Lack of apt expressions!

Lack of apt expressions can be though of as a great source of frustration among people. I recently saw a movie in which a psychiatrist explains expressiveness. He says, if we are angry, we have to express it. If we are sad, we have to express it. Same thing applies to happiness, determination and all sorts of other emotions we have. But, it can be fatal to a relationship if we don’t contain those expressions within socially acceptable limits. Hence the term “apt expression”.

Coming back to the topic, we are remarkably intolerant of others now a days. We fail to express ourselves properly and we get irritated when someone else expresses. I recall incidents were people have displayed silly attitude which are are carcinogenic to the mind. It becomes a cancer and eats the whole psyche. In fact I know a friend of mine who has been the victim of her own psychic cancer.

Are we biologically evolved to be selfish? I think we are. That is a survival instinct. But as Dr. Dawkins mentioned in his remarkable book “The Selfish Gene”, there is something called meme which is a unit of social awareness that also evolves overtime. And that meme has brought more insight into our minds than ever before. We are now able to surpass our own biological predispositions in order to have total control over our lives and our future.

But does this ability that evolved for the survival of society will eventually cut at the roots of humanity? May be if we let the meme evolve in anyway it likes. Am I prejudiced? I think yes and everyone I know are prejudiced one way or the other. The difference is that I admit it and others don’t. And that brings us back to the beginning of the discussion. Are we really expressing ourselves?

I must let the readers know that it is perfectly okay to be prejudiced. What is not okay is to express the prejudice in manners that are not acceptable. You can express your prejudice in subtle languages that others can accept. Thinking that another person will be offended and not expressing ourselves is unhealthy. It does not mean that we should blurt out at others in public. May be we can have a private conversation on the phone so that no one else has to know.

Expressions can have negative effects and are highly volatile if not handled properly. We were taught about adult ego during our personality development training program. It speaks about maintaining proper composure while talking to people. Whether this is practical or not is something I leave to the readers. But mind you, there are civilizations on Earth where people do follow etiquettes of respecting one another and obviously that civilization is not part of the Indian subcontinent.

A note on the Fermi-Hart Paradox!

The Habitable Zone

The Habitable Zone around a star

The future of humanity looks bleak and bright at the same time depending on how we perceive it. If we look around, we may feel that we are moving forward towards a brighter tomorrow. However, if you look up, the thoughts change. The sky on a clear night is one of the most beautiful sights you can get on Earth but this awe inspiring sight brings questions into our minds regarding the bleak future of human race. Whether we are alone in the universe is a question that might give us clues about our own fate in the distant future. We can hope to grow so advanced that we wouldn’t have to look back or we can expect ourselves to fall back and perish. SETI scientists spend their entire lives with radio telescopes pointed at the sky listening to the “cosmic buzz” hoping to find evidence that there is intelligent life outside Earth. The Drake Equation gives different estimates regarding the number of intelligent civilizations outside depending on whether it is an optimist or a pessimist who substitutes the values. However to this day, there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence that there is life outside out planet.

This paradox first postulated by Enrico Fermi and later examined by Michael H. Hart, analyzes various reasons why there haven’t been any intelligent exobiology detected so far.

The Drake Equation – Predicts the number of civilizations in the galaxy

The statement made by the Fermi-Hart Paradox is as follows:

The apparent size and age of the universe suggest that many technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations ought to exist. However, this hypothesis seems inconsistent with the lack of observational evidence to support it.

So why is it that despite the size of the universe, we haven’t seen intelligent life outside earth yet? Two corollaries of the Fermi-Hart paradox may give us some clues. They are the Doomsday argument and Von Neumann Probe.

According to the Doomsday Argument, we ask ourselves, Is it the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself?

This theme has been extensively explored in science as well as science fiction alike and deals with an argument that precludes the possibility of a technological civilization with an invariable proclivity to destroy themselves shortly after developing radio or space technology. The various postulated means of annihilation include biological and nuclear warfare, nano-technological catastrophe, accidental contamination, a badly programmed super-intelligence, ill-advised physics experiments or a Malthusian Catastrophe that deteriorates the planet’s ecosphere.

Probabilistic argumetns have bene put forward suggesting human extinction as an inevitable event happening sooner than later. Sagan and Shklovsky suggested in 1966 that either a technological civilization will destroy itself within a century after developing interstellar communicative capability or will master their self destructive tendencies and survive for billions of years.

An inhabitable planet

Gliese 581c – An exoplanet within the Goldilock zone of its star

Thermodynamics and chaos theory may also suggest clues regarding the tendency to self annihilate. As far as life can evolve as an ordered system, it may not create a problem but when it starts with its interstellar communicative phase, the system would probably get unstable and eventually self destruct.

Self destruction is a paradoxical outcome of evolutionary process in a Darwinian point of view. Evolutionary psychology suggests that at a time when humans competed for scarce resources, they were subjected to aggressive instinctual drives like tendency to consume resources, extend longevity and to reproduce which eventually led to a more technological society which may drive us to extinction. Self destruction of a technological civilization, according to Fermi, might be a universal occurrence. Self destruction may not be the only outcome though. There is a remote possibility of the civilization getting back to being non-technological as we saw happening to the Ba’ku people in the movie Star Trek: Insurrection.

A Flying Saucer – An alien craft?

A slightly different question is posed by the Von Neumann probe which asks, Is it the nature of intelligent life to destroy others?

This postulate investigates the possibility of a technological civilization, once it reaches a certain level of technological capability, destroys other intelligence when they appear. This concept has also been explored in science fiction for decades. The causes of such extermination might be expansionism, paranoia or plain aggression. Cosmologist Robert Harrison added a corrolary to Sagan and Shklovsky’s suggestion in 1981 by arguing that given a technological species that has overcome its own tendency to self destruct, it will view other species in the universe as a virus and try to exterminate them. A direct consequence of this argument is the picture of an intelligent being as a super-predator, just as humans are today.

Von Neumann Probe

Extracting a star’s energy – An example of a Von Neumann Probe

Just like exploration, extermination of other civilizations can be carried out using self-replicating artificial probes. It is a more dangerous case since even after the civilization that created such probes have died out, these probes will continue to do the job their creators assigned to them. If take this possibility into consideration, then that might answer the scarcity of observational evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, because either these probes will destroy them, force them to be quiet or force them to live in hiding to prevent detection.

Leaving all these arguments aside, there is still a very high probability that we are indeed alone in this universe. To conclude, what is going to be our future? Are we heading towards self destruction? Is our life and society as ephemeral as that of a mayfly? Are the advancements we make every day in technology actually the nails we are driving into our own coffins? Or are we going to be like the Borgs? I leave this up to you to answer.

Sources:

Fermi Paradox
Risks to civilization
Article by Fraser Cain
Living in a killing world
Margaret Atwood
Memory Alpha on Borg
Wikipedia on Malthusian Catastrophe

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.

The Atheist Disciple!

Image of the Eye of God
The Helix Nebula often referred to as the “Eye of God”

I have been with my master for the past 7 years and I believe I am his true disciple. I started training in spirituality and holistic healing under him since I was around 19 years old. As I had mentioned in my previous blogs: The Free Thinker and The Wishful Thinker, it was part of a “soul searching” process. I had the question in mind “What if there is a God?” and wanted to test it. And through the practice of these things, I felt more and more skeptical about the supernatural.

Even though there is some strange feeling in the hand when I try to “heal” someone, I don’t think it is because of any energy flowing out. Probably it is just the nerves on the palm giving me that feeling. But then why is it that sometimes, when we wish intensely, things work for us? I have been with my master for such a long time. And it was not until recently that I opened up and told him that I am an atheist. I had my own explanation to the phenomena called miracle since it was hard for me to accept that there is a God behind our desires and the results they produce because there are times when the desires don’t work and we are left out frustrated.

Image of Healing Energy
The Healing Energy Light used by Reiki Practitioners

During the years of my training, I used to get up at 2 AM and meditate for an hour everyday and practise Kung Fu in the moonlight. It gave a weird but good feeling to do that. I used to visit the graveyard at the nearby church to feel with my hand and test whether there is any energy inflow or outflow there. I used to go to the classrooms at night and through my “healing energy” heal the events that are going to happen the next day since I was told that energy can travel in time. I used to preach astrology, numerology and palmistry and was very famous in my college for that. Many of my friends used to come to me to interpret their dreams or get to know their future.

I used to create events for the future, especially for my examinations and relationships. But alas, it didn’t work. I flunked in many exams due to lack of preparation and I didn’t get many girl friends. Then I thought, can’t these things be just a coincidence? Or is it? Well, I kept asking this until one day I saw a movie, Dasavataram. It talks about Chaos Theory and Butterfly Effect. It is not the movie, but the concept that fascinated me. It was something I have been thinking for a long time but didn’t know what to call it and I got interested in the mathematics involved.

Image of Chaos Theory
Chaos Theory – The Butterfly Effect

When I told my master that I am an atheist, he said that it is okay with him because he respects the individual beliefs of his disciples. I was shocked because I didn’t expect him to say that. I thought he would say something like : “Pleasant, you have despised the Lord and you will be punished for this!” But he proved me wrong. And he heard me out and asked me what do I call God. I said, I don’t call it anything since I don’t think such a thing exists. Then he wanted me to explain how did the many solutions in my life happen whenever I told him my problems.

I told him that I am not sure about how it happened but certainly there is no God behind it. I mentioned to him the mathematical concept of Chaos and how it applies to dynamical systems. I gave a simple example. There was a teapoy in his room. I told him that if I shake the teapoy gently, it will vibrate and if I continue to do that for a very long time, it can break the teapoy. He agreed to that. Now that was for a small vibration. If there was a larger vibration, then the time it takes for the teapoy to break will be less.

Image of Spacetime Curvature
Spacetime showing Einsteinian Curvature in the presense of mass

Now coming to the problem solving part. I have been thinking deeply about quantisation of space-time for the past eight years. May be, the vibrations that we create through intense desire grow to immense sizes, capable of affecting everyday life. Probably that is what happened when I have desired certain things and confided them to my master and got them working. And this is what I explained to him. I told him that the vibrations propagate through the quantised space-time.

But there are counter arguments too that we can give as I mentioned before, intense desire doesn’t always work. Only at certain times it does. If we don’t want to believe that this is just chance, well I think the only rational explanation that can be given is that there is a way by which a particular vibration can propagate. The vibrations may be hindered because of other factors. Only the disturbances that grow above a threshold limit often called the “tipping point” might be capable of affecting our lives. Also the word disturbance is not a good one, since the effect that we see can be both positive and negative. It is just like letting a system undergo changes in a controlled manner thereby slowly increasing the effect over time.

Image of BBC - High Anxieties - The Mathematics of Chaos
BBC High Anxieties – The Mathematics of Chaos

So my conclusion is this: Either it is pure chance that good and bad things happen to us or there is a mathematical model that can be formulated to explain why they do. The disturbances created by thoughts might materialise into reality. The title The Atheist Disciple is apt for this discussion since the term disciple is often taken only in the spiritual sense. I have a very good relation with my master. He is my friend and philosopher and is glad that I have a different outlook about the world we live in. Very recently I watched the program in BBC Four : “High Anxieties – The Mathematics of Chaos” and I knew, here is a nice candidate for the theory of how things work in our lives. The reason I am with my master still is that he has never asked me to write anything down in stone and stick to it. He has always given very practical suggestions to issues than making statements like “Believe in God and you will see miracles” etc.

We live in a world that is unpredictable where the entropy always increases. None of the religious scriptures have predicated accurately the events in our worlds. And the more and more we advance in mathematics, we will derive better theories to arrive at conclusions as to how the many allegedly mysterious phenomena happen. Today, I thought of writing about this because I couldn’t help thinking that there was a different world than what we have perceived yet. Your comments and feedback is highly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

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.

When it all began!

It was a warm evening in 1989. I asked a question to my mom about the way the Earth-Sun system works. She spoke about Copernicus and Galileo and the Solar System. She told about how much they sacrificed their lives to let the world know that what the church preached was wrong. I was just five years old but the impression stayed in my mind. Her description of how the day and night occurs was fabulous. She took a plastic ball and demonstrated how the Earth moves. She said that the Earth does not move around the Sun like motorcycle but rather it spins on its axis.Then she spoke about bacteria and as per her description, in “my world”, it was the smallest thing I could imagine. Especially when she told that a single dot can have millions of bacteria in it. But I still thought I could see them. I was seven when I learned from her that there is something called atom. I asked her what an atomic bomb is and that’s how she explained what an atom is and how scientists split it in order to cause Hiroshima and Nagasaki.I was impressed by that. I wanted to know more about it. I remember cutting down a grain of boiled rice using a knife to the smallest possible size and taking it to her saying that I found the atom. She smiled and said that it is far smaller than that. Something which I cannot see.

I was disappointed.

But I was determined to know more. I learned when I was 11 years old that the atom had an internal structure. Long before it was taught in school. I was fascinated by the world of the subatomic and I knew I had to know more.

I wandered around in the school library reading books on it. Fortunately I had a two close friends with whom I could discuss the subject. We used to discuss both the microscopic and macroscopic realms.

I then set up my own laboratory at home at the age of 13 and started doing chemical experiments. I think that is where it all began. The scientist within me was born and the curiosity continues till date!

PS: The titles “Emptiness and Form ” and “The Cosmic Dance” are not mine. I copied it from “The Tao of Physics” by Fritjof Capra. A book that has inspired me a lot.

E vs R?


Image of The Blind Watchmaker
The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins

Recently I watched Dr. Richard Dawkin’s 1987 TV Show “The Blind Watchmaker” which is based on his bestseller with the same name. In it, he speaks of a program he wrote to simulate what would happen if a character set is made to rearrange at random or use the principle of natural selection in order to finally form the Shakespearean phrase “METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL” from Hamlet.

Image of DNA

DNA

I obtained the C++ source code of the program from here and ran it. It demonstrates nicely how something can evolve by natural selection. Even though the biological evolution doesn’t know what is going to happen in future as compared to the program, it does try to predict the survival strategy of the the living creature in question and propagate the genes suitable for such a strategy. He further went on demonstrating the same using a graphical program with advanced features.

Image of Toc H Institute of Science and Technology

Toc H Institute of Science and Technology

I recall an incident that occurred few years back. My college was founded in 2002 and mine was the first batch and hence we didn’t have any seniors. But the following year, we started getting new students and hence juniors. There were many of us who tried to rag them but the management was strict about its anti-ragging policies and ragging in the college remained a fun activity than anything serious.

When the third batch came, the story repeated. However the new principal who had taken charge very recently came to our class one day and said:

Image of Passage of Time

Passage of Time

I know you will be interested to know your juniors and get acquainted with them and I appreciate that. But I don’t appreciate the way you have chosen to do that. If you look at history, there has always been two processes of development. One is a rapid advancement of a concept to bring forth notable changes within a short span of time. Such a change is called ‘revolution’. There is another way of development which is a very slow and gradual improvement on existing concepts that bring forth lasting changes over a period of time and that is called ‘evolution’. I suggest you follow the evolutionary way of getting acquainted with the new students.” Evolutionary way!

Image of Mutation

Mutation

It is a proven fact that given sufficient time, species change to ensure that their genes survive in the changing environment.  A recent article in Nature says that in every generation of humans, there are at least 100 to 200 mutations happening in the genes. Hence we may also evolve into a new species in another few thousand or million years. But I must add that along with biological evolution, human intellect has evolved too. We see rapid advancements in fields of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. Also we see human cloning as one of the emerging fields. We humans have become capable of artificial selection!

Let’s pause and think where this is leading us.

Image of Brain Chip

Brain Chip

I recall my friend saying: “Our generation is the one that struggles the most. In the past, there was very little to study and you could get any job after your 10th grade. In future, advancement in brain chips will make learning obsolete by creating babies who already possess, at the time of birth, all the necessary information for its survival on the planet!

I admire him for this accurate prediction because it was not based on intuition but on real facts that we see around. Indeed that’s what is going to happen. We will surpass the pace of evolution and start producing a new breed of humans who will be far superior to us in all aspects. If as mentioned in the opening paragraph, a simple program can be made to follow the process of selection, we may even create an artificial evolutionary process by which machines can evolve and finally make the human nature survive through those machines long after the human race has vanished!

Image of Survival of fittest

Fittest will survive!

The title of the post, “E vs R” as you might have rightly guessed is “Evolution vs Revolution“. The future will be a combination of both. We will revolutionize by conquering and controlling evolution! We won’t be left behind in the struggle for existence. There won’t be any more “the fittest will survive” motto since everybody will be equally fit and we shall all survive together.

Now whether this equality that we try to bring about is in the interest of our existence or not is something we need to wait and find out.