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Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

Thousands of years of human evolution has failed to quench the insatiable thirst of man for a man’s blood. Just like striving for power, is killing and annihilation a basic human instinct? We have learned and groomed and polished ourselves and become civilized. But civilization has taught us one art to perfection. Beyond a shadow of doubt, we have learned and mastered to kill and annihilate with sophistication. 

We are proud to build immense data & information warehouses. And what do we gather? A bare ironic fact. Our immense knowledge, history, experience and learnings have done absolutely nothing to alter the beastly seeds of greed, lust and power ingrained in our genes. Everything pales in the face of this bare truth.

I don’t know if Jagjit’s ghazal has any co-relation to the ramblings and makes any sense here but I felt like embedding it in the same post.

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Okay. Am done with reading two books on philosophy and science, back to back, dealing with inception, existence, purpose and history of life and universe. Phew! If I still sound intoxicated, so you know who to blame. (Not me, of course!). Just raking my way through the hangover which is more like a dizzying experience we suffer from, while standing at the edge of what we humbly term in structural engineering as an overhang.

The blockbuster ‘Sophie’s world’ written two decades ago is highly recommended. In pursuit of simple everyday babble such as ‘who are you?’ and ‘where did the world come from?’, the book leads you through a philosophical trail of three thousand years of history of mankind and civilization. At the end, the author through his masterly fabricated tale, plot and theme, leaves you wondering whether you are living in reality or surviving in a mere realm of reality. The evolution of mankind and civilization and the ever itching human quest and need to discover and explore the secrets of universe and life have been briefly narrated. A cautious approach, if not meek, towards the existence of God is evident throughout and questions of religion and faith are at best left open ended. It will be fair to remark that the author has stated a variety of perspectives without taking any firm positions for or against them.

On the contrary the assertions of our modern day researcher cum scientist Stephen Hawking are rather revolutionary and blasphemous. Relying upon a notoriously evolving M theory, in his work “The Grand Design”  he painstakingly sweats and is hell bent upon proving the creation of universe and life sans God. The complexity of what he proclaims all boils down to the fact that multiverse i.e multiple universes owe their existence to the big bang that occurred some 13.7 billion years ago when ‘something’ was created out of ‘nothing’. Thus all evolution and creation of universe and lifeform is no miracle but a logical conclusion and result of immaculate obeyance of laws of nature. Knowing our present as a reality and a fact, and eliminating various possibilities by virtue of statistical and mathematical probabilities, he argues, history as well as the future of the universe can be predicted. Thus, there are more than one probable histories as are there probable multiple futures. What comprehensively beats all my wits and senses is the sense and assumption that there exist eleven dimensions in the universe including a dimension of time space. Sounds sense less? Who knows !?

As regards the creation of first physical atom, the author claims it to be hydrogen. However, he fumbles and staggers to build a convincing case for the creation of first carbon atom from thereon, which happens to be the basis and essential element of all organic lifeform. The worst part and the bad news is that he still firmly stands by Darwin on my evolution_ when he stubbornly declares that my forefathers existed in the form of baboons and monkeys for centuries tracing back their roots and tails to the first homo sapien that came to breath some two hundred thousand years ago on the cooling planet.

From here I would rather retreat to the safety of being a believer and a monotheist, for it gets increasingly difficult to chew on and swallow bits as indigestible as these.

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I received an email from a colleague explaining some startling facts and intricacies of the universe, first thing this morning. The emphasis was upon the inperceivably humungous expanse that formulates our universe not to mention the enormous nebulous and material mass of heavenly bodies that remain suspended in vacuum gutted firmly to their place revolving endlessly in elliptical or circular orbits in mind boggling harmony, discipline and co-ordination. Never crossing each other’s path nor interfering in other’s business. If there is a limit, that hardly matters for it is almost meaningless putting a limit or end to a scale that is much beyond the comprehensible capacity and tendency of a human mind.

We are dealing with such a countless and unlimited scale where our earth and even our sun (much much larger in size than our earth) is lost as a tiny speck in a blaze and mass of heavenly bodies scattered across the atmosphere.

The message perpetuated therein was “what is the significance of a human being in such an endless expanse where even my world is entirely lost and struggles to assert its existence?”

If we are dwarfed to such a minuscule proportion whereby our existence becomes questionable and much insignificant, what is the point in carrying all those worries in our heads and squabbling over our mundane contentions?

After a brief consternation, a thought drifted across the bleak layers of my mind transforming gradually into a voice that echoed within the confined corridors.“I am my universe in myself; I am the centre of my own universe” That’s precisely what a philosophical and behaviourial school of thought believes in, not without much reason, I must add. Via any exchange, either I am giving something away or receiving it from the infinite entities surrounding myself, nevertheless, I remain the center and focal point of my own little world. Whether the universe is small or large, it is pointless as long as my problems remain my own just like my blessings are unique and my very own.

In this haphazard world of uneven distribution, the nature has been kind and just about one entity at least. What is the logic and justification behind that, one does not know. God has His strange ways of doing things. Time is the only resource, of which one can think of, that is uniformly distributed amongst the blessed and the condemned souls. Okay. You might again disagree. Our life spans vary, are unique and unknown until we die. Again looking at a lifetime from an evolutionary point of view_generations and generations have eroded over thousands of years since the inception of the mankind. What does a life span of 60, 70 or say 100 years signify amidst that torrent and wiping current of centuries?

Evanescence!

But what is lasting amidst all that momentary flash of life we are exposed to? What makes a difference and counts is, in addition to our deeds, our contribution to the evolution of the humanity and the permanent footprints or undeliable reflections that we leave behind for the following generations to adapt or benefit from_The environment, atmosphere, conditions, resources, morals, values, knowledge, learnings, manners, etiquettes and the material world we pass them on as theirs.

Life goes on and so does the history and evolution. On road to continous exploration and discovery, the man continues to unravel the amazing facts and secrets of universe. However, personally I shall always remain indebted to Newton for unearthing the greatest eternal truth about our universe. What holds everything together and firmly in place despite immense disparity and diversity is the mutual affinity, gravitational pull and bonding. Isn’t that what we quite call as love?

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A magnanimous contribution by the worthy Mrs. Delirium to the blog

Discoursing the literacy rate in Pakistan is something of an oxymoron. In a country where clean drinking water is a luxury and basic necessities like electricity are not available, But what is new is the innovative use of technology to make a difference in the lives of millions of Pakistanis. The Telemedicine project, a 35 million rupee project, whereby  a network is established in the rural areas where health facilities are minimal to nil, patients can get examined and treated by the use of cameras and live transmission by consultants in tertiary care centers. Using trained paramedics, patients can get their querries attended to, get themselves examined by high-resolution cameras, get their investigations ordered and referred to the nearest tertiary care centre if urgent intervention is needed.

 In a country with a majority of rural population living well below the poverty line and where medical facilities are a luxury and poorly developed transportation infrastructure, the provision of medical advice by experts is a bane. Areas inaccessible by mobile vans can now be covered and patients can get treated at a fraction of the cost they would have to spend getting medical expertise in the traditional way.

The successful use of this technology can be extrapolated to dispense knowledge and spread awareness in general in the rural populace. In a country with majority of its population at the mercy of quacks, the Mullah the main knowledge dispenser and the feudal as the main arbitrator of justice, the applications of this technology can be multifold.

It can be used for the distribution and monitoring of knowledge and ensure its correct implementation in areas notorious for ghost schools, with schools synonymous with dilapidated shacks and sharing of their spaces with livestock.

In a country known for embezzlement of its development funds and White Elephants, the judicious use and implementation of such technologies can make a difference in the lives of millions of Pakistanis and bring a much-needed revolution in this nation.

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Knowledge & Bliss

A little knowledge they say is dangerous but is there a saying about the excessive knowledge ?

By that I certainly don’t imply that there can be an end to the everlasting healthy quest of curiousity, inquisitiveness or research and investigation that continously unravel new treasures and wealth of possibilities and facts for the benefit of the mankind. Any arrogant mindset or belief of the sort spells only stagnation, doom and virtual death.

But knowledge like every other worldly entity is relative. On our ascent along the learning curve it grows in bits and pieces. Sometimes steep while at others gradual, accompanied by inevitable effects as it surpasses a certain threshold.

Just wonder why the heavenly smile begins to fade into gloom, while the spontaneous natural purity starts dwindling as a toddler steps into the early boyhood. Is it the knowledge that meddles and tends to pollute and tint the spotless soul?

Knowledge renders our approach cautious stealing away the congenital impulsiveness and intrepid vigour and flare of the early years. While it instills and equips us with prudence, rationality and choice on one hand it invariably adds suspicion and skepticism to our character on the other to the extent that we all end up losing that priceless adorable lil child in us; the one we keep seeking in another generation in every sweet little soul that we encounter.

While peacefully wallowing in the blissful paradise of our notions in our own confined worlds, every morsel of information is intriguing and shakes the foundations of our perceived impressions. Sometimes I really wonder if contentment and complacence are the functions of and are inversely proportional to the mundane knowledge that we gain ? A shepherd dwelling and surviving high up in the mountains with his simplistic and next to primitive life style and beliefs, at least on the surface, with his limited needs and aspirations appears far more self satisfied than my restless and insatiable existence.

Am I wrong when I infer that it is ‘more limited knowledge’ and experience that I have gained over a few years that inevitably owe more to my being developed into a perfect skeptical cynic than anything else ? When you are able to look beyond the reflective surface of a prism with a penetrating sight, or so you believe, then witnessing that shattering of a beam of light into delightful rainbow spectrum torn into multiple hues with seven distinct identities may not always be a pleasant experience. That is probably what happens when you know more than the obvious bit, and in vain, try to reconcile your breached or wounded soul or battered ego, by chanting the idealistic optimistic maxims. That is where the bitterness creeps in and you begin to question and suspect every happening under the sun.

While you are still convinced and believe that positivity is the way forward, the rampant absurdity of the contradictions and blatant dichotomy in words and practices mock at you. You begin to question the basics and wonder if there is anything such as absolute that exists.

Absolute right or absolute wrong?

Absolute good or absolute evil ?

As you learn and grow, you are confronted by a barrage of half truths and selective prejudices masked in highly innocuous justifications for grave realities. If everything is relative then you are perhaps the only one wrong while struggling to swim against the conventional currents. In that case it is time to set the bearings right and drift with the tide forgetting everything about the conscience and integrity.

But on second thoughts, I can’t be convinced that this is what seeking knowledge and learning is all about!

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