(Previous Posts , , [2.5] & )
Before proceeding, one point must be (re) emphasized, neither the evolution, or the value system or the conscience should be taken to mean as presence of central intelligence, but nor does it mean creation is automatic and foregone conclusion, rather the creation is made possible by intellect of very few individuals, who more often than not, have no co-ordination.
Now coming to the main point, how exactly this "collective memory" forms and persists. I can only speculate but there are two aspects of it.
One there is always a distinction between creation of memory. There is elite "memory", this includes philosophy, classical art, religion etc. As opposed to this is "folk" memory which persists as folk arts, music. The "elite" term is used it's creation is only possible due to support of the elites (in political as well as economical sense) of the civilization. On the other hand, "folk" memory is created by the "common" masses.
The other distinction (again it is just speculation) that can be made is nature of memory.
First and foremost comes the literature, it may be religious, epic, oral, text etc. Second arts especially the performing arts, (plastic arts usually being much more subtle and fragile for creating impressions). Third are the rituals, rites, traditions of the society. Usually as one moves from to rituals there is a gradual transformation from elite to folk.
There are few general rules,
1. As a general it is the elitist impressions which encapsulate the value system most precisely.
2. However the trade-off is the reach of these impressions is narrow, and it is the "folk" impressions which more or less decide the broad contours of memories.
3. Further just like memories of individual, some impressions are much more permanent compared to others. The permanency of impressions arises from their compatibility with instincts they arise from.
4 . The agents who create these memories are philosophers, artists, priests etc.
Now, a society which is evolving, will be preserve its memories, what is more the memories will be modified by the agents who are all the time creating new impression based on the phase of society. These altered memories will decide the next phase of evolution.
However if due to some changes, it turns out that the society becomes unsuitable for evolution and/or for some reasons the creation of new impression ceases, the memories become outdated, with time they atrophy, and in their absence the civilization begins to wither. This occurs due to a drastic event, of historical magnitude.
Civilization which has reached such state only be revived when somehow the atrophied impressions have been erased and new more vigorous impressions created. As with the decline it is usually some drastic event which initiates this revival. Here it must be pointed that "atrophied" has a specific meaning. Simply put, any memory which impedes evolution is deadwood and must be eliminated, however memories which facilitate evolution should be preserved, and even utilized to revive civilization, further attempt to erase or discard such memories, will defeat any attempt to re energize civilization.
Friday, March 30, 2007
(Previous Posts , , [2.5] & )
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Before I continue the series on memory and civilization (which I do not understand and no one reads), I should make one thing pretty clear.
I intend to take over this world. Now when I am the unchallenged overlord of this world, I am going to be gentle. That however should not be taken as the signal that I am going to tolerate immorality.
To give an example I will pardon bastards. I will also pardon PHD scholars. However bastards who are also PHD scholars will meet swift justice of my sword. No mercy.
(Previous Posts ,,[2.5])
The previous post was a digression so as to prepare the background for this post.
The evolution of civilization, although faster than that of genes is still a slow process compared to the life span of humans and as such the scope of evolution is beyond endeavor of single man. Further the instincts may be the driver, it is the participating individual who is the agent.
However there is no blueprint or road map of the evolution available to the him. Combine the two conditions and it turns out that evolution is incremental process, present building on the accomplishments of the past, a bequeathing to the future.
But the problem in this is two fold, one the instincts as such remain in fragile equilibrium, which may not holdup, the other is as already pointed out the evolution of civilization is not reversible, specifically its tendency to decline is much stronger than its tendency to evolve to next stage (it can be called as entropy of civilization). I think, there is a convincing case to prevent backslide of civilization.
Question then arises how can we prevent that, the modern answer would be, "by creating appropriate institutions " or "by democracy" or "by enacting laws" or "by writing a nice constitution".
They are all correct, but only partially. Because the simple truth, that advocates of these measures do not realize, that institutions are just nice building, constitution is just a big fat book, passive, inactive, inert.
Of course these do "moderate" the effect of opposing forces and instincts, but in themselves they can not prevent the backslide of civilization, and while they do facilitate enlightenment, in themselves they can not drive evolution to next phase, finally, in themselves they are superficial.
What gives life to institutions and to constitutions, is the "conscience" of civilization, which is just another word for value system (as explained in previous post). So a more accurate answer is to create value system.
But this is back to square. It turns out that in order to have a value system, we need a value system! What an absurdity !
As it is science rescues us. To continue with analogy that I have alluded to in more than one place, civilization is a dynamic system, and our aim is its optimization, this optimization is possible only for certain specific configurations of its participant forces, these configurations change with time depending on the optimization level.
These configurations are fragile, our aim is to decrease probability (it is impossible to eliminate it) of chaos (or entropy) that this system can fall into.
Now this system manifests adaptability, this system is also capable of learning and biggest of all this system has feedback going for it.
This means the output arising from specific configurations can act as feedback (both positive and negative) to the system, control being the collective conscience.
Here another problem arises, unlike electronic circuits where feedback is almost instantaneous and can be directly used in control , civilization has slower response hence it means that feedback can not be directly routed to control.
Instead the feedback has to be stored as an impression to account for time delay factory, which acts as proxy between control and feedback.
I call this impression as "memory of civilization".
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
(Previous posts ,)
The evolution of memory doesn't come to halt at the level of individual humans*, I believe that societies and civilizations have a "collective memory".
By this I do not restrict to technological knowledge, rather collective memory of civilization is an all encompassing collection of the philosophy, religion, rites, ethos, morality and art, the most accurate word being Weltanschauung . The question arises why the need for something like collective memory.
Nowadays one tends to assume that civilization is aggregate of individual members, sum of parts.In assuming that however, one commits a mistake, civilization is a fairly intricate system driven by interaction of forces (or influences) varying with time, and hence set of its defining attributes is in state of dynamic adjustment.
For that one must examine the cause which creates, maintains and destroys civilizations.
The civilization comes into being because, organization offers more"value" to participants than acting individually. Hence the purpose or vital sign of a vigorous and enterprising civilization is the "value" it creates. "Value" is used purposely,as it is distinct from merely material wealth*.
I believe the complete definition of value of civilization includes "approximately" material wealth, safety,security,freedom,absence of tyranny, creation of long lasting social and political institutions,ethics,arts, philosophy and religion, in that order.
In this respect the values of civilization are similar to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. However there is a crucial difference between how values of civilization and Maslow's hierarchy are realized.
I think it is reasonable to claim that values of civilization represents the goals of human instincts in various stages of social evolution. With the development of civilization, the productivity increases, which ultimately results in increase in surplus produce (or labour)**. Availability of surplus marks the transformation of society from one from phase to another, this transformation is also the trigger which raise the desirable "value" up the chian of values, I listed, for the next phase.
The pinnacle of this evolution is civilization.At this stage all the values, all the human instincts exist in state of interdependency. This interdependency means that the unlike simple hierarchy the evolution is not reversible (somewhat analogous to thermodynamics). Deficit or absence in one value can very well result in imbalance of civilization's forces, resulting in instability and decline (or even sudden unravelling) of civilization.
Now, for a civilization to evolve and prosper, it is imperative that underlying instincts are in harmony which means the desirable values be defined appropriately.
This is essentially a feedback kind of situation, as the values which are taken as goals of the civilization, are also the impulse which drives the civilization on its chosen path.
Jeez this sucks.......
* The biggest mistake, in my opinion, that Ayn Rand made was to make material progress as be all of the civilization. Market as altar, capital as God. But to be fair to her, she was a neophyte and did what what all neophytes do.
** Surplus depend upon the distribution also. There is a nice dilemma here. Civilization can not evolve unless there is surplus, and any equitable distribution will reduce the available surplus.
Monday, March 26, 2007
So far, the ability to store and retrieve information for future requirement evolves from genes to memory, the later being much more complicated than former.
Memory finds its most evolved, and needless to say profound, expression in humans. It is not exactly clear how memory works, but the overall flow is clear. Storing, retaining and retrieving information. One assumes that there are specialized interfaces, regions and organs to execute the specific sub-tasks which constitute memory.
There are two important aspects to memory one is learning, other is forgetting.
We learn as well as forget all the time. While learning helps in acquisition of information, forgetting helps in getting rid of irrelevant information. Without this, faculty of memory will be impaired by information overload.
Now there are some special situations where memory may not function as desired.
First, it is possible that due to shocks (for example physical accident), some of the memory, or access to it, may be lost, in worse case it is also possible that even the capability to remember things is lost. While I am not sure, this must involve some drastic disruptions in the region(s) of brain which store, retain and retrieve information.
Then there is active suppression of memory, this is not forgetting, because the memory can be accessed but there is a block against it, as a result of trauma (physical or psychological).
Now it is my assumption that this block (or state of being in denial), has two forms.
One in which the signs of trauma (responsible for denial) are explicitly visible, this may be in immediate aftermath of a shock. The other form, is when the signs are not explicit, but nevertheless trauma has adversely affected the stability and robustness of psyche.
I guess the first may be at more conscious level and the second at subconscious.
But what is the point ..... ?
Once again we start from genes, genes are some ridiculously complicated chemicals (complicated thanks to promiscuity of carbon), which synthesize a range of chemicals vital for life, for example protein. Anyway the point is genes are in essence information encoded in form of molecules.
This information is passed from one generation to another, along the lines there is mutation and exchange. Nature selects the genes which are better suited and the rest perish.
Now there is a thing. The genes are blueprints of traits and structures which aid in survival*. But the evolution of gene is a very slow process, it follows then that genes are bound to reflect only the factors which affect them in a “significant” way for a “significant” duration.
This is not a very efficient way of ensuring survival, because what this essentially boils down to, is the fact that while the anatomy and instincts of organism as hard coded in genes are indeed suitable for coping with macroscopic environmental factors, they are not equipped to deal with short term variations (which have only local presence), which predominate at the level of individual organism.
The next stage of evolution that follows from this is the organism (now more complex than ever) gets the ability to think, that is process the input and act on it, this means development of nervous system from its primitive forms to brain.
Brain acts on the input and patterns (possibly in form of synapses) decide the output, now these patterns may be formed due to genetic inheritance, but complex brains have this capability whereby they can store information (input and output) in form of complicated networks comprising of neurons and their connections, and retrieve it for further use.
This is memory and and as we move up the hierarchy in animal kingdom, evolution of the memory (along with brains) is most noticeable.
Where I am leading with this ....
* Survival of what is the question? Of genes, of individual or of species. I think that depends on context.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
In beginning faith was a psychological shield, however as faith was organized into religion (for fashionable "organized religion", which is redundant, but fashion thrives on redundancy), morality was incorporated in it.In a way it is logical, for if there is a purpose to the life then life must be lived to fulfill that purpose, and if life has a "conscious" origin then of course that is also the origin of morality.
Now the point is, by its very definition, "first cause" is beyond the realm of deduction. Our domain of reason goes only so far, but fails if trained on its origin. This limitation is indication how framework based upon reason is not absolute*. This inability to "reason", the origin is the basis behind existentialism, "Existence precedes essence". Where this idea falters however is, existence as such is not the issue, cows and buffaloes exist without the need of essence, or faith, or logic, for that matter. The issue is instinct of inquiry unique to mankind**, which at one level creates system of logic, and at other level faith. Hence faith and reason can not replace each other. This implies that faith can not be replaced with a set of logical statements, and since human inquiry operates through reason, it can not be sub-ordinated to faith.
The other point morality is a function of different instinct, instinct of survival. Again it is futile to reduce morality as a function of faith or reason, or a combination thereof. Since instincts never operate separate from influence of each other, the faith, the reason and the morality are bound to influence.
Then the practical aspect of philosophy can be stated as to reconcile these three forces in a single framework. Since they are valid and irreducible to each other, the framework should have something which we in software industry call loose coupling.
I believe that Hinduism with the concept of Brahman, Jnaana and Dharma is the right framework.
* However it is possible to be consistent within itself.
** Perhaps closest is the socratic idea of wisdom as highest virtue.
Friday, March 16, 2007
First rule of thumb, people are ignorant, when I say this I do not mean "aam aadmi", but as a term encompassing humanity, this is avidya. Second rule of thumb, every one considers him to be smart and others to be ignorant, this is garv.
This is not a calamity as it seems, machinations of life are for major part guided by vagaries of genetic make up and any importance of role of reason is mostly overstated and probably human delusion, opiate of our times.
Then intellect has actually less to do with knowledge than a drive irrational from point of individual (but makes sense from point of genes), people think beyond what is absolutely necessary for daily wants of life because they are compelled by their genes and triggered by pressure of social environment.
The interesting thing is not what this thinking achieve, which again is a matter decided by the prevalent contours of society, but how this thinking arises.
A thinker is deviant, if one presumes man is guided by reason, he is not, for he is just a tool for genes, just as reason is tool for Man. It is a fallacy to think man is a creation of this reason, yet people make this, which gives rise to paradox where there should be none.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
भाई लोगों अपुन की लाईफ की सेड स्टोरी ऐसी है कि टू टाईम्स अपुन ने ट्राई मारा हिंदी में लिखने की, लेकिन दोनो बार गूगल ने अपनी वाट लगा डाली. पन अपुन ने हिम्मत नही हारा, और एक बार फिर स्टार्ट. सिर्फ तुम लोगो के लिए कुछ दोहें, जो बचपन में अपुन का टीचर अपुन को पढाएला था
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
When life initially evolved, it was in form of organisms whose biology was not dependant on oxygen (understandable as there was hardly any free oxygen at that time) . Then around 2.7 billion years ago a new type of bacteria evolved which produced oxygen as a waste product of photosynthesis, after a time lag of 300 million years, delay possibly due to fixation of oxygen, the quantity of oxygen increased all of sudden in atmosphere. This event was disastrous for primitive life forms, oxygen almost acting as poison for them. Eventually however, life altered suitably and result was explosion of oxygen based life forms.
I like to believe that a similar upheaval, although at much smaller scale occurred, when life was able to contemplate itself. Prior to rise of conscious, life was simple, at least in sense of interaction, the rules of engagement decided by instinct. Predators chased, prey ran.
I picture the first such individual pondering over the meaning of existence. After the initial exhilaration over ability to explore has died down, desperation sets in.
Life was bewildered by the absence of any precedence to it. The device of duality, of subject and object, cause and effect with which consciousness viewed outside world failed when trained on itself.
Imagine the despair, on the one hand life is condemned to eternity of being bastardised, and on the other hand decomposition awaited it. The end was there but just like the beginning devoid of purpose, and this eventuality of mortality was more terrible. This dilemma could drive the newly formed mind crazy, instead life being more resilient became delusional.
It invented origin(God, Brahman) and end (Salvation, Moksha). Thus it continued evolving. To manage growth it formalised rules which were driven by instincts as morality. It is to be noted that morality can not be universal because management of evolution is imprecise and dependant on the context further morality is merely a formal notation devised for sake of manageability of something which is essentially product of instincts, it is not cause of faith, nor its object. At any rate life continued existing. Also evolved reasoning as a formal subject.
But yet another upheaval occurred, reason outgrew the framework of faith. Once more struggle ensued with the result that faith was more or less dismantled. Now life is without shield of faith and once more faces its metaphysical illegitimacy.
This is where rationalists err, they spend their effort on discovering basis for morality according to reason, where morality is anchored in instincts where it should be the last thing to bother about. Meanwhile life is once again exposed to corrosive effect of existential dilemma. Survival of life will depend on the future evolution to account for reason. Life will mutate and adapt to reason, what will be the new face of evolution, perhaps this ?
Seriously speaking why should I care about global warming ??
God is dead, man to follow.
Man is not a rational creature, rather he is a rationalizing one.
No truth exists behind morality, it is the collective delusion. It is what remain of religion when faith is gone. A rotting corpse of God.
From "Of Human Bondage", in my opinion best work by Maugham,
Phillip's philosophy was "follow your inclinations with due regard to the
policeman around the corner."
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Man is inquisitive, man is also self aware . The union of these two instincts and the ability to think in terms of abstract is the origin of philosophy (and darshan). So far existence has continued to exasperate those seeking its essence.
When age of human civilization was just dawning the sages claimed in the very beginning Brahma existed, then Brahma created cosmos. The driver for creation was a divine will, a desire, even a lacunae to attain plurality. Existence from essence.
Rationalism starts from the other end, in the beginning there was man. It was he who created the God to attain singularity, to somehow bridge the gap between present and supposed primal cause through chain of causality. Thus it was desire to find the irreducible absolute which made man conceptualize of Godhead in his own image.
The debate between these two position is acrimonious, and no end is in sight. In fact any resolution is impossible, because human logic is bounded by the existence and not the vice verse.
And therefore the meta - chicken and egg question remains unanswered.
However what both agree on is the presence of desire, of man or of Brahma.
This power creates, and gives forms. Nietzsche famously termed this driver as the will. Is it possible that it is not will but something opposite, a sort of anti-matter with enough quarks or strings rotated in certain dimensions to have affinity for matter and on interaction produces order and consciousness.
Behold, there goes the biggest enemy of mankind, the one who has sworn the oath of unceasing vendetta against what goes for sound constitution in nature, the breeder of disease and discontent.
What! You can't see that dreaded monster, then take my eyes! Ah, now you see the face of eternal villain, the one who said that "meek shall inherit the earth", who lied that "kingdom of god" is for poor.
Because when he said that he was elevating weakness on pedestal, it was he who consecrated poverty as virtue and atrophied the natural vigour just as Medusa turns everyone to stone with her gaze. He, the opposite of man, weak in mind and body, begotten of void, seeks to remake man in his own image, resentful of form.
That furious yet rank contraption wishes void for man, for he resents man for his ability to create, to bestow purpose, where there was none. It is he who mixes poison in the cup of elixir. Frightful of purpose, he invents nihilism. Shrewd and cunning like all scavengers are, he embellishes the abyss with siren song of love, but it is death, not love, not life that he gives away.The most devastating evil revealed as craving for nothingness.
And it is for you, the warrior, the Arya, to slay this mlechha. Blaspheme against this cult of victim hood, repudiate this creed of emasculation, reject vehemently all satanic verses worshipping poverty as human ideal. Rediscover that power that you posses, that creates civilizations, the will to bring forth form from formless. Eliminate this opiate from the blood, which castrates the virility and saps the human spirit in name of kindness to unfortunate.
Deny moral superiority to wasted and enervated.
Understand this, "meek shall never inherit the earth", the earth is a playground for the strong, earth embraces resolve. It is beholden of vigour, of striving, of potent, of action and of thought. You don't have to knock at the gates of heaven, it is here in your clenched fist, joyously confronting the storms, vanquishing ogres, subjugating underworlds.
That which strangles you is mere web of self-doubt, your freedom is merely a matter of shrugging the web off.
Bask in the sun of human pride and proclaim with head held high
"I do, therefore I exist" .
Monday, March 12, 2007
Yes, yes everyone and his nephew knows that marriages boost economy, so does act of fornication or little toddlers shitting in diapers or teenagers getting pimples, but please! how can anyone talk of trifles like economics when world is faced with such a threatening situation? Unless you have been living under a stone or are a vile free market fundamentalist, by now you must have realized the dire consequences of global warming.
And yet what is being done, nothing my dear fellows ! Even as retired politicians and born again Hollywood actors are heroically trying to save the planet by hopping continents on private jets, we are ignoring the biggest culprit, flatulence ! Yes, friends, farts (human and bovine) contribute one tenth* towards green house gas emission, and hence are to be blamed for polar bears forgetting swimming (and getting stranded on breaking Antarctic ice sheets). Desperate situation calls for desperate measures, and therefore I propose that a "fart tax" be levied and the revenue thus generated be used to subsidize research on Eco-friendly gastronomical innovations . The tax will be both on individuals as well as Hindu joint family, family gatherings being a major source of global warming. It is only by these "out of the box" solutions that we can counter this menace and make planet a better place for children (human and ursine)
Saturday, March 10, 2007
(But that is no excuse for not ranting)
Hey bhagwaan ! Why does the world grudge my vacation ? Here I am, hoping to enjoy my time by watching path breaking cinema such as this *, it is then that some dumb journalist (I know it is redundant) decides to switch to pontiff mode and delivers what is only know as "common man rhetoric". Have a taste of this triteness (via the great Signalman). Listen baldy, I understand you have to earn your living, since I have no moral objection to lying or making fool of fools, I heartily approve of the vocation you have chosen. But why do you decide to go all Sagarika Ghose, and invite my wrath, the best blogger** India ever had.
Anyway screw the baldy, what I can not put up with is this line
"The voter now sets much greater store by the quality of governance"
1. Voter does nothing of the sort.
2. Further voter is incapable of doing any such thing, because voter is incurably stupid and hopelessly naive.
3. What voter can do is internalize received wisdom and what is the more common case, received folly. Ideology bordering on theology, embraced in form of vacuous slogans is the hallmark of democracy.
4. Common man is null, cipher, zero, shunya. The thing with zero is, whatever operations you perform on it, add,multiply, it remains zero. Delusion in singular is not insight in plural.
5. What voter wants is free lunches, hence socialism (and KBC)
6. Zeroes are not content to live on scrapings of non-zeroes, they want to be non-zeroes, only being zero they attempt to accomplish this by strangling the non-zeroes. In the valley of ignorant, mediocre is the king.
In conclusion, I can only say "death to common"
* Jokes apart, it is a good movie, watch it. (Especially VNS)
** I think, the only reason I am not recognized as the best must be due to some evil conspiracy by the signalman. Neo, where are thou !
Friday, March 09, 2007
Finished the second part of (in)famous trilogy by V. S. Naipaul. It is not hard to comprehend why the book evoked vehement response.
Although, the book as far the scholarship goes is not the most accurate (understandably, with Vidia dismissing even legitimate griecvances of nationalists with distortion of history as denial).
However the book is right on the mark where it matters, that is the problem with Indic civilization.
V S comments (astutely, for someone who was not born here) the fundamental malice of
India is the fact that she is bereft of ideas.
Instead of original thinking, Indians borrow ideas wholesale from the outside, centuries of subjugation have turned us into intellectual parasite. In fact the things have come to such a pass that the very idea of civilization has withered away.
This sucking on west's udders, import without application will explain the earlier tryst with socialism, and present flirting with libertarianism (I predict that in coming decade our intellectual class will be overwhemingly libertarian), and I have no doubt that results will be only slightly better than the former, that too
in medium run, long run will be same saga of decay.
Civilization do not prosper, neither do nations become great because the labour (skilled or unskilled) is cheap. Human destiny is founded upon ideas, and as someone who is reaping the benefit of labour of countless thinkers over countless millenia, we, the modern man have obligation, nay it is the morality crucial for all ages to replenish the fount of intellect.
Currently reading Mother. This novel by Maxim Gorky became the clarion call for socialist revolution resulting ultimately in Bolshevic revolution.
This makes one wonder Gorky was appropriated by Communists, Nietzche by Nazi, Premchand by so called Dalit activists and Iqbal by pro-Pakistan elements. The only conclusion is that literature and politics do not go together.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
This blogger is back in Lucknow, which is the reason that you, the
gullible uninitiated are deprived of my profundity, do not fret, I will be back.
I hope you had a horrible Holi, I also hope that your kids used such wonderful substances as urine,dung,tar and chemical from battery to grievously injure your neighbours. What is the use of Holi, if you can not take revenge for petty jealousy or just malice.
The biggest advantage of family gathering is that one is assured of propagation of malice through mutual swapping and invention of fertile and envious imagination. In fact there is a strong case that society was intended as a medium for growth and sustenance of all that is base and loathsome. Without society life will be a sordid tale of regular kindness, the very definition of eternal damnation.