Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Altruism The greatest Ideal

Altruism – The greatest Ideal

Self sacrifice we drool is the ultimate virtue. Is sacrifice a virtue? Can a man sacrifice his integrity? His honor? His convictions? The honesty of his feelings? The independence of his thoughts? These are man's quintessential and supreme possessions. Anything he gives up for them is not a sacrifice but an easy bargain. These are above sacrifice, any cause or consideration.

Is then preaching "sacrifice being the supreme virtue" not a vicious nonsense? Self Sacrifice...thats an interesting thought. Is'nt it superfluous? It is precisely the self that cannot and should not be sacrificed. It is the unsacrificed self that is respected and should be respected in man.

We hear often that altruism is the ideal. An altruist is an idealist. Selflessness is preached in every so called "ethical" text. Not a single one has ever achieved it. A man's every single living instinct screams against it involuntarily.

In the process man realizes that he is incapable of what he has accepted as the noblest virtue, giving him a sense of guilt, of sin, of thy own basic unworthiness. This "supreme" ideal is beyond conviction, beyond the basic grasp of the instinct.

He is obliged to preach what cannot be practiced. One cannot go "good" midway or be honest approximately. Preserving one's integrity is the highest of all noble things.

I want so slightly travel in time and look back at what history has had in store for us. Most great systems of ethics preach the sacrifice of personal joy. They have all had a common lineage- sacrfice, renunciation of thy self, self denial of things that make a man happy. Everything enjoyable from sex, to cigars to ambition is considered sinful. Of course its not said plain, it needs to be dressed up with some alphabetical soup like "Universal Harmony", "Eternal Purpose", "Nirvana'. This is the epitome of internal corruption. We have tied happiness with guilt. That’s how far we have come, throttled mankind's happiness.

What is the world we are striving for the future? To act together. To think together. To have a notion of “society” or “common universe” where we want to feel together. To unite, to agree, to obey. To obey, to serve, to sacrifice. I am afraid to see where this is leading, a world of obedience and unity. A world where the thought of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess the thought of the neighbour who will not have his own but an attempt to guess the thought of the next neighbour who will not have any thoughts. A world where no man will hold a desire for himself but direct all his efforts to satisfy the desires of his neighbour who will have no desires but to satisy the desires of his next neighbour who will have no desires. This is “society” gentlemen, a collective opinion of people who have no opinions of their own.  A world where man will not work for passion, for a lesser incentive called money, but for the headless monster – prestige. The approval of his fellow “human” beings, their good opinion and the opinion of the men who have no opinion of their own. There would be no objective judgement, but only opinion polls. A world driven by collective mediocres where no individuality would be permitted. A single hand, and the hands of a few who know what makes the other man tick by persuasion, power or otherwise. Where men merely become bromides. We will learn ultimate submission to men who have learnt nothing but submission. And we call it “serve”. We will fall over others to see who can “serve” best. There will be no other distinction to seek, no other form of personal enjoyment. When freaks are occasionally born, they would be forced to perish. The rest of us will smile and obey. And what are the skills we need to survive in this new world? To lie, to flatter, to to praise each other and inflate each other’s vanity. Make speeches about people and how to serve them better and not to forget the common good. And this makes us “selfless” for we are so much concerned about our fellow human beings. The men who survive will submit, obey and smile. Have we observed that a dolt always smiles. Man’s first frown is the first touch of thought, the touch of god. But we will have neither god, nor thought. Everything is contained in one single word – collectivism, embrace the group view and forget the individual which forms the group. The individual is held as evil, as an egomaniac and the group as god. Kill the individual, that’s the anthem of the new world. No motive and no virtue of the individual permitted but virtue is seen by serving the mass. We have fixed the coin, heads collectivism, tails society. So how do we appreciate individual greatness. What’s great anyway in a man? We are just a mere combination of glands, flesh and fat. Adding to this are words like “divine institution”, “instinct”, “feeling”  etc. Here, man must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason. So how we rule a thinking man? What about nurturing genius? Do we want any?.....

Monday, September 12, 2005

E = MC^2

I always used to wonder if Einstein's brain was different than normal human brains. I had a recent email which discusses this issue….

In his lifetime many wondered if there was anything especially different in Einstein's. He insisted that on his death his brain be made available for research. When Einstein died in 1955, pathologist Thomas Harvey quickly preserved the brain and made samples and sections. He reported that he could see nothing unusual. The variations were within the range of normal human variations. There the matter rested until 1999. Inspecting samples that Harvey had carefully preserved, Sandra F. Witelson and colleagues discovered that Einstein's brain lacked a particular small wrinkle (the parietal operculum) that most people have. Perhaps in compensation, other regions on each side were a bit enlarged-the inferior parietal lobes. These regions are known to have something to do with visual imagery and mathematical thinking. Thus Einstein was apparently better equipped than most people for a certain type of thinking. Yet others of his day were probably at least as well equipped-Henri PoincarĂ© and David Hilbert, for example, were formidable visual and mathematical thinkers, both were on the trail of relativity, yet Einstein got far ahead of them. What he did with his brain depended on the nurturing of family and friends, a solid German and Swiss education, and his own bold personality. Even at the age of nine Einstein spoke hesitantly, and his parents feared that he was below average intelligence. Did he have a learning or personality disability (such as "Asperger's syndrome," a mild form of autism)? There is not enough historical evidence to say. Probably Albert was simply a thoughtful and somewhat shy child. If he had some difficulties in school, the problem was probably resistance to the authoritarian German teachers, perhaps compounded by the awkward situation of a Jewish boy in a Catholic school. The late bloomer has just left us with his genius to wonder and possibly think....    

                         -- Thanks to this unknown email source….

Melancholic Ecstacy

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!

William Wordsworth and his sister had visited the Scottish Highlands in 1803. It was harvest time, and the fields were quiet. They passed a female who was reaping the fields alone: she sung in Erse(Goidelic language of Scotland) as she bended over her sickle. Wordsworth describes in his work that this was the sweetest human voice he had ever heard, the song sung in deep melancholy until it was heard no more. Thus was born the "Solitary Reaper". The poetry describes a nameless listener's delight in a young woman's melancholy song in an unknown language. The woman is working by herself in a Scottish valley, swinging the sickle and reaping the grain. What transfixes the listener in song is not its content, but its emotionally expressive music. The listener does not understand why she sings in melancholy but the songs leaves him with what the emotion itself is. The last few lines need a definitive mention:

I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,

Despite its sadness, the song helps the speaker to mount up the hill. On a slightly philosophical note, the capacity to feel emotion and link it to goals makes life possible. The listener’s heart, can go on bearing her music. "The Solitary Reaper" relates an ecstatic moment in which a passer-by transcends the limitations of mortality. Both the song and he go on together.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Existensialism: The Individual defines thy all!

Every individual is born uniquely, has got a notion of his/her "Unique self" and goes through similar(to other human beings) individual experiences. The similarity of the experience lies in the universe surrounding the individual and the individualism of the experience that the individual derives is due to their own mental perceptions of the experience and what this experience could allow them to experience. The above three factors, the individual(with his supreme "false" ego, his self and his experiences) form the basis for understanding the nature of human existence. The "Existential" philosophy generally reflects a belief in freedom and accepts the consequences of individual actions, while acknowledging the responsibility attendant to the making of choices. It is interesting to observe that this tries to view human beings(or the objective) as subjects in an indifferent and often ambiguous universe.Existentialism attempts to describe our desire to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. Unfortunately, life might be without inherent meaning (existential atheists) or it might be without a meaning we can understand (existential theists). Either way, the human desires for logic and immortality are futile. We are forced to define our own meanings, knowing they might be temporary. Philosophy has always offered Science a different plane to explore. Science has always been important to philosophers, with the first philosophers being scholars in many fields. The theological and metaphysical aspects of “truth” were also important to philosophers. Then came the industrial revolution and a shift towards Analytical philosophy: searching for truth without considering the transcendent.And think about we involuntarily involved this existence…