Eigengrau - The Darkness Within

Life Chapters | By Aditya | 2015 Trackbacks (0) Add comment   

eigengrau
noun
1.German for "intrinsic grey"
2.the colour seen by the eye in perfect darkness

blind
adjective
1.unable to see 
2.lacking perception, awareness, or judgement

It was ironic that I revealed my true self in a pitch black room. In that moment of blindness I surrendered myself - I was open, bare and unguarded and I let her plunge deep inside my thoughts, hold me tight and purge me of my fears.

You always need a light to guide you, to help you on your path to finding your purpose and make you a better person than you are. And in that unlit space I found my guiding light. In that darkness I saw what I hadn't all my life - I could perceive myself, feel more personally aware of who I am or was.

They say that it is safer and easier to surrender yourself to a stranger, but she wasn't one - or maybe she was for one last time in the darkness that engulfed us. And in that hour of blindness, she was my light at the end of tunnel and has led me to realize what would complete me and illuminate my world.

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." - Plato



A Minor Lapse Of Integrity?

India | By Aditya | 2015 Trackbacks (0) Add comment   

I come home and turn on the telly to see two politicians arguing about who amongst them is less corrupt.

Pretty interesting - I get my smartphone out and tweet "Some things never change. #IndianPolitics"

Now one of them asserts that his party was less corrupt during their term and gives proof for his claims, the other counters that her party had lesser criminals during their term. Awesome retort!!

I continue watching for ten more minutes before the show breaks into a much delayed advertisement.

Skip Channel

Farmer suicides - old news, I've been hearing about this since a decade!

Tweet - "1.2 billion people relieving themselves could fill all the dams in India #ImSureThatsATrueStat"

Skip Channel

Fairness cream ad - I tried that cream two weeks ago - doesn't work - stupid cream!

Anyway need to tweet - "Racism is in India's blood. Indians need to change #FairnessCreamAds".

Skip Channel

AIB Knockout, Aamir Khan and censorship in India - Why do these people keep fighting - Get on with your lives, Jackasses!! Give me something new, this stuff is two weeks old already!!

Skip Channel

ISIS, Boko Haram and Ukraine

Skip Channel

Sunny Leone - Seen a lot more of her on the internet!!

Tweet - "SexEducation seems to be bollywood's agenda not the governments!! LOL!! #Itemsongs"

Skip Channel

Hindutva and Valentine's - Both of these groups are ****s! They're not allowing people like me to spend time with my girlfriend in peace.

Tweet 1 - "Conservative Indians are ruining the country #mahasabha" 

Tweet 2 - "If you have a girlfriend keep her at home, why would you want to flaunt her on the streets anyway #rapes"

Upvote and like the memes on facebook which joke about the Valentine's day threats - my job here is done!

Skip Channel

Some random movie, it's at one of those scenes where the actor is smoking and drinking and they put those stupid subtitles which tell me that smoking and booze are injurious - I got the point 5 years ago! Now let me have my vodka in peace!

Skip Channel

Random sleazy deodrant ad which objectifies women - the usual stuff - *YAWN*

Off to bed.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We've grown so far apart from reality, it is no wonder that we call our public service broadcaster 'DoorDarshan'.


Integrity - Doing the right thing even when nobody is watching.



A Conundrum Called India!

India | By Aditya | 2014 Trackbacks (0) Add comment   

Premise - We were told in school that by the year 2020, India would become a developed nation aka Vision 2020.

According to the United Nations Statistics Division, 

"There is no established convention for the designation of "developed" and "developing" countries or areas in the United Nations system."

And it also notes that

The designations "developed" and "developing" are intended for statistical convenience and do not necessarily express a judgement about the stage reached by a particular country or area in the development process.


Wikipedia defines 'Developed Nation' as 'a sovereign state that has a highly developed economy and advanced technological infrastructure relative to other less industrialized nations.'

And on such a list India is categorized as a Newly industrialized country - which is the intermediate state between fully  developed and developing countries.

Coming back to the United Nations; the UN ranks countries on the Human Development Index (HDI). HDI is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. The four tiers being Very High, High, Medium and Low.

And on that HDI list for year 2013, India ranks 135th out of 187 nations.

India ranks 118 on a list of nations sorted based on Gross National Income per capita at purchasing power parity.

India is ranked 16th in the Global Hunger Index (meaning it is the 16th worst nation and suffers an alarming food and nutrition scarcity).

And adding to all those bad rankings is the one that states that India is ranked 111th in Global Happiness Index.

I know these rankings cannot be taken as a basis for the entirety of our nation, as India has a gaping divide between the urban and rural areas, but that too is part of our problem.

Anyway, leaving all these technical definitions and rankings alone, I personally feel that a developed nation is one that has proper education to everybody, is a relatively safe country, has little/no gender inequality, has a high per capita income, has no risk of major epidemics and has good amenities (drinking water, drainage, sewage etc).

I think India has a long way to go before becoming a developed nation. We as a nation are still struggling to come to terms with poverty, unemployment, inflation, epidemics, basic drainage and sewage, growing population, gender inequality, crime etc.

Growing economic inequality too adds to this list as the rich and the urban folk tend to be ignorant of the problems being suffered by the vast majority of the nations rural areas. And the rural areas suffer from illiteracy, caste based politics, religious and social dogma and also farmer suicides.

I don't intend this post to showcase India in a bad light nor do I mean that it is all downhill for our nation. All the statistics and numbers stated here are from the sources that I've mentioned below. I feel that we as a nation have a long road before calling ourselves developed.

And if we go about calling ourselves developed without solving a majority of the problems and by simply relying on terminology and rankings then it isn't going to make much of a difference for the majority of the 1.2 billion people that reside in our nation.

Anyways on a positive note, the good news is that India is getting better! Hunger is falling in India and the per capita income is rising. Our economy is classified as an emerging economy and since the past few years there has been a steady shift in global economic power, away from the developed (G7) economies, towards emerging nations like India. 

Also the literacy rate in India is growing rapidly - it grew from 64% in 2001 to 74% in 2011. The youth literacy rate (15-24 age) is 81%. 

Now 2020 might not be a realistic possibility for calling ourselves a developed nation but there definitely is progress towards a better state of livelihood, better governance and we can see a surge towards rapid industrialization in the rural areas.

Sources
India ranks 111 in global happiness index
Developed country
List of countries by GNI (PPP) per capita
List of countries by Human Development Index
Literacy in India
Global Hunger Index
Poverty in India

 



FAQ About Atheism

Life | By Aditya | 2014 Trackbacks (0) Add comment   

As an atheist, I've been asked many questions regarding atheism and why I tend to be a non-believer. Here are my opinions and answers on the frequently asked questions regarding atheism.

Q. What kind of behavior do you expect of people who do not believe in God or religion and like to prove everything through Science in facts, figures and equations?

Atheists are rational and curious, in fact they are one of the most rational people on earth. They tend to be knowledgeable and capable of making their own decisions about life and morality. And they don't base their knowledge on scriptures writteneons ago.

And as a general rule, I think everyone should be humane and keep their religious/ sexual preferences with themselves instead of hurting others and forcing their opinions onto others.

Q. Aren't they expected to be more tolerant and rational?

They are expected to be (and generally are) rational. Atheists generally avoid being tolerant towards theists because they tend to be the least tolerant towards atheists.

Atheists are tolerant if theists follow their own religion and don't shove it down our throats. Atheists are tolerant if theists can keep their homophobic sentiments to themselves and stop attacking homosexuals. Atheists would be more tolerant if theists stop claiming intelligent design to be true and force schools to teach ID to children. Atheist would be tolerant if religion is left in the churches, temples, mosques, homes and hearts instead of bringing them to classrooms and forcing schools to teach it to children.

Atheists would be more tolerant if theists are tolerant towards us and our points of view.



Q. Does it mean that our scriptures like Vedas, The Bible, etc are totally irrelevant and should be discarded and those who follow them are not intelligent?

Scriptures like Vedas, the Bible, the Quran or any other religious book for that matter have many passages which if practiced would be criminal offences in many countries.

I agree that they have many moral teachings and call for people to love each other, but the same books also tell us to treat women as inferior, slavery as good, infidels to be murdered etc. And all these passages have changed over time and most of them aren't followed - even though the entire works are called the Word of God!!

So what many followers of today do is follow selected passages of the books religiously and proclaim the other passages to be figurative. Isn't that hypocrisy and a convenient escape from all the bad that the scriptures preach?

Q. If this is the attitude of science worshipers then what is the difference between them and those who burnt people at stake for heresy?

Atheists aren't science worshipers - we see science as a rational medium which provides us with valid proofs and facts which defeat and disprove the random mumbo-jumbo which the very people who burnt innocent people at the stake followed ignorantly and adamantly.



Q. Till science and her disciples prove a certain theory with as much clarity as the theory of the round earth, is it not better to follow a middle path and allow everyone to follow his or her own path?

That is exactly what science does and religion doesn't do. Science has thousands of theories which need proofs, which need repeated results and universal validation to be established as true. Religion on the other hand rebuts every theory that science brings up with one single word - GOD!

It is because science needs proofs that religion still has a huge following, because science cannot disprove God unless it has enough proof - which it never can. But when it does prove something to be a fact, it is usually met with denial, skepticism and labeled as outright blasphemy and being intolerant towards their religion.

When for example, science tells us that gravity on earth is a fact - to not believe in it isn't called having a viewpoint - it's called ignorance!


Q. Doesn't the beauty of science lie in the fact that the more questions we answer the more questions arise? If Science had all the answers wouldn't it be the end of science?

I think what you imply is that if humans knew everything about the workings of the universe, it would be the end of curiosity. But you need to understand that science just tries to find meaning, find the pattern, find the essence of the working of an enthralling and beautiful universe filled with mysteries.

Science gave us happiness in more ways than one - telephone to talk to distant lovers, television to see news from half way across the world, internet to access the sum total of human knowledge and millions of such inventions and discoveries.

Q. Till science finds all the answers, why don't we enjoy the science and mysteries of the universe equally without hurting others by being tolerant and admirer of everything around us? For example, if we start deriving equations for the sweet smell of a flower, when will we enjoy its beauty?

Do you think we aren't enjoying science? Everything that you probably use is a result of science - a phone, a dishwasher, a refrigerator, air conditioning, computers, airplanes etc. You just need to look close enough and you'd enjoy everything in the universe without the need for religion or God. Science feeds more people on the planet in an year than all your holy scriptures combined since the dawn of time - isn't that something worth feeling proud about?

Science saves more lives through vaccinations and medicines than all the prayers and miracles of all the religions of the world combined. Isn't that something worth enjoying and celebrating?

And being tolerant requires both parties to be tolerant - science never shoves facts down peoples throats, religion shoves everything down everyone's throats calling it the will of GOD!

And since you mentioned flowers - here's one of my favorite people answering your doubts - 


My Life In Books.

General World XLNC Time Fiction Myriad Tiaras | By Aditya | 2014 Trackbacks (0) Add comment   
The course of life that I've charted upto now is filled with books. Books which inspired me, motivated me, made me wonder and also some books which made me feel sad and depressed.
 
All the books in my life! 

I've read books which range from crappy Chetan Bhagat shit to Dostoevsky. From Nietzsche to Ayn Rand. From Art of War and The Prince to religious works like The Bible, The Quran and The Bhagvath Gita. And I must say that all of them have inspired me in some way or the other. Some positively, some not as much.

I remember reading the religious books I mentioned soon after I finished my 10th exams. They changed my perspective about God, love, morality and the purpose of life. But today I'm not religiously inclined nor am I too spiritual - heck, I could easily be classified as a staunch atheist for all intents and purposes. But these books made me take up such a stance about God and religion - all these books had conflicting points amongst themselves, so I chose to remain religionless for a large part of time from them on.

During my Bachelor's I started reading other philosophical and radical books - books by Nietzsche and Ayn Rand. Nietzsche didn't have as much as an impact on me as Ayn Rand's Fountainhead - I must say it screwed up head in a lot of ways and I actually ended up being too Objectivistic for my own good. The book was followed by long periods of introspection, rejection of normalcy and manic depression. (Read my initial blog posts and you'll see the connection!)

Anyway, after the long and dark night of Objectivism came some amazing books like Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov - this was one amazing and profound book. It's among my favorite books of all time. And also Shantaram - which too is a personal favorite of mine.

In between Religion and Roark came Nietzche's Beyond Good and Evil and during that time I was inspired by Nihilism and Existentialism.

So from a outside perspective you can see how I went from being religious or spiritual (while reading The Quran, The Bible and The Gita) to learning about the meaninglessness of life (Nietzsche) to being self-sufficient and reclusive (Ayn Rand).

After all these books, came a period of lull - I stopped reading so that I could stop being inspired by every other book that came my way. I shifted to science, Wikipedia and gaining knowledge, I learnt new things about life, morality and death and I started searching for purpose and aims and goals - but didn't find any. Science was a good way to sidetrack from all the philosophy I crammed into my brain but it didn't provide the answers I was looking for.

Then came the fall - After I lost all hope and was feeling as hopeless as I ever could (a year ago) I went back to square one. I started reading the old books again, retracing my path to get a better perspective and to get a deeper understanding as to why I behaved the way I did.

I just finished rereading Shantaram a few months ago and the circle you could say is complete. I've learnt from all the mistakes and I can see where and how I went wrong with all the ideologies and viewpoints I had. Now I start afresh. You could as well say that I have started a new life altogether.

My next few posts will elucidate further on the various books I mentioned in a more detailed manner and will reflect not just on the contents of the books but also on my state of mind while I read them.

P.S. - In addition to the books I mentioned, I also read works of Khalil Gibran, Khaled Hosseini, Rushdie, Orwell, Tolkien, Kafka, Nabokov and Orhan Pamuk.


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