When we played outside – A Retrospect!

Computers may eventually turn us into machines!
Computers may eventually turn us into machines!

A few days ago I had a conversation with my friend. Season 4 of The Big Bang Theory was out and we just finished watching Episode 4. We exchanged views about how the series had gone down in popularity recently because it seemed the public got a hang of what the characters could do and the jokes have become trite. He asked questions about my new company and its environment and I described it in detail.

Then all of a sudden I said, “I somehow feel that Internet is getting a boring place to be.” He just smiled. I continued, “I think we should go out and play than lock ourselves up in air-conditioned rooms with a machine in front of the eyes.” He smiled again.

The Psychic Vortex
A Scene from the TBBT Episode – The Psychic Vortex

There was something that prompted me to say this. In TBBT, there is an episode called “The Psychic Vortex.” In that Koothrapalli tries to persuade Sheldon by saying, “Come on, Sheldon. I want to go outside, let’s go outside. Outside is good.” to which Sheldon responds, “If outside is so good, why has man spent thousands of years perfecting inside?

Despite the humorous intend of this dialog, there is a deeper meaning in it. I felt like we are losing out on a physical part of ourselves and I wanted to discuss it.

I started first by describing my school days which I miss so much. Many of my current friends think that I hate sports. But I was not always like that. Long back, during school, I used to play football, cricket, kabbadi, volleyball, kho-kho etc. Also I was involved in all sorts of mischiefs that children commit when they are young and hyperactive like fighting, running, jumping, falling etc. We played Kallanum Policum for almost 8 years continuously. My friend agreed that those days are something he too missed because he used to play them as well.

There are a lot of incidents of my school days that I would like to share and I will be posting about all of them subsequently.

School Days
A reminder of the good old days…

When we compare our school days with our present life, most of the time the weltschmerz sets in. It is true that we can’t have that life again. But there are certain parts of it that can still be part of our present life. It is just that we don’t bother to include them. It is one of those that I wanted to discuss with him. The physical aspect.

I started my description of school days with some weird games that we used to play which he was not aware of.

The first game I explained was called “Dhaaba Dhoobi.”  It was introduced by the North Indians in our class. The game starts by creating a ball using paper, plastic and rubber band. It is smaller than a cricket ball. Then we team up. And we will throw this ball at the ass of any of the guys in the other team. And then they will try to throw back. It pains nicely when it hits hard and people run around to avoid being hit. We played this game from about 4th to 8th standard. Four years of exhilarating experience playing the great Dhaaba Dhoobi!

My friend commented that this game was gay. I just laughed because there were more at my disposal awaiting description.

Keeping what he commented in mind, I started with the next game which we called “Ba Ba Ba.” Actually the term originated from my brother and I used it to name this game. It was a fighting game of the wrestling genre. The winner wins by making the loser’s ass touch the ground. So everybody tries to force his opponent to sit on the ground. Initially it was hand on the ground but the rule was later changed and hand was replaced by ass. This was played for about a year or two between 5th and 7th standards.

Wrestling
This is how we used to win in Ba Ba Ba!

Again my friend asked whether I was gay and I told him that we didn’t know that such a thing called gay existed back then.

Anyway, I started with the third game . It was more intricate than the previous ones and only existed for about a year during the 6th standard. It was named again by the North Indians as “Ghoda Gaadi”. As the name suggests, there was a horse involved. But not a real horse. A guy will assume the role of a horse and another guy will assume the role of the soldier who sits on the horseback. Teams are divided and the horse-soldier pair of one team has to fight with the horse-soldier pair of the opposite team.

An example of the Human Horse
The Ghoda Gaadi looks similar to this

Winning or losing was depended upon whether the pair fell down or whether the soldier climbed down his horse before the fight ended. I learned about the power of momentum long before it was taught from this game though I didn’t know that it was called momentum. This game belonged to the hand fighting genre because the legs were held by the horse to prevent the soldier from falling.

My horse was Naveen and I named him Chetak after I got “inspired” by a Vinod Khanna movie. We had comparable sizes but he was stronger than me. We were a very famous pair because we used to win most of the time despite our small size compared to our competitors. The mystery was in the physics involved which we subconsciously exploited. This was particularly true when we fought against Sandeep-Shyamlal pair(yeah, there was another Sandeep). This Sandeep was strong and stout but Shyamlal was thin. Both were taller than me. Sandeep was Shyamlal’s horse.

Initially we used to lose the fights until I found a way around. What I did was, I will grab Shyamlal when he approaches and ask Naveen to rotate. Once we reach a sufficient speed and I start feeling the centripetal force, I simply let Shyamlal go and the pair will move under their own momentum to their inevitable fall.

This game was fun but often ended up being a real fight if the losers don’t admit defeat. I had tried biting my opponents a couple of times but then when the opponents too started doing it, I stopped.

Sandeep said that it was a very weird game. I told him that out of the three, I liked “Ba Ba Ba” and “Ghoda Gaadi”.  He commented again saying that I liked the gay ones because they were all about ass. Anyway I didn’t care what he said because those games were the best we ever played in school.

Then there were general fights in the class, in the ground, in the bus stops and practically anywhere we found “fightable”. There were two main teams in our class. The Hindi Team and Malayalee Team. And the Malayalee team had two factions viz Rijith Team and Binil Team. From 5th Standard Harilal took over Binil Team. All these teams fight for every other reason they have. There were occasional jumps that people did from one team to another following a dispute. Often these kind of disputes were settled in “the ancient way”. A one-on-one fighting tournament takes place with the team members standing around encouraging the fight.

An example of a School Fight
An example of a School Fight

There was a competence to fight and win when we were in teams. We used to send spies in order to find out the strategy of the other team before the PT period so that we can have an edge over them in football or cricket.

Football disputes were sometimes settled by the cane of Paulose sir if it reached him. Since cricket was played after the school timings, disputes were settled by ourselves.

The reason I wanted to talk about all this violence is because there is something we lack now a days. The fighting spirit. We lock ourselves in air-conditioned rooms in front of computers trying to make a living. It is not that we shouldn’t do that. But we hardly go outside and play. We don’t engage ourselves in combat. The reason I took over martial arts training at 16 was because I wanted to get that fighting spirit back. I still go to my instructor’s place and get some practice whenever I have time.

The fighting spirit is something we need to have throughout our lives. It is a fundamental nature of us. In the olden days people got involved in physical activities throughout their lives. But now it is different and it is that aspect that one should nurture. We need to regain that spirit which has been lost in the ravages of time!

A Yardstick to Remember…..

Drinks Menu
The menu I described looks something like this!

On February 2008, I went to meet a friend of mine who happened to reside in a different city. We went out to many places and in the evening at the dinner table of a famous restaurant at the heart of that city, we were given two menus. One was for food and the other one was for liquor. I jokingly said that I need to order white wine. She immediately snapped saying, “Pleasant! If you order anything from that menu, I will never ever talk to you again!

I just smiled but something within me said that I shouldn’t order drinks because it will hurt her feelings and I didn’t order anything from that menu. Even for a long time after that incident, I didn’t feel like drinking because whenever I thought of it, her face came to my mind. She never liked people who drank and a few months later, there was a retrospect of this incident and she mentioned that probably it is because of the strength of our relationship that I refrained from drinking for that long. (Why I took up drinking again later on is a different story.)

Almost two years later, I mentioned this incident at the lunch table to my father. He started pulling my legs in her name immediately. I told him that it is not what he thinks and that we are just good friends. He was still making fun of me. Later my mom returned from school and asked what was going on. My dad started the leg pulling again. He said that either this girl is a true friend of Pleasant or she has some strong feelings for him. I said probably it is the former. He then asked me to read the essays of Sir Francis Bacon. He said that those essays describe the characteristics of a true friend.

Image of Sir Francis Bacon

A Portrait of Sir Francis Bacon

I read the essays and learned a lot of theoretical aspects of friendship. But that is not the subject of my post today. Today’s post is about another quote of mine. Just like any other quote, it came out instantly during a conversation. Let me describe the incident. This August, I went out with one of my close friends to a pub near Atlantis. It is called Silica and it is one of the best drinking destinations in Kochi.

Mojito is my favorite cocktail. It tastes so good and you can actually drink a lot of it without passing out. I liked it ever since I first tasted it at OPM Dance Bar in Chennai. Anyway we ordered two Mojito and started chatting. Just then a guy came and sat at the sofa on the other side. About 10 minutes later, a girl wearing yellow churidar, arrived and walked towards this guy. While passing us, she gave me a quick stare. There was this friend of mine who studied with me in KV. He was a ladies man and he taught me that whenever a girl stares at you, just stare back at her the same way.

Her gesture reminded me of his advice and I also returned a stare of the same degree. She had an average looking face. But she was fair and moderately plump with fantastic assets. Anyway, after we exchanged stares, she went and sat with the other guy. Unfortunately, there was a wall preventing me from having a full view but I was still able to see the girl. I was happy because who wants to see the guy anyway? Once they ordered drinks, they started getting busy.

Mojito

Mojito - My Favorite Cocktail!

My friend was frustrated because he was not able to see any of these. After two rounds of mojito, my friend wanted to order something else. He ordered a different cocktail made of Kiwi Fruit and vodka. I got to taste it too. It was too sweet, so I continued with mojito.

My friend and I went to the same GRE coaching center “The Chopras”. So we were talking about the life in US and the universities we chose etc. He mentioned that he liked me very much because of my outlook towards life which in his opinion was different from others. He said that I am a person who spreads positive radiation. The only thing he didn’t approve of was my atheist point of view but more importantly since I am a good person, it was okay with him. I just smiled impressed by his sincere praise. I said sincere because there is an old adage which states that a drunk person cannot lie.

He liked my helpful attitude when it came to sharing useful information. I said that I didn’t like the attitude of our contemporary society regarding sharing information. It is true that we need to search for the information we want. But it is not good, if someone asks a question and we show attitude saying “why can’t you search?”. My point of view is that, if I have a useful information in my brain that can be helpful to others and also the time to explain it and that the information is not private or secret, then I should explain it rather than saying “please don’t mind, but you are supposed to search”. Only in extreme situations I ask people to do the search themselves. And it makes sense too. We learned in 5th grade that knowledge increases by sharing and I kind of follow that principle as much as I can.

Friendship

Friendship - An undefined relation!

The more we drank, the more he continued to praise me. The conversation then moved to relationships. He asked me whether I had ever loved someone. I told him that I had on multiple occasions. I was not in a mood to explain everything. Hence I gave a brief account of my past attempts to build relationships with women. From my conversation he understood that I don’t like feminazis. In fact he learned that I don’t actually like many of the new fangled forms of relationships in our society. I delineated many aspects of our evolving society which are currently undergoing a paradigm shift.

This prompted him to ask me what sort of relationship do we have between us and off came the answer from me “We should not define relationship. Because the moment we define, it will lose its beauty.” I said that there is no yardstick to measure the depth of a relationship. It is just what it is. He said, “Damn! You rock man!” and appreciated my philosophical point of view.

We finished our drinks and paid the check. I took a last glimpse of the love birds sitting on the other side before leaving. While returning home, I realized that there was a smile at the corner of my lips. And I knew that it was a smile of satisfaction that the nectar of the dreaming flower has again proven to be food for thought for another person!

Open mindedness debunked!

Image of Open Mindedness
Open Mindedness

This is a phenomenon found in the contemporary society. People try to look open minded when they are not. They call people who don’t approve their point of view as irrational. But are they rational? Insularity is everywhere. If we show open mindedness in one aspect, we will be extremely close minded in another.

As an atheist, I would like to analyse this situation outside the realm of religion and look at various aspects of life as they are.

Image of Moral Relativism by Steven Lukes
Moral Relativism by Steven Lukes

Is morality relative? Why is my right your wrong? Do we derive our morality from religion? Why is it that people in metropolitan cities lead a hedonistic lifestyle when compared to their counterparts in villages?

I intend to answer these questions in this post. Individuality is the new norm of our society. People are intolerant of others who even slightly hint that they have a different point of view. Egotism is at its peak. People believe that their existence is unique and supreme. At least in theory, no one is supposed to dislike what others are doing.

If that be so, then why don’t we condone crime? After all it is right in the view of the person committing the crime. For instance, why do we say murder is wrong?  What do you mean by wrong? On what basis do we classify crimes? I don’t personally like crimes. But I do not know why I do not like these. It is just that I find them repulsive. So does many other people. But if that is kind of acts some people choose to do, then why doesn’t our conscience allow us to accept them? Where does our open mindedness hide when confronted with people like these?

Image of Wall Street
Wall Street – A place where money is God!

The contemporary society is blinded because all people want is wealth and pleasure. It is money and sex that drives the world, not God. Corporate moguls exploit their employees to gain profit. Media moguls exploit female sexuality to gain profit. I don’t think that people who are exploited enjoy being exploited. It is just that they don’t seem to have any other choice.

It looks as if we are in a liberal society. But we are not. We are slaves to our own convictions. We are slaves to what the society at large considers to be true. We revere people in the red carpet industry. Why do we do that? It is because we covet their lifestyle. We crave for what they have that we don’t.

Image of Relationships and Cheating
Relationships and Cheating!

We see spouses cheating on each other. We shouldn’t be biased on sexuality because it is the choice of people to lead their on lifestyle. If that is the case, then why do people get married at all? A lot of people compare their spouse with their previous partners thereby creating a crack in an otherwise happy relationship. Is that what we are supposed to do? Where is sacrifice that was prevalent in traditional marriages? We cannot rule out the possibility of our partner or ourselves having sex before marriage. But why compare our spouse with others? Aren’t we supposed to love them and accept them for who and what they are?

In one of my previous posts I had written than it is one of the most difficult things to do in this world. Accepting others for who and what they are. My own experience testify that people are not following this concept. They just blabber that they do.

Image of Myth Busted
Myth Busted!

Open mindedness is a myth. It is relative to what a person thinks is right. Nothing beyond that! The advent of computers have been proven to affect our minds. Our interactions with machines will certainly be one of the causes of our own destruction. Technology is a boon as well as a bane. It is driving intolerance in the minds of young people who are supposed to be the future of humanity. Where is compassion, empathy and sympathy? Are our kids going to even see these words in future?

I seriously doubt it!

Sources:
Attached to technology and paying a price
Are we becoming an intolerant society?

End of Friendship?

The Wikipedia article on Friendship quotes the following statement by Patricia M Sias and Heidi Bartoo: “Friendship network is a behavioral vaccine that protects health and mental health”. They say that good friends encourage their friends to lead more healthy lifestyles, to seek help and access services, when needed, to enhance their friend’s coping skills in dealing with illness and other health problems and/or actually affect physiological pathways that are protective of health.

However, recently I noticed that the number of people I can call as close friends or soul mates have decreased. To check whether my observation is true, I asked some people I know about how they feel about it and not surprisingly they came up with the same answer. It was an indication that friendship was on the decline. I needed data to corroborate this and went through the Internet reading many articles some of which I have quoted at the end of this post.

Based on those links, the following could be reasons for this decline:

  • Dependence on family as a safety net
  • Dependence on a partner or spouse
  • Psychological and physiological regression
  • Attitude towards sexuality; especially homosexuality
  • Advent of the digital age which increased the hours spent on computers and internet
  • Patterns in the corporate work culture which increased the time spent at the workplace
  • Path dependency causing behavior to follow paths of countless decisions
  • Attitude towards atheism?
  • Intolerance and misunderstandings
  • Other miscellaneous reasons

These are not my opinions but I think my own views would fall into any of these. Friendship in my opinion has come down to the state of people being just acquaintances. And in the years to come, it is going to get worse. As Prof. Dawkins said: “People are remarkably intolerant”. And this remarkable intolerance is the byproduct of a rat race for which we ourselves are responsible. I don’t think social networking is doing anything other than being a medium of keeping people “in-touch”. And this “in-touch” which I define as “Internet-Touch” is not going to build any strong relation beyond casual acquaintances.

I do have a huge network of friends but how many will ever bother to come and see me if I am bedridden leaving all the others things aside? How many will I visit if I know that they are bedridden? The answer is close to zero! Recently I attended a marriage of one my college mates and I could feel the discomfort among my old friends who gathered there. None of them seemed to be happy that they got a chance for a get together and I did not have a clue why. May be they left their minds in their offices and came just for the heck of it.

According to C S Lewis, historically, friendship seemed to be the the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it. We admit of course that besides a wife and family a man needs a few ‘friends’. But the very tone of the admission, and the sort of acquaintanceship which those who make it would describe as  ‘friendships’, show clearly that what they are talking about has very little to do with that ‘Philía’ which Aristotle classified among the virtues or that ‘Amicitia’ on which Cicero wrote a book.

As I mentioned before, one of the reasons why we stay healthy is our relationships with others. If we tend to become loners  because we belong to a “modern society” where “individuality” is more important or “cool”, well I am afraid my friends, we are doomed. I cannot help thinking that we are heading towards creating a society where nobody would bother to use the word friend since it would have lost its meaning by then.

Any positive and negative comments are welcome.

Sources:

Wikipedia on Friendship
Article by
Dr. Henning Bech
Depression and
friendship

Article by
Janet Kornblum

Article by
Sebastian Mallaby

Friendship on
decline

Friendship under threat
Social networking
and friendship

Do good fences make good neighbors?

The subject of today’s post emanates from the idea of a poet of international fame. A 20th century American poet, Robert Frost wrote a poem “Mending Wall” which unveiled various social concepts prevailing in the world until then. The poem is a symbolic interpretation of the modern situation where national boundaries are fast disintegrating giving place to an international understanding, though at the same time, in certain quarters, militant nationalism is also showing up its head, thus cutting at the very roots of internationalism. The seeming paradox is at the root of human existence. If that be so, the predominant question that arises for consideration will revolve around a few points.

First, we must maintain self respect and respect others in the fullest measure. Second, we must keep our integrity and individuality and try to realize that others also have these traits. Third, as far as possible we must not interfere in the affairs of others unless we are requested for to interfere with. Fourth, what you expect of others will be expected of you by others and you should have the awareness of the same. The great leader, Mahatma Gandhi has said that he would welcome the culture of others but at the same time will not allow others to uproot his own. This is applicable in the case of an individual, family, society, nation or the world at large. If the above attitudes are maintained, it will make the social interaction easy and meaningful.

Now regarding the topic, I must say that a fence whether it is good or bad is meaningless because fences can separate but cannot have a harmonious unity. What is important is the conditioning of the mind of people rather than external barriers. Barriers are meant for people who tend to disobey. The national and international borders are meant to safeguard against those who violate natural principles. Therefore what is important is a harmonious understanding. Be it two neighbors, two individuals, to nations or two sets of nations.

Fencing in a vast field of vegetation can be useful for preventing stray animals. It may not be stretched to human beings of developed nations. Fences are burdensome. They are not to be thrust upon people. This post continues its quest to melt the barriers that separate humans just as the previous one did. I ardently oppose the concept of fencing for the welfare and well being of a civilized humanity.

Problems Freethinkers Face!

Very recently I observed something. I am also a member of Orkut and has been there for 5 years now. After I officially declared that I am an atheist, I added that part into my Orkut profile. I wrote that I am a querulous and outspoken atheist. Then I noticed that many people became suddenly cold. They did not reply to my scraps or messages. They did not ping me back in messenger when I ping them. Some even sign out when they see me. I was thinking what the heck was going on.

Then one day I received an email from one of my college mates. She just put this link in it and asked me to listen to it when I get time. It was some pastor speaking about God and bible. I listened to what the pastor had to say. Then I replied to her email asking her to read my Orkut profile. She replied stating that she did and that is the reason why she sent the link. I got pissed and sent her a “very nice” reply to which she just kept repeating statements like “God loves you”, “God is great”, “Jesus is the God of mankind” etc. I told her more about evolution and gave her the following links: How to convert and atheist part 1 and part 2. Finally she gave me this link and said that she is not trying to convert me into Christianity and that she just wants me to realize God. I told her that I have realized that there is no God but still I appreciate her efforts and as a friend of mine I suggest her to seek evidence.

The moral of the story is not just how insular conservative Christians can be. I realized one other thing. The people who stopped talking to me or became cold were also devout Christians and Hindus. It looked as if I hurt their years old beliefs. But I never told them anything. Just put some information on my profile. I believe that a person who accepts only a part of our personality is not a true friend. They have to accept us completely with positive and negative attributes. I do that with others.

Anyway, without deviating much, let me come back to the point. Most freethinkers face the following issues:

– Lack of societal acceptance
– Financial hardship due to lack of employers who are free from delusion
– Few number of friends
– Misunderstanding among relatives

The list goes on.

An atheist is considered close minded. People fail to see the bigger picture. There are religious people who embrace the scientific method but they want to look at it as a way to understand how God created the universe. I have issues within my family because of this. My mom says “No matter what you say, it is hard for me to accept that there is no God.” As I mentioned earlier, many of my friends left me because of my religious stand. The only ones I have either haven’t yet found that I am an atheist or are broadminded enough to accept me.

People think that we want to justify our hedonistic lifestyle by saying that there is no God. But as Prof. Dawkins has already proved, we don’t derive our morality from religion. It is hard for these people to understand this simple fact. They get scared to death when they hear the word atheist. Some even think that we are carriers of devil!

My parents are yet to understand the real reasons for me to become an atheist. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am happy that my master was able to accept my religious stand.

The bottom line is, free thinkers seem to be the most hated in the society. We are called “unorthodox”, “iconoclastic”, “hedonistic” and whatever bad “istic” that people can find in the dictionary. Very few come up and have a one-on-one discussion with us.

The only message I have for my friends is that, they haven’t got the slightest idea about who freethinkers are and what they are capable of. I think we have to wait until they find out.

Brain drain vs Globalization!

A few weeks back, one of my close friends asked me to comment on a blog he wrote in Blogger regarding the subject called “brain drain”. I don’t know how much the western world is familiar with it and its effects but what he was concerned about was that a lot of Indians are moving to developed countries in search of better education or job opportunities. Most of them never return and eventually gain citizenship of the respective countries where they migrate to. The ill effects of this is that the countries from where these people move out will be deprived of their intellectual faculties which will adversely affect the development of their nation.

I commented something in favor of what he told and he was very happy about it. But later on I just had a feeling whether I made a mistake by writing in his favor. Whether he was actually right. What made me think is the existence of an interesting concept called globalization. Why I call it interesting is that there is an underlying state, the state of being a human being.

Someone asked me once about my nationality. I replied : “I am a human being of planet Earth”. Isn’t that the best way of describing oneself? I think yes. And that is the subject of this post.

The place we live on Earth is subject to what we do there. And in order to be at a place to do something, there has to be a driving force. Something like a desire and in most cases it is either education or career or family backgrounds. And yes, there are other instances too which can be categorized as miscellaneous. Either way, the place we live depends on many different reasons.

When we expand this, the city becomes part of a state which again is the part of a country. Very few people expand it to the extant of continents or the entire planet especially when describing themselves. Now the question is why should we say that we are human beings of Earth. There are no aliens in touch with us to ask where we come from. But I must say that we need to have that in mind all the time. Whenever we proudly say that “I am an Indian” or “I am an American”, we should realize that we are part of a bigger world that that.

Having said that, does it make sense to complain that a person is migrating to another country? Certainly not. As atheists, we should not differentiate or categorize people based on religion, race, color, nationality, language etc. And when atheism becomes more widely accepted, when more people leave their religious faith, the concept of nationality in my guess will lose its meaning. When someone migrates to another place, he/she will have migrated to another part of Earth which is inhabitable. And the notion of selling someone’s brain to another country is meaningless because through globalization, every invention/discovery made for the benefit of humanity will obviously spread across the globe.

So it is totally unfair if someone says that there is brain drain and that wise people are moving out to different places. I must say that they have to move out. Every human being will have an intrinsic feeling or a dream about the kind of place he/she will be comfortable living and working. And I think each one of us should be allowed to be in places where we want to be. Just like Indians move to other countries, people from there can come and settle in India if they like it here and I see no harm in it.

I am glad that English has become the global language even though there are people who don’t use it primarily. And I believe that in another 100 years or so it will be the spoken language throughout the world. The reason is that the word nation will lose its meaning with true globalization and when that happens, there will be a requirement for a common language of communication and that I assume will be English. There will be a common currency everywhere. There will be a governing body ruling the entire planet something similar to what we see in Star Wars. There will be no more Indians or Americans or Russians. There will be Earthlings all around.

I imagine a world where there are no boundaries. Where people have the same tongue. Have the same meaning for brotherhood. A world without religion where scientific reasoning dominates. Where there is law and order and proper hierarchical government to implement it in order to secure all the benefits for humanity.

Now I think I can tell my friend based on what I just posted that even though he got his facts right, he is so terribly wrong. What he told makes sense only in the context of nation and when that disappears, brain drain will disappear too!

What makes youngsters frustrated?

Are youngsters in India frustrated? If yes what are the causes?Buddhists say that desire is the cause of all suffering. Having said that, can we live without desire? I don’t think so. Now is desire the cause of frustration for youngsters? Let’s have a look.In India, there is a huge population of youngsters. Every year, a significant portion of that passes out of educational institutions. They choose many different careers and live their life for a pretty long time until they look back at what they have been studying for in the first place. Have they chosen careers based on what they have studied? Have they studied what they wanted to study in the first place? The big question: Are people becoming what they want to be?

I think the answer is a qualified negative. I think most youngsters in India are not doing what they really want to do. Let’s pause and find out why.

We have a society. Which is a subset of civilization. And civilization is a product of innovation which evolve with time. Civilization is not the work of a single person but of a whole society. Every individual contributes his/her part in it. We are now heading towards global civilization.

There are many consequences of this. As a whole, there are requirements in various sectors. And people are on demand at all times. Now the frustrations starts. When there are jobs, people tend to push youngsters into various fields despite what they really want to do. And there are some youngsters who don’t realize that in the first place.

They are made to study various courses. They are made to choose jobs that are suitable for globalization. They do these things in the first place but as years pass by, they find that they have made a grave mistake. They repent. They show that in their workplace. At home. Among friends. Everywhere.

Let take some examples. We have a concept called professional course. By definition it is something that makes a person capable of doing a professional job. Now what is a professional job? Anything can be a professional job. Then why this fuss? Why are people forced to become Doctors or Engineers? Are those the only profession?

This thought springs into existence when the victims of such indoctrination realize that they had made a mistake by not being strong.

They then decide that they are not going to do that with their children. They decide that what happened to them should not happen to their children. What will be the consequence? We will have a new generation where youngsters decide upon what they want to do and end up doing only those things that they are passionate about.

There will be peace and harmony among people. We will head towards a Type-I civilization as Dr. Kaku put it.

The Free Thinker!

I believe this is the right day to talk about atheism. Long time ago, when I was in my 11th grade, one of my teachers was teaching computer science. She was more eager to teach other stuff like “ignorance of law is an offense” rather than computers. One day she asked “How many of you believe that there is a force that governs everything?”. To this almost all members of the class rose their hands except three guys. I was one of them. She immediately asked “Why you three don’t believe?”. We started talking reason. We told her that there is no proof of an almighty and she was not ready to accept and was rather upset by it.

I was thinking why. My friends came up to me and asked “What man? Why don’t you have faith in God?”. My question to them was “Is it mandatory to have faith in God?”. I was so obsessed with reasoning that I stayed very close to my atheist friends.

Years passed and one day I thought “What if the theists are true?”. To test this, I spent many years studying a lot of stuff which I have mentioned in my previous blog “The wishful thinker”(http://www.thinkatheist.com/profiles/blogs/the-wishful-thinker). It was some sort of soul searching. What was the result? It reinforced my atheistic beliefs. I have always questioned the following:

1. God,
2. Devil
3. Religion
4. Life after death
5. Holistic healing
6. Dream control
7. Superstitions
………

And after my so called “soul searching” I still question these things.

My dear friends, free thought is great. It lets me look at life without rebuke. It lets me think perfectly because there is no self other than my biological self. There is no sense other than my 5 senses. There is no thought projection and ESP. What remains is the absolute biological brain intelligence which is great stuff if used properly.

I believe free thought has to be cultivated at a very young age. Children should be free to think and act without the barrier of religion in between their thoughts and their purpose. There are many people who hold on to scriptures and holding it up as cause bound truth. It is really that necessary?

We have evolved as the most advanced creatures on the planet. Does that mean that our species was created from no where and put on earth? Certainly not. Why should someone create a universe and earth and put living things in it and say that humans should govern all the other creatures? Is it some sort of time pass of God to sit and create and destroy stuff for no apparent reason?

Promotion of reason and free thought lacks rigor today because most atheists never come out in public. This mentality has to change. Since modern society is ready to accept any form of religion and many other concepts, I personally feel that atheists should start declaring within the public. It is very easy. All it takes is courage. We should let our friends know that we are atheists. At least some of our friends who are already atheists will open up and we can make them open up among their friends easily. When this happens, people will start thinking as to why many of us are atheists. Soon this wave will go viral and many people will leave their religions.

As I said, it requires courage. Because many religious fanatics are out there who threaten to cut our throats if we propagate atheism. But if we succeed in making at least one person leave his/her religion, it will be a great achievement for science and reasoning.

Such a revolution is necessary in this age where we see a lot of atrocities in the name of religion. There has to be more science being studied in the world than it is today. There has to be better understanding and fulfilment of life.

The Wishful Thinker!

Human Rationality
Human Rationality

In the following paragraphs, I would like to propagate rationality as a powerful tool for creating a new generation of human beings. Rationality as I know is the product of serious analysis and conclusions. Just as it is said about civilisation as the product of courage and innovation.

Lord Krishna as Arjuna's Charioteer
Lord Krishna as Arjuna’s Charioteer

At an early age it was easy for anyone to inject the concept of the supernatural into the mind since the child doesn’t know. I remember listening to how Lord Krishna masterminded the outcome of the war of Kurukshetra or how prophet Mohammed tried to unite the Arabs under a new understanding or how Jesus Christ died for the sins of others. I remember listening to how Buddha did this and Jain did that etc etc. There have been a lot among other things. Some enormously detailed to incredibly goofy. For instance stuff like if you bathe in the water of river Ganges, all your sins will be washed away etc.

Armageddon - A form of Doomsday!
Armageddon – A form of Doomsday!

I started questioning these things deep within my mind without letting it out in fear. But finally it had to come out. Science has become so advanced that it is practically impossible to conceive a concept of an almighty. There are millions of other possibilities for existence. Evolution for example is the best way of describing how life came about the way it is. Someone with proper sense can understand it. I started wondering why people stick so much to their religious beliefs thinking that on the D-Day someone is going to come and save them. As far as I know, everyday is a D-Day because we make so many decisions for our future all the time that each day becomes a Decision-Day. We know that the earth is 4.5 billion years old as compared to the creationist view of 6000 years.

Image of Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel by Raven

I used to pray during my exams. I used to pray hard. But what is the use if I haven’t studied a bit? There are stories about people who passed exams without studying a single word. They claim that some sort of guardian angel was there to help them. St. Don Bosco is an example. I must say that those claims are just claims without any scientific basis. Similar is the claims of miracle healing and alternative medicines. Just listening to it will make you ask how. People may ask then why is it found to be working. I ask them why it doesn’t always work? To this simple question I get an answer with a very confusing word in it. Faith! Now what is that thing? Belief without evidence? Belief without questioning? Or is it something else?

Image of Faith
Faith!

People say that faith will heal. People say that miracle healing occurs because the patient has faith in the healer. What kind of a medicine is that requires a patient to have faith in it to work? Let me quote a situation here. A person meets with an accident. He goes into coma. We administer medicines and put him in observation under modern medical equipments. After a few weeks he may or may not wake up. Now my question is did the person have any idea that he was being treated when he was in coma? The answer is no. He just revived because of modern science. Now if someone says that he prayed for him or did some stuff like Pranic Healing, the whole idea becomes hollow because they themselves have told in the first place that such things don’t work without the patient having faith! Similar arguments can be given for stuff like Faith Homes of the Pentecostal mission.

Image of Kirlian Aura Photograph
Kirlian Aura Photograph of a lady

Now coming back to other things like Kirlian photography. You place an object in a magnetic field and then expose a photographic plate and you see a field around it. It has been proven that it is not the alleged aura of that object. But people of alternative medicines say that it is indeed the aura. There are other systems of belief like the Silva Method. What they say about the mind is right. There are different levels of it. But what they say about ESP is not right. It is some sort of fluke that they arrive at conclusions. I have tried that thing myself. It has worked for me a couple of times but most often it does’nt work.

Image of Tai Chi Symbol
Tai Chi Symbol

In martial arts, we have a concept called Chi or Qi or Ki or Prana or Jeevan depending on the system of practice. It is another meaningless concept. We indeed regulate some power. But that power is not the alleged Chi. It is some sort of muscular force that hasn’t been examined thoroughly. People may ask what makes me an expert in all these. Well I must say that for the past 9 years, I have been involved in research into all these systems. I have learned different styles of Karate, Kung fu, Reiki, Acupressure, Numerology, Palmistry, Silva Ultramind ESP, some religious practices and little bit of astrology and so on and so forth. If I challenge something, it is because I have studied that in the first place.

Image of "The Creation of Adam" by Michaelangelo
“The Creation of Adam” by Michaelangelo

Evidence after evidence we have proven to the creationists that there absolutely is no God and that any belief system without proper scientific base is void and useless. My wishful thinking is that any established system should be analyzed using the best possible scientific approach available. If a system works, we need to know exactly why it works and what we need to do for that to always work. People who practice Tai Chi or Acupressure should find out what exactly happens at the level of muscles, bones, blood vessels and nerves rather then sticking onto concepts like Chi, Meridians, Vessels, Chakras, Channels and Pressure Points.

Image of Innocent Children
Innocent Children

My wishful thinking is that children are brought up outside the so called shelter of religion and belief systems so that they think rationally and understand the marvel of nature. I think atheism is a very good concept with enormous possibilities to awaken the human mind to its full potential. After all the brain is a biological computer. Why do we need an external programmer when we can manipulate its power ourselves? My wishful thinking is that the world soon undergoes scientific enlightenment and come up with stuff that works 100% so that we can nourish and nurture a new generation of civilized humanity!