Sunday, December 2, 2007

Why Do We Exist?

It is a mystery that we exist. It is as though we exist as we are. But what we are and who we are? Where do we come from? And last but not the least, why do we exist? These are mysteries of all mysteries. Mysteries galore all over our universe. And we are here to decipher the codes of all universal mysteries. This way the mysteries of our life, or for that matter, of our whole existence get universalised with the phenomenology of nature as we are of the nature and the nature. Our essences of our existence is imbued with the phenomenology of nature

In the Old Testament the whole idea is embedded in the prophetic concept of the Messiah. Primordial man was supposed to put up a brave front in an undifferentiated and unblemished form of relation with the surroundings while taking a safe refuge in the Garden of Eden. There prevailed no consciousness, no differentiation, no choice or freedom as any unconscious being is supposed to have no discretionary power to any rein over himself. That was pre-individual unity with the nature and there was no diversity in that supposed unity. But that primordial unity came close to disruption when the first act of choice was called for and chosen. The first act of choice was the concerted and conscious disobedience of nature to hoist the flag of freedom.

The emergence of consciousness laid bare the chances to exist freely as a human being of himself and for himself irrespective of the emerging consequences that linger on with the angst of our existence as a being with the freedom of choices and faculties. This freedom is the harbinger of human history and in the annals of history we exist to live. The Latin word 'existere' from which the verb 'to exist' is evolved means to appear, emerge or to stand out. By this semantics it is plausibly construed that human beings are emerged out of the womb of nature, yet they stand out as a separate entity to exist.

This separateness had started since the time of rejection of primordial man from the Garden of Eden in quest of his voyage along a coast of impermanence and divergence. This idea put paid to all his chances of recovery into oneness with the absolute whole and his differentiated world became his one and only world. And in this world human beings are literally thrown into existence without having chosen it. Without having any pre-conceived cognisance of the cause and purpose of their existence, human beings are just thrown into this quagmire and are thus led to the altar of life's consequential predicaments without knowing whether there is any light at the end of the tunnel or whether there is any end to their voyage into this world.

With this void sense of discretion, their 'thrownness' (Heidegger) into the antithetic world happens to be per chance, very sudden and fortuitous. This creates a situational shift as if from one unknown world to another, from the darkness of mother's womb to a highnoon of existentially contingent world where struggle for existence becomes the summum bonum for living through a turbulence of time and space. It is so fortuitous that nothing is deterrent to that existential 'thrownness' which, in other sense, there is no choice left between to-be and not-to-be in the long run of human excellence to struggle through the impediments of existence.

It is such that the motto of 'excel or be perished' becomes essentially the means to that end. That end is living through existing par excellence. That is, human beings at first and foremost have got to exist and then to excel in living. This is the true essence of existence of from being to becoming. That is why the existentialist philosophers are of the opinion that existence precedes essence : "If indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterwards will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be." This metabolic metamorphosis of human beings is what existence's prerogatives are all about.

So, existing and living are two different philosophical paradigms but they are mutually conclusive, not exhaustive. With this inclusivist forte at a greater stake in the fray, it could be conservatively arrived at a speculative inference that human beings exist to live, or, for that matter, we exist, therefore we live. Here the philosophical essence of existence coincides with that of our spiritual beings. The fortuitousness of our existence gives rise to angst which is 'pains and sorrows' in spiritual dilemma due to the impermanence of our existence.

Still the mystery remains a mystery as ever so far as the incidentiality, causality and intentionality of our existence remain an open question to pursue and pursuing that closed secret remains the sacred quest of our life. As if, we exist and we live to know the mysteries of this universe. And what is more to know than to know ourselves and examine ourselves in a true perspective of this universe? Is it not that an unexamined life is not worth living? Is it not that as we think, therefore we are? Is it not that as we think, therefore we ask ourselves why we exist? So, we exist, therefore we are. And as we are, therefore we live in quest of unresolved mysteries of our existential world.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Life is A Journey, Not A Destination

Is life an event? Just like many other events hot and happening but generally ending in themselves? Yes, an event is just an event happening in a consortium of time and eventually ends in a frame of time receding and fizzling out in the repository of memory. Events are just some fleeting memories in human diaspora. They are slices of life, but not life as a whole in existential precedence as life transcends life in a continuum of events. This flux of events constitute world wide web of life.

That is to say that life is not an event in itself. Rather life is eventful in spatio-temporally contextual parameters or, for that matter, life is an endless stream of events contingent one upon another in pursuit of excellence. The pursuit of excellence is embedded in all spheres of life to be achieved through perseverance and diligence and that is the paramount mission of life which prods life on and on. That prodding sets life in a perpetual motion in a frame of time and space.

So, life moves on and on perpetually. At some junctures, there are some hot and happening moments of events of all experiences. But unlike events, it never stops short of taking a breath even for a while as it has got to wander through the wonders of the world. Life itself is the vortex of our cognisable world which knows no bounds to beat a spatio-temporal retreat. And life is such that it is coincided with the phenomenology of the world and as such it is in some way synonymous with the ideoverse of the world.

In Hindu philosophy it is said that what perpetually moves is the world. The attribution of perpetuality to the idea of the world is philosophically oriented to the flight of fancy that life is a journey and not a destination. Can a perpetually moving body have any destination ahead of its endless journey? An electron revolves round the nucleus and it does have nowhere to cast its lapses on any anchor positionally and its positional lapses at best give rise to a phenomenal uncertainty. This kind of uncertainty is a true-blue flagship of the ways of life.

So, life is an odyssey unto uncertainty, a voyage which is not predestined to cast its anchor on any harbour. Its white ship sails along the aisle of hopes and despair, dreams and desire at mid-summer night and at darkness at noon. Nothing deters it in its mission of fulfillment which is achieved in the prime time of death. But death is no destination of life, it is the paramount of fulfillment in life's journey unto death. Death is the beginning of another odyssey of life unto life predestined to take cognizance of the fatality life's unending journey.

Monday, November 12, 2007

In Defence of Socrates

Once Socrates was walking along the Athenian market place. On the way, he came across young Xenophon who was a just a few walks ahead of him. He stopped Xenophon with his walking stick and then asked him whether he knew where good vegetables and fish were available. Xenophon showed him the way. Socrates was less than interested at that and then he asked him pointblank whether he could tell him where good men could be found. Xenophon could not help feeling ashamed at his odd query. Then Socrates told him that if he did not know, he should come with him.

That was Socrates. He struggled all through his life to find goodness of human beings. Goodness of human nature was the summum bonum of his life-long quest through thick and thin. And that was the essence of his philosophy which he carried through the last cup of hemlock of his life. He lived for the conquest of his philosophy and he laid down his life for the conquest of his philosophy. His soul-searching odyssey into human life was the epitome of a true philosopher practicing philosophy as a paramount mission of life - he lived larger than a life to pursue the philosophy of goodness.

The abiding truth of human existence is to think, know and exist. This has essentially been the ecology of philosophy through the ages. But before philosophy was reborn as philosophy, philosophy had been the carpetbagger of natural science. It would not be far from the historical truth if it is said that Socrates (470 BC - 399 AD) acted the midwifery to liberate philosophy from the reins of pseudo-science. That was why Cicero said that Socrates "brought down philosophy from the heaven to the earth". That is, he turned the upside down by turning away from the speculative nature of Ionian cosmology to delve deep into the essence of human nature and soul.

But what to think and know to exist? To know whatness and suchness of things - things as they are and should be and that is the 'goodness'. Goodness is the logical extension of truth and it should be practically known and then should be practiced irrespective of any consequence. The consequential affects of truth bear with the morality or virtue of human existence preceding essence. The moral baggage of human life essentially coheres with the knowledge of soul or self-knowledge. The oracular dictum "know thyself" comes very close to saying that a man's conscience is the sense of knowing himself and judging by himself what is good and what is evil and that is why a man should know what is the suchness of good and evil and what should be cherished and what should be disgraces and forsaken.

Even then such a soul of high moral rectitude was discredited, convicted in democratic Athens. He was supposed to corrupt the youth and bring disgrace and ruins to the democratic premises. But is democracy sans 'demos' democracy? Were the Athenian plebeians gracefully offered the political asylum in democracy? Or, was it a sham democracy in militocracy's clothing? Socrates voiced against that shamness. And he roused the intelligent youths by educating them the philosophical truth of bravery and virtue of politics - the real virtuality of politics. However great it seemed to be, it is an open question Athenian democracy was always contended and was never blessed with moral virtue and political ethics. That was why Socrates took the initiative to deal occasional body blows to the politics of Anytus-Meletus.

And again the accusation of corrupting the youth against him does not hold good so far as the philosophical conviction of him carried him a long way to bridge the chasm amongst the various cross-sections of the Athenian people. The unlettered mass of people played decoy ducks at the hands of the powers-that-be. He motivated the band of youth to rise to the occasion so that some kind of goodness prevails in the long run and they tended to pose a sustained threat to the establishment by their continued association with Socrates. And that way they were treated as if they were 'corrupted' by him.

When there was an erosion of moral values in all walks of Athenian society, Socrates felt unnerved to shore up the cardinal virtues of life with a humane dimension philosophical truth failing which the basic premises of democracy collapse into nothingness. He had to cross swords with his detractors by the admonition "know thyself". His heroics made a martyr of himself. But that was just coincidental and in compatible with his philosophical virtuosity. As he knew himself, he never cared to know by himself how far he could achieve and how far he had achieved. The achievement amounted to nothing to himself. Yet the achievement is all there to see and it is the measure of his success as a philosopher to his successors.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Genetics of Race and Intelligence

Recently there is a newspaper article published in The Times, London regarding Nobel Prize winner genetics scientist James Watson's controversial claim that black people are inferior in intelligence to white people. Dr. Watson is said to have made the controversial remarks in an interview in The Sunday Times. The 79-year old geneticist remarked on the record that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really." He also claimed that the intellectual proficiency of the black people is everywhere to be seen.

By commenting on intellectual hegemony and superiority, he has stirred up a hornet's nest long after the Sir Cyril Burt scandal. In the late 60's, Sir Burt falsified and tampered data to establish the racist claim of the stupidity of the black people. After that fraud was discovered, the debate was laid to rest. But the remarks of Dr. James Watson proves that the age-old debate has yet not died its natural death. So, let us have quick look at what merit or intellectual capacity really is.

Is human intelligence a genetic phenomenon? Is an intelligent person is just genetically coded or programmed to be just intelligent? Can an intelligent person be called superior to another intelligent person? Or, for that matter, can human intelligence be qualified or quantified in no uncertain terms? No, human intelligence can neither be qualified nor be quantified - it is not as simple 'a thing' as such that it can be empirically judged to settle all scores. Yes, like all other human attributes, intelligence too have some implicitly genetic link but that is not the be-all and end-all of human intelligence. Environmental impacts in the form of nurturing comes into fray in developing it but we never can say how it will develop or how far it will develop.

Moreover, human intelligence and intelligent activities are socially nurtured, socially manifested and socially motivated and as such they are social phenomena not to be set aside for scientific community for their forensic dissection. A person is intelligent only when his/her intellects and activities manage to get a strong social recognition without which the all-too-powerful genetic code is never allowed to come to the fore. So, environmental impact or social nurturing is the main thing for a person to develop as a complete human being in terms of intellectual and moral standards.

In socio-political paradigm, all persons are intelligent in some way or the other. It never depends on the caste, creed or colour. Do the black people get proper nurturing because of their socio-political backwardness? Are all the white people are Einsteins or Shakespeares? So why those people are wont to boast of the white men's superiority? In that regard, I can remember a radio interview of Dr. Har Gobind Khorana after he won the Nobel Prize in 1968 for his contribution to interpretation of genetic code. He was asked whether Hitlers are genetically born. He answered that Hitlers are socio-politically born depending on the socio-political environment they live in.

It is rather sad that a scientist of Dr, James Watson's stature could talk in such extremely irresponsible and offensive way. Is that a way that an intelligent person could talk? An intelligent person should be a morally responsible person to the society and the world. If he/she is not morally responsible, he/she should never be called an intelligent person.

Friday, October 19, 2007

60 Years of India's Independence

I am not 60 over and even not yet 60.

So, I have not seen or experienced the rising sun at the stroke of that midnight when the independence of this holy land has crossed the Rubicon to sail across the oceanic times through prosperity and adversity.

And through adversity and prosperity it changes. And changes are the yardsticks of changes whether they are pointers for the better or for the worse. Howbeit, changes are changes. This is rule of the game, the Thumbrule if one likes to say. This thumbrule is predictably in conformity with the laws of nature. Nature too changes and it abhors vacuum. But nature does not change in the strictest senses, it transforms and is just transformed. And it conserves, too. This transformation is not an appreciable change of nature and natural laws.

Change is the prime mover of this world. In the context of Indian philosophy, the true nature of this world is its eternal movement. Loss of mobility is catastrophic death and in mobility lies the root of changes. Nothing can remain unmoved for good.

I too change and have changed appreciably like others. And I have lived through the changes in and around my world. Not only that, I have been seeing and following changes since I have attained the age of discretion. Without attaining the age of discretion, nobody can realise the fathom and depth of changes. Can a child see changes around him/her?

Yes, I have seen a sea-change. The thing is that I am born at a juncture or rather I have attained the age of discretion at a juncture when the old world around me compulsively is giving way to the new one. That is, Toffler's Third Wave begins its intrepid odyssey into the olde' world terrifying everything and everyone to make a colony of the age-old strategic system which has naturally become miasmic and moribund. The Third Wave seized all the initiatives.

The changes were loud and clear at a fast and furious pace.

The frogs stopped croaking in the slimy mud. The birds left their nests for a sojourn to wilderness. The sirens of crickets do not deafen the ears at the dead of night. And how does a fish live out of water if their habitats are constantly bombarded by the Monsanto devils./

The Green Revolution had hoisted the red flags heralding a cautionary signal. Beware of this landmass, water! And Air!

Had all those empty stomachs stopped stoking fire inside? Had the two-square still remained a distant daydream? Where have all those birds gone? Where all those flowers lost their petals in the ensuing battle?

Where is that reality-check? The curve is still dwindling.

The time-capsule ticks all the way. It says everything and nothing. It is in the 60's.

In the 60's itself, the heavy-duty baron and magnates, the harbingers of new political ethology, declared glibly and unequivocally: 'Produce and Flourish'.

On the high crest of the Third Wave, how many people have flourished and how many people have got run over? Sure, a few things and places looked rather awkwardly looked snazzy. Only a few posh people got into rhythm and got their acts together to demarcate the lines between White Collars and Blue Collars. Pen Pushers and Pan Drivers.

Thousands of people were evicted from their homes and hearths. Thousands of people left their home and hearths. Some in quest of fortune and some in quest of destiny. The twain never met in unison. Poverty and pride, side by side.

Juices trickled in and seeped through the fractures.

Yes, these are changes, appreciable in dimension and perspective.

There are changes in many more hues and colours. Appreciable and significant.

Old fossils bit the dust making way for new values.

In politics, economy, culture, technological applications, human values, moral rectitude and so on and so forth.

And how many wars have been fought? And how many nuclear devices have been tested on the off-shores at the cost of public exchequer?

Mafia politics, scam and spam economics, cameo culture, globally purchased and worn-out technology in the name of indigenous application, belying human values and irresponsible moral rectitude - all paid in their own coins and bearing the brunt of over-population. In theoretical mumbo-jumbo, there is silver lining to cherish the politics of developmental changes. Only a select few are the real takers. The common denominators' hope belies hope. That is the bitter truth of reality that speaks eloquent for a strategic developmental change for a common future and common lot.

I have seen many changes from the Green Revolution to Information Technology, from indigenous bard to hybrid and synthetic culture closely and profitably in association and collaboration with the global players. Swadesi Jagaran Mancha has played to the undertricks and has melted into the vase of mixed economy. Promiscuity has become the bottomline of independence. Everything is intended for selling in the global market. So, everything is export-oriented and nothing for public consumption.

And Bhopal still is at pains here and there Union Carbide thrives on. No other Bhopal? So many and so many.

Is democracy has reached the grassroots? If it is just being at hosting years in and years out, then it is strong and stout in stature. But where is the 'demos'?

The detractors say that this ancient land of wise muni-rishis has been mortgaged to the interests of super-powers. Is there anything wrong to play the second fiddle to them?

Yes, I have seen many changes and am still seeing many changes at the 60th. year of the indendence. But I wonder whether these changes are real or superficial, whether these changes are just cosmetic and skin-deep.

I even wonder whether the colonialists too have made some significant contributions to the prosperity of colonial India. Face the truth or face the music. You admit it or not, it remains to be seen in the last 300 years' history of India.

So, why is this hype and hoopla? Is this Jung's collective unconsciousness? Herd mentality propagated by all those honourable statesmen to hoodwink the people?

To-day, nobody rembers Mahatma Gandhi! Only his ghosts haunt one and all. He has been timely exorcicised. He has been an old fossil!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Yeh Azadi Kya Hai : A Political Introspection

The celebration is on and right before the day's mid-night sun.

And there is so much gung-ho as ever. Right in the nick of the moment and in right earnest. With flying colours and mightbe with much fanfare, razzmatazz and razzle-dazzle for nothing.

And with blaring of conchs and mouthful of words.

And with riot of colours it says so many sweet-nothings.

It is 60 years' old but is yet to come of age.

60 years but not come of age?

Actually it is over-aged but yet not come of age. That is, it is aged or over-aged in figures but not in spirits. The spirit is full of beans. And that is all for nothing

What is there if it is still going on all fours?

Going on all fours is the index of its true face, the baby-faced facade of its 60 years' encumbering is all too evident in the annals of its naive amnesia.

How amnesiac its patrons and guardians are!

Yes, they have buried everything into oblivion to salvage their well-earned salvation. They have forgotten the days of 1975 when the holy cow was solemnly sacrificed at the behest of the Almighty and the bleary-eyed ghost-writers kowtowed at the altar of omnipotence to save her face with white hair-line and to reinforce her cathedral by scripting a new manifesto of songs of freedom.

It is witchcraft and witch-hunting.

The sacred river was strewn with skull and bones. The insipid potion gradually turned gray with the tears of Auswisch.

Nobody bombed for the fear of freedom.

And nobody dared to bare his/her presence.

And culture of silence hit the rooftop in cahoots with more somber silence.

All the Goebels fell to talking tongue-in-cheek with open-chested breast-stroke of machismo.

History is to be glossed over, history is to be forsaken in the brown pages of history. The pages are all too tattered. The humbugs say.

But history repeats itself. In both tragedy and comedy.

And comedy of errors emacted repeatedly. By the old campaigners time and again.

Now again the same ghost-writers are acting like animals of the Animal Farm crying themselves hoarse to glorify the songs of freedom for the same fear of freedom. Was '1984' a comedy of blunders? Who dare say?

The songs of freedom are splattered always all over, the dins and bustles are spilling over as usual as though they are racing one against another to show the world who is more equal than the others to be qualified for the olive branch in the Olympiad.

But they have forgotten that the 60 years’ toddler has failed to deliver the goods at the fair-price shop for those millions who are shedding bloods and sweats at the sweat-shops in excruciating diurnal drudgery.

What is that to them?

Nothing and nothing whatsoever to the bootleggers. Or, carpetbaggers?

They only know how to get paid in their own coins.

Moolah, soft doughnut moolah. Very pricey.

Everything dies. Only callous cash nexus remains for good.

The sweat-shoppers do not know how to sing songs of freedom or cry for freedom.

The street-children do not know how to dance in tune with the songs of freedom.

They just ask silently.

They ask violently in deafening silence with cymals in their hands. Reggae it is!

Yeh Ajadi Kya Hai? Jhuta Hai Ya Sach Hai?

Who knows.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Politicians Do Not Know How To Rock and Roll

Once rock star Remo song a sung. It was like this : Politicians don't know how to rock and roll. I also admit that these special breed of buggers do not really know a thing or two. They are just humbugs, humbugs to a faulty extent. You cannot educate them. They are just uneducated. Uneducated? No, they are ill-literate.

And they are humbugs. They are arrogants. Arrogance is their way of life. Arrogance is deeply ingrained into their veins. They are so arrogant that you just cannot ignore them. Their arrogance is such that it brings you to their bandwagon and you learn to bear with it as you just cannot keep shy of their influence.

Arrogance is their main stay. It is their power. It is their power of influencing which overpowers you. You are overpowered and beaten to their kind of arrogance. You never know how to over power them and get the better of their overpowering influence. And you are influenced and get beaten in the fray. Overpowering this way is their sole motive in this game of power.

You are overpowered and you sell your power at a discount in that compelling situation. You get purchased by that compelling situation. Now you are just worthless. You remain worthless as you have already dispensed with your power. Being worthless means being powerless in the process. And you are led by the nose. This is what they want from you.

And you are always wanted. Most wanted in their game of arrogant power politics. Otherwise, they themselves are worthless and powerless. Power pays and pays the worth in real value. This is the zing thing in their games of power politics. The game is never over and the show goes on and on.

All humbugs have assembled.