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.

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