One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Let’s for a moment, assume that it is true, “women change their mind frequently”, then how Pakistan will look like if the 90 million passive populations become active??? One thing that will change for sure is the shift from “contradictory society” to “paradoxical society”. Let me explain, what does it mean?
Contradict mean, denial of “truth”, denial of others’ realities and contradictory society means, taking firm positions that, others’ truths (beliefs, constructed realities or whatever you like; doesn’t matter much) are utterly wrong and should be resisted or wiped out. In other words, there should be only one world view or “truth” exists and it should prevail.
Paradox means, self-contradictory or understanding that things that appear true have also another face (“wrong”) OR conflicting realities and the possibility that both might be right or both might be wrong. Paradoxical society means, people accepts the co-existence of multiple realities and people do not try to exterminate the reality of a part of society just because it is not matching with their own.
Although it is just a contemplation that by once 90 million passive population becomes active, that are supposedly frequently change their minds, a society shifts from contradictory to paradoxical society. One might ask that, why a society goes from paradoxical once it is not contradictory? Whether we accept or not but it is a fact that all societies are actually either contradictory or paradoxical in their basic nature. There is no truth or reality that does not contradict others or itself. Let me give an example, there are people who oppose “Evolutionary theory” that is a unifying theory in biological sciences but follow biological research in health. On other hand there are people who are great defender of “Evolutionary theory” but politically favor socialism or libertarianism (both of these two systems are thought to contradict evolutionary theory; Evolution is not product of controlled/regulated environments). It is just the nature of reality and it seems that there is no escape from contractions and paradoxes.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Being a fan of the fictional character of Sherlock Holms as a symbolic representation of a rational man, it is natural to think of the mind behind the character as a highly creative and rational person. Arthur Conan Doyle is the creator of this character but you may be amazed to know that the creator of such a rational character also believed that fairies do exist. In 1921, he wrote the book, “the coming of fairies” and he believed that the 5 photographs of fairies that were taken by two cousins, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths in 1917 in Cottingley, England were original. He was a member of “Ghost Club” and based on the differences of beliefs on “spiritualism” broke up with his friend, Harry Houdini who was a magician and was opposing “spiritualism”. So, how a rational person accommodate such an apparent paradox? Before pondering on this question let’s explore some more related paradoxes…
This is what one of my teachers told us as a joke,
…. The government started a literacy project for distant villages and was sending teachers to villages to teach people reading and writing. In some villages the village chiefs were opposing and resisting the project. A teacher reaches in one of such villages where village chief was against the project. He chooses the mosque as his classroom and evenings for his classes. It was a good strategy as people were free at evenings and were coming to mosque for evening prayers and following chatter. He succeeded to attract most of villagers and it made village chief furious. The village chief appeared in one of the class sessions. The teacher wrote “snake” on board. The chief went to blackboard and draw a snake beside the word and asked villagers, which one looks like snake, my snake or the teachers snake? Villagers replied your snake. The chief was successful in driving out the teacher by saying that he was fooling people…..
This is not really funny to make you laugh but I remembered this parable yesterday when I saw some large abstract sculptures and paintings exhibited at concourse between Albany State Museum and MacDonald. I am somewhat OK, with those abstract painting that have expressive color combinations but what about sculptures? The materials, colors and shapes, nothing in them are expressive. Expression is at core of Arts. Without expressions nothing makes sense in Arts. The modern Arts are like Arthur C. Doyle beliefs in fairies, there should be something that is above our understanding to merit as an imaginative.
I would have forgotten about the Modern Arts but today seeing a wooden abstract sculpture that has replaced by “late” fountain in front of library tower at University reminded me again the debate of the teacher and village chief. To me, nothing is more expressive, beautiful and romantic than water, especially fountains and water falls. I think, the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang is right. Perhaps as our rationality grows so is our irrational parts and Modern arts is an expression of our co-evolved irrational part. May be my obsession and thirst for natural beauty is due to my primitive rational part.
I better to grow more rational so my irrational part also grow and start loving modern arts. No I think, a better solution is to change my perception to accommodate more paradoxes. It is much efficient way..hehehe. In fact, there is one aspect of modern art that I appreciate and that is the factor of “rebellion” but not to the extent that Ai Weiwei and Aliaa Magda Elmahdy's went. It is my understanding that cultural rebellions, though sometimes controversial helps in shedding hardened skins and shells during cultural metamorphosis. So, how rational men accommodate irrationality under at an attractive names of Modern Arts and even religious devotions? I think, the answer lies at plasticity of our left hemisphere. It has the job of rationalizing our deeds and likings. No matter, how much irrational and paradoxical are our devotions and likings, left hemisphere is very good at rationalizing things and convincing us.
Friday, April 6, 2012
…………“Thereupon many statesmen and philosophers came to Alexander with their congratulations, and he expected that Diogenes of Sinope also, who was tarrying in Corinth, would do likewise. But since that philosopher took not the slightest notice of Alexander, and continued to enjoy his leisure in the suburb Craneion, Alexander went in person to see him; and he found him lying in the sun. Diogenes raised himself up a little when he saw so many persons coming towards him, and fixed his eyes upon Alexander. And when that monarch addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, "Yes," said Diogenes, "stand a little out of my sun." It is said that Alexander was so struck by this, and admired so much the haughtiness and grandeur of the man who had nothing but scorn for him, that he said to his followers, who were laughing and jesting about the philosopher as they went away, "But truly, if I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes.……………Wikipedia
I chose this legend as it beautifully illustrates the appreciation and dominance of Philosophical thoughts in Athens. To me, the comparison of a penniless philosopher to that of a great king in the form of a legend is more show of this kind of functional-brain-wiring than anything else.
For long, I was fascinated by this tiny (from our modern perspective) ancient city state; Athens, with an estimated population of 250,000 populations, out of which only 30,000 men had civil rights and the rest were women and slaves. Just for sake of comparison take Hazaras of Quetta; Hazaras is a minority in Quetta city (the least populated province of Pakistan) with an estimated population of more than 600,000 which is more than double population of that of ancient Athens. I understand that it is reasonable correlation to compare a modern population with an ancient city state that have more than 5000 years of time gap in between. On other hand it does make sense when we compare their accomplishments. Living in ancient times, when human knowledge was primitive and means of recording and transferring known knowledge was expensive and limited and at a time when modern educational institutions were absent, in a very period of time, Athens produced the kind of great men whose thoughts became the foundations of Western civilizations as a whole, Muslim civilization in part, USA and global world in general. It is not just the failure of Hazaras as even much bigger nations that have access to modern human knowledge had failed to produce not even a single man of knowledge of that statures… Why?
Right now, one possible (of course from many) answer comes from “Neuroscience”. Though there are doubts about the methodology (It was started with “Split brain experiments” and now is dominated by fMRI – Functional Magnetic resonance; measuring the blood flow in brain; as brain does not store energy so it depends for supply of sugar on blood and measuring oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood is way of measuring consumption of energy and activities of certain brain areas and correlating them with certain behaviors or thoughts provides key information to know how brain functions; correlation is tricky though) but still, one thing is appearing as a common pattern and that is brain does not have a “central control”. Different brain areas functions “independently” or “semi-independently” or in aggregates and it is why we have conflicts inside our heads but the good news is that all these happens in subconscious level and we usually do not notice so the conscious mind is usually has a resolved form of thought as a conscious product (comes with rational theories/explanations about final decisions)…
One common example might be the breaking of rule that we make to follow strictly but we tend to go easy on ourselves and rationalize once we break those rules; e.g, if you have made your mind to stop taking sweet dishes but seeing your favorite sweet dish, your lizard brain make you eat and once you have broken the rule then your left hemisphere come up with a theory to rationalize it, usually with a reward theory to justify the acts.
I am not neurologists and these explanations might change as new techniques or new hypotheses emerge but one thing that I get from this is,
The frequent use of certain brain areas increase their performance and make them dominate over other parts (increased neuron connections in those areas) so the wiring of the brain depends on the rate of usage of certain areas. In simple words, it is the functional wiring of brain that determines a person…. If it is true (as of now accepted) then reasoning on the same line, it is possible that each era is Dominated by “Particular Functional Wiring of Brains”…
“In other Words, if we know human history based on the certain golden ages like, the correlation of rise of Athens City State with “Golden Age of Philosophy”, the correlation of Renaissance and industrialization with “Golden Age of Sciences” , the correlation of rise of digital technologies with “Golden Age of entrepreneurship”… it makes sense in the light of dominance of certain “functional wiring of brains” because they are seen as way of unbeaten success in their relative times….”
1. Golden Age of Philosophy;
Athens city state was much smaller as compared to Egyptian, Indus, Chinese, Babylon and Persian Kingdoms but because the rhetoric and reasoning was a way of earning/maintaining high social status and political positions in the so called Athenian “democratic state” so the Sophists were offering those skills to people in market places. Coming back to our functional brain wiring types hypothesis; because of higher demand for reasoning, the push for this functional brain wiring was a dominated so it make sense that some of those sophists distinguished themselves from the rest as Philosophers. Right now, for me it is a convenient explanation for how in short amount of time, Athens could produce so many great names in Philosophy whose thoughts became the foundation of Western civilization in particular and modern civilization in general.
2. Golden Age of Science;
Based on same line of reasoning, the renaissance and following industrial period was a time for naturalism. The reasoning supported with evidences was a kind of thinking that was proving a liberating and empowering force. “Liberty; Libertarian Philosophers” and “Power; Nietzsche and Darwinianism” were two main themes of these period (Colonization and World Wars were two tragic byproducts of these kinds of functional brain wiring). Again, it makes sense that the zeal of empowerment and sense of freedom made the discoverers and inventors social outliers. So it is not surprising that why in a short period of time continental Europe produced so many great Scientists that reshaped the face of earth and redefined the basic concepts of Man, God and Universe.
3. Golden Age of digital Entrepreneurs;
I don’t think, I need to explain this period as following the same line of reasoning, anyone can figure out why in short period of time, the Silicon Valley produced so many successful entrepreneurs in very short amount of time. The big names, like those of Bill Gates (Founder of Microsoft), Steve Jobs (co-founder of “Apple”) and Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook), Sergey Brin (Less known; the co-founder of Google) dominates over other fields. Now, it became a trend and a recipe for success to come up with a novel idea for business which promises an empty niche for rapid growth and becoming a giant before competitors appear in the market. So it really makes sense to see the dominance of this kind of functional brain wiring in Golden age of digital entrepreneurs.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
“One day Sa’adi (a Persian poet) was traveling by foot from one village to another. The footprints on the trail caught his attention. There were footprints of a camel and a man. After a while, he saw print of camel in sitting position and prints of hands shanks, toes, foot (the sign of difficulty in climbing down and climbing up of camel), and of low pressure pee beside it. He concluded, “A pregnant woman must be sitting on the camel”… and then he noticed that there are flies at one side of trail and bees on other side trail flying here and there, “Hmm, the camel must be loaded with ghee at one side and honey on other side” .. While continuing to follow the footprints, he also noticed that grass at one side of trail is grazed upon and other side is untouched, “Aha, one eye of camel must be blind”… On his way, he meets a man with a stick who was looking desperate. As he reached the man, the man asks, “Haven’t you seen a camel on your way? I stopped for rest and fell into sleep and after waking up found that my camel is missing”.. Sa’adi replied, “Was your camel blind at one eye?” …”Yes” the man becomes excited… “Was it carrying a pregnant woman and was loaded with honey and ghee?.. Sa’adi continued asking… “Yes, all the signs are correct” the man becomes hopeful … “Well, I haven’t seen your camel”… Hearing the answer, the man loses his temper and starts beating Sa’adi… “You must have stolen my camel”… It took a few hit of sticks and lot of explanations before he could convince the man that he has just seen the prints and marks not the real camel… It is said that after getting out of trouble, Sa’adi promised to himself that this good lesson, if people ask me, “Have you seen camel?” even if I have seen one, my answer will be, “No”….
Though this parable was created to warn for unnecessary zeal in expressing quick conclusions but my aim here for it is to illustrate the deep desire of mankind for finding meaning in everything is basically originates out of their ARROGANCE. Men basically want to appear right because proving wrong or errors wounds their ego and self-confidence. Men try very hard and even at great costs to appear consistent and absolutely right. And it is why they try to relate themselves with something that “That is always right”… Some men try to be consistent with nature (Naturalists), Some try to be consistent with a form of “Infallible Truth” coming from a higher source like that of “God” (Religious people), Some try to be consistent with logic (axioms that have passed the tests of falsifications; Philosophers) and some try to be consistent with Science (Hypotheses that have passed the tests of both falsifications and evidences)…
You might say, “OK, that is what we all know… What is the problem?” … Well, quest for consistency is not a problem in itself. It becomes problematic with the emotions are invested in it. You know, mankind is basically “Slaves to their emotions”. Emotions are system of rewards and punishments within each person. When something is consistent with our emotions, our emotions reward us with good mood and feeling good. As a joke makes us laugh, similarly by feeling “Right” or be on the right side, our emotions reward us with feeling good. On other side, by feeling that we are wrong or we are on the wrong side, our emotions punish us with sadness and guilt.
Men are in fact slaves of their emotions and it is why, they usually do not listen, read or investigate what their opponents say. They fear that by being wrong they will be punished by their emotions and they try by every way to escape it. It is also the basis of our prejudices and standing on one leg and stressing on “Our truth” against “others false”…
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Of course, we go but there is a way to go safely for them and that is to first test them in small and pilot projects in a manageable environments to learn the costs and benefits out them and to perfect them before putting them in practice...
You might have heard about Venus project of Jacque Fresco. Of course, it is utopian but just because it utopian doesn't mean it is totally unreal. Utopias are in fact mirrors in which we see the reflections of our current reality. So, I hope you will enjoy seeing some reflections...
Monday, April 2, 2012
Every generation has its own traditions and these traditions are based on their visions of life. There were a tradition of building spacious rooms in previous generation and the reason as I was told, to make children’s hearts and minds grow big. They believed that living space effects on thinking and personality of children and to make their children think big and have big hearts, they were making spacious rooms. I don’t know how much truth it holds but I respect the philosophy, it is based on. Parents were trying to go beyond their limits to make sure the availability of abundance in basic needs of their children. There was the concept of “hungry eyes”, something as a signature of bad upbringing. To install content in the children, one could hear again and again the proverb, “if one is hungry we can make him full but if one’s eyes are hungry then nothing in the world can make them full”..
My feeling was that the people who were targeted killed on Thursday (March 29th) was brought up in spacious rooms, they were raised to be content and have big hearts and think big, much bigger to think mean for others. Their heads and hearts were targeted because they were much bigger to be places for narrow-mindedness. They were raised to work single-mindedly for progress and of course their “progress” in this narrow-minded and envious environment is looked upon as a crime punishable by death.
The first time that I saw the real demonstration of “hungry eyes” was in Rawalpindi. I was early and had to wait for the bus to go back to Quetta. The waiting wasn’t boring as this overcrowded bus stop had a lot to observe. The buses go to all major cities in four provinces from there so one sees people from the provinces and northern areas. The diverse outfits, languages and behaviors and most importantly attitudes invite any curious person to observe. It is not just bus stop, the hotels, food stalls, costermonger, street vendors, cart pushers and taxi drivers, all trying to earn a living for their families. Whenever a bus arrives, the taxi drivers and cart pushers surround it to get passengers or offload and carry their goods to taxi.
A bus stopped in the middle of this narrow road, as usual taxis and carts surrounded it. A fat, bald and waddling old man that was appearing, the father of the family escorted the three women, two young girls and an elderly woman to other side of road and got busy offloading his goods on carts and then into taxis (A lot of goods, rented two just to take his goods and third one for his family). The women were looking different from crowd; they had fair skins and had half covered heads with dupatta but what I had never seen was that a lot of people had stopped and were looking at them as they were aliens or something strange. One could see the uneasiness and urgency in the girls, their mother (who was trying to cover her daughter by standing in front of them...notch.. huh) and the father who had difficulty in walking and was trying hard to get out of there. It was the first time that I had realized, how the normal looking crowd is terrifying when they have “hungry eyes”. There wasn’t anything unusual in dressing or behaviors of those girls. It was just their fair skins that had caused uneasiness for them (I could imagine that how something that should be a plus point make lives miserable in a crowd that are suffering from hungry eyes)
The same is true for Hazaras in Quetta. From journalists to former President of Pakistan (Pervez Musharraf) is saying the same thing. The crime of Hazaras is that… they are progressive and in short amount of time have “progressed” to appear as outliers and it has attracted the “hungry eyes”… Again, if some are hungry, their stomach can be filled but if their “eyes are hungry” then even the lives of people can’t fill them…