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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

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.

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 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


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.

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"

November 28, 2005


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.

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?

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?

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.

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 3, 2005

relationships and happiness

I think, to be happy, you need to be able to form mature, fulfilling relationships with people.

Relationships can come in various forms. You can be a brother/sister, a father/mother, a son/daughter, a friend/girlfriend/boyfriend, a wife/husband, a colleague, a compatriot, a classmate, a mentor, a mentoree, a disciple, a preacher, a young person with new ideas, an old person with time-tested wisdom, a coproponent of a cause, a cofollower of a cause, a coseeker of fun, a person who has just passed that way, a trouble-alleviator, a happiness inducer, an old time friend, a new friend on probation, a person of the opposite sex, a provider of support and help, a provider of memes, a person to grow together with, a person to form a community with, a fellow human following humanity, and many other ways.

With any person, you can form a relationship in some form.

And when you are able to form many fulfilling relationships with many people, you will probably be "happy".

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]

January 15, 2005

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?

December 10, 2004


When you get up in the morning and get ready, start your day, by turning on this om-jai-jagdish-hare aarti. Stand upright, close your eyes, join your hands, look down, concentrate on God. Dont think of much anything else. Try breaking your chain of thoughts. Forget about the world. God is higher than all this. Ofcourse it is difficult to do, but you will succeed a little bit. Concentrate on what is being said in the aarti, word by word. And concentrate on God.

You will experience bliss.

Then when you open your eyes, the world will look different.

The world is not about us, it is about God.


This chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Rama is wonderful too.

May 31, 2004

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.


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?


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)


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.


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