Job done (Poem)

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

The mailman’s inky fingers
were shaking like a toddler’s head
when his eyes saw
the tragedy
behind the letters.

How many kisses of death
and the news of hell
can the latter carrier
take with him to the village?

This is no majestic mission.

God decides
yet the messenger takes the blame.

I long to lug the light
and twist the words
so that
the beloved only knows benevolence
and the rumours only
rush to remind a forgotten face

yet the sound
I
deliver is cold.
the memory
I deliver is tainted by time.
the laughter
I deliver is brief
and burdened by blows of
blood.

Locked and locked to the
a load of luck.


Starvism(Poem)

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

When the hunger
kindled
belly-revolutions
the world
didn’t feel like Maya(illusion).

I had to agree with Charvakas.

Yet
when the buds were
touched by Samosa

I was reminded of
Frank Mccourt’s
“After a full belly,
all is poetry.”
words.

So
I had to agree with Plato.

There exists
a realm of forms
with perfect Samosa-ness
untouched by chef’s
imperfections and flies.

When the belly’s happy
all philosophies die away.

If not
we get
Marxists
Existentialists
and sold-out poets.


Forward motion (Poem)

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

Self Suspension happened
after a few miles
On the X-axis
mind was
meeting itself
On the Y-axis
matter was looking
for a gospel.

The thieves are thieving
The babies are behaving
The retirees are believing
and
The bellies are improving.

Now I’m 29hrs
more older.
Still
not yet wise
in the moment.
only
after the moment.

the slow movement of the engine
disturbed the
hard-won nirvana
after the food
but Mary Oliver’s
words have hit the heart

“Things take the time
they take. Don’t worry.”

but the raging atoms
hardly listen.

Attention is a phoenix.
It perishes
and rises in a second
at least it does for me
while I’m
pondering.

Behind me
was a bald head
swimming in the newspaper…..

I guess these are
those times
where nothing happens
yet we see something
in everything
in anything
even when there’s nothing.


Misplaced(Poem)

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

Patients who
hold fast to life
on their cancerous beds
are the worthy philosophers.

Artists who give away
little pieces of themselves
to every canvas
with an ignorant heart
are the worthy creators.

Teachers who
labour to raise
the wise flowers
even in the poverty of attention
are the worthy dream keepers.

Soldiers who
hold the heartless lands
with a solitary mind
and a pregnant heart
with a belly full of pain and love
are the worthy poets.

Monks who eat away
the “I”‘s
in a rock cave
with a candle of innocence
are the worthy moralists.

Doctors who
drug us for a surgery
and wound the soul
under the surgical lights
are the worthy lovers
with a radioactive smile.


Crowd, the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent and the Omniscient (Essay)

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

For so many of us, the crowd is the god. We don’t know much about the final judgement day that awaits us for the sins we do on earth but feel the “judgement” of the crowd and its beating on our backs to correct any “deviant” act and morality every day.

After a while, the thought policing of the crowd makes us a unidimensional, unidirectional and unidentified man. We become the loyal dogs of our tribe. Centuries of conditioning combined with religious sanctions and social ostracism imprinted the need for social approval and acceptance deep in our neurons. The validations we crave in the name of likes, retweets, comments, and hashtags on social media are testimonials of this fact.

The initial premature tribalism later evolved into glorified nationalism and the totalitarian rules in Europe and other parts of the world. The popping up of “Yes-Masters” in the crowd killed millions of Jews. This is mainly because the crowd acquires unthinking and participates in the acts of evil, without not being necessarily evil. ( Hannah Arendt covers this in Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the Banality of Evil. Can one do evil without being evil?)

If the crowd accepts something as pious then it is the iron law. Few souls opposed it and got the punishment. Socrates was accused of impiety (desecration and mockery of divine objects) and was killed for his Parrhesia (Frank Speech), just to give a well-known example.

Forget about challenging groupthink, the normal choices about food, clothing, movies, books and music are judged left and right. Conformity is rewarded and nonconformists are branded as “different”. The news reporting agencies too know this. Hence, the fourth estate also never crosses the line.

Immigrants face this problem a lot. They are supposed to “Fit in” and any misfits preaching multiculturalism are a nuisance in society. And the whole concept of “Melting pot” is a metaphor for majoritarianism. James Baldwin says this— Who wants to be melted down? And melted down to what? It’s a problematic metaphor. You’ve got to tell the world how to treat you. If the world tells you how you are going to be treated, you are in trouble.”

It’s unfortunate that the crowd took the place of god. However, education can be a good tool to change this ( Here, it means, Paideia. The deep education rather than cheap schooling). Leo Buscaglia puts it in the way I want it to be—

“Education should be the process of helping everyone to discover his own uniqueness, to teach him how to develop that uniqueness, and then to show him how to share it because that’s the only reason for having anything.” Such kind of educational transformation can be starting place. It also raises the truth tolerance levels of society and taps into the “wisdom of the minority”(Frederick Douglass).

A perfect end here can only come form Emerson—

“ Masses are rude, lame, unmade, pernicious in their demands and influence and one must not concede anything to them, but to tame, drill, divide, and break them up, and draw individuals out of them.”










Boredom(Essay)

https://pixabay.com/illustrations/hand-girl-light-surreal-cartoon-5879027/

The culture of productivity, the ideology of capitalism and the mimetic desires of a man in the Anthropocene make boredom an unforgivable sin. Clocking the maximum hours and the hustle mindset of the workers with complete alienation of self (Karl Marx) is the path for proletariats with laptops.

The solitude and idle sitting have become vices and the conditioning of 9 to 5 makes one feel guilty if he/she dares to skip a second. The conscience and self-censorship (Micheal Foucault) will punish us for the sin of wasting time. An alarm goes off with a warning to get back on the track.

Infact, now, collectively as a species, we have become afraid of boredom, as exclaimed by Bertrand Russel in “The Conquest of Happiness”. Instead, the rat race, fueled by corporate lords pushes people into the hedonic treadmill of consumerism to get instant doses of dopamine.

Our busyness which often is forced distracts us from living and solving “Bigger problems of life”. Because only we are conscious of our existence and its drama, it naturally becomes our part-time job if not a full one to solve it. Erich Fromm wrote in “Man for Himself” that man is the only animal for whom his existence is a problem which he has to solve and from which he cannot escape. Only boredom and the process of it all give us a mediocre chance to solve a few existential questions in our life and at the least give us a defining philosophy to live according to his own terms.

That’s why Kierkegaard offers the virtue of “idleness” and Adam Phillips gives his notion of “Fertile Solitude” as necessary for life. It can spur creativity, and mindfulness and unlock profound questions. This is denied to people nowadays.

Walter Benjamin (Illuminations) calls out our allergy to boredom as a particularly perilous affliction of the Information Age. The consequence of it is best put by Bertrand Russell—

“A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation in whom every vital impulse slowly withers, as though they were cut flowers in a vase.” No wonder, Ralph Linton laments that all cultural advance derives from the human capacity for being bored.

Boredom offers a tiny space for reflection, and rejuvenation if one can embrace it. Without any pause, the constant stimulations will break us down and we won’t question the same old stuff we have been doing again and again without any reason simply for the sake of it. (Sisyphus Existence) Knowing this, Jews curse someone if they want to with the line—“May you never be bored.”

Boredom, then, needs a closer embrace and we have to put up with it and not treat it as a biblical sin. Boredom is a perfect prequel to new things in our life. It represents our desire to “create” and seek newness and weird things. Kierkegaard says—“The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings.” See, gods are no exception to boredom and humans have come out of it.

Hence, dear Sapiens, surrender to boredom.

Walking and Women Empowerment(Essay)

Credits: Canva

Biological Anthropologist Alice Roberts opined that if one needs to sum up the crucial difference between apes and humans in just two words, then they would be: Brains and bipedalism(Two-legged upright motion).

Walking upright on two legs that too habitually separated us from the other apes roaming around the jungles. This motion made us take a U-turn. As noted by Jeremy Desilva in his book “First Steps”, this new way of moving gave problems: making giving birth more painful, slow running speed, flexible but fragile spines, and a lot of ailments like hernias, sinus, and knee issues.

However, it proved us with noteworthy advantages that are too hard to miss. Freeing up of limbs led to the expansion of sensory and motor brain areas, standing up stimulated visual areas more often at the back of the brain, and restricted vaginal canal due to the changed structure of the Pelvis created new openings called Fontanelles (For compression) in the brain to let the baby pass through the birth canal which subsequently causes a massive increase in the size of the brain (Not so for chimpanzees and bonobos), energy efficiency, better thermoregulation, carrying capabilities and empathy.

Walking especially the long ones makes the heart pump faster and circulates more blood and oxygen to the brain, promotes new connections between the brain cells, stimulates neurons and alters the volume of the hippocampus in a good way and kicking spatial intelligence.

Creatives, thinkers and long-beard philosophers knew for a fact that walking makes us brainier and smarter. Hence the long walks. Henry David Thoreau says—“ The moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” And Friedrich Nietzsche goes to the extent of saying that “ Only thoughts reached by walking have some value”. Math nerds know how William Rowan Hamilton could come up with his equation (Complex Numbers) over a walk along the royal canal in Dublin.

If this is the case and walking is the superpower that made all the difference for humans then it raises a serious issue here. We have been denying this advantage to women under the name of patriarchy. By confining her to the four walls and making her prisoner in the home, this “fundamental right to braininess” is denied to them. Simon de Beauvoir in her seminal work “ The Second Sex” points out this indirectly with her words—

“ One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius, and the feminine situation has up to the present rendered this becoming practically impossible.” Continuing it, she adds further, “ Woman is shut up in a kitchen or a boudoir (bedroom) and the astonishment is expressed that her horizon is limited. Her wings are clipped, and it is deplorable that she cannot fly.”

This point to a direct correlation between walking/mobility to women empowerment. That means women breaking up the glass ceiling, and climbing up the ladders of social mobility too is dependent on their ability to walk and stroll across the park without gazing eyes.

Nari Shakti (Women’s Power), then, begins with putting on shoes to their feet and take the leap. That one small step could be a giant leap for womankind, paraphrasing Neil Armstrong.

—Go out and walk. That is the glory of life (Maira Kalman). And we should let women do that more often.

God and Ungod(Essay)

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/crucifix-illustration-208216/

For the average Joe, Watch is a humble device to know about time considering it a simple analogue one. Not so for William Paley. In his 1802 work, Natural Theology, he held that as the existence of a complex watch compels our belief in the existence of an intelligent watchmaker, so does the existence of complex life forms, which compels us to believe in an intelligent creator(In this case, a god) for its design.

The logic is complexity cannot arise and exist in nature without the hand of an intelligent being(God). So, all of space and its “stuff” is the result of a watchmaker’s engineering skills.

Then came a man who turned up the notch. Charles Darwin, the dear lord of all the scientists, with his “On the Origin of Species”(1859). He argues, by taking into account living creatures, that life was not designed by choice instead it had evolved by chance. New species arise naturally by a process of evolution rather than having been created by a god. That was the wisdom he acquired in the infamous Galápagos Islands. Thus the theoretical fight club began with science and religion throwing logical/faith punches at each other.

In 1986, probably deliberately, Richard Dawkins borrowed the same Paley’s analogy and wrote the eyebrow-raiser—“The Blind Watchmaker”. He attacked the god-made-the-world’s notion with his computer models and stated that the Darwinian worldview was the only possible explanation for our existence and it is the only theory that could solve the “mystery of our existence”.

Obviously, the other side too didn’t rest.

Michael J. Behe, a professor of biochemistry came up with “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution”. He opines that the many biochemical systems indicate the presence of intelligent design rather than evolutionary processes with his “irreducible complexity” theory. He takes the mechanisms of blood clotting, immune system and several others to prove it. Michael basically uses all the black holes in Darwin’s theory and fuels the fight.

However, it’s pointless to argue over this. Neither human intelligence with all its subjectiveness and narrowness nor faith mixed up in parables alone can solve it. We need both fact and fiction(only a metaphor here).

Even if we pick sides, say for argument’s sake, there is an intelligent design behind all this. Philosophers with their old hats come with the question of “Purpose”. The issue of “what’s the purpose of it all?”. Then we know how Soren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus wrote of “Absurd” and so-called “Sisyphus existence” and the “Existentialism Nausea”, that Jean-Paul Sartre talks about. They question the very existence of human beings and the meaninglessness of life. Then a new debate kicks in.

And if we pick the side of science, mere quantum physics is enough to reveal the complexity and the big question mark over our heads. And the humility it imparts is breathtakingly big. In fact, as someone rightly said, the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless. Things get more interesting once the alien life is found.

Move on. What Gould said in his 1999 book, “Rocks of ages”, is the way ahead, at least for this essay—

“There’s a proper sphere for religion and there’s a proper sphere for science and they don’t overlap. Isn’t that great? We can all be friends.”

Let’s end it that way.


Nietzsche’s Camel(Short-Essay)

Friedrich Nietzsche in his easily-put-down-able “Thus spoke Zarathustra” compares the ordinary crowd to a camel. The camel carries irrational wisdom and a load of stupidity without any rebellious reaction.

The morality, then, questions none of the belief systems, grandeur but loose ideas, and undigested education on its back without any humble questions at all.

And the camel has values of religion and the words of priests, scriptures and dead gods on the tongue. Of course, for Nietzsche, it soon ends when the camel metamorphosizes into a lion, a being that can rebel and unburden the weights of the past for the sake of love and freedom and to full fill the quest of Superman.

But in the practical world, the metamorphosis rarely happens. Consider our education which puts the “the wit and wisdom of legends” in our minds with rote memorization and mark-sheets always chains us to stand on the “shoulders of giants”, to use a Newtonian phrase. The Socrates in our mind never comes out to raise the school uniformed hand in classrooms.

We at least expect a dialogue-debate-discussion in university but the dumping down of the Himalayan syllabus down the throats of students doesn’t give us a chance.

and the parenting, often a helicopter parenting, too thrills when the child is a camel, in our case, literally by carrying loads of school bags filled with classics(class-notes) that a child never opens.

The orchestrated labs never have lions in them nor a child( Nietzsche’s ultimate state of mind) that can curiously play with the chemicals.

obviously, camels continue old traditions. We were that camels who burned women alive in the name of “Sati”, deny entry to temples if found to be menstruating, and practice female genital mutilations.

The elephant in the room here is the bag of karma that dictates every atom in India. This camel-ness, for a lack of a better word, keeps India in the past and not in future of space travel or quantum fields.

Here, Lionisation, again for a lack of a better word, doesn’t mean aping the west as we have been doing for quite a while now or making science a new religion or creating “materialistic philosophies” but taking independent paths, putting aside the “matrix” of the rut and consider letting in new winds into the hearts and minds.

Perhaps, Mahatma Gandhi puts it right this time—

“ I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”

Thus spoke “I”.