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October 19, 2017

Krishna leela and metoo…

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 00:33

I saw a photo being circulated by a few friends about metoo. I did not like it. I thought the photo was unrelated to metoo, and it was in extremely poor taste. The photo completely mis represents Krishna leela. I tried arguing with a friend about it… I decided to document those ramblings here…

Me:

Like you say, one sees what one sees.

My points are:
1) Why bring religion into the context of #metoo? Does it help the matter at hand? If not, then why use the graphic?

2) Side effects of such memes. This image is deeply related to Hindu religion. Are all Hindus bigots? Are only Hindus bigots? Let us say you designed something similar in “religion X”, what image will it send of “religion X”? Is that the true image of all members of that religion?

When I was told this story, there were many versions: was that the Gopikas were sages who were taken by Rama’s good looks. The benevolent Rama takes Krishna avatara to abide by their wishes. In this particular leela, the gopikas complain that it is wrong of Krishna, who is a God, to behave immorally and steal their clothes. Krishna preaches that if I am indeed God, then why have shame. And if I am indeed God, you were sages in your previous birth. Was it not wrong of you to get taken by my good looks?

Oh and there are other versions – that the Gopikas were praying to Godess Parvati so they may get Krishna as their husband. Krishna does this act to ask them – how can all of you want to marry me? Apparently, Gopikas commit an error by getting fully unclothed. When one is conducting specific pujas, they cannot be completely naked in a river. He also reminds that they were not doing their Puja properly.

But yes… One can see what one wants to see.

Friend:

Are all Hindus bigots? I don’t know, you tell me…

I haven’t seen marital and other major poojas performed by females yet. Till recently females weren’t even allowed in sanctum sanctorums of many temples. I don’t even want to get into the issue of non-Brahmin priests. I welcome you to notice similar facts in other religions.

For a lot of people the concept of good, bad and sin comes from religion. So from a cause and effect stance, maybe if religion didn’t have male bigotry, then we’d have seen lesser numbers of “me too” on our FB feeds.

Me:

You say that because pujas are done by men, means that they are somehow hand in glove for crimes against women. By extension, this must be true of Jews, Christians, Muslims… No organized religion has significant female priestly numbers. Many commercial organizations are also top-heavy with men.

Most drivers of public services (refer, buse drivers, train drivers, airplane pilots) all over the world are men. So, does it mean public transport utilities have an ulterior motive to keep women from travelling? After football matches in UK, people routinely get rowdy. Does it mean you ban all matches?

Most air hostesses, nurses, school teachers, home makers were women, what unique quality do they posses for that role? Was that done deliberately by women so that men may be forced to take on other dangerous jobs? Was that done so that they may dominate men by taking on such roles? The feminist will give you one answer, the MCP will give you an antipodal response.

Time wise, recorded history is a blip compared to the history of evolution. The female species in homo sapiens has taken on many convenient roles by staying at home (or cave). Men, on the other hand have been forced to hunt, gather and take on relatively strenuous tasks. It is in the last 10-20K years or so that things were worse off for women. That too, pure numbers wise, I am not so sure. One must check the sex ratio of casualties in famines, wars, and work related events. Being at home sure beats running off to a war or slogging out in a farm, or a construction site.

Contrast this with lions, where the males do time pass, and females do all the hard work. The bloddy males even kill cubs that the females reared with such care. Or with snakes and fishes, where some female species eat the male.

We can be pessimistic and say that such a social evolution in homo sapiens was deliberately malicious. We can be optimistic and say that OK, shit happened as an accident of history. Let us work together fix it. BTW, I am not trying to justify crimes against someone. Terrible wrongs were committed. Yes. But was everyone in that group malicious, I do not know?

And in using these classic men vs women arguments, does it mean that there is no sexual exploitation of men? Does it mean that female bosses do not discriminate against men? This is a human problem. Not a problem of one group vs the other. The shaming of one group en masse to favour another only leads to more divisions. This is more so when you twist the context of a belief completely and use that to make a point.

It is the same bloddy tu tu main mai everywhere. The religious will look at the rationalist with suspicion. And the rationalist will shoo away the religious. I guess… What do I know, I am just a figment of my imagination.

This is the photo in question; I think it does not represent Krishna Leela:

metoo

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August 31, 2017

Morality vs Consciousness

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 18:06

Modern authors often make the claim that India does not have a good sense of morality. They are true. But, they forget that India has something much more comprehensive: Dharma. Modernists selectively apply their vast troves of arguments to put down Indian philosophy and thought. Case in point is an article from the Indian Express, written by the VC of the Ashoka University.

The article first starts by saying that consciousness contains confusions and has distorted Indian life. It dwells into the ever-popular subject of Manu, as thought that was the only moral system in India. It further celebrates that there exists no concept equivalent to morality in Indian psyche. Unfortunately, they ignore other forms of morality preached in India – specifically in the form of dharma. The article asks:

“How does the discourse of evolved consciousness relate to the mutilating realities of social power, as embodied in institutions like caste? “

The article fails to elaborate that Indian psyche is also composed of many more nuanced expressions. Its borders are demarcated by neither Consciousness, nor by Manu.

August 29, 2017

Teenagers sell blood for food

Filed under: social change, Uncategorized — neosurya @ 18:29

It will not be surprising to see the above headline after a few decades, or a few years. If we go by this article on BBC, a Stanford/Princeton grad started a company called Ambrosia that is experimenting on injecting the blood of young people into older individuals. The claims, as per the article:

“It could help improve things such as appearance or diabetes or heart function or memory. These are all the aspects of ageing that have a common cause.

Each procedure costs $8,000 (£6,200) and sees the patient injected with two and a half litres of plasma – the liquid element of blood that remains after other cells have been removed – taken from young people.

I am fantasizing here, and grossly exaggerating. But, it still rankles me to think that several people actually came forward to buy the plasma. I guess this is civilization.

 

Same day, another article about a teenager (18 year old) girl committed suicide in full view of the social media. Apparently, 10 minutes before her death:

She spoke unsentimentally of her 19th birthday, which was to arrive three days after her death: “I was supposed to do something this weekend for my birthday. But in the end it’s not happening, I mean I can’t go – because of this thing.”

 

 

July 30, 2017

Advertizing articles

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 22:05

Will it engage?

Will the engagement sell?

These are the two most popular  questions  that every business asks these days. Nothing else matters. This has been a common grouse for me ever since I graduated from school. I was hoping that my education was intended to make this world a better place. But most of it is designed to entertain the world.

The article I read on medium today reflected this. Irony is that, it appeared on my facebook wall. 🙂 Below is an image from that article.

advertizing_news.png

The knowledge of how to reliably hijack the human brain for attention is one of the most significant new trends of the 21st century. This discovery, like every large-scale invention in our history, has unexpected outcomes that are difficult to predict.

If we wish to continue to live in a common reality, we must be willing to look at these outcomes with a clear head. Addressing our biggest issues as a species — from climate change, to pandemics, to poverty — requires us to have a common narrative of the honest problems we face: Real threats. Real reasons for outrage.

This article throws light on how propaganda was used to fight wars. Ads drive our world every day and every moment. Ads moved from selling features of the product to saying: “Use this product, it will make you happy, more manly, or more beautiful.”. This was called lifestyle advertizing. For example, in order to sell cigarettes, the ads started saying that cigarettes are manly (Remember the Marlboro man?).

Unfortunately, these days we have other forms: news + advertising, opinion + advertising, lifestyle + advertising. In the days of commercialization, TRPs and razor thin profit margins, a gram of truth is mixed with a ton of lies and passed off as the “news of the day”, “opinion of the day”, or “trend of the day”. This is used to guide public opinion from political affiliation to lifestyle choices.

No one really tries to think if something really is useful to them or if something is correct. “The newspaper says so, so it must be correct”, “the blog says so, so it must be correct”. When we will think for ourselves?

May 18, 2017

The mango cutter and his daughter

Filed under: daughter, social change, Uncategorized — neosurya @ 21:38

mango_cutter

Early morning of a May day, a father and daughter in the market starting their day. The father is expecting his business to pick up. His equipment – a gunny bag, a cloth, and a large cutter that is used to cut ripe mangoes that will be turned into pickles.

I was reminded of a day when I took my daughter to work. And this is another father who is taking his daughter to work. Such a contrast. What did I do to deserve this differential treatment?

April 26, 2017

Artificial Wombs and Sperm Banks

An article in the verge claims that an artificial womb has been developed to grow baby sheep. It is estimated that even human babies can be grown in a similar fashion. It is absolutely dandy what technology has achieved. As per the article:

Inside what look like oversized ziplock bags strewn with tubes of blood and fluid, eight fetal lambs continued to develop — much like they would have inside their mothers. Over four weeks, their lungs and brains grew, they sprouted wool, opened their eyes, wriggled around, and learned to swallow, according to a new study that takes the first step toward an artificial womb. One day, this device could help to bring premature human babies to term outside the uterus — but right now, it has only been tested on sheep.

…..

It’s appealing to imagine a world where artificial wombs grow babies, eliminating the health risk of pregnancy.

artificial_womb_calf

It truly is appealing…

Frozen sperm in a bank, no need to hold, push, or yank.
It has been done for you well ahead,
A brochure of well endowed men to eliminate chance.
Well winnowed to weed out the idiots,
No foreplay, or even any kind of play needed.
Why leave this to randomness,
The best seed is available, 24/7, everywhere.

Wombs a-galore in glass enclosures.
Prepared, sterilized and ready to go,
Can they integrate with instagram?
The baby to be visible as it develops legs and arms.
When it is born, watch live on skype,
Why go for the normal when the exclusive is on order?
Select a unique name using google, why risk asking mother, or grandmother?

What a wonderful world, full of opportunities.
Enjoyment forever, due process to eliminate all worries.
No waiting, dating, or exchanging of vows.
Feminists can rejoice, MCPs can party,
True independence from all troublesome activity.
Life can continue un-imbibed with technologies,
Is it not awesome to live with these certainties.

Wait there is more to come.
Why cant we have someone pay for all this?
After all we end up working for a company.
Maybe they can grow the base of their employee.
Selected, trained, and groomed from the womb.
Manufactured to precession to follow every rule.
Such a world, so full of possibility…

McBabies, oh that would be so dandy.
We could select from a menu,
Maybe “make it a deal” with a toy to carry.

March 19, 2017

Robot blamed for persons death?

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 07:39

This is more akin to automated machinery going wrong. This is most likely a programming error as opposed to a robot that is actually “aware” of its surroundings. Excerpt from an article describing the death is below.

“The robot from section 130 should have never entered section 140, and should have never attempted to load a hitch assembly within a fixture that was already loaded with a hitch assembly. A failure of one or more of defendants’ safety systems or devices had taken place, causing Wanda’s death,” the lawsuit alleges.

March 13, 2017

When Evidence Says No, But Doctors Say Yes

Filed under: health care, Uncategorized — neosurya @ 17:27

Excerpt from an article.

A unique study at five orthopedic clinics in Finland compared APM with “sham surgery.” That is, surgeons took patients with knee pain to operating rooms, made incisions, faked surgeries, and then sewed them back up. Neither the patients nor the doctors evaluating them knew who had received real surgeries and who was sporting a souvenir scar. A year later, there was nothing to tell them apart. The sham surgery performed just as well as real surgery. Except that, in the long run, the real surgery may increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis. Also, it’s expensive, and, while APM is exceedingly safe, surgery plus physical therapy has a greater risk of side effects than just physical therapy.

December 6, 2016

Treatment of parents

Filed under: common man, family, social change — neosurya @ 17:23

I had a friend (A) who posed a problem a few days ago: We were speaking about taking care of his father (B). B had a regular job, but did not take particular care of his kids. Each day after office, B came home for a short while in the evening, and stayed to himself. Income was regular, and the mother of A was efficient. So, the kids were able to get a good childhood. But it was very clear that B had no real role in their upbringing. A’s life was not ruined because B’s income was more than sufficient. B however, was totally disinterested in family life.

B (the father), and B’s wife (A’s mother) were living in Bangalore. A’s mother had recently passed away. Till the mom was alive, A and his siblings (a sister in India and a brother who was in USA) would visit B occasionally. Festivals and other customary visits were kept up. B and his wife regularly visited A and siblings also. For about 3-4 months a year, B and his wife would come and stay with A. But there was no real love lost between B and rest of the family.

B continued to visit his kids after his wifes death. But B was not a pleasant person to be with. His friends were no more, and he would continuously complain about one thing or the other. No major physical or financial damage, but there would be no fatherly (or grand-fatherly)  involvement as well. He would have an unpleasant face all through the day, and entering his room was like seeing a person who is sulking his way to the other world. B would be extremely particular about his schedule, food habits, and general preferences about daily life.

The challenge was that B was going to be over 80. There was no disease in particular, but he was getting old. Senility was bringing on other challenges.

A argued that B should be sent to an old home while B was still in OK health. Once health went down further, argued A, it will be difficult for B to adjust to an old home. B did not want to be sent to an old home. B was saying that to get his (substantial) self-gained property, A and his siblings must take care of B at home.

I had seen another father once like this. An old man, in his 80’s living near Tarnaka, Osmania University, Hyderabad. I had gone to him to seek legal advise. His room was on the first floor of the garage of an independent villa in Tarnaka. The villa was his own, but he had given the whole place for rent. His servant lived downstairs in the garage, and he lived upstairs. The room had a desk with an old transistor radio facing a window that overlooked the street. An old teak bed had been set towards one of the walls with a grayed out mosquito net that had seen more regal times. There were about 3 chairs in the room, but only one was empty. The others had huge stacks of letters and legal correspondence. There was a bookshelf on one side which recessed into the wall. It also probably held his clothes.

While discussing the legal problem, I had mentioned that I was from such and such company. The father slowly got out his sons card, and said you know him – “He is the senior Engg VP of ***. Do you know him? He is also into IT.”. This old man’s son was a very senior executive in a global multinational company. When I say senior, really senior – like the VP of a major engg. division of a Fortune 500 firm. He could have been my bosses bosses boss. The father was speaking about his son with pride, but it was apparent that he could not live with the son either. The old father made a point to mention that all his grandkids visit him during major festivals. “Even if they miss some due to exams, they come during Deepavali for sure.”, he said.

I have seen some unfortunate mothers’, father-in-laws, and mother-in-laws also in the same situation. Maybe there were good reasons to do this. Maybe the women or men created unhappy situations in the family. Maybe the father or mother were more nasty and looked mellow to strangers. Maybe there are some worse family secrets. Maybe this is a necessary feature of our modern, liberal, urban lifestyle. Maybe. Maybe not.

But I wonder, If we cannot take care of a mother and father who gave us birth, can we be good to complete strangers? If we give second chances to a terrorist, a murderer, a common criminal, why not parents? Maybe it is wishful thinking on part of a liberal society that humans are good. Maybe there is no true love among humans. Maybe. Maybe not.

December 5, 2016

Real Job? What real job?

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 11:43

Very few of us are doing real jobs. I try explaining this to friends sometimes, but am left speechless by their inability to fathom the very evident truth. This article sums up my one liner very nicely. Quote:

When it comes to garbage collectors, though, it’s different. Any way you look at it, they do a job we can’t do without. And the harsh truth is that an increasing number of people do jobs that we can do just fine without. Were they to suddenly stop working the world wouldn’t get any poorer, uglier, or in any way worse. Take the slick Wall Street traders who line their pockets at the expense of another retirement fund. Take the shrewd lawyers who can draw a corporate lawsuit out until the end of days. Or take the brilliant ad writer who pens the slogan of the year and puts the competition right out of business.

Instead of creating wealth, these jobs mostly just shift it around.

Of course, there’s no clear line between who creates wealth and who shifts it. Lots of jobs do both. There’s no denying that the financial sector can contribute to our wealth and grease the wheels of other sectors in the process. Banks can help to spread risks and back people with bright ideas. And yet, these days, banks have become so big that much of what they do is merely shuffle wealth around, or even destroy it. Instead of growing the pie, the explosive expansion of the banking sector has increased the share it serves itself.

Or take the legal profession. It goes without saying that the rule of law is necessary for a country to prosper. But now that the U.S. has 17 times the number of lawyers per capita as Japan, does that make American rule of law 17 times as effective? Or Americans 17 times as protected? Far from it. Some law firms even make a practice of buying up patents for products they have no intention of producing, purely to enable them to sue people for copyright infringement.

Bizarrely, it’s precisely the jobs that shift money around – creating next to nothing of tangible value – that net the best salaries. It’s a fascinating, paradoxical state of affairs. How is it possible that all those agents of prosperity – the teachers, the police officers, the nurses – are paid so poorly, while the unimportant, superfluous, and even destructive shifters do so well?

In fact, it has become increasingly profitable not to innovate. Imagine just how much progress we’ve missed out on because thousands of bright minds have frittered away their time dreaming up hypercomplex financial products that are ultimately only destructive. Or spent the best years of their lives duplicating existing pharmaceuticals in a way that’s infinitesimally different enough to warrant a new patent application by a brainy lawyer so a brilliant PR department can launch a brand-new marketing campaign for the not-so-brand-new drug.

Imagine that all this talent were to be invested not in shifting wealth around, but in creating it. Who knows, we might already have had jetpacks, built submarine cities, or cured cancer.

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