Thursday, 31 May 2012

Potential and Hard Work

Since my childhood, I have so often witnessed a fallacy in common thinking about the expertise borne out of hard work. As soon as you mention "ABC was born to be a Mathematician," people start getting cynical and come up with a hundred arguments in favour of 'everyone is equal.' The arguments are just, but not required.

Confusing 'everyone is equal' as in potential, with 'everyone is equal' in its actualization, is generally borne out of childhood moral teachings, which righteously tell you that everyone is equal. In any case, you must pay attention to the effort that goes into any kind of expertise in any subject. If you keep that in mind, though everyone is equal, as far as potential is concerned, the difference is made by sustained effort supported by the natural inclinations, which in turn are because of 'samskaras' from previous births.

Everyone is equal when you talk about potential. Everyone has same potential, you may say--like every Uranium atom is capable of generating the same amount of nuclear energy. But the difference comes into picture when you start analyzing various fields of activity and that is precisely because of the amount of effort that has been put by various subjects. I take liberty of using theory of incarnation to support my propositions in these matters.

An interlocutor very recently suggested that "Everyone is equally capable of being philosophical on a subject." I contend against him unless he clearly differentiates between actualization and potential. Some people are more of artists, scientists, philosophers or doctors because they have put much effort in those directions in their previous lives.

I also think that anyone is capable of being anything. My suggestion is more about propensity, about inclinations, rather than being about 'potential' of subjects.

Some people are drawn more to certain fields than others and this is true despite having almost same surroundings for subjects in question.

Those who use 'reincarnation' as a theory to explain certain things; and I belong to those people, suggest that subtle impressions from your former lives, as remnants of your work and as very refined Karmic vectors drive you naturally to certain fields, which means, if you had studied Mathematics, in your earlier incarnations and loved the subject, you're very likely to be inclined to Mathematics right from your childhood in this incarnation.

This is just a theory. I don't suggest that anyone is any less or more capable than anyone else if you look at the 'whole', but certainly if you take at any given moment, a Leibniz or an Aristotle, you cannot compare him with a common man who is not driven to search for Truth; though they have same potential for every field of human endeavor.

Image: Here

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Jesus Lived In India

"Jesus Lived In India," is the name of book, which has been with me for enough long now. No, don't get me wrong; I have yet not started to read it. But I intend to do so. 

What is the reason?

Jesus is one of the most charismatic figures in the history of humanity. I was born in India. Are these two reasons sufficient to make me read this book? I don't think so. Let me dig further: In my school days, I had read in an article in a Hindi monthly magazine called Akhand Jyoti about researchers who have investigated about Jesus' life. The article described in detail about the findings of those researcher, but I wanted to know more, therefore I needed to read this book, but it was a long ago and this urge became subconscious.

A few days ago, while waiting for a friend at a railway station, I had a go at the books in a bookstore and I occasionally do so, but don't guess about my intellectual prowess by that, in the name of holy ass hub(Pun unintended!). I found this book in the bookstore and brought it and since then it has been taking rest without getting any undue attention from me. Yes, books, magazines and newspapers never complain about getting any undue attention from me.

Now, I have decided to start reading it. It's written by Holger Kersten, who claims in his preface that he has done substantial research and the book is a great success. Well, reading it would help me learn a bit about Moses and other prophets who came before Jesus. If you have read this book, and you want to share your ideas about it, with me, please let me know.

Image: Here

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Minerva, Synedoche and Metonymy

As we were standing in a circle outside office premises under a tree which had swarms of aunts on it in leaves and trunk, someone mentioned ‘Minerva Circle’, which triggered the ‘Minerva’ in me for better. Minerva is counterpart of goddess Saswati in Greek mythology. Who wrote mythology? It certainly not was a single person and not even the bunch of auteur in a single generation. Synecdoche and Metonymy are very interesting words. I watched Gulzar’s interview yesterday. Synecdoche is a parent class and Metonymy is a child class. Synecdoche means referring to something where the whole is meant and vice versa. For example: When you say ‘My stomach is hungry’: It actually means “I am hungry”.

Counter case would be : America used for USA or saying “India lost to England”, where you meant “Indian cricket team lost to English cricket team”

Metonymy is referring to something by something else: For example: Chair refers to power. Ballot refers to vote. 

Image: Here

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone was Rod Serling's vision to transform small screen by telling some peculiar tales. His stories are all pregnant with immense existential value. I have watched first few episodes and each one of them contains a self-sufficient story, independent of other episodes. The episodes I have watched, deal very vividly with the matters like loneliness, old age, death and nostalgia.

The opening dialogue(monologue?) in the beginning of every episode, in the voice of narrator Rod Serling is just mesmerizing:

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling was writer and producer of this series and he had taken a great deal of risk when he decided to make something like this for TV. To narrate such ideas, on TV, in sixties, was very audacious and novel. I think he pretty much succeeded in what he was trying to accomplish: Entertaining me and you and all of us. Enjoy the series, with Black & White prints and consummate performers.

Image: Here

Men In Black III

Men in Black III, was in a way Men in Black I for me, because I haven't watched any film in this series. Having seen Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, in various trailers, in last decade, I had an impression about the movie. First, it was a comedy for me, second it had pretty shallow exploitation of Extra-Terrestrials story. Those creatures which are mostly morons and ejaculate a lot of liquid when killed fill you with disgust and a few other film series have devalued ET theories in such a horrendous manner. I don't understand how people digest those low-life portrayals, when some of the stories like 2001: A Space Odyssey could so beautifully tell  about ET and humanity. It's not that I favor one over the other. I don't suggest that life forms, less evolved than us, are any less likely to exist, on other planets, than some super evolved beings. I only want to honestly admit that I love to see more evolved beings on big and small screens, in form of ETs than otherwise. The way they are shown does matter a lot.

Men in Black is good to watch if you like humour, action and Science-fiction. Will Smith is his normal self in this movie. Some action sequences are mind boggling, but since I had watched The Avengers very recently, they don't affect me much. The story starts becoming intriguing towards the climax and a few twists are worth the ride to cinema hall. Time Travel, Alien Invasion and Laser Guns are nothing new to watch; script is rotten and there is no great thrill in action if you have watched a great action movie recently. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Panwallah: The betel leaves seller

The betel-shop owner has traits of finest businessmen. He merely has a 25 square feet of area, inside his yellow coloured iron box, without any air-conditioners or fan, in scorching heat, during heavy rain and in winter's freezing wind; located just outside a restaurant, on a busy road. He has scanty hair, pointed nose and slightly squinted look. He opens his shop early in the morning and closes it only an hour before midnight. He has to earn fifty paisa, a rupee or at max two rupees per item, in order to build-up his business. He says that only thing he likes about his business is a unique opportunity to meet as many type of persons as any business would ever allow. Except teetotallers, almost all type of persons, especially of unfair sex, teenagers, adults and even sexagenarians keep on coming to his shop for cigarettes, betel-mixtures, tobacco mixtures, betel-leave mixtures etc., throughout the day.

He considers himself an honest man. He says that he has always kept his word. People who borrow items from him and never come back to pay money, make him feel extremely sad, but this has taught him well. Now, he says that he could easily know about the persons who would never keep their words merely by talking to them for a few seconds, and he avoids lending anything to such persons.

At his shop, various persons, with tea in a glass in one hand and cigarette in another, indulge in most random discussions. Some people might start complaining about water and electricity, some others about state of corruption in the country, and some others talk about increasing prices. But everyone of them considers himself to be an expert. The fact that most of the people stop by his shop for a very short period of time, give their inputs in the discussions and leave, makes these discussions very unique in nature. The only constant is the betel-leaves shop owner. None of the discussions here are for showing-off intellectual prowess, neither for affecting the masses. He will continue to work and listen all of the discussions. He doesn't hesitate to correct those who are not thinking in the proper direction, because despite his lack of formal education, he has gleaned information and learned by listening to thousands upon thousands of people on a day-to-day basis. People don't contend here with each other. They're relaxing and enjoying their idle time and this is why their opinions have hardly any weight from their egos. Most of the times subjects are social and people tend to agree with each other.

Betel shop owner wants to move out to another business. No matter how enlightening those conversations are, no matter how great his contact-base is, he feels suffocated in his shop, where he is hardly free to move. He might have been a claustrophobic person, but force of circumstances made him accept that lack of space and conditioned him to work there, day after day, every week. The urge to move out to a bigger space still calls him every now and then and he tells me about it. He thinks that his ability to quickly identify the type of person would be a great asset for him, in any business he would start. He is bored of his betel-shop. He wants to move on. He came over here, thousands of miles away, from another state because it was difficult to earn money in his village. He had no capital to begin with. He borrowed some money and wandered here and there for a few months and then started this business because it needed no huge investments and though gains were slow in the beginning, by and by he started earning enough to feed his family well.

He rarely goes to meet his family now. Once in a year or may be once every two years. He says that his business gets very badly affected by his absence and he has no one to take care of his shop when he is gone. He says that betel-shop, though a very small and insignificant looking place, could make its owners rich, if run with enough diligence. He told about a betel-leaves-shop owner in market road, who was a millionaire once. There used to be a very big queue of cars, almost half a mile long, just to buy betel-leaves from his shop. Why those Paans were so popular is still a mystery. Some say that they were addictive and others say that they were of very high quality. But the fact that he used to charge as much as two thousand rupees per betel-leave mixture raises enough of suspicion, because an average shop owner would charge 15 rupees at max for the same item.

But our shop owner is a content man by nature. In his village, he was offered to contest Panchayat elections, because his family members, relatives and friends thought that his character was so nice, therefore he would have easily won. But he refused to contest and instead left his village in search of a job and ended up owning a small betel-leaves-shop, which is his current destination. He has no qualms that he couldn't get enough education. He thinks that the wisdom is more valuable than formal education.

Image Source: Umbra Sumus

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Why it's so damn boring to wait?

"Desire is root cause of all evil," or so you're told. Well, whoever that mighty intelligent fellow was, my kudos to him, but at the end of my day, I prefer to say “Boredom is the root cause of all evil." Why the hell, it's so damn boring to wait for something and why do we wait? 

Boredom is related to waiting, I think, most of you would agree to that. Why do we wait? We wait because we want or need something. Boredom and waiting might be two sides of the same coin, which is all evil; or boredom and waiting might be synonyms. I don't know exactly what is true.

Boredom is mind. Don't get puzzled, dumbfounded and obfuscated in the fog of fancy words! Mind is nothing but thoughts. If you go on a hunt to search mind, you would fail. You would not be able to find it, because such is the nature of mind; more slippery than sand and deceiving trickster at its best. Thoughts, when they're normal, suggest that your mind is calm. An agitated mind has storm of rum pelt stilt skin thoughts from hither and yon. Boredom is the perception that you're not content with the present situation. You want 'more' or 'better' or 'more and better'. Boredom is incessant stream of impulsive and vehement crusaders of thoughts, which rush into your conscious and shout at you "This is not good, run away from here!"

Waiting for something might not necessarily be out of boredom, it might also be a liability or an obligation at times. That's why, up-thread, I didn't indulge into saying that boredom is waiting. No, I didn't. You're right. Waiting, when it's pure waiting, might be a spiritual transcendental practice, as Eckhart Tolle says in his book Power Of Now. But the waiting with which most of us are familiar is not so. It's uncomforting. It states loudly "I am in transition." Though whole life story of ours is a fleeting affair from cosmic viewpoint, waiting is very transition of transition called 'life story.'

Waiting is commotion, disharmony, and the time which is spent in waiting, becomes 'mind'. Yes, time is mind and mind is time, as Jiddu Krishnamurthy used to explain so elaborately in his lectures. To distance you from present moment is to let thoughts pour in plenty. That is what makes even a small situation a monster and a sucker. You are powerful enough to face anything, virtually anything at all, but just put masalas of time into a little chemical equation and it will turn out to be your nemesis ultimatum.

Waiting allows a lot of time to kill and it's the time when you're tested. You're not really tested when solving most engrossing problems related to your job, family or life in general. No, you aren't. It's waiting, the highest order of test. Time just flies when your mind is absorbed by an object of attention, but when you're waiting, it gets piled up with random thoughts.

Why do random thoughts, in absence of a creative process, make people tend to think negative? It happens. I am not spitting fudge out here. Just observe and you will come to know it. In my most humble opinion, it happens because more you think, less life-force energy you're left with. Lower levels of life force energy mean lesser awareness, which tends to make you feel more frustrated.

Waiting is evil, so is boredom. It just means that your thoughts are driving you hard. It's not as important to part with your present disposition, as it's to part with those maddening thoughts.  

The answers to waiting and boredom are acceptance and action.

Image: Here

Death Note

"Death Note" is an animated TV series. I thought that since I scarcely watch any animation these days, it would not be a very appealing series, but just a few episodes into it and I am an admirer. Despite poor print and shoddy animation at times this series has intelligent plot. The twists and turns are all well thought out and prime potagonist, along with the prime antagonist(who's who, is up to you; saw the rhyme?) run the show.

It shows how a dilligent, smart and bored high school student by chance gets his hands on a mysterious book called "Death Note". This book turns him into a power maniac, meticulous executioner of criminals, but such is the vehement force of his urge to act God-like that he crosses all the limits between good and evil, in order to kill anyone who comes in his way. The music in the beginning of the episodes as well as in the end is so impressive and cheering in my opinion. Sound Tracks used in between are also good at times. Dubbing into English is masterly. 

I have written about Thanatose in Japanese culture. This TV series is just another reinforcement for the proposition. There is hardly any other culture in my knowledge where as many synonyms for death and suicide have been invented. Shinigami, Kira and Harakiri are terms related to death which come to your mind every now and then as you watch this show. Death is seen as an inevitable reality in most of the cultures, whereas some believe that death, like birth, is an illusion. But Japan looks at death in a certain gloomy way. I cannot express it eloquently, but I feel that literature, TV and cinema do reflect this expressed Thanatose--the urge to die-in Japanese society.

Show is not necessarily for teenagers, but if you say that it's, it should not be completely wrong in my opinion. It also underscores Japanese stress on academic performers who are prime characters in this series. They're nerds and heroes and they don't detest study, in fact they keep on devouring more and more of it, every single day. Shinigami affects me at times and it makes me feel a strange nostalgia. In short, this is a very good show for mystery lovers.  

Image: Here

Monday, 21 May 2012

Advantages Of Slow Reading

You might have heard about people reading hundreds of books per year. "Be wary of fast readers," said Gore Vidal once, himself a voracious reader and scholar, he was aware of pitfalls of too fast too much. 'Photoreading' is a process where you could increase your reading speed as much as 100 times! Paul Scheele is a pioneer in field of accelerated learning and Photoreading and he is an ardent advocate of speed reading. Skeptics look at speed reading as suitable only for 'just a few' applications, if any.

I don't belong to the category of those skeptics but I have never acquired mastery in photoreading because I never wanted to flood myself with information. Photoreading might be a great meta-technique for many applications, but I recommend slow reading for the purpose of augmenting one's knowledge. Slow reading helps you look at words and if you find etymologies, word-families, derivatives and phrases exceedingly engrossing, you must cultivate the habit of reading slowly. Slow reading could act as a potential meditation tool.

In his brilliant article, Patrick Kingsley talks about slow reading in detail. A brief excerpt :

"Slow reading," writes Miedema, "is a community event restoring connections between ideas and people. The continuity of relationships through reading is experienced when we borrow books from friends; when we read long stories to our kids until they fall asleep." Meanwhile, though the movement began in academia, Tracy Seeley, an English professor at the University of San Francisco, and the author of a blog about slow reading, feels strongly that slow reading shouldn't "just be the province of the intellectuals. Careful and slow reading, and deep attention, is a challenge for all of us."
So the movement's not a particularly cohesive one – as Malcolm Jones wrote in a recent Newsweek article, "there's no letterhead, no board of directors, and, horrors, no central website" – and nor is it a new idea: as early as 1623, the first edition of Shakespeare's folio encouraged us to read the playwright "again and again"; in 1887, Friedrich Nietzsche described himself as a "teacher of slow reading"; and, back in the 20s and 30s, dons such as IA Richards popularised close textual analysis within academic circles.

The slow reading helps when you are doing it to learn something along with high concentration on the medium in which this learning has been presented. If you intend to study the style, punctuation, verbiage, flow and quintessence of the message you're reading, you ought to read it meticulously and slowly. It's not about comprehension, it's about absorption, analysis, comparison and meditation. This type of reading is not well-suited for most of the message types most of the times. But there is certain area of messages which must be read as slowly as possible and if you could just scribble for a while, after reading every two pages or so, it would become a marvellous practice to glean knowledge and to use it with Socratic Method of Freenoting. Freenoting was developed by Win Wenger. In Freenoting, you just keep on scribbling whatever comes to your mind, with as much of speed as possible, no matter whether it seems relevant or important or not.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Doctor's Scrawl

Right since my childhood days, I have heard innumerable jokes on illegible, hurried and scary scribble of doctors. I think, almost all of us have heard them some time or another. I used to get compliments for my scrawl and it has been compared to that of doctor's too often to count now. I used to wonder about it when I was young. I used to speculate about the causes for doctor's scrawl. In my case, it was a great deal of speed of scribbling, along with a lack of any urge to make it legible. I used to scribble for facilitating my own thought process; therefore it was never a need to make it legible for others. But it's not so in case of doctors. 

I used to think that since doctors have studied a lot, they had to scribble a lot and that is why their handwriting has turned into scrawl. This impression stayed with me until I was in college. But later on, I came to know that doctors were not any greater or prolific scribblers than students of other branches of Science. Then I started taking a keen interest in Graphology. What might have caused this shipwrecked scribble of doctors? 

You never know, actually; Graphology would tell that an illegible script might suggest that they have a subconscious urge for not being read. What in the name of holy ass hub? Do I mean to say that doctors don't want prescriptions to be read properly? In which case, they just want their patients to get any medicines, which might cause reactions and might end up putting lives of many of them in danger!

I would not be judgemental in this regard. This might be just because they're busy making too many bucks in too short a time span, therefore they're always in too much of hurry. This sounds a bit less ominous a conjecture than the previous one, because a desire to grow rich is common amongst social servants compared to an urge to make them ill or die. But facts do speak something in favour of the previous speculation:

"Doctors' illegible handwriting causes 7,000 deaths in the US every year and another 1.5 million Americans report minor adverse reactions-be it diarrhoea or rashes-or even death." 

In India, we don't have such clear-cut estimates as studies have not been carried out in this regard yet. But this article says:

Now, a movement has begun in Mumbai asking the medical fraternity to write prescriptions in "separate, capital letters". The brainchild of an NGO called the Forum for Enhancement of Quality in Healthcare (FEQH) and the Quality Council of India (a semi-government organization accrediting services), the first meeting on the issue held last week was attended by representatives of medical associations and NGOs. The campaign borrows from QCI's hospital accreditation system called the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) which requires prescriptions to be written in capital letters. "We don't have an estimate of how many people suffer or die because prescriptions written by doctors couldn't be deciphered by pharmacists. But going by the US estimates, we can be sure that India, where 40 lakh prescriptions are written every day, has a fair share of errors," said FEQH chairperson Prakash Gadgil.

What exactly causes doctor's scrawl in your opinion?

Saturday, 19 May 2012

We All Are Addicted To Stories

Stephenie Meyer, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich and James Patterson are top earning authors in the world today. If you do a little googling, you would find that highest paid and bestselling authors of all times are: Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, William Shakespeare and J. R. R. Tolkien. What is common in these authors?

Yes, all of them are storytellers. Humanity as a whole has a great need of stories. Stories touch something inside our core, our being, affect our way of living and perception and yes, entertain us.

Storytelling does more than alleviate boredom, it also calls into play very deeply resonant archetypes and so I feel that storytelling connects to people on a very spiritual level. With sports, though, you have the added impact of great demonstrations of physical prowess and skill. Nonetheless, you can see such demonstrations in other aspects of entertainment - for example at the circus, or at a dance concert, where you might see very talented acrobats perform amazing feats. Still, I don't think these have the same emotional impact that forms of storytelling have.

You must be having memories of your childhood days, when your parents, grandparents, uncle and aunt used to tell you bed time stories. In spite of monkey mind which ever keeps on chattering and wandering here and there quicker than you can imagine in case of children, a good story, narrated equally well-- could act as an enchanting agent. They don't only get hooked to it but also create their moral values from it.

From bed time stories to cartoons and movies, our fascination for stories never lessens. As we grow up, some of us might not like reading novels, or watching Cricket Test matches, because they need a lot of patience and time, but almost all of us, in some form or other spend every day in listening, watching, reading and telling stories. Stories in epics inspire us and act as motivators to improve our righteousness. We will not delve into the matter of what is right or wrong here, because we are here to explore the role of storytelling in our lives.

We ourselves live in stories. Shakespeare expressed it so beautifully:

All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.

As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143

We are consistently creating this fiction called 'Life' subconsciously. We weave fabrics of this story every single moment of our waking life and even in dreams we don't cease to do it. Dreams are nothing but most vivid and brilliant stories we could ever create. Many of us who have contemplated upon the nature of our dreams realize that if we could just do ten percent as good in our real life, with our stories, as our subconscious brain does in dreams; we will astonish ourselves with majesty of the beauty created. Good dreams make us feel good and bad dreams let us purge out our heavy emotions. Many nightmares in which we feel embarrassed are nothing but preparation of events to come. In all our dreams, we are protagonists, no matter whether we are winning or losing, fighting or chasing, enjoying or suffering, we are the heroes of our stories. And the same applies to our waking lives as well.

We always have a story to tell. We might live with facts, but not for enough long. That is why philosophers are so dull and boring. We have a story of success or struggle to tell and we confound that story with our life. I have so often made it clear to people that what we have in our head is our life story and not life. We are the life. I AM the life. This confusion that our life story is our life, takes away a lot of joy, beauty and light from us.

But I don't intend to waste your time with techniques to live in the present moment. All great philosophers and mystics do it. They suggest that if you want to find the Truth and Life, just start breaking the stories and start living with facts. It's never easy because we are so accustomed to stories and to part with them seems like to part with essence of our being.

All stories are fiction. All facts are also fiction because they're merely interpretation. Human form doesn't allow us access to facts. The facts are creations of human mind's narrow window of analysis of phenomenon and this very mind is also one of the phenomenons. The fiction is not Truth and it could never be, but still it's the most important part of our day-to-day existence. We cannot live without stories in our heads and we cannot live without dreams. The sleep which replenishes us with life force energy has dreams as core of its mechanisms which help us function well.

Sports, games, recreations and chattering are in a way or other forms of storytelling and their aim is mostly to get entertained. Gaining skill or information is secondary. Even the skill gained by some of the finest practitioners is used to entertain others, to help titillate them by supporting narratives in their heads. All art forms, symbolic or explicit, aim at telling a story and the audience might not be 'the other'. Dreams are stories where narrator, narration, narrated and audience have so much in common. You might have observed characters in movies talking to their dogs or diaries to purge their emotions out or to get rid of their boredom. The sense of having an audience does improve the feedback loop and makes narrative more vivid and vibrant but it's always the story for the storyteller. We create our stories for ourselves. The world is a projection of our own self and if you want to replace word 'projection' with 'story,' it would do great!

The storytellers in our culture are rewarded so well because we have a great need for good stories. This is a permanent demand, therefore the supply must be permanent and suppliers are always needed. Storytellers solve problems of humanity. They, on one hand, let audience divert their mind from grim reality and existential nightmare, and on the other hand, let audience get rid of boredom and find solace in the stories which boost their morale. This is why Cinema, TV, Novels and Sports have such a great importance in our society. Core moral values look so dry in the absence of stories; therefore we create magnificent narratives of miracles to let values pass through our minds. We create epics with values. Most of us take them without any critical thinking and start fighting based on what is written in the book, because we are so highly addicted a culture that we cannot find difference between stories and reality. We kill anyone who threatens to break the illusion of our stories. We banish those who try to awaken us from our dreams. We don't want to wake up because stories are so comforting and they help us live.

Image Source: Humpty Dumpty

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

IT Sector Jobs: A Lot of Blabberwockying

A few days ago, one of my friends who happens to be a reader of my blog posts sent me this message:

hi Anand,I liked ur blog regarding job satisfaction in IT and gov sector. can u write something more comparing It job and gov job coz its not fair enough to say that gov job only is better.there are many aspects in IT to inspire enough to make career in this sector.I have seen many ppl made their career in IT in a excellent way and their their life style and way of living is far better than a gov emp. Mr. Ashok vemuri , member of board of director in infosys,son of an IAS , has cleared IAS but opted to thrive in this industry leaving behind powerful IAS.Well IAS ,IPS,IFS is something different and no comparison with that but apart from these we cant say all gov jobs are better than private. thats what i think.whats ur take on that.thanks

I told him that I would write something. It crashes like a morbid fake Diwali rocket here:

I am not of opinion that comparison between jobs could be fair and just, especially if it is done by someone who has not worked in all of the departments which are being compared against each other. That is why I would not put a face to beg your pardon for making errors of judgement. Consider this as a disclaimer, read at your own risk; opinions expressed here are my personal opinions and they mean no harm to anyone out there. If you are 'wee bit too touchy,' don't read on. Just skip this at this moment. Take a deeeeeeeeeep full breath and let it go. Yes, you're right, except my soul everything in me is mortal! Gotcha!

Having said that, once upon a time there was a great researcher; his name was Johnson O' Connor. He was hired on-demand by his company to come up with psychometric and aptitude tests to fit jobs to people. His work is still as awe-inspiring as it used to be half-a-century-ago. Take your own time and read about him in leisure. If you don't know about him already, you will be surprised to know that his mention here is relevant to the subject-in-hand.

A job in time saves as many! I am not qualified to compare job of a government servant with that of private, but yes, whoever that wise man was, he said that you need not have a first-hand experience in order to comment on anything, for life's too short to do that; or something like that.

None of the jobs fits all men( Let linguists figure out whether ‘fit’ or ‘fits’ is more suitable here, you just continue reading!) No man is suitable for every job and it's not a matter of training only. No, it's not. It's a matter of aptitudes as well as training. Age, sex, ethnic background and many other factors play key roles in matching jobs to people. But wait, this piece of prose is not to indulge in humanities or ergonomics or industries.

Private sector jobs in India used to be very rewarding jobs as far as salaries are concerned. Sad news is--they're no longer too rewarding. Tsunamis of recessions, every five years or so along with nibbling devil of slow but haunting, scary and nightmarish market-- make it a very challenging field to work in these days. "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger," is a very popular saying. Nietzsche said it but Darwin would have immediately agreed had they been sitting next to each other. Don't take me wrong, I am not bringing theory of evolution here. I am joking. You get to test the worth of this saying more in the Information Technology sector than in the Public Sector units.

I have seen generations upon generations of people in India, spending their lives with the bug of boredom eating up their problem solving capabilities like rust during their working hours. It is not to suggest that they had no problems to solve before or after working hours. You pretty much get the sense of what I am trying to get at. Working hours used to be as flexible as it goes and that tells much of the tale about 'progress which might have happened' in India, but unfortunately did not. The great Indian mentality “go for government sector jobs and retire as soon as you begin” has almost always been because of urge of people to get "retired" even before they have begun their careers. Believe me, for many government servants, you would not be able to tell the difference in their routines if you observe them before and after the retirement. No, I am not getting at what you might not think I am getting at! Their lives were more or less like lives of their 'retired selves'. Don't solve any problems, create as many as you want to- used to be their first commandment. Files related to work were lazy by nature and they did not have a tendency of moving along tables unless they were getting power from a resource ‘up there in politics or deep down in money’. This holy 'environment', this pre-mature retirement, this lack of tendency to use brains made it impossible for people to come out of their shells of security and safety.

IT sector is ever new, ever changing, drill for experimenting with human boundaries of mind. IT sector demonstrated people how servile servitude could go. Every Monday you would find people with belts and threads around their neck, which look like belts around necks of dogs, running to their offices on over packed roads of metropolitans in India. Most of them work for one IT company or the other. IT sector has demonstrated that persons who are just 30 years of age, without any extra weight, seemingly well-to-do, could also die of heart attacks. IT sector changed face of Indian economy and there seems to be a general consensus about it. Feel free to correct me if you feel otherwise.

IT sector poses some obvious challenges for all employees and hence strengthens them mentally and emotionally if they survive. Change is more palpable and probable a factor in this sector than in most others. Physical surroundings might well be interpreted as very comfortable but this is the very factor which brings pot bellies out at an alarming unforeseen rate and then, by and by, plethora of diseases along with it. As a rule it improves communication skills because these skills make business go smooth across the globe. IT sector jobs generally need a good attention to the details, orderly processing, borderline creativity (which is barely 'creativity') and since computer savvy people are hooked to the internet, if they're thirsty minds, they tend to grow many more synapses than they had to begin with. Deadlines are deadlier than in the government/public sectors. Renew or die is the slogan on air and that is why those who survive are some of the smartest people you would ever meet!

There is no stability as monster of recession with 'FIRE arms like no other' keeps on resting over the horizon, watching you on a day-to-day basis and you're a prey no matter whether you think you're or not and when it hits you, it hits you hard in the head. If you like unstable environments, rush of adrenaline, pot bellies, serving for lord Kethu-without-head-or-sense, then go for IT sector. It's all glamour and no substance. You might end up a wreck, in doldrums or a genius with enlightenment, depending upon your tastes and digestion.    


Friday, 11 May 2012

Why There is No Universal Appeal?

Some of us are entertained by action, some by humour, some others by drama and some others by mystery, suspense or thriller. It's not very easy or wise to isolate things which entertain into genres, because there is no such thing as pure action or pure mystery. However, if you try to determine it for yourself, you will come to realize that some genres entertain you and affect you in a more profound way than others do. For example, I have a penchant for mystery, suspense and thrillers. I also like to watch history, action and humour but mystery has been the favourite genre for me since my childhood days.

What exactly shapes our affinity for genres which entertain us the most? It's not true that a person who is very mysterious would love mystery, neither I feel that a martial man;-a man of action is most likely to love action movies. What then, is actually the crucial factor which determines the distinct proclivity of a person as far as entertainment is concerned? I don't have an answer to it, therefore I would like to speculate for a while and would love to hear your ideas about it.

To decide about the genres, in TV and cinema, which entertain people most, all you have to do is to get an inventory of all the movies and TV shows released in recent years. This inventory is very likely to suggest you about the demand of genres in recent years, more so, if you concentrate on what has been liked by the public, i. e. most highly rated shows and movies. In order to decide it for the whole twentieth century however, you would have to make an exhaustive list with painstaking and meticulous effort, which is not a very difficult task to do.

Depending upon what has been a general trend over here, in India, especially in Bollywood, it's my conjecture that action packed dramas and humour mixed with musicals has had the most powerful share in the production. But TV is ruled by the drama because most of it is consumed by the housewives. A certain fraction is devoted to the detective or horror stories.

Does it mean that there are very few who really like mystery, suspense, thriller or horror, compared to other genres, for entertainment? Such a conclusion would be too far-fetched with such a petty analysis in my humble opinion and that is why I need to think more about it before coming to a conclusion and I also need to take help from empirical data. Your ideas are most welcome, feel free to share.

image source: Here

Osho: The Black Swan in Vedic Astrology: Part 2

Please see this post for continuity. 

The lord of the stellium Jupiter is situated in the sign Cancer. Jupiter in Cancer is an auspicious placement in any nativity in general. Jupiter in the sign of Cancer makes a person loquacious. Osho was a great orator and even after his death he left a copious amount of literature as legacy. Jupiter in Cancer also makes a native prudent, well mannered and popular. Jupiter in the third house is getting aspects from Mars and Rahu; these malefic aspects make Jupiter a bit aggressive. Jupiter in the house of courage makes native a very bold and courageous individual. Since third house is also the house of publications and quick communications, Osho's speeches got published extensively and he travelled all his life. Jupiter exalted in the third house of younger co-borns made Osho fortunate in respect of having many younger siblings who helped him in his journey of life. 

Jupiter as a lord of 11th house, placed in the 3rd house, which is fifth from its own house is a good placement for connections and trades, but since it owns the eighth house, its placement in a house which is eighth from eighth is not good for the longevity of the native. Exalted Jupiter in the third rashi house aspects 7th, 9th and 11th houses, which makes Osho fortunate in business alliances foreign places, philosophy and in international connections.

The stellium in the sign of Sagittarius, in eighth house of death, sex, mysteries and inheritance, on one hand make him a great Guru, mired by scandals, and on other hand it makes him not so fortunate in many other departments of life. All of the planets in the eighth house aspect the second house of speech, mouth and languages, which is why he had such great mastery over the language. 

In spite of his genius in Philosophy and Mysticism, he is not revered much and his name often causes ridicule as soon as you mention it in public, because he was an obstinate dare devil, a taboo breaking spiritual figure in the twentieth century. Stelliums in Kendras( in houses 1, 4, 7 or 10) suggest a very high public profile, if other factors in the nativity support, but stelliums in difficult houses hint towards a difficult life. Osho lived dangerously and died furiously. 

Jupiter is not only the strongest planet in the chart of Osho, but it's also Atmakaraka--significator of soul. Atmakaraka is the planet which has highest degrees in any sign. Sage Jaimini says  that Atmakaraka in navamsa lagna can indicate about the real goal of a person. In Osho's chart you can see that Atmakaraka Jupiter is situated in the sign Pisces with Ketu. Sage Jaimini says that a person whose Atmakaraka is located in sign Pisces in navamsa indicates a person who does pious deeds and attains final liberation after death.

image: here

Osho: The Black Swan in Vedic Astrology: Part 1

The birth time used for this analysis is 17:13 PM, birth place Kuchwada(Raisen, Madhya Pradesh, India), Birth Date Dec 11, 1931. Lets start with the Lagna Kundali, which tells you about the disposition of planets in various signs in Osho's birth chart. The ascendant rising is Taurus( lord Venus) about 21 degrees 32 minutes, in the Rohini nakshatra which is owned by Moon. It makes native a bit fond of publicity, a little attention seeker. Pluto is placed in the sign of Gemini. Jupiter is in its exaltation sign Cancer, though it's not in deep exaltation. Neptune is placed in the sign Leo. Kethu( South node of Moon) is placed in the sign of Virgo. Sun is placed in Scorpio, the sign of its friend Mars. Rahu ( North node of Moon) is placed in the sign of Pisces.

Lagna Chart: 

The most peculiar feature of this horoscope is a rare stellium of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Moon in the sign of Dharma and Philosophy; Saggitarius, in the eighth house of mysteries, scandals, self-transformation, Tantra and inheritance. The lord of the sign Saggitarius in which stellium occurs, is Jupiter, which is in its exaltation sign in the third house of horoscope, though not in deep exaltation, as stated earlier.

Lets focus on the nature of this stellium in Osho's chart. The stellium has five planets, which suggests that most of the karmic energies in the chart are devoted to strengthen a few matters in the life of this native. That's why the stellium of four or more planets in the charts of natives are considered to confer 'Sanyasa Yogas', the combination for renunciation. This stellium occurs in the sign of Sagittarius, which is a fiery, pious, sattvic sign and signifies Dharma, Philosophy and mysteries. This suggests that the native had karmic energies for religious and philosophical matters. The stellium in the eighth house suggests that native has done effort for self-transformation, Tantra and might recive much inheritance and might get involved in scandals. 

Stellium has planets Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Moon.

Mercury: 13 degree 29 minutes in Sagittarius in Poorvashada nakshatra.

Saturn : 28 degree 33 minutes in Sagittarius in Uttarashada nakshatra. 
Venus: 19 degrees 15 minutes in Saggitarius in Poorvashadya nakshatra
Moon : 22 degrees 19 minutes in Saggitarius in Poorvashadya nakshatra 
Mars : 8 degrees 7 minutes in Sagittarius in Moola nakshatra 

The rulers of the lunar mansions for the planets in the stellium are Ketu Venus and Sun. Most of these planets are in the nakshatra of Venus. Venus, the lord of the lagna is in its own nakshatra which makes it very strong, though it is in the sign of Jupiter which is not its friend. The planets in the stellium act as the filters for the lords of their nakshatra, therefore, most of the planets are likely to give results of Venus, Sun and Ketu in this stellium.

This stellium makes the eighth house of horoscope strongest in certain regards but does not confer longevity to the native. We would discuss it in detail. On the whole though, this stellium suggests a mystic with a great philosophy. This individual is a great orator because the lord of the house in which stellium occurs is Jupiter, in its exaltation sign. Jupiter is Guru as per the Hindu mythology and it has the power to transform lives of disciples of this native because of this mighty stellium in the house of self-transformation. The lord of lagna situated in the eighth house suggests a very learned individual.

Please refer to the second part here.

image source: here and here

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Lost: Seasons 1 and 2

I am watching TV series Lost since last few days. I am about to finish second season. Without doubt its cliffhangers, twists, turns and mystery have made me a traveler on the mysterious, ever surprising and miraculous island with ten other people. Why I say only 'ten' others? Because rest of the characters look dead, planted only for namesake on the island, but I think it's true about life as well, therefore no qualms. These ten characters and strong plot is enough to entertain you throughout the season one and two.

There are two story lines, primary storyline, of course, deals with what happens to the survivors of plane crash on island, whereas secondary storyline portrays past of various characters, in flashback, and gives you hints about the karmic connections which have brought them all on this island . I have to admit that except for a few characters, I did not like this flashback much and waited impatiently at times, for it to finish, so that the primary storyline flows smoothly.
There are many inconsistencies, perhaps deliberate at times, but very annoying at other times. Take for example 'Polar Bears' on island, a great threat for the survival for all those people. They almost disappear after a few episodes? On one hand it might be a great mistake, or on the other hand it might be deliberate attempt to suggest that, Polar Bears, like mysterious black horse, are one of the surprises of this island and that's why they disappear after a while.
Another speculation about Polar Bears might be that they just migrated because they sensed danger to their lives caused by the hunting, but that also seems difficult to digest, given that most of the times John, Jack, James, Kate and Sayid wander throughout the island and meet not even a single polar bear at all. More than that there is no chance of their getting disappeared from the island.

Similarly, take Black Smoke Monster, who seemed like a giant dinosaur in first few episodes. If this monster is really the security system, as French women tells others, why it's so inconsistent and whimsical in its appearances on island. May be.

There are many inconsistencies about which we can continue to talk whole day, but I think I enjoyed it despite all inconsistencies. Take another examples: Sometimes, it takes only a few minutes for people to reach to the Hatch from the beach, and sometimes it takes them many hours, in spite of their speed being same. Remember the day when John gets the dream about the plane and Boon dies. Even when John wakes up Boon early in the morning and Boon meets the accident, by the time John puts Boon under Jack's care and disappears it's already a sunset, which seems beyond comprehension.

Take another example: After episodes of attacks on Claire, people migrate back to the beach and thereafter, very few times people have to go to caves to refill water and there are virtually no threats to them while doing so.

But peculiarity of characters starts engrossing you after a few episodes. In second season especially, I just observed how demanding and egoistic a leader Jack is, in spite of all his goodness and helping nature as a doctor. How mercilessly driven to fulfill his dreams and visions John is, who lets Boon get killed and puts Mr. Ako in danger, knowingly. The ego-clash between these two prime protagonists is a main feature in the second season.

You rarely, if ever, see more than 40 characters together on screen, which might be justified because you cannot keep 48 people at one place all the times. Even when 3-4 other people meet the people on island near beach, the count of people during funerals hardly crosses 35 people, which is hilarious, because, it would have been wiser to keep 35 survivors instead of 48 if they were not able to afford.

The series is good for those who love mystery and adventure, but it gets quite predictable, slow and dull at times, especially because of the secondary storyline in my humble opinion. I will soon finish second season and let you know of the other season I watch after it.

Image : Here

Monday, 7 May 2012

Cool, Charismatic Goggles

In various discussion forums, on various communicator platforms and in cartoon pictures the 'cool' smiley is the one with 'dark glasses'. Is being 'cool' associated with dark goggles? I would say yes. What other associations support this idea?

Secret services agents on small and big screens, mafia dons, martial arts fighters and other heroes are seen with dark goggles. I asked some of my friends about the relation between goggles and looking 'cool'. I received many responses. But before having asked this question, I asked them:"Do you think that there is a relation between looking cool and wearing dark glasses?" It seemed that all of them were affirmative on this. Then as I asked them about the reasons-one of them said that "It makes people appear better and hence cool." Another said that it saves eyes from sunshine and makes them cool.

I have observed it in movies and TV serials that in the grim settings, the character with most cold heart would wear dark glasses all of the time. I hypothesize that except for blind people, movement of eyes is very highly associated with the change in emotions. If you're not given access to changes in eyes of the person, during a real-time interaction, it becomes exceedingly difficult to sense his emotional state, even if you are able to discern his facial expressions. Charisma, which is a more specific term for more popular urban term 'cool'(you might not agree, then, you might answer the question if charisma is associated with dark glasses) is all about being calm and composed in almost all situations. The dark glasses, in my humble opinion, don't let others gauge change in your eye movement, projecting an image of charismatic individual.

This is just a hypothesis. I would like to hear your opinion on this.

A similar proposition is: Contribution of black cloaks in making people look mysterious. 

Image Source: Here

Tasting the word Moksha

I did this piece as a guest post for James Harbeck's blog Sesquiotica. Thanks James!

Moksha is the ultimate destination for all as far as Hindu philosophy goes. It's the Hindu equivalent of Nirvana in Buddhism. You would find it most often with Karma, reincarnation, and Maya, because Maya is the tool by which the impersonal Self creates the illusion of separation, suffering (Karma) and ego (personal-self). Maya is inert but still holds key for the divine play called Lila, of which Moksha is just a part. Lila is the play in which illusion of suffering (Karma) and separation is created by Maya for the entertainment of impersonal self.
Moksha is also known as Jeevan-Mukti, Mukti, Arhata, Satori (glimpse of Samadhi), Samadhi, Emancipation, Uddhar, The Way, and Aum. Moksha is also name of a language. It’s a Russian language spoken in the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family, by about half a million people in the western and southern parts of Mordovia, a dependent republic within Russia, and in some of adjacent regions.
How do you pronounce Moksha? You stretch your lips out together in almost a circular shape, similar to the way you do when you want to kiss, and let the sound of "Mo" be created, and then your tongue touches your palate and creates the sound of "ksh" by cutting air out. It’s similar to the "k-Shhhhh" sound created with the one finger on your lips to hush someone, with the only difference that it’s slightly less stretched and you cut air out sharply.
As with most of the Hindi words, the Moksh became Moksha in English. Mumukshu is someone who has had enough of cycles of birth and death. Mumukshu is like Bodhisattva in Buddhism but the only difference is that Mumukshu is hell-bent on getting Moksha, which is perhaps still an achievement for him, whereas Bodhisattva postpones his own enlightenment and keeps helping everyone out of their suffering because of his immense compassion. Mumukshu is the one who works day and night for attaining liberation. Mumukshu is not to be confused with the Mummu, the spirit of pure Chaos; it’s also not the Momos (A Nepali-Tibetan dish) or Momus, the Greek god of satire, criticism, and writers; rather, it's a soul devoted to sole goal of ending suffering forever.
A Moksha in time saves two incarnations too many. I hope this is true, because Moksha takes its own time. Moksha is not Mocha, the dark coffee from selected beans from Arabia; neither is it moksa: various cycles of rebirth in various forms. Moksha might be something worth Monkish people, but it's certainly not achievable if you remain too mawkish too long, because sensitivity helps in initial stages but then you need to transcend thoughts and emotions in order to get Moksha. It’s not related to Mosaic Laws given to the Israelites by Moses; neither is it related to Hindi Moja for socks.
The first recorded use of this word is in Upanishadas, which were written by Aryans in India. This was used in Adaivaita Vedanta Philosophy of Shankaracharya. Jeevan-Mukti, a compound of Jeevan (life) with Mukti, is also frequently used for Moksha.
The Sanskrit root muc, meaning "to let free", is used in both Moksha and Mukti. Atma-jnana, which literally means "Self-Knowledge," is a synonym of Moksha. The Moksha is the end of illusion of separation and suffering, it's ultimate unity at which Yoga aims, it's Henosis, it's the true reality of all realities. Moksha, unlike Salvation, is final emancipation, the Uddhara of a soul.
It's Fana in Sufism; Murquaba – the true death, the annihilation, the dissolution in the ultimate truth, after which there are no deaths. It's also known as Kaivalya or Kaival-Jnana in Jainism. Abrahamic religions don't have a concept of Moksha, because after-life is somewhat similar to the life here, only with the paradise or hell forever. Moksha is enlightenment, Atman, Self, Illumination, Buddhatva, Buddhahood, Bodha, Kensho, Prajna, Atmabodha, Bodhi, Jnana, Sambodhi, Jagriti, Tathata, Bramhan and Ananda.
Moksha is not an achievement, therefore there is no competition. More realized souls are more realized because they were less realized in earlier incarnations and hence suffered, and less realized souls of today will be more realized souls of tomorrow because they are burning their Karma off today and so and so on. There are no timestamps in the dimension where Moksha happens, so contrary to what that Guru-next-door tells you, there is no urgency. Enjoy that cup of your coffee, or glass of wine and wait for the kick by Maya and you will get it!

Image Source: Google images