Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brush Strokes - Excuse me, as I take up the brush ...

Well thats more like a cartoon, seriously I should be doing cartooning ;)
Tried my hand at water colours after a loooong while - just to see the effect :)
Was actually triggered by this cute kid right in front of my house,
who was playing around with his toy pistol during Diwali !
Whether a cartoon or the simplest of watercolours whatever you feel, feedback welcommen ...

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Questions I ponder over ...

Is religion a kind of psychological therapy and the rituals a method of social bonding/enhancing community feelings/ providing some peace of mind.
Why is a belief system necessary, is it again a kind of psychological anchor - the god / divine entity.
Were the rituals and the supposed high-handedness of Brahmins in the Hindu society of yore for exploiting or were they a very inquisitive, learned clan/set of people who got arrogant or was it a simple case of methods of maintaining self-confidence. Many of the customs may not make sense now - arguable; since some do have scientific moorings too.
The good/evil aspect is reinforced by religion but can also lead to misinterpretations and rigid stereotypes - as I was watching in the deftly directed movie 'Munich' by Spielberg on the Jew/Muslim divide in the middle-east and the rampant intense hatred.
Some theories are very abstract but help in explaining the unknown aspects of the universe - such as Advaita. At some point the scientific merges with the metahysical/philosophical - the short story 'The Last Question' by Asimov was a good read and talks of this.
The idealists (what is, is different from what you see) vs the realist (what you see is what there is) has been a long-standing debate - the realists seem to be winning from the prevalent emphasis on material aspects of the society but then does majority always win or is it the case of 'the meek shall inherit the earth' ?
Is there a hidden side of things/people/psyche etc; what people display as external and what is internal/hidden - or is it totally circumstance based ?
Why are certain emotions considered as negative by the society, though they are valid and part of the natural emotion sample space - probably based on the evidence that they ruin lives more than their purported positive influences.
Some emotions are considered taboo in society - it has different aspects in different spheres - the volume of thoughts also get passed on from one generation to the next and continuously evolve becoming more/less acceptable - mental evolution as against physical which reminds me of Amitav Ghosh's Calcutta Chromosome - a 'thought chromosome' that also mutates.
Well, how can people reconcile the mundane things with more universal concerns. The poor have to think about their next meal and cannot indulge in arts/thinking/philosophy/higher aspects of administration etc. but there are stories that break this stereotype too ... from both the haves and have-nots. Does that mean they are not capable of higher things? If given an opportunity anyone can break the greatest of hurdles; but when do we start diverting, deviating into unproductive activities by getting complacent. What is productive and what is unproductive activity ? Who decides ?
Why are the arts nowadays ranked at a lower position than science/engineering? Is it because they are not directly applicable to human upliftment/civilization. The utility aspect as in economics ? 'Show me the money honey' culture; unless you are a celebrated artist making millions from your paintings etc.
Everything has its rightful place in the universe/minds of men; is what I can conclude.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lessons from life & patterns of the mind

There are ways in which certain emotions get unnecessarily amplified. Prejudice, anger, jealousy and fear, to name a few. The more you dwell on associating these with specific people/events/situations, the more they seem to gain an upper hand; and only through a sudden wakeup call, such as an incident or a counter-experience are we jolted into awareness and realize how conceited or mistaken we might have been. A re-patterning of the mind, every once a while is absolutely necessary.
Talking of patterns and networks of patterns in the mind and concentration, which, I was reading in Edward de Bono's book 'I Am Right, You Are Wrong' - one topic struck me; in one chapter he talks of attuning the mind to the current task, which tends to make completing or wading through it much more effective. For example, he says when you give the mind the signal 'look for people wearing red caps only, in the stadium' - the action of finding such specimens becomes much more easy, almost automatic - basically the patterns related to red, caps, etc become active and the search too happens faster as the mind looks only for those active patterns. Though a very simple technique it can have a huge impact on several aspects of everyday life, be it professional or academic. Having applied it consciously already, I'd say as in that chewing gum ad: 'Its working' !
The book is replete with the workings of the mind, with several lucid examples. A must read and I am still reading it ...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

THE PUJA DAYS

They came and went with great speed. At the durga puja this time, met up with old friends including some after a long while; now all spread far and wide across India, some busy with work, others with studies. Missed a few who had gone elsewhere, during the pujas. 4-5 days of the usual pujas, serving food (bhog), revelry & cultural activity, happened. Find more at the Jayamahal Puja blog, some pics here (Soham's Flickr page). To come out of the festive mood is a bit difficult. Shubho Bijoya to one and all, and let peace pervade.