October 2005 Archives
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October 31, 2005

No eye contact please, I am an Indian

This is the title of this post:

No eye contact please, I am Indian

The comments are not working apparently on his blog, so I thought I will try a trackback instead.

Arzan, there should be a deeper significant psychological reason for this. Because this effect is "too pervading". I find this all around me, many desis do not like to be in areas where there are too many desis. One of my friend wants to go back to India after a year, but still does not want to live around too many desis while he is still here. Our college USC had too many desis, and many desis actually did not like their presence.

This being such a universal trait among desis, there must be a significant psychological reason behind this.

I am not able to nail it right now, but it might be something like this -- by no eye contact one desi is trying to tell this to the other desi: "I came here to the US to enjoy material bliss, and to escape from my third world country. I didnt come here to see you, you desi. And I know that you dont need support/help from other desis anyway. I know that you are well off here, and are enjoying the material pleasures. What do I have to do with you now? Of course, if you need me, I am there; but normally, I dont care for your presence."

Intelligent design and Natural Selection

I understand that darwin's theory of evolution must be true.

I also developed some insights by just thinking about evolution before.

But I feel that beleiving in it strongly makes us too strongly scientific, and less religious/spiiritual. And that this can have negative consequences, on the well being of our emotional lives and institutions.

I think it is good to give a mention to Intelligent Design in biology textbooks, saying that some people do beleive in such a theory.

This may leave some more place in their hearts to follow religion later in their lives.

Journey through nihilism and beyond

One more comment about the Changing minds Website.

I think the website has lot of good insights, and can be used to learn a lot about pscyhological stuff, but the bent of the site is nihilistic, and manipulative. It was similar to Eric Berne in his book "What do you say after you say Hello". I was blown apart by that book, and it tooks months for me to stabilize.

Some similar thing might happen while reading this website, depending on where you are coming from.

It takes months to take guard after taking a drive through nihilism.

Remainder of the post describes my personal experience during that drive.

When you enter it, you feel that this is something completely wrong, this is a blasphemy. You tend to run away from it. And run fast. You want to reject it.

And then after a while, when it is calmer, you begin to mildly accept it. Your acceptance grows until you feel that this is "the only right thing". Nihilism is the only correct philosophical way of looking at things.

Then a phase comes when you try to argue with people that nihilism is right, and you tend to show other people that you are smarter than them in debates by proposing nihilistic viewpoints.

I was in this phase, when I posted this post.

Then, after quite some time of feeling "above the world", you begin to fall into depression. Since the world view you had constructed since you were a child is incompatible with the nihilistic point of world, this chasm slowly begins to rip you apart into two, and you no longer no how to remain happy.

Then, how it goes depends on the subject; for me, I ventured into spiritualism. I began to take the refuge of religion/culture/spirituality to find happiness. I realized how spirituality (hinduism) itself, both promoted and nullified nihilism. And that this was one strong sane way to lead a life. (Last para in that post)

Then over the next few months, I was able to mend my older life, and my newer outlook, into a hopefully wiser lifechoice.

I now view nihilism as not the absolute, ultimate truth, but just as a viewpoint mechanism to use to iron out stingy prejudiced preconceptions which are blocking our way to fulfilling, satisfying, enriching, happy life.

And I now view our spiritual heritage in a similar vein, but give it more significance.

And I also now give more importance to "change" -- I understand that I will have to change and to adapt, and there is no established path to bliss-in-all-walks-of-life that fits-all, but that we have to cement our own paths on our own mushy grounds, gathering all wisdom from everywhere we can gather, and applying them to our own specific life.

October 30, 2005

American Values

Nice page from Changing Minds Website:
American values

October 29, 2005

Appalling Indian attitude

ubi dubium ibi libertas: The Appalling Indian Attitude

This is a heart rending tale, of how inhumane things could be in Delhi.

Although I think that there are slight inadvertant exaggerations in the story, most of it will be true...

Absolute must read.

Thanks Aloke for the story.

Update: This blog post made me recover some respect for Indianness. And yes, now I am beginning to have slight doubts on the validity of the story.

a Western Life

The British David Straker, creator of content-rich websites like Changing Minds (lot of wise insights there), has a life story typical of a learned professional in the western cultures. Learning, enjoying, earning, all lifetime.

October 28, 2005

Dont trust that Internet will always work

Never knew such things can happen.. Suddenly many many people stop getting disconnected from many many other people. Internet has become so critical now, that such things can possibly cause havoc!

Net firms reach deal to avoid new blackout | CNET News.com

October 26, 2005

Meaning and Identity from History

Found this very nice post about Indian history: Revisioning Indian history.

Apart from the good material in the post, there are some very informative comments as well.

Some comments from Sanjay caught my attention -- he gave links to the Gulf of Canbay excavation, which says it was dated to around 7500BC, and a video link which reportedly points out that all non-African people have origins in South-East Asia, based on Oxford DNA study.

But I dont agree with his insights in his last comment. I am pasting his comment below for sake of preservation. And I added another comment on that page, which also I am pasting beneath his comment below, for archiving.

Recently, several intellectuals have made the point that an obsession with history (more specifically, an historical narrative) is primarily a Western phenomenon. For the european, a historical grand narrative that stood unbroken & unchallenged was a marker of the current power equation (winner take all including the writing of history), an alpha-male type display. Any challenge to it was to be fiercely resisted because it represented an actual or potential erosion of power.

Others have noted with irony the sight of Indians clawing & fighting about historical narratives & have concluded that it demonstrates the extent to which both the indian Left & the Right remain mentally colonized to this day.

Note the recent furore over the movie Mangal Pandey (which went all the way to L.S.) & the potential of conflicting historical narratives to lead to actual street conflict.

There is yet a third group of intellectuals who are re-examining the reaction of europeans upon their first encounter with Indian history. European scholars were aghast "Indians have no history, nor a concrete sense of history", they sniffed. Without history, you're "pre-historic' & "backward", they claimed.

This judgement made some of our babus very ashamed & they worked up significant amounts of sweat as they went about the task of trying to prove the white folks wrong. Very few indians, including gandhiji btw, reflected deeply about why Indians were ahistorical & chose NOT to write grand historical narratives.

To understand gandhi's support for ahistoricity, lets consider an historically attested event such as the holocaust. There are two historical narratives one could construct around this event:

1. The holocaust must never happen to the JEWISH people again
2. The holocaust must never happen to ANY people again

Method #1 leads to a narrative which freezes Jews as perpetual victims; nazis/ germans as perpetual evil doers. Even in 2042, kids will be taught what the germans did to the jews 100 yrs ago. Once community becomes evil forever vs. the other.

Method #2 recognizes that good & evil resides within each of us, it is not "us vs them", no one is perpetually good, nor perpetually evil. There is no point in perpetually demonizing one single community at the expense of another. Therefore, it leads to a historical paradigm where real names of people & communities are erased. Yet, there is also the imperative of recognizing that evil did happen & that we do need to learn from history. So, you mythologize the names - the good guys become the pandavas; the bad guys become the kauravas. You erase the historical tracks, yet you preserve the learning from history.

#2 leads to the ahistorical paradigm which our ancestors must have thought was correct for India.

In my view, if Secular-Right India is seeking a position on Indian history, then it is more authentically Indian, more principled, more defensible, more sensible, more evolved to choose the ahistorical position than to get mired in Left vs Right debates. There are far more important things to do.


My comment:

This is with reference to the above post by Sanjay.

Sanjay, I think that sometimes #1 is also important.

History, apart from lessons, also provides the very very important sense of "meaning" and "identity". The meaning and identity part of history does not come out if you dont have more particulars about the event (like a narrative, timing details, who-who, etc).

For example, lets imagine a situation similar to the movie "Memento" -- lets say he keeps forgetting what happenned in his past, but still he manages to keep lessons he learns by writing it onto pieces of papers in his pocket. Now, at any given time, he will have all the lessons he learnt in his life, but he wont know what to do now, and why. He wont know who he is, and what is his meaning and purpose.

Knowing lessons means he will know the rules of the game, but he will have no clue as regards to the game's objective.

Intellectual m

Good-to-read article:

Viewpoint -- Intellectual M Rubs Me The Wrong Way

October 24, 2005

P. A. Semi

I dont know much about this -- but seems like the DEC had the best of the microprocessor designers.. The high flowing companies like Sibyte, Cavium, and now PA Semi, (and many others in the middle) had people from DEC.

P.A. Semi - Power to Perform

His one discussion with some other bigshot, might be a good read for people interested in Processor VLSI.

October 18, 2005

Comedy Bush Movie

Humorous George Bush Movie

October 16, 2005

ps260 -- an excellent design company

This film on ifilm is extremely hilarious. Would make sense if you have seen the film The Shining (1980)/:

IFILM - Viral Videos: Shining

It was designed by ps260, who have an extremely well made flash on their website.

iTalk for proving that you are right

iTalk is for adding voice recording functionality to an iPod.

I was reading its page: iTalk - Griffin Technology: and in the list of Top 5 uses of iTalk, Griffin Technology sneaks in this very funny one. Ofcourse, that sure is one way to use it, (and even I might use it that way), but is still funny:

- record your next disagreement - then play it back and prove you were right!

October 15, 2005

Silicon Zoo

This CNET article talks about a very interesting piece of information -- chip designers sometimes put drawings of various things (cartoon characters, gods, animals, etc) on chips, and the drawings are very thing -- less than 1 mm, generally in a few thousand nanometers. The images can be found on the web page, rightly called Silicon Zoo:
Molecular Expressions: The Silicon Zoo.

October 13, 2005

arrogance begets sharpness

When I try to act smart (arrogance), my sharpness of looking at things increases.

When I act in the normal way -- "we are all equal, and good" -- it decreases.

(similar to what i said in this post)

October 3, 2005

life as a celebration

Young man:

Treat life as a celebration -- celebration of the human spirit. Life is short; and you just have one of it. Make sure to appreciate all these colorful myriad human faculties, otherwise time will soon pass.

There are so many things wonderful about life --

  • the way we want to laugh out ourselves :-D
  • the way we want to accomplish so much in life, we try and learn techniques of how to get things done faster, and reliabily
  • the way we develop relationships with people, and have fun and happiness together; accomplish something together, grow together
  • the way we fight, quarrel on small things, as if we really like doing it (well, sometimes we do; and sometimes, quarelling leads to better solution for the situation)
  • the way we try to seek meaning (we should) in all our endeavors; and try to progress towards an enriching, fulfilling life;
  • the way we try to smile and solve problems; try to take an effort to make things better for as many people around us as possible
  • the way we feel insecure and nervous because of the great uncertainties that life, nature provide us, and how we seek emotional and material support to curb those feelings; how we need somebody to talk about the problems, issues that we are facing, and need his helping hand
  • the way we all, in the end, try to acheive the same things:
    1. a sense of accomplishment and meaning
    2. doing something worthwhile to us
    3. raise a happy, nourishing family
    4. fulfill our desires, and our responsibilites
    5. security for the future that we will be able to continue doing this
    6. a smile on our face
    All this because, we are afterall, the same people.. On the surface, we are different, but we all come from the same old ancestors right there in Africa...we are all brothers and sisters. Though we like to divide ourselves, in order to have someone to compare against, and in order to have a better sense of identity, we cannot ignore the same hunger for love in everybody's eyes..
  • the way we all feel some attraction to the wrong side..., to things like drugs, and lust, which blind us and make us ignorant of the way we wanted to go, and the way we are going
  • the wonderful arts that we have created -- the glorious ways we have learned to draw, paint, dance, sing, play,...
  • the wonderful society that we have created.. with such nobel insituitions such as marriage, government, religion, industry,.. all meant to further celebrate our existence

Young man, time is short; dont let this time go away; live fulfillingly, meaningfully; and appreciate and celebrate our existence and its infinite infinitely magnificent dimensions...

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