Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Life of Pi" - My understanding of the Story

I have been meaning to write about my take on "Life of Pi" ever since I saw the movie. I have not been fortunate enough to have read the book, so my interpretation is restricted to Ang Lee's version of the story. If you have neither read the book nor seen the movie and intend to read or see the same, please do not read beyond this point!  

I would not delve into the artistic majesty of Ang Lee’s motion picture, for in my opinion, the proof of the pudding is in eating. No words that I use can describe the beautiful cinematography of the movie. So I shall stay away from writing about it. Instead, I will talk only about two aspects, both being intertwined – (1) Which of the two Stories I  prefer? And (2) How does it help one understand God Better? 

 I believe the answer to the first is the means to answering the second. It does not matter whether the answer to the first is right or wrong, but what matters is why we select the option that we do. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

On Democracy

Let us assume a newly formed state consisting of two political parties 'A' and 'B'. Our party 'A' first comes to power and performs miserably in its first term, thereby paving the way for 'B'. 'B' on the other hand performs exceptionally well and gets re-elected for its second term.

Let us consider that B has inhuman efficiency and forever it performs very well on all development fronts (at least it meets the low expectations of the society).

So, how can 'A' ever come back to Power?

Let us assume 'A' is exceedingly wise in the matter of Polity and hence evaluates the real alternatives it has while campaigning for the 4th elections.

'A' cannot portray developmental administration as their forte. So based on this itself it can never come back to power. They cannot also blame the incumbents for neglect.

We find ourselves in a utopian society. The only way 'A' can come back to power is through an imbalance in the delicately balanced Utopian society. The same can be done through ideological or religious turmoil. And through this they may come to power. This same cycle shall always continue.

So, if we have two good and efficient (as in for their own good) political parties, their eternal aim would be to keep the state in a condition of imbalance, owing to which they may hope to come back to power in a foreseeable future. If any state does reach Utopia, democracy - as we know it - will cease to exist.

Coincidentally, it aligns very well with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which in simple word states, that entropy of a system always increases!

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Balancing Act!

I find it rather ironic, that the balancing acts performed by the society in general is through imbalance! Consider for example reservation. Reservation is required in order for upliftment of the weaker or historically exploited sections of the society. The argument in favor of the same is a long term (though flawed, in my opinion) vision of achieving an egalitarian state.

I find such a situation paradoxical, since in order to bring equality, people have to be treated unequally. To remove discrimination, the historically favored class is discriminated against. The only difference between the discrimination of the past and the so called "non-discrimination" or "equal opportunity" situation of the present is that the prey has become the predator - the discriminator has become the discriminated.

But perhaps, the opinion of some section of our society (at the top of our discriminatory food chain - the ruler class - which is constant, though its membership may keep revolving between different classes) may after all be true - that the sins of the fathers need to be borne by the children, thereby justifying my feelings regarding a probable belief of theirs - Those in a position to sin, must do so; for that position may not last forever and then you might be sinned against.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Paradox of Nature

The happenings in nature are mostly contradictions in themselves. A molecule of water rising up in the atmosphere through vaporization, only to come back down to the surface through condensation. Global cooling (ice age) replacing the ambient temperatures, only to make way for the latter. For any creature who is born, the destination is again oblivion (ashes to ashes, dust to dust).

If we consider the universe and not just a little molecule of water, there are theories that support what we observed in the preceding paragraph. If one were to believe the theory of 'The Big Crunch' (I profess to be no expert in the matter and this is just one of the many theories), which suggests that a big bang occurs which creates the universe as we know it, only to be followed by all matter collapsing into black holes, which would then coalesce to produce a single black hole or Big Crunch singularity. What would follow this would be another Big Bang and this process continues eternally. Thus, everything around us seems to be created ultimately for its destruction so that it can be created again.

From here we arrive at - what seems to me - the basis of nihilism,  that the life essentially lacks meaning or purpose, but that I leave for another series of posts.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I know Everything or I know Nothing

You may have encountered some people with such an attitude (if not rash or really low spirited enough to say these very words). First let us consider "I Know Everything" or "I know All". Lets begin by analyzing the universe of knowledge in which such a personage is apparently well versed in.

Let us begin with He/She know everything. This is true and concurs with the first statement.

He/She knows that he/she knows everything. The aforementioned behaviour indicates the veracity of the same.

He/She knows what all he/she does not know!! Here comes the paradox! If the person knows what (s)he doesn't know, it means that the person doesn't know something. But if the same person knows not what (s)he doesn't know, that is the very thing he doesn't know! Hence he doesn't know all!

Similar line of logic applies on the other proposition - I know nothing. By saying so, a person confesses to know "nothing", which indicates he has knowledge of something!

So after all, one can never have knowledge of everything! So all you intelligent guys out there, show some modesty the next time your opportunity to dazzle comes :) 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

When ambition ends, Happiness begins!

A famous proverb as well as a wise one. But giving some thought to it, I find the same extremely paradoxical. We can infer at least one thing from it, that a man cannot aspire happiness; for if attaining that state (of happiness) becomes his ambition, then he can never achieve it. Only he who does not want to achieve happiness ends up in that state. Its akin to the scene in the Harry Potter movie (sorry for not being well read enough for quoting a better example), the one where everybody is in a race to get the Philosopher's stone, but only our dear Harry, whose ignorance about the same as well as lack of ambition to attain the same awarded him the elusive stone.

But Alas, a lot of paradoxes hold true! The Pursuit of Happiness is never-ending.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Not enough Words"

How many times have we heard the following lines:

"I do not know how to put into words my gratitude for all of the ..."
"I do not have enough words to thank you for ..."
"No words can express my gratitude"

These lines are paradoxical in themselves if we look at them objectively. The intention of any language is to convey the thoughts of a person. It helps a person understand what another person has in mind. So, as long as one is able to understand what he is being told, the language serves its purpose.

When we say that "there are not enough words", we mean  that the language is deficient of words to express the feelings that we may have, owing to which we are not able to communicate what we want to. But the sentences referred above have the same effect as the so called "non-existent" words! 

Hence, when we use any of the above sentences, we are actually contradicting ourselves. We are trying to say we cannot express the gratitude when by saying so, we actually are doing it!