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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Is it possible to de-clutter the unending debates on demonetization? Or is it possible to oversimplify certain things in ‘Black and White’?

Is it possible to de-clutter the unending debates on demonetization? Or is it possible to oversimplify certain things in ‘Black and White’?

Getting into the kerfuffle of the much mussed up subject of most of the happenings in political and economic fronts especially in present scenario would be risking reputations and exposing lack of lucid understanding.

It is dangerous to over simplify something referred to by a single word or term for convenience of easy recognition but in reality is something that involves multiple factors of various hues and colors- clear, vague, intentionally masked etc-all very clumsily and inextricably interwoven and messily struck together.

Some of the things are not even distinctly visible threads for us to decipher the knotty spots, rather it is has no slubs and a clueless clew of knotted messy lump of  multicolored threads [நூல் கண்டு சிடுக்கு] soaked in thick mud of politicization further rendered fuzzy by the muddy waters of media interpretations.

What is predominantly being done is reacting to reactions and presumed repercussions.

While some are trying to sincerely decipher the long term implications and impacts for which certain difficult measures [I do not want to even qualify them as economic, financial or political] are primarily introduced.

The pity is most of the self styled or proclaimed specialists in various realms who have been in great slumber for more than six decades are demanding definition for ‘how long will it take to see long-term impacts’.

I think the visual presentation below will explain what is happening in modern day economics, politics and the cyber world.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

What decides decision making?

                                   What decides decision making?

A well documented data, survey and scientific study based neural research like the one presented in your article is very interesting and may throw lot of light and also give more insights into understanding better the decision making process.

Having said that, however, when the very expression ‘decision making’ flashes across my mind there are many things that cross my mind.

At the outset I would like to make it clear that I am neither an academically accomplished person nor a scientist nor interested in getting into heated debates or question anything or anyone.

Let me also make it clear that I am not trying to over simplify the art of decision making which gave the world a wonderful philosophical scripture like ‘Bhagawad Geetha’ and has provided the theme for many stories and scripts in all languages and cultures.

This has also made me wonder whether there is or there are any universally applicable readymade templates to decision making either from what base[s] it should emanate? How it must evolve?  What must be its ultimate purpose? And so on.

Here are some of the things that cross my mind, not necessarily in order, precisely because I feel they are interconnected, often inseparably interrelated and most importantly interacting as well.

They could very broadly be mentioned [for want of time and avoid unnecessary diversion into Details] as the following: - Context, Choice, Observation, Frames of reference, Perspective and so on.

Decision like everything else are made in some specific ‘context’ and it definitely involves choosing between or among some options available and prioritizing certain things over the rest or to the exclusion of the rest.

This is perhaps the reason why in some contexts different people or different institutions make/take different decisions.

There is always some element of suspense, unsolved mystery and uncertainty in at least some aspect of every aspect of life and this is what drives human curiosity in multiple ways.

A curiosity to proceed beyond all sorts of vast references of existing great ideas, observations and thoughts into better or at least newer observations, philosophical inquiries, refined rational approaches, lateral thinking and unending seeking and searching for answers in manifold ways.

Here are some links to certain observations that I have made in the past.

Since, you have referred to Bhawad Geetha I would like to place here what I very often repeat in many of write ups, “In fact the whole of Bhagawad Gita, one of the reasons why it became more popular among the 28 Gitas, is that all its 700 stanzas are sand- witched between two words the starting word 'Dharma' and the last word ‘Mama’.

It must be actually read as ‘Mama Dharma’= my dharma- does not mean either Krishna’s or Arjuna’s Dharma, rather  when everyone reads it becomes ‘his Dhrama’ and all these 700 verses [ subjected to all sorts of excellent, enlightening as well as, often used as tool to justifying traditional practices, explanations by many] primarily are about attitudes to be adopted, actions to be executed and reactions to show at different situations taking into consideration the overall welfare of all [humanism].”

This one on the importance of ‘Observation’ I wrote to an old student of mine who was sharing some approaches and parts of his research

This I wrote to a clinical psychiatrist friend of mine when she wrote something about ‘Seeking’

How frames of reference can influence our perception

I also happen to write one Attitude Calendar in 2009 which I posted later on in 2009 wherein I gave an acronym to Decisions and Attitudes- the link to that calendar is also given here. Slide number 152 in that.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The scourge of Identity and Extremism

                                    The scourge of Identity and Extremism

Fondness, Ferventness, Faith and Fanaticism are the multiple frequencies of the spectrum of affinity- ranging from subtle to substantial impact.

These frequencies are not mere verbal nuances but can be nice or nasty depending on how they manifest the intensity of one’s reverence and reaction to anything.

If we adopt the armor of sense of balance and the tool of refined rationality devoid of any identity based reaction to anything, though this may sound very idealistic or even utopian, then, it serves to provide a level playing field for all individuals irrespective of any identity.

Rational approaches refine what is otherwise viewed as contrasts that divide into variations that seek synergy.

Life is impregnated with the inevitable polarity principle in many aspects and identities are no exception.

Identities of all hues while they enable creating social groups at the same time enfeeble options for universal acceptance.

I have very often held that identity, though inevitable, excessive and exclusive veneration is at the heart of many problems be it in the realm of religion, region, language, tradition, culture, nationhood and so on.

In a sense identities symbolize fences.

We need maps to know the planet but we need to protect the planet beyond mapped concerns.

I have written reams and reams on this theme of ‘Identity’ while writing on various subjects.

I shall give links to some here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Media and its Future

Metamorphosis of Words and not media labels need definitions.

People think, act and have grown beyond Main Stream Media peddled labels.

Metamorphosis of Words and Expressions from denotation to connotations happens due to the exigencies of contextual relevance and not due to media calibrated labels.

Therefore, however well articulated or packed with hyper sensationalism, generating terminologies, assigning labels and defining them to suit predetermined ideologies to manipulate perceptions do not work anymore.

So, the Main Stream Media as a whole has to realize that its verbal diarrhea patients can no more play the role of the mass opinion molders.

Peddling lies to project presumed victim hood is no more their sole preserve because the leverage of technology has enabled people to see through the lies and reveal and communicate facts in real time in multiple ways.

Besides, there is an overall awareness and enhanced level of well informed or at least information loaded understating by many in most places.
So, it is no wonder that main stream media script has failed miserably of late in many places and on many issues.

Let us see the why the MSM scripts fail and how their failure is accelerated in general without any specific case study.

Though the case studies are obvious ‘Mokita’[  in Kirinina language of New Guinea] meaning-Truth that everybody knows but nobody speaks.

The following are mostly the reasons why their [MSM] scripts fail.

All old stereotyped tricks like concocting logical fallacies and creating new connotations to very appealing terms and many other trivialities enlisted below do not work anymore.

Media orchestrated rendering of sound bites of the same old lyrics of left liberalistic themes of generating fear psychosis and projecting victimhood;
Followed by appropriating credits points and assigning acrimonious labels ad nauseam;

Desperately and deliberately choosing impressionable but ill informed youth to play on their vulnerabilities and trying to manipulate them as guinea pigs for left liberal brain washing techniques.

MSM must learn not to distort or concoct news and facts to please their pay masters, more so , not over do it, nor try  secreting some ideologies and ideas which they think, for whatever good or bad reason, is the only  panacea and take a holier than thou position.

These are the many ways in which their [MSM’s] failure is accelerated?
All over the world the Main Stream Media [MSM] must start accepting facts, realities, and problems at present as they exist and if capable seek help of sincere experts to offer probable solutions rationally, scientifically taking into consideration the socio-cultural sensitivities of human beings everywhere.

Most importantly evaluate issues and individuals with contextual relevance.

Similar or worse still, the same script may not work in all nations or against all leaders.

If they don’t do it then the social media, which MSM derogatively calls as 24/7 echo chambers, will take over that role.

Unlike media houses where one can play with money, popularly known as paid media, it becomes too difficult to fund social media or script exclusively some pet ideological version to prevail everywhere.

Social media has its own share of frenzied followers and fanatic endorsement of certain ideas.

However, by its sheer number of users, values of multiple views, real freedom [with certain exceptions] and wide geographical spread with advanced camera hidden everywhere and handsets capable of carrying and transferring multiple mode of communication facts become known, good works get noticed, hidden agenda get exposed and bad intentions get scrutinized.

Having said all these your article forces me to revisit the links that I have penned down previously.

Definitions are indeed important? But how and why you define is equally important.

Words have their own life and evolution which may not give room to manipulations and mutilations beyond a limit.

Media must refrain from too much of distortions

It is no wonder that the whole world abhors the media labels

So, the future of media’s dignified life rests on self imposed media integrity which includes among many other things its dispassionate presentation of facts as they are; compassionate and rational interpretations of issues with contextual relevance rather than ideological identity driven ones; passionate expressions by all with complete freedom and total intensity and intense totality entertaining  multiple views, situations and ideas and ultimately create a synergy of all these passion, dispassion and compassion leading to a conducive atmosphere where rationally accepted peace, tolerance, unity and harmony can prevail.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Life of Meaningful Happiness

Life impregnated with meaning and imbued with happiness

I liked the article especially its contents predominantly discussing about meaning of life and the role of happiness.

It had lot of references to parenting, the emotions and difficulties involved along with how different reactions are manifested based on various perspectives and attitudes.

The trade off must be the ultimate wisdom that emanates from all and enables individual, society, humanity to lead a smooth life and ensures a safe environment.

Most of these are based on realization of reality and how we evaluate anything and everything based on the contextual relevance.

As I perceive it there are ten major aspects around which this article is woven and all these ten aspects have always caught my attention and therefore I have written lengthy articles on all these. Those who have time may go through the links and the sub links therein and are welcome to make your comments on the content.

1. Meaning of life

2. Happiness

3. Parenting
4. Wisdom that emanates must ensure humanitarianism and compassion at present and concern for posterity as well
5. Perspective

6. Attitude
7. Emotions

8. Realization of reality

9. Polarity principle pervades and not paradoxes

10. Abstractness of thoughts 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Quality standards for the arts?

Quality standards for the arts?  Ouf…..

The article in link given at the end was brought to my knowledge for the second time after a gap of some years so I was compelled to write this post.

At the outset even to articulate the many aspects of Indian classical music in English is, in fact, a difficult task and to make it understandable to a large number of readers is all the more difficult.

How can anyone determine quality of Indian classical music, though it needs to be done anyway, but on what basis?

It is generally difficult to measure the quality of any art through any scientific method because it is difficult to define art through any unit of measurement [even in science we are not aware of the vagueness of certain measurements like kilo- read James Trefil’s ‘101 Things You Don't Know about Science and No One Else Does Either’ - or a broad framework of measurement, even a highly relative one.

Defining quality is a general problem in matters of taste, trends and traditions.

It would be equally foolish to look out for socialistic justifications or stupid still to sully art by scrutinizing it trough any ideological lenses.

These general issues become all the more complicated when we are dealing with an art like Indian classical music imbued with enormous aesthetic appeal, entrenched in enormous traditions of various schools and excess of   subtle nuances in terms of techniques as well as substance and content of sound structures labeled or classified as Ragas.

I am confining only to the musicality of music, i.e. sound structure, not even venturing into lyrics, dress, traditions, different schools and methods all of which may offer lot of controversies and debates-probably may be suggested for news hour high decibel verbal duels.

Besides having all our own pet theories and notions about quality or tradition I feel what is more important than the commercials involved is that we face the harsh reality of the more difficult art of carrying out the necessary transition from tradition into transformation in classical music and Natyams [dances] of India.

This is required to make it more relevant by various means, I am neither competent nor arrogating myself to make suggestions in any aspect, but this transformation is required to make it more appealing to many youths.

Art and culture cannot be allowed to become too stereotyped, trite, redundant leading them to be fossilized or ossified but they have to evolve, like everything else, by wading through the tides of trendswhich could be contributory, complementary, contrasting, conflicting, contaminating - with the oars of compulsions and compromises and sail smoothly and safely to ensure the fundamental and basic principles or inherent aspects of the art forms are kept intact and appropriate doses of  innovations are introduced to ensure that there is a subtle transformation through a  smooth transition from tradition but not away from or apart from it.

All said and done culture is an important part of life and creates a very powerful impact through various forms of artistic expression the multiple meanings of life as a journey of the soul's experiencing, acting and interacting with all its tools like body, mind and emotions.

We need to understand and appreciate in proper perspective that our traditional arts and culture though are mostly imbued with and/or embedded in Bhakthi orientation with lot of religiously venerated mythological, historical, and theological and some esoterically conveyed philosophical concepts and scientific aspects as well.

However, most aspects of Indian culture are multifaceted splendors with each facet revealing itself according to the frame of reference and scale of observation of the individual. A very important but unfortunately often ignored short coming of our perception.

At the same time most of these traditional cultures and arts were neither constrained by these aspects nor confined to these aspects but rather used them as a medium to convey through different art forms certain emotions; in some cases  high philosophical concepts; in some cases social mores; in some cases appealing to the aesthetic sensitivities of human beings; in some cases portraying the sensuous and natural aspects of life; in some portraying and appealing to the various senses at different levels; in some individual morals and principles for enhancing one’s inherent potential , embellishing one’s character and so on.

So, in a way most of the traditional arts and cultures of this land permeated almost into every aspect of life and society and therefore they had to manifest the many human emotions.

But as vast and varied it may sound. The traditional arts and cultures, like all traditional arts and cultures, is at the same time very difficult to depict or handle because any aberration anywhere can hurt the sentiments of purists as well as those who are sentimentally or ritualistically attached to those sources [religious bakthi orientation ] wherein they are embedded.

Purist kill art and tradition by sticking on to classicism too much like sticking on to King’s English and Chaucer’s spelling and end up petrifying all traditional arts and cultures.

There is another brigade which creates lot of noises, mostly to seek attention, by taking on a very radicalized and diametrically opposite stand of  breaking into pieces everything that is part of tradition and end up putrefying the arts and cultures, unaware of the fact that the new scheme that they are creating will become a new tradition, forgetting two important facts that life has no permanent trends or taboos and that we can neither defy nor deny the importance of anything or anyone, as everything is interrelated, interconnected and interacting constantly as pieces in the unsolved jigsaw puzzle of life.

 Denying and defying things which have stood the test of time, either with reason or irrationally, is all the more difficult task and before denying their importance we need to first understand what has contributed to their survival through long periods of time.

The greatness of predecessors in any field is not meant to weigh down on the avid learner or the performer but make their perspectives, perceptions and preparations wider, wiser and wonderful. As the great Sir Isaac Newton used to say, “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants”.
We are able to witness this particular welcome trend - I mean evolutionary advancement [like evolutionary biology, evolutionary sociology, evolutionary philosophy, evolutionary politics etc] - in most domains of life.

Of course there are domains where it is caged in narrow walls like in certain ritualistic and religious observances which have refused to allow evolutionary trends and instead opted for verbal vindications to sustain the status quo and therefore are likely to gradually move away from the radar of involved participation and move into diminished interest and then saunter around for attention before finally fading away through indifference into the inevitable bin of insignificance and oblivion.

For any art form to survive it must ensure to manifest its inherent aesthetic and artistic appeal and relevance to the human body, mind and soul. Themes can change but must ensure commercial support for the artist to at least survive and lead a normal life with social acceptance and respectability. Only when art fulfills all these important aspects it will remain in the radar of involved participation, interest and public attention.  

This is proving to be true even in the realm of sports, let me confine to cricket, where five day test matches [which are undoubtedly still the best form of testing a skill of a player] have given room to one day matches and to T-20s of all hues and colors to make it more interesting and commercially successful. But no one ever wrote about playing cricket without 11 players or without a ball or without a bat or without a boundary line etc because you cannot dissociate cricket from these factors.

Similarly, I have listened to 5 to 6 hour concerts with two to two and half hour Ragam Thanam Pallavis, but nowadays we have artists who render  similar items very nicely within ten to fifteen minutes, quality need not be determined by length. After all we had the pioneers of SMS and Twitter in Tiruvalluvar and Aviayyar .

I have launched on to this lengthy preamble of general perceptions to put in right perspective the inevitable positions and avoidable perceptions in the minds of  young rasikas of music and dance, who were swinging like a  pendulum between some purists, critics and elders who treated  most new performers/performances with condescending comparisons [ I am not passing any judgment as to whether it is right or wrong] with very high standards and some street smart artists who used their PR machinery well enough to propel into realm of popularity [again I am not passing any judgment as to whether it is right or wrong].

This scenario was fair enough and expected but what is worse is now they are being confused and swayed away by irrelevant and incorrigible comparisons far removed from art. I shall explain about this [again I am not passing any judgment as to whether it is right or wrong].

Art and the cultural milieu and context where any particular art has evolved have to be evaluated only with those parameters.

We can adopt and effect necessary changes to embellish it, but to create controversies to confuse the general public with arguments as if it is a socio-political phenomenon to be approved and sanctified by some particular political ideology is totally wrong and worse still is misusing the fourth pillar for propagating such views.  Let us get it clear that unfortunately music is not made for the deaf, canvas painting is not made for the blind and dish antenna is not made for frying vegetables.

Culture develops only by change, developments etc. At the same time we must remember that if we all had to stick to traditions strictly then we must be either moving around nakedly or with bare minimum leaves covering certain parts of the body as that was the most ancient tradition of human race.

While analyzing anything we must explore only the relevant facts and while doing that we must desist getting distracted from the following major traps:-

1] Mutilating the facts,
2] Analyzing them with preconceived notions or prejudices,
3] Generalizing the particular and particularizing the general,
4] Approaching facts with unloving criticism or uncritical love,
5] Evaluating facts with our pet isms or philosophies,
6] Resorting to statistical justifications,
7] Unleashing unworkable utopia,
8] Mask them with logical fallacies,
9] Bury them in pleasant jargons, and
10] Give historical justifications or passing judgments based on traditions which are contextually not suitable or valid or hold water or which in no way contribute or affect the essence of what we are analyzing.

Art and culture serve in their own way certain social and public purpose and more importantly contribute to certain neural activities which have nothing  whatsoever to do with any political- ideology defined victimhood creation or has any hidden intention to ostracize or isolate anyone as proclaimed by some publicity seekers.

So to talk or write in a tone of trying to sound over generalizing or over simplifying something as vast as classical music to me is being ignorant of many aspects of it.

I believe in what Phenella writes in “The Unwritten Comedy”.

“To be ignorant of many things is expected
To know you are ignorant of many things is the beginning of wisdom.
To know a category of things of which you are ignorant is the beginning of learning.
To know the details of that category of things of which you are ignorant is to no longer be ignorant.”