Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dual-meme transcendence - II: Beyond Good and Evil and Beyond THAT.

Continued from the previous post ...

If you're trying to be good, very good at what you do, or if you love someone with all your heart, or if you want to learn something with all your heart ... you are witnessing the start up of a transcendence engine.
It is automatic. And seems universal.

This brings to mind the 'Beyond Good and Evil' of Nietzsche -

Where he suggests that the strongest people are marked by a cruelty to themselves, according to which they mercilessly expose their every prejudice and assumption in order to dig further into themselves.
"Free spirits are investigators to the point of cruelty, with rash fingers for the ungraspable, with teeth and stomach for the most indigestible".

(A few years ago - before I read Nietzsche, I used to wonder - why is it that we as a species enjoy cutting off the reproductive paraphernalia (flowers) of another species (plants and trees) ... even for purposes like 'offering' them to constructs like 'Gods'. (and people still thought that I was religious, while I was trying to understand the -nature- of religion.) This would perhaps make Nietzsche put me in the 'free spirit' category.)

Now the question is - is being a free spirit cruel to ones self? and what does cruel mean anyway? and what is this 'self' other than code passed on from media (friends, books, school ... ), DNA from parents... this 'self' to which a free spirit is cruel?

What I feel: Like all dual-memes, cruel/kind dual-meme ends up being transcended as well, it has no easy resolution.

(consider this - every time you breathe, you 'kill' millions of micro-beings as you suck them into your lungs. Every time you eat, some form, some being, some structure has 'sacrificed' itself, for another structure to be created. You are massively violent at a micro scale. Scale, not quality.) How 'kind or cruel' can you be?

Dual-meme transcendence - I

Anything that is a dual-meme, anything that has a dual - an opposite, is transcended.

During childhood, sometimes it is a big deal whether a room has the lights turned on at night or not. Eventually, as we understand the nature of light and dark, and learn that light can be controlled, we cease to think of it as a fear inducing element. In fact we cease to 'think of it' at all.

A combination of what we allow our senses to perceive, and how we process them and act (karma) seems to decide what memes our thinkspace will be occupied by. (why is it that I don't have to bother about my throat being slitted by a knife or being shot?) That also decides whether our awareness expands or contracts. By contract, here what I feel is that, if awareness is like a balloon like surface, a highly contracted state will take us back to being intensely bothered about whether a room is lighted or dark, a botheration that was once 'transcended'. An highly expanded state of awareness, might result in a loss of identity of the individual 'self' (which is a very narrow detailed story), one of the strongest dual-memes.

In between - there are a lot of other dual-memes that get transcended. Here are some that come to mind right now -
  • Like trust/mis-trust (I used to find it difficult to decide whom to 'trust' with what, and to what extent ... eventually, it becomes a non-question)
  • Pleasure/pain (this one takes a long time sometimes. eventually, once you know they are the same see-saw (one predicating the existence of the other. two sides of the same see-saw plank ... then after a point, you outgrow the see-saw.))
  • Mine/yours (having a child is one of the events that helps go beyond this one I guess.)
  • Production/Consumption (For a long time, I thought it was 'better' to be producer than a consumer ... (i.e. to create video games than to just play them ...); but if one produces something, someone must consume, then just what is it that makes production better?!)
  • First/Last (I'd come 1st in class in school, but then I couldn't figure out WHY must there be a system where a very small part of a system are in a position that is coveted, when the majority of the class IS not the guy who comes first. Also, why must there be pain on 'failure' or on not getting something 'right' in a 'test'. I tried flunking a few courses, tried 'fighting' my genes, just to prove that I am not bound by anything as mechanical as that. Similarly in the corporate world, I wondered about WHY must all the 'desirables' in the world, go to a minority say 5%, when the remaining 95% remains a big part of the corporation. If a manager is responsible for the entire team, and the CEO for the entire company - is creating a coveted position on top that everybody aspires for the only way to reward and to ensure progress. Can't there be a more inclusive system. Anybody seen the massive minus field around on 'performance evaluation day', well, 95% of the guys can't play the game as well, (even if the rule is to write really good code or some such) and aren't happy. (The root of this unhappiness is another story altogether, but you don't usually get the system till you see beyond it.) )
  • Doctor/Patient (the meme called a doctor is 'useful', 'because' the meme called 'patient' exists. New dis-'eases' will keep springing up. This dual-meme has been transcended and well documented in our scriptures. For instance, among one of the causes of disease as stated in the Caraka Samhita is the unnatural production or suppression of natural movement-forces in the body - the forces that move tears, urine, vomit, flatulence, sperm ... and so on. A yogi, by sublimating the root causes of these movements, can transcend this dual-meme easily. Other simple means of transcending this is to live a balanced life - (maybe, as documented and prescribed in the aahaar, vihaar etc sections of the caraka samhitaa...))

Everything that has an opposite, gets transcended by awareness.

Which is perhaps pretty much everything of what 'is' - in the conventional sense.


It seems this process is automatic.
One of those processes that seems to be a part of 'evolution' (?)
It begins with best practices. Trying to live the best life possible. Even with trying to minimize pain for self or others. Or being kind. Or trying to discover what one is supposed to do in this world.Once you get serious with this (by this time, you have perhaps already 'transcended' Maslow's needs-pyramid); you can hit a lot of very difficult questions (if seeing and solving difficult problems and the path of discriminative wisdom - viveka buddhi is your preferred way of life.)

Or even if you want to -
  • be good, very good at what you do, or
  • love someone with all your heart, or
  • know and study something with all your heart, or
  • focus on your work with all your heart
... you are witnessing the startup of a transcendence engine.
It is automatic. And seems universal.
Everyone is a yogi to a different extent.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

notes on the kanji - a new blog begins

imi no bakebanashi 意味の化け話

Some of the initial posts from the blog follow:

Stories about the ghosts of meaning as they mutate and float around in kanji characters, words and compounds.

意味 imi = 意(feelings, thoughts)+味(flavor, taste)
化け(る)bake(ru) = to change, mutate, take the form of (also implies ghost as in obake - in this case, the ghosts of meaning.)
話 hanashi = tale, story.

Mojibake - 文字化け is composed of 文字 (moji), which means letter, character, and 化け (bake), from the verb 化ける (bakeru), which means to appear in disguise or to take the form of. Literally, it means "character mutation".

This journey is about how imi (meaning) bake'd into moji(characters) and how moji bake'd into jukugo(compounds) and later perhaps even look at how that bake'd into bun(sentences).

It is a record of my journey as I explore the space between reality, the manner in which the ancient Chinese perceived it, and how that perception condensed into the snowflakes we call the Kanji. And further into Kanji compounds. Also perhaps, some interesting patterns that emerged as the kanji were adapted by the Japanese to fit their language. And then some oddities, questions and interesting kanji tidbits.

slowly the kanji,
sink into this mind-ripple,
like snowflakes drifting down to the ground.
each one different, but similar
silent moments of frozen beauty, a clue ...
for this world, that there is another....

Friday, November 28, 2008

Who's the beggar?

There was a discussion somewhere some months ago about beggars ....

here is some ugly hip hop I made up ;) .....

The world is a perpetual beggar.
the stomach when fed,
does not stop,
nor do the ears, the eyes or that
mind on top
MORE MORE MORE till the fella goes POP
reached a high, beg for a taller ladder, don't DROP
have enough, want more,
got it, then store!
work for love? that's a bore.
you're POOR, you beggar
salary raise, more money, more marks
you're not just any beggar
okay don't be sore,
but ... you... you don't just beg,
you whore.

not pretty. but the next time you see a beggar on the street look at yourself carefully to see how much of your own self, mind and body constantly begs for more. And who is the greater beggar.

Yeah, this was about the time when I used to really dislike words then.
Because they can be used to any effect. (Law and Lawyers)
However they are very, very bad at modeling reality.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Locus communis. Some pages from my 'Commonplace book'

Some years ago, perhaps in 2004, I started maintaining a commonplace ("Commonplace" is a translation of the Latin term locus communis which means "a theme or argument of general application".) in a spiral bound notebook and a year later in a Moleskine notebook.

That moleskine was misplaced somewhere in Tokyo in March 2008, thought to have been lost. I found it in a coat pocket yesterday, and thought that it would be a good idea to post some of the stuff here. So here goes.

The last entry in the book goes:
This too shall pass. And that too.
Not always so. This is one accurate, though simplistic model of life.
But must this too be always so?
Bah! Words are lies. And so is this.
Caveat lector.
-Aalhad Saraf ;)

We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken... the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether. How many people we meet, whom we scarcely speak to, whom yet we honor, and who honour us! How many we see in the street, or sit with in church, whom, though silently we warmly rejoice to be with. Read the language of these wandering eyebeams. The heart knoweth.

The ideal sage does not even cross a stream for fear of breaking its serenity: he moves slowly, as a crane treads the surface of water lightly or as a bee tenderly alighting on a lotus, lest its movements spill the pollen. He regards the very atom as a part of life and walks gently as if by compassion.
-Saint Dnyaneshwar

Gently he spreads his life below other beings feet, so that he may be a source of happiness to them and he treads the earth tenderly like a cat holding its kittens with its teeth so as not to injure them. He raises his hands only to afford protection. Never would he even dream of playing with or tossing garlands of flowers. Such a man is gentleness itself, humble and with an intense regards for all living beings and things as parts and parcels of the one and same Infinite Self.
The realized man is never affected by sorrow or by other afflictions; like the great boundless ocean, he can find room for rivers of grief without being disturbed by them. He is friendly with the whole world to the point where he cannot distinguish between himself and others.
-Saint Dnyaneshwar

The narrow minded man thinks and says - 'This man is one of us' this one is not, he is a stranger.' To the man of noble soul, the whole of mankind is but one family.
-the Hitopadesha

Beware of having an over concern for money or position or glory. Some day you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are.
-Rudyard Kipling in an address at McGill University, Montreal, Canada

The body is insentient and hence can neither enjoy nor suffer. Nescience gives rise to heedlessness and unwisdom; hence it is nescience alone that enjoys or suffers.
It is indeed the mind alone that is born, weeps, kills, goes, abuses others etc. , not the body. In all experiences of happiness and unhappiness, as also in all hallucinations and imaginations, it is mind that does everything and, it is mind that experiences all this: mind is man.
-III, 115, pg 97, commentary on the Yoga Vasishta by Swami Venkateshananda.

Work - not to rouse pity, win sympathy or adoration; only this -
as the logos of the state requires.
-Marcus Aurelius

All that you see will soon have vanished and those who see it will vanish themselves, and the ones who have reached old age will have no advantage over the untimely dead.
- Marcus Aurelius

To feel affection for people even when they make mistakes is uniquely human. You can do it if you simply recognize: that they're human too, that they act out of ignorance against their own will, and that you'll both be dead before long. And above all, that they really haven't hurt you. They haven't diminished your ability to choose.
- Marcus Aurelius

There is nothing more mechanical in a persons life than negative emotions.

Study the nature of wakefulness, dream and sleep states and maintain a single state of awareness in all three.
-Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, BKS Iyengar

'Sit down. Look and you will see that your thoughts come into you from outside. Before they enter, fling them back' Sri Aurobindo followed these instructions exactly, with the result that in three days, or more accurately in one day itself, his mind was filled with an eternal silence.
- introduction to the Penguin Aurobindo reader

I am made up of substance and what animates it, and neither one can ever stop existing, any more than it began to. Every portion of me will be re-assigned as another portion of the world, and that in turn transferred into another. Ad infinitum.
I was produced through one such transformation, and my parents too, and so on back. Ad infinitum.
This still holds good, even if the world goes through re-current cycles.
-Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

Start living your ideals.
Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. Once you have determined the spiritual principles you wish to exemplify, abide by these rules as if they were laws, as if it were indeed sinful to compromise them.
Don't mind if others don't share your convictions. How long can you really put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer.
Put your principles into practice - now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren't a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you will be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret because you know you are capable of better.
From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do - NOW!

As a careful mother teaches her child to walk carefree, so the careful mind of the Yogi teaches the senses to be carefree. By continued practice of pranayama, the senses become free of obsession for the things they once pined for.
-Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sri BKS Iyengar

Don't defend your reputation or intentions.
Don't be afraid of verbal abuse or criticism. Only the morally weak feel compelled to defend themselves or explain to others. Let the quality of your deeds speak on your behalf. We can't control the impression others form of us and the effort to do so only debases our character.
So if anyone should tell you that a certain person has spoken critically of you, don't bother with excuses or defenses. Just smile and reply - "I guess that person doesn't know about all my other faults, otherwise, he wouldn't have mentioned only there."
-Enchirdion, Epictetus

On character -
Of Prince Albert - 'He had the greatest delight in anybody else saying a fine saying , or doing a great deed. He would rejoice over it and talk about it for days; and whether it was a thing nobly said or done by a little child or by a veteran statesman, it gave him equal pleasure. He delighted in humanity doing well on any occasion and in any manner."

Concentrate every minute on doing what is in front of you, with precise and genuine seriousness; tenderly, willingly and with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can - if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable. You see how few things you have to do - to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this - that is all even the Gods can ask of you.
-Book 2, verse 5, meditations by Marcus Aurelius

.... more later.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Existence. Science. Flavor. Manifestation. Shit.

The food we eat, derives its flavor from the by products generated during the process of its growth. Meat derives its flavor perhaps from the subtle salty compounds that were formed as it was being metabolized. Uric acid like stuff and so on. It goes the same way for plants and fruits. Existence is thus perhaps a guarantee of imperfection, as it is a waste product of a process - the leap from byproduct to waste-product being a subtle and easy one, if purity is defined in terms of pure energy that is unbound by time. Although ayurveda makes a good distinction between 'mala' and 'dhaatu'; from the perspective of yoga, anything that is not pure energy is 'mala' like or actually perhaps non-existent. Not just meat and plants ... but I too derive my flavor, my 'fragrance' or 'vaasanaa' so to speak, from how I transform all the food (sights, sounds, thoughts ... plants...) I consume.

So ... manifestation is impurity(in the strictest sense of the word).

Manifestation as we see it is the result, a by product, of a manufacturing process.
Where the pure is separated from the impure. The essential is separated from the non-essential.
Which also brings to mind the word 'science' - that field of human endeavor that is enamored with classifying and separating ... the word root is the verb sciere (L. to cut) which came from proto indo european, perhaps skt. - skheid- from whence scissor, schism, schizo- also come. And also shit.
shit (v.) Look up shit at
O.E. scitan, from P.Gmc. *skit-, from PIE *skheid- "split, divide, separate." Related to shed (v.) on the notion of "separation" from the body (cf. L. excrementum, from excernere "to separate"). It is thus a cousin to science and conscience. The noun is O.E. scitte "purging;" sense of "excrement" dates from 1585, from the verb.

This holds true even for the manifestation (also in the sense of avatara) of some of the very highest principles known to Hindustani people. Vishnu had to be incarnated (to be born in the flesh) again as Rama, as a result of a curse (as given in the first chapter of the yoga vasishta)

This is perhaps also the origin of the concept that we are all born in 'sin' i.e. we are a W.I.P (work in progress) ;)

Manifestation is shit. At some level. ;)
So is science.
And so is flavor.

(as always, standard disclaimer applies - all words are lies to some extent or the other on the index of reality.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

transcending reality - transcending time.

A few years ago, I started developing a distaste, well, an intense dislike for chronological time.
If I had to create something, I wanted it to be timeless - what is the use crafting sublime architectures in C++ when the very basis of the systems that will let them exist, are certain to change and disappear in a few decades. Not that I might be remotely capable of doing anything similar, but in contrast, consider Mozart san and his music ... it has stuck a few centuries, at least.

Also, when doing work, I kept wanting to be in a state where I did not have to be aware of time. Like a master craftsman.
What was this with time and me ...
(this ties in with some of my meme cards about sustainability)

Last week I had the fortune of sharing my residence with a physicist from Albany, NY ... a quantum physicist. When discussing time, its contrived nature and how the mind fabricates time ... he quipped ... 'You had better become pure energy ... for anything else, time is an enemy of!'
This is very interesting.
That might the business of yoga.

Modern science again seems to be approaching the boundaries of rationality. I wonder why this keeps repeating again and again.

Following the yamas ... Truth, and why science can't understand the architecture of the world.

Let's begin with Satya or truth.
I look at the moon. I say out loud, 'I am looking at the moon.'
I have just lied. Not only have I lied, but I have lied -without- being aware of it, which is all the more dangerous, for it comes with the belief that I am speaking the truth. And that very thing, will prevent me from seeing anything more fundamental.

How? I have no real proof of existence of the moon other than the report of my senses and the result of a carefully constructed series of mental constructs called rationality (which is really a solved problem.)

Yet I say, the moon exists. Like a guy running around in Doom II saying that the sprites that represent the demons exist.

First step towards transcending reality, is to never lie, for that will consolidate the seeming reality of the very virtual constructs whose architecture we're trying to understand.

So following the yama of Truth ... requires me to not speak at all! For the nature of everything spoken - if seen closely enough is untruth! It is possible to mince around, playing with semantics ... and that would perhaps be the job of professional philosophers.

But empirically, it was easy for me to see this once I saw why actions speak louder than words ... actually, certain kinds of silence speak much louder than actions, and give the person who is silent a tremendous power to effect change.

At this point, it was easy for me to turn agnostic (if I am a sprite in Doom II then, I CANNOT figure out the architecture of the OS or the processor ... but that again, makes certain assumptions about what knowledge is and what is knowable), nihilist ... well I could go any number of ways really, but then I wouldn't be any closer to the state of the art ;)
I resolutely refused to conform, yet continued the quest to observe the mind.

(from mid-2007)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

the unanswerable why .... and mistaking proximity in time and space, observation and classification for understanding

Modern science and its derivative fields, amongst other things, are limited in their methods for discovery of truth - that observation (and proximity in time and space, albeit - many times, repeated) and classification is mistaken for understanding or even worse - an understanding of causation. The 'why' is a question - designed to be unanswered. For every answer to a why - can be met with a further why. An open loop. A hole. A back-door through the cocoon of language. Temporary answers to ANY question, based on existing classification models and observations in the time-space dimensions may be convenient or useful in limited local contexts (which - due to the 'value agnosticism' of science .... okay maybe, more on that later), however ... the why remains unanswered.

A self-respecting follower of science, and one very good at his stuff, probably, soon reaches the limits of what his methods can allow him to see. Where he sees that he does not, in fact, understand anything about anything.

Perhaps - this is what happened to Einstein.
And I also saw it in the bluepages profile of a person who was in my 'most respected' list in IBM. In his profile - it said
Expert: C / Algorithms / Procrastination / Abstraction
Strong: LDAP / C / Windows / Unix / Communication
Competent: Korn Shell / HTML / I18N / Build / CMVC / Software Dev &
Support / Sensitivity
Learning: Java / Package & install / Business Processes / Details / Diplomacy
Clueless: Sales & Marketing / Money / Life

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

sleep, sweet sleep

Some time ago, I didn't keep regular sleeping hours.
On one of those sleepless nights - I wrote a few lines in my notebook -

Sleep, sweet sleep ...
come to me, hold me
in your arms
pray, let me
sink into your lap
enter me
scrub my mind, spirit, flesh and blood
cleanse me
sights, sounds, thoughts, food ...
for 'tis all the stuff I ate
for 'tis the code ...
that writes my fate -
joys, sorrows, pleasure, pain...
pray be my mate,
seep through
artery and vein;
be with me,
let your deep dark tresses
hide me;
from that tyrant, time
now let me end this rhyme;
take me.
I'm yours to keep
for the night ...
Sleep .... sweet sleep.

I never had a problem sleeping ever since. ;-)
Sleep, sweet sleep. You love her and she loves you right back. :-D

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

unsolved ... important

One way of knowing if you are approaching unsolved problems is if you seem to be stretching the boundaries of your belief system. The axioms that limit your perception. Like two points make a line. And three points make a triangle.

Consider this ...
Try defining necessity independent of a desirability model.
A need devoid of a want.
Look around you - what you see is the rendering of the mind of a bundle of wants.
The very need to eat, to live ... is based on a want to exist.

What is truly necessary - language cannot begin to describe, the mind cannot begin to perceive (since it is a first class beggar - the mother of wants), rationality cannot begin to analyze.

Try cracking a simple problem. Consider a situation ... say -
I decide to read something. A farmer from the town calls me asking if I could come help him with work in his grape orchard. Now - there are wants here. But what is -necessary- ? What should have been done ? What is 'necessary' independent of some want .... c'est impossible, non ?
What do you really -need- ?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

you may think that I'm religious ...

... but what do you think religion is ?

Religion is a set of metastable answers to important, difficult problems ... that help hold things together. (re+ligare: ligare = to bind together, also the root of 'ligament' etc.) The THINGS that these answers hold together may be the body, the mind, family, society, hell - even a company, a team within a company or a software architecture for that matter. Religion is a metastable supported version of an OS ... to ensure sustainability. This is a word bog though - but that is as close as I can come right now.

I have not accepted any ready-made answers at face value. Some of my most pressing concerns aren't addressed by religion - our scriptures come very close (the newest release being done by Gautama Buddha perhaps.) But words have limits. It was my intent to take a sabbatical from IBM last year, to try and discover the nature of sustainability by studying the ancient Indian scriptures - for this has been a thoroughly researched concept - and apply the essence to modern, current problem sets.

This was just before unsustainability hit unexpecting me - at all possible levels.
More on unsustainability and my findings in a later post.

Adding the comments to the main post - since they are really a part of the post and don't show up by default.

Blogger Transcending Reality said...
A belief system which can prove to be a binding factor. A means for peaceful co-existence. Its not an answer, rather means to find an answer. Its good as long as its followed in moderation. I guess its something which you do when in solitary. It has to be truly personal. Seeing the turns, religions take in today's world, I am better off without it. I find it redundant anyway. Causes more problems than it should solve. Whats worth a try would be to stuff like what the 'secular' Turkish government had done..ban sporting hijab in public. haha Ask me the same question a decade later and the answer would be: "I would regard it as a disease born out of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race." - Russell - Lucretius ~chetan
July 06, 2008 12:34 PM
Blogger mojibake - previously kilocoder said...
actually not a system of beliefs. But a set of principles responsible for binding. Peaceful or not. Like a set of principles that govern a system. If your body exists right now, it is because the system obeys certain principles. If your university exists as an entity - that is because there is an implicit framework that is responsible for it's existence. Religion is almost a synonym for existence - sustainability of any meme complex is necessary for existence to continue. What we see in the world is a massive dissociation between words and what they originally meant - this is exactly what I was talking about in the post where I said I lost my belief in words. You have a religion whether you believe it or not. You may not know what it is. The fact that you exist still - is proof enough of the fact that there is something holding you together. By the time Lucretius and Co. decided to see it as a disease - they had already gone far far away from what religion means. The religion I have in mind is not a set of imperatives to be followed by people. Yoga is personal. Although, yes - it is admittedly easy for a yogi to 'get' the 'cepts of sustainability. (Everything in this world has a timestamp.) Not to be confused with Dharma - 'iti dhaaraytee sa dharmaha'. Dharma is pervasive. Where anything is held together - dharma is responsible. And the principles that govern it are not personal. Where dharma is not - there will automatically be dissolution. Be it a body, a company, a family ... If you can abstract out the essence of sustainability - then you may begin to consciously apply it. (It is of course possible to do it without understanding and being conscious of it - just as great artists don't know WHY they are great artists) Now - the application of the principles of sustainability cannot be done by force, by edicts, by rules. We all know how that fails - bad managers, dictators ... To be able to manipulate the data structures in the human mind - requires a great deal more juice and subtlety than that. To establish a 'dharma' is no mean feat - if you ever see - in a small company - a person - perhaps the owner - with a great deal of 'juice' ... you will see a person who can and is in the process of establishing the dharma of his company. This is admittedly easy in a small group. When the company grows - it is not too much of a wonder when the values of the company can't be passed on the the last guy in the chain by the CEO. It just ends up being some files somewhere - or a mission statement on a desk - easy and boiler-plate enough to be forgotten. To transmit dharma - is almost like transmitting heat or light - through a physical medium. It does not happen through symbols alone, although they help.
July 06, 2008 4:11 PM

Friday, May 16, 2008

the story of a one rupee coin ... true cost ... and why I am not a financial analyst.

True cost.
What is the true cost of me working in a large company ?
My salary ? My time ? My health ?

Suppose I earn just one rupee a day. Just one coin.
Now I spend that coin on buying what I like, or on a cause that I think is worthwhile - say I feel that people who write and search for knowledge and truth should be supported. So I buy good books. With that one rupee coin. That same one rupee coin now goes to the fellow who wrote that book. What does he do - he does a similar thing. Say, he likes music - he buys a CD with that one
rupee. The same coin - the same one rupee coin moves a million times. Everybody gets what they want. And thus wealth is created. So says economics. Money moves. People get what they want. Everybody is rich. WAIT. One coin moves a million times.

One million things are made. consumed. production and consumption. A million times - the raw material is .... the earth?

energy that comes from the sun? The earth is a largely sustainable meme complex by itself. But one coin moving around a million times introduces changes a million times in that meme complex .... changes which people like you and me, people who

create technology and consume it can only begin to faintly comprehend ... the earth is not INTEREST. It is CAPITAL. (If at all it can be talked about in such simple words.) So ... do we SPEND CAPITAL in order to become wealthy, or do we re-invest a part of the interest (if there is such a thing) back into the capital and consume the rest, and in this case - CAN WE ? wicked loop ? yes?
just one rupee moving around a million times!
For a moment ... forget the ecological implications and the wealth creation aspect.
Say ... I spend one rupee on buying books (or something that you currently deem worthwhile) and then, say the next one million minus one people use that coin to gamble, smoke, drink ... or basically on destroying sustainable memes
(because I CURRENTLY feel that one of the best ways to be human is to participate in and create sustainable meme patterns and complexes - fight entropy (and a new child is just the default apex of what we are hard coded to 'create' ... an anti-entropy genetic construct, a family is the social anti-entropy construct ... and so on) ... but my mental model seems to be constantly refined and altered. And the edge ... the END of what thought as a system is capable of doing, as a tool is capable of creating is almost visible... that is another story)
so ... then what is the true ethical cost of moving one rupee through the 'market' a million times ?

It is possible to consider this as an academic question, and it is possible to be HIT IN THE CEREBRAL GUT by it.

In my case it was the latter.
And ... I closed my CFA books.

A subconscious understanding of the above was the reason I asked girls who wanted to marry me in the year 2005 - 'Will you be okay with the idea of us living only on say a couple of thousand rupees a month?' Most of them gave me funny looks - if this fellow can and probably is earning close to 30 or 40 times that amount ... why would he think of this! :)

We truly no longer know the true cost of anything. And neither do we really know what we really need. :) So ... shinier, stronger, bigger, faster ? more, more, more ? WHAT ? WHY ? The greatest of corporations, the best of our scientists don't seem to have an answer to what we SHOULD need. In the absence of that answer, they just compromise and seem to accept the easier convergent problems. Dangerous. Even more dangerous - they persuade everyone that the problems that they work on - the convergent ones - amenable to the tools of technology and science and rationality are the MOST IMPORTANT problems, and people who don't become scientists or engineers are generally not intelligent (this at least, seems to be the case in my hometown in Pune, India ... and all the most refined brains are sucked in by the Engineering profession)

This post is history. Last year. I have some answers to the difficult questions posed now. Not very easily expressible through words. Words are too mechanical.

If you don't 'get' me - you will call my words 'psychobabble'.

(ever wonder WHY many things speak louder than words? MUSIC ? and silence ? and silence backed with LOVE - even louder? Actually there are even more powerful methods of meme transfer than words and direct action. Parable that comes to mind -
when Ramana Maharshi was asked by a person - 'Why do you live here in the Arunachala mountains - when you could be down in the villages DOING SOMETHING!' - and he replied something to the effect of 'What in HEAVENS name makes you think that direct action is the most effective method of creating change, and what makes you think it is necessary!!!!')

Thursday, May 15, 2008

embryos ... most of us

striving to sustain ... striving to break out of the cocoons of code that surround us ... our parents' ideas and beliefs, the ideas that books and movies and friends give us, the memes embedded in our genes ... do not push away, do not judge ... at least, till we emerge from the chrysalis (and then there will remain perhaps ... nothing to be judged.)

(From notebook ... late 2007)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

the (near) end of my reading habit ...

A couple of years ago ... a question occurred to me ... is any of my thoughts an entirely original thought, or is it primarily a result of everything that I have read from childhood ? Is anything I think my own ? Can it ever be ? If the human mind is a system that is programmed by what the senses are exposed to i.e. DATA, and that in turn plays a major role not only in determining the limits of perception in the future, but also what actions are undertaken by the human body - i.e. if DATA is interpreted as CODE ... then what degree of security do we have. And should one allow oneself to be programmed by -any- book (or experience!) at all, even the Bhagvad Geeta or the Patanjali Yoga Sutras for that matter! If 'buddhi' is also programmed or colored if you will, by sensory input then we are not just full of buffers waiting to be overflowed but we are a system with a completely exposed code area that anyone can write to. (I have since discovered that it IS possible to find a mechanism that is not affected by I/O ... but that is another story)

Seemed scary.

This led me to seek answers to fundamental questions about the nature of information, and the human mind.

When I hit the limits of language as we know it - I needed to work then at another level and saw that I had nothing more to read!

Why I lost my belief in words ... and how I (almost) ended my reading habit

God. When I talk with you and use the word 'God' - I have many different memes associated with that word in my mind. And -- you -- probably have a set of other, different memes in your mind. And both of us probably are not in sync with what we 'think' is 'real'. Forget what 'IS' real. Why God - even plain words like, say -- 'western culture', when used by enough people, result in a large amount of what can best be called verbal delusion or 'vikalpa' (shabda-dnyaanaanupaati vastushoonyo vikalpahaa - Patanjali yoga sutras, Samadhi paada.)

Examine any language closely, and you will slowly realize that all words are mere pointers to reality. No wonder that ancient sanskrit grammarians recognized and studied languages and grammars -- nay, not just that but whole levels or media of communication more powerful than written and spoken language. For instance - 'paraa', 'pashyanti', 'madhyamaa' ...

Examine any language you know closely, and you will also see laws analogous to Newtons laws of motion or the laws of thermodynamics ... hell, meaning seems subject to entropy as well.

When I realized this, the first thing that struck me was, it is impossible to follow the 'yama' or rule of 'satya' or truth; if I speak or use 'common' language, so to speak. If the very nature of the language I know is untruth, how can I ever claim to be truthful!

All words are lies (and so are these! ... see the loop... beautiful, but a limitation in a tool that attempts to describe reality accurately.) So words seem to me now like シャボン玉 -soap bubbles blown by children. Beautiful, ethereal, temporal ... but not very good as tools for accurately describing reality - a use case most often attributed to languages.

So ... the end of language as I knew it.
This is from my notebook - from about a year ago.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008