Category Archives: Analytical Worldview
Back to Blog Main Home

May 15, 2008

Views on same-sex marriage

As California legalized same-sex marriage today,

I never write on this topic -- but given this big judgement, I want to write down a few thoughts on this for the first and the last time.

People who support gay-marriages make these same arguments over and over again, and here are my answers to them:

1) If you dont like same-sex marriage, dont do it!
This argument is ridiculous, since if it were rational, then no laws could ever have been made. People can only control themselves by default, but millenniums ago people came together to form societies so that they could live together and decide on some common laws that make sense, and are agreed on by most people, and then enforced on the whole society. Like murder is wrong. They didnt think, if somebody thinks murder is wrong, he should not do it. Or child-sex for example, both the adult and the child may have agreed, but we all consensually agree that a child may not be able to make his own decisions correctly and wisely.

2) They give a history where women had no voting rights, right to property, etc and then slowly the rules came to be as they are today, where equality reigns supreme.
Just past rulings do not imply that any future rulings will be right. Lets decide on this now given the context of the present and the actual argument being made. Just because in the past we have become more and more liberal, it does not imply we should continue to do so without considering the current argument.

3) Gay marriage is a right!
Ridiculous. Nobody is telling you to not do anything here. Nobody is telling you to not live with your same-sex friend/lover or whatever you call that relationship. The fact is actually that you are asking the society for some privileges, not that society is infringing on your rights. You can do whatever you want to -- if you want to mentally consider that you are married, please do. But "marriage" and "family" are society-supported institutions. . so if you are asking for society to consider you as married, society has its own right to evaluate according to its own rules! Until societal rule is changed, gay marriage is not a right!

Now my own arguments:
1) Biology: As humans, only heterosexual couples can have children. Our society should view "marriage" and "family" as a group which can have and raise children, and have a lasting growth of relationships. This serves as an institution which represents our very meaning of life -- the very way we have reached this stage, the very way we grow ourselves, the very way we live.
2) Impact on children: As the next generation teenagers grow -- they will study at school that marriage can be both hetero and homosexual. They will see gay couples around in the society. And this will cause them to choose their own mate in either sex. This will cause a lot of emotional problems and relationship issues. The whole way we related to each other way will collapse. Although this is not a critical problem, since it will stabilize in some way or the other, what is a problem is that, half of these kids might end up in a gay marriage. Which will immediately cause half of the population of the new generation in the country to be infertile. This will raise very serious issues to the country -- ranging from social, sociological, to the economical, and to America's ability to retain its title as superpower.

More arguments could be made, but these are ones that come up at the top of my mind, and with the time I have.

April 16, 2007

comment on virginia tech shooting tragedy

A comment on this page regarding the shooting tragedy at the Virginia Tech is pasted below --- my view is that basically voilence, sex, drugs, and other misbehaviours should be removed from media (books, movies, internet, videos) and faith and spirituality should be reinforced in this country and culture, in order to avoid tese things. The first thing that should be done though is to stop sales of guns, handguns, rifles, etc. to each and everyone (except the police) and call back all guns that have been sold/registered.


Many will again be asking “Why”

I believe that Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine HIgh School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, answered that question in his address to the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:
Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

” Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational
systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your
own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

— Posted by Al Montreuil

November 22, 2006

Getting closer

Why does having no barrier with other people, able to speak out inner wishes with other people, not having too much of self-respect, contrast sharply with perceived behavior characteristics of successful, respectable people?

September 2, 2006


Progressive -- means not fearing to loose old ways, and seeking better and new paths, towards progress.

I used to think that I am a pretty non-conventional thinker, and progressive on many fronts, but I recently found that I am not as progressive.

Such things you come to know about yourself when you are looking for marriage mates. The process involves analyzing where you have been so far, what you stand for, and where you want to go and what you want to be -- since the decision, which comes once in a lifetime, changes life forever. And we must know a lot abt ourself before making the plunge.

Does a sense of acheivement excite you most in life? Then you are likely to be progressive.

A nice quote about a non-progressive lifestyle:

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich, to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconcious, grow up through the common -- this is my symphony.
- William Henry Channing, clergyman, reformer (1810-1884)

Marwaris (an Indian community) are progressive on the money front (do what they can to get more money) and conservative on the family front.

Progressiveness is one imp characteristic that we should match in our lifemate.

August 29, 2006

Personal Existence

Characteristics of a Person's "Existence":

A particular outlook, a particular direction, a particular preference for a way of life, a confidence that self's way of life works, exposure of the inner unreasoning self out in the open available for interpersonal relationships and connecting with people, a life plan aligned with promotion of self survival and happiness.

(This is an excerpt of an entry I made in my personal blog on July 25, 2004)

August 5, 2006

Moral responsibility for war

A good article which has a couple of simple but good methods for reducing US's affinity to war.

A Moral Hazard of Global Proportions: The Naked Economist - Yahoo! Finance

July 28, 2006

Identity due to force-feedback response to conditioning

Force feedback...!! It is the feedback that many gaming machines offer us in response to an instruction that we give to it. For example, in the car racing gaming machines, when we try to move the steering wheel in a particular direction to turn the car, the wheel offers us resistance in the opposite direction or assistance in the same direction to simulate real conditions like inertia of the vehicle, friction of the wheels, air, etc.

Isnt this similar to the response that we give to the conditioning the outer world gives to us, which eventually defines our identity and makes us what we think we are?

When somebody suggests us to do one particular thing, often we either tend to think he is right, and think "that is what I feel I should do", or we tend to think that he is wrong, and think "it is better if I do the opposite". Now, it might appear that this is very obvious, whats so significant about this pattern. I beleive it is. Because this suggestion actually does impact our thinking..! It actually changes our opinions either towards the suggestion or opposite to it, and makes it "change" - makes it different than what it was before -- in other words: "polarizes" it. And this is very often in essence the form in which "conditioning" occurs: polarization due to explicit or implicit suggestions.

This conditioning makes us develop opinions and choices; and the development of these opinions over the longer run makes us what we think we are, since we are after all, a "choosing bag". And our very manifestation in reality is our self-expression of our thoughts, our ideas, and our choices...

Though these are subject to change and conditioning very easily over time, we still appear to "feel" that they have some permanence associated with them and the resulting self-identity has some static or permanent nature, and one of our important goals then becomes to protect our identity, and to "exercise" it.

I have observed that for some people, following lifestyle choices ("exercising identity") becomes more important than everything else, even moral obligations.

Somehow I believe that for me, moral obligations are more important than lifestyle choices, but I am not very sure how strongly I believe that.

By the way, I also think that marriage makes us value lifestyle (greatly overlapping with family values) more and more and more....over everything else...

June 19, 2006

Image of Limited Good

Excerpt from Register's small article-note -- What cultures don't share Western economic values? -- a view from George Foster, the late anthropologist at the University of California at Berkeley

In his A Primitive Mexican Economy (1942) and in later works such as Empire's Children: The People of Tzintzuntzan (1973), Foster wrote of Mexican villagers who believed that, quite the opposite of how we are led to think, all things that are good (wealth, health, good fortune, luck, and happiness) are fixed and finite within the community.

"Good" is limited in quantity, hence the "image of limited good". Given this belief, all individuals are entitled to their fair share. If one individual has far more than their fair share, for whatever reason, this is viewed as immoral. Such a person would be regarded as selfish, an improper citizen, and more or less a community vandal or thief.

With the belief of the "image of limited good", these Mexican villagers would therefore condemn as immoral many of our Western economic and business practices and social behaviors. Among these would be our allowance of the amassing of great fortunes whilst others are poor, the driving of business rivals into bankruptcy, the unwillingness of many to be charitable in heart as well as mind. The list goes on.

Applies to India as well, I guess!

June 17, 2006


Sometimes the child in you knows the answer.

June 15, 2006

Differing worldviews... where you did not expect

Strangely, I have found these days differing worldviews in people around me quite often.

Here in the Bay Area, or for that matter, many parts of the US, there's an eclectic selection of people living in one place - some are from North India, some from South India, some from east India, some from Western India, some from urban China, some from rural China, some from Canada, some from Mexico, some from Europe, some from african countries, some are Americans, etc. Because of this, people dont fit naturally into the society in general (some do, but many dont), and try to carry on differing worldviews for a long time! Since there are good number of people from all of these cultures, they dont need to change...they can prefer to have friends or spend their time with only their chosen ones. Since the American culture in cosmopolitan places like this (San Francisco, California) is anyway loose, it doesnt obligate you to anything, and you can get by with Americans by just offering the usual courtesy things... (sometimes, the differing worldviews cover that as well!)

This sustained variety of life sometimes makes everybody living here feel alien, and sometimes makes everybody feel at home.

Out of work life, differing cultures is usually fine..... but that does get it head out within office environment as well. The very way of getting things done starts becoming different, especially in companies which a lot of international population, and have had them for some time. This, I have found, sometimes actually delaying job work, and causing unnecessary friction. Like, some people like to write documents to get information transferred from one group to another, and some prefer to talk directly, some follow schedule, some do not, some give company more importance, some themselves, and some technology, etc

June 7, 2006

"The Clean Slate"

To really understand oneself and the world better, one should start with a clean slate.

Erase all the criss-crosses of the chalk on it, all the dust that has settled on it, and wipe it clean with water and cloth.

Then restart writing on it, this time do it very carefully and slowly.....

Start with "Should I live or should I die? Why should I want to live?" Give this question some deep thought.

Then go to "What should I do with my time here? What do I want?". Throw in the "Who am I?" and "What have I been doing all this time?" in there somewhere.

After posing various questions, and writing the answers down, which can take days, weeks, months or years, you should have a new perspective on which to make judgements, decisions, etc.

Once the slate is clean, and has statements which only have been put there with deliberate thought, we become open to new ways of thought -- this is its biggest advantage. So at that point, you view whatever you had learned, or got misguided in the past, in a completely different light.

However, I have noticed that this sometimes, at least in my case (see this post and this post) and someone else's I know, results in an individualistic outlook. If one really starts thinking -- "what do I really want", he goes in the "alone, egotist, its-my-life" individualistic approach.

At that point, Yoga, meditation and in general spirituality start helping. Getting to know the world consciousness start having more meaning. "God", "religion", "spirituality", "yoga", "meditation" all start looking as synonyms of non-egoism and dissolved-boundaries-between-self-and-everything-else.

Science, spirituality, psychology, philosophy, technology, culture, relationships, etc start looking as the mirrors of the a kaleidoscope using the light of "ego" and "the non-living".

And then you go crazy, and visit a shrink. Just kidding! :)

UPDATE: Rishi pointed to his very splendidly written insights in this blog post, which I commented to as well.

June 2, 2006

Digital Maoism - The Wise Online Collective

Here is an article by Jaron Lanier on the growing importance of the "Online Collective" wisdom - wikipedia, meta-sites, etc.



May 25, 2006


Its surprising to see so many people not being "aware" of what they do -- for them, their natural self is unassailable, unpenetrable, and solid, and awareness only can reach upto its borders.

But I think that one leap in world understanding when our awareness goes much deeper into our own naturral self, and other's.

May 20, 2006

natural self

Sometimes, being our natural self feels so nice; at others, it feels like the sole biggest enemy of peace in the world.

May 18, 2006

Finding the path

Some people try to find the path by proactively searching for it....while most others just let the constant collisions with others all around keep them on the path.

If we do find our path on our own, we may find that we are alone, and that there is nobody to bounce against...

May 17, 2006

Continuous recording of child to learn about language learning

Found an interesting article. This talks about how a MIT Media lab prof is allowing his infant son to be completely camera'd for most of this hours during the week, to learn how babies learn language.

Watch language grow in the 'Baby Brother' house

Going back home

To this post, about "being twenty something", there were some good comments. For more visibility, I am pasting one of the nice comments that I got, and one of my comment that I made in response.

Rmackins wrote:
I have been out of England for two years to Australia for one year and then Korea for another. By the time I came back a year ago it was like everything had grown up and i hadn't. I'm not sure i really want to grow up but I can identify with the comment move forward or get stuck in the past. It's difficult though.

With the pressures of modern day society we have it so much harder than our parents. Every one has a loan, no-one can get a house because they're so expensive, a degree does not guarantee a well paying job and even if it did, would i want to be doing something related to what i chose to study 10 years ago?

I think i want a job that gives me the opportunity to travel (never would have guessed it), is socially concerened and doesn't require me to sit in the same chair for months on end. I think I know how to get it but i may have to sacrifice these things in order to get to it.

I have been travelling around because I don't want an ordinary life but in the end, our roots stabilise us and sometimes you can't see what you actually have for what you want. My family is the most important thing to me. That is why I have moved back to the city I was born in. They are always there for me no matter how scary the world is.

For now i'm trying to stop running and let the grass grow a bit. I'm in the mind set that something will turn up, as long as I keep on looking.

Posted by: rmakins | May 13, 2006 11:48 AM
grkhetan wrote:


I understand what you face. I do face some sort of a similar situation.

I have come here to the US for the last 5 years. And whenever I visit my hometown, I have this weird feeling. My hometown is a small town in India, and the cultural gap between there and where I am now (San Francisco, USA), is so huge, that I become confused as to who I am, and what I was supposed to be, where I was heading, and where did I head to... I see my family there, cousins, and get this so-weird feeling that their development paths diverged from mine 5 years ago, and somehow something doesnt feel right -- the people have become somewhat different, or maybe I have changed, or maybe my perspective has change, or maybe all of these. But connecting with them in a similar manner as before just does not workout.

Being in a different culture changes you slowly, slowly, until you stop recognizing yourself. Changing cultures, is not a simple thing to do, and requires emotional strength beyond what I have.

I still beleive that going back to my hometown might give me the highest meaning for my life that I could ever give, but I am ever so afraid of the consequences of looking back, not confident at all whether that is the best way of doing things, especially when the world, wholly, is moving forward. Sometimes, emotions and biological survival play games against you, and world is so confusing.
At other times, I feel that being in ignorance is actually bliss, as I see many people around me who have similar situations, just loving the present with a care-free mind without stepping back and looking where they are.
Somebody has said rightly, "take it easy". But others have also righly said, "do what your heart says".

The problem is that hearts are prone to mistakes.

the good things

Good things about me are not mine. I think most of my moral inclinations, my malleable mindset, whatever few virtues that I have, have been borrowed, directly learned from others surrounding me.

I think that if we always try to look at the better sides of people, their virtues, and appreciate them by heart, then the world feels a very nice place to be in. We see goodness and happiness all around us, and feel like being in heaven. And then slowly, we start getting those good things into ourselves, and become a better person. Thus, the ability to perceive only the good in people helps us become good ourselves, and make us feel better as well. Its a win-win situation.

It is said that we get molded based on the company we keep. Bad company, bad friends yield a bad person. But I think if we try to see only the good in our friends and acquaintainces, we become like as if we had the best company of all!

One exercise I can imagine being done in this vein is -- a group of people should sit together and take turns recounting the good virtues of the people they have met in their lives. This will be an amazing exercise, and will allow people to know each other better, know that there are so many good people in the world, know that good is abundant, and in turn will make them better people themselves!

May 16, 2006


Sometimes you feel that you can analytically analyze each nut and bolt of a relationship. But then sometimes you realize, like I am doing now, that it is so hard to do that. A relationship is a heavenly creation which has so many varied emotions (security, love, ego, fear, greed, selfishness, fun, self-expression, etc etc) so much intricately involved, that it is in my opinion a fallacy to beleive that your analysis has completely described a relationship.

When relationships work, life feels so good that you are ready to give off all intellectual/analytical stress on the mind, and just relax in bliss, going into the natural state of mind, which is emotional.

By relationships I mean, of course, every relationship under the sun, including brother-sister, parent-child, husband-wife, boyfriend-girlfriend, friend-friend, teacher-student, colleague, parent-of-friend, etc etc etc etc.

Life is a matter of joy.

May 15, 2006

Truth or Happiness?

A conscious decision must be made as to which direction does one consider important -- truth or happiness.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar wrote something like -- "Wisdom is a burden, if it does not make you free". I think this higher level statement implies that wisdom is of no use if it is directed towards just imposing what is right or just finding what is right, and not applied towards finding happiness for self and others.

This is completely true, I beleive. I have been on the wrong path many times. My intention often turns out to be "find what is right", instead "lets be happy".

I have experience now which says that -- happiness is the better path, looking from the holistic point of view.

For example, "judgement". These days I have gotten stronger opinions about morals and rightdoing, as I now look at behavior from a very keenly observant point of view, and find many "wrong" intentions in daily normal behavior. For me, "ego" also falls in the wrong category, and this is one of important reasons why I find all behavior "bad" these days. However, I do find the right ones, dont worry. In fact I find more right ones than bad ones than many other people do, and hence I consider myself close to many people.

But I recently found that it was not helping me. Judging everybody was taking me nowhere. I needed to like the people as they are. Even though they are bad, they always have a good side, if not apparent, sometimes we need to dig it out from them. And most people need love and love can be the means of relationships. (these days, when it is becoming easy to live, people are more tending to not needing love with other people, but i am sure, if they have the proper experience, they will ultimate realize it regardless of how individualistic they are).

And then, when I found somebody who was really not understanding how things work and his/her lack of empathy was causing trouble for everybody, instead of finding solutions to the problem that lead to peace and happiness for all, my ego and anger started rising and I started finding ways which gave support to them (ego and anger) instead, causing bad consequences. However, hopefully I have realized soon, and I can swerve the future.

Let us all be successful in findling joy for everyone. Let was walk vehemently on that path, with determination to never fail.

God help us in doing this.

May 4, 2006

Old, childhood friends

When we are small -- kids in high school or early college, we are more "real" and spontaneous. And then slowly we start wearing artificial "clothes".

When we meet good ol' friends from early yeers, with whom we have had natural friendships, it feels very good since we can remove our artificial clothes for a while, and relive our natural self.

However, when we meet old friends, with whom we had friendship with artifical clothes on, and then whether we feel good depends on whether our current artifical clothes are compatible with the artificial clothes we had on when we formed the relationship. If they are different, then we are usually surprised by our differences with him, and how we no longer can relive a friendship with him/her.


I think meditation and spirituality are a must in life. One must learn to like silence, inner fulfillment and satisfaction, happiness, faith, calmness, giving, not being egoistic to feel your presence, etc.

Some of the immediate good things coming out of this that we learn to smile and love other people, instead of fighting them and trying to get ahead of them.

March 20, 2006


In my opinion, if not enforced, human inclination towards "being fair" is very low. And even knowing that he is being unfair is not a thing he is good at.

March 2, 2006

Being Twenty Something

A very nice writeup that came to me via email from somebody.

Thanks to Aloke for pointing out that it was written by "Brenda Della Casa", a NY based writer. Otherwise I would have risked getting a comment like this from him.

"Being Twenty-Something".

They call it the "Quarter-life Crisis." It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are many things about yourself that you didn't know and may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.

One minute, you are insecure and then the next, secure. You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward. You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you. Or you lie in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough that you want to get to know better. Or maybe you love someone but love someone else too and cannot figure out why you are doing this because you know that you aren't a bad person. (few words cut) Random hook ups start to look cheap. Getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic.

You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met, and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you don't recognize is that they are realizing that too, and aren't really cold, catty, mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.

You look at your job... and it is not even close to what you thought you would be doing, or maybe you are looking for a job and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and that scares you. Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and are constantly adding things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn't.

You go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision. You worry about loans, money, the future and making a life for yourself... and while winning the race would be great, right now you'd just like to be a contender!

What you may not realize is that everyone reading it, relates to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out !!?

January 4, 2006

Communication via coarseness

These days I have developed a tendency to analyze how people are behaving by breaking it into some primordial urges, for example, like the ones in this post. I try to see activity in terms of how selfish it is, how it is trying to promote self, how much ego is present in it, how much empathy is present, how much a tendency to help other people is present, how much a tendency to follow what other people have told you since birth is present, how much fun-loving tendency is present, how much sacrifice and love are there, etc.

I find that many people dont tend to behave with "propriety" all the time. Many of the times, they are so obviously egoistic and condescending. At one point I became very depressed with the state of the world -- however I must note that though in some circles, the people were very badly behaved, there were some circles where people were very well behaved. Such tendencies tended to sustain in circles/groups of people.

However, now my depression is less, since I have realized that people dont always have to politely ask, but their rudely shouting at another to get their point across, is sometimes an equally powerful tool to get matters sorted out.. They shout, and try to show they are better off, but that attitude pays off with the right people, because they can give a fitting reply to this rudeness, which will actually help both parties in a better position.

(I know, I know, this is a really ackward post, and makes you wonder why are you reading this after all)

December 22, 2005

Robot Demonstrates Self-awareness

I found an interesting article on slashdot today, related to consciousness, very interesting:
"Robot Demonstrates Self-awareness"

The news article the story points to is a must read. And as always, the comments on the slashdot page are also very interesting.

For example:

Actually this is related to past blog entry of mine: "Questioning assumptions and becoming more aware"

December 9, 2005

social equivalence in a collectivist society

I have found that in general collectivist and hard-to-live societies such as India, there is less equivalence in social talks. All social talks assume differences in people based on their efficiency in their function (often translating to their standing (often financial) in the society), and people dont talk to others as if everybody is equal.

This has big implications when there is cross-societal interaction.

November 28, 2005

Free Will and Laws of Nature

This is just a self-note to me that I have to read these two articles written by Norman Swartz at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy , to understand about Free Will:

Foreknowledge and Free Will
Laws of Nature


William Vallicella, a Ph.D. in Philosophy, writes deep philosophical posts in his blog called Maverick Philosopher.

Recently, he wrote 3 interesting posts on what are the essential characteristics of religion, among 5 religions he compared.

Maverick Philosopher What is Religion, Part I
Maverick Philosopher What is Religion, Part II
Maverick Philosopher What is Religion, Part III

Nice thoughts, but, ofcourse, not all people think alike.

November 2, 2005

arts/humanities vs science vs engineering

I sometimes feel that engineering is too off from the regular human life.

When I come home after browsing through lot of software code at my workplace as a software engineer, it becomes difficult for me to merge back into normal (family) life.

Software code is closer to mathematics, both of which are abstract and distant from normal/real life/world.

If I would have been in arts/humanities/social sciences, I would probably have been closer to human life, and wouldnt have felt it difficult to switch to family mode after reaching home. Even being a manager in an engineering firm, would have reduced the divide, since managing involves tasks like "managing people; managing projects; getting things done; getting issues solved; organizing for efficiency" which often does not involved delving into abstract technical details.

Mechanical engineering (like working in General Motors, designing a car engine), also would be closer to science, both of which are not as distant as math/software from real life, since they are concerned with actual physical things that move like gasoline, pinston, air, car, etc.

Ofcourse where this is too much "logic" involved, it often becomes like "mathematical logic", and thus goes towards mathematics. So if you go further from physics of materials in an engine, and start applying mathematical logic, you go towards more abstraction.

Hmm, but physics also involves lot of mathematics and equations, so it is difficult to consider science (physics/chemistry) as being less abstract than mathematics. Biology though is not part of that group.

There's one more thing: People in engineering tend to go away from arts/humanities, and vice versa. Reminds me of C. P. Snow's idea of Two Cultures

Another thing: Brain, i think does not naturally compute logic, it is more of an emotional and biological machine. Our logical thinking is a burden on the free, natural, mind. Like Stan Ulam, friend of Alan Turing, said "What makes you so sure that mathematical logic corresponds to the way we think?"

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

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 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 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)

September 29, 2005

Getting things done

Getting things done, based on schedules, at our workplace requires as a prerequisite a huge amount of selfishness.

September 28, 2005

Getting up

Is getting up in the early morning good, or getting up when we feel convenient?

September 20, 2005


Abnormalities lead us to less frequently traversed paths, which sometimes have ditches, and sometimes have hidden treasures.

September 19, 2005

Purpose, consciousness

I think the world of consciousness is like the mathematical world -- the mathematical world is so detached from the material world -- (2+2=4) -- is true whether this world exists or not. (p->q && q->r => p->r) would have been true, even if the big bang wouldnt have taken place. I mean to say that, these are "mathematical properties" which have an existence independent of things/matter.

Likewise, I think consciousness is a property -- it is not limited by the life of the biological organism/material body in which it exists. Its a property and properties dont have lifetimes, but instances/manifestations of the property do.

And consciousness has this primary characteristic of "awareness". And I think "awareness" in itself is also somehow a universal, abstract, forever-existing-and-true property.

And consciousness has this amazing characteristic of "seeking meaning" (primarily for itself, but thence also results into seeking meaning for things)

Now, "meaning" is also a universal property, related to "causality", "reason" and "purpose", which are all universal properties.

So....consciousness seeking self-meaning despite the temporary existence of it's acceptable?

Final Viewpoint

I think the real destination comes nearer when we are able to hop from one viewpoint to another viewpoint, feeling home at each (understanding it and supporting it), and then when all have been done, coming to rest at a state where we feel comfortable and nice -- still not being rigidly attached to it.

September 8, 2005

more links to history of Indian science/math/astronomy/other developments

An edited copy of a mail I recently sent -- sorry for bias for India -- it was counter to the anti-Indian and pro-Western bias of the receipient.

--- wrote:

> i repeat: some (all) indians still lack the *conscious* ability of
> self-critique, self-improvement by negative feedback, intellectual thought
> etc they are always bathing in the drug-like effects of positive feedback
> and self-aggrandizing and surrouinding oneself with praising people, which
> would have been ok, if not for the animal like existence it entails with
> total lack of improvement over the long term, maybe deterioration
> too.stillit is king mentality i am great. like an old film star who
> still thinks
> he/she is a star but actually is ignored.
> some uniconscious intelligence (though negligible in long term) is there in
> small amouts so they move to foreign countries, realizing futility of stay
> in india be it with their suffering parents who call them back who are
> ignored to be left to die "alone" in India or come to US.

You should immediately remove the term "intellectual thought" from your first sentence. For example, how were we able to develop into the leading country in all intellectual domains until the western enlightenment in the 17th century?

You should read this:

Basically, we have always been centuries ahead of the west in maths, astronomy, spirituality, psychology, and possibly most of the intellectual domains; until the 17th century, of course.

If the culture is severely flawed and cannot even self-critique (which is the basic attribute of intelligence), how could it have developed all this so early, _centuries_ and _millenia_ before anybody else?

You are only looking at the current Indian culture, which has flaws, due to what I feel are the effects of population, and other geographical factors, and the flawed merge between the West and the Indian cultures.

And also, you are not looking at the best of Indian culture -- you are looking at problems, you are missing the merits: your western psychological training has trained you to look at the mind as a machination, with a tendency to get flawed. But because of this, you are unable to see the positive sides of the mind. You get egoistic pleasure in believing and telling that most people are essentially flawed. Once egoistic pleasure comes in the middle, you cannot think straight. (Same applies to me).

The Western psychologists have only recently started to look at positive psychology. The American Psych Assoc (APA)'s president Seligman realized around 2000 that something very significant was amiss in western psychology, and started a conference/field of positive psychology, where they try to understand and promote human happiness instead of the traditional way to reduce unhappiness.

A must-read:

Now I believe that the Western Psychology will understand happiness and positive emotions better; and they will come up with something similar to spirituality -- present in the Indian religion/culture/philosophy since millenia.

My subjective feeling that: Put India on an isolated island, and you will see they would emerge with true happiness (not that they will be remain in happy state completely, but they will reach a sustaining cultural state, which would support fulfillment of the conscious mind's ultimate desires of meaning and belonging).

Dancing and Self-Confidence and Present-Mindedness

I went to an Indian Hip Hop Dance class today; and my absent-mindedness did not allow me to fully immerse in it. But I am sure that I will be able to inculcate into me the required presence of mind (at least in temporary bursts) by the end of class, to actually dance.

I noticed that dancing (particularly Indian Hip Hop) gives you a high sense of self-confidence, which feels nice. It also instills a high dose of present-mindedness, which also feels nice.

Since these feelings are departure from my regular self, I started wondering whether they are good or bad...

I think that Self Confidence is good for acheiving things, focussing yourself towards the positive, getting things done, feeling nice about yourself.
But that it "may" take you away from being humble, mixing, the so attractive innocent feeling of "needing others" with the resulting compassion and empathy.

Present mindedness is good for many things which everybody knows, and will help in many things.
However, it does tend to make you less reflective.

Overall though, these are very nice things to have, esepcially if you are aware of the above caveats at the same time.

I will surely continue the dance class in the vein it was meant to be followed.


Alas, how strongly do I feel the need to lead life without harming anybody's sentiments. Is it possible? Is it recommended?

September 6, 2005

detachment or attachment?

Why did more-or-less all religions of the past teach us "detachment"?

When I practise detachment, I find myself in trouble these days?

Is it true that the detachment that they preached was only applicable to their times, and not ours?

September 1, 2005


Change is something we need to learn to accept.

The culture that we come to acquire by way of being a son or daughter of somebody, a cousin of somebody, and/or a citizen of a city/race/culture/region has much belonging to the "past". It arose in the past, where things were not the same as today.

The sense of grief that usually accompanies change is not necessarily the best and the only valid approach.

We must learn to accept change and adapt to whatever is around us; though with some caution and care: we must ensure that the change does not stifle our smile in the long run.

August 29, 2005

Virtual layer over truth

I am now beginning to stop minding and start accepting and somewhat loving a virtual layer over the absolute truth, especially when the layer is pro-life and pro-happiness.

Bad habits

Many bad habits and behavior actually help in one way or the other.
And many things that help the world, are actually bad habits in some other way.

August 28, 2005

Like Companies

These myriad of alternative philosophies for (hindu) faith, various people spearheading new organizations which promote different philosophies of faith/spiritual path, are like "companies": they have different paths, different ways of life, and they started off as individual independent efforts since their direction did not match the others.

Their ultimate motive is the same, but still they compete for approval, in the true sense of social darwinism.

This fight for going ahead originates, of course, from the individual: a person constantly tries to exhibit/convey his biological fitness and his way of life's social fitness through various means.

One of the means he uses is showing "no need" for others.


August 19, 2005

Ancient Indian History: So mysterious

A mail sent to some Indian friends (was reading a little about Indian philosophy the past few days)


I found an interesting article on Ancient Indian History; it is long, but consists of lots of references to various books, events, and books, indicating that it has some substance. However, according to the organized world, this essay will fall into the category of indian religious fanatics' opinions, considering the hugeness of the dates. I searched some other articles of Prasad Gokhale on, and he seems to have studied Indian history a LOT. He is presumably a PhD in Mech.

(This is a local copy of the article)

Since I know that most of you wont be reading the article, here is the chronology he develops:

Swayambhuva Manu 29,000 B.C.
Veda (early stages) 23,720 B.C.
Samhita (Taitiriya) 22,000 B.C.
Manu Chakshushu 17,500 B.C.
King Pruthu 16,050 B.C.
Manu Vaivasvata 14,000 B.C.
Indra-Skanda dialogue (Mahabharat) 13,000 B.C.
Glaciation period 8,000 B.C.
Dasharadnya War 7,000 B.C.
Ramayana 5,500 B.C.
Orion period 4,000 B.C.
Greeks separate 4,000 B.C.
Rajatarangini begins 3,450 B.C.
Gonanda-I of Kashmir 3,238 B.C.
Mahabharata 3,138 B.C.
Veda (last stages) 3,100 B.C.
Saptarsi era begins 3,076 B.C.
Saraswati-Sindhu Culture 3,000 B.C.
Gautam Siddharta born 1,887 B.C.
Gautam Siddharta Nirvana 1,807 B.C.
Mahaveer Jain born 1,862 B.C.
Chandragupta Maurya 1,534 B.C.
Ashoka Maurya 1,482 B.C.
Ashoka Gonanda 1,448 B.C.
Kanishka 1,294 B.C.
Kumarila Bhatta 557 B.C.
Vruddha Garga 550 B.C.
Aadi Shankaracharya born 509 B.C.
Harsha Vikramaditya 457 B.C.
Shatkarani Gautamiputra 433 B.C.
Chandragupta Gupta 327 B.C.
Shakari Vikramaditya 57 B.C.
Shalivahan 78 A.D.
Huen-Tsang 625 A.D.
Kalhana (Kashmiri historian) 1,148 A.D

About Aryan Invasion Theory, I suggest reading the Wikipedia article:

This has only concrete evidences (although this is only upto 3000 BC).

My personal opinion on reading some articles on the web is that there was no Aryan Invasion; I think we have been here a long time; our scriptures show evidences of being here a long time. We and dravidians are mostly of the same heritage, only they forked out sometime from the Vedic people via Sage Agastya. Harappa civilization was part of Vedic civilization; We dont show enough aggressiveness for me to believe that we were Britishers of the 2nd BCE millenium, invading terretories.

Secondly, some of our scriptures show highly developed mental maturity. In fact, even Egyptians making that Great Pyramid in 2600BC show great mental maturity. This all goes to show that we, as humans, havent developed in mental capacity as much we tend to think; its only cumulative knowledge growth that we are standing upon.

Thirdly, the ancient past of India, as little as we know of it, feels very mysterious and exciting. What were they doing thousands of years ago --- riting scriptures which document the motions of stars, planets, sun and moon to such accuracy; creating social rituals, festivals for social life, trying to fill the mundane life with meaning such that even we today are dependent on their meaning-generating principles; writing stories which require great imagination and social presence; creating religion, which demonstrate extraordinary emotional development of the mind; generating thoughts of the highest philosophical calibre (even contemporary thoughts on meaning of life matches so much to, say, this hymn 10.129 from the RigVeda, written anywhere between 2000BC-20000BC:

Non-being then existed not nor being:
There was no air, nor sky that is beyond it.
What was concealed? Wherein? In whose protection?
And was there deep unfathomable water?

Death then existed not nor life immortal;
Of neither night nor day was any token.
By its inherent force the One breathed windless:
No other thing than that beyond existed.

Darkness there was at first by darkness hidden;
Without distinctive marks, this all was water.
That which, becoming, by the void was covered,
That One by force of heat came into being.

Desire entered the One in the beginning:
It was the earliest seed, of thought the product.
The sages searching in their hearts with wisdom,
Found out the bond of being in non-being.

Their ray extended light across the darkness:
But was the One above or was it under?
Creative force was there, and fertile power:
Below was energy, above was impulse.

Who knows for certain? Who shall here declare it?
Whence was it born, and whence came this creation?
The gods were born after this world's creation:
Then who can konw from whence it has arisen?

None knoweth whence creation has arisen;
And whether he has or has not produced it:
He who surveys it in the highest heaven,
He only knows, or haply he may know not.

); developing building capacity so much as to be able to make the pyramids; etc etc etc etc etc etc

Even though the conditions to live that time were so difficult and our "power" so low, that entire civilizations could get wiped out just because a river dried (like the Harappa civilization got wiped out around 3000BC when the Saraswati River dried, they speculate); the human spirit got us through to where we are!

Why does the past always look so beautiful and fascinating?


July 20, 2005

True Self: Frustrated, egoistic, inconsiderate? Or loveable?

What will be our true behavior if we were not suppressed, influenced, pressured in any way by the society?

I used to think, and still think, that in one way we will be a being for and of love. We will give love, and seek love. Love will be the only emotion that appears; other negative emotions have been imposed upon us by bad experiences in the society.

But there is another valid way to think about this -- we observe that if people are with civilians they behave in a civilian manner. But if people are with their family or close friends, they will behave as their true self -- they will emote a lot more, they will criticize what they dont like, they will ridicule other people, they will ridicule other ways of life, they will show more frustration, they will even speak sometimes in a less polite friendly way with family or close friends themselves. They will feel releived while doing so. They will appear as a frustrated, egoistic, and inconsiderate person. They wont feel the pressure of behaving in a civilian manner, and by being able to express their inner negative feelings about others, and they will feel more free and unrestrained.

So, does this mean, that, in their heart, their true behavior was such? So, in reality, people are negativity-expressing people by heart?

Or are they beings of love?

One answer could be -- that we seek love, and that is one of our basic emotions, but not being able to get it easily in the society, makes us a little desperate and frustrated, and thus feel negative about others. So in truth, we were a love-seeker, but then changed as per societal conditions into being a frustrated little self with external show of politeness.

But this sounds too good to be true.

Maybe, even in our true, unconditioned self, there are a little negative emotions along with love? For example, ego(the feeling of being a separate individual entity), which directly originates from our biological nature?

Might be.

Yet another valid way of looking at it is -- we are hardly born with any emotions. Most of our emotions, including most of love and ego were actually acquired when we looked at how people were behaving after we were born. Thus almost all of our emotions, (other than the little slight starting touch that our genes might provide) are society-influenced and generated, and that our true self, is nothing but an empty transparent being, with nothing more than maybe an ant-like biological nature...

June 21, 2005

Merits of Conservativism

Strangely, some conservative attitude helps maintain peace of mind.

Related to past posts 1 and 2.

Now that the world is becoming increasingly more deft with handling information (organizing, storing, accessing, distributing, processing, etc), many of us are trying hard to delicately walk over the gaping divide between our past social life, based on human communication and inter-relationships, and the new one, which has an increasing involvement of information and its assimilation.

However, many among us, like to prosper using our long known and befriended memes, and feel happy when we meet other people who have grown prosperous using these rather than newer ones (we prefer success of our own memes...obviously).

"Unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates said -- and this suggests re-investigation of long-time friendly memes, and thus intellectually driving (rather than collectively and interactively, which is governed by "chance") their modification and creation of newer memes.

Although, thats what I do subconsciously these days (as a result of my transition from infp to intp), the content and satisfaction and happiness that I see in conservative people loving their primary memes, puts me sometimes in jealousy, and also my INFP past (maybe inner INFP layer?) makes me give in to such institutions of thought.

Although, conservativism may result in non-complete-actualization of all individual's abilites, and often a weaker survival quotient in terms of adaptability; it makes up a lot in having a stronger survival quotient in terms of emotional fulfillment and stability.

In fact, I now feel that

"The unexamined life is atleast as worth living as the examined."

June 12, 2005

Biology wins....

I think biology always stands out as a winner. At least in MOST cases.

The fact that we are biological animals is such a big and important fact, that it dilutes all the slants that our mind tries to get into sometimes.

It turns out that it is more important that we are satisfied as "an individual biological animal" than as a subscriber to peripheral emotional activities. At least most of the times.

June 10, 2005

proving wrong

Sometimes, trying to prove the other person wrong gives you good ideas, which wont usually occur if you are trying to just listen (and agree to his ideas and help and support his motives).

June 9, 2005

who am i -- identity (Incomplete)

Who I am, builds up over a long time throughout your childhood. You may have a bring up in a secure, closed environment, where this makes us have a stronger sense of identity.


June 8, 2005

action-based (Incomplete)

Are you thought-based or action-based?


The connection (Incomplete)

We usually connect to our past to find what to do for the future.

(A similar idea in previous post)


love things? (Incomplete)

Do you love "things" more than "life"?


Madness is good

Madness is not always bad... even if it is, then it is not always bad for both the individual and the society.

Many times, weird behaviors, which are normally considered bad for the individual (for which individual's mom would say - "son, dont do it, you are becoming mad...."), produce good results for the society.

A significant number of big acheivements (big companies, big books, big ideas, huge impacting thoughts, etc etc) were actually results of abnormal tendencies of people.

May 31, 2005

Questioning assumptions and becoming more aware

(Not well written)

One must clearly understand the basic assumptions he makes in evaluating anything in his life. In order to even perform basic things, one needs to evaluate what he likes, and what is better according to him; and doing this involves making many underlying assumptions -- which are not very obvious.

For example, every morning you wake up and think that -- "Lets go to work". Why do you think that? Why is that "good"? Why did you choose it?

Or you think that "Tit for tat. He didnt help me -- now handle this."

Or "He doesnt even respond to me. What a jerk."

All these thoughts and decisions, if understood to a depth, give us a better understanding of this human world, and lets us more deftly adapt to changing space and time as regards to society.

Even assuming that life is better than death without specific deliberate thought is closed-mindedness.

Even assuming closed-mindedness is bad without sufficient logical reasons that satisfy self, is blindly following it.

The basic subconscious that society creates in us, is most of the times sufficiently correct, and you dont need to question fundamental assumptions. But often, it can misguide you, especially when the world is becoming a global village, and societies with very different fundamentals are trying to play along with each other, and when technology is slowly but steadily changing basic social machinery.

The primary activity that leads us to heightened awareness is trying to climb "meta" levels. (Level, sort of indicating a realm consisting of particular thoughts and their logical connections)

A meta level being one which is a level higher, and can "observe" the level below it from a distance, thus having the ability to understand and analyze it; in other words, gives you the ability to ask "Why" to it...

Take the basic social layer; which everyone is very familiar with. Now add a layer on top, which asks "why" to everything on the lower layer. The most important things in the lower layer to which you should ask these questions apart from other things are your own judgements, actions, and your general behavior.

Now to this second layer, which will collect all the answers to the first questions, add another layer, and ask "why" to that. Reason should be pursued for the answers as well as the action of pursuing answers. Thats how it works -- you ask "Why" to even the act of asking "Why".

The more layers/levels we climb, we tend to become more aware.

After doing this process for a few months, when you reach some concepts/answers which now become more or less stable, and dont give in to any questions; you will start understanding life more closely.

Sometimes, I feel that, all it takes to becoming a spiritual master (like say Asaramji Bapu) is climbing to higher and higher levels of meta-layers for a very wide variety of concepts and actions. (among other secondary things like: knowledge, etc)

Is Enlightenment (as in Gautama Buddha) just a very high form of such awareness?

May 25, 2005

Small Town Life vs City Life

(the following includes big general statements, which, likely are false as a principle, but are true in specific circumstances)
(to others, all of this might sound like a cliche)

I just visited Brownsville, TX, a small town in southern tip of Tdexas; on the border with Mexico. I loved that place somehow, despite it being very hot at this time of the year. While there, I had memories of my own town, Akola, India, where I am from (I spent my first 18 years of life there).

Something about the town immediately struck a chord within me.

The town was small: in a small little place, you have everything: restaurants (like Mexican (alas! they dont have veggie options there), Subways, McDonalds, etc), hotels/motels, theatres (small ones), clubs, shopping malls (small), etc... Just there were like 2 main roads, one going north, and one going south; and everything about the town, was just a few miles up or down these two roads. This gives a feeling of closeness and oneness. You feel like the town is yours, all of it, and you are a collective part of it.

The people: they were nice, in a small-town kind of way. There was an air of satisfaction, and content. There was a closeness; there was an omnipotent feeling of kinship with the fellow man. People made friends with other people, not because that friendship would provide them "fun", or some other "material help", but just because everybody is meant to be a friend, for reason or no reason. People were not trying to outsmart each other; people were trying to come together as if getting together as a water stream to overthrow the strong muddy barriers of troubles; creating a synergy for mutual life progress.

The town was small enough that everybody seemed to know everything about it; and hence cared for all of it. Town's economic development was seen as a harbinger of joy to all town-people, not as an individual opportunity.

People were not crazy for self progress; they didnt want to do "such a great thing that the whole world will watch". They wanted to do only enough to live a well-to-do life. They didnt want to change the world, they wanted to change little more than the town.

Whereas city life, I feel, while offering better material quality of life, and better opportunities for progress, has one important shortcoming. People want to become rich, and achieve big things, want to do more impact. It operates on the cutting edge, where people are doing things which few in the nation have done before. People want to become bigger and more important, by doing bigger and greater things. There is a glaring difference between qualities of life between different people in the city; and this makes a good reason for discontent and having bigger distance from others.

"Everybody is for himself" speaks loudly the whole city culture; and people are always confused with how close or distant they must be from their friends and acquaintances and strangers.

Ofcourse, it does not mean that city people are behaving badly, or doing something wrong. Rather, it is inherent in the very nature of the city.

I feel that many nations, developed or developing, might be facing a similar situation. For example, this kind of divide is visible in India too -- say between Akola and Bombay. So the absolute amount of development doesnt affect this phenomenon a lot, but their qualitative differences does.

Cities are on the cutting edge of progress; they are venturing out to develop (and market) new ideas and products. Whereas towns are satisfied with just catching up slowly to the cities, which they are never able to do (at least in the short term).

People more ambitious who are in towns, migrate to the cities, so towns tend to maintain their characteristics; and cities tend to collect a lot of smart people.

The ambitious and individualistic city life; the content, peacefull, collective town life; which one would you choose?

May 19, 2005

talking to family is like a Tonic

(This has been cross posted from my hidden personal blog, so is more personal than other entries here in this blog)

Whenever I talk to my mummy and daddy, I feel different.

I feel that I have a life. I feel that I know how to live happily.

Its a very weird -- different experience.

Everyday I am thinking of what to do. It appears like such a difficult choice. Whether to go this way or that way. Meeting so many different kinds of people having so many different kinds of lives -- ideas about lives -- that one becomes confused.

When I talk to my parents, I feel I am okay... I am leading a fine life with a fine job, and a fine everything else. I just need to enjoy it.

Its so different.

In the traditional model of life, that my parents have (we are from a small town in India, having our own little way of doing this), I have to just be a simple person following what the values and cultures of traditional life tell...its not about self expression, its about how much you know about "what should be done according to what our society says". Its a completely different model than what we have here -- "what do I want to do?". This difference in the focus over an individual is obvious, glaring, and widereaching.

Its something related to this other observation: When I meet some people, I see that they are dynamic, and are always looking for ways to enrich their life, looking for new ways to have fun, looking for new things to learn (for some: "and analyze"), etc. But there are so many other people, who appear so simple: they look like they are not trying to be happy, they are just happy intrinsically...they have some kind of bliss or some deep contentment written over their face -- they dont need to do a lot to be happy -- just basic simple things will make them happy or sad. They dont confuse or over-complicate their lives. They stick with the basics. They are not the kind of people who will invent theory of relativity (since intelligence, sometimes I feel, is a consequence of some kind of a disturbed, unstable mind); but neither they need someone to do it.

The latter kind of people are easier to love, and befriend. By easier, I mean, I feel like talking to such kind of people more. I feel like being around them. They wont talk about weird new ways of looking at life, but they will pull together a subspace filled with care, support, love and closeness.

When I am very sad, I hardly think about any intelligent thing. I think about my family and love. I think about simplicity of love. I yearn for care, and not analysis.

And look at me...what I have become. I try to analyze everything. I try to analyze happiness and life. I analyze people, and culture. I analyze engineering problems. I try to make analysis as the basis of my behavior.

Its such a burden now that I think about it.

Simplicity is divine, complications are a bane.

God bless Life, simple and complicated, and all that goes with it.

May 17, 2005


Get ego, and you will know what to do at all times of your life.

May 13, 2005

Benefits of Arrogance

This is actually a little strange.

If people are not arrogant, and are God-fearing (or society-fearing or whatever to call the same thing), then the progress of society will take place very slowly, since people will conform to current ways and not "act smart", and do their own way.

This is kind of a paradox - but may have a grain of truth.

It might actually require some brazenness and insolence, in order to come up with stark new ideas, whereas convention normally prevents outright ingenuity.

But as we know, conformance, while subduing your imagination, helps you in many other ways, like being able to identity and relate with other people better (two God-fearing (or society-fearing) people are likely to feel comfortable with each other, and most of the people in the world are conforming kind; whereas two arrogant people may likely not feel comfortable with each other, and if everybody in the world was arrogant, it will lead to chaos), avoid pitfalls of trying out very new ways, etc. In fact, it is kind of courteous to be conforming, since by that you say, "Dont worry, I will behave in a very predictable manner. I wont outrightly do something very new."

Actually, this thought reminds me of Howard Roark in "FountainHead" and its author Ayn Rand's objectivism.

May 6, 2005

Working - and limit of knowledge

A big difference of our working life as against student life, is that in our working life, we put in 40-50 hours of the week into doing a focussed task.

Our knowledge of work and life, grows only in this singular direction -- the area where we are working on.

We dont get much time for learning other things.

After work, we feel like enjoying life with friends and relatives, instead of learning anything more.

So our whole life, gets kind of limited, and we have to find our happiness in this restricted life.

Whereas in student life, I was learning extensively about everything and anything daily.

So in this work life; people's attitudes and life culture and ways of looking at life also tend to remain the same; and we try to go into a "uni-directional tunnel" where we cant see anything around us.

Of course, different people are different; and many people keep learning aa lot of new things throughout their life. But I am talking about the many who are there who dont.

Though, attitudes dont change dramatically, they slowly change towards maturity: the grown up worldview: which is having these things in mind and action:
- everyone is trying to make his life better
- we will try for a while to get along, if it doesn work, then we will move away; we dont need to make a lot of an effort to mix or change for the benefit of others.
- since we know already how to live: we can earn money now.
- if our life paths are the same, its good; otherwise: hard luck.
- get things done reliably
- know what we want, and what is good for us; and take action based on that


May 1, 2005

Practical vs the Spiritual

Just finished watching "October Sky" now. So maybe my mental perception has worn a temporary goggle.

But I feel that spiritual path (contentment, happiness by looking towards the self, group harmony by ego subduement, happiness of being, satisfaction in inaction, relationship bliss, loving and being loved as the only worthy emotions, submitting to God, realizing the singular collective consciousness, etc.) might actually be helpful or considered the best choice only in certain situations.

IN situations of mental turmoil, relationship problems, meaninglessness, deep sorrow, and such; spirituality can be a very enriching experience, and a sublime way of life.

But, under normal emotionally fit circumstances, does spirituality fulfil man's complete emotional apetite?

Having been under the belief that it does, I am now bent to think that it might not.

Man is a complex being -- and he exhibits himself in eclectic and diverse forms.

And his ego (sense of existence as a separate, individual, capable, entity) is one of the various embodiments of his conscious self.

All that is associated with the ego.... is that wrong? The eternal conflict within my mind between the force of individualization with the yield of biological bliss, and the force of submission to the collective with the yield of emotional/consciousness bliss; rages on, but I am now at the moment being driven towards the biological.

Ambition, the will to act, expression of individual voliton, self maintainence, etc. are taking on more meaningful roles in my vision of the scheme of things.

After all, why people remember actions and impacts of the individuals after they cease to exist, rather than their state of mind; or even if they remember their state of mind, why do they remember so as to get impacted by it themselves?

Is making an impact, to create egoistic meaning for the individual, a wrong thing to do?

April 6, 2005

Thoughts, ideas, thoughts about ideas

When we discuss about ideas, we dont discuss "only the ideas". There is a lot of invisible baggage that is controlling the whole discussion.

For example, we dont talk about an idea because we are so concerned about it that we dont care for our own well being... our own life...our own life path...We talk about it, because talking about that idea fits in our life path. And the life path is that which is more important here.

When we talk with somebody, we dont talk because we are so interested in talking about whatever we are talking about... but we only talk because it fits into our path.

I do not mean to say that this is wrong... because, in fact, the better our ability to find what our path is and to find what activites and people help us traverse it more capably, the better our ability to enrich our life, and thus a better ability to be happy and content.

The problem is that our going in that path does not help the resolution of the idea or the point of discussion. Since ideas are separate from our lives, they live in an abstract, mathematical world, where biology, humans, psychology dont mean much. We can almost say that ideas exists in a parallel world. To explore them, we dont need people who can live bettter, but we need people who can separate themselves from themselves...who can rise above themselves into a world of logical connections and logical being.

Whether it is important is another matter. But thats the point itself -- in the world of ideas - the importance of anything is not measured in terms of importance to us, but, essentially, in that world, importance in regular terms is almost irrelevant.

This dichotomy between the biological existence and origins of the thinker, and the abstract existence of the thoughts, manifests itself in myriad situations.


April 3, 2005


Even to maintain a particular character or personality, you need to exhibit lots of ego.

Because you need to say -- "I *want* to do this way, and not that."

Thinking/Feeling 2, psychology, religion

In fact, I have found that I have been subconsciously so sad about loosing my feeling side, that, with my new thinking side, I try to "simulate" or "virtually create" a feeling side, an action which gives dual results, thought mostly a negative in the long run.

Is, just being too thinking alright?

Basically, when I read Eric Berne's "What do you say after you say Hello", I probably went deep into the thinking side. I would kind of recommend the book, because it will broaden your perspective of the world a lot, but at times I have been so frustrated with this kind of broadening that I almost was of the opinion that all books by Eric Berne existing in the world should be burned immediately. :)

Eric Berne was an enlightened person - I think more intellectually enlightened than many founders of religion like Jesus, Buddha, and others. Maybe other people also were. (like Freud? I dont know)

I think, basically psychological study ultimately boils down to a spiritual study of a human, if pursued in specific directions. Like, for example, nowadays, people are developing the field of "positive psychology" -- studying happiness and other positive emotions in humans, rather than the usual focus of psychology on mental disorders. [The emphasis on negative emotions by psychology can be seen in this quote by Sigmund Freud -- "The first human being who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization." ] Now, this positive psychology will probably in the long run, with the clockworklike organized fashion that western study proceeds, result into recommendations which are similar to spiritual recommendations that religions produce...

In fact, the culmination of the discipline of positive psychology might probably be a formulation of a new philosophical, spiritual, cultural religion/society itself - who knows. :)

Btw, most women/girls are the epitome of the "Feeling" person, I think.

[UPDATE: I am orignally an INFP, though converted over time to INTP, but still hold both personalities]

March 28, 2005


When I was reading about Myers-Briggs-Jung personality types, I saw this trait about Feeling/Thinking. In their concept of personality types, they have four traits: Extravert-Introvert, Sensing-Intuiting, Thinking-Feeling, and Judging-Perceiving.

This Feeling/Thinking trait clicked immediately. I suddenly understood a lot what is happenning to me.

The thing is -- I have been moving from the Feeling type to the Thinking type. And now that I have moved over extremely over to the Thinking side, I have realized that my current depression/sadness is rooted in the demise of my Feeling side.

Feeling was good -- it helped me form relationships with people, it made me have simple minded desires which fueled me onto things. Feeling makes you create a very simple-minded framework of likes-dislikes-desires for yourself, on which you make most of your decisions and choices. You expose this framework to others, and people relate to each other by mixing and matching these frameworks. I think that for being loved, it might almost be "required" to have such a framework.

Whereas "Thinking" is different. You think to make choices, rather than just using some simple emotional framework. I have gone to the extreme end of this line. I think before I even emote. Even the slim emotional framework that still remains in "Thinking" people has become slimmer for me.

This has caused a lot of changes. A lot. Not many of them for the positive.

To live in this world, you need to be atleast slightly tilted towards "feeling", otherwise, you will have a hard time remaining happy and conforming both at the same time. Not that you will understand happiness at that point.

Feeling side is important for relating to people. With no feeling side, it is difficult to have normal emotional relationships with normal people.

[UPDATE: I am orignally an INFP, though converted over time to INTP, but still hold both personalities]

February 23, 2005

Talking without words

The literal meaning of what we say is only a small part of the information we convey when we talk.

By our presence, by our actions, by our expressions, by our timing, by what we say, by the manner we say things, by what decisions we make, by what we laugh at, by what we get frustrated at, by what we aim at -- by all these actions -- we convey such a depth of meaning about ourselves that the literal meaning of what we actually end up saying is hardly worth considering.

February 22, 2005

Ego - to have or not to have

It appears that one type of worldview encourages the view that one is supposed to have some ego and self-respect, and that others are also expected to have that -- and thus courtesy takes into account this fact.

One another type of worldview, usually in conditions where spirituality or charity or related concepts are a significant parts of life, ego is discouraged, and the ability of a person to consider himself "absent", or not having any presence, is considered desirable.

Although I have always been confused about which is the right path, now I think that even though egolessness fosters harmony and absence of conflict, egoness is a necessary element of the life and society as it currently is, and that it fosters activity, and sustains life if it is exhibited in a controlled manner.

February 16, 2005


Sometimes I feel that it is meaning we are after. And the pursuit of meaning only can give us happiness. All things, when done with meaning, give happiness. Thats for sure. But then, isnt it also true that when we talk with somebody , intimately, we talk of the burdn of meaning? Like how we feel so hard to just keep up with life, and how we sometimes get fed up of the constatn struggle that we need to make in life. Like they way the actors atalked in the movie ?"Before Sunrise"/.

I mean, isnt it that the most intimate talk is the talk of fear about the inadequacy of self? The difficulties we faced in our search for meaning in our lives?

Is meaning really required?

Yup.... because we want to survive this difficult world, and we are limited to such a short finite period of time. This is where the search for meaning comes in.... the desire to spend as less energy as possible, the desire to waste as little time as possible, etc. Looks like we dont want entropy to become larger soon... ;)

February 10, 2005


The desire to create meaning for ourselves is like a reflex action.

February 6, 2005

The future

Our future is an extrapolation of our past.


The clock slowly and steadily keeps ticking by, and we keep going in our persistent search for meaning in our lives -- trying to make it feel it was worth it, and that we were worth it.

January 26, 2005

The Social Applicability

Nothing is required. Nothing is necessary. Nothing "should" be done, or followed.

Everything is just a means for us -- a means for helping us smile in our own current social world.

If anything isnt successful in that effort, it is eventually abandoned. (or rather, "should be"? )

Although, science and technology are applied to make "things" and change lifestyles, it affects our social life so very subtly over a short period of time, that its adoption only happens as far as it satisfies the above criterion. Only over a longer period of time, does it affect our very social life itself. (This period is becoming shorter though over time). Not that that is necessary or wanted.


I think my purpose is to express my capability to obtain happiness.

January 22, 2005

Own culture

As I might have said before, I think that following your own culture is one of the best ways to solve dilemmas.

Because of the combinatorial explosion that happens -- there are so many ways that a person can behave and do -- that it almost becomes impossibe to make decisions, to choose between so many alternatives, by reason alone. Something more powerful, some more powerful support and help is needed. That help can come from the whole gigantic mass of knowledge that has been built up since time immemorial. That help can come from what your parents tell you, what your culture tells you, what people with similar background as yours tell you, and from what in general people suggest.

This help is so mighty that it is very difficult for thought and reason alone to conquer it -- this help is so important that ignoring can bring trouble sooner than we realize.

What I now feel is that what I should do in life, is things I have seen during my childhood, things that were followed in my house, things that my siblings and relatives did, things that have tried and tested and proven in my culture. Going around, and using reason to solve matters and coming up with optimal solutions and ways isnt practically realizable.

A couple of examples here: For example, which time schedule do I follow? Shall I sleep in the day and wake up in night? Or vice versa? How do I reason this out? What about the timings? What about civic manners? What about having a bath, having major meals two times a day? What about fulfilling what your parents have unconsciously, symbolically, unvoluntarily, imposed upon you -- the ways of life?

Since however, cultures become old, and what your parents teach you, might not be aplicable to today's world.


January 19, 2005

The path

We follow a path. We find that path through our experience -- based on our family, what our parents tell us, what we communicated with siblings, and friends, and people around. The path is slowly building. The path shows the way we are supposed to live life, the things that we are supposed to do, the future that we are supposed to create. It gets molded slowly and slowly. Many times we are not even consciously aware that this thing is happenning. Then when we are big enough, i.e. have reached the age where the surrounding society expects us to come up with our own decisions, thats when we slow down the development of the path, and instead start "using" that path to find future directions, to find how the path extrapolates, to find how the path fits in with circumstances, to find a future which is most in harmony with our envisioned path.

The existence of the path is a definition of life. That, what has a path, is alive. Our likes, dislikes, choices, decisions are external manifestations of the path. In essence, making a choice, reaffirms the fact that we are alive and kicking.

(Similar past post: On Human Behavior)

This is when friends come in. This is when hatred comes in.

We judge sometimes that some person is totally incompatible with our path, he is just un-understandable, given our path's assumptions and postulates. That time, we look away from him. Nothing is wrong here, not the person who we look away from (since his path is different, he had different parents, he had different upbringing, he looked at a different part of society, all this does not make his path inferior than yours), nor your act of looking away (since in order for you to follow a path well, you will need to dislike elements that tend to throw you off it, and secondly, this looking away act tries to get in the Social Darwinism effect into the works, where the fitness of a particular path is determined by how well a person can live in it while throwing off all elements that do not align well with that path).

Friends help us find and cement our path for better, or rather we choose our friends such.

When sometimes, we dont have the path clear in our mind, or our path has not been well defined, we tend to wander around. That time, if we do a job, or any task, which we later find that is not somehow aligning well with our path, we become dis-satisfied. Thats what we measure as "job satisfaction". When our job satisfaction goes low, we understand that this does not fit us, this does not fit what we want to do.

Thats when is a time, for us to step back, and look at the bigger picture. To look from where we come from, and where we are headed, and where we want to head.

January 15, 2005

completion of tasks

Why do we feel good when we actually do and complete tasks?
Why do we feel more satisfied when we can utilize our time to actually do something, and then complete it?

Hmm. yeah it gets back to the survival thing.

are people selfish? should they be altruist?

Are people only interested in their convenience and their own happiness. And would they do things which only satisfy their needs?

Sounds scary to me... and makes me feel once again nervous, and alone.

Like I wrote before: If everybody is interested only in their individual self-interests and even "mutual" self-interests, then it means that all of us are essentially alone, very alone.

Should they do like that? Hmm. When we throw stones, they do seem to follow their own track, according to their own velocities, and do not follow other stones which have been thrown in a different direction with a different velocity, do they?

animals, consciousness, and link to Supreme Consciousness

We are two beings in one -- biological and conscious. I used to think that our consciousness evolved in order to serve our biological needs, --- since after all we just evolved from amoebas -- and we seem to have quite a lot more consciousness than them. Amoebas and other animals' actions are highly predictable, they just follow what they have learned from their input patterns. They don't appear to think,and decide, and desire. Not that humans's desires, and decisions are not very predictable and are original and are magically appearing, but that the "apparent originality" in human's actions is much higher than the animals. Or so it appears. Maybe animals also think that their actions are so original. Just like we think. But I don't think that they would think that our actions are predictable. So we are in some ways higher than them. But how much higher, who knows. Maybe the difference is not that great as we think, since the appearance of our supreme unpredictability is just because we cannot look at ourselves so easily.

Anyway, whether we are conscious or not is a different issue, but it is universally accepted that we are conscious. So lets discuss assuming that we are actually conscious.

So then I had assumed that our consciousness evolved so that we can fulfill biological needs more easily.


I believe that the very existence of the universe says that there must be some consciousness or something that might have desired to make the world.

Now he told me that the consciousness who made the world -- how is it different from the consciousness that is within us -- is there some link? Is it that we are part of it, are we similar to it, are we completely independent? The point is that since we exhibit similar behavior -- like having desires, and having desires to create, then that might be something that is common between us and "it". Consciousness cannot be so simple that it just evolves everywhere around -- wherever some molecules gather around.

Now this becomes difficult to envision. Because then if there is a link then how is that link established, how can it be scientifically explained?

Did Gods come down to manufacture us? Did a part of God feel onto Earth?

Or that our consciousness is itself an illusion?

Who we are? Who was he who made the world?

Aditya said that much of Hindu (Indian) philosophy is centered around on explaining this link between us and Him. Some believe that we are part of it, that everything is a single whole (whether the non-living are considered in this whole, also might be a differing factor between different philosophies), or some believe that we are separate, or some believe that we are servants to it, etc etc.

Spirituality, and reason, where do they intersect?

In fact, the existence of so many irrefutable philosophies -- does it mean that the fact is unknowable?

Well, we haven't observed the whole world yet, or understood it yet completely.

Lets use science for now, to explore this world, and then lets get more firmly grounded before we start tackling these unsurmountable questions of spirituality.


Its like, you need to get out of the train in order to see what the train looks like. So in order to see what humans are, and how the society functions, you need to get out of the human society. You need detachment in order to actually be more aware! This is strange, and true.

When you are detached from normal society then you can see how the society is functioning and how people are doing what they are doing, and why they are doing. Like why people become angry, why people become miserable, or maybe why people become happy, or why people love?

But then the problem is that you don't connect to people very well. They both come in the same plate. When you become attached you love some people and you hate some people. In fact, if there are no people you hate (like me currently) that means you are detached.

Again, like all the things that you see in life, (or maybe those things are the only things worth seeing, rest all follow obviously), this also has its pluses and minuses. If you are detached, you are also not likely to cause a lot of conflict, you are also not likely to hate people, beat people, punish people. Because you can observe yourself, since your detachment might have put you in a place where you are even detached form yourself, where you don't feel the compulsion to do things which have been taught to you as things that one should do. And the other plus is that you will not be very sad either. Because you will be detached from the sorrow that the world and relationships and emotions bring. The disadvantage is that ofcourse you wont be able to love a person intimately. You might be, in some sense, but not in the normal sense.

Though, spirituality and religion sometimes teach you to be detached, that is not the normal way of life -- the way life evolved. Life evolved so that it can sustain, and grow. Detachment detaches you from that need.

Thou shalt be detached or attached?

January 12, 2005

Individual and Group

This Times of India Article gives an example of how individual and group psychology differ.

For the individual: I want to do what I want to do. I will do things that will please me. I dont care -- I am here to have fun.

For the group: I willl do things that are usually deemed good in the group. I am a part of the group.

Either ends are bad. The optimum doesnt exist. But most areas in the middle are tolerable.

Has America gone too far towards the individual?

This earlier post was more oriented towards the individual, but I think that that end is also a bad idea.

January 9, 2005

different paths for getting the same things

Its wonderful. All of us seek the same things -- but our paths and ways are so different!

January 5, 2005

Way to live life happily

One way to feel happy is to follow this life:
- conserve resources (save money, time, etc)
- set short goals and achieve them
- maintain your self-respect
- utilize yourself as much as possible
- fulfill your parents traditions and gain satisfaction based on your background
- make a friend and/or family circle and grow together

January 4, 2005

Am I for Myself?

The basic question is -- is life based on personal fulfillment worth pursuing? Personal fulfillment includes helping one and close ones gain easier lives, looking to minimize resource use (money, time, attention, actions, etc.), trying to gain happiness by ways learned by living life till today, trying to achieve self respect by using ways learned by looking at family and friends, growing, rising higher in the company etc.

December 2, 2004

population and happiness

Why is life getting harder when the population of the world is increasing?

The increase in population is making people work harder since the competition is increasing a lot...Like in India, because of population, there is a fight for resources, and people in general have to do a lot more just to survive in the society.

Here in the US, life is easy. People dont have to trouble themselves a lot in order to live a happy, fulfilling life. At least personal fulfillment is easier, although family happines is a little more problematic. It is always kind of a balance, when personal fulfillment becomes easier, people tend to move away from familial bliss. This is debatable as to what exact balance should be more desirable for a society.

Anyway, the point is that personal fulfillment is also a big thing in these non-spiritual times, and it is more difficult to get when there is bigger fight for resources because of higher population. And hence, in those places, life becomes harder because of increased competition.

Now the population of India and China will start having adverse effects on ease of life OUTSIDE India and China as exchange of services and resources becomes easier on a global scale. Life in the US and other developed countries will become more difficult, and Americans will have to work harder in order to remain competitive with the Indian and Chinese juggernaut. (after all population is power for a country)

However, the thing that pops up into the mind is that why is the effect of higher population not positive. In other words, why is the increase in population not increasing quality of life, as it should have done, if we think from the perspective that the extra population will be able to provide more services and resources at a higher rate than their increase in raw number because of the developed economics in effect today.

When there are extra people, why cant they be used to get more work done and thus make the world better and easier to live in?

Well, actually yes, I think we are gaining in quality of life from extra people. Lives are becoming better.

Only the problem is that we measure our success as relative to the other people. So your success is counted not as an absolute value, but a relative factor among the population. In other words, you dont actually want to be successful, but you want to become better than, say, 2/3rd of the remaining population, which will always be more difficult with a higher population. (since a bigger population will be able to put up a better fight for resources).

So our expectations have increased, in order to maintain relative success.

As I think --- "Whether you have what you expect to have, determines (single-handedly?) whether you are happy."

So maybe, however much the human race develops, people will always need to struggle to feel successful in life, since their relative definitions of happiness will also climb up.

November 30, 2004


Nihilism. The word that brings shivers in me.

At this point, I am confused about what life is about. What should I be motivated about?

I find no meaning in anything.

Why should I do a job? Why should I earn money? All these basically seem to serve some pointless purposes... To have a good life, where I can survive, and create a tiny world around me which will facilitate survival for a few other people as well. Is survival the goal of life? Then I should nurture kids for doing the same thing? And they do the same thing again with their kids? So that this continues endlessly?

There is of course no point in this.

Then all the other purposes of life appear pointless as well. Enjoying yourself and being happy are pointless since we are ourselves temporary, and hence whether we are happy or sad doesnt really matter. To create meaning, we try to impact things which are outside ourselves, and hope that those impacts last longer than our own life times, and yes, many of us manage to do that - whether by leaving a child behind, or a building, or a company, or some money to the charitable organization, or some new idea, or some new organization, or some positive impact to a lot of people. But what have we got by changing our impact time from less than a century to one-and-a-half centuries? Or to two centuries? Is this the purpose of life? To change our impact to the world, and thus our meaning, to about a century or two?

Following religion and sustaining culture are pointless. Sustaining name and fame of the family are obviously pointless.

Most of everything is pointless.

Becoming very successsful is pointless, since success doesn correlate linearly with happiness. Is Bill Gates the happiest man in the world? Sometimes, I feel that some people working in cafe's might be some of the happiest...What I mean is, ofcourse, that being rich is not a necessary and not a sufficient condition for happiness, though having a basic level of money might be necessary to satisfy the biological beast within us.

Ofcourse, if we assume that fulfilling our biological goals (of survival and reproduction of ourself and of this and other species) is "the Moral Right", then we can put some purpose into all this.

Of course, this is just an assumption... but it works in a limited way.

Though, with our brain, we as a species have gone beyond that.

We found that we were fighting against each other for survival, and we were having lot of emotional/mental/physical suffering in doing this.

And with just survival as a goal, the consciousness in our mind did not want to accept the fact that its only purpose was to help the organism live and that that was the reason for its evolution. This refusal to accept made us seek more abstract, absolute and permanent goals.

We developed the concepts of God, meditation, faith, etc.

Interestingly, the concept of God, in some ways of looking at it, brings with it both absolutism and nihilism. Trying to concentrate on the specious, non-present God declaring all normal survival-based, ego-based life as materialistic, basically is nihilistic since the attempt to use faith as nihilism nullifier seems obvious.

November 29, 2004


From the short introduction to Gita page by Shri Asaramji Bapu, here are my brief notes:
Attraction to relatives/friends/fellow people is called materialistic, since this is temporary. Only soul is described as eternal. The "the knowledge of God and Truth; perishable nature of the body and immutability of the Soul" is told to be more important.
Krishna says, "That which is born shall die, But the Atman(soul) is neither born nor shall it die. Then what is the reason to be sad? If you do not do your natural duty, do not follow your own dharma(religion), do not fight in a religious war as a Kshatriya(warrior) should do, then dishonour will come to your door which shall be worser than death." Thus, duty of a person is considered very important -- more important than your relationships with other people and other materialistic desires. (Q: But how can duty be called non-materialistic? It comes about only from materialistic and temporary entities. Secondly, why action is necessary at all? I think that action should not be required since it only furthers goals of temporary material life. In fact, making yourself happy is also materialistic, since your happiness dies with your brain which produces the emotions. Then what is soul? Consciousness?)
" The person who performs his duties honestly and with sincere efforts disregarding the fruit of action becomes even minded."
"By constantly surrendering your action with all your heart to my All Knowing Supreme Soul, you fight this battle without any expectations, attachment and agony."
(to be continued)


To be or not to be, that is the question. (Shakespeare)

To be or to become, that is the question.

To have ego or not to have ego, that is the question.

To do or not to do, that is the question.

To be or not to be, that is the question.

November 7, 2004

Direction is more important than the current position

Where you want to go is more important than where you are.

Where you are might be a situation that you dont like -- there might be a lot of problems associated with it.

But what I am now thinking is that I have been making the mistake of cursing where I am for all the pr0blems I had. That is not the right approach. I should instead try to look in the direction where I want to go, and think about how to go about it. If that involves solving some of the problems you currently have, then solve them. This keeps you in track of where you want to go, and also prevents you to just keep bickering about your current situation and doing nothing about it.

A simple example would be that we can try to curse us for not having a particular set of skills that you would need to get selected for nice jobs. The way to overcome is to think about it, and ask yourself really what you want to do -- and then try to head in that direction, by developing the required skills.

This simple (kind of obvious too) advise would help me in many ways I think.

October 17, 2004


[will update later]

You need to hear songs in the morning which replace your slumber with fresh enthusiasm -- enthusiasm to act and fight on, the energy to find love and beauty in all that surrounds you.

You need to hear songs in the evening which sooth you, and calm your energy down, and make you find happiness in reflection and patterns of life and its memories.

Similarly you need nurture in your childhood which do the same things as those morning songs do.

And you end up in the your ending life with the same things that evening songs leave you with.

The rest is just transportation.


October 15, 2004

considering others' ways' wrong?

To believe in your way of life -- does this require you to consider other's ways of life as bad?

Even if it doesnt directly, I think in some sense it does require you to do that. Maybe not to all others, but maybe to many!


October 13, 2004


Some people lead a successful life by looking right, some people lead a successful life by looking left, others do the same thing by looking anywhere in between.


September 21, 2004

Death (Incomplete)

I think death is the most important of all truths about Life. It is the most important truth of life. You can understand life itself better if you begin the process of understanding from death.

For example, I was reading the life history of Eric Berne, whose book "What do you say after you say Hello" I had read a bit. (That book is another story in itself). Now he wrote so many books. If you read that book "What do you say after you say Hello", then you will realize that he had reached heights of understanding of people and their behavior. That book he just completed before his death, and was very happy the way it turned out. He had just sent the manuscript for publication, and then only a few weeks later he got one heart attack, got admitted in hospital, and he died.


September 10, 2004

Pre-laid pattern

The pattern is laid out. You just need to follow. And you are guaranteed a reasonably good time here. On earth.

If you start looking in orthogonal directions, be very very very sure about it -- the pattern has been formed after millenia of trial and error. Even if your methods are right, be sure its not very much in conflict with the system.


August 15, 2004


"Look, I said that. You didnt believe me. You didnt think I was worthy. are wrong, I was right."

"He doesnt pay attention to me. What does he think of himself?"
"He doesnt pay attention to me. Am I that bad?"

"I want to cry."

"See I can play. I am not as dumb as you think."

"See I have so many friends. And you have so less. Are you a loner or something?"

"Will I be good enough? Will I be good enough to fulfill this expectation?"

"Look this is more fun. See I know how to have fun. See I am more valuable."

"Look how smart and able I am. I can do this."

"He only thinks of himself. How selfish?"

"What do I care?"

"I dont care."

"Look ma, I am normal. I can do whatever people my age, my situation can usually do. For somethings, more. I know as much as they do. In somethings, more. I can earn money, and raise a family as other people can. I am not a dumb, retarded person. I am competent. "

"Are you happier with me? No? Even I am not happier with you."
"Are you happier with me? No? Ummmmm....Ummmmmm.....Ummmmmm"

"I am now more competent than before. I can do more. I am more capable. I am more knowledgeable. I have done this, and I have also done that. I am of a higher worth. Wow. I am happy."

"Hmm. I didnt think of that before. Because of what I did, all people can do things better. Their lives have improved. I have really increased my worth. I am really happy...."

"See now you can do more with my ideas. See, I am valuable..."

"See people, I have choices. I have preferences. I exist."

"I need to get in touch with him. I need to keep in good terms with him. He will be valuable to me later to achieve my goal. My goal of making my life better. Better means, more money, more security, more ways to have fun, in short, better in obtaining whatever I will so desire of."

"I need to meet him. I need to talk to him. I will feel better."

"I can be happy without you all. I dont need any of you. I am happier alone. I am not weak. I can survive."

"I cannot be alone. Hey, can you be with me? Please can you be with me? I really need you."

"Hmm. Let 4 of us all be together. Lets fulfill something we all want to do together."

"I am one of the better ones around."

"I am not one of the better ones around."

"Wow. This makes me happy. Lets do this."

"I really wanted to do good to him. If he doesnt want it, then why do I care?"

"Hey I feel good with you all. Lets go."

"Does he look at me?"

"Hey, he doesnt know as much as the other people in the meeting. He is a failure."

"Now I am impacting the company a lot. Now I am of a higher worth and am more meaningful. Now I can survive better and easier too. Wow."

"How can he treat me this way? What does he think I am. A person to be ignored?"

"He will be happy if we do this, if we do this. Lets do it."

"I know of a way to be happy. I will try to share it with people, so that they can be happy too. Lets share happiness."

"And this will continue. I am happy."

"I want to live."

"I want to be happy."


August 10, 2004

liking yourself

If you like yourself because you feel you are superior in some way than most people around you, then you might stop liking yourself later.


Tunes and emotions (Incomplete)

When we hear sound, variations in sounds, "tunes", we feel emotions.



All our actions are directed towards maintaining or increasing our estimate of our worth. Though the means are usually varied because of our different perceptions of worth.

In fact, we dont want our worth to go down even after we die.


June 15, 2004

Free Will

I think free will does not exist. Because I believe in causality. I believe that everything in the world is caused by something else. When I see a computer placed before me, I know that somebody did place this computer here. When i see the electrons on the screen forming shapes, I understand the reasons behind it are the signals going in from the CPU and the hardware manufacturing based on mathematical laws. In other words, there is a deterministic law-governed sequence of events as the cause of any event at any time and place - the sequence will start right from the beginning of time to the event in question.

There is nothing that I can think of which will _prevent_ me from including human caused events in this set of "explanable" events.

What one thinks he *wants* to do, has a perfect scientific reason on the the level of atoms (or whatever is the lowest level, say, quarks) for him wanting to choose this particular thing.

[Ofcourse, the uncertainty principle tells us that determinism doesnt work at very low levels, but we can hardly attribute free will to the undeterminism of this kind.]

We get a hint of this lowly determinism at higher abstract forms of realities as well. For example, me wanting to choose to eat chocolates can be explained by my experience in life, where I was exposed to a lot of chocolates, and the moods I was in when I ate those initially, the emotions expressed by those eating chocolates around me, the psychological game I was playing at that point, etc etc. Most of the behavioral patterns (in other words, free will based choices) can be easily traced to some experience, or genes.

My being good or bad can be traced to events that happenned to me. All of my behavior, from small to the large, is a result of what I observed in early childhood upto now, and what I was told. Apart from the genes ofcourse.

Now I want to my right hand to the left. Oh! I moved it. Is that free will? I dont think so. The whole thing - me wanting to move the right hand to the left, and then my moving it, and then writing this down, might have a perfect scientific explanation that explains it all. So even though, I feel that I have free will, even that feeling is just a deterministic result.

But this should not be depressing. Since who cares whether what we are actually doing is being determined by us or not? I can "feel" illusorily that I am doing what I want to. Thats it. This feeling of having free will, though false, is all that we need to feel responsible for our decisions. The actual reality should not matter.



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


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)

April 30, 2004

What is "me"? (ver 1.1)

This was among the very good articles I have found on K5. (I am not a very regular reader there though).
[UPDATE: The story seems to have been taken off, since some dimwitted K5 readers didnt give it votes high enough to be published... I am trying to contact the author to get hold of the story. For now, read this summary: The article asks questions about exactly what "I" is. Is it just a state of your memories? If yes, then if I put my memories exactly in your brain, will you become I? If I put the exact state of the brain in a robotic brain, will the robot become me? If my brain is gradually replaced with artificial cells, will the resulting robotic brain be me?]
[UPDATE: I have got the new location of the story from the author. It is at]

Have a look at that article, before continuing reading this post.

I was able to think on the exact same lines as I read each line of the article. My thinking process went so much identically, that I could almost correctly expect the next statement. I mostly have the same opinion as regards to the conclusion as well. (This proves that myself and the author think along the same lines, and those lines must be precisely logical ;-) ).

I believe that its the continuity in the thought process of this brain, that is me.

About identical brains with identical memories being me or not, I dont give a damn about that, since if I make two identical cups, does one become the other??? Well, no. So even if you make a molecule by molecule replica of me, having precisely the same memories, that wont be me. I am here. Right here. With this set of memories AND this set of molecules.

And if you pull the switch off my brain, and a second later restart it, so that I even have the same set of molecules as I had before the switching process, that WONT BE ME. Since that continuity has been lost. As soon as the continuity breaks, I no longer exist. [Point to think about, what happens after one recovers from coma, is he himself, or somebody different?]

So my definition of me would be:

this continuity in the thought process inside this brain with this set of molecules and this set of memories

Even if you gradually replace each molecule in my brain with artificial ones, that wont be me, since you would practically have to stop the brain momentarily before placing the new one. If however, you were able to replace the molecules by new ones without stopping the continuity, then I think I will remain me, since this process will be identical to the death of neurons and birth of neurons which keeps happenning all the time. (and not to mention replenishing of molecules by the new food and blood that come into the brain)

Actually there is a quick game on "identity" here:

which ends up with pointing to a longer article on personal identity:

This game is okay, but I found their game on morality better. Wow, they do have a lot of games to try out.

I now think that the consciousness in the person dies as soon as he goes into coma. After coma, when he wakes up again, he is not what he was before. This is another consciousness. Since the continuity was broken, the previous consciousness can never come back. Its does not exist any more.

However, nobody will be able to realize this. Since the onlooking people will think that he is the same person since this new consciousness will have the exact same memories and genes and hence behavior, and will behave identically to the original consciousness. The irony is that the person will himself not know that he was born (not a good word in this sense) just now, since he will have memories and body of the previous consciousness.

It might appear that then the breaking of continuity is not such a big issue, and that the definition of consciousness is wrong. But thats what I feel "I" am.

The continuity of thought, regardless of anything else.

Yes, now I have changed my definition. ;-)

I dont care about his memories, and his molecules, what we care about is this continuity in the brain. If you are able to even change the brain itself somehow, without breaking the continuitity of this thought process in a brain, then the new brain will be the same "him".

What do you think?


How are you doing?

The "How are you doing?" greeting that is very frequently used in the US, is philosophically quite different from the "How are you?" I was used to hearing in India (which may have British roots).

With "How are you", you are asking about the state of the persons being. You are asking whether he is happy, whether he is sad. It lays importance on the state of the mind or the state of being as an important attribute that people like to know about others.

On the other hand, "How are you doing?" asks you how are you doing, not how you yourself are. It implies that every person must be doing something, probably for his livelihood, or for fun. The importance is on action. It assumes that every person is in a state of constant action. His state of being is not very important, but whether he is having fun whatever he is doing. The activity he is doing is not considered separately from his emotional state. But that he derives his emotional state from the activity he is doing. Or that he has to pursue some activity to reach a better emotional state.

This implies that people generally dont care about whether the other person is happy or not. They are busy having their own fun doing their own little activities.

This is my life man. Your life is yours.

Have fun!
I dont care whether you actually are happy, just have fun doing whatever it is that you are doing. :-)


April 26, 2004

Social Exchange

All social communication is actually transfer of "memes". (Memes are elements of know-how, which gets transferred from people to people, and undergo darwinian evolution by selection, and thus whole human cultures develop)

Memes were originally useful as primarily for exchange of survival tips, in both their raw and highly abstracted forms.

Today, with the relaxing of survival troubles, memes also have taken other secondary roles. Examples of such roles are generating happiness (which may or may not directly relate with survival), ways for producing fun, and satisfaction of other not-directly-for-survival desires.

People act like a bag of memes. They collect and retain memes of their choice, useful for their own ends. Then they tend to be friends with people who can be the source of their most desired memes.

In fact, society can be viewed as a huge marketplace of memes. People advertize and sell their memes, and gain social currency in doing that. The more desirable memes a person, the more is the demand for that person, the more socially rich he is.

This concept provides for a consistent way of looking at a large part of the working of society.

"He is fun", tells one about another. What does that mean? He has the memes that can give you fun, so go and get some of them from him! So that you can then spread some of them to yet others.

Here I assume that memes are behavior-generating elements as well, since behavior is very much a result of his past experience, and his experience can be imagined as consisting of memes or as producing behavior which can generate memes).

[Fun is required for a person's psych in order for him to be happy and want to live, thus increasing survival duration.]

This is the way the social transaction of memes takes place.

Notably, the most popularly exchanged kind of memes differ in different cultures and communities. For example, in under-developed and developing countries, the most exchanged memes are those more closely related to survival in a biological and social sense. People want to know ways they could find efficient ways of utilizing resources, ways they could create a new business that would earn them livelihood, ways they could be happy in deteriorating circumstances by following spirituality or some such, etc. In developed countries, simply-fun-n-cool type of memes are more desired for. People want to know what are ways to get new cool music (Kazaa), has Tom Cruise has yet come out with some new cool movie, some cool place to hike and camp, etc. This might actually cause some people to be not very "functional" (functional means capable of finding best ways to for self-survival), since coolness does not always correlate very well with basic survival.


April 12, 2004

Awareness or Action?

Today, while discussing philosphical stuff with one of my work friends Shib Jana, I suddenly came up with this metaphysics:

"You", as a "being", are composed of two aspects:-

- Biological
- Consciousness-related (spiritual?)

Biological aspects, are concerned with your role as a biological organism. You must try to survive, and reproduce. You must do whatever you can to ensure your survival.

Consciousness is about awareness. It is about being aware that you exist, aware about the things happenning around us.

Ego is a function derived from your Biological instincts. It extrapolates your biological instincts into a lot of instincts at a higher level, many of which "appear" to be the part of another aspect of "being", such as "social". I am not yet sure whether social aspects can be considered "completely" derived from Biological aspects, but, for now, I think they mostly do. (except some aspects which are more "human", in the sense that they do not necessarily correlate with survival in the best possible way as in "animals". )

The "To be or to become?" question that I posed in one of my previous post basically poses a choice between "to be" or "to become", the former connotates with "sole awareness", and the latter with "action".

I think that "to be" is to exist as you are, and to not attempt change in either you or your world around you. It points to a no-action state, where in, the awareness of everything is enough action. So this fulfills your consciouness-related aspect of the being, and only that.

The "to become" is related to action, and I think that "action is inherently driven by ego". Yes. All action is inherently driven by ego. Ego tells you to get up from your bed every morning, to have a bath, to go to work, to have food, to talk with people, to love people, to hate people, to rise up in society, to earn money, to marry, to have children, to raise children, to do acts of goodwill, etc etc etc.

Thus the whole society is driven by Ego.

Many saints (religious/philosophical) advocated egolessness as the "right way" to be. I think they wanted us to undermine the Biological instincts, and just relish in the consciousness aspects, which of course are unavoidable. Since they are unavoidable, they thought about us as just "conscious" beings, with the biological aspects not exactly natural to the consciousness aspects. I think the word "spiritual" also connotates with this aspect - the conscious as against the biological.

So, the dilemma is clear - to be or to become?

(awaiting more explanation, as all of my posts are)


April 11, 2004

To be or to become?

The question is whether you should become something or you just be something if you happen to be.

Whether you need to be smart, or just be smart if you happen to be.

Whether you need to be good, or just be good if you happen to be.

Whether you need to be helpful, or just be helpful if you happen to be.

Whether you "should", "only if it is fun" or "if it happens to be".

"To be or to become?"
Many moral, social and cultural dilemmas appear to me as mere decorations of this fundamental question.

(More elaboration when I can put some time into this)

April 9, 2004

Rules to be a Human.

Rule 1:
You must live.

Rule 2:
You must reproduce.

Rule 3:
You are "you". (As against, you are not the chair in front of you, you are not the person you are talking to, you are different from all other living and non-living beings: you are your body)

Rule 4:
You must pursue happiness. For this, you must find situations, activities and things which make you happy. And then pursue them.

Rule 5:
You must have a personality. The things which make you happy are your signature, your personality. You exist only if you have a personality.

To be continued.


April 1, 2004


An email to my past fellow interns at light line:

I think I have realized that working at Murali's place had an incorrect impact on our thinking. The internship imposed upon our minds the concept of high and low, the concept of fundoo people and non-fundoo people, with fundoo-ness being the purpose of life.

But after 3 weeks on my current job (which is my first one), I currently am of the view that the US work culture supresses the distinctions based on intelligence, and considers all people, in general, "equal".

The stratification of people based on their merit, was more of an artifact due to the struggle for survival environments we found in India and at Murali's place.

In a more prosperous place, with less struggle needed for survival, life is more desire-based rather than need-based, and hence people can be divided on the basis of their effort for fulfillment of their desires rather than on their abilities to be able to survive in a harsh environment.


March 31, 2004

An individual

An individual is considered an "individual" if he seeks fun (or happiness) , and through his journey to this time, he has found ways with which he can satisfy his desire for happiness. The methods he has found for his happiness serve as a "signature", and an individual is an "individual" when he has some "signature". Individuals without signatures are looked upon as non-entities, non-individuals.

Strangely, this signature concept is so imbibed in the minds of almost all men in the world, that it is trite.

This concept must have some fundamental cause, considering its universal acceptance.

However, it is interesting to appreciate the possibility that a person might not always make moves towards his happiness. He may not have a clear definition of his own happiness, or maybe he has not learnt to move towards it. He might not have the desire to move towards it. Or, most commonly, he may have some problems (originating within self or outside) interfering in his effort.

Are these people not "men"?


March 21, 2004


In my reality, this is the way things should be done. This is the way things are done. This is the way people behave. This is the kind people are. These things happen. These thing should happen. This is good, this is bad. This is life.

My version of reality is based on my experience.

Your version is based on yours.

A person normally prefers to stay in his version of reality, and learn new concepts only if they create minor conflicts with the existing concepts in his current reality.

It often happens sometimes, a person makes the mistake of trying to wander through other people's minds and alternate versions of reality to generate the absolute. He works hard. He studies, he compares, he analyzes. He thinks, he feels, he observes. He somehow tries, subjectively and objectively, to try to reach the absolute point, where reality fits seamlessly with all experiences, all views, all emotions, all abstract "must-be"'s. He tries to create the right reality.

But, from my experience, I have concluded that to come up with this absolute version of reality is indeed, impossible. No matter how much time you spend, no matter how much you analyze, no matter how intelligent you are, no matter how skillfully you try to solve the problem, you will not end up solving it all. There is no right, there is no wrong. Everything is indeed relative. No person can go through all the myriad experiences that each of us goes through. No person can analyze, generalize, and summarize all morality.

But should this fact deter us from pursuing enhancements to our reality? Should this stop us from going out, talking with people, and trying to create a better "right"?

Should we still try to debate and find the correct view when we know that all views are inherently flawed?

Should we take part in the marathon, when we know that it has no end?

Furthermore, should we take part in that endless marathon, when we know that we ourselves are here for a short time?

I dunno.

However, this reminds me of this Robert Byrne quote:

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."


March 3, 2004

A developed country?

Welcome to the United States. The 7th most developed country (PDF) in the world with the second highest per capita income of US$34K (Luxembourg is first). The country with 8 of the 10 richest people of the world.

But when any person from a non-Western country comes in, he sees a different picture of reality. People are always worried whether they will be have enough money to be able to survive their old age. They devote their life to plan their finance so that they have retirement money. They choose to have less children or none at all so that they dont have to spend much money. They don't want to marry since an eventual divorce is unaffordable. They do not have enough money for college. They do not have enough money to pay the doctors, they have to take insurance. They dont have spare money to give to their brothers, sisters, parents, children, nor their spouse.

Is there something wrong here, or is this, as usual, a result of my myopic insight and very limited knowledge?

Anyway, this does not alter my admiration for a country which became the world superpower in as little as two centuries...

UPDATE: I now think that my direct experience with Americans is too less for my views on them to make much sense.


December 1, 2003

Society (Incomplete)

Society can be looked at in various ways. One of them is for exchange of services. You give some, you get some. The more you give, the more you get. A measure of what you give, is money, and you try to get as much money as possible to get more services from the society. Then society is for memetic growth. Memes simply means bits of information. In the same manner as man undergoes the process of genetic evolution, the society undergoes memetic evolution. The memes that are better, more useful, more desirable, gets passed on more, and thus is selected for further evolution. In fact, all of science, arts, and everything in the human society is somehow related to memes. For example, Newtons theory was a meme, and then people used that meme to build more memes, and so on. Memes are also small small things, like how do you cook, how do you exercise, how do you talk, etc etc Then the third important way society is used, is for exchange of emotions.

November 17, 2003


If I wanna stay with these guys, I'll have to listen to 'em. I mean, this society.

August 2, 2003

Rules to be a person (Incomplete)

Rules to be a Human: Coming Soon.


July 11, 2003

Its about the Picture

Its about the picture.

The picture you create.

The picture of the world.

The picture of the world as you see it.

An image of the world.

And people like to create happy, cool, fun images.

This evening, listening to George Michael's "Careless Whisper" in my headphones and reading the past blog archives of Dan Trachtman on his beautifully wonderful site, after watching the past webcam shots of Krismay, my image of the world at the moment is the cool, fun, hip-hop American-style modern image of life, that young people today have and like to have.

Have fun, hang out with girlfriends, boyfriends, dance, listen to music, meet new people, go to discos/pubs, watch television, relax, you will have a non-decreasing salary, hang out with people at work, etc : that's what's life.

But this image is never constant. It is fragile, temporary, non-existing, imaginary, illusionary, ....

To demonstrate, I will switch the song to - George Winston's wonderfully melodious piano "December"...after 1-2 minutes, I am feeling gloomy, the world's really a sad place... people are born, they come to like people, then they die, then the people they liked cry - this is repeated again and again and again - in a similar way as the periodiicity of music... lifes really a sad place after all...thats what's life.

After switching to one of my favorites - Skeeter Davis' passionate "The end of the world", I am feeling emotional in addition to gloomy.... yes, passion, love, deep love, I wanna love somebody, very passionately, very emotionally, very deeply, I wanna love nature, how beautiful's nature, how bad is leaving, how bad is dying, small people have so many expectations, to recieve love, if they dont recieve how bad they will feel, oh god, better to not have expectations, all should be happy and laughing all the time - thats whats life.

The funny part is I can choose an image by switching songs. I can choose an image by selecting different people to be with.

There you go - thats taste. Choosing an image to see life as.

Hmm... this is very similar to the stuff I keep and the world are not good or is not warm or is not happy or sad...these are all the judgemental adjectives imposed by humans. Its the way we choose to look at it.

Oh...let me switch to Randy Travis's innocent "Good Intentions" before I close. :-)


July 10, 2003

Random Thoughts

Here is a copy of the mail which I had sent to some of my friends some days ago:

A naive question here from the layman level.

I have observed that many of the radical philosophical and other developments took place in history when a country was ruling other countries - i.e. they had conquered other territories, became rich, and thus their people had more time to think.

For example, the startings of the Western Philosophy took place in Greece at the time of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle around 400BC, and that was when Greece was actually agressive and had taken over many territories surrounding it. So they were rich and had time to think.

The renaissance, industrial revolution and development of today's science took place in Europe when European countries had conquered other countries throughout the world.

Hendrik says one of the peak of Islamic thought was during when they ruled Spain.

Now that I think of it, the Indian philosophical developments took place during 1500bc-500bc, and I think it might be related to one king defeating other kings and occupying other kingdoms and thus becoming rich (as compared to the defeated one). But of course this is a wild guess, and most probably false.

Still I have these questions:

Major development in thought requires concentration of money and, in general, prosperity. Is this true or not?

Secondly, pre Second World War, the concentration of money was mainly determined by the conquering/occupation of other territories. Is this true or not?

Then, "assuming" that these developments of thought were "good" for society, can we extend this to say that this attacking, conquering and occupation of other's territories was good too?

In other words, if you were asked to make a moral choice between these two acts - conquering other territories by killing people which would result in increasing the prosperity of your country and making a lot of developments in thought, science, technology OR live and let live - which one which you would choose?

Then this leads me to think in this way:

"Natural Selection" of individuals takes place when nature selects the most fit for surviving the rigors of nature, "human-enacted selection" takes place when humans themselves fight among themselves to choose the fittest in terms of fighting ability with other humans, and I propose one more "society-driven selection", which takes place when the "society" selects the people who are more capable of serving the society to meet its demands of the moment (serving here providing any kind of service, even for exchange, for example, rich people who have served the society more by selling products, services that are required by the people, have a better chance of surviving by the ability to afford better living conditions and healthcare, people who can make music which
the society likes to listen, get more rich and hence survives better; by including this with the other two selections, I am also proposing that this kind of selection is quite natural and obvious)

It is important to understand that these three selections (there might be more) do not necessarily correlate in all cases, they diverge in many.

Today humanity (with its "human intelligence") tries to negate all three selections.

Natural selection is being negated by developing and giving medicines to ill people (think about genetically transmitted fatal diseases like cancer and others). Then the charity health organizations, where money is given to cure the poor ill people.

Human-enacted selection is being negated by having laws which specifically prevent violent action against other individuals. We have formed a Government, which "enforces" these laws. The law is a little weak when inter-country violence is considered, but, it is likely that very soon we will have laws banning the same.

Society-driven selection is being negated by having laws like the US Government paying stipends to the unemployed, or paying stipends to the mentally ill who are not able to serve the society, etc (think about genetically transmitted mental illnesses)

The negations are best seen in the Declaration of Independence [1] propounded by Thomas Jefferson (which is ofcourse based on earlier philosophical thought), which influenced the American society, and the rest of the world. (all nations followed suit after USA adopted democracy)

A "moral" decision is often the decision to choose in either the support of one of these selections or of their negation.

Now those territorial conquests were part of human-enacted selection. So they fall into the same dillemma.

No one doubts that those selections give good results in the long run, but their negations also give good results, so there is no definite answer in choosing one of the two.

Perhaps this can serve as one small framework for related thoughts.

All of this is uneducated, so flaws will abound.

What do you think?


1. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." -- Opening Passage of the Declaration of Independence filed by British Colonies in N. America to form the United
States of America on July 4, 1776; written by Thomas Jefferson.


June 20, 2003

Person Characteristics

Prop(x) = how much you really care about "survival" of x, how much effort are you willing to put into raising and ensuring the survival of x measured on a scale of 1 to 100, where 100 is peak importance one can give, 1 is he is completely indifferent

Every person can find values for :

  1. Prop(yourself)
  2. Prop(immediate family)
  3. Prop(relatives)
  4. Prop(friends)
  5. Prop(human strangers)
  6. Prop(living organisms excluding humans)
  7. Prop(non-living things)

Then you can understand more about a person by finding the values of these for him, and then the items 2 onwards divided by item 1 will each define one important characteristic of that person.

Knowing your values is also a worthwhile thing to do.


On Human Behavior

People write their scripts early in life1. They decide what is the basic pattern of behavior they will follow throughout their time here.

For example, one will ask others to show care for him, if they dont agree, then he will hate them. This basic pattern seems a very simple one, but a significant amount of behavior of many people is just based on this one rule.

There are many such possible rules (or patterns).

It seems strange that a thing as complex as the human mind, will generate so much behavior that is based on just one such simple rule as this.

Finding the dominant rules for a person, is equivalent to understanding that person. When we say, "Bhargav is a very simple guy", or "Rukie is a very simple girl", we say that we unconsciously understand the basic rules that govern that person's behavior.

But understanding the rules explicitly, consciously, clearly goes much further ahead in understanding that person. You can almost make a computer program that would behave in the same way that the person does.

Let us get a better feel for those basic rules.

One basic rule that I have found to be very common is: "I want people to love me."

Other common one is "I want to laugh."

Though these look simple, they exist in more sophisticated versions in practice, and this makes them useful. For example, the "I want to laugh" rule may be expanded for some person to " I want to laugh. I will try to seek out people who can provide me this. A person who will make me laugh are good people. Those who cannot, are of no use to me and I will find them boring and uninteresting, I will try avoiding them. " And even more.

Some more are: "I want to think. I will go towards people who make me think.", "I want to cry. I will do something silly. And then cry. All those who can provide me this, I will be attracted to them." As I said, these rules take sophisticated forms when you actually apply to people.

These rules are based on mostly on how the person will interact with other people.

But, that is whats a person is. A behavior generator. And more specifically, he creates meaning by putting this behavior in front of other people that can store and communicate information. What meaning will he create if he behaves in an isolated planet, where nobody else who can store/communicate is present? SO, basically, when you derive rules for his generation of behavior, you define him. You define that person. All that he means.

The irony is that this whole meaning of a person that is present only in the human society, has no meaning outside our humandom. And that makes us ask the importance of this meaning. How is this meaning important to Star Sirius. How is this meaning important to a stone? How is this meaning important to the universe at large? In No Way. There is no meaning outside our humandom. Only humans know that Mother Teresa was good, Edison was good, Einstein was good, Buddha was good, Hitler is bad. The culmination of the irony is that even that meaning is not shared with all, all have a different meaning of the same thing depending on individual views.

Back to scripts - you can almost make out the structure of friends that a person will have based on his scripts. For example, "he will have some who will satisfy his need of humor, he will have some who will satisfy his need for intellectual discussion, he will have some who will give him the pleasure of telling that he acts smart, he will have some who will remind him of his good old days, he will have some who can make him emotionally intense" etc.

All of this can actually help in practical life.

But there is an extension of this, that may actually have dramatic uses.

The extension is - "identify your own scripts".

Introspect. Introspect your behavior. Why do you behave this way? What do you want? Where are you going? What are your basic desires? What are the patterns in your behvior, what are you scripts?

This will not be short. This will occur over a period of time. You will come to understand (yes in the same way mentioned above) yourselves more over time.

Then you may find some patterns are not good for you, and have harmed you previously. You will make a goal to remove them from whatever that is "yourself".

This will be a really hardest thing to do. You will find that the basic rules are so ingrained in you, that they are a part of "you".

However, repeated attempts will give results after some time. And you may actually succeed.

When you succeed, you will have changed yourself. You will have reprogrammed yourself. A program changing itself. Much like a LISP program.

(1. This sentence is taken from the excellent book "What do you say after you say Hello" by Eric Berne. The rest of the expansion is mine. I dont know what was his idea or how he expanded, but could be very similar to this. However, I would still credit this whole concept to him)


Changing self

After turning into a more contemplative person a few months ago, who asks "why?" to everything, I developed some conceptual insights into the way things work, and more importantly, into the reasons behind human behavior.

Then when I began to read some philosophical (or other) material, I found many of the things I had discovered myself were already discovered by people before and well documented. Of course, not that I was expecting that I was the first person to discover them, but...

Moral Relativism (or cultural relativism) was an idea that I realized myself over a period of some weeks last fall. Though it is a quite simple and obvious concept that everybody who has studied philosophy (or related disciplines) or read related books knows(or even by experience), knowing it by your own realization is a totally different experience than just reading it from a book or hearing from a friend.

The process is quite interesting. First you dont see anything, and believe them as just other oddities of life. Then you begin to see some patterns, and that is all you see. Then you see the common generator of the patterns. Then, applying the classic generalization and reductionism of Mathematics (and Science), you arrive at a concept that can explain all observed things perfectly. There. You have achieved enlightenment. (For this thing atleast). As time passes, you confirm it n number of times with new observations, and the idea sinks into your brain. It then becomes part of your basic knowledge, and you think of it as an obvious concept.

Reasons of human behavior can be a particularly interesting area to think about. Whats a human desire? What does a human want? What is the difference between different people? There are dozens of questions like these.

The concept of money as "a means to exchange services with the society", which is so obvious that it is money's definition, is quite enlightening. Atleast seemed to me, when I realized that sometime ago. From money, you go to services, society, economy, jobs, survival, work, the importance of science, the importance of technology, etc.

And yes, thinking about Darwin's Theory of Evolution can be the most enlighening of all things. The direction of human existence, human life, human behavior, human society, human behavior become suddenly clear. That all organisms including humans are just trying to survive and reproduce is an idea people knowingly disagree, but is the most important fact, I think so. It is the most important first thing you need to understand if you are to understand anything.

There were many conceptual insights (they were to me, may not be to many people) that I developed, a few of which I mentioned above, that have made my understanding of the world dramatically better.

What suddenly triggered this?

Why did I start thinking after 22 years of age? What was I doing upto that time?

The primary cause of this is changing a country, a culture, a civilization. This is a time which forces you to think about the basic assumptions about life you have made without even thinking about them. Then afterwards, it is just a chain effect.

Moving to another quite different country for some elongated time period is one thing I would recommend everyone.


June 19, 2003


Hofstede, in 1980, developed an interesting theory about Culture - he gave Culture 5 dimensions along which it varied. (you could say 5 coordinates of Culture)

You can find explanations about those dimensions at many places on the net if you search in google, for example, two good ones are:

(read both)

He also measured a lot of countries' cultures along those dimensions. The measurement results are here:

USA is found to be the most individualistic country in the world.

If you read the above links, you will find that there are some interesting correlations between the dimensions and other cultural things like teacher-student relationship, presence of rituals, economic development, warm/cold region, etc.


June 18, 2003

Culture note to prospective students

This is a copy of a mail I wrote today to a mailing list of Indians who were about to come to the US and join USC for Graduate/Undergrad studies:

[During my experience of 2 years in the US, my thought process and understanding of the world changed dramatically, and the basic purpose of this mail is give you a head-start into the broadening of perspective that took took some time to get to me.]

Everybody knows that there are cultural differences between India and America...but knowing only that is not enough.

One must know them in "some detail", and also an idea about "why" they exist in the first place.

Not knowing enough is a source of lot of problems - many people just dont like the things out here for a long time (months, years) after coming here and keep hating the US and US culture. (not all of it, but several aspects of it)

Yes, thats Culture shock for you, even if the person is not ready to accept that he is going through it.

The first thing one must know is: (my theory) Culture is just a "local" maxima. Ways of doing things in a culture are modified slowly to go towards a local maxima, and *not* towards a global maxima. And Global Maxima is very hard to define and identify -- the very definitions of good and bad change as you cross cultures, and a global maxima (absolute morality and perfect society), in fact, probably does not exist even in theory.

In other words, an *open mind* is the most important thing you need when you move to a significantly different culture - in this case - you are moving from a collectivistic relationship-based lawless (almost) society to an individualistic acheivement-based law-abiding society. Just remember this sentence always - "What is right and what is wrong was told to you by your culture - they are not *absolute*, they are *relative* to your culture."

Agree with this and you are more than half way through.

Now you need to understand what a culture shock is and what are the different phases for that - read this -

And this, a little smaller than the above:

Then you need to read what exactly are the differences in the cultures.

These are slightly bigger than the above, but important:
(on the link page, look at lower right - you will see a heading "Cultural Adjustment", read the four (small) pages linked from there)

There's one more - this one's a little boring, but read as much as you want -

This link is optional - it talks about business related cultural differences, but the information present is huge.

If you have read much of the above links, then you are going to have a better time in the USA.....I guarantee you!!

For the people who have become interested in this topic, here's some more material - rather more formal/academic - its about a study by Hofstede(1983) which postulates that differences in cultures can be understood in terms of five parameters and he in fact measured the five parameters for lots of countries.
explains the parameters; the actual scores on parameters of various countries are here:

USA is the most individualistic country in the world according to his measurements.

Then there's this interesting study on the link between corruption and collectivism - yes, its what you expected - collectivist countries have a higher rate of corruption than individualistic countries:

Hehe, they even calculate that there is a correlation of 0.7 between collectivism and corruption.

I cant possibly believe that you are following this email upto this line. Go check your mail (again).



May 12, 2003

This is the movie comment

This is the movie comment I just wrote at the Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) for the movie Natural Born Killers:

There are three different ways a movie can be evaluated according to me: 1. How the viewer "feels" during and immediately after seeing the movie. 2. The art, skill and talent put into making the movie. 3. How it changes the viewers of the film in the long run from the aspect of knowledge, understanding, perspective, behavior, morality, culture, etc.

An important question is - which one of those questions is the most important?

The movie critics mostly assume the second question to be the most important. A typical film viewer assumes the first one to be the most important. What do you think about the importance of the third?

From the 1st questions point of view, the movie will cause the viewer to be "highly disturbed". Many people will simply reject this film, and will not even be able to sit through the complete movie. I myself had to garner up lots of courage to just keep my hand from pushing the stop button throughout the movie. The movie is "real bad" if you think the answer to the first question is the most important for you, and hence you should stay away from the movie.

From the 2nd question point of view, although I do not have much knowledge of film critiquing, I can estimate that the movie is quite good artistically. The movie's direction, music, special effects, screenplay is quite good.

However, the 3rd question is the most interesting for a movie like Natural Born Killers.

The intention of the movie, as the makers of the movie would want to emphasize, is to make the general public realize that proper "culturing" of kids, young people is necessary for the society to sustain itself. If there is no concept of morality induced into people, especially when they are young, they may grow up into anti-social elements. And morever, the current state of American Society is lacking the culturing exactly which is essential.

So the questions raised by this movie in my mind were:- Is it necessary to have a proper culturing of the masses for them to behave morally? Or will they "just understand"? Is the right to expression of ideas by way of showing violence on the TV screen and the big screen more important than telling people what is right and wrong and how to behave yourself? Is the media' role more as a user ratings seeker or as communicator of culture?

Thus there seems to some interesting thought provoking stuff out here (the questions are not new - but it still raises questions - which most movies just dont do), but there exists a PRIMARY PROBLEM with the movie which is quite obvious.

The film might be thought provoking in the right sense to only a small fraction of the viewers - perhaps those who are willing to think. However, for the vast majority of the audience, the film may have the opposite effect to that what it wants to have. It will teach them voilence. The film will serve to do exactly what it tries to say as "wrong": it will show audience that violence is not a wrong thing - violence is normal.

This is a very strong negative, and instead of 9 or 10, my rating for this movie is 7.

Comparison with Stanley Kubrick's A ClockWork Orange:
The Stanley Kubrick Masterpiece was way above this movie.
1: Disturbing, though much less than Natural Born Killers. 2: Artistically much better than Natural Born Killers.
Clockwork Orange raised more deeper and more novel questions than Natural Born Killers.

The questions directly raised by Clockwork Orange in my mind were: What is the basis of morality? Why should you behave morally? Why are most people in the world behaving more or less morally? How would you convince a person to behave morally? Is simply establishing association between immorality and feeling sick enough? Is simply establishing association between immorality and getting punished enough? Is morality only important for not getting punished or is there something higher? Is establishing an association between immoral behavior and feeling sick equivalent to convincing him what is right and wrong? Is religion only for convincing people to behave morally? Can religion give a logically sound reason for behaving morally? Why should I care about others? Is today's politics only about trying to win votes, or they really try to think about the people?

And the basic problem present with Naturally Born Killers that it may actually germinate violence in the viewers is not present in Clockwork Orange because Clockwork Orange shows more cultured and less anti-social behavior than harmful.

In Conclusion, watch ClockWork Orange(my rating 10/10), and avoid Naturally Born Killers(my rating 7/10).


May 9, 2003

GAIA test

Paul Cooijman's GAIA test was really great for me, since I almost felt that I had written each of those points describing my own behavioral characteristics - and realized that there are finally other ppl like me. I also experienced in a very tiny way the emotion normal people experience after finding that other people are quite similar to what they are - the feeling of "being normal and normal is 'good'", the feeling of safety and security, the feeling that "when all these people are able to survive and reproduce thus continuing the human species, we will also be successful in doing the same", the emotion of "being happy".

April 22, 2003

Choosing Happiness or Laughter

Given a choice between two mental/emotional states - happiness and laughter - which one will you choose?

UPDATE(from reply to a comment):
You say that laughter is "often" an "expression" of happiness.

But I think that the relationship is more complex. And the differences between them are subtle and interesting.

Laughter is more appropriately a physical activity expressing acknowledgement of the emotion of humor.

However, the tendency to laugh increases when you are happy. So the tendency to sense humor is more when you are happy.

However, humor can also be a cause for happiness. For example, if you are in a sad mood, then suddenly a good joke and you are back laughing, and tend to loose sadness.

The origin of happiness can also be more easily explained by evolution by correlating with biological factors such as survival/reproduction (and also some facts related to consciousness which then goes on to desires and their satisfaction), however the laughter has evolution based on less biological factors but more social factors, like the conveyance of the fact that "I am happy", "I am not going to harm you", "You are doing a stupid activity", "You do not belong to our group", etc.

People often resort to means of humor/laughter to become happy.


April 6, 2003


The following is a copy of an email I had sent out recently.

your and his views demonstrate different views of looking at life and the world, both equally valid, which points to a strong sense of nihilism.

As soon as you "EVALUATE" any Objective Fact as right, wrong, good, or bad, YOU HAVE MADE A MISTAKE.

You are generalizing a lot (you hardly know anything) and making a huge number of assumptions.

The whole base of ethics is built on "life is good", and that is a big assumption, since this is not your intelligence that is saying this, this is what your genes and physical body is saying.

About the article, I would say that approach presented there is closer to the fundamental Life-is-Good ethics principle: the approach taken is very pro-life, and is based on the hypothesis that the needs of survival and reproduction of all living beings are more pro-life, than satisfaction of other desires (like comfort, luxury, emotional satisfactions based on non-living things, something I call the least-effort principle where man tries to fulfill all his other desires in the minimum effort possible giving rise to desire for money [Update: now that I search, this least-effort principle may have its origins from here ], etc) of some.

XYZ wrote,
> ha ha ha!
> how can people be so stupid...
> Gaurang Khetan wrote
> > This In Context article is a must read on peace, spirituality, etc.
> >
> >


This is a mail I recently sent.

> your reasonings may well justify common human behaviour as u see around u, but is that all?

is there more?

> can u blow it up to explain or rather speculate the reality?
> can u explain all there is in this world? this remarkable creation, with all its diversity, the laws that govern it etc?

"remarkable" is evaluative. "Remarkable" means nothing. If I create a world which is just one square including a little creature and nothing else, then if that creature thinks that the square is really a remarkable creation, then it hardly matters. Its completely subjective.

Even if it is remarkable, so what? Do simple non-remarkable worlds not require a creator and only complex ones do? Then, how do you draw the line between simple and complex?

The "remarkable" and "diversity" subjective evaluations are unnecessary parts of your argument.

> law implies a lawmaker just like any product un this world implies a maker.

then for exactly the same reasons, a lawmaker implies a lawmaker-maker. If you define the lawmaker to be without any creator, then we can also define this world as being without a creator.

> the consumeristic attitude that u advocate for is a direct result of denying the existence of god.
> it simply promotes hedonistic selfcentered sense gratificatory attitude that u may see around u there.
> is it good to continue with that? sleeping with our own enemies?
> rather u must strive to get freed from this selfishness and other vices. rise above all this. don't be a miser!

to state that that consumerism and hedonistic self-centered sense gratificatory attitudes are vices you need to make some big assumptions. [Update:See the above post for the assumption.]

If human behavior can be explained and understood, then everything becomes swallowed by it, since everything you think of, believe, find out, can be behaviorally explained.

For example your following of ISKCON can be explained by:
1. You like the company that fellow ISKCONites give. Just like the same way an al-qaeda member likes the company the other al-qaeda members give.
2. You like the ISKCON way of doing things - go in a temple, feel loved, eat prasadam, etc. In other words, you like the emotions like love etc.
3. You like the philosophy propounded by ISKCON.

The origins of these can further be explored like this:
1. As a human being, you like the emotion of love, since the emotion of love correlates well with survival and reproduction instincts of the human being. Emotion of love promotes mutual help for better survival for all beings involved, and leads to sex, which is necessary for reproduction and survival of the species.
2. The philosophy of ISKCON works on similar levels - it incites more into you a feeling of "good", you feel good if you assume ISKCON is good, it is all emotional correlating well with love, and joy. Your body is designed to like some patterns in the sense data and try as best as possible to get those patterns to repeat. Since we all have evolved from the same ancestors, the patterns that all our bodies like is similar, and we have named those patterns "good".

Imagine a planet, where a species like us lives, and the reproduction mechanism is somehow through "separation of individuals" rather their coming together and copulating. And imagine the survival chances of the individuals are better if they stay away from each other - if they come near each other then - some sort of chemical reaction kills them. In this case, the feeling of hate and separation would be considered "good", and the friendship and togetherness would be "bad". They would be more feeling better if they believe in "Nihilism" and feel bad if they believe in God and what ISKCON says, etc.

One's whole behavior is just simply the result of training that you got socially after you were born by looking at others and the world; and the training that our genes got from long periods of survival and reproduction where they learnt which forms of sense patterns are more correlated with their survival and reproduction and learnt to like them.


March 27, 2003

Self-interest and drives

A human is a being that wants to survive and reproduce (this tendency is from the self-replicative nature of the genes and cells), hence he works for his survival and reproduction. That gives rise to self-interest. He works for his survival and reproduction. The genes want him to live, and does not care about the others, hence his basic motivation is to make sure that he himself lives. This is the origin of self-interest.

The society is an abstract entity which is formed by a group of people depending on each other for mutual help in surviving and satisfaction of other desires, and hence it likes people to be not too selfish and care for others too.

However, it is interesting to note that societies in general tend to resist selfishness within the society, not between the society as a whole with another society. For example, consider a country, selfishness is resisted within a country, but one country's people may have societally acceptable hatred for people of other countries.

This concept can be easily seen in this example: Egotist tendencies are opposed by a society in general, i.e. if a person favors himself incessantly and strongly, then other people in general will not like it, and this is not viewed as correct by most societies. BUT if we extend our identity (i.e. ego) to a bigger group entity, for example, a country, then its okay if I cheer for my country and very strongly show favor for it against other countries. This behavior is acceptable to all societies, but this is nothing but egotitistic behavior, since we have extended our identity to a group identity and by whatever favor we show to the group entity, we are actually giving ourself egotistic pleasure.


March 22, 2003

War is not wrong


"Self-Interest" - this is the key word. Everybody in this world works on the motive of self-interest. US invades Iraq - for its own self-interest. But this will be better for Iraq too in the long run. Since it will have all infrastructure built (after the war) and a democratic government set up which will enable it to become a properous country later on.

The other countries dont like this - because of their own self interest. The weak need protection from the strong - for their survival - in their own self-interest, hence they resort to some sort of "morality" concept, which seeks protection from the strong. When the strongest, the US, starts to use its power, the weak get terrified and resent the strong.

The UN was ironically created by the US and UK, and the power of the UN comes from the fact that US supports it.

I am not justifying the war - I am just saying that it is normal human behavior pattern, and any country that would have been the strongest country in this world would have done the same things that the US is doing.

What is at fault? Not the US. Not Iraq. Its human behavior.

That is, if there is some fault in the first place. What is wrong, what is right? See the previous post on "morality".


Morality - absolute or subjective?

Morality - absolute or subjective?

Learn about the Subjectivist, Cultural Relativist and the Secular Humanist view of Morality

A SocioBiologist and Christanity Point of view

And the best of all, learn from this Harvard Prof a "neutral" point of view of morality

Finally, there is this online book by Henry Hazlitt on morality.


March 10, 2003

Other than Philosophy

Anything other than Philosophy is trivial. Yes, even "life", or whatever you percieve by that word.

February 14, 2003


It is not sufficient to look just from where you are: it is also essential to look from far and beyond.

How to look from far and beyond in space and time? It can be done by yourself staying at a place which is far beyond your place, or by reading books written by those from far and beyond, or by going to the Internet and gaining information about the thoughts around in places and times far and beyond.

Or otherwise you are just a frog in the well who thinks that the world is only water and frogs...


February 11, 2003

Education comparison of US and India

I had mailed a friend about the comparison of a typical US undergrad engineering education with that in India. Here is the mail:

Hi xyz,

This is abt the discussion we were having abt the comparison of the Undergrad Computer Science/Electrical Engineering education in India and the US.

It may seem that since Indian students have to take a lot more courses in EECS they have a more thorough preparation in the tech field and get better education - there are the following arguments against that -
1. The education viz professor and teaching quality in those courses is really bad.
2. You are forced to take each course you may or may not be interested in. Many people in India are not interested in the major itself, leave aside specific fields in the major (for ex. graphics).
3. The focus is on rote learning - exams are made to test your memorization of the topic - here the exams test more concept based and there are a lot of homeworks.
4. Infrastructure and facilities are lacking which contribute to lack of or inferior lab equipment/facilities.
5. The course structure here is at the cutting edge.(CS445 - build robots and take part in a competition)
6. Many undergrad CS people at USC end up taking all the 400 level courses and 2-3 500 level courses too so they too get a reasonable background in the things they are interested in.
7. Here undergrads, if they are good, have the opportunity to participate in world class research.

Besides, the students here get a better education apart from getting a reasonable background in the Tech area, because:
1. No person I would say is interested _only_ in computer science. Generally all people have some interests in other areas like music, dance, physics, history, geography, psychology, philosophy, astronomy, etc. People in India have to suppress their interests or develop it personally on their own. Here they can take a few courses in the areas they are interested in - it facilitates "learning what you want to". If they are particularly interested in a particular area people, then they do a double major, for ex. in CS and Math, EE and Phys, etc.
2. More social activities on campus - more parties, more clubs (want to fly a plane? join the flying club at USC), more facilities like the Gym, having friendships with people in different majors (giving a broader perspective of life in general), opportunity to participate in totally different activities like writing for the college student newspaper, etc. : all these develop a better well rounded individual.

In India, there are the following advantages:
1. Because of very high population and all people trying to get into engineering or medicine, the competition is intense. People study a lot and excel themselves, they have to become bright and expert in order to survive itself. This leads to some quite bright and expert people coming out of the system. (Note: This advantage is kind of incidental since it is rooted in the disadvantages of high population and non-availability of other majors which also lead to many other disadvantages.)(Note: In the US, bright people are spread out in different majors - and brightness is rooted in interest, and not as a necessity )
2. Taking courses in which one is not interested in has a chance of helping you later on, when you can suddenly apply the things you learned there to other problems in other areas of the field. (this point is debatable)
3. In the US, effort is made to make a course easy to the student - i.e. student concerns are taken into account while designing the course - because of the philosophy of not to unnecessary trouble a person. This might lead to easier undergrad courses. (this point is debatable)
4. Education is cheaper. (this might be a significant advantage but becomes milder when you consider that community colleges in the US are dirt cheap yet of not bad quality)

Overall, the US education system is freedom oriented (learn what you want to), and Indian system is forced (you gotta learn this).

I undoubtedly feel that the American education system is superior.

Education is dependent on the development of the country in general. And India has progressed a lot, and is improving at a rapid pace. I think in 50 years, India will be quite developed and near world class.

(Education *above* undergrad level i.e. graduate level in the US is without question superior than India's - it is not even worth a discussion)

(Education in branches other than medicine and engineering in the US is superior than India's without question again - not worth a discussion)

(Education *below* undergrad level in the US is good or not is a debatable issue - since they have choice of course selections atleast as early as the 9th grade - so many people dont take all fundamental courses - some people avoid courses they hate like math, geography etc. Anyway the quality of life in general is high in the US, and there are lots of facilities and infrastructure for learning if you want to, the US has a stronger performance than India in the international math and physics olympiads - so I would give the edge to the US here too)


Note that IITs are not considered here. They will be considered in a later post.


February 9, 2003


Probably what you know and opine has been influenced in a strong way by the information and opinions of the people you have met and talked with.

Strong attachment with the group of people around us makes us unconsciously agree with the same opinions and ideas as the group.

And when those people around have some shared view, the view inevitably becomes our view.

This leads to irrational thinking and narrowminded views.

What is required is the ability to independently reason for oneself, taking the opinions/data from the group into consideration.

The countries that were out of the scene when reason and science were being invented routinely fall victim of this .... though how are these two facts related is less obvious.

January 22, 2003

Nothing is right or wrong

Nothing is right or wrong. Nothing is good or bad. Incidentally I used to say a few years ago - "There is no right thing you can do."

What you know as right and wrong is what others have told you.

The things that really feel right to most people like "make a good person live instead of killing him" are also not properly defined since there is an ambiguity in the word "good".

Removing the word good - "dont kill a person whom you dont know" will feel good to almost all people (NOT ALL PEOPLE) but that is also told to you by your genes. Yes. The genes want to survive and reproduce ... and hence.

Nothing is right. Nothing is wrong. All are imaginations - formed for making decisions for humans (conscious beings) - the universe doesnt need anything to be right or wrong - since it does not make any decisions - it just works according to laws.

Remember when anyone tells you anything is right or wrong - its what others told him or or what he thought from his very limited experience or what his genes are telling him - nothing is actually, really right or wrong!


December 16, 2002

On religion

I have been having discussions with one of my friends regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict. That discussions caused me to investigate the issue and spend hours reading articles of the history of the issue. After reading many perspectives I found that it is *not* easy to find a solution.

The basic problem seems to stem from the *hatred* between the two religious groups - Palestinian(Arabs) and Jews.

The cause of hatred is *religion* which is manifested in different viewpoints about God - different cultures - different ways of doing things.

The religion has gone so deep into their life that they give more importance to religion than anything else.

Their rationality is completely subdued by their belief in religion.

This is just one of several religious conflicts - terrorism, India-Pakistan conflict, etc

Religion has been the murderer of millions and millions of lives throughout the history of man.

I think that such religious wars will continue to happen in the world for eternity unless something is done abt it.

All this when it is plainly true that there is no God, and that these religions were invented when people had very limited knowledge about the world and the way it works.

I would say that religions such as Hindu religion might be okay since they propose more tolerance, but in practice, it has been found that even then the tolerance cannot be taken for granted for all followers.

I propose abolishment of or reduction in importance of Religion - come on, now we know enough abt the world to understand the meaning behind most things.

One of my friend Vijay thinks that the root of this and such problems is basically the collectivist identity problem. You can see his pasted mail in my December 03 Post below.


December 11, 2002

Yoga and other ancient beliefs

See what this computer science professor has to say about Yoga

See over 500 research papers on the effects on Meditation

I have now begun to feel that ancient Indians were smart people. Their thoughts, techniques, religion, culture are quite remarkably developed.

Only thing is that their knowledge and understanding of the natural world was quite limited, and hence they incorrectly tried to give purpose and meaning to this meaningless universe (more in a later post) by imagining a God who created this world for a purpose and has control/influence over all this. Then they made temples to worship the Gods, the concept that I just cannot stop laughing at.

Our knowledge about the world has certainly changed but our body hasnt.

Hence their thoughts on mind and body are still valid - like meditation and Yoga.

Anyway, maybe the concept of God, faith, and worship was invented just for people to be emotionally stronger and be more moral - after all they empirically knew how the human mind behaves.

But I am of the opinion that they came out with the concept of God out of their curiousness and when they saw their belief in God resulting in the positive effects of morality and psychological strength, that concept just got ingrained stronger in their minds.


December 3, 2002

Individualism and Collectivism

Now I understand why I have failed to submit homeworks, study for exams, submit projects for the classes, even though I would have been able to do them if I wanted to. Basically, I have not followed people around. This may be a repeat from an earlier post, but, really, doing all this means you are following the people around you. You are not doing what you want - you are doing what other people do. And ironically, even they are exactly doing the same thing - they are following what people are doing around them.

Anyway, this is what society is - this is a demonstration of to what extent have humans learned to communicate thoughts, opinions and behavior to other people.

This tendency of the society, however, means that the society will change slowly - which may be good or bad depending on the particular situation.

Following other people in the society can be called as a collectivist tendency. Trying to think on your own by way of reason instead of blindly following the people around can be called as an individualist tendency. India is more collectivist than the US.

More knowledgeable opinion regarding individualistic and collectivistic behavior can be found below - I am pasting a mail sent by a friend Vijay Tippareddy, which is quite insightful.

Philosophically speaking, the people in this world can be broadly divided into two philosophical sects based on love i.e., individualism and collectivism. In the former individual is more powerful than the community or state he lives in and can influence it by his reason. In this he can raise above the constraints imposed by questioning them rationally and can affect them. Reason and thereby objectivity is his only aid in such contexts. Self-love is acknowledged and subject to objectivity thereby creating a dynamic feedback loop. Love of others is always lesser than the self-love preserving the uniqueness and personality of the individual. In collectivism individual belongs to a broader group or faction and is not an entity by himself. Here faith and emotion supplant the reason. Devotion or love towards a faith binding the persons in the group is stronger and more tenacious than the self-love. In fact self-love is never recognized and is seen as a vice. The collectivists always assert themselves by a positive feedback loop without ever questioning their faith and self-content as a group. This homeostasis leads to religious fanatism, national fanatism etc. It is a virulent malady and is the cause of many evils in the past and the current society.

The religious dogma driving india is collectivism to the core. The nationalism of Nazi's and et. al belongs to the same. These groups are driven by irrational passion and uncritical devotion to their faith.

Psychologically speaking, people with strong love lack a personal identity. These people have a group identity or sometimes vicarious identity (explain later). They dont consider themselves as people of strong character adhering to principles but as flexible agents to be casted in a bigger faith or personality. In group identity herd mentality is very common and the group moves haphazardly with indirection. In vicarious identity the person's identity is a parasite dwelling in some superhuman or superhero or some person. The higher cognitive functions are pushed aside or ignored with inordinate passion taking over. This leads to entropy without times arrow. Such groups or individuals are a threat to the society and themselves.

Biologically speaking, strong love can be justified as a way to preserve one's genes. When the individual takes to agression like the riots and wars he is trying to preserve the gene's of his family or the common (more or less ) genes prevalent in his culture. Since in countries like india the society isnt well protected by the respective institutions people are always on the edge to fend off the enemies by agression, avenge etc. Even the 2 nd world war can be seen as self-preservation by a race with paranoidal fears of threat or backstabbing. As there is no organization to ensure them the peace and security they opted to preemptive strike with the ulterior motive of self-preservation.


November 24, 2002

Economy and Spending

I will paste here an email I sent to the USC Indian Students Yahoogroup.

Having spent one and half years here in the US, I have seen one peculiar thing, which you all must also have noticed.

Americans consume a lot, spend a lot.

You will see wasteful usage of stuff - people are using things at a higher rate than they should - are spending where they should not.

When you see the number of paper napkins given by Pizza Hut with one pizza, when you see several helicopters following a car chase to show it on television, when you see the lights being on everywhere everytime, when you see 2.4GHz LCD screen computers in public labs in the school, when you see computers lying around like crap, when you see every American home having dozens of DVDs, VHSs, CDs, when you see a plumber having 3 cars, when you see every seminar or meeting giving pizzas, when you see a company paying all your trip expenses for an on-site interview, you realize.

People spend, and spend a lot.

(This is not bad; in fact, this is very good. Read the rest of this mail/article.)

Credit cards are extremely popular, which make you spend more than you can. Loans are more easily available, things are available on installments - all lead to more spending than you would otherwise do.

Brilliant advertising and marketing strategies are employed to make people buy. And people do.

Indians, have an opposite tendency. To spend only where it is "really worth it". They spend less, spend on only things they think they really need. They consume only what is absolutely necessary. They have been taught to be content and contain their desires. This is wrong. This then leads to smaller market, and smaller produce.

The difference between the results of the two behaviors are self-evident today.

The United States has the highest GDP of the world, i.e. the sum of services and products sold. Now they dont produce to throw the products on the road, they produce to sell because it does. They dont serve on some whim, they serve since there are people ready to spend to get served.

Since people spend a lot (more than they should), people can create more products and more services. There will be market, so people can produce.

Hence the highest GDP.

Knowing that people will buy, there is innovation. If you can innovate a device, create and sell it, then you will be a millionaire.....since people buy stuff.

Big companies have big R&D labs - to create new products and sell and earn.

Availability of market leads to new inventions, new products, research and development; due to all of which science, technology, health sciences, liberal arts, and all fields of human endeavor are advanced. (where did you see so much research being done in "ALL" fields in India?)

Today, America has not only increased its own quality of life, but the quality of life and productivity of the whole world. (why? most of today's technology, aircrafts, new medicines, physics, math, is due to the United States of, more than 25% of all new knowledge in "all" fields is produced in one country - the US)

I have already switched to the "American spending mode" since past some months. ;)

But I am afraid when suddenly imagining how thousands and thousands of Indians pouring into the US with their bad Indian spending habits will affect the US economy...

COME ON.....SPEND!!!!!!!!!!

(even when you go to India - spend so that the Indian economy rises)

(Some people might argue that we cannot spend since we dont have that much money -- but this is not so. If one person decides to spend, then this will be difficult, but if all people have the spending tendency, then automatically, the economy rises and products will also sell more. This will result in a higher income per capita and thus you will have money to spend)

UPDATE (July 16, 2003): Note: I no longer subscribe to this view. What prompted me to write this note about spending was the curiousness to understand why US is so developed with respect to India, and now I understand that the answer I had got was severely lacking economics know-how. I still dont know enought about Economics to know the answer, but know enough to understand that the spending explanation is incorrect.

November 23, 2002

Internet Life

Let me give myself as an example here.

The time I devote to social activities has been decreasing. Why?

Because the transfer of information (views, lifestyles, facts, anecdotes, news) that usually take places in our social interactions with people, can also be done on the Internet.... I am devoting more and more of my time to the internet where I do exactly this type of transfer of information.

I do it through web surfing, email, chatting, and mailing lists and newsgroups. In websurfing, I do surfing for news, searching for information via google, and looking at people's web pages where I can come to know their life styles and thoughts. Some people have online diaries also called blogs from which I can learn a lot about their lifestyles, anecdotes, opinions, activities etc. And yes slashdot.

From my time on the Internet, I have come to know about more things, issues and gained more general knowledge than ever before.

Once I just found on one person's site that he loves the game of "Set" (a card game) very much. Then I found the same thing on some another person's site. Aroused my curiosity, and google found me the homepage of the Set Game Company. I saw that it has won some awards, and immediately purchased it from that site itself. The game arrived at my house 2-3 days later, and after playing a couple of times, me and my friends have got fond of it. (Its a good game, purchase it) So I got to know of a game that I would probably have never known otherwise.....

So, what do we see here? As the impact of the internet grows more and more, reaching more and more people, and people start spending a larger proportion of their time on the internet, will the social activities die down ???? People will only use the internet to satisfy all their social needs. And with webcams and videoconferencing becoming common-place, it would reinforce this.

Well there are disadvantages to "internet sociality", there's that lack of personal touch.

And importantly this can not replace many social *activities* - like going out to a restaurant, or to play, or for hiking, or for outing, for a party etc.

But, it can very surely reduce them.

I am afraid that it may make routine chatting (face to face personally - barring at social "activities") almost entirely extinct.

Now when I am chatting with somebody, I realize that what I am getting from him is his journal - which can be online too. The need for interaction is still there, but email and online chatting can curb that out.

That day is not far when you see your friend's latest online journal entry to be:
" Just woke up today, and came online to check out the journals of friends to see what's up with them.
....oh! what a coincidence! Everybody has this same thing as the latest journal entry!"


October 31, 2002

Development from world education perspective


1. Due to 16, 18, 19, 3 and 7, the best universities in the world are in the US and England; with the best faculty. In other words, the US and England are very strong in academic proficiency. (england is very small as compared to the US; so i am feeling lazy to type in England everytime, will just type US - representing both)

2. PROPERTY: Academic proficiency is related to better educated individuals, and therefore better development for the country in general. More ideas come out of educated individuals, more innovative products and technologies are launched, the economy is boosted. More income per capita, better standard for living, and more money available for research.

3. Better academic proficiency in the US (from 1) led to better development and more research money (from 2). This now helps 1 further.

4. PROPERTY: Talent attracts talent.

5. After 1 and 3, due to 1 and 4 and 8, the best students from all countries, attracted by the talented faculty, come to the US to study, increase their knowledge and increase their skills. Hence the students in the departments here in the US are very talented.

6. After 5, many of the students here who are very skilled academically and want to remain in the academia, realize that their talent now cannot be utilized in their home country, remain here in the US. Some go back. Rest go in the industry here and back. Now there is one peculiarity: the probablity of the going back of bright students is roughly directly proportional to their country's academic proficiency. (it makes sense)

7. After 6, the talented students who choose to remain here add to the faculty here, this results in sustainence of very talented faculty, strong and best. Reinforces 1.

8. After 7, the students who were good and had gone back tell the students there that the universities in the US are very good. And the students there see the accomplishments of the people here in the US (which happen due to 1). The US Universities market themselves using their accomplishments and strong faculty. This is one of the cause of 5.

9. After 8, slowly the students who decide to go back accumulate in other countries. The rate of accumulation is proportional to the country's academic proficiency, due to 6.

10. After 9, the accumulation mentioned in 9 causes their own schools in their country to begin to have strong departments with talented, skilled faculty. This first makes their undergraduate department strong at selected schools. Then other schools. Then the graduate departments at selected schools. Then other schools. This rate of development in academic proficiency is proportional to their current academic proficiency as mentioned in 6.

11. After 10, due to 10 and 2, the other countries start to develop. The development is proportional to their current development - from 2 and 6. As their academic proficiency increases, the number of people coming to the US to study decreases. At a point all the other countries develop to the "Developed" stage, in order of their current development state. The whole world becomes developed and academic proficient!

12. After 11, due to 11, the world stabilizes, except for minor flows of students hither-thither. For most part, students study in their own country.

13. After 12, due to 12, due to high academic proficiency all over the world, research projects collaborations include intellect from all over the world. Big things, big ideas and big projects can now be made and designed, which are very difficult today. Like a mission to the stars, method to eternal life, world peace, artificial humans, teleportation, etc. The rate of development speeds very quickly. Inhabitation of other planets to counter increasing population and demand for resources.

14. FACT: The British people have some special ability in their genes, which may be probably adventure and/or shrewdness and/or a business mind.

15. In ancient times (a few hundred years ago), when the means to travel were developed, the Britishers, due to 14, conquered almost all of the world, and ruled over it. At one point of time, a known fact was - "The sun never sets on the British Empire". Because the British Empire was all around the world!

16. After 15, due to 15, their economic development grew by obtaining financial and labor benefits from the colonies they had conquered. Hence England became economically developed and rich.

17. FACT: US won 2 big world wars. It ran democracy and capitalism, the innovative concepts US itself pioneered, for 2 centuries. Had access to large amount of resources as compared to the population...the whole of United States. Had the same genes as the British.

18. Due to 17, by 1900-1950, the United States has good economic development and is rich.

19. PROPERTY: Economic development leads to good research money, and therefore stronger research in the university departments. People get time to do research and develop their skills and knowledge. Students get good opportunities early on in life, and develop their in-born talents, and therefore really become "talented" and "intelligent". They become good teachers too. Hence the faculty in university departments become strong. In other words, the country with economic development develops high academic proficiency.

1. Many other important factors which play in these scenarios - like maybe trade, commerce, politics, internet education, wars, etc. have been ignored above.
2. This has no use at all, it is a senseless waste of time. Dont read it.

by Gaurang Khetan (

October 21, 2002

Eugenics / Dysgenics

I will complete the rants in my last post sometime later.

For now, I will pen one other flash of thought I have had -

Why is ability to have children related to social ability?

Why you need to have a good personality to impress others so that you can marry others...and then have children?

This will motivate the growth of people with strong social skills...rather than those with strong overall skills and evolutionary abilities....

This is horrendously wrong.

If a scientist is brilliant, and lets say he made contributions that had impact on the whole of humanity....but he is not good socially, and people dont like his company...then he will probably not have any children....his genes will be lost....they will not survive to continue to be in the human pool...they will vanish....

On the other hand, if you are good socially, and have a good personality then it is almost certain that you will marry, and have children, in fact, many children (2 or more). [ "Many" is important, since if you have just 1 child, then you are reducing your type of genes from 2 - you and your wife - to 1, so having 2 children is a must - having more increases population - so 2 is preferable - leave 3 or more children to the nobel laureates ].

People in the scientist/techy/philosophers (usually high IQ) group are brilliant and have lower social skills, so, on average, they tend to have 1 child or often none. So their genes are reducing rapidly.

End Result: Avg IQ of people is lowering.

The Indians (not red-indians, but from country India), in the ancient times, realized this (Indian civilization is very old - they had enough time to find this out), and then did a very ingenious thing to avoid this to happen.

I dont know how they achieved it....but they did it.

Whats that ingenious thing? That thing is this:

They sow the word into society, they made it a custom of society, a tradition, that parents should decide the girl their child has to marry. And they must do compulsory do it for them, at the age of around 25-30. So even if you are not liked by a girl enough that you marry, the parents will get you married anyway. And then they made having children almost compulsory for a married couple, as a societal tradition.

Now this results into a society where everybody ends up getting married whether they have good social skills - and then have children. (Note: those who are not capable of living upto their adolescence die anyway, and hence the gene pool gets rid of such people.)

This does not increase the average IQ, but this atleast works to make it relatively constant.

I have a feeling that one other thing they did worked towards increasing it. That thing is they sowed the culture of "untouchability". People were identified who were very incapable in terms of abilities, and they were termed untouchables, and made all "normal" people stay away from them. They had realized that the sons of incapable people will also be incapable, and so they effectively outcaste them and their children - thus their whole family - from the soceity. They ended up having less children. So effectively the average IQ increased. (Note: This untouchability concept has been abandoned in India in the past century or so)

In the United States, a free society exists, and this "decreasing average IQ effect", called as dysgenics, is prominant here - as compared to India, where it is almost non-existent.

The US must do something about this.

If you are a scientist or consider yourself more evolved, then please have children. :-). It will help the civilization.

Do checkout this related article on eugenics/dysgenics.

Comments welcome. I will shortly make a yahoogroup on this topic on who want to discuss the topic. I will edit this post then to include the name of that group.


October 20, 2002


Well, mind frequently thinks about the best things that we experience in our lives.

Sometimes I feel that observing is one of the most interesting things to do... Observing people interactions, relationships, emotions, self-concepts, beauty of the complexity in society, evolution of technology, evolution of culture, evolution of science, evolution of knowledge, evolution of thought, evolution of life, philosophy behind life..........just Observing. Even in this passive state, one can obtain unbounded joy and satisfication - by just observing, trying to understand, and correctly or wrongly trying to form rules that govern these observations.

In fact, in a predominantly active life, I fear that one may fail to experience the joys that mere observation provides.

Both are a means of transfer of knowledge: actively communicating with people exchanges ideas, knowledge, cultural memes - we come to know, for example, whether we have a meeting today evening or there is an exam tomorrow; similarly, passivity may include activities such as observation of phenomenon, reading books, browsing the internet, thinking, meditating, writing something, etc, which are basically the gathering of new knowledge (learning) or finding new concepts to relate things (analysing/understanding) .

However there is one component, that is more prominant in one methodology, and close to absent in the other. Transfer of Emotions.

Active communication has good transfer of emotions, which is absent in the passive method. Not only does it transfer emotions, but also lets our brain unconsciouslessly form the "meanings" of such emotions when we observe them in other people.

After alll, many of our emotional meanings come out of distributed learning and behaviour.



October 15, 2002

East and West

I attended a Seminar on "Goal and Purpose of Life" by a Swamiji on campus yesterday. Though he was not that learned he reminded me of the logic present in the Hindi Spirituality Theory. I believe that Hindi Religion Minus the mythology leaves you with a good "spiritualistic" theory. This is a reasonably theory and might be claimed to be having some logical reasoning behind it.

This thing reminded me of philosophy. That there are so many mutually inconsistent but individually irrefutable philosophies that have been invented since centuries. The Hindu (Vedanta) Philosophy is one such philosophy out of thousands.

I felt I needed to learn more about philosophy.

I had a long debate after the Hindu talk with a fellow Indian at USC - Parikshit, he was on the side of Hindu religion, and I on the side the western society. Well, it was a fruitful debate. We both learned different perspectives. I now think that Hindi spiritualistic theory is a sound theory (of course, a theory among thousands - doesnt make it true - in fact, i dont think it is true, but just that it is sound enough to be a valid theory), but going deep into it requires reading a lot of books, which i dont have time for. I also brought from forgotten memories to conscious mind that Meditation is a thing worth looking at. More control over mind and thoughts? Useful for me!! In that debate with him, I told him that pre-marital, ex-marriage sex that is normal in the US (and a taboo in India - hence very low there), is not immoral, and does have some advantages, and no significant disadvantages. So its not bad. He, however, was of the view that it is bad, only marital sex is ok. I managed to convince him that ex-marital, pre-marital sex, if done in a controlled, "non-addictive" manner was not wrong.

Then today after the midterms, I attended a Philosophy Club meeting on Neitzsche, and was a pillar at the meeting with all the other attendees being philosophy majors, and I being the only know-nothing person (no background at all in philosophy!!). Most of what was said went above my head. However my going there was not a waste. I learnt the progress the American society has made -- they now have research going in philosophy at so many schools here -- now even when philosophy generates no money. In India, theres no thing as research - in any field. Conclusion: When you crave for money, the society benefits overall, even for things which dont have monetary benefits. (more in a later post) I also learnt from the meeting about the analytical thinking, individualism, independent thiniking, that is present in Americans, which is completely absent in Indians. These Americans had potential in them to do something in life, unlike many/most Indians. Living in such a materially prosperous society has lots of advantages!!!

There was one person in that meeting who particularly impressed me. He was simply brilliant. He was a philosophy grad student at our USC Philosophy Department, aged 29, and was able to speak at the level of the faculty member who was giving the talk. He was simply - in one word - brilliant. The way he talked, the way he argued, the way he analysed, the knowledge he had....I thought - oh America has so many great people - it will go very high, higher than it is today. The American system is great..

I came back to my lab, and tried to find his site -- now this person must have a great background - in everything. I found his site. I learnt a lot about him. His website was good. I liked it. That is, until I reached his life line page, where he mentions in detail the events that happenned in his life, chronologically.

Now this hit me badly and unexpectedly. Read that page. His life has been mostly only travel, sex, girls, datings, break-ups, drugs, etc etc. And no firm life. He has been mostly depressed because of his such a life - because of no parental love, no "one wife", too many break-ups, parent's divorce, etc etc.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe Parikshit was right. After all, the "customs/traditions" in India of being close and loving to parents, and having sex only after marriage and only to one wife, divorce in the very difficult circumstances, a sound family, marrying before age of 25-26, ...does have some advantages.

But then, why is the Western society so prosperous and Indian society in such a bad shape....maybe there's some other reason for that....maybe Indian values do make sense.....

I am still thinking...........................


May 5, 2002


I think I have learnt a lesson in this semester - one should do homeworks and assignments on time.

Strange, I had never learnt this lesson throughout my life before. Maybe, I had never the need for that - I just went in the flow, copying all the others, in other words, conforming . And that meant I never thought about whether one should do homeworkds, I just did them without thought...

Now that I had stopped following the crowd, I did not do the homeworks (i did many but not all)....and now at the end of the sem, I realize that I should have done those.

Point to remember for the next sem....

display("mt:67"); ?>


Get Blog posts as a feed - Atom, RSS2, or RSS1
Powered by
Movable Type 3.33