May 2004 Archives
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May 31, 2004

Outcast (Incomplete)

When a normal sociable cultured person encounters a person who puts pure rationality higher than conventional social and cultural values, he steps back, looks at him once, and then never looks at him again in a way he used to see him earlier. Within one second, he has outcast him out of his social circle for life, without having a shadow of doubt for his decision and with no second thoughts. Why does this behavior pattern as universal as it is? Because this has meaning, and can be justified in a sense. If you start valuing your objective reasoning to come up with values, then you have already lost your social life. If you believe that objective reasoning is the right method to come up with all of your behavior, then you have stepped out of the normal social life, and will have a difficult time getting back. Within reasoning mode, you tend to explain all behavior, and purposes. You are very likely to come up with conclusions which are quite different from the conventionally followed values. And you know what, they might even be in conflict with them. A social and cultured person submits himself to the right and wrong taught by his society and culture. Though, he is not foolish, and he also reasons, but believing in pure rationality leaves a normal social person in a state of


Inner Self (Incomplete)

Did I miss something by not extending my inner self outwards for all people to see? Was my fear of rejection justified as a reason for doing nothing all my life but trying to mold myself in order to make myself pleasant to others? Would doing nothing but seeking enjoyment not have helped me better become part of a shared enjoyment percolating over groups of people?

Relationships (incomplete)

One can define his life by his relationships. If a person is good at forming mature relationships, he will be happy. The best thing a man can do to live the most fulfilling life is to learn how to mix with the abstract common subculture that is formed around him, and


Maturity (Incomplete)

Maturity is reaching a state, where you can behave in your best interests under all conditions, specifically by requiring no elaborate conscious thought analysis to arrive at that decision. It means that you have gone through life, understood what is that you like, what is that you want, how to get it, and how to get your best interest out of any situation. And have actually programmed all of that as your direct non-deliberated emergent behavior.

Science and Technology (Incomplete)

Science and Technology - what have they given us? They typically satisfy your second-rate desires, which are like convenience, and productivity, etc But what have the satisfaction of these desires given us? They are only useful to keep a human employed .. But have the humans become such a society where we need to find and elevate second-rate unimportant desires to such high levels in order to be employed to survive? Ants, and fishes have so less productivity that they need to spend their life for their survival. And yes, they dont exchange services. Or do they? For example, the bees divide their work into three types of bees. But they do not show growth in productivity. Yes, that is the reason they dont have time to reason.


The West vs the East (Incomplete)

I "want", hence I suffer. This is really true. It is desires that cause you suffering when they are not fulfilled. And invariably, most (or many) of them can never get fulfilled - it is simply not practically possible, one realizes if he thinks about it. Ok you say, I know this - this is a saying so common that its actually a cliche. But then, I have also realized that: I "want", hence I "do". The basic driving force of all action is a desire. No desire, no action. A Stone. No Stone? Get Desire. The basic desire to live is a desire not unlike all the others like "I want to drive an aeroplane". Nobody can forfeit the desire to live. Its the way your body is made. Suicide is not a withdrawal of all desires, but it itself is an action which follows a desire, the desire to commit suicide.


Success (Incomplete)

If you are able to keep yourself happy, you have succeeded in life. But then, you will say, mundane matters creep in: Problems in life. Which prevent you from being happy. Problems external to you, internal to you. But are problems really external to you? As Mark Twain aptly said "Life does not consist mainly - or even largely - of facts and happening. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one's head." Are your problems really external to you? And what about internal problems.....that is what you gotta learn to learn to live happily along with them...


Is Intelligence Good? (Incomplete)

--- wrote:
> I pose a question to the group in sincerity (unlike some of my
> rantings!). Is the intellectually superior person more of a benefit
> to society than the average person? Is there a positive correlation
> of intellegence and success, and where is intellegence a liability?
> Does intellegence breed socially undesirable traits (sociopathy,
> megolomania, feelings of isolation and persecution) or mearly
> acts as an amplifier for these traits?
> I have not settled on an answer and would apprieciate insight on
> this matter.
> Res Ipsa Loquitor
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> It is better to be intelligent than average. Ignorance
> isn't really bliss. But knowledge isn't bliss either. Knowing
> about the suffering of others is itself painful.
> On the positive side, knowledge helps relieve suffering.
> As long as intelligence is combined with other traits like
> sympathy and tolerance, it's possible to achieve goals,
> and the pursuit of knowledge keeps life interesting.
> Jay

Define "good" :-
for self: He should be able to be happy.
for society: The society should benefit from his existence. In what way? That
they should be happier because of his existence.

[Is good for society more important than for self? Umm. Well, they are more.
However, when both can be achieved be at the same time, it serves the most ppl.
[But this is digressing from topic]]

Define "intelligence":
Option 1: He should have good analytical skills. Empty, isnt it?
Option 2: He should be able to best meet his ends. What are his ends? Here in
comes the non-intelligence-related-attitudes. His ends will be to achieve a
particular combination of good for himself and good for society with a
particular importance distribution.

If you choose option 1, then I dont think intelligence helps. It might in fact,
be bad for both himself and the society, because of the associated negative
social tendencies (and usually functional social interactions are a big part of
reasons for happines)

If you choose option 2, then goodness for himself and the society depends on
the importance distribution that the person has. If the importance distribution
is favorable for either, then good intelligence aids it. Bad intelligence
suppresses it.

However, your question was more like "how being intelligent affects the
importance distribution?", so I havent even answered the question yet.

Well, if the person is intelligent enough (as per Option 2), then he must have
figured out the most appropriate importance distribution from where he is
seeing the world. I am only intelligent as per Option 1, and to figure out the
appropriate importance distribution is beyond me.



Shared Reality 2

(consider as second part of this post)

We tend to create our own version of reality for ourselves, which then provides us with a consistent (hence sane) view whereby we can measure all things and impose meaning on the world.

It is really tough (I think) to be brave enough to create our own reality without wanting confirmation and approval from others.

It is easier for us to form shared meanings and shared realities. It seems to be human nature to do this. Maybe this came about naturally during the evolution of culture, where we were using communication of realities for mutual betterment.

Being in a shared reality makes us feel more secure and we feel more confident of our beliefs, since many other people share those beliefs with us. Then they are always there so that we can share the results of our adventures of life in this reality and measure our progress.

In fact, culture itself is a broader form of a shared reality.

Its been said that shared realities help you be happy:

This page states some factors necessary for a successful marriage, and 2 of the 3-4 factors are related to the couple having similar shared realities so that they can share that among themselves.

This page tells us that happy people form happy virtual realities and are able to sustain and nurture their happiness in them.

A person who starts thinking of shared realities as mere shared realities might get confused, and just wander around purposelessly - and he might be unable to generate a minimal, consistent axiom set (drawing from many different shared realities) whereby he can create a satisfactory reason for happiness. [am i talking about myself here?]


May 21, 2004

I am. I think I

I am. I think I am.

May 10, 2004

What do you think you are?

OR "Shared Reality, part 1"

All of our reality, what we see, what we understand, what we judge, what we desire, what we even think - all of this DOES NOT ORIGINATE FROM WITHIN YOU BUT FROM SOURCES EXTERNAL TO YOU, AND HENCE IS UNIMPORTANT.

What you are, is different from what you think you are, since what you think you are, is based on your specific experience of life. And that experience is external to you, and hence cannot be used to describe you, especially when one has very less amount of control over the external surroundings. All action that you do, which influences the surroundings, was itself determined by your experience upto that point of time. And the same argument can be applied repeatedly. Ofcourse, genes also have a role in all this (and not a trivial role at that), but the role of experience cannot be undermined.
[And whether genes are part of your experience is one interesting offshoot that we dont want to get into at this point]

To appreciate the role of societal experience in making what you are, try describing what you are, given the context of your current reality.

You will begin with your role in society - you are a student, or you work here, etc (how and what services you exchange with the society), how you relate to other people (how and what emotions you exchange with the society) and then you will describe your hobbies, what you like and what you dont, what path of life that you have gone through (what experience has this society given you), what are your behavior patterns (how your experience with society has caused you to behave), and then some people might give their goal of life (how their mind has analysed the information about society to come up with a goal, which was itself based on their experience in life) and so on.

If you look at all of this, you will find that you are trying to speak about yourself, but actually you are only speaking about your experience in society and its effects. [You are also speaking about your genes here, dont get me wrong, but you are also very significantly speaking about your social experience]

Now comes the litmus test.

Imagine that you had spent your life in a hypothetical situation in the African jungles, with some totally different people as your parents and your community, under totally different circumstances. There the conditions had been so difficult that nobody could be certain that any person in the area would see the light of the next morning, because the wild animals living around the community would attack every night. Where your parents had been killed when you were two. Where you spoke in an African language, where you hadnt even remotely heard of the existence of a thing as electricity, where the only task you did in your life was collecting food for the next week by hunting wild boars.

Now imagine what would your reality had been, had you gone through this. Think about all of your personality traits - would they have been the same? Or so would anything else?

The best inference comes, however, when you imagine instead of this african jungle with lots of people, you had been living in African jungles at a time when you were the lone human on the planet. You were in africa, but alone. Alone on the whole planet. Though you had company from the wild animals living around your house. You had grown up among these animals, and you hadnt seen another human in your whole life.

Now imagine and think.

What would you say about yourself (assuming that you knew spoken language, which you wouldnt) given these circumstances?

Would that be similar to what you describe as yourself now?

If all of our reality including what we think about ourselves is so dependent on our experience then where do "we" come into the picture, separate from the experience?

The point is - you dont exist separately from your experience. Atleast in the way you imagine yourself to exist.

Its a question of where to draw the line.

You might want to draw the line at the soul (or whatever metaphorically it means), and say that you are your soul, and the rest - your body, your brain, this world - are nothing but your experiences. And hence at this level you can not differentiate between descriptions of people, since they all can be completely described by the previous sentence. And hence, spiritualists would call everyone God or an "equivalent" part of God (Hinduism: you are part of Brahman, everyone is atman, God is Parmatman)

Then you can draw the line at the continuity of the complex thinking process in your complex brain as the seat of conciousness, which is you. [brain became so complex that its complex thinking started to have illusions of awareness, and of becoming conscious] So whatever you take in from the senses, becomes your experience. It will appear that you yourself will change with experience, since the brain changes its neural connections based on the experience it gets. But this will not happen if you take the meaning of continuity of the thought process as the continuity of the thought process separate from the brain the thought process runs on, and the contents of the thought process itself. If we look at it this way, then it almost becomes similar metaphorically as a soul, although with one point of difference - souls are said to be permanent, and this is not. (I personally feel that the soul actually metaphorically appears quite similar to this continuity of thought; for solving the permanence problem by looking at the phenomenon itself - of developing a feeling of consciousness after reaching a complex state of thoughts - as being permanent, while only this instance of the phenomenon as temporary) [.. plz read this past post for on this continuity of thought as consciousness...]

[ In the above two cases, you count gene as part of your experience: you got the genes from the society in the first place, you got them from your mother and father, who met each other in the society exchanging emotions, and then got their genes themselves from their parents from society]

Then you can draw the line at the genes. You can say that you are your genes, and you produced a brain as your "extension" in order to help you replicate yourself. (I guess that Richard Dawkins has some theory like this in The Selfish Gene, a book which I really want to read whenever I can find time) You then change according to whatever your experience, but the way you change is a property of the genes. So you can be completely described by only your genes, and experience is secondary. So "you" are just a characteristic of a brain which was developed in the way the genes are, and it was developed because of the genes. So in effect "you" are the "genes" themselves. [This is a not an uncommon place to draw the line, when people from one country try to prove they are superior than the other country, they are trying to say that their genes are stronger. And even more pertinent example is all racist wars like the Hitler against the Jews stuff]

And finally you can draw the line at your genes+experience. So in effect, this is saying that you are nothing but your genes AND your experience. (And actually you had no control in defining/shaping either for yourself.)

The distinctions between drawing the line at different places is generally not clear to us when we interact in this world in practice, I think, and we usually tend to overlap one way with another.

Anyway, its late night, and now if I glance up, I think that I should have written this during the day.. :-) ...would have turned out much better because my brain would have been thinking straight rather than skewed.

(related next part)

May 9, 2004

All I want to do in Life (Marianne Faithful)


You've been right and I've been wrong,
I've been weak and you've been strong.
You've been good and I've been bad,
Think I've had enough of that.
'Cause all I wanna do in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.
All I wanna do in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.
I loved the days, you loved the night,
I loved to love, you loved to fight.
I drive to you, you're far away,
It gets harder every day.
All I wanna do in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.
All I wanna do in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.
Wish you could be a friend of mine,
Wish you could learn to play with time.
You say I dream my life away -
If I do, well that's OK.
All I wanna do in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.
All I wanna do in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.
All I wanna do in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.
All I wanna in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.
All I wanna do in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.
All I wanna do in life
Is to love somebody with all my might.


May 4, 2004

Library Home

This was interesting. A student "living" at the school library.

Absolute Morality?

Well, so United Nations also stipulates absolute morals...

Some of these are really humorous.


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