September 4, 2013

During one of my sporadic attempts to read philosophy, I stumbled upon Leibniz interpretation by Rodger Scruton. I was struck by the idea of monads and predefined harmony. Leibniz argues that the entire creation is objective. Frame of reference or observer does not impact existence. The world is as it is. Not as it is observed, making interactions between objects nothing but a byproduct of hidden preexisting harmony. This makes each of us monads fully functional quantum of creation like any other. The possibility of so much autonomy and independence amidst the seeming interdependent coexistence is overwhelming to say the least. First natural reaction to such an analysis is of refusal. But what we cannot ignore is the widespread harmony in nature. How the Sun rises at just the right time. Flowers blossom exactly when they should, tides occur ever so effortlessly. This spontaneous flow of events does indicate an external synchronization, rhythm and yes harmony.

Harmony by definition is pleasing combination of parts in a whole. Interestingly it doesn’t entail for parts to change, only combine specifically. If we agree to Leibniz analysis, being pleasant should also be just as predefined and absolute as is harmony. Even in Plato’s eyes, harmony had a special place. For him justice lied in harmony. So much so that a disharmonious state was unjust. In music, notes that in themselves might sound shrill and loud when combined in a certain manner can produce most pleasant of songs. Notes don’t need to be altered, just juxtaposed nicely. Nature in itself is a harmonious interplay of every element of creation. It also responds differently to harmony. Water (80% of creation) for example crystalizes in beautiful symmetric structures when exposed to harmonious sounds.

Harmony’s existence is undeniable, its importance massive and its earnest pursuit vital. Harmonious combination of parts doesn’t have extremes, is symmetric and unobstructed, makes the whole all absorbing and accepting. That’s why perhaps disharmonious state becomes discriminating and unjust. Disharmonious thoughts become obstructive and non-accepting and hence laden with prejudice. Disharmonious relationships witness frequent extremes and eventually give way to such exhaustion. Harmony in contrast radiates beauty, peace and happiness.

Thus being a monad is perhaps not that bland, purposeless and lonely after all. In tuned with the universal rhythm, unbridled by bondage and forces of interactions we (equipped with immense autonomy and completeness) are free rather to blissfully follow a harmonious course.

Jonathan and George

May 3, 2013

It is a usual day, sky is quiet, water cold and morning busy. Other gulls have started fetching fish. Looking for food and eating seems to have taken most of their lives. As they briskly dip their beaks inside water, hardly ever missing, they seemed to have ignored their wings. The wish and strength to fly has gone past recall or desire.

Is it odd that when I see the water i see my reflection more vividly than food. That when the ocean wind hits me, I feel it first on my wings then my eyes. That i hear no quacking of gulls  just the gushing of wind and roaring of water. Almost urging me to fly.

I know my wings haven’t been tested nor the strength of my legs ever measured, but would the strength of my heart count for something i wonder. Would power of a simple belief help me glide through the resistance air would offer. I don’t know but shall that stop me from trying. Could it be that the only thing standing between me and flying is the courage to jump from that cliff.

Sometimes i feel that the warmth of the sun, the thrust of the wind is talking to me, When i press my legs against the ground I feel as if its pushing me up. It is possible that I am making all this stuff up. That I am being blinded by my love for flight. But then isn’t it better to be blinded by a dream than prejudice. Jonathan stares at the horizon and then at his friends, George in particular. He had always thought that George was like him more eager to grasp the span of his wings than to  clutch them inside. But George has made a choice. And he seems happy. Happy to be part of a group, and doing what gulls do best. Catch fish.

Then suddenly George looks back. He appears full, but not content. Quiet but not calm, his eyes seem to have lost some spark. Have we all, already made our choices? or can we change them. Do we know which choice is better. Shall we even bother? Amidst this mental turmoil, unknowingly he turns and starts walking, he can not feel his legs anymore until they bring him to the cliff top. So this is it, he thinks, this is my choice.

He looks at the sky, the water and his friends one last time. He knows that if George could see him now, he would be happy, and for sure his eyes would be shining. After all that was a dream they had both shared once. Jonathan closes his eyes and spreads his wings, and spontaneously smiles a little, he doesn’t know why he made the choice he did, or was he destined to make it. But in that moment with his wings spread apart he feels fearless and worthwhile, and with nothing but a dream in his heart he jumps.

Purpose, belief and will

March 10, 2013

He has always been the silent kind. He has feared getting too involved, with people and world in general. For him keeping to himself has been a way to prevent getting scattered away. Besides, sometimes neither people nor the world interest him much. Not because of any arrogance, he just loses sense of reality every so often. From which stems his propensity to stay distant. Not that he bears a grudge against reality, but he does sometimes fail to convince himself that real truly exists.

This questioning of reality takes purpose away from life. If things aren’t real they are also in most likelihood irrelevant. And if world as we know it is irrelevant so is our existence in it. It bothers him so much that our purpose in life rests on an assumption.

It is as if his entire belief system gets shattered away every once in a while and he starts from scratch to rebuild a support system to hold on to. He sees himself and then the sky, and suddenly everything starts to crumble and what remains is just an infinite vastness of nothingness. It is not a happy place to be, it doesn’t have a return point. At least not that is obvious.

Principles are axioms and thankfully can be taken as true, but they are also merciless. They do not bend and they do not allow you to go astray either. Beliefs on the contrary let you be and still give you the much needed support. As a matter of principle world may not be as the way it seems to be, but as a matter of belief it might. It is the belief in this world that compels you to be a part of it. And come back from the nothingness. It is the belief in world that forces you to move on. Purpose justifies and is justified by this belief.

Without purpose and/or belief we are like dangling pointers, powerful but useless. Capable but unnecessary even potentially harmful. Purpose gives a reason (howsoever delusional) to go on. Belief keeps purpose relevant and alive.

If we have to start believing in the world we have to start believing that we have a purpose to fulfill. From which rises the will to perform it. From this will would emanate the strength to stand anything that wants to prove to you that nothing’s for real. Will lets you be a part of the whole and empowers you to play a good part. Whether is real or not, abstract or concrete your function then remains just the same. Because in the end it doesn’t really matter as mind is where everything is, anyway.

next to speaker

November 3, 2012

I have been standing next to the speaker for whole of my life.. I still remember my father describing vividly the night when Pandit Nehru first spoke in the house of a free nation. The enthusiasm, the honor and the optimism was infectious, every single one of them sitting there was filled with a resolve to do something for the nation. For the motherland that had been torn apart and reduced to debris by foreign rule. I could feel their hearts pounding, their hands taping on the desks, my dreams for my nation had no limits, we were all set to march forward and resurrect the nation, which had long been lost. On the shoulders of giants we were,  and so shall we stride, I affirmed silently but strongly to myself that, we would make those shoulders proud. That we would make those sacrifices count. My India was now rising from the ashes of so many setbacks, world would be surprised if we could even stand up on our feet, but we all knew, we had to do a ton more than that. To be able to witness all this must have been a blessing and an absolute privilege.

Then suddenly shouting howling and swearing wakes me up from my dream, as I watch  the leaders of today quarrel over scams, blaming each other for all the wrong that has happened. The speaker sits speechless, waiting for the scene to go just enough out of control, to be able to call it a day and go back home. As I see people getting out some are angry, some too sleepy to walk straight, some even laughing and patting each other over accomplishing another useless day.

How did it come to this, I wonder at times, I for one am not allowed to speak, but god only knows how much I want to. I stand there amongst the room full of people allegedly the ones supposed to lead the country to glory and all I see is utter chaos and disregard for duty and honor. All I see is people boxed in walls of scams, blatantly living untouched, unharmed. There are a few perhaps still serious about changing things for the better but they are an awful small minority. Sometimes I wish if I could shout at them or beseech them to see what they are doing, what chasm of unending downfall they are pushing their nation into, they might just snap out of it and become serious about their jobs, if I could snatch the mike from the speaker and shout at them not as a leader but as a simple Indian who wants to see a better tomorrow is there any chance they would listen. Can it be true that all they need is a speech to shake them up. Could the corrupt surrender to justice, could the avarice give way to duty. Could there be a better tomorrow if we simply start genuinely dreaming about it. Would they suddenly realize what they have made their nation into, would they get out of the filth of greed and hoarding everything till nothing is left or no there is no more space to hoard, could they be Indians again.. I do not know but if it could, believe me, I would speak my lungs out.

To Exist

October 6, 2012

The city is silent. Lights are dim, and the night quite.. Neo sees the giant pillars of packed rooms. Are they safe he wonders, then suddenly..

C: I do not want to intrude if you wish to be alone (Councillor Hamann walks in, not all were sleeping after all! )

N (startled but also relieved): no I could use some company

C (smiles gently) : so could I

N (looks up the solid dark sky of earths crust and lets out a silent sigh): city is really quite

C: indeed, seems like everyone is sleeping peacfully

N: well not everyone!

C: I hate sleeping .. sometimes I feel I have slept for so long.. missed so much.

N: what do you mean

C (stares at the sky for moment then looks down the fathomless depth of zion, as if diving deep within himself): there is so much in this world Neo, that I don’t understand.. questions like why am I here, who am I, though they seem pertinent they also appear irrelevant at times, as though I would be able to do something about it if I knew..

N: knowledge gives us power to control.. its always for the better

C: is it really?! what if whole point of this orchestra of experiences, plethora of people was to learn to let go? what if bliss indeed lies in ignorance… and that knowledge is  just a cover up for what we are at the very core.

N: thats as may be.. but without control there would be total chaos

C: and whats so likeable about order.. I ask.. No one is better suited to comply with order than machines.. if to err is human, i reckon to embrace chaos is also just as much human..

N:  maybe it is, whats your point Councillor

C: (admits) I don’t know, may there isn’t any. Do you ever wish Neo that someday you would be able to peal of the pretense of existence and see once and for all what life is all about? When you would be able to remove the cloak of pleasant appearances people put on and see their real faces…., do you ever wish that someone would just snap you out of this dream of reality and you’ll see what real truly feels like? Doesn’t reality bother you Neo? are we pretending to be awake just because we are scared to admit that we are rather asleep? is Zion for real? are you?

N (is taken aback,  if Zion isn’t real, what is? ): I would like to believe it is (convincing himself as he speaks)

C: there you have it! its the belief that makes it real. Its this belief that makes you to exist. What if someday that belief gets shaken, if i were to convince you that to exist is to be perceived and that it has nothing to do with you. What would you do then?

N (questions are tormenting the already worried mind, as if the pictures from Osiris were not enough) : What are we without our beliefs counselor, aren’t those are foundation, so if those get shaken, yes we would fall.. At every step, at every moment reality bothers me, I am always forced to question its veracity, its meaning and its purpose. People bother me their pretense bothers me, When i look around i sometimes feel that all i am seeing is just a contrived existence frame after frame. How can that not trouble someone, Architect is good at his job after all, maybe even here! but you can question only so much, after that you have to start believing in something right? If what we got from Osiris is true soon there would be millions of machines trying to drill there way through this roof, would it be able to endure most definitely not. But we have to believe we can stop them, otherwise aren’t we already dead.

C(can feel the desperation in Neo’s voice): I know, I know (he reassures), but what if the propensity to get free, and illusion of succeeding at it.. is just another level of control. What if the splinter is not the epicenter of reason and contemplation what if its nothing but an implant. If the only thing separating real from the unreal is a belief. I would say its a close call.

N: I know but i would take it..

C (nods):I know you would, i did too, but i just wonder we freed these people, brought them to this “real” world only to let them question their choice?

N: We brought them here to believe.. Existence is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for life. You have to add purpose to it and for that you have to believe that its all for the better..

C: of course (pauses, then nodes again) ofcourse.. then believe shouldn’t we ?! (smiles)

N: yeah  indeed (smiles back)

Both stare at the city roof over the deck and hope (even if its a quintessential human delusion!) that some how the resistance would hold, but they both know that soon the steel would give way and ammunition would run out and at that dire time perhaps only respite would be a belief in unsuccumbing human will to survive and perhaps to matter. Reality of course would be second priority.

new world order

September 15, 2012

from the fire to the stone, to the moon to the clone

from the terror to the drone, then to the money to the loan


they changed the rules and rigged the game

they’ve made it sure, world would never be the same

they’ve implanted in us the idea of freedom

the idea of fun, and also that of boredom


they told us whats joy, and whats rightfully sorrow

what we would be owning, and what we’ll have to borrow

with consumption comes dependence they knew

production is so owned by those fortunate few


with greed for power reaching new levels

with freedoms being subdued and people reduced to pebbles

just what is free what is part of this control

what is my part, what is part of this whole


having fallen into a rut, we don’t seem to notice, nor do we seem to bother

perhaps this utter chaos is in fact the new world order


June 25, 2012

जब जब देखा आईने में मैंने, एक अनजान सा चेहरा दिखा है
जब जब देखीं हाथ की रेखाएँ, बदलती सी लकीरें दिखीं हैं
गौर से देखा दुनिया को जब भी, पहेले सा कुछ भी नहीं है
नया है आसमान, नया सवेरा है, नयी सी किरने दिखीं हैं

बदलाव ने तोड़े हैं बोहोत से सपने
पर साथ ही बोहोत सी उमीदें जगीं हैं
सोचा है कईं बार लौट जाने की मन में
पर जैसे सफ़र से अब साँसे बंधीं हैं

कईं मोड़ बेमन से लेकर चलें हैं
पर दिल में कहीं यह आस छुपी हैं
फिर कहीं से वो राह मिलेगी
जिस पर हमेशा से आखें टिकीं हैं

शायद हर उस मोड़ का मकसद रहा हो
कोई भी कदम बेमानी नहीं है
सपनों के दम पर ही कायम है दुनिया
राहों में ही कहीं शायद मंजिलें छुपी हैं