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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

TOTEM

In Culture, Life, Philosophy on June 26, 2017 at 9:19 am

 

The-Totem-Altar-4ea3d25c442b4_hires

Reason for the existence of mental illness such as Schizophrenia is the dichotomy of individual reality and social reality. An individual’s reality exists solely on the basis of that person’s perception. Imagine a person who cannot see. That person will have a very deviant opinion on beauty which might be rooted in sounds or voices, rather than visual aesthetics.

Coming back to persons with their senses functioning optimally, we find that individuals in proto-societies devised a method to amalgamate discrete realities into one single, all encompassing one by submitting themselves to a common ‘totem’.

Definition of totem. 1a : an object (such as an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry; also : a usually carved or painted representation of such an object

b : a family or clan identified by a common totemic object.

It is only natural for a species like the intelligent humanoids as we appear to be, to devise such methods to offset our mass space dementia, floating along hopelessly and unpredictably through uncharted territory with an obscure history that noone really knows when it actually began. The punishment or consequence for not accepting the social totem is banishment to the fringes of societal existence, or death in most extreme cases. Territorial and aggressive as we are, most clans prefer to kill the non-believer than risk a future uprising that will topple their precious totem.

The author sees an end to the relevance of totems in the propagation of social anthropology only after a technological breakthrough to link individual minds of persons into some kind of hive-mind so that a thought can be said to be shared absolutely as opposed to being strictly discrete. That brings in even more conundrums but we’ll worry about it when we get there. The Conjoiners in Alistair Reynolds’ Revelation Space saga is a valid imagining of that scenario.

Until that era of Transenlightenment, we are going be apes on a floating rock, murdering opposing clans with differing totems, in an endless gallop to merge all realities into that ever so slippery and incomprehensible single reality of an Ultimate Truth.

 

Read more:

Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud

 

 

 

 

False Prophet

In Culture, Life, Philosophy on October 21, 2016 at 8:09 am

In this day & age, how would you recognise a true prophet walking among you without anything short of getting thunked on the head with a lead pipe, carried by the prophet of course.

You cannot be blamed for this state of things because in the world we live in, the average person is inundated with useless information shutting him/her down into a passive state of adherence to the status quo. The number of people you’ve met during the course of a year will now include all the human beings you’ve met, as well as the quirky characters you’ve been exposed to in all the movies you saw, or the mindblowing ones in the books you’ve read. (The author of this blog recommends the characters in books since they’re well fleshed out than the other two sets of losers)

On top of this quandary, there are the vast number of false prophets walking amongst us. The ones who claim to have a guaranteed position upon the shoulders of a supposed creator when judgement day finally comes. It is assumed that you can achieve salvation only if you communicate with that creator using this person as a conduit. Their malevolence feeds on the weak and the destitute!

Coming back to our initial query of how to determine a bona fide prophet in this day & age…

Ironically enough, the one person who unknowingly discovered the procedure was one of  the scions of our present consumer culture, Steve Jobs. And the technique he came to be known for was Reality Distortion. In older days, this was known by another name, a miracle.

 

The reality you are experiencing right now was manufactured by people similar to yourself who’ve come before you, but it is also possible  to completely change it and mould it into a new phase. The proof of this lies with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

 

You have every right to be skeptic about any such methods, and you should be. If I want to imbibe anything through this blog, it is this….

Do not take anything at face value, Question Everything & Everyone!!

4sxgtgt

 

 

 

Relevant

In Culture, Life, Politics on November 22, 2015 at 9:51 am

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, editorials have been popping up dime a dozen analyzing as well as normalizing these kinds of wanton destruction and disregard  for sanctity of human life. Especially the humans walking the street.

If they hate Hollande for his foreign policy, the terrorists ideally should have made an assassination attempt on his life, instead they target common civilians. If Osama and his Al’Qaeda organisation hated American foreign policy, then they should’ve gone for the seat of Bush administration, or his immediate family. Instead it is always the civilians, ordinary folk like you and I, who are at the receiving end of their mindless wrath. This fact exposes the lazy cowards for what they really are in the grand scheme of things.

Editorials normalizing incidents of terrorism have gone so far as to say that the world is not at the brink of collapse, that ISIS operates in a border-less global civilization, and even earlier editorials have been published on the psychology of terrorism.

As it is with any discipline of science, there is no need to overthink the reason behind acts of terrorism. Always remember to Keep It Simple.

Two words encapsulate the cause of this widespread unrest.

Narcissism & Relevance.

Politics and foreign policies are pointed out as reasons just to distract the public at large.

 

That’s what you want in life. You want to feel relevant. You want to feel connected.

Our entire planet is progressing at a blazing pace, but a large segment of this burgeoning population is unable to let go of their ancient beliefs and traditions. In order to push their agenda, youngsters are recruited, youngsters who have become disillusioned with the on-goings of daily life and want to put their stamp on an indifferent world.

And there you have it. At this meeting of post-modern narcissism and old world irrelevance, terrorism is birthed!

They aim to make you respect them through fear.

I know you are scared. I am too. But we have not evolved these many million years just to give in to some insolent children with guns.

Even as the streets get louder with hate propaganda, remember that you’re surrounded by helpers. Always look for these helpers whenever in trouble. We are everywhere and outnumber the terrorists many times over.

Take care.

You know….

In Culture, Life, Philosophy on November 5, 2015 at 8:42 am

bertrand-sample

The Spectrum

In Culture, Earth, Life, Philosophy on July 4, 2014 at 6:27 am

 

You can’t even begin to imagine the scale of experimentation that Mother Nature has been up-to regarding propagation of life in various forms. Most of them might end up as a dead end on the evolutionary branches but a large number of those do turn out to be successful and thrive in their niche.

 

Humans constitute one species among all of this flora & fauna, albeit a flourishing species, if not the most. What I wanted to speculate on today, much like most of these blog entries are speculations, was about the wide range of characteristics spread out over these billions of human beings. The fundamental hereditary units are so numerous whose survival depends on ‘lucky & favorable circumstances’, rather than ‘survival of the fittest’. (The luck mentioned previously can be manufactured by manipulating resources that you may possess, or acquired, or stolen.) This range of difference is not conducive for social amalgamation of individuals, resulting in creation of artificially concocted ‘lowest common denominators’, or totems.

 

Do you believe in what I believe?

 

If not, then we have a problem. The most primitive solution to this quandary was the evolution of totems which lead to religion and now you have that totem hanging around your neck, placed nonchalantly around spots that your community gathers. Even when it comes to the application of these totems, we find the spectrum of human behavior varies. The only religion that mimics this endless variation is Hinduism. Crores of Gods for crores of humans. Islam and Christianity vouch for a single entity as their God-totem, which inevitably leads to  squabbles of the violent kind especially when given political connotations, emerging from, ‘you don’t believe what I believe’.

 

Coming back to the spectrum analogy, the sheer variety of human characteristic is visibly evident in physical traits. The same variation exists in the mental makeup of these vast number of people. People are predisposed to kill & usurp. That is how apex predation works. The notable point is that this instinct gets wired differently in individuals. It is spread out over a huge spectrum just like varied physical appearances in hominids, old and new.

 

If you ask me, altruism is the greatest experiment concocted by Nature. You will go so far in altruistic methods as long as those actions don’t cost you unfavorable outcomes, but as soon as there’s not enough ‘return on investment’ of altruism, the stakes are back to every man for himself. This is most probably the reason for emergence of conscience & reasoning, to gauge altruism. 

Loss of Meaning

In Culture, Life, Politics on October 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm

This isn’t about a perceived lack of meaning due to abandonment of a particular set of theological doctrines. This is about the erosion  occurring to a frequently used noun; terrorism.

achmed the dead terrorist

The meaning is commonly accepted to be any kind of violent terror that is inflicted in order to coerce a particular action. Most of the times the intended outcome involves the release of their comrades from imprisonment. The recent ones have been about religious extremism. There have been terror attacks by anarchists with the purpose of chaos, which they ideally believe to give chance for an alternate governance or non-governance that might lead to widespread societal harmony.  A vast number of times, attacks have been inflicted by the lower rung to the burgeoise. The Nihilist Movement worked this way predominantly.

The ETA and IRA organised terror attacks for their causes as well. But 2011 bore witness to an act that resonated with the global conscience. Religious extremism was able to inflict the deepest blow to modern civilization. Organisations with a military outfit used to prepare their plan with a target at hand, but as of this point in time, maximum indiscriminate fatalities are the norm. The arbitrary nature of this provocation can be deciphered from midnight attack at Mumbai and the Nairobi Westgate Shopping Centre tragedy.

Hamid Karzai SEAL team six bodyguards

SEAL Team Six provides close protection for Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Historically, leaders began to be fitted with protectors after the first terror outfits started gunning for them. Is this the outcome that can be generated by present day terrorism? Security State with pervasive state protection for civilians.  Of course there will be criteria to be eligible for maximum protection which can only be afforded by the upper rung. What will the indiscriminate terrorists do after finding it cumbersome to get at the burgeoise while a large section of the population are just fish swimming in a barrel. Geographically, an urban area with access represents this barrel, which would mean a wide range of barrels for picking.

The Al-Qaeda core has weakened but its affiliates are going strong. These extremists have effectively hijacked terrorism to spread their fundamentalist ideology. The replacement of Christian Law with Sharia Law.  Terrorists used to be minimally funded and their targets were local but now we have entered a phase where globalized terror has embedded itself in the worldwide psyche. The funds have improved as well. The meaning of terrorism is declining, all the while engorging itself into a monster with life of its own.

Automaton

In Cosmology, Culture, Life, Philosophy, Universe on April 20, 2013 at 6:22 am

An automaton is a self-operating robot, or it is at times referred to as an android. It might appear to have thoughts of its own but in reality all of its cognition is pre-programmed and it follows rigid rules preventing itself from questioning these pre-programmed rules.

On Earth, raw material for creating such a machine is available in innumerable quantity, in the form of newly born human-beings. In fact, the whole economic system adopted globally is very much driven by and dependent on this quantity of raw material. Unbridled self-replication followed by mindless consumption props up the predominantly capitalistic economic practices, which under scrutiny turns out to be just a giant global Ponzi scheme, to demarcate the rich & privileged, from the poor & downtrodden.

Some automatons do turn out to be exceptional critical-thinkers and trounce this man-made facade of economic fallacy, thus enriching themselves, for e.g the entrepreneurs who create truly beneficial tools for daily use by the automatons, or the occasional winner of Who wants to be a millionaire? But what is lost in this noise, is the fact that plutocrats remain at the top of our economic ladder, owning  a vastly disproportional amount of the world’s wealth.

“The richest 300 have the same wealth as the poorest 3 billion!”

The automatons are falsely taught to toil, or work, or sell their time to an employer, in order to earn a living. This is nothing new. In pre-industrial societies, slaves and their labour were economically extremely important. Following reforms brought about by a renaissance concerning basic human rights, automatons have been inculcated to sell themselves, as slaves to modern slave-masters in the garb of corporations. The usual objective of such an automaton is to imbibe a need for consumption in fellow automatons. Thus the vicious cycle is maintained ad infinitum.

It has been almost 3 and a half years since James Cameron’s Avatar was released worldwide. Cinema is a medium that has the widest reach in our modern world, and this particular movie had a strong environmental message proclaiming that we only have one planet to sustain ourselves. Cinema is also tragically the medium through which automatons worldwide are lulled into passivity when they should be clamouring for realization of human rights &  cosmic research and exploration. After Avatar, and countless initiatives by environmental organisations worldwide, the automatons continue to buy more than 2 cars per house, continue to consume obliviously.

When you consider the fact that there have been numerous calls for a revolution, or a paradigm shift, and yet no change seems to be in sight for the near future, to save our only habitable environment, the Wachowskis got it right about the automatons in their 1999 masterpiece, The Matrix.

“Many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”

The enemy is among us.

Rule of the Khan

In Culture, Politics on April 9, 2013 at 7:10 am

Indian populist culture is familiar with, and pays ceaseless, cosmetic tribute to contemporary Khan Dynasties epitomized by Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan & of course Aamir Khan. But what the Indian diaspora fails to recognize is the fact that Khan Dynasties not only rule their movie industry, but their fragile political infrastructure is led by one of the most powerful Khan dynasties on the planet.

The Nehru-Khan Dynasty.

Jawaharlal Nehru was an English aristocrat first, and an Indian freedom fighter second, who happened to take over Indian politics in its nascent state. He was a true statesman, both articulate and charismatic. His daughter was a whole another matter. She was a true authoritarian, chiding and scolding, even punishing state leaders for failure to comply with her dictatorship.

Before she rose to her seat of power, Indira Nehru, as was her maiden name, married Feroze Khan. The surname of Feroze Khan’s Parsi mother was Gandhy, but even then she still hadn’t attained the much coveted political surname.  Since you’re reading this, you might as well get to know Maimuna Begum! Her marriage was not well-received by her father, which prompted M.K Gandhi, to mediate the issue. He adopted Feroze Khan, thus gifting him and future generations of Indira’s family, the holy grail of Gandhian nomenclature.

Thus finally we arrive at the year 2013 A.D., with Antonia Maino , aka Sonia Khan, aka Sonia Gandhi reigning over the Indian sub-continent. If we follow the true family nomenclature, we have Rahul Khan, who is touted as successor to the Nehru-Khan Dynasty.

Truth is stranger than fiction…only until you grow measurably familiar with it.

Ordered Disorder

In Culture, Life, Politics, Universe on February 8, 2013 at 8:44 am

Every human being on this planet is trying to satiate himself/herself, trying vehemently and continuously to bring order to its  biological (disordered) aggregated system. This disorder manifests itself in the thought process, i.e your thoughts have no deterministic pattern if we ignore short-term objectives or falsely and artificially imbued long term objectives. Every violent action or thoughtful kindness you find committed in this world is an attempt to bring order to an infinitely disordered cognition. Kindness is positive and should be perpetuated but the negative, violence committed for personal, individual and economic gratification is holding on with equal footing. This shows a basic flaw in the organisation of our global civilization.

H.L. Mencken said, ” I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value.”

The description in the first paragraph is often termed idealistic and scoffed at. The masters say it is not attainable and the subjects obey. We keep marching to the drums of war with no end in sight but of infinite  murder, rape, extortion and pollution(both extrinsic and intrinsic). Nowadays violence is so commonplace that we won’t bat an eyelash if a woman’s intestines are pulled out through her vagina. Masters pin it as an isolated instance, use the police baton to kill the perpetrators and the public moves on. Eye for an eye, or normalised violence.

The President’s daughter will never get raped.

Loki: Kneel before me. I said, KNEEL!
 Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes          your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.

Natural state implies an ordered state as opposed to a disordered state.  Freedom imposes free-thinking which is an assault on our disordered cognition. It is so much easier when thinking is done for you and an artificial objective is set. And then the onus is upon the subjects to achieve it. On the path to achieving this, we find our brothers and sisters getting raped and murdered, yet we ignore fundamental human instincts to protect the less fortunate only to be housed in individualistic spheres of self-involvement.

Lets consider the horrors of genital mutilation. Protesters from Femen(postmodern feminists) gatecrashed the Berlin Film Festival diverting spotlight towards the issue of female genital mutilation. The masters have already won when they’ve divided their subjects up into segments. The females fight for the females and the males fight for the males.

Photographers & Femen protester at Berlin Film Festival.

Photographers & Femen protester at Berlin Film Festival.

We should stop genital mutilation regardless of gender.

A male child screaming,  lying restrained & helpless while being circumcised.

A male child screaming, lying restrained & helpless while being circumcised.

Divide and conquer is how the British took control of immensely populated India. They introduced an artificial disorder by pitting the Muslims against the Hindus and then proceeded to garb themselves as the solution to this disorder. Today, we live in a world characterized by its capitalistic economy. The masters divide you up into different socio-economic classes. It is a well-known fact that a wide margin is emerging between incomes earned from varying professions. A while ago, the income disparity between a farmer and a bourgeois Indian was as high 1:5, which is widening as you read this. Escalating numbers of farmers committing suicide is testament to this.

We live in an especially tumultuous period in the evolution of human thought. The stage is set and looks ripe for a paradigm shift in global conscience, very much akin to the shift from geocentric to heliocentric worldview. The onus is on the subjects to overthrow artificially embedded materialistic hollow objectives that appear grossly outdated and inefficient for an increasingly dense and disordered population, prevailing only to further the ambitions of  plutocrats.

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.”

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.”

Medium

In Culture, Politics on October 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

As soon as you leave our planet’s atmosphere there is no longer a medium to carry sound waves propagating from your vocal chord. Only pristine silence awaits you in the heavens. This is not so in our natural habitat though. Visual and auditory pollution is rising incrementally.  Our infotainment obsessed culture is to blame for inadvertently creating Huxley’s information-overloaded dystopia.

Information-fed eyeball

We, the present occupants of Earth are participants in an emancipation of nascent global governance. We can no longer ignore each other. Communication has brought the entire human race coupled with all their prejudices and endowments under a singular planetary umbrella. International tension between India and Italy have been rising ever since two Italian marines providing security for a cargo ship, were jailed in Kerala(South India) for slaughtering hapless fishermen in international waters, mistaking them for pirates. The marines’ actions would have been inconsequential in earlier times.

Information percolation through various media ensured that these marines were held accountable. But staying true to binary tendencies of every component of nature, media carries along with it a potential to easily transform itself between news-carriers and news-makers. This is evident in the recent Zee News scandal involving blackmail of steel industrialist Navin Jindal.  Another instance is Diana Spencer’s car accident brought about by incessant papparazi giving chase to the royal divorcée’s  boyfriend’s limousine. As a civilization, we are being conditioned to feed up on information meted out by celebrity news casters every day of the month, every year.  Huxley was right.

India is known worldwide for its nuanced absurdities and the present situation involving outing of corrupted officials in high governance deserves introspection. Coming across hard-hitting pieces written by leading houses on current affairs, one would begin to wonder what was the intended purpose of journalism while the corruption was going on in the first place, instead of gawking over all of its records. An efficiently functioning media is touted to be the watchdog of able governance. Yet we find a dog inflicted with acute Attention Deficit Disorder waking up at intermittent points and then dozing off again.

The lesson for today, my children is never give in to false representation which news reporting invariably turns out to be. We see what they want us to see. Case in point: Consider any press conference. The camera is positioned such that it hides all gathered press contingent. We are not able to witness a scene in its entirety but a dressed-up visual, amounting to eye-candy.  What else do you feed mute eye-balls anyways…

xxOOxx

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