Thursday, November 24, 2011

Divisions on Happiness

Perhaps it is the common experiences of humankind in general that we see the similarity of notions between very contradictory schools of thoughts, those of Sigmund Freud and Religion. In Abrahamic Religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam there is a common belief that Adam and Eve were living happily in Paradise (Garden of Eden) without any pain, needs and ageing and then got expelled from paradise because of disobedience (Whatever it could be either thirst for knowledge or eating some forbidden grain/fruit) and thereafter the coming generations all are suffering from this loss in the form of ageing, diseases and shortages of their needs… As the Adam and Eve are believed to be the first parent of human race so in a way we can call it as an early days or infancy of human race… Whatever, the Abrahamic religions believe that human race are suffering because of the disobedience of their first parent….On other hand, Sigmund Freud has his theory of unconscious mind in which he thinks that conscious mind is only very thin layer of memory. The thickest part of it is composed of unconscious mind and the unconscious mind influences thoughts and feelings by being a storehouse of instinctual desires and needs. The concept of unconscious mind is really interesting in the sense that the childhood experiences that are mostly raw and original experiences are also stored there. Freud links a lot of the psychic actions to the childhood experiences that always stay in unconscious mind. In other words as childhood is prized by most of people as sweetest time of their life (Perhaps because unconscious mind is empty and the senses are fresh so even very small things brings a lot of joys like having a bike or a soccer ball is all what is needed to have the most amazing day but adults while stuffed themselves with all sorts of gadgets do not get even the like experiences)… so the loss of the freshness of senses is a way taken as loss of Garden of Eden on the personal level…. Long story short, whether it is on the largest scale of human race or the smallest scale of personal experiences, the sense of loss is taken as the base line of unhappiness….. Even in the concept of reincarnation that is common in most of non-Abrahamic religions, the form that one will appear in next life depends on ones’ acts in existing life…. A miserable life is considered as the result of previous life’s undesirable acts…
The expulsion from Paradise was because of the burning desire for growth/progress/inquiry….and similarly a child loses his empty unconscious mind by filling it with memories he/she collects in the process of discovering the world they live and it is because of restless desire to learn and grow…. So in brief the unhappiness is by-product of growth…

Now, how to repair this sense of loss? Amazingly, though the basic experience is almost the same but the way to repair it are very different across the cultures and philosophies… Even between West and East there is a big chasm on what to seek…

On large scale, West took a vegetative (emotionless) approach and thought that Progress and power is cure for everything but there weren’t consensus for how to go for progress. Libertarians thought that open market and competition has the power to automatically fix everything while Marxists thought that competition between classes as a result of an open market is an obstacle on the way of progress so they thought struggle for a classless society is the ultimate cure…

Western Philosophers who did not take much of a vegetative approach still thought power is what human is destined to go for. Nietzsche one of tallest Philosophers of modern Western Philosophy thinks that “Will to power” drives men and even the will for over-power is what actually driving men. Though there are “Will to live” of Schopenhauer of which Nietzsche had taken a lot of influences, “Will to meaning” and “Will to pleasure” but “Will to power” is embraced widely in practice… The WWII was the most painful result of “Will to power” and one might expect that people must had gone more towards “Will to live”, “Will to meaning” and “Will to pleasure” as a reaction to WWII experiences but astonishingly the reaction to WWII came out as “Existentialism” which is in a sense refutes all those “Will to…” as existentialists tend to meaninglessness and suicide (Albert Camus) as genuine Philosophical issues…

On other hand East focused more on repairing the loss by adapting philosophies of “Becoming” instead of “being”… Abrahamic religions focused on life after death… Of course, for most of people the paradise was not accessible in this world except after death. Only people who would live in times of promised Messiah would see the earth turning again into Garden of Eden… Besides non-Abrahamic religions took mediations as a main tool to cure the losses and in fact some of their practices are adapted by secular health conscious people. Yoga is prized as a working practice for maintaining both physical and mental health….The concept of reincarnation is also a “Becoming” philosophy which sooths those who have not good conditions in their existing lives; if you have good deeds in your existing life, you will have a better life in the next one as a reward ….

Besides Large divide of West and East on how to seek happiness there are some small divisions that was mostly a mix of East and West… Notable one is Stoicism which was established in the ancient Greek and Roman cities and actually became a way of life. Stoics believed that a happy life is one that is lived according to natural laws. They believed that human suffer because of violations of natural laws. On other hand there was Epicureanism to challenge Stoic notion by thinking pleasure as the highest good. Avoiding pain and seeking pleasure was taken as a way of life and it is thought that this is going only stable when one sticks to simple life…

This was a brief charting of divisions of humankind in the pursuit of happiness… It looks like all of them have powerful appeals and also some overstepping as it is the nature of all human philosophies. Growth is inevitable but overgrowth is problem. Memories are inevitable but sticking with them is problem… Avoiding pains is inevitable but fearing pains is problem…Seeking pleasure is inevitable but taking it as purpose of life is problem…Seeking power is inevitable but committing injustices in the process is problem…Looking for meaning is inevitable but becoming inactive in the process is problem… To me, life is not something that we divide in boxes… Senses could be kept fresh by becoming receptive to life…

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What is before Digging and lOOking?

I think, one thing that I have slowly convinced to move towards is the shift from a deterministic approach to more “dig and look” approach. My approach to “clear thinking” was to create a big picture and then look for fitting jig-saw pieces and complete the picture. That looks convenient to begin as it helps in getting started and it also provides a big enough motivation to jump over any hurdle in your way or stand firm to the face of difficulties. I am not still discarding this method and even have not distanced myself much from it. But what I am saying that it is only good for foundational works and once you get started and moved enough, you will automatically settle down to shift towards a more exact and realist approach of dig and look. It is as one wants to establish a garden but he knows that the environment of to-be garden is not suitable for baby plants so he grows his baby plants in a green house (in the ideal conditions) so they become strong enough to survive harder environments of to-be garden.
Recently I found historical support for my approach but let me share a quotation so these historical excerpts give more sense to you. George Lucas, Film Producer says, "You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don't have that kind of feeling for what it is you are doing, you'll stop at the first giant hurdle." ….

Why I wanted to bring up this quotation before moving ahead? The main reason is to highlight the same problem that was faced by primitive societies and still continue in modern societies and that is the problem of free will. If we dig and look, it would be more of a reactionary movement rather than a well thought one. Human being is a creature the requires good reasons for their action and living as a mere reactionist to life events is thought as an insult and na├»ve way of living in which free will is denied. In societies where education is prevalent and people are learned enough to question and ponder upon ideas as a constant quest, philosophy lights up the way for actions but primitive societies as well as conservative societies have developed their own ways, to solve this problem by stories and mythologies…

One may ask why free will is important. That is because whatever human does, he does for his happiness and happiness is not just comforting the instincts but rather having a flourishing life (It is what Aristotle has concluded and called it eudemonia; which is the core of Aristotelian ethics and politics). Human unlike other creatures do not only live in natural environments but also need a cultural environment, a fanciful, imaginative and rational environment that they create for themselves…. It is the demand of the homo-sapiens’ brain….. Without this environment, the human would feel empty and stop at hurdles and brick walls….It is as one tries to use a windows 95 for an ipad. It is not going to work because the software and hardware doesn’t match. The instincts are like basic operating system and instincts alone are not compatible to evolved human brain and needs to be updated and supplied with more advanced cultural products to become compatible operating system…. And even just cultural products do not fill all the demands and requires the creation of more personal reasons to give a sense of fulfillment…

I love to watch movies like Pirates of Caribbean series, Lord of the ring series, Harry Potter series, and Treasure Island series and like movies… Though I know they are more of fantasy but they repeating to say one thing very loudly and that is, “You got to find something that you love enough to take risks, jump over hurdles and break through break walls”…so one sees that the script writers of these movies find a big task for main character of story (Like saving a civilization, fighting an evil or a lost treasure) and then create situations in which the hero has to take risks, has to jump over hurdles and has to break walls…. and this key message is usually missed by majority…They do not look for something lovable enough to do all these for…. Creating a big picture is an excellent way and proved way to get something reasonable enough or lovable enough to do all these things for…and of course once you moved enough, you will also grow in the process to afford digging and look for real and challenging ones……

For thousands of years human societies whether primitive or civilized have understood this process very well. They have understood that in order to make people live in harmony with society, they need a big picture that have enough emotional force to make people fit their behaviors in it and live within this frame so they could take risks in cases it is needed for survival others, jump over hurdles when they make them to stop moving together and break the brick walls instead of breaking their ideals….

I was quite surprised by similarity of the stories between those of Hopi people of the Native Americans and the stories told in Bible and Quran about replacing and destruction of nations that were disobedient and or indulged in immoral activities… You all are familiar with stories of Bible and Quran so here I am just present the story of Hopi people taken an excerpt from Wikipedia so to not put my opinion in it, …

“Four Worlds

Hopi legend tells that the current earth is the Fourth World to be inhabited by Tawa's creations. The story essentially states that in each previous world, the people, though originally happy, became disobedient and lived contrary to Tawa's plan; they engaged in sexual promiscuity, fought one another and would not live in harmony. Thus, the most obedient were led (usually by Spider Woman) to the next higher world, with physical changes occurring both in the people in the course of their journey, and in the environment of the next world. In some stories, these former worlds were then destroyed along with their wicked inhabitants, whereas in others the good people were simply led away from the chaos which had been created by their actions.

Entrance into the Fourth World

Two main versions exist as to the Hopi's emergence into the present Fourth World. The more prevalent is that Spider Grandmother caused a hollow reed (or bamboo) to grow into the sky, and it emerged in the Fourth World at the sipapu. The people then climbed up the reed into this world, emerging from the sipapu. The location of the sipapu is given as in the Grand Canyon.
The other version (mainly told in Oraibi) has it Tawa destroyed the Third World in a great flood. Before the destruction, Spider Grandmother sealed the more righteous people into hollow reeds which were used as boats. Upon arriving on a small piece of dry land, the people saw nothing around them but more water, even after planting a large bamboo shoot, climbing to the top, and looking about. Spider Woman then told the people to make boats out of more reeds, and using island "stepping-stones" along the way, the people sailed east until they eventually arrived on the mountainous coasts of the Fourth World. Welcome to the fourth world!”…..

You can the whole article on Wikipedia by searching “Hopi Mythology”…..

The destruction of previous world and also flooding event is quite amazingly similar with Bible stories except the characters and places are different…Whatever, our discussion is not the stories but a big picture that provides enough motivation for people to behave in a certain manner or make their actions and living more meaningful….

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Does USA need Plato?

(Philosophy of double-thinking)

One of the main objectives of schooling is to master the ability to think critically and understand clearly. What usually happens is that, through our learning we tend to think critically about historical events and understand somewhat clear the events and processes but when it comes to times in which we live, we lose that grasp as contradictory information fill our space and of course we have our own fears and biases that make us more vulnerable to confusion than clarity. I should acknowledge that I am in great debt to one of my middle school teacher who was aware of the problem and was using historical events as thought experiments to make us free ourselves from our biases and fears and to make us understand clearly our current positions. He was drawing clear pictures of personalities and events and once we were clear about them then he was asking us to replace ourselves with one of characters in those events and write down, what would we be doing on those situations? We had to read our constructions in front of class. It was amazing exercise as we were learning the strategies of fellow classmates and also their feedbacks on our own…. This middle school methodology of thought experiments is of course very rare and we see a rich example of it in the dialectical works of Plato.

In these days, if one reads New York Times, Time Magazine, Foreign Affairs, The economists and like media giants, one gets a general feeling that he doesn’t really need critical skills to not point out the prevailing confusions. There is a general trend of escaping from the core issues and instead trying to convince by expert analyses of by-product issues. It doesn’t matter how much data one pours and how much one tries to appear professional or scientific in his analyses, by-products will still continue to rain until the core issues are not addressed. Reading these trends for long now, I decided to dust off my middle school exercise…

It seems that history is repeating itself. It is repeating itself not in terms of place, characters and events but in shared Psyche and thinking. One who is familiar with the history of Athens of the time when Plato was living there, can see very clearly the shared anxieties with that of today’s US citizen. Engaging in prolonged wars have cost economy, economic meltdown, fear of the rising powers (esp, China) and Occupy Wall Street movements (In fact there is two parallel movements, movement of rightest rich by name of Tea-Party movement and movement of somewhat left + Poor, the Occupy Wall Street movement; Whatever, my discussion is not about movements but a struggle within society) all these cumulatively have intensified the fear of losing the glory that US was enjoying generally after WWII and specially after Fall of Soviet Union. This fear of losing glory is what Athenians were feeling at the end of 5th BCE. I am not really sure if USA can parallel in number of great men that Athens produced in very short amount of time (we come to that in coming paragraphs) to give birth to a Plato (As almost all previous superpowers and empires like Soviet Union, British Empire, Ottoman Empire, Mongol Empire, Caliphate Empire, Persian and Roman Empire couldn’t do when there were a prevailing fears of falling) but who knows…. It will be interesting that we go to circumstances that made Plato create “Republic” and imagine what if the Plato was living right now in USA, how he would responds to current situations and how his “Republic would look like,

The fear of losing is one of the strongest drives just to second the very immediate needs. What this drive can do is not really a secret. When this drive, drives great spirits they make history. As I mentioned earlier, one of the greatest spirits in the Philosophy that have deepest impacts on major civilizations after him is Plato. One who is familiar with Western and Muslim civilizations can easily see deep impressions of Plato, in social, political and intellectual thinking. It may be even a little funny that each era had rejected the basic principles of previous ones but has adapted Plato by reinterpreting it. Plato’s strength is in the ingenuity of his dialectal methods. In his most popular work, “Republic” he constructs his Philosophical arguments around the character of Socrates. Socrates is a character that left no writing of his own so there is doubt on his existence yet he is a character that has inspired all generations of Philosophers and will continue to inspire. In “Republic” Plato construct ideal “Just City State” with an ideal “Just Government” headed by a “Philosopher King” through Socrates and his discussions with some other Athenians especially Glaucon and Adeimantus who challenge Socrates in uncovering Justice and Good in the house of Cephalus in the city of Piraeus . Socrates went down to city of Piraeus to see the festival in the honor of a new god and there, Cephalus invited him to his house and with his insistence somewhat forced Socrates to go with his to his house. At house of Cephalus a discussion began within Sophists and Philosophers challenging each other on concepts of Justice and Good and in reply to challenging questions that are mostly based on thought experiments and human nature, Socrates constructs the “Just City State” with a “Just Government”.

My aim here is not to discuss the Plato/Socrates’ Just City State but Why Plato felt the need to write the “Republic” and how it is relevant to our time,
Athenians had rightfully deserved to think themselves as a hub of excellence of their time. Their cultural, political, social, economic, artistic and especially philosophical excellences were unparalleled. A lot of you may be familiar with Golden Age of Athens or The age of Pericles (named after great statement and orator, Pericles) but a brief introduction is useful for those who are not much familiar with that period and it might be even become more interesting to parallel the events of that piece of Athenian history with history of USA,

In 507 BCE (Before Common Era), the Pisistratid Tyranny was overthrown to be replaced by democracy (US history; American Revolution and independence; the birth of a democratic country) and for next 100 years democracy become part of souls and heats of Athenians. Athens formed a league of city states (like union of states to form United States) against Persian (Persia was superpower of that time with mightiest military and economic power and expansionist in nature) and defeated Persians in 480 BCE and rose as a hegemonic military, economic, political and cultural power of its time (USA by leading the allied forces defeated Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan rose a hegemonic military, economic, political and economic power after WWII). Of course this is what a lot of other great nations may also share but what made Athens’ Golden age distinct from all, was the number of great men that it produced in very short period of time of several decades ranging from Great Philosophers, Sophists, Historians, Mathematicians, Play writers, Physicians and orators and that is really unparalleled throughout of history even to our time. Let me give you a few names so you could have at least a picture of it (all dates are in BCE),

Socrates (469-399)–The greatest Philosophical teacher with deepest impact on Plato-, Democritus (465-400), Empedocles (493-433), Anaxagoras (500-428), Pythagoras (570-495)- The great mathematician-, Heraclitus (540-480), Parmenides (515-440)- Plato called him as his intellectual father – Aristophanes (450-385)- Great comic poet, wrote a play in which he made fun of Socrates- Euripides (486-406), Sophocles (496-406). Hippocrates (460-370)–The great Physician and founder of Hippocratan School of medicine, Herodotus (460-370) –The first true historian that analyzed events rather than just recording them; also called father of modern history, Thucydides (460-395), Aeschylus (525-456) and some great Sophists like Protagoras (485-400), Gorgias (483-376), Isocrates (436-338)- The greatest rival of Plato-

Plato being born in such a great and dynamic time and also due to his personal tendency and accompanying wealth to have full time to devote in learning and absorbing the knowledge all around him, he had a deep consciousness of this glory. But on other hand he was also witnessing the fall of this glory (And this intensified his feeling of losing the highest glory),
A lengthy war of 27 years (431-404 BCE) broke out between Athens (and it’s allied city States; some may like to call it Athenian empire because Athens had started to play the role of master and it was an unequal alliance) and Peloponnesians (Greek heartland) under leadership of Sparta. Persians helped Sparta and Athens accepted defeat at the end of war and Athenian democracy was replaced by the Tyranny of Thirty. After this defeat Athens never recovered fully to claim back its golden age.

Plato was 24-25 years old at the time of defeat of Athens. Besides he had also seen the execution of his beloved teacher Socrates at the hand of a democratic government at 399 BCE so all these events, the glory and then fall of glory because of corrupt and opportunistic nature of rulers impacted him deeply so when he was writing Republic, he had specifically considered some basic points based on all these experiences,

-Stability is the most important aspect of a city state (based on his experiences of fall and fear of losing glory of his beloved city state)
-It is important to understand human nature and based on human nature and through human nature one should understand what is Good and what is Just……..
- Inequality among citizen based on their nature; Cast systems based on the metal nature of citizen (Gold, Silver and Bronze)
- Education is key in bringing useful citizen and also preventing chaos so Plato suggest things like censorship that we might not like in our age……
- Specializations of roles, only aptitude are not enough…
- The ruling class should be Philosophers; The corrupt and opportunistic rulers were the main cause of fall of Athens so he suggest Philosophers as king.

These are only some of the suggestions; What I want you to consider is the doublethink (double-standard) suggestions of Plato…. Philosopher King, Cast System, Censorship, communism seem very controlled society and harsh to us but it was Just to Plato. There is one main cause for it and that is to bring Stability and Stop Losing…

As I mentioned in the beginning, the Fear of Losing, is the strongest drive after very immediate needs, and when it comes to society and government the Fear of losing develops into a unique Psychology in which we accept “Double-Standards” as Just and Good and it is what one can see clearly in Plato’s Republic and also in our time. Let me elaborate very briefly,

Killing is called murder and is considered unjust but murder by Military is considered just and it is called war (It is favored because it provides stability). An intentional dying is called suicide and is considered bad but death in war is considered good and heroic (it is favored as it provides stability). People overwhelmingly accepts this but what is amazing that we accept double-thinking or double-standards in our lives, like We think of unequal taxation as Just because people who provide stability (by creating job and increasing productivity) to country deserve certain privileges while knowing that it gives competitive edge to some.

We can go on and on, on countless examples but in short we tend to accept double-standards as Just either within society or to foreigners and that Tolerance for Injustice silently grow in terms of accumulating powers and privileges to authorities to actually destabilize the society instead of stabilizing it. Then we see people come to streets and demands for restoration of their rights…

To make sure that I am not out of track, once again the main idea of Republic is to the construction of a “Just City State” with a “Just Government” but what if the concept of “Justice” itself is flawed? The same problem is still prevailing. This is the core issue that people escape from. It doesn’t matter how much data you compile, how diverse charts you use and how much sophisticated statistics you present, IF THE CONCEPT OF JUSTICE IS FLAWED, then you can’t expect JUSTICE…. And as long as Injustices are tolerable, people tolerate them but when they become intolerable then people revolt….. It doesn’t matter where it happens; the consequences are the same….

We live in very different time than that of Plato. It is a time that both Sophists and Philosophers teach in institutions, work in think tanks, works as journalists and write books and blogs and make policies but none of them parallel to Sophists and Philosophers of Athens. Were there real Philosophers, we would definitely see a Plato who would try to bring concepts of Justice compatible with our time and construct a Republic to give a clear idea and intellectual backing to people who come to streets around the world for their rights. What Arab Spring, London Riots, Occupy Wall Street movement, Green Movements of Iran, Burmese democratic movement and feeling of uneasiness in EU, South Asia and Latin America, Central Asia and Africa are lacking in general is the lacks of a clear idea of what they want (some ask democracy but really doesn’t know what democracy is). Of course a new version of “Republic” would help them in refining their demands….

Coming back to our title, every day we see a flood of news, articles, analyses and a lot of books with complicated language in US but still we see confusions prevailing because there is no Plato. If there were a Plato, people would not agree with him but his dialectical methods, of course would help people to consider the most fundamental questions and do not get lost in by-products….

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When we create beauty?

Philosophy has three main branches, Logic, Aesthetics and Ethics. If you like it in a more coherent and simplified version then wisdom, from a Philosophical perspective is a Rational, Ethical and Joyful life. Though repetition makes writing boring but sometimes it adds to clarity so from Philosophical perspective, “Logic+ Aesthetics+ Ethics = Wisdom”. In common practice we include Logic and Ethics at core of Wisdom and usually do not give the same value to the aesthetics. Some like to link the aesthetics to elite class. Frankly, unlike the Logic and Ethics, Philosophers also look confused on aesthetics, may be under influence of society. Tonight (Monday), I had the role of Table Topic Master in our Toastmaster club. This role requires preparing some topics and randomly asking the club members to give a two minute talk on the topics. It is mostly Philosophers who talk about aesthetics but the truth is that everybody has its sense of beauty so I thought it is a wonderful opportunity for me to hear some “non-philosophical” perspectives about beauty… so instead of giving each person a topic, I asked everybody the same question, “what do you think, beauty is and what was the most beautiful thing that intrigued you? (Aesthetics is all about beauty)………….
My own concept of beauty is, “everything that makes life more lively and durable is beautiful” ….I have great tendency to link Philosophy to life and anything that is not linked to life, though it might still be called Philosophy but for me it is nothing more than just mere abstraction (This is one of my personal prejudices that I open heartedly accept)… and one of the main reasons that aesthetics is given very little attention is actually abstraction (abstraction means hollowing out something of life). Take for example the concept of aesthetics in Marxism (Marxism is thought to have a very practical and skeptical approach to arts), it links arts to economy and have a utilitarian approach to it while in our daily lives, we appreciate beauty as something priceless. Platonic Aesthetics on other hand is blurred, having two opposite approach to beauty and art. Beauty is good and poetry as main form of art is evil….. I am not saying that Marxist and Platonic approach to aesthetics is wrong but instead saying that, “beauty is shallow but its impact on life is deep…In fact it is so deeply rooted in our psyche that when we are in short of beauty we imagine and create it and it is why different forms of art and literature exist. Just rethink the fictions and movies, though we know that the stories in them are fake and imaginary but we like to believe them as true and react to them and it is why people cry, become sad, become happy, excited and sometime inspired enough to try them in their real life. When I first time saw well grown people wearing strange costumes in Halloween, I was shocked and then realized that it is just a way to beautify life”. Yes, beauty is skin deep, seasonal and not eternal but ignoring it is just to make life shallower. I know beauty is not enough; it is why we move to deeper things, things that are more perfect, deeper and eternal. Beauty is like life imperfect, shallow and perishable but still we seldom sacrifice life for something deeper. Life stands the same but in order not to get tired of it we treat it differently and take it as it comes. Same is true with beauty, every time we get fresh eyes, we see more beauty and of beauty and also we have to take it as comes or we lose it.…. If we insist for deeper understanding like logic and ethics then we will just destroy beauty…. Take for example the poetry, if you try to make it logical and ethical you will just make it lose its poetic sense, the same stands true for painting and other forms of arts. All natural beauties, though have generalized geometries but do not follow them. Two apples seldom appear same….
If there is something related to humans, the evolutionary biologists and anthropologists definitely have an evolutionary explanation :)….. Of course, everything has evolved so it would be unjust to not mention their opinion :)….. Like Marxists, they also have utilitarian approach for aesthetics. The sense of beauty evolved to help in selecting partners with healthy genes. Beauty is the expression of health and productivity so Physical beauty has an evolutionary advantage. On other hand, arts evolved for emotional communications and human evolved it to make communication more effective. Of course beauty increases the appeal and effectiveness of messages. From stone tools and cave paintings to smart phones and glamorous cars and buildings, human used aesthetics very effectively to communicate with right hemisphere of brain and hence influence the decision…. Of course, we can’t separate the beauty and art from our biology and psyche but they can’t answer satisfactorily the diversity of approaches to beauty and also the causes of our boredom with beauty (if we are exposed to same beauty we get bored, you won’t enjoy a music if it is repeated as you enjoyed it the first time and tends to change it)….
We can’t be content to a beauty for long and have to move. It is just how the nature of curiosity is so I wanted to find a pattern in different perspectives about beauty. Before going to club meeting to find the diversity of concepts, I googled for some intellectual quotes on beauty in order to increase the diversity of available concepts for myself to find a pattern in them. I chose the following ones which had a definitive approaches,
“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection”…………. Unknown?
“For me the greatest beauty always lies in the great clarity”…… Gottold Ephraim Lessing
“Goodness is beauty in the best estate”…….Christopher Marlow
“Beauty is whatever gives joy”……Douglas Horton
“A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears”…… Anne Roiphe
Though all these quotes have somewhat definitive approaches to beauty but while reading them I had the feeling that, they are all describing additive aspects of beauty instead of saying what beauty is and it is what Confucius describes this way,
“Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it”….
Confucius’ saying sweeps out evolutionary approach as well utilitarian and ideal approaches of Philosophers by linking their approaches to beauty with their limitations of interests and knowledge. You may not wonder if a Physicist say, “Black hole is the most beautiful things ever existed” because he sees oneness in black hole and that is the greatest order in anything exists….
Back to club meeting, I was taking note while each member was expressing their perceptions of beauty, and following is what I noted,
Beauty is,
What inspires us or make us like to do things without attaching price tag to what we do…….
What intrigued us intellectually……
In Selflessness……
In nature….
In what relates to me…..
In completing tasks or overcoming the difficulties or in results of work…..
And
Beauty transcends from outside to inside……….
So what was the pattern in all these?.... I think, the pattern is the same as Confucius says, “Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it”…. So whenever we are intrigued with some beautiful thing it means that we were just open to see the beauty of it…. And again, when we run of beauty, we create it and that is what we have to be conscious of in order to live deeper by beautifying it and spreading the beauty…………

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Who am I?....Let’s ask it once again….

Suppose that you are living in May 1997 and the Pentium II computer had just hit the market. The lure of a modern computer with most capacity, functionality and even more importantly speed made you to come to market and get one of those computers. You were also one those lucky and rare people who had access to commercialized internet (Internet was commercialized in 1995). You would appreciate Windows 95’s friendly interface operating system (You had still to wait one year more to get Windows 98) and of course Yahoo Search Engine (Yahoo become public in Jan 1994). What would be your feelings? You might be overwhelmed by the amount of the information available and connectivity across globe in a small machine available 24 hours at comfort of your room. The freedom, ease of access and most importantly the amount of information would make you think that you are living at the peak of human history. Suppose at the height of this excitement, a Philosopher intruder had interrupted and had asked you, “Who are you?”…Knowing that this question has been repeated by all generations since the birth of Humankind, most probably, you would try to give a very intelligent answer, “I am human history”….”Can you elaborate, how?” The Philosopher would inquire because “living history” seldom exists…..Just inspired by your computer and internet, the immediate answer that might come to your mind, “How we know about human history?” you might ask the Philosopher, “Through books, people, Buildings, cultures and ruins” the Philosopher might reply…”Do you mean human history is all in this stuffs?”….”Yeah, it is what we call human history”….”Well then I am human history because I have all this with me and right here in my computer”……
I would not disagree much with this line of reasoning as you and your computer had not access to Google Books, Google maps, You Tube, Amazon and all sort of these internet based archives (Google become public 2004, Amazon 2004, You Tube 2005) at that time…so Of Course, you still didn’t belong to this part of human history….but I would rather tell you “I accept that you are human history but still, Who are you?”….
The reason that this answer is not satisfying because it is what everybody can rightfully claim. Well, this claim was always there and we can find Spiritualists, Philosophers and in our time Physicists (David Bohm for example) who were preaching the oneness of self and in answer for “Who am I?” were saying that we all are different expressions of same reality…. Well, there is no doubt in oneness of both origin and content in everything yet, what we call different expressions of this oneness is showing that there is something besides of oneness, and that is the core cause of difficulty in answering, “Who am I?”
Well, you may say, what if I pose the same question to you, what would be your answer? That is the point that I wanted to bring you in previous introductory thought processes. My answer is, “Like all those Philosophers, Spiritualists and some Physicists who say that we are one in origin and content but different forms of expressions, similarly as an individual, it seems that I am one in the origin but the content of “self”, itself is not really one, so it is why generalizations does not fit. We see Philosophers are helpless in generalizations about it so they can’t do anything except just changing the places of words, one group say, “Self precedes Existence” and another group make “HISTORY” just by changing the places of words and make it, “Existence precedes Self” and when modern Philosophers do not find any way to make any more changes so they try to be really innovative and add an adjective to “Self” to make it “Bodily-Self”… How am I sure of different “self”?.... Well, just put a glance at works of Psychologists, they make a lot of generalizations and try to find a common Psyche so it help them in their practices but it never become like other Sciences, coherent because there are not a single self that one could formulate laws and principles… Let me make it even more simplified by another explanation, if we had a common psyche or “self” in more Philosophical and Spiritual sense that we would had coherent world views though in different versions and that is what we do not have…………..

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reasoning and Philosophy; An alternative definition

Psychologists are now liking to claim that Aha, finally we have a breakthrough in knowing what has reasoning evolved for? It is not evolved to find the truth as popularly believed so far but instead, it is evolved to rationalize what we believe in and it is dominantly used to confirm or reaffirm our positions. Let me elaborate it a little bit,

The main tool used for dominance is communication. Communication is not just used to transfer information but more vitally it is used to set social orders or struggle in the social order and reasoning is the most effective and penetrative tool for this purpose. So we see social groups are using reasoning to dominate other social groups. As social groups are recognized by their beliefs or cultures so they use the reasoning to justify or prove superiority of their cultures (Our Values VS others’ values) to dominate other groups and it is all done through different mediums of communication. The social groups with most advanced communication skills, diverse and advanced communication mediums are also successful in using reasoning effectively for their dominance. Well, though all these are true at large as we not only can easily find a lot of historical evidences for it but we are also witnessing it’s functioning every day as part of our normal experiences. Reasoning is used as convincingly and effectively by extremists to produce suicide bombers to terrify and subjugate people as it is used by the democratic forces to give people more choices and control over their lives.

But is the only usage of reasoning, to dominate others? Fortunately we can all agree that the answer is “NO”. We can see a lot of revolt of honest minds against the usage of reasoning for dominance. It would be somewhat unjust to talk about reasoning and not to mention Ancient Greece for its everlasting impacts in putting the usage of reasoning in the right direction. Ancient Athens had a participative democracy where all could share their opinions and propose solutions and it had created a high demand for reasoning as it was determining factor for the social status of individuals in society. So a group of individuals appeared who were offering their services to train the citizen of Athens in effective usage of reasoning. These individuals were known as Sophists. Though social groups have always used reasoning for their dominance but Sophists were the first ones to make it available on the commercial basis. Though their teachings weren’t unlawful but certainly it wasn’t matching with conscious of high spirited men so we see some honest spirits who had revolted against these traditions and had not only changed the course of human history but also the fat of humanity. We all aware at least with the names of few of these rebels and if you still like the repetition of some names then I would like to name Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes….., etc.

In our age we see the very clear division that I mentioned in previous paragraphs in the usage of reasoning. It doesn’t require any skill to distinguish individuals who represent some group of people and use the reasoning for their dominance (though we also can find individuals who use reasoning for social justice of oppressed people rather than dominance) and people who use reasoning to find the truth or reality like Researchers, Scientists and Philosophers.

I didn’t have to go through all these and just translating the word “Philosophy” as “Love of wisdom” was enough to say that reasoning is not just evolved to be used for dominance but humankind have found other usages of it also. But then I thought it is necessary to have some introduction before I could present an alternative definition of Philosophy in the perspective of usage of reasoning. I think, the literal meaning does not define the Philosophy as majority of people love wisdom but they do not use reasoning in finding truth. Philosophers not only love wisdom but they are actually “in love” with wisdom. Loving something is very different than being in love with something. When one is “in love” he/she can’t think of other things. So a true Philosopher is “in love” with wisdom and he/she can’t think of using it for dominance. Those who use it for other purposes are the victims of their instincts and haven’t got the chance or didn’t try to liberate themselves and become higher than their basic instinctual urges.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Do opinions matter in making history?

We are in a totally new era of human history and it is totally different from what we read in the works of famous historians like famous of all times, Herodotus who lived in 5th Century BC and known as the first true historian, Abn Khaldun who is thought as the father of Philosophy of history and Edward Gibbon who is thought to be the first modern historian by his three volumes of gigantic books under title of, “The history of the decline and fall of Roman Empire”. How our time is different from the rest of the human history, let’s have a quick look,
In the middle of 13th century the human population was estimated to be around 300 million that is less than 1/4th of current Chinese population, current Chinese Population is 1,339,724,852 (1.3 Billion) and yet we see a state of nonstop wars in that time,
The main series of Crusades occurred between 1095 and 1291, while the crusades were not over yet in Europe and Middle East that Mongols came down out of the Asian Plateau on the mission of the conquering world and waged a series of wars that continued for two centuries. Still Mongol conquests were going on when another famous war began in Europe known as The Hundred Years' War. (The series of wars waged from 1337 to 1453 for throne of France and England). Soon after recovering from The Hundred Years’ War, the European States started another series of wars beyond the Europe to colonize African, Asian, American and Australian continents that began in 1500 and continued until mid-twentieth century and lastly there were two world wars in early and middle of twentieth century.
If you look to these series of nonstop wars, each one of them were world wars of their own times and we see as the human population increase along those wars, the casualties are also increasing. In World War Second there were over 70 million loss of human lives that is 3 and half times of the total population of Saudi Arabia (Saudi citizen). It gives the true sense of saying, “Peace is an interval between two wars”.
Since the formation of United Nations and declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the world didn’t see a world war in last 60 years though the smaller wars have never ceased. Since the collapse of Soviet Union, the threat of world war become negligible, adding to that spread of World Wide Web has increased the level of awareness among people and people have started to focus more on their essential issues rather than going to wars. Does these new developments make us right to claim that we are living in a totally new era of history that is different from all known histories?
I think there are two basic evolutions in human affairs that make this claim stand to be true,
Firstly, the wars are waged based on opinions and devotions and not based on facts….
And
Secondly, the spread of democratic values and information technologies have evolved a general appeal of choosing, “Let’s make the world a better place to live” over “Let’s dominate/conquer the world”…..
The second point make some sense but the first point might seems counterintuitive so let me clarify it,
When it comes to facts, we look to Scientists, so the Behavioral Scientists might say that aggression is a trait that have evolved to increase the level of fitness by acquiring more territory, food, mating opportunities and also Psychologists may say that aggression is a built-in instinct of humankind yet we see people usually go to war not because they have an aggressive nature but because of devotion or deeply influenced by an opinion. It is the concepts of racial, cultural superiority or concepts of having right or wrong beliefs and ideologies that make people go to war with each other. And interesting point to note is that most of these concepts of superiority, inferiority and right and wrong are nothing more than opinions. Of course we can’t count them as facts.
A quick look to history of major religions and racial superiority concepts, we find that most of the claims weren’t more than claims,
The core concept of Christianity is “love for all” but the history has witnessed crusades and sectarian violence among Catholics and Protestants. Islam means peace and the killing of a single person is considered equal to the killing of all humanity and yet throughout Islamic history we see nonstop bloodshed of Muslims and non-Muslims that still continues and definitely will continue. Similarly any nation who claimed a racial or cultural superiority found itself against other nations and have caused wars, Second World War, Arab-Israel conflict, Conflicts in Afghanistan, Indo-Pakistan Conflicts, Chinese-Japanese Conflict are some to name.
If we truly analyze these conflicts, we find that they are based on Opinions rather than Facts. No geneticists or Behavioral Scientists will be able to say, Hey, here are the genes that show Germans are superior than Jews or Jews are superior than Arabs or Pakistanis are superior than Indians or Pashtoons are superior than Hazaras…. All these superiority claims are based on opinions…
On other hand, no Philosopher will be able to tell you, hey, here I found an epistemological basis that Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism or any other religion is true or false. The basis of truth and false is based on the devotions of followers.
So, we find people go to wars either because of Opinion or because of their devotions and no one can ignore that opinions are key in creating devotions or increase and decrease the levels of devotions.
Now, we come back to our main question and that was, “Are we living in a very different time in history”,
The answer now should be clear that, yes we are. We live in a time that most of the governments are democratic and the public opinions are key in making their decisions. Besides, World Wide Web made it possible for masses to have an impact in participative democratic process by allowing people to share their opinions. It is amusing to note that even in the age of democracy and internet, devotions find their way to deceitfully misguide public opinions and go on war. The lies by some notable democratic countries on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and creating war are the most recent example. I am not discussing whether Iraq war was right or wrong but what I am saying that How Far Devotion can go that Public representatives can easily deceive their public and by noting this point How Much it is becoming important to consider the Opinions and share your part in “Making the world a better place to live” rather let it go for wars that result in killings of innocent people, stoppage of trade, deepening of hatred among nations and victory of terror and fear…..
Your Opinion is as important in shaping the future of world as the drops of rain that shape the surface of land and remember we have the imprints of some rain drops that are hundreds of millions old….

Friday, September 30, 2011

The failure of institutional humanism

Isocrates, one of the ten Greek attic orators is famous for his these lines, taken from his book, “Panegyricus”, "Our city of Athens has so far surpassed other men in its wisdom and its power of expression that its pupils have become the teachers of the world. It has caused the name of Hellene to be regarded as no longer a mark of racial origin but of intelligence, so that men are called Hellenes because they have shared our common education rather than that they share in our common ethnic origin.” It is thought that it is the first of its kind in which “Our” is not defined based on ethnicity or common origin but based on intelligence and wisdom. Intelligence and wisdom is something that is not bound to races and it is why we see a tendency towards “humanism” in works of all those individuals which are considered wise by their intellectual measures. Humanism was mostly in the works of wise men or groups of activists who had an awakened consciousness until in the 1948 after bitter experiences of WWII, the nation states, institutionalized it in what we know as “Declaration of Human Rights”, composed of 30 articles.
The Human Rights Declaration was something beyond intelligence and wisdom agreed all upon to include human race. That was a leap forward in the human history but the biggest question it faces by historical experiences of the decay processes in the institutions, will Human Rights remain safe of decay process? (The signs of decay are already appearing)….
Someone with a mere knowledge of Renaissance knows that it was a rebellion of reason against the institutionalized religion of Europe, “The Church” and the “Pope”. The decline of the institutionalized religion to institutionalized democracy or Government of People, made Philosophers like Nietzsche to declare in several of his works that, “God is dead”,
“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”—Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125…….
By God is dead, Nietzsche wasn’t meant that “God” as a belief has died but God as source of legitimacy for institutional religion as rulers of Europe has died. People were looking to reasoning and Science rather to religious institutions for the enlightenment. Nietzsche was a man of reason and I think, not any reasonable person can be against Personal God as we know that relationship of one with his God is beyond the reach of reason, into unconscious mind. Weren’t it the case, Richard Dawkins wouldn’t write the book “God Delusion” after more than one and a quarter century after “God is dead” declaration of Nietzsche. The men of reason are against ruling on people by the name of God as it suppresses the basic freedoms of men and it is what basically Human Rights mean that nothing either it is God, Race, Ethnicity, Culture or Country can be the source of legitimization for suppressing the basic rights.
Now coming to Human Rights, we see the same authorities who have signed on the Human Rights Declaration are either using it as a tool to play their politics in order to gain more power or totally ignoring it under name of national interests. Isn’t it what was going on to religion in the Middle Ages? Wasn’t religion used for gaining more power instead of spreading of “love for all”, its core message? If such a powerful institution like Church that had millions of devotees in all nations of Europe couldn’t survive to misuse, how will Human Rights Declaration survive that have no other devotee except a minority of people with awakened consciousness. Of course as God still lives in hearts of people who seeks Him, the belief in Human Rights will live with awakened people but I am sure, if Nietzsche was living in our time he would write,
“Humanism is dead. Humanism remains dead. And we have killed it. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become Humans simply to appear worthy of it?”……..

Monday, September 26, 2011

Examined Life

We are living in the age of Science. Do in the age of Science, we need Philosophy? That is a question that needs a serious consideration. Why I am asking this question? Let me give you a little background. When I came back to US after spending summer with my family, one of my old neighbors told me that my landlord had a very difficult summer. He went through several medical examinations. The results were fine but still he was thinking that there is something wrong with his health and he was thinking about death. He was searching internet and was reading about different diseases and these all somewhat were adding to his concerns. My neighbor thinks that because the landlord has recently retired and he has not developed interests early in his life so he has a lot of time to focus on himself (has plenty of time to worry), especially about his physical health. So the real problem is not his health but lack of interests or things that keep him busy. He has spent most of his life working and didn’t some spare time to develop interest and now that he is retired his mind is mostly blank so ultimately worries fill them.
My this neighbor himself has a unique life style. I can’t categorize it purely an ascetic life style, yet you can call it some sort of ascetic life style. He is really learned man and a deep person but he chose to live with himself and spent most of his time doing what he likes (that are mostly not serious endeavors). I really had difficulty in understanding him, why he is spending his life this way, until he he told me, what has changed his life and why he chose to live this way. He told me that when he was young, he had a coworker who was really ambitious and resilient (he would be a high scorer on Grit-Scale)and was working in very challenging environment. He was living for his dreams. But because of overworking and working in challenging environments, his health failed and he died without any of his dreams become true. The untimely death of his hardworking coworker shocked my neighbor and it made him to rethink his own life and afterwards to decide a life in which he could do all he wanted to do so he would not regret if his health fail or some unpredictable incident happens to him.
Hearing all these, I was thinking, what would his response if he had experienced what I have experienced and right now, Hazara community is facing in Quetta? For Muslims the biggest celebration is the Eid Ul-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan (the month of fasting). This is a happy occasion for all and especially for children as they wear their new dresses and shoes and go from to home to home to collect Eidi (Gift that are mostly in the form of cash) and people visit individually and in form of groups elders, friends and individuals they respect most like teachers and notable persons. In our family, the tradition is to visit the first day Eid to family members who are either poor, sick or had someone lost to not let them feel down when all are happy. I along with my brothers was visiting one of our family members that news came of car suicide attack on prayer gathering of our community. Just imagine that children who were going to collect Eidi, Women who were going to visit their family members and men who had just finished prayers to begin their happy day and instead of happy Eid, they got killed. Of course, they had great ambitions in their lives, they had dreams and of course they were hard working (Hazaras and hardworking is synonymous in Quetta). It was not my first time to witness the brutal killings of innocent children. In 2004, in similar kind of suicide attack, I had seen the children with emptied skulls, emptied gut and with missing body parts. Of course, one can’t forget all these scenes. These sorts of killings happen on regular basis and without of distinction of age, professions, beliefs and gender. The only thing that makes one a legitimate target is being a member of Hazara community. If you are a member of Hazara community then you don’t know when and where you will be killed?
If you are a Philosopher and a member of Hazara community, it would be meaningless for you to think of what would you be doing when you get retired? Or what would mean your life if you get died untimely? These are the questions that deal with meaning of life. Our problem is existential. Our whole existence is on threat and in existential scenario the search for meaning is meaningless as meaning comes when you have the luxury of choices to choose from. If you have the choice of what kind of life you want to live then you would think that which one is more meaningful?
Among our contemporary Philosophers, John Rawls of Harvard University is famous for his “Theory of Justice”. He creates thought processes to test the Philosophical hypotheses and draw conclusions. He has spent most of time chair-thinking. If he was witnessing in first hand, what we are experiencing, he would had very different conclusions on “Justice Theory”.
The concept of “Examined life” came from Socrates. He was going to streets of Athens and cross-questioning people’s beliefs on certain topics to make them realize of shallowness of their understanding on their most dear values. Aristotle famously said when was condemned to drink hemlock, “The unexamined life doesn’t worth of living”. The Socrates had a choice between living and dying and he chose to die for his beliefs. Certainly, he would have very different Philosophy and approach to life, if he was a member of Hazara community and was living in Quetta instead of Athens. The reason that I am saying this with certainty is that he would have very different Philosophy is that, then “examined life” was not a matter of choice or value but an existential one.
Even the existential Philosophers like Sartre and Albert Camus would have a very different Philosophy. I accept that Nazis who occupied the homeland of Sartre was showing no mercy but still there were a whole world against Nazis and were fighting their evil deeds so still Sartre could hope for humanity and it is why his most famous lecture and work is, “Existentialism is humanism”. Sartre could write and deliver such lectures because he was witnessing the alienation of Nazis and the unity of world even between impossible ones, Communist Soviet, Capitalist US and Imperialist Britain. If Sartre was a member of Hazara community and was living in Quetta instead of Paris and he was witnessing the nonstop massacres of Hazaras and no response from world, he would never write, “Existentialism is humanism” and Simon de Beauvoir would never write her most popular work, “Second Sex” to voice for women because she would have witnessed that terrorists do not distinguish their victims based on gender or age group.
If you are a Hazara, still you can think as deep as Socrates, Sartre and John Rawls and can come up with Philosophies of values parallel to those of great Philosophers and then you would see the murder of those values by deep silence of most learned people of world and then of course, you would say, Socrates was utterly wrong (It is wrong in the sense that mind passes through metamorphosis and this metamorphosis is reversible…I am going to write another article on this issue and if you like, you can check back). It is not the examined life that worth living, it is the rights of living and respecting for others’ lives that make a life worth of living.
And about the question that I have asked in the beginning, whether in age of Science we need Philosophy or not? After reading this article, without any doubt you know my answer. Of course, we need Philosophy. Science has provided us with new technologies that are frequently changing and have made people so busy that they don’t have time to think of their lives and lives of people living around them. Of course, what happens to people living in far away from you doesn’t make any difference to your life and also it is irrational that you care about them. That is right but Philosophy tells people that they have responsibility to others beyond their own lives. Humanity doesn’t live within the border of a nation state or it doesn’t end in one continent. Yes, things would change if one considers himself not a human but rather just the citizen of a country. In that case no one would appeal you just as no one appeals from trees and animals.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Are we in Second Cultural Revolution?


Sometimes, it happens that we bump into some odd books and they make us curious to see what is inside? Since my childhood I have looked to businessmen as real magicians because whenever one goes, he sees their hypnotizing demos and I try hard to not miss any chance of seeing businessmen shows. In fact they are the real psychologists as they can’t afford mistakes in their observations of human psyche. They have to pay for each mistake in their observation, in the form of loss. While looking for books in the library, I found the book, “How to sell against competition” by John Fenton… Out of curiosity I leafed the book and stuck on the page of the 157 that was about Second Industrial Revolution. It reads,
“Once upon a time there was Seller’s market.
Customers clamored to buy. Supply could not satisfy demand. Manufacturers developed mass production techniques, mechanization, and automation, to try to cope with the demand for hitherto hand made products. Craftsmanship was sacrificed at the altar of volume.
It was called The Industrial Revolution.
It began 150 years ago. It was held back a few times by economic catastrophes like The Great Depression. It was stimulated by few wars. It finally died in the mid-nineteen seventies (1970s) when the Middle East marmalized the Western Civilization by whooping up the price of oil.
Since then, we have witnessing a fundamental change in people’s buying habits. No longer do people buy what they can get. No longer do they buy just one price –the cheapest they can find. (And you don’t believe this, just ask a few people what car they drive, and see how many have bought the lowest priced car that would do the job they needed it to do.)
We have entered the Second Industrial Revolution.
The first was based on Quantity. The second Industrial Revolution is based on Quality.”………….
………Reading these paragraphs, I was wondering if we are in the Second Cultural Revolution? Why I got this idea? ……
Every fundamental change in economy, technology or in social structure accompanies a cultural change. Of course, First Industrial Revolution had accompanied a cultural revolution but it was limited to West as East mostly missed the Industrial Revolution, the main machine of cultural revolution. Apart from West the rest of world got colonization and later reactionary movements against the colonization so most of Cultural Revolution in East was tied to colonization and reactionary movements rather to Industrial Revolution. It is natural that one expects two very different types of Cultural Revolution in the East and West. I think one doesn’t need a college degree to list the main differences among cultural revolutions of East and West.
West; Sacrificed family system, religion and craftsmanship to democratic, Scientific and liberal endeavors…..
East; though saved the family system and religion to some extent became more sensitive to religious, ethnic, cultural and national identities as well as to accommodate the Western influences within their identities……
It seems that the first modern cultural revolutions took very different courses. Just like Mr. Fenton is defining the First Industrial Revolution by sellers’ market, the same definition was true for the First Cultural Revolution…. People in West were welcoming anything under name of democracy, Science and liberalism not with much consideration into their contents and this great love for main values of first cultural revolution have evolved to some extent to prejudices……..
The same is true for the East, people overwhelmingly welcomed everything under name of religion, ethnicity, culture and nationalism without analyzing the contents and today they are paying for what they have welcomed, religious extremism, ethnic conflicts and a very clear divide between conservatives and liberals…………
By information Big Bang (popularization of World Wide Web) the world is witnessing the second Cultural Revolution. It looks like this time there is no big divide between the West and East however the divisions that was created by first cultural revolution is still there….. What would be the face of global community in next 10 to 20 years when the generation of the second Cultural Revolution takes charge of the world? Anyone can say with certainty that heads will think with very identical values but of course with different versions of them (That is very natural)….
How come one can say with certainty? The main reason is the change in behaviors of cultural consumers. People exposed to diversity of global cultures will definitely choose the better ones and it also put pressure on the producers to work hard for better products (In cases where producers retreat, the people themselves will take charge of production…the most novel case is the Science reporting. With retreats of main media giants from Science reports, Scientists have established their own blogs to fill the gap. The same is true in all spheres of life. People are no more passive consumers but they also produce wherever there is decline). So we are expecting of evolution and betterment of global culture (until now there is a general consensus that the general trend of global culture is towards slumming and most of people (especially older generation) take it as downgrade of culture)…. It all depends on the works of people who are currently in charge of producing culture…. At the moment we are going through a transitional stage and the Chaos is the main mechanism of transition….
How Chaos work? Nobody can have better explanation and demonstration than geneticists…Very small and random changes can result in very different outcomes…So let’s see what kind of changes will lead to tipping points? We can put our parts and hope for better ones :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Philosophers…..What they are not?


I don’t exactly remember the source of this story,
…………Once upon a time there was a man who fallen in love to a prominent lady of the city… He was trying to reach the lady but the guards of her residence were not allowing him to meet her…He couldn’t think of anything except of her…and he was eating, sleeping, walking and talking in her love…Everyday he was writing his painful condition in a letter and was going to her residence but like always… the guards weren’t allowing him…. The story of one-sided love become famous and people started talking about it…The lady heard about her lover and she ordered her maidservants to bring him to her…. When he entered into her room, he opened his bag and took out hundreds of letters that he had written to her…and started reading them to her…. The lady was passionately listening him, reading the letters and after an hour or two she stood and slapped him in the face and said, “You fool, I am sitting in front of you and instead of talking to me, you are reading me the letters that you have written over years…………….
So is the condition of the Philosophers…who claim that they are fallen in love to wisdom. The wisdom is living in flesh, in the form of people, around them and they look for it, into language, numbers and symbols…… May be I am underestimating Philosophers as there are a lot of people who love wisdom and looking for ways to fall in love with wisdom….If there weren’t some people who like to become Philosophers, there weren’t Philosophy departments in Universities and a lot of publications in Philosophy each year… Even Philosophy became a tool for diplomacy in international affairs (Iran hosted last year’s world Philosophy day conference with collaboration of UNESCO…USA and EU opposed the conference and UNESCO was forced to withdraw its support of conference)………. There are a lot of materials on lives of Philosophers but I got surprised when I come across the Ian Ravenscroft’s article, “How to be a philosopher” in the Philosophy now magazine…. In which he counts nine things one have to do in order to become a Philosopher including, what to wear, What to eat, What to drink, What to read, What to think about, How to think about it, Talking about it, Lighten up, Living and dying…… Wow, that is cool, I said to myself… it is like when somebody gets admission to a school, he gets a prospectus in which all the instructions are written (Welcome to a conditioned life)…….But that is not my first time encounter of “how to become a Philosopher”…. It brought back a lot of my college time memories………
During my college years, we read about famous “Tea House” which was a nursery of big names in Pakistani literature…so we had specified a corner in colleges’ grassy plot…. where we were talking about our creative endeavors…. I still remember one of my friends who was doing everything that people in Tea House was doing….He was smoking cigarettes in the thinking style (Though I have an allergy to smokes but I was tolerating his smoking…in order not to disturb the creative process….May be you are laughing right now…At least, I am laughing while writing this…)… He was chewing Paan leaves….Betel Leaves… (He had an adorable look when his lips were red), drinking a lot of milk tea, always wearing white dresses and had a teacher who were correcting the rhyme and was advising him on the contents of his poems…
Despite of my love for writing, I didn’t have a creative flow…He was quick in identifying the problem…”creativity has its own life style…How can you expect to come up with great ideas by your simple and rigid life style???….” And then he was advising me for changes in my life…so the BIG ideas start liking to live in my skull…………… First and most important thing…. fall in love (I wasn’t able to understand how to fall in love…Zap!!!) so the intensity of feelings soar…. Start smoking to increase concentrations (The omnipresent dusty atmosphere of Quetta was more powerful than tiny smokes of cigarettes….), start wearing white dresses so the senses become very sharp to catch the very Delicate ideas (Thanks to swarms of vehicles in the city, everyday…. after coming from college when I was washing my face, a large amount of black soot was coming out of my nose and throat….I knew that my lungs were as black as baker’s chimneys…. In this atmosphere, how could white dresses help me in sharpening my senses)…. Drink a lot hot milk tea (The only advice that I followed with full zeal…until I found that the milk tea is the biggest culprit of Diabetes in Pakistanis…then I quit drinking milk tea to replace it with green tea, mint tea and occasionally chamomile tea)………..and have a teacher who correct and guide me in my writings (Frankly, I was thinking that rebellion against tradition is the primeval condition of creativity so I didn’t want to break anybody’s heart by my rebellious and argumentative nature…especially the one who takes the charge of my guidance)………Occasionally and in between lines… I was trying to say that Diogenes and Socrates two big names of Philosophy (Antisocial Philosophers)….hadn’t followed any of these recommendations…then I was thinking that perhaps historians didn’t report these important secrets of these Philosophers (That is the silliest way to convince myself so I could keep shut my mouth to not hurt a friend that was so dear to me)
Well, I failed to follow the instructions and didn’t become a poet or a philosopher...and so is true for my friend…. We become equal (the one who followed = the one who didn’t follow)……..though there are still stark differences in our life styles……
So when I come across such articles that are about, how one can become a Philosopher…. I loudly say…Come on…for God’s sake…Philosophy is not modeling…You don’t need a conditioned life (Though one needs an examined life and that has no formula or recipe book to follow)….

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reactionary movements…..How to not deal with the gaps?………..

Industrialization revolution had several reactionary movements….. Marxism was a reactionary movement in economical fields….. Existentialism was a reactionary movement in Philosophy….Pragmatism and liberal education was reactionary movement in education…..Mushrooming of fitness centers, nutrition and calorie-consciousness was a reactionary movement in health….. Mushrooming of civil societies was a reactionary movement in governance….and so on……Some of these reactionary movements were failure and some were somewhat successful…I will make a brief analysis later in this Philoknol….But,
As I showed in previous paragraph that there were several reactionary movements to industrialization….and now we are going to Digitalization…..From our experiences of the reactionary movement to industrialization it is expected that there are reactionary movements to it…What are the reactionary movements to digitalization?.....
I will let you to ponder about it a little bit….Let me help in finding the general trends of the previous reactionary movements…. You will note that amazingly most of the reactionary movements are suggesting the same solution……
………I like to begin from the most familiar field…that is Marxism… Carl Marx correctly identified that industrialization will create an enormous surplus and these surpluses will enslave men by creating a black hole (monopoly) of surpluses that devour the real earning of poor and weak and will increase the gaps between social classes….which may create anxiety among masses that may led to revolution……
The identification was correct (even collapse of Soviet Union and conversion of China to more free market economy…..the prediction of Marx is valid…..see the news that these days buzzing around the web that Apple has more cash than US government)……but the solution was really strange…..and it was the main reason of the failure of this reactionary movement…….
…….The solution was to return to the primitive period….Communism...or all out Socialism…..the experiments proved to be failure as contexts were Primitive societies weren’t there for support…….
…….Existentialism was reactionary movements in Philosophy….. The industrialization eroded the values that were for centuries on society…. Religious, Cultural and traditional values were helpless…so they weren’t of any help to modern men….Religion, Cultures and traditional values stand on the notion of the “ESSENCE”…… By erosion of the values…the concept of the “essence” also eroded…. And Existentialism comes as a reaction to fill the vacuum…. Existentialism replaced “essence” by “existence”….by declaring, “Existence precedes essence”….. Look to few characteristics of Existentialism and you will realize that it is calling to Primitive state of men just as Marxism was calling towards Primitive Societies,
- Existentialism movement becomes strong and appealing when values are eroded…..
- Existentialism asks for relying on emotions rather than on logic…..
- It asks for philosophy to deal with experiential issues than issues related to knowledge…..
As culture, social values and norms are products of advanced societies….so existentialism looks to them as a source of problems of individuals and look to solution to rely on the primitive aspect of individuals as primitive were relying on, emotions and experiences………… Well…this solution just like Marxism’s solution is outdated as digitalization asks more on relying on imaginations and knowledge….
We can go to other reactionary movements in the same manner…. Here, however I want to emphasize on one main problem that we are facing in the Digital/information period,
Let’s see it this way…… The industrialization and rapid technological advancements…changed very fast the life styles…commonly… made life easier and slowed down the use of the physical movements at work places…it even slowed down the use of physical movements in household works….. On other hand the food choices become diversified and frequent…. The change in life styles due to technological advancements were rapid but the physiological adaptations were very slow….the results of these gaps come out as widespread modern diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, and cancers….
The solutions come from health experts in nutrition (calorie consciousness) and regular exercises…. So… the solutions are known and experts are frequent to compensate for slower physiological adaptations in response to fast changes in life styles………
Now…it is more than a decade that we are in the digitalization age or information big bang…. The information big bang….was a big jump from local cultures to global cultures…………….The globalization of the cultures was so rapid that people didn’t have time to adapt their psyches to it…. Simply, we are living in a global culture with local psychology….. the big gap between psyche and global cultures have resulted in massive psychological imbalance…… Just as modern diseases are the side effects of the industrialization so the widespread confusions, identity crises, massive hatreds and most important…. Individual disorientations as result of spontaneous exposures is the most visible one………… I think we are not yet fully aware of the impacts of the side effects and hence we don’t see any major reactionary movements to digitalization……………
We are just seeing the clashes of titans…..We saw the collapse of My Space to Facebook and now people are expecting to witness the meltdown of Facebook to Google Plus….. This seems a normal process but it has clues to solution….. One Giant website creates a monopoly by being creative and another one breaks its monopoly by creativity….. It seems that…in order to become compatible with global culture…we need to use our creativity and become an active contributor to global culture rather than being a passive consumer and victims of the gaps created by it………………….
Now….while we are expecting a reactionary movement to digitalization….we see the same sort of solution to “reasoning”…..Now, the voices are coming to redefine “reasoning’s purpose”…. For thousands of years, reasoning was the main mechanism of Philosophy…which has determined its purpose as a tool for pursuit of truth….. Now that digitalization and world wide web has increased the importance and appeal for ….“reasoning” ….. to help in judging and choosing the useful information in a period of big bang (massive chaos) of information….. the purpose of information is explained by evolutionary behaviorists…..that it evolved to win arguments….. This was true for primitive men…..who hadn’t have to deal with global cultures and digitalization and winning arguments definitely would increase their fitness…..but for modern men who are exposed to global culture…and massive floods of information…..the primitive purpose of reasoning…will fail…as it failed in Marxism and Existentialism………. We don’t have the choice of choosing between Primitive world and global world……………

Friday, July 29, 2011

Examined life; under fire of Evolutionary Behaviorists and Philosophers……



Philosophers are under fire of philosophers and Philosophy is under fire of the Evolutionary Behavioral Scientists these days……and it is what an examined life requires….. The concept of “examined life” is to be the subject and the same time…. tolerant to the positive criticisms and put “reasoning”...(though some may accept self-accountability as only means of an examined life) as judges…..
Since birth of Philosophy to our days….. it is believed that reasoning is a mean of questing for TRUTH….. but Behavioral Scientists….Dan Sperber and Hugo Mercier is trying to challenge this long accepted notion by providing an alternative evolutionary explanation…. Reasoning didn’t evolve to help human go in search of truth but it is evolved to win arguments…… Winning arguments have a competitive advantage…..that is the core of the Darwinian mechanism…survival of the fittest……In this sense reasoning, increase fitness by winning arguments and more interestingly…. irrationality is an adaptation to confuse others….. As “reasoning” is the core of the Philosophy…so evolutionary explanations of reasoning…… is falsifying….thousands of years of works and quests of the philosophers…who were claiming……search for truth…..is main purpose of their works…..
On the other hand…. James Miller, who teaches politics and liberal studies at New York School of Social research… wrote a book by name of……”Examined lives; from Socrates to Nietzsche”….in which he tells the stories of the 12 famous Philosophers including,….Socrates, Plato, Diogenes, Aristotle, Augustine, Montaigne, Descartes, Rousseau, Kant, Emerson, Nietzsche ……..Most of these biographical stories exposes the weaknesses of the Philosophers in leading their personal lives, dealing with situations and doing things that deny their own philosophies….. The concept of the examined life came from Socrates famous trial…. Socrates was trialed on the charges of corrupting the Athenian youths by his Philosophy….. Socrates chose death over refuting his Philosophy and famously declared that, “Unexamined life doesn’t worth living”….. Socrates became a symbol of questing for truth, standing for truth and living for truth…. Socrates led a profound Philosophical life that was/is the source of inspiration for thousands of years……and Philosophy became not an indispensible tool for learned men and women… James Miller wanted to show that examined lives are not really as profound as commonly believed……
Do “Philosophers” and “Philosophy” survive these criticisms?.... Well, that depends on the Philosophers and the “reasoning”……..the same entities that are examined :)….. It depends on Philosophers as “reasoning” is their mechanism of judging things (even themselves…..Well, Philosophers are best subjects for criticisms and examinations as they are willingly expose their lives for examinations….it requires courage and honesty….and those two characteristics are enough to have a life worth of living :)…and it depends on “reasoning”…because reasoning is an inherent characteristic of mind (due to order and consistency of natural phenomenon)….and without it…learning, understanding and communication become impossible for men….. (Looking for evolutionary explanations are a well developed way of reasoning…but it can’t be done without reasoning….as there is no solid evidence except clues based on reasoning (order and consistency/evolutionary mechanisms)….. (Well, one can take academic dishonesty, subjective journalism (giving selected background or contexts to distort the real causes of events, cheating and misinformation as evidences of evolution of reasoning for winning arguments but all these methods are considered and categorized as “irrational” in philosophical questing….


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Whole brain thinking; Crossing the natural limits…..

Why Picasso is admired?....That is the most easiest question to answer…. As it is the most commonly known answer…. Picasso is admired because he broke the line… He was drawing the oval faces of men as square…. It was a rebellion against nature and a deep desire to have control over the fate of men….. At the beginning of previous century, when Darwin’s Evolutionary theory got the life injection from heredity science and it was determined that genes are the basic unit of evolution…..adding to that….that genes are the natural limits of organisms/men… provided an easy solution to fix the social and economical problems….simply there are poverty and crime because there are bad genes/incompatible genes….eradicate bad genes and the competitive genes will turn earth into Garden of Eden…. It was appealing to supremacists who were thinking of themselves…having supreme genes…so they launched the dark Eugenic movements….. to make their nations strong by having a pure breed of supreme genes………
Picasso’s greatness is not in adding a few high priced paintings and drawings…..but to reject the idea of the limits of nature…by breaking natural lines…. His works created an enthusiasm and strong belief….that human imagination and creativity have the power to break the natural limits/lines………
We all accept consciously or unconsciously natural limits for our lot of capabilities…. There is a limit for our typing speed….there is a limit for our bicycling speed…. There is limit for our running speed….there is limits for time in holding our breaths…. And so on…..When we practice…we improve in doing things but then we reach a limit …that we stop improving further….and practicing is of no more help…. This is what Joshua Foer likes to call….OK Plateau….
Why Plateau?....Because we climb up to reach the plateau and Plateau is level off surface….it is really a nice analogy…for climbing up and then reaching a plain where there is no more climbing…….Though there are OK Plateaus for our capabilities and yet….we see world records and the continuously watch or read the news of breaking the old records and the making of new world records……
Why, I have mentioned the name of Joshu Foer? I mentioned his name because he belongs to a group of people who call themselves as, “memory athletes” ….and try to develop new techniques to practice and break the natural limits…..They like Picasso…… challenge the nature…..and they like Picasso believe that it is the creativity that have the ability to challenge the limits set by nature……Joshu Foer has written a book in which he narrates the stories of mnemonists (memory athletes), their race for developing new techniques and the scientific studies that are the basis of their beliefs……. in relying on creativity to challenge the natural limits or cross the OK Plateau….. His book’s name is, ““ Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything”…..
If you don’t have time for reading the whole book….again there is no worries…as he has an article in New York Times’ magazine through which you can have a very good introductory idea of who the “memory athletes” are?..... and what they do?....The title of his article is, “How I trained my brain and became a world-class memory athlete”………………
…..Few pieces of the article are really quotable, like, …. “Many competitive mnemonists argue that their skills are less a feat of memory than of creativity.”……” . In his 1869 book “Hereditary Genius,” Sir Francis Galton argued that a person could improve at mental and physical activities until he hit a wall, which “he cannot by any education or exertion overpass.” In other words, the best we can do is simply the best we can do. But Ericsson and his colleagues have found over and over again that with the right kind of effort, that’s rarely the case. They believe that Galton’s wall often has much less to do with our innate limits than with what we consider an acceptable level of performance. They’ve found that top achievers typically follow the same general pattern. They develop strategies for keeping out of the autonomous stage by doing three things: focusing on their technique, staying goal-oriented and getting immediate feedback on their performance.”……
These descriptions contradict with the common beliefs of gifted-memories….. The concept of the gifted memory comes from the common experiences of natural limits….however it is not hundred percent true…Sometimes our limitations are just our beliefs that have inserted in us by the society….At least my experience is telling me so…..Here I am telling….how a teacher has planted (though unconsciously) the belief that I have a weak memory….You may be interested in the story (or you may blame me ….of blaming my teacher for what I have never tried seriously to develop….if you think so….you are not alone as I am supporting you to a large extent :) ,,,,,,
…………I call my 3rd grade mathematics teacher as “murderer of my memory”…… He was a military veteran and was treating his 3rd grade students as militia men…. stressing on discipline, doing works on time with no room for questions….Upon mistakes, he was beating us with stick…..in the whole year, I couldn’t learn by heart the arithmetic chart....under fear of punishments and urgency of time limits….so I started believing that I have a weak memory that I am still struggling to get rid off….(In the whole class there was only one boy……… who was punished regularly the whole year and he never cried….to us he was like a hero…once I asked him, how he could bear the pains of punishments….he told me that he eats a lot of potatoes…and advised me to eat potatoes to withstand the pains…..Later on I changed school….and didn’t see him for almost one and half decade….one day, I saw him on the street…he was a giant fat man, with thick black beards….I was still a skinny boy compared to him…as I saw him, I remembered his advice for eating potatoes… I smiled and told him, “I am sorry……I failed to eat a lot of potatoes and didn’t become a big man like you”………….)
The reason that I brought up this story is to show how the ignorance of teachers about “how memory works” may harm young students…….Teaching teachers about the techniques and the science behind them….will help and encourage them to develop their own creative techniques and implant self confidence in their students to rely on their creativity and do not accept the natural limits…as justification for not trying and failures…………..
For crossing the OK plateau, mnemonists use mental visual or mental imagery ( what they call memory palaces) for storing numbers, names and any verbal things….. These techniques actually combine L-mode of thinking with R-mode of thinking….or use the power of whole cerebral brain….. It is where creativity meet with memory…..The techniques of mnemonists should not be limited in usage for memory competitions as they have great scopes and potentials in untapping creativity and improving skills in learning…..

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rene Descartes VS Ludwig Wittgenstein; …Where are the differences in modes of thinking?

It would be repetition to quote Descartes’ most famous conclusion, “I think therefore I am”….however, we can’t escape quoting it ……as it is the core of Descartian Philosophy….. Descartes, started questioning what we can know?….and negating one by one everything knowable…. and boiled down to “I think therefore I am”….concluding that…the only thing we can know with certainty…..is consciousness of self as source of thinking…. Well, it came from a time of philosophy….when the trend was to construct a philosophical system…..so Descartian method was to deconstruct the existing philosophical systems and reconstruct a new system based on the knowledge of a thinking mind…..
In previous century….Ludwig Wittgenstein tried to challenge the Descartian system by adapting an quite an opposite approach….starting from the culture (Culture is the collective consciousness in response to individualistic consciousness)….he thought that there is no genuine philosophical problem….the philosophical problems arise from miscommunications…… later on he abandoned this idea to construct another one that…there are philosophical problems but they come from interactions of different language games….. Whatever…….In nutshell, his approach was based on collective consciousness………….
Here, I am not going to compare and judge Descartian and Wittgensteinian Philosophical system (s?)…. I just want to show…from where came the differences of their approaches?
Some of you might have reached to the point before I mention them….Yes, because they are thinkers…so the sources of the differences must come from unequal usage of the specialized parts of brain….As we all know that cerebral part of brain got two hemispheres…..Left hemisphere (Which is verbal part of brain and think in steps…. e.g, mathematical problems are solved step by step Or writing an article which are stepwise, title, introduction, main body and conclusion…. And so on…..It is also famous as logical thinking)…… and Right Hemisphere (Which is nonverbal part of brain and thinks as a whole….e.g, looking a scenery…. when we see the scene as a whole…. we don’t see in steps…to see e.g, grasses first, then to tree, then mountain and then sky and then sun and then scattered clouds…. We see them as a whole….It is also famous as visual thinking part of brain or creative thinking part of brain)…. It is believed that because philosophers are logical thinkers so they have L -thinking mode (Rely on their left hemisphere of brain for thinking)….
I brought here the examples of Descartes and Wittgenstein as philosophers of two different approaches….Descartes is a reducationist in his approach and relies on himself as a unit of consciousness…. And Wittgenstein is wholist in his approach and relies on the culture as a unit of collective consciousness….. Reductionist approach is the characteristic of the Left-hemisphere or L –mode of thinking….and wholist approach is the characteristic of the Right hemisphere or R – mode of thinking…..
Some may argue that Philosophy can’t be done without step-wise thinking…..Well, that is true…but if we take philosophy as an article….thinking (L-mode of thinking) make the introduction and body of the article…..the title and conclusion come from judgments (R – mode of thinking) ……..
Now coming back to Descartes and Wittgenstein…..we can easily understand that Descartes has focused more on the introduction and body….but Wittgenstein on title and conclusion…so we see the dominance of the L-mode of thinking in Descartian approach….and R- mode of thinking in Wittgensteinian approach…..
Having the knowledge of the L –mode of thinking and R –mode of thinking….and the examples are in the works of the previous philosophers/thinkers to illustrate them…..we need a new approach in philosophy and thinking mode…..I expect that the new approach would begin with an encyclopedic thinking to become refine later from its findings……………….
Perhaps what we call a new approach in philosophy is the rediscovery of the 5000 years old, Chinese Philosophy of Yin-Yang….or what is commonly known as duality….. In common expression people call the “judgments” as thinking by heart or the decision of the heart…. In is mostly stressed in East…. Though heart is an internal organ (and is involuntary) but it lays in left-side of body….perhaps as Right hemisphere controls left-side of the body….we feel that judgments come from heart…anyway, whether we say judgments come from right-hemisphere or heart is almost the same…..
In a simple way….it is needed that students are taught…how to use both hemispheres of the brain….and teach techniques that integrate both….Mnemonists are developing such techniques….I will write about them in another article….
Besides, I think that we live in time of mushrooming of inter-disciplinary fields …..and time is ripe for combining techniques and knowledge in thinking/mind sciences, physical trainings and nutrition….By integrating the techniques and knowledge of these fields….we can create an awesome tool for physical and mental developments and wellbeing :)…….