religion

Religion: A waste of time

The recent news of the Ayodhya verdict have started a spate of debates across all media (from NDTV to Facebook!).

That apart, so many discussions wherein people end up confusing religion and god. I thought it was high time I pen down my thoughts on the difference between the two and whenever such a discussion occurs, I’ll proceed to give the link instead of going into the details of explaining the difference (funda re-use!!).

All religions have been started by men in order to lay down a set of agreed upon rules and norms for their community. This community could be brought together through mutual agreement (pagans, hindus, etc) or by instilling fear. Fear of being a heretic (islam, christianity, etc). The details are irrelevant, since in either case one thing rings true – its a social construct.

A social construct which generally pre-supposes the presence of a superbeing to keep all the community within line of the norms. If you break the norms, your soul will rot in eternal hell/netherworld/underworld/etc. If you follow all the norms like a good little boy, then you have chance to enter heaven/valhalla/olympus/etc. All these created craftily to breed only one type of behavior from the masses –

Compliance.

Now this superbeing, is usually god (sometimes it is the devil), but most of the times; it is god.

You take away all these rules and faff (the stuff I generally call as कर्मकांड), and you are still left with god. So what good is god without religion.

A lot. The idea of god, gives us faith, the faith that even if one fails, by some miracle (and these do happen :)), the intended outcome will be met. God is faith, and that’s precisely why atheists and theists will keep on arguing about God … because each will not let go of their faith.

So for god’s sake don’t waste time on religion, but still keep the faith :)

When virtual takes over real

Just read this in the paper –

In a shocking case of parental negligence, a 3-month-old baby was starved to death after her parents forget to feed her as they were busy honing their parental skills in raising a virtual child.

Gaming is a technology that can be used to learn new skills (parenting being one of them), but before the game takes over the real purpose of picking up that skill, the player needs to quit.

Marathi Manus v/s Multiplexes

*** Disclaimer: I am not a Shiv Sainik, or a Congress fan. I just do not like the end outcome. ***

In the recent news, we saw how multiplexes refused to air MNIK, and how central government arm-twisted them into airing the shows, much to the chagrin of MNS. With threats of violence, people of the city still braved to see a hindi movie.

All in all, it’s interesting to see not the event, but the actual outcome … who has “won” and who has “lost”

Shiv Sena: Once again written off by everyone as a wannabe. Once again people thinking that the party is unnecessarily resorting to violence. Fighting for the right cause, but for the wrong issue and in the wrong fashion.

MNS: A missed opportunity to come together with the original party. Raj Thackeray could have shown to the people of Mumbai that he stands for the marathi manus and supports the cause. He is clearly fighting for the wrong cause.

Central Government: Having over-ridden the local parties in local matters, now Congress has higher say over MNS and Shiv Sena combined. What should not have been their jurisdiction has been given over to them on a silver platter.

SRK & Karan Johar: They were but a tool for grabbing this opportunity of who really controls the city. I hope they realize that they are not adding any value to the city of Mumbai, and that is what Shiv Sena is against. If you are living in this city, if you are feeding off this city, then please invest in it. Obviously, all this publicity is always good for their ilk.

Multiplexes: With ticket prices touching Rs. 250 onwards, profits soon rise. This almost seems like a win-win situation.

But what about us, the people, the marathi manus?

Marathi Manus: By far the clear loser in this entire muck-up. The one party who stood a chance to represent them has now been effectively silenced – silenced by the people who can afford those tickets. What about the people living in Mumbai who do not have that much expendable income? What about the people who see their homes being taken away from them simply because all the commodities are becoming expensive day by day? The backbone of these people has been broken. Broken by a trivial issue.

JK Rowling at HBS

I was unaware of the fact that JK Rowling (the author of the very popular Harry Potter series) holds an honorary degree from the Harvard Business School. So it came as a surprise when I chanced upon her Commencement speech at the HBS Alumni meet.

An excerpt –

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.

JK Rowling talks about how she looked at her failures to give her strength. To give her the courage to follow the road less trodden. Failure takes away all the unnecessary things, giving the individual focus and clarity. No wonder they say that failures are the pillars of success.

A parting note (quoting JK Rowling who was quoting Seneca)  –

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

I think everyone who is aspiring to make it big should go through that speech. Success is not something that happens overnight, and without a certain clarity of purpose, it is very hard to succeed.

Media v/s Social Media

Why does the media corrupt? With the media being corrupt, I mean that instead of performing it’s duty of reporting news that matters to the society, what it ends up doing is look for sensational news – which are actually not sensational at all. I do not care about Amitabh Bachhan catching a cold … no I dont give a farthing about that. What I do care is a sugar scam happening right under our noses and we being oblivious to it all. Here’s how this sugar scam works –

Politician A (we all know who is the agricultural minister!!) gets into the power, then he sets up a shell company outside the country. Slowly this company acquires great hordes of sugar in its stocks. Then Politician A says that there is a sugar deficit in the country and the country might have to import sugar from outside. An artificial supply deficit causes prices to rise – simple enough?? Now, the shell company comes to the rescue! Supplies the country with the much needed sugar (of course at a higher price).

I was unaware of this till yesterday. The minute I came to know about it – one question that kept ringing in my mind was – why does not the media report events like these? If the media does not do its work, then who will?? Can Social Media take over the role of media in society??

Some would say no – since proponents of this theory say that social media is currently being used to report vain and idiotic things – like speak like a Pirate day … a’rrrr. How can you take the same seriously then? Another thought is that there is no reliability – a counter to this would be – as if currently the media is reliable :-)

I would say yes – social media is the exact kind of distributed model which needs to get its act together and let the people act for the people. Kind of like democracy, huh? More so, members of the society who are aware about the current events (and those which are under currents as well) are citizens, and citizens who act out for the benefit of other citizens are enlightened citizens. We need more of these!!!

What do you think?

Tsunamika and Small steps

image Remember I was ranting about Co-ordinate geometry and changing communities? Well, in case you have’nt, here is the link. Well here’s a nice example that is changing the society. And it is being done bit by bit, vector by vector :-)

Today we had gone to my Maami’s place. She gave us this cute little bag which comes nicely packed in a small pouch. The pouch can be attached to a purse or your belt through a metal hook. Pretty nifty, huh!?! The cost, Rs. 100. Nice product, good value as well. The idea of this bag is that it folds out to become a very big shopping bag, eliminating the need for those pesky plastic bags. Its so small that you dont even realize that you are carrying one!! Imagine, slowly but steadily eliminating those plastic bags that vendors give to you to carry subzi. Its a fresh idea, and economical at that. Plus a nice idea for gifts as well!!

And the best part is that these bags are made by women who live in tsunami afflicted regions! The bags come with those cute Tsunamika dolls.

Imagine – the word about these spreading around slowly but surely. Sounds realistic no? Slowly because of a few determined souls, the social norm of using plastic bags has changed to not using them. Thats social transformation through the power of an idea :-)

They are only going to make 10 million of these bags, get yours today!!