ‘Science As Rationalization And Ultimate Religion

By’  “Every adaptive system has what can be called a perception apparatus and information processing structures and so forth. Science is part of the perception/thinking of social systems. All perception has its “blind spot”. Perception is ignorant of everything except for a tiny slice that it evolved to select and focus attention on. Thinking is there to interpret in a certain evolved way. Humans, being parts as well as environment of social systems, cannot grasp the perceived world of social systems, let alone map out their blind spots. Scientists are especially suspect when it comes to judging the blind spots of science.” 

However, all said and done, the growth and evolution of life through choice is led by a staircase made of the horizontal and vertical planes of fate and freewill.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Understanding the secret meaning? What is the meaning of meaning?

                                   Understanding the secret meaning?

                                    What is the meaning of meaning?

Once we fully understand something and know the meaning, then it is no more a secret.

Every idea or hypothesis is an interesting stuff with all the multitude of probabilities with varying degrees of vagueness, doubts and many other aspects of uncertainties which move around in style, under many lofty labels, like mysteries, esoteric aspects, something higher that the existing human faculties cannot fathom and so on, till empirical evidences or facts knocks off all these lofty labels down.

A lot depends on our perspective and frames of reference based understanding and interpretation of symbolic representation and deciphering everything based on intrinsic relevance.

Often even the slightly difficult to understand philosophical concepts and ideas are intentionally masked by abstract or ambiguous linguistic expressions, intricate rituals and symbols, esoteric symbols etc to ensure that even if  people do not understand they must not misunderstand it because every misunderstanding intellectually is like misusing physically.

To drive this point I can give a very crude example. A very sharp surgical knife gets into the hand of a ward boy near an operation theater, since he is not a surgeon but he tries to use it and slightly pierces into his chest, imagine the consequence.

Intrinsic relevance of surgical knife is very important here. It is not merely any other knife.

Having said this if there is a group of people who want to assign the credentials of quality of surgical knife to every sheet of shining metal, then, that would be imaginary extrapolation due to obsession about surgical knifes.

If people get struck in the steps of external symbolism alone then the very purpose of symbolism is killed as primary tools for evolution and emancipation of better understanding by human beings do not happen because they are not subjected to empirical evidence and experience.

The meaning of meaning is beyond the labels of literal, figurative, abstract, logical, rational, and scientific and so on.

The meaning of meaning is in the intrinsic capacity in enhancing the empirical experiences and enlightenment to look beyond the realm of intellect to expand the understanding and happiness quotient of life.

The meaning of meaning may vary from context to context and experience to experience and that’s why there is need for more studies in cultural linguistics to understand the real meaning of many texts.

Everything in life is a step but not a stop

Human beings cannot decipher everything  through intellect alone

Perspectives matter a lot because they define the boundaries of one’s perception

Symbols have their own significance based on their role and relevance but their real value is hidden beneath and beyond them.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Identity -the root cause of many problems

                 1. We need to find out the root cause of all problems and diseases                            and not merely react to the symptoms

Any issue, problem or disease cannot be cured by trying to work based merely and only on the externally manifested symptoms and addressing to stop them.

One needs to go deeper and try to decipher the root cause[s].

If we look into most of the troubles and observe without bias and tendency to justify any specific outlook or stand or position, we may notice the root cause which ends up manifesting in varying degrees of intensities, forms and manner depending on the context, circumstances, the players involved and many other concomitant socio-cultural nurturing which almost parasitically permeate into the collective socio-cultural and psychological fabric and starts impacting everything and everyone.

What is that root cause? Let us find out.

It is in a word it is some ‘Identity’ which starts filtering, interpreting and extrapolating everything to align with that specific identity and everything else becomes unwelcome.

Some identity orientation, per say is inevitable but how we treat other identities is what matters most.

So, once we identify the root cause and accept it then we can proceed to analyze its components and address them one by one.


   2. Manifestations of identities with varying degrees of intensity

Fondness, Ferventness, Faith and Fanaticism are the multiple frequencies of the spectrum of affinity- ranging from subtle to substantial impact.

These frequencies are not mere verbal nuances but can be nice or nasty depending on how they manifest the intensity of one’s reverence and reaction to anything.

If we adopt the armor of sense of balance and the tool of refined rationality devoid of any identity based reaction to anything, though this may sound very idealistic or even utopian, then, it serves to provide a level playing field for all individuals irrespective of any identity.

Rational approaches refine what is otherwise viewed as contrasts that divide into variations that seek synergy.

Life is impregnated with the inevitable polarity principle in many aspects and identities are no exception.

Identities of all hues while they enable creating social groups at the same time enfeeble options for universal acceptance.

I have very often held that identity, though inevitable, excessive and exclusive veneration is at the heart of many problems be it in the realm of religion, region, language, tradition, culture, nationhood and so on.

In a sense identities symbolize fences.

We need maps to know the planet but we need to protect the planet beyond mapped concerns.

I have written reams and reams on this theme of ‘Identity’ while writing on various subjects.

I shall give links to some here.


 3.  Identity or ideology veneration

Any identity or ideology veneration is, by itself, a limiting factor and therefore self defeating if it claims to help one’s perception or enhance one’s well being.

Trying to interpret and ideologically portray certain facts or issues or events or persons or life in terms of perspectives based on any such ideological or identity fixation can have an impact which may impede or hamper original experience and/or perception as it may prompt many to view facts and life’s events only through prisms of such ideological templates.

Though this is inevitable and also in some cases it can benefit the individual and the society at large.
However, in many cases it can create a major cultural and mental block.

The havoc is more if an ideology masquerades as a great religious or social philosophy endorsed by publicity and ensconced in appealing logical fallacies, exaggerated presentation of apparent inequalities, cynicism and attractive vocabulary and all these factors well sewed up, linked and designed to project and peddle a victim hood.

What these types of approaches end up doing is creating many sub ideologies and identities with multiple petty ideology peddling heroes instead of real scholars.

These people quickly cause social engineering but also leave inadvertently a byproduct of individual psychological depravity.

Basically this individual psychological depravity takes on a new dimension of collective subversion, of all systems and procedures done with good intentions, leading to numbness of conscious concern.

More so because certain social ideologies emanate from a mixture of undefined and unrefined criticism of all existing systems and approaches [ with all their niceties and nastiness] and rejects and ejects all systems that do not fall in line with the new found social ideology.

All sorts of misinterpretations happen precisely in all extremisms in the name of religion, politics, socio –economic systems etc especially when fixed ideologies replace philosophical inquiries and deprive independent and free experiments and experiences.

The proponents of such regimented ideologies are inane politicians projected as elite ones by media publicity as both of them [media and petty ideology peddling politicians] as a group stand to benefit out of such alignments.

On the whole they lead to psychological depression, social unrest and unhappy life by creating walls and fences of perpetual sense of insecurity combined with vacuous inanity.


  4. Self imprisonment in certain identities based on some isms or   ideologies.

Unfortunately some good hearted people get self imprisoned in certain identities based on some isms or ideologies.

Therefore, they are unable and unwilling to entertain new ideas as that disturbs the walls of the prison and they do not want to risk life in the outside world which they feel will unsettle their comfort zone of ideologically imprisoned life.

Any one is at liberty to live with or for certain ideas, ideologies and opinions which they hold dear to their heart but not live exclusively soaked in those opinions alone and finally sink their whole life in the small whirl pools of such ideas, ideologies and opinions.

I wish those who think and realized that they may be living in such self imprisonment may read these two links which I wrote for some such good and well educated friends of mine on both sides of the spectrum of highly opinionated living.

Self imprisonment works in these ways without even our realizing it.

“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

 “All of us have our own inner fears, beliefs, opinions. These inner assumptions rule and govern our lives. A suggestion has no power in and of itself. Its power arises from the fact that you accept it mentally.”― Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

We must realize that the subconscious mind is the law of action and always expresses what the conscious mind has impressed on it. What we regularly entertain in our mind creates a conception of self. What we conceive ourselves to be, we become.” Grace Speare.


       5. External identity ends up occupying our time and mind space

Any external identity because it ends up occupying our time and mind space so much that without realizing it such external identities become our second nature and slowly like a parasite devours our original nature.

Then we also succumb to such identities as it was us who chose, allowed and decided to wallow in the supposed worthiness of all those identities starting from religion, culture, language, thrust upon relationships and so on.

However, can we avoid any such identity is a big puzzle?

Sometimes it is out of our own jubilant choice and sometimes it gets tagged out of necessity of circumstances.

We cannot avoid many identities. Should we deny or try to drive away or try to compare or extrapolate with some ideology etc?   The answer is a big ‘No’.

However, we need not get addicted to any identity and also we can tolerate other identities.

Only such practical attitude can lead to some sane and peaceful social life.

“All of us have our own inner fears, beliefs, opinions. These inner assumptions rule and govern our lives. A suggestion has no power in and of itself. Its power arises from the fact that you accept it mentally.”― Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

We must realize that the subconscious mind is the law of action and always expresses what the conscious mind has impressed on it. What we regularly entertain in our mind creates a conception of self. What we conceive ourselves to be, we become.” Grace Speare.

Peace and Harmony are defined indirectly by wanting too much of same Identity in everyone and everywhere and want of  Tolerance.

Most importantly we must acquire the wisdom to make unbiased balanced views on everything concerned with life so that we can try to grasp the meaning of life with all its harsh realities and real hues and facets of variety that life is made of.


  6. Can any single ideology arrogate itself to extrapolate                                                                       everything?

Worse still, can that ideology accuse others of whipping up passions?

Provocation and counter justifications crop up whenever things happen different from the readymade stereotyped narratives and profiling scripted by some predominant ideological identity veneration in the main stream media that has, unfortunately appropriated the term liberal.

Predictably these hardcore ideologues tend to extrapolate everything, purely and only, according to their versions of social correctness without the least home work about context and care about sensitivities of the stake holders.

They do it without any qualms  be it art, science, religion, economics, trade, culture, individual learning, independent thinking, aesthetic sensitivity and almost everything under the sky except perhaps reviewing liberally their own ideologically fixation.

Worse still when these provocateurs in chief not only presume that they have the exclusive privilege and prerogative to perpetuate opinions and market news through main stream media [MSM] but also suffer from selective amnesia.

It is good that the huge army of almost omnipresent social media is enabling the larger public aware of other versions of the story and real facts [of course every now and then Social Media too resorts to unverified and unauthenticated panic projections and rumor recreations].

So, ultimately both the stereotyped ideologues of MSM and the high priests of counter ideas are spending most of their time and energy in not doing much productive activities and instead end up using most of it on piling up weapons of attacking propaganda and pillorying by one group and while the other is busy producing protective armors of counter justifications and making tall claims as required proportionate to the provocative attacks and pillorying.

Both keep on enhancing their aggression, appropriations and assigning labels and these activities move on as a never ending extremism from which human race needs reprieve.

Now, you decide who needs to be restrained or ignored?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Values, Strategy and Culture

Let us stop marketing the craps through certain terminologies and spoil the actual significance of those terminologies.

In this context terms like values, culture, nature versus nurture and so on.

Except in certain spheres like basic social life connected principles, in every other sphere, values like morals are relative and context specific.

Anyone who is not willing to delegate power, authority and freedom to the talented under any guise or excuse cannot talk about values because that very attitude smacks of lack of trust in others and insecurity to oneself arising out of that which is a valueless activity.

If we observe, some recent events we can know why?

Actually talent spotting and allowing such talent space, time, opportunity and freedom to blossom bring huge dividends to whichever domain wherein such an activity happens.

For example Grahame Smith of South Africa made his debut as captain; Dhoni was handed the captaincy when all great seniors were in the team; See how RSS spotted MODI and opted to make him PM candidate instead of much talked about other 5 to 6 names and see the dividends in all these cases that such talents have brought to the domain.

So, all tall talk of values by people who cannot respect domain specific talent and capabilities, and provide such talent a free environment to blossom for the benefit of all is absolute hypocrisy.

In every sphere whoever the person may be, a lot depends on how that person relates to issues, with others, to new ideas, to emerging trends, to crisis, to competitions, to a wide array of suggestions for the betterment of the sphere of activity etc.

After all every aspect of life is a team work. Everyone must know where their responsibility starts and where their role stops.

In every relationship starting from being a member of a family to being a member of a society to leading a corporate set up or a political party or a nation, everyone has to encounter a hoard of compatibility issues and rarely can even any two persons, worse still many persons, be expected to perfectly fit into all the compatibility parameters operating at same frequency with same degree[s] of intensity.

That’s why learning and adjusting are the never ending lessons of live.

In other words any tradeoff-be it time, trust and toil or power, pelf and position must ensure concomitant mileage to the corporation.

What is culture? And what is corporate culture especially when it is an MNC?

In MNC world you can only define corporate culture which, in over simplistic or very general terms, involves multiple compliances dealing with multiple laws with the help of professionals; satisfying clients; keeping employee/staff morale and happiness in tact; take into confidence all investors, share holders and other stake holders; not causing any anti-social or anti-national activity; not showing undue favoritism to any outsider and so on.

It is not episodes of nature versus nurture but epileptic bouts resulting from bursting selfishness of the inflated egos of Indian business promoters.