Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Tryst with Auditing

My tryst with auditing
The best experiences I carry with me are not the ones of direct connection with the job I did, but the many instances of confrontation, I happened to land with. Though none of these had anything to do with my primary job of maintaining  aircraft, these had everything to do with other things that could have had a contributory effect.
One of the earliest instances where we had to exhibit qualities of leadership or management is when we had to act as 'divisional officers', where we need to provide all kinds of assistance to all those, who are assigned to each of us. One such occasion occurred when one of my subordinates injured himself. He at night. and in half asleep, (perhaps had one too many) went to relieve himself and happened to slip and fall in to the toilet. He got hurt, head hitting the wash basin, mirror etc, leading to prolonged hospitalization. In time, I had to raise an injury report for 'regularizing' this injury, a questionnaire. "Was the person in the performance of a duty, the non performance of which would have attracted penal action - Yes/No", and a few more of such questions. I answered "Yes" to the first one, and other questions also in such a way that this will get considered as an 'authorized' injury, permitting the individual to be treated at government expense.
Years later, when I was working in a different unit, I get a letter forwarded from the old unit with a remark "Please tell me how to answer the auditor's query, since you are the person who was here at that time". The query was about the above mentioned injury report, which read, "Please provide explanatory remarks in support of your answer 'Yes'". I think my reply was, "Had the individual not gone to the toilet to perform whatever was one's call at that time, it would have attracted disciplinary action".
The reply worked. And I liked the process involved in formulating a neutral reply to a rather vexing issue, and volunteered to 'draft' replies for such audit objections.
My interest in producing literary gems, in a working environment that is at home with relatively routine affairs, got kindled, when I was made the president of a BOI. For, every board of inquiry needs to have, in addition to the record of investigations done and, the conclusions and decisions produced as a result, comprehensive recommendations to obviate the possibility of the incident(s) occurring again.
I shall begin with my first experience, which happened during my initial training period. The incident in question was not very abnormal, I think. Our station had a piggery and poultry farm, which in that particular year incurred a loss. The amount of loss being more than what could have been 'regularized' locally, an inquiry was called for. The board, which was presided by VW Karve, an officer with a great sense of humor and brimming with self confidence, came to the conclusion that the loss primarily was caused by the disappearance of a large number of pigs during the recent bout of inclement weather, even though those responsible for running the farm did take necessary precautions.
Thereafter, interesting opportunities kept coming to me while carrying out various duties of aircraft maintenance. Sometimes it would be of loss of expensive machinery owing to transit damage, where, in the absence of a clear proof of failure of any particular agency, one needs to justify the occurrence of a loss. More often, it would a matter of under-utilization and rusting of very costly equipments due to things like bureaucratic delay, governmental shake-up, or shift in priority. Where, certain essential parts or facilities needed for incorporating such technology might not have been ready in time. Here, one has to paint it as a missing link, without making a specific blame. Since, none of the connected agencies would have been showing an identifiable instance of failure.
The comprehensive recommendations that forms the part of each report, I learned, is a place where effective, intelligent, and imaginative, remedies can be suggested for curing the prevalent ills. Each BOI being devoted to a specific instance of say, organizational failure, and members of each such board having expertise in different areas of failure, such recommendations can be seen as an effective cure for such ills.
I found this a fertile ground to let loose one's imagination and exercise one's linguistic talents, historical and philosophical acumen, and to produce documents to keep the decision-makers engrossed for days.
I also learned over time, any reply with a semblance of logic would have worked. Those making queries, do so, primarily, to justify and keep their significance intact and the organization relevant.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Book Review: Rules for Radicals

 What I have to say in this book is not about the arrogance of unsolicited advice. It is about the experience and counsel that so many young people naturally show an inclination for.  "The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away"
"We", says author, "are talking about revolution..there are no rules for revolution any more than there are rules for love or rules for happiness, but there are rules for radicals who want to change their world; there are certain central concepts of action"
Author then echoes Tocqueville's words. "Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day, and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated; whereas that obedience, which is exacted on a few important but rare occasions, only exhibits servitude at certain intervals, and throws the burden of it upon a small number of men. It is vain to summon a people, which has been rendered so dependent on the central power, to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however, important it may be, will not prevent them from gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity."
I think he is right. One can see citizens of many countries sinking further into apathy, anonymity, and depersonalization, to result in a populace deeply dependent on public authority. And there is a visible demand for strong, ruthless leaders, as well as a common sight of moderates getting ridiculed often.
The book then goes ahead with advising, how to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace, cooperation, equal and full opportunities for education, full and useful employment, health, and the creation of those circumstances in which man can have the chance to live by values that give meaning to life.
In quantum mechanics, causality was largely replaced by probability: an electron or atom did not have to do anything specific in response to a particular force; there was just a set of probabilities that it would react in this or that way. This is fundamental in the observations and propositions which constitute the reigning theory of matter. One can take a similar view of human society. At no time in any discussion or analysis of mass movements, tactics, or any other phase of the problem, can it be said that if this is done then that will result. The most we can hope to achieve is an understanding of the probabilities consequent to certain actions.
Quoting the of United States, where in World War II fervently it allied with Russia against Germany, Japan, and Italy, and shortly after victory fervently allied with its former enemies—Germany, Japan, and Italy—against its former ally, the U.S.S.R, the book observes the primary force in societal transactions as nothing but self-interest.
I liked this book, especially the parallels the author drew on the quantum behaviour of material and men.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Book Review: Emotions and Moods

This is a guidebook about emotions. Emotions and Moods enables us to express frustration, fear, anger, love, hate, joy, grief, and similar feelings. The prevailing thought was that such emotions were the antithesis of rationality. Even though researchers and managers knew that emotions were an inseparable part of everyday life, they tried to create organizations that were emotion-free.n was the belief that emotions of any kind are disruptive. 
Mood in fact acts as a platform for emotions, the same emotion shall be of varying intensity depending on one's mood. Different sets of emotions are examined next. Like anger, envy, fear, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, etc., exploring into its philosophical roots identified by great men like Descartes, Hume, and Hobbes. After that is examined the biological influence on emotions, followed by cultural leanings and other environmental factors that can play a vital part in this. 
Yes, emotions and moods are an important part of our lives, especially our work lives. But how do our emotions and moods influence our job
performance and satisfaction? This is what comes next, where, a model called affective events theory (AET) is presented. One of the premier, oft repeated management term of these days, Emotional Intelligence, is thereafter discussed. And how, managers who understand the role of emotions and moods can make significant contribution in maintaining optimum efficiency at workplace of all coworkers. A couple of real life cases of emotional involvement, or workplace romance is then analyzed, bringing the short and sweet book to a close.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Book Review: Philosophy of Physics

There are some physics controversies that no amount of physics research can answer. 
Why is doing string theory scientific despite its lack of empirical predictions? 
How should we interpret quantum mechanics? 
What is the nature of time and space? 
What constitutes fundamental physics?
'Philosophy of Physics' by Robert P Crease  attempts to answer such questions, by using four examples from physics to exhibit the aims and value of these philosophical approaches.
The beginning of the book specifies the first duty of a philosopher, as one to look and describe rather than judge and prescribe. When this happens, it can help resolve the philosophical challenges.
Next chapter talks about the philosophical traditions that have paid particular attention to physics. Analytic philosophers, the founding figures of whose tradition included logicians, physicists and mathematicians such as Rudolf Carnap, Hans Reichenbach and Bertrand Russell, who tend to be primarily interested in the logic of science and the meaning of its basic concepts, is one. Pragmatic philosophers, who thinks humans do not spring into being as scientists, but apprentice to become, tend to be interested in how scientists approach and solve puzzles, and what the consequences are, is another. Continental or hermeneutic philosophers, who tend to be interested in the workshop activity as one mode in which human beings can exist among others, and scientific knowledge as one way among others in which human beings are bound up with the world, forms the third group. 
The book thereafter examines four controversies, namely fundamental physics, the nature of space and time, quantum mechanics, and method. Does thermodynamics reduce to statistical mechanics? Is condensed-matter physics fundamental, or ultimately just an amalgam of physics and chemistry? Questions like these are posed to throw light on fundamental physics, where, philosophers from each of the above mentioned groups are shown to approach the issue differently.
"These three groups of philosophers", the book sys, "look at different dimensions of scientific practice with different aims and audiences in mind, tend to include people with expertise in fields that lie beyond physics. Their research, in other words, may well help physicists themselves to think about their work in ways they ordinarily do not, and to ward off misconceptions about the nature of scientific activity."
I liked the book. As far as philosophical insights coming to the help of scientific research, though a couple of examples is given, I think the value of the book could have crossed all limits, if only a good collection of such cases found a place in it.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Book Review: Blue Planet Project

Blue Planet Project (Anonymous) is the personal notes and scientific dairy of a scientist who was contracted by the government over several years to visit all crash sites, interrogate captured Alien Life Forms and analyze all data gathered from that endeavor. The book begins with a discussion on the organizational structure of US agencies for Alien Life research and a broad commentary on the activities undertaken in the past, many of it, shocking, to say the least. For example, "It was the MJ-12 group who ordered the assassination of President Kennedy when he informed MJ-12 that he was going to tell the public all the facts of the Alien presence", and, another task undertaken is the "Creation of an artificial disease known as ‘AID’S". 
The book then lists various documents featuring historical accounts of the United States Government’s Investigation of Aerial Phenomena, Recovered Alien Aircraft, and contacts with Extra-Terrestrial Life Forms. It describes the constitution of aliens and related affairs. For example, "The Aliens believe in a Universal Cosmic God. The Aliens claim that MEN are Hybrids who were created by them. They claim all religion was created by them to hasten the formation of a Civilized Culture and to control the Human Race. They claim that JESUS was a product of their efforts. The Aliens have furnished proof of their claims and have a 'device' that allows them to show audibly and visually any part of History that they or we wish to see."
A report on the progress US has been making on Alien research is there in this book. That "alien crafts from other worlds have crashed on Earth, alien crafts are from both Ultra-Dimensional sources and sources within this Dimension, the U.S. Government has had live Alien hostages at some point in time, the U.S. Government has conducted autopsies on Alien cadavers, the United States Space program of today is a cover operation that exists for public relations purposes, etc." Such operations as these are then described in greater detail, with graphic analysis of the racial structure, functional similarity with the life forms of earth, and other results yielded.
Next described is information relating to alien implants, which is part of these creatures and is a techno-organic enhanced processor powered by a micro-positron flow that controls or mimics the functions of the human nervous system with micro-relay’s duplicating the operations of brain engram patterns. How aliens abduct humans for various reasons, insert  different types of implants that alter one's sense of perception, and other attributes to suit their needs, and many other exciting features of Alien Technology. How the superior technology of the Aliens can make us unaware of their technology itself, or can make it appear as harmless or insignificant.
I do not know how authentic is the data in this book. Really terrifying is the future, if things are to follow as described here. Aliens then need to be seen as very intelligent and developed creatures who use humans as guinea pigs. They visit this planet often, as part of certain studies. Much of the unexplainable instances we encounter are nothing but the intended and unintended effects from those evolutions.

Monday, December 18, 2017


The book tells in the beginning, its significance has increased continually. "..We are beginning to understand the meaning of the crisis. We know that it does not consist simply in the cyclic recurrence of economic disorders. That neither prosperity nor war will solve the problems of modern society." And I wanted to learn, what, then will?
It begins with a good observation, I myself has expressed elsewhere. That the high development of the sciences of inanimate matter, when contrasted with our ignorance of life, is something that deserves serious consideration. "Mechanics, chemistry, and physics have progressed much more rapidly than physiology, psychology, and sociology. Thus, modern society has been built at random, according to the chance of scientific discoveries and to the fancy of ideologies." After examining the giant leaps, man has taken, the book observes that the environment, which science and technology have succeeded in developing for man, does not suit him, because it has been constructed at random, without regard for his true self.
Next chapter examines our ignorance of ourselves. That it is of a peculiar nature, which arise reasons other than the difficulty in procuring the necessary information, from its inaccuracy, or from its scarcity. The book then goes on to prescribe a series of suggestions to ensure better living prospects for the human race, with the application of scientific progress, eugenics and other more controversial topics.
After reading the initial chapters, I was hoping for some really revolutionary suggestions, some of the observations presented being clearly noteworthy. 
But I was disappointed. The most common and intelligent escape route, dwelling on abstract reflections to the hilt, can be seen to be in action here. The following, is a good example. "We have infringed natural laws. We have thus committed the supreme sin, the sin that is always punished. The dogmas of scientific religion and industrial morals have fallen under the onslaught of biological reality. Life always gives an identical answer when asked to trespass on forbidden ground. It weakens. And civilizations collapse." I am surprised that this is from an author, who is a Nobel Prize winner.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Book Review: Where You May Get it Wrong When Writing English

'Where You May Get it Wrong When Writing English: A Practical Guide for Students, Teachers and Professionals
' by Leon Barkho is the condensed form of many years of experience with a wide variety of errors, presented in an organized manner. As the author puts it, this book is grammar in action. Relying more on grammar usage than grammar theory, it examines a whole lot of instances where English learners make mistakes. Many exercises are included in in this book, making it easy to master the skills, especially of writing in English. Tips on how to identify erroneous instances and pitfalls and ways to correct them make up the bulk of the book.
For example, the book mentions of the need to present ideas in a coherent manner. "It is very important that the ideas you express in any kind of writing are logically linked. Logical sequence is at the center of written communication in various fields of knowledge. Journalists, web writers and academics are required to exhibit a high degree of coherence in the articles, reports, dissertations and books they produce."
A good companion for making good written stuff in English.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


'151 AMAZING MONEY SECRETS - What the Rich Know About Money and Their Secrets to Success & Prosperity!' by NJ BRIDGEWATER. The purpose of this book is to share 151 quotations from great thinkers of the past, which contain the essential keys to building wealth and prosperity in the modern world. I haven’t included quotations from all of the top businessmen of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Much wisdom from both classical and more recent sources, and quotations about Bitcoin, as well as a few about gold. Chapter 1 is about the mindset, the idea of abundance, and the sense of opportunity that one needs. Next chapter is filled with quotations, introducing the nature of different investments like gold, bitcoin, etc. Which is followed by one containing the definitions of the important variables of making money, like, wealth, savings, talents, etc. A chapter about building one's business, which present quotes about finding one's niche, advertising, marketing, and other aspects is followed by one about the need to focus. And a few more ones about the ultimate success of a gentleman's quest brings the book to a close.
I found this book a light, enjoyable read. Quite motivating, many of the words are, and, given that they are from the best of the brains, these force one to pay attention. A good collection of meaningful 'quips' indeed.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Random smiles

Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good, is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.

Show me a sane man and I will cure him

Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying

My mum told me I should never talk to strangers. I said, It's alright mum, I don't know any

I learn from the mistakes of others who have taken my Advice.

People shouldn't worry about the world ending. It's already tomorrow somewhere in the world!

Why do women like men who are smart, goal orientated and have a sense of humor?
Because opposites attract.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Why there are more theists than atheists?

Why there are more theists than atheists?
For an answer, let us visit the history of theism.
What is theism? What led us to theism? 
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary says that theism is “belief in a deity or deities, as opposed to atheism.” There are also other definitions that focus on more specific matters. Theism as a belief not in deities but in God that is different from deities. This is a much less universal phenomenon than supernaturalism/superstition. It has a historical particularity; in the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, we can more or less see where Theism begins. It begins with the writing of the first chapter of Genesis, where the author introduces us to Yahweh, who is not just another heavenly being like the sun or the moon, but the sun and moon’s creator.
“First we should distinguish theism from mere belief in the supernatural. The latter, illustrated by ghost-stories, tales of second sight, rituals and sacrifices to prevent the failure of a harvest or a navy, the consulting of the sacred geese, and the throwing of the salt always over one’s left shoulder, is a human universal, and was known even to our Pleistocene ancestors. A more hostile name for this is superstition.” I don’t think this can be right. These observances are now termed superstition, based on certain arguments which are of significance only now. This is as much a matter of faith as the belief in god presently is. Theism is also is nothing but the belief in the super-natural, except that the nature of the supernatural may mark a change.
This should have been clear to anybody with average intelligence or more.
The difference between Theism as belief in God and theism as belief in deities is that the latter can easily be just another variety of supernaturalism. Especially where the deities are small and local enough, there seems little difference in principle between believing in such deities and believing in fairies or ghosts: think of nature-gods like Iris the rainbow-goddess, or Freya/Persephone of the harvest, or Thor the thunder-god. The classical pagan gods were very frequently of this sort, as were the deities of pagan Norway and Britain and Mexico. In another common pattern, pagan deities arose by apotheosis – by the route from being a human hero to occupying yet another alcove in the cluttered and haphazard pantheon of (say) the Rome of late antiquity. This was a route, indeed, that mortal Roman emperors regularly trod. Even Greek generals sometimes took it too.
Further evolution in this manner could have resulted in the present nature god, the creator of both heaven and earth, a close associate of which being Christianity. Not only that the biblical god became huge, despite his anthropomorphism (humankind was created in his image), it was possible for him to become a metaphysical god. Identifying closely the human, passionate and protective character, the gigantic scale of the Judaic god also allowed him to take on the role of the founder and creator of the cosmic order. 
Besides this ‘gigantism’, it was the “human, passionate, and protective character” of the god that continued to work in theism’s favor, notwithstanding the changes felt everywhere.  This brought in a new meaning to all gods, an absolute and eternal entity that was not a mere principle but a great living being, in short making it very easy to be a theist.

For an answer, let us visit the history of theism.
What is theism? What led us to theism? 
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary says that theism is “belief in a deity or deities, as opposed to atheism.” There are also other definitions that focus on more specific matters. Theism as a belief not in deities but in God that is different from deities. This is a much less universal phenomenon than supernaturalism/superstition. It has a historical particularity; in the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, we can more or less see where Theism begins. It begins with the writing of the first chapter of Genesis, where the author introduces us to Yahweh, who is not just another heavenly being like the sun or the moon, but the sun and moon’s creator.
“First we should distinguish theism from mere belief in the supernatural. The latter, illustrated by ghost-stories, tales of second sight, rituals and sacrifices to prevent the failure of a harvest or a navy, the consulting of the sacred geese, and the throwing of the salt always over one’s left shoulder, is a human universal, and was known even to our Pleistocene ancestors. A more hostile name for this is superstition.” I don’t think this can be right. These observances are now termed superstition, based on certain arguments which are of significance only now. This is as much a matter of faith as the belief in god presently is. Theism is also is nothing but the belief in the super-natural, except that the nature of the supernatural may mark a change.
This should have been clear to anybody with average intelligence.
The difference between Theism as belief in God and theism as belief in deities is that the latter can easily be just another variety of supernaturalism. Especially where the deities are small and local enough, there seems little difference in principle between believing in such deities and believing in fairies or ghosts: think of nature-gods like Iris the rainbow-goddess, or Freya/Persephone of the harvest, or Thor the thunder-god. The classical pagan gods were very frequently of this sort, as were the deities of pagan Norway and Britain and Mexico. In another common pattern, pagan deities arose by apotheosis – by the route from being a human hero to occupying yet another alcove in the cluttered and haphazard pantheon of (say) the Rome of late antiquity. This was a route, indeed, that mortal Roman emperors regularly trod. Even Greek generals sometimes took it too.
Further evolution in this manner could have resulted in the present nature god, the creator of both heaven and earth, a close associate of which being Christianity. Not only that the biblical god became huge, despite his anthropomorphism (humankind was created in his image), it was possible for him to become a metaphysical god. Identifying closely the human, passionate and protective character, the gigantic scale of the Judaic god also allowed him to take on the role of the founder and creator of the cosmic order. 
Besides this ‘gigantism’, it was the “human, passionate, and protective character” of the god that continued to work in theism’s favor, notwithstanding the changes felt everywhere.  This brought in a new meaning to all gods, an absolute and eternal entity that was not a mere principle but a great living being, in short making it very easy to be a theist.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Last Days of Democracy?

With the number of liberal democracies in the world now stagnating; with many third wave democracies deteriorating in their actual democratic performance; with human rights abuses persistent and even increasing, it is time to introspect. 
Why did democracy fail?
Did democracy fail? Well, the evidence in the affirmative appears to be mounting. If we look beyond the form of democracy—a form that is increasingly expected by world culture and organizations—we see erosion and stagnation offsetting liberalization and consolidation. Liberal democracy has stopped expanding in the world, and so has political freedom more generally. If we take the liberal content of democracy seriously, it seems that the third wave of democratic expansion has come to a halt and probably to an end. 
We may or may not see in the coming years the emergence of a few new electoral democracies, but a further sizable increase seems unlikely, given that democratization has already occurred in the countries where conditions are most favorable. In the coming years movement to electoral democracy also seems likely to be offset by movement away from it, as some fledgling electoral democracies in Africa and elsewhere are either blatantly overthrown (as in Gambia and Niger), squelched just before birth (as in Nigeria), or strangled (more or less slowly) by deterioration in the fairness of contest and the toleration of opposition (as in Peru, Cambodia, and some of the former Communist states). Even in established democracies like USA, India, or UK, undemocratic deviations are being tolerated widely. In these circumstances more and more countries may seek to satisfy ritually the expectation of ‘democracy’ through its most hollow form, some type of pseudo-democracy.

When expansion in the number of democracies and the overall level of democratic-ness in the world halts for a sustained period (say, five to ten years), it seems reasonable to conclude that a democratic wave has come to an end. At least, this marks the end of a ‘short wave’ of democratization. 
I think we all need to look at the decisions, or conclusions we drew in the past. On all matters that can be examined objectively, namely, physical science, medicine, etc., each one of the principles, theorems, or explanations, we used to hold is high esteem is turning out to be incorrect. Why can't we think that on all other matters we are not able to observe such ambiguities only because we are not able to make an objective assessment? Had we been able to, we would have found, just like the erroneous notions of physical entities, which we are now correcting often, we are holding on to wrong ideas in other areas like governance, which we now need to set right.
When governments fail, or when unsuitable leaders take over control of countries, rather than pointing to certain specific causes like external interference, or a temple, we need to understand that as another sign of the imminent failure of democracy.
It is known, the presence of many nonmagnetic atoms (even the strongest magnet won't have 100% atoms, magnetic), cannot prevent the magnet from acting as one.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book Review: Life

'Life' by Laurentiu Mihaescu briefly chronicles the journey of Matter, Evolution, Consciousness, and Intelligence.
"It was a very long journey", the book says, "It all started with the granular fluid and its special mechanics, with those hydrogen atoms that filled the space about 14 billion years ago" and tries to answer some of the pertinent questions, one may have.
Are we able to offer coherent answers to some specific questions related to our existence, such as:
Where do we come from?
Who are we, the humans, in fact?
Are we a unique kind of life form?
What is the purpose of our existence?
The author's perspective is very clear on these matters and involves just the fields of reason and science.

It formulates our exact "address" in the Universe as: Planet Earth, Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Group, Virgo Cluster, Laniakea Super-cluster, and goes ahead with the definition of life. Here it asks a question that I myself found relevant. "Can we, the humans, analyze and understand our own life?"
Further chapters examine Evolution and adaptation, followed by Principles and rights, where the follies committed by the human race since time immemorial are recalled. "We have paid a great price because of the animal that existed within us, because of our initial ignorance. The evil things done over thousands of years by the religions and their fairy tales, the crimes made by the followers in the name of their "faith", all of these will be forgiven and forgotten, and the humanity will take the path of normal, pure scientific knowledge, which only involve the human reason." The book also propose a desired path for human race to progress further. Like the following three principles.
"1. The surrounding environment is purely material, at any scale it would be regarded. All structures, alive or not, and all their interactions bear the unique feature of materiality.
2. Human knowledge is simply possible, to any extent. We have no other objective limitations, beside the well-known ones: the space and time.
3. The good can be identified with the prosperity of each human, with the perpetuation of our species in general, with its growth and peaceful development up to the cosmic scale."
The book hopes that our race could travel even farther, on the way to the starlight, leaving behind all their inner contradictions and becoming a normal, real cosmic civilization.
I liked the book, it asked certain questions that is pestering me often, and is resulting in many of my books. Unlike all those who dwell on these topics, the author has successfully avoided abstract discussions.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Book Review: They’re Coming For Your Internet

'They’re Coming For Your Internet' by Nate Levesque discusses the issue of net neutrality, a hot topic these days. In six heads, namely, Beginnings, The ISP Problem, Profit and Control, Second-Class Data, Traffic Control, and If the Internet Falls, the relevant issues are touched upon. That this isn't a problem with the Internet as a whole, while the backbone of the Internet is fairly competitive, the relatively few companies control the last-mile (the connection from you to a backbone provider) networks. 
Tracing the origins of high speed communication networks to Samuel Morse and telegraph, the book tells us how, in the initial days itself, communication made its presence felt -  by swinging the presidential the election due to careful control of what news about the candidates spread. Next, the book talks about the Internet landscape. How acquisitions have folded many service providers into a few large regional and even national providers, leading to the network becoming centralized again. Also, of the threat faced by established companies from disruptive innovations, which the upstart, smarter companies will adopt quickly, leading  the big players to look for fresh ways to secure their position. That all these put net neutrality in jeopardy, one can easily see.
What will happen if net neutrality is repealed, the book asks. The answer is also ready. The 'on-line' is in for a change. ISPs, who are already violating neutrality by selling low caps, zero-rating, and throttling as solutions to imagined network congestion shall get emboldened. They may also push for legislation to prevent cities from building their own Internet providers—called municipal networks—which usually offer better, faster, and cheaper service. Many more imaginative throttles to independence of net communication are then discussed.
I liked this book. It opened my eyes to many things I had no inkling of. The book issues a real warning. Our ability to be informed, to express ourselves, and to run a healthy democracy hang in the balance. It’s hard to imagine a company interfering with an election as Western Union once did in the case of the above mentioned presidential election. Even with the necessary safeguards, there are many instances where the suspicion is on media manipulation. It may become a real threat, the possibility of ISPs take control of what’s available on-line is too dangerous to be ignored.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Random Quotes..

DEEP- ROOTED customs, though wrong, are not easily altered, but, it is the duty Of all to be in form for that which they certainly know is right - JOHN WOOLMAN.
HE often acts unjustly who does not do a certain thing; not only he who does a certain thing - MARCUS ANTONINUS.
EVERY duty we commit obscures some truth we should have known - JOHN RUSKIN

Sunday school class. The topic for the day: Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Christ.
“What did Jesus do on this day?” There was no response, so here ia a hint: “It starts with the letter R.”
One boy blurted, “Recycle!”

If nobody likes your selfie, what is the value of the self?

Which is it, is man one of God’s blunders or is God one of man’s?

“Any man who is not a socialist at age twenty has no heart. Any man who is still a socialist at age forty has no head.” 
"On the sixth day God created man. On the seventh day, man returned the favor.

God creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. 

Answer wrote by one little  Negro  schoolgirl  wrote  when  asked  by  the  teacher  to  write an  essay  on the  punishment, Hitler should be subjected to:  “Dress  him  up  in  a  black skin  and  make  him  live  in  the  United  States.” 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Review: Political Economic Realities of Today’s Capitalism

Political Economic Realities of Today’s Capitalism, by NORALV VEGGELAND, consists of ten articles, all of which have been published earlier separately in different journals, but never as a contribution to a coherent approach making political economic realities transparent and understandable as path dependent stories. The book analyzes todays' capitalistic world based on research conducted across European markets and European politics. 
It starts with a study of Neo-Liberalism, which in fact is a flow of management decisions and political actions deeply influenced by a deregulated free market concept. While examining the roots of which in leaders like Ronald Reagen and Margaret Thacher, the compulsions of present day international politics and the resulting threat to the traditional welfare state model is discussed here.
What follows is a commentary on 'The Political and Economic Realities of Present Day Capitalism'. Here, deviations from the Keynesian model, and the changes it brings to the administrative strategies, are analyzed. Next paper sums up how, 'Sustained and Focused Control Exercised by a Public Agency on Activities that are Valued by a Community', the essence of regulation, go along with the earlier discussed. Which in fact is a magnificent proposal - A Government that Works but Costs Less! It further illustrates the metamorphosis of such thoughts into New Public Management (NPM), how this idea has stormed the whole world, what essential safeguards are there, etc.
Birth of New Accounting Techniques became a necessity for the public sector to keep pace with NPM, the book explains. Next paper discusses the need for new modalities and accounting strategies for seamlessly accounting welfare budget and actual expenditure. Which is followed by a paper dealing with a very popular, rather enigmatic topic - social capital. Examining many welfare states, this paper analyses the impact of the new global view on the changing atmosphere in the welfare states - how, competition and intervention go hand in hand. The one following this, 'Capitalism in Crisis', caught my full attention. It seems, to get through current difficulties, governments are resorting to budget cuts and saving programs. This will reduce market demand, which can boost the crisis further. Here Keynesian principles need to be adopted in a  different framework of state intervention, which can be named neo-interventionism, the book says, while describing a couple of concrete proposals in this regard.
I liked this book. It answered many questions, I as a layman used to have on the economic front. Sadly, while incorporating principles of neo-economic realities, many states are leaving out the concepts of neo-interventionism, I think. Perhaps this idea needs more explanation.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

About Indians, by Herodotus

When we are eager to block films even for an unsuitable name, how can we accept the following extract from the history by Herodotus, where Indians can be seen in extremely poor light? Like practicing cannibalism?
"..whenever any of their tribe falls ill, whether it be a woman or a man, if a man then the men who are his nearest associates put him to death, saying that he is wasting away with the disease and his flesh is being spoilt for them:  and meanwhile he denies stoutly and says that he is not ill, but they do not agree with him; and after they have killed him they feast upon his flesh: but if it be a woman who falls ill, the women who are her greatest intimates do to her in the same manner as the men do in the other case. For in fact even if a man has come to old age they slay him and feast upon him; but very few of them come to be reckoned as old, for they kill every one who falls into sickness, before he reaches old age."
"..they neither kill any living thing nor do they sow any crops nor is it their custom to possess houses; but they feed on herbs, and they have a grain of the size of millet, in a sheath, which grows of itself from the ground; this they gather and boil with the sheath, and make it their food: and whenever any of them falls into sickness, he goes to the desert country and lies there, and none of them pay any attention either to one who is dead or to one who is sick."
"The sexual intercourse of all these Indians of whom I have spoken is open like that of cattle."

Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Review: The Exploration of the World

'The Exploration of the World' by Jules Verne describes all the explorations made in past ages, but also all the new discoveries which have of late years have greatly interested the scientific world. That is, from about 500 BC to about 1600 AD. Chapter I talks about the celebrated Travelers Before the Christian Era - Hanno, Herodotus, etc. It begins with the story of the first traveler of whom we have any account in history, Hanno, and Herodotus, who visited places like Egypt, Lybia, Ethiopia, Phoenicia, Arabia, Babylon, Persia, India, etc. describing each journey with its high points. 
For example, Herodotus mentions about the population of India, that it is larger than that of any other country, and he divided it into two classes, the first having settled habitations, the second leading a nomadic life. "Those who lived in the eastern part of the country killed their sick and aged people, and ate them." He also mentions about attempts to circumnavigate Africa, a most hazardous one of which was made in B.C. 146, by Eudoxus of Cyzicus, a geographer. After many such adventures of the ancient days, Chapter II describes the celebrated Travelers From the First to the Ninth Century - like Pausanias, Fa-hian, Soleyman, etc. There is mention of the travels of Fa–Hian and the society, he saw. Whose observations of India, which he calls "a happy kingdom, where the inhabitants are good and honest, needing neither laws nor magistrates, and indebted to none for their support; without markets or wine merchants, and living happily, with plenty of all that they required, where the temperature was neither hot nor cold," reminded me of my history class. Says he, "This happy kingdom was India" The book also have extensive descriptions of other explorers, like those who visited Palestine during the first centuries of Christianity. Chapter IV is dedicated to Marco Polo, who during 1253-1324 took many a journey.
Thereafter, the book describes great and not so great feats undertaken by many, John and Sebastian Cabot, father-son duo, taking the lead. Says Sebastian Cabot, in a narrative preserved by Ramusio, "a great desire and a kind of ardor in my heart to do myself also something famous, and knowing by examining the globe, that if I sailed by the west wind I should reach India more rapidly, I at once made my project known to His Majesty, King Henry VII, who was much satisfied with it".  1493, John and Sebastian Cabot prepared the expedition at their own expense, and set out at the beginning of the year 1494, with the idea of reaching Cathay, and finally the Indies. Discoveries of John and Sebastian Cabot, with the Anglo–Russian Company did many expeditions, a notable one here being about the Land of the Seven Cities, or Brazil.
From the period of the taking of Malacca by Albuquerque, as the book says, the Portuguese conceived that a new world extended to the south of Asia. Their ideas were soon shared by the Spaniards, and henceforward a series of voyages were made on the Pacific Ocean, to search for a southern continent, of which, the existence appeared geographically necessary to counterbalance the immense extent of the lands already known. 
To conclude, as the author puts it succinctly, "if all the travelers of whom we have just spoken are not strictly speaking discoverers, even if they did not explore countries unknown before, they all have, in various degrees and according to their ability or their studies, the merit of having rendered the countries which they visited better known."
This book is too interesting. There is mention of old cities of India and the world, and of known and unknown facets of the good old world. These and many other things in this book can add to what we already know about our history. I wonder why I have never come across a commentary of these early views, like that of the living style of people of the countries described. I also liked the reason, the author mentions, for many of the expeditions into far pacific; to investigate into how, the globe balances itself!
I have never come across these ideas in any of the later books. The world, it seems have taken a conscious decision to overlook these observations.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Book Review: Gandhi: Racist or Revolutionary?

Gandhi: Racist or Revolutionary? by Pieter Friedrich is a book attempting to portray Mahatma Gandhi as an individual undeserving of the epithets, he is showered with. To justify this, the author has plucked a few paragraphs from some of his writings as well as those of a few contemporaries. Given the scanty nature of the chosen letters and anecdotes from a huge collection, the author has put his point well. I mean he has shown only those references that are quite relevant to his view.
But the books available on Gandhi shows a very different man. I have had the opportunity to go through Gandhi's collected works, as well as a few biographies like the one penned by his foster son. True, I did find a few paragraphs, among many thousands dealing with a wide variety of issues, show such a narrow viewpoint. But those were quite far and few, and mostly pertaining to Mahatma's early years. Also, there are far too many places in later writings, where, what is visible is a totally different outlook, especially on issues like caste. True, he was a vehement opponent of reservation. His writing is very clear on this subject, he wanted the Hindu society to amalgamate 'Harijans'. (For this, he had also made some suggestions that was widely resented.)
The thoughts I expressed through my book, Caste - the Unexplored Territories, in fact has it's origin in Gandhi's views. Not only that nobody has understood the philosophical plane of manifestation of caste, but also all are moving away from learning the truth, by constantly pondering deeper into the 'class' aspect of caste, which effectively dismiss other aspects.
About the other indiscretions mentioned in this book, I think one can see those as some form of idiosyncrasy always associated with those who excel anywhere.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Irrational, again

November 14, 2017 issue of Scientific American tries to  explain the Global Rise of “Dominance” Leadership. Political pundits, commentators and average citizens continue to have trouble accounting for the rise of populist authoritarian leaders across the globe. A common question batted around continues to be how leaders such as Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Rodrigo Duterte, Nicol├ís Maduro, Recep Erdogan, and Narendra Modi could become the standard-bearers of democracy for countries like the US, Hungary, Philippines, Venenzuela and Turkey and India.  Much of the writing has concentrated on the west, and specifically the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president.  The suggestions tendered have ranged from a backlash against the first African American president, the rejection of insider fat cats, or a rebuff of Washington policies. But narratives like these fall short of explaining the rise of authoritarian leaders globally, the magazine says.
It tries to study this phenomenon empirically.  Attaining social rank within society, the author says, follows two paths: dominance and prestige. People all over the countries prefer the dominant ones to the ones of prestige, especially in hard times. But, when citizens experience economic uncertainty and its accompanying loss of personal control, when they look to dominant leaders, are they going to be benefited? I doubt. Since, as the study then finds, it is unclear why they would be motivated to reduce the threats that got them into office, once they occupy the seats of power.
I think my theory is being proven right again, the decision to go for this form of leadership need not be a well considered one at all. We are only heading fast, to 'the age of the irrational'.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How do we see the past? And the Present?

Why is it that we diligently examine the many sides of an issue, when it is about the present, and overlook the ambiguities equally well, when it is about the past?
Let me elaborate.
The golden days of our past’ is an expression,
We hear often,
Wherever we make a mention of time,
Beyond recollection
How do we see the past?
Imagine reading the morning newspaper, a couple of centuries from today. Let us say there is a column with the title “Three Hundred Years Ago”, which, on that day carried the news item of people being slaughtered for vague reasons, like ‘looking greedily at a cow’.
What do the readers do?
The first reaction from the readers would have been to label that era, say as cow age, and enumerate various characteristics of the times. Like the popularity of cow-milk, and its products. And, the imaginative use of all types of rejected matter originating from the cow. Also, the proliferation of institutions of rest, relaxation, and recuperation, dedicated exclusively to cows.  Perhaps the presence of paintings and sculptures depicting similar looking creatures would also act as proofs. This period of ancient history could become a favorite area for research, and many scholarly articles would have been adorning the current literature.
Without thinking any further, I can say that the above-mentioned description of the future is quite fitting and is highly probable. The opinion we make these days about the ancient days, especially those extolling the wonders of the glorious past, is not much different from this. To make this point a little more clear, think of the occasions, where we take efforts to pen down something. Primarily, all those occasions are those, where, something did happen out of the ordinary.
(I think it is also generally acknowledged that we are moved, more by unpleasant events than by the pleasant ones, since, all good events lose its shine soon. Thus, even though the future will find much evidence of buildings, roads, dams, and other signs of civilized life, those people are likely to be moved significantly by the traces of extraordinary sights, which are today in abundance. The theory of diminishing marginal utility comes to our aid in understanding and appreciating such phenomena better)
What am I getting at?
Our history weaved from the surviving bits of memorabilia of the past need not point to anything concrete. The inscriptions, documents or other remnants of the past we have succeeded to unearth, which we think of as authoritative sources, could be as misleading as the newspaper that was mentioned above. All that is recorded in various historical documents of the past would only be showing us, the local non-uniformities present in a society, or events and occurences that can be termed as exceptions. Regular, routine affaies of that era would hardly find mention, one may say.
To better understand the above-mentioned imbroglio, let us see what would have been found in the remnants of the present times if examined many years later. And what would have been the conclusion drawn thereafter?
What do we find?
I think the most prominent find would have been the news items, which are widely seen, remarked and repeated. Incidents like Lewinsky affair, demonetisation, certain cartoons, suicidal missions, or various anti-science movements could feature here. Plenty of scandals, ill-treatment of the female sex on a global scale, and other undesirable elements of society would have been proliferating, whatever the form of memorabilia one landed with. When contrasted with the signs of space travel, organ transplant, or sub-atomic journeys, quite a bit puzzled, would have been the reaction from every reader. With such confusion all around, a conclusion that our times was the ‘age of the irrational’, seems to be the most likely result.
Supporting such a find, interesting and incredulous news snippets would fall from the repository of old papers, every moment if they are to pursue the past. Also, the remnants of the statues and buildings of gigantic proportions and the tracks left by various god-men will add to it.
We know how misplaced, such an assessment is going to be. Well, something similar is happening now. Looking at the relics of our past, we are always reaching the conclusion that our ancestors were geniuses. Moreover, we are molding ourselves to see golden tinge in whatever they did. We also overlook the fact that, in that process, we do not mind bringing great harm to ourselves, at least as long as it is harming others more.
What all can this lead to, is anybody's guess.
Why can’t we see the ‘golden tinged’ pieces as nothing but the only things that stood out? Shouldn’t it lead us to the thought that the natural proclivity of those people was to things insignificant (rather, the things that we think as insignificant today), and a few streaks of brilliance took place to hold the future generations enamored?
(I have examined the reasons for this dichotomy, that is, our desire to be rational to the core, when it comes to real things, and our penchant for the irrational, everywhere else.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Review: Designing the Future

DESIGNING THE FUTURE BY JACQUE FRESCO is a book about making our future more user friendly. 
It begins with an overview of the need, and the many questions that may come up. According to many polls, a majority of scientists think that the human race is on a “collision course” with nature. We face common threats that transcend national boundaries: overpopulation, energy shortages, water scarcity, economic catastrophe, the spread of uncontrollable diseases, and the technological displacement of people by machines, to name a few.  What has been handed down to us does not seem to be working for the majority of people. With the advances in science and technology over the last two hundred years, you may be asking: “does it have to be this way?” 
Next chapter reiterates the inevitability of change. Over the centuries, we seem to have developed a consensus that when it comes to matters of personal safety, we will go with the science rather than the magic. Why is that? Probably because it works, and everybody can see that it does. Then why don’t we do that when it comes to planning our societies: our cities, transportation systems, agriculture, health care, and so on? Because, "our social structures evolved with no overall global planning", the book says.  The existing human myths that the Earth has abundant resources and our practice of rationing these resources through the use of money is an outdated method which causes much suffering. 
It is not money that we need but the intelligent management of the earth’s resources for the benefit of everyone. We could best work towards achieving this by using a resource based economy. The book introduces here a host of revolutionary concepts, most  of which can be thought of as technological dreams, many capable of bringing in unthinkable changes.
The book then talks of things that are happening today that could be signs of the collapse of present system. Like, the industrialized nations of the world installing more and more automated technology in order to compete with low prices in the global economy. As a result of this new technology, more and more people lose their jobs and can’t take care of themselves and their families. With automation, outsourcing and cyber-nation used to their fullest potential, machines replace not only industrial workers, but also most professionals. Consequently, fewer people are able to buy the products that automated factories turn out.  

Hence we need to think of a saner future. A future, where, unlike in a monetary system most people live near their work with a house, car, and lifestyle they can afford, people shall be living a fuller  life. And unlike us, who are free, only as much as our purchasing power, those people shall follow a socio-economic system that reflect individual and personal interests.
The book then talks about the benefits, future society shall have. Parents will have adequate time for their children, and will not be stressed by ever-rising medical bills, insurance payments, educational expenses, and cost of living expenses.  
I agree with the book. If we design our society such that people are free to choose their own interests, develop formerly hidden potential, and pursue dreams without government intervention or financial constraint, most profound benefits await us. Except one difficulty: the practical process involved in this is very clear, more as a dream than otherwise.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book Review: The Future of Ideas

 by Lawrence Lessig, speaks about the rebirth of technologies of control, as institutions “dis-intermediated” by the Internet learned how to alter the network to reestablish their control. "The forces that the original Internet threatened to transform are well on their way to transforming the Internet" Too much dis-intermediation, which can interfere with collective governance, and excess of mediation, which can regulate our lives, are equally unhealthy; some balance is needed. 
In part I, the book examines the environment of the Internet that we are observing now alter the balance between control and freedom on the Net. How today, those who prospered under the old regime are threatened by the Internet and how they react.Further chapters tell us how, the environment created by the mix of technical principles and legal rules operating upon the telecommunications system paralleled an end-to-end design at the network layer. This mix of design and control kept the telephone system open for innovation, and, it was that innovation, which enabled the Internet.
 The book goes on to discuss the nuts and bolts of 'free' functioning. How networks function as a commons. It is a resource that is made available generally to everyone connected to the network. Of course, everyone on the network must request permission to use the resource. But this permission can be content neutral. Liberating the other significant element of making such networks, spectrum, from the control of the market is then outlined. A discussion about the benefits from commons, decentralized innovation, and the way that can create the opportunity for individuals to draw upon resources without connections, permission, or access granted by others is then covered.
Next part starts with the examination of constraints, contrasting the physical world of things, and how we addressed the issue of creativity versus patents, with the world of cyberspace, which perhaps need a different treatment on this respect. With those changes, both government and commerce increased the ability to control behavior in cyberspace. Technologies were being deployed to better monitor and control behavior, with the consequence, for better or worse, of limiting the liberty of the space. As the architecture changed, the freedom of the space would change, and change it did. Something similar is occurring with respect to innovation too, the book says. Here, the architecture of the space is changing, interfering with the features that made innovation so rich. And the consequence again will be a decrease in this value that we thought defined the original Net.Next and last part is about the constant race between those who are used to controlling the society and all its parts, and those who are enamored by the beauty of free growth, they witness in cyberspace. 
The book ends with a rather sombre note. "We move through this moment of an architecture of innovation to, once again, embrace an architecture of control—without noticing, without resistance, without so much as a question. Those threatened by this technology of freedom have learned how to turn the technology off. The switch is now being thrown. We are doing nothing about it.I agree with the author. The hindrances the new technology is introducing in our life, in the form of sophisticated restrictive mechanisms, is far more than the productive use, we are putting such technology to. We are blindly accepting many practices of restrictive nature, merely on the strength of anecdotal evidence. Or rather our inability to convince those traditional, of the desirability of experimenting. Perhaps we ourselves are not that sure of what the future has in store. For example, two companies—AOL Time Warner and Microsoft—will come to define the next five years of the Internet’s life. Neither company has committed itself to a neutral and open platform.8 Hence, the next five years will be radically different from the past ten. Innovation in content and applications will be as these platform owners permit. Additions that benefit either company will be encouraged; additions that don’t, won’t. We will have re-created the network of old AT&T, but now on the platform of the Internet. Content and access will once again be controlled; the innovation commons will have been carved up and sold.
I have mixed feelings about this book. How well placed is the lamentations we see throughout the pages, that we are more comfortable with shackles than without, is a debatable issue. It is true; the technological innovations of the times shall get appropriated to the times. Those are interdependent.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Another proof for my theory that female is the stronger and healthier of the species. US NTP study into effects of cell phone use has found incidences of tumors in the brains and hearts of male rats (who lived longer!), but not in female rats.

Monday, November 13, 2017

About the Age of the Universe

I find it difficult to comprehend the age of the universe. To overcome this difficulty, I find it helpful to think of time as a varying dimension.
Time I think originates from our sense of passing intervals, which we are forced to notice, because these intervals reappear rather regularly. We derived the idea of time from the most noticeable one, earths revolution, and made it a universal dimension. Are we entirely right?
If we lock the idea of time to the period of revolution of earth, things seem to be becoming easier to follow. When the big bang took place, all its products would have started spinning at an incredible speed. 
Billions of such revolutions might have taken place, during which, cooling and solidification into all the matter in the universe took place. And the initial speed gradually reduced to the present, rather stable, level.
So also, with all other objects.
It is then true, the universe is billions of years old, but each year take lesser and lesser time, as we go back in time.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

All My Books

Caste : The Unexplored Territories
Why caste, a relic of the dark ages, did not evolve into a modernized version in the natural course of events, though other remnants of that era gave way to modernism. Why it didn't whither away, though there is nobody who does not earnestly say that they want to see its' demise. This book is trying to answer that by taking a unique approach the problem. Although what is vogue is to consider caste as something imposed from above, sufficient reasons are given pointing to the contrary and explaining why people would have been in more or less consonance with this system.    

The Unsure Male
The unsure male reveals how, female species across the board happen to civilize Male, and for what benefit. Also, what makes the male willingly go for it. How and why male learns to stretch, whatever may be of interest, to its limits, and immerse in it. How that led to formalities, niceties and all forms of extremism, including the few that are a grave threat to happy living, and the many that are helpful, enjoyable or life saving.
(When writing this book, I never thought the ideas presented here in a lighter vein will prove to be of great significance, more so to the present global happenings)

Autobiographical anecdotes written by a "common man with an uncommon family"

Hubs that Provoke
A non-fiction philosophical collection, intended to provoke, even infuriate the reader at times. Observations about libido and gender, discussions on religion, contrasting the material and the spiritual worlds, views about terrorism and extremism, reviews of GMO crops, chemical fertilizers and organic farming, many facets of global warming with discussion about how, differing philosophies may see the phenomena as something to adapt to rather than to attempt to curtail, are some of ‘touchy’ the topics covered here.
A SciFi novel, about an inventor who travels to the future. He goes to 3000 AD and meets with our successors. He happens to learn certain horrible stories of our coming years before reaching the point of no return.

email me for a free e-copy

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Celebrate Unhappy Times

What is the real cause of unhappiness? Unhappiness, I think is a natural part of life, a default property. Let us see how.
Pleasant and unpleasant experiences constitute our life. When experiences are pleasant, we moderate our speed, thereby letting the current ambience to continue longer. 
When those are unpleasant, we strive hard. And we can say, this results in an increase in the entropy of life.
In case of the former, as we continue happily with the current ambience, it starts to stagnate. This gives result to a persisting feeling of unease, which we identify as unhappiness, tiredness, or simply, boredom. Or, life loses entropy.
In the latter case, both pleasant and unpleasant experiences flourish in intervals. There is no specific feeling of universal stature, since the experiences continuously vary. Hence, though there can be many unpleasant events, the overall feeling is an endearing one. And there is no loss of entropy.
Thus We can see, the real cause of unhappiness lies in the stagnation of feelings, which is a direct result of the reduction in activity, mostly brought in by pleasant events.
Or, both happiness and unhappiness keep occurring in our lives as a direct result of the way we confront life, not because of the pleasant and unpleasant experiences one may get, as it is widely perceived. In happy times, we loosen our guard, inviting unhappiness. And in unhappy times, we limit our experiences, inviting more unhappiness.
We need to celebrate unhappy times!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Book Review: HOW WE THINK

'HOW WE THINK' by John Dewey examines the many facets of thinking, something that signifies everything that, as we say, is "in our heads" or that "goes through our minds".
"Thinking is not a case of spontaneous combustion; it does not occur just on general principles", the book tells, beginning a review of the process of thinking. There is something specific, which controls the occasions and evokes it appropriately. General appeals, whether to a child or to a grown-up, to think, need not work. It is possible for a grown up, or a child, to engage oneself in thinking, if and only if the difficulties that troubles one and disturb one's equilibrium, are properly addressed. Next chapter examines the possibility of training somebody to think. How we are not actively engaged in effective thinking always, the default being to be attracted to the bright. Which is why, logical attainment in one direction is no bar to extravagant conclusions in another. How thinking differs from absolute consistency, is then examined. How concentration is not an act of fixing or arresting the flow of suggestions. It means a variety and change of ideas mixed sensibly into a something of a unified conclusion. "Thoughts are concentrated not by being kept still and quiescent, but by being kept moving toward an object, as a general concentrates his troops for attack or defense."
The general problem of the training of mind is then discussed, dividing the complete act of thinking into identifiable steps and prescribing necessary conditions. Next is the interpretation of the results of thinking and arriving at a judgment. How our judgments get colored, sometimes killed, by both internal and external forces, like dogmatism, rigidity, prejudice, caprice, passion, and flippancy. We are then introduced to different types of thinking, the concrete and the abstract, as well as the empirical and the scientific.
To end, the author mentions of the importance of play activity or aimless fooling, as a part of our daily interactions with thought. A balance of playfulness and seriousness is the intellectual ideal, since exclusive interest in the result alters one's existence, or work, to drudgery.
I liked this book. It in fact is replete with some ideas dear to me, like the equal importance deserved by all our faculties, and whether we use those for thinking or not. In 1910, there existed good clarity of thought, about thoughts, this book can definitely show. And I agree with the author. Ardent curiosity, fertile imagination, and love of experimental inquiry, which is present in all instances of thinking, is very near, to the attitude of the scientific mind. 

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All my Books and all my Hubs

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