PREFACE TO THE 2013 UPDATE

It's been quite an intense year of interaction on the web and this update reflects that
by incorporating those interactions that have enhanced the existing articles, as I did
not want to add to the number of articles.

As I stated in one such interaction, my intention was not only communication, but also
to sharpen my tools further by trying out new and better ways to express myself.

The results for me personally have been beyond my expectations. This has led to
substantial updating of many articles, making them more wholesome and more
coherent.

Many a times I felt that I had reached a limit to my expressions, but someone's work
or some comment or someone brought up or triggered a question that served as enough
provocation for me to come up with an innovative response that would force the application
of simple words to much greater effect, even for myself as I sought the optimum and most
efficient answers to questions framed in different words, terms or angles. Sometimes it was
the situation and the context that spontaneously brought forth an urge for a new expression,
rather than a specific question.

I therefore am grateful to all the people who I have had the opportunity to respond to or
comment upon or interact with. Certain persistent adversaries were even more helpful
by the challenge they provided by trying to pin me to a category or use straw-man techniques
to deflect from the issue when they themselves were exposed. It was sad to find out that so
many people waste their energies trying to defend their turf of doctrine or data with religious
fervor, rather than try to learn something new. But then again, if it were not so, there would
not be sufficient provocation for me to write in new and better ways. If people insist on
becoming means for being the provocative stimulus for the creativity of others, and not learn
anything themselves, then I guess that it's their fate to be the 'losers' in life. These are of two
types: the religious fundamentalist and the material fundamentalist. The latter are in a
state of building up armies of 'science punks' to ridicule and heap insults on anyone who is
not strictly a materialist (let me clarify that a materialist is one who is operating from the
assumption that matter is all that exists, and that the only reality is the material reality.)

That's one thing I have learned - you cannot really make another person better unless that
person is willing or open. It's simply a matter of having or not having the will within the
person. Otherwise it is safe to assume that they are in this world only to serve as a means,
and thus it is ethically correct to make full use of their services, and wish them the best of
luck, although even that will do them no good, because their fate is sealed...

In this preface I have put up a short story of how I became a writer....it is below in this
page. As and when I feel the urge I shall keep adding to it.

As the Eschaton approaches I can feel the intensity thickening, at one side a deafening
cacophony of this war between doctrine and data, and on the other side an eerie silence -
which I hope is a state of quiet reflection on what life was all about.

 

Short Story 0.0   THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE

or HOW THIS WEBSPACE BECAME MY HOME

For most of my life I never saw myself as becoming a writer, let alone rhetorical writing. It was a long  series of
twists and turns that brought me to it. Let me start at the beginning.

The first conscious goal I can remember that I set for myself at the rough age of about six years was to become an
aircraft pilot – preferably a fighter pilot. This was not something that genuinely came from within, but it was a role
model I picked up from a family acquaintance I knew had just become one. Soon this progressed to becoming an
astronaut, for it sounded far more adventurous than a mere pilot.

Then a few years later at about age nine, there was a course in school on electrical gadgets. Now here I was genuinely
hooked from within, as I found each device fascinating – especially the manually cranked gramophone from which
emanated music. The very phenomenon of electricity intrigued me no end, and for me it was the ultimate mystery.
Every device I came across, I wanted to learn how it worked. There was the irresistible urge to take it apart
and put it together again. Those days the most sophisticated thing in the house was the radio. I wanted to
assemble one myself, because by then the simpler electrical devices I has mastered. Of course I wasn’t allowed
 to do so, but by now I knew what I really wanted to become – an engineer.

Before I could take apart or put together a radio, I would have to learn the basics on my own - it was beyond
the scope of the school teachers, and I was told that for such higher courses I would have to wait till I got to college.
But I went to the library and got hold of every encyclopedia or book on basic principles, especially on electronics.
What I discovered was that from one single source or book I couldn’t get a clear or complete grasp of the entire set
of fundamentals and concepts of electronics.  But in a process of co-relation from different books, and with
persistent efforts, I was able to get a firm grasp of the fundamentals. This was possible because although each
author had a different style of explaining or articulating concepts, none provided a satisfactory or complete
understanding, and by cross co-relating the styles and the different ways of explaining, I was able to get the
complete and clear picture, and there was no stopping after that.

Much later I was to realize that the same principle worked in comprehending the functioning of the human mind
and that is, by a study of different cultural constructs of reality, the underlying assumptions of those constructs,
and by co-relating them, one could come to a comprehensive understanding of the larger picture of reality and
the human place in it.

Now back to my fascination with technology, the next machine after the gramophone and radio was the movie
projector which was a simpler device technologically, but the fact that it was a far more powerful medium of
art was what really put me on fire. I was now hooked to the movies (along with music) and the technology that
 made it possible.

It was in my teens that my world again exploded – I saw the movie ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ which posited
a fictional technology of artificial intelligence that would exceed human intelligence. This, I thought was
the ultimate frontier – if this was possible, then there would be no limits to what could be achieved, because
intelligence without the constraints of the human body would quickly reveal all the ‘mysteries of the universe’,
all the ‘laws of nature’.

I, among so many other people found the movie stunning and mind boggling. Kubrick’s art and intellectual challenge
through visual metaphors had found a huge target audience and I felt like the bulls eye in that target. It was mind
blowing and staggering in its scope and potentiality. This I thought was the ultimate human goal – the ultimate
technology that could rid mankind of all the silly and pathetic conflicts and wars by transcending the biological
needs and necessities of mundane survival and the problems and constraints of limited resources. Intelligence
was all that was real – the rest were merely props for it – or so we were taught by implication through a now
mandatory science based education. Only the material world was real because such concrete laws had been
found (like Newton’s laws, quantum physics) that made it abundantly clear that all earlier conceptions of reality
were merely myths that were the result of delusions or mere imagination. Mankind was on the verge of unlocking
all the mysteries of the universe, and science and technology were the only reliable ways for it. The future belonged
to the most intelligent machine that would find the ultimate equation (or Unified Theory) that accounted for the
entire universe.

I was still in my teens when I enrolled in an institute of technology for a degree in electronics, and my goal was to
finally do research in digital circuitry (hardware) that would simulate the brain circuitry so that the hardware itself
had the potential to develop its own software, rather than us making software that would be ‘intelligent’ in itself
(which according to me was a wrong approach, because the human brain has self programming capabilities
 inherent in the hardware itself).

The engineering course was full of mathematics – which I detested and I had no interest in computer software
as such, so I started feeling that I had got stuck in a path that was not to my liking and interest. My grades
dropped, my interest in the academic world ceased. I wanted to focus on the pragmatic fundamentals of the
functioning of the mind (by now synonymous with the brain). I also became physically sick, and by the time I
was through college I had also given up pursuit of any higher courses and academic study.

From then on I would be an independent explorer – I would study whatever captured my interest and build on
that if I could. The necessities of survival took over and I used my technical knowledge to barely scrape through.


When the internet developed, I found that some websites were offering free web space and there was a strange
subliminal lure to it – to me it seemed a place and space where I could build a home for myself – but what would
be its content? My pursuit was now intellectual so it had to be based upon what is called philosophy. The homesteads
at Athens were full, so I found a better place to build my home - Yosemite. That was so symbolically good - deep
in nature, start from the very bare basics and necessities, free from the traps of civilization. My intent was to have
a single page from which I would provide links to other sites with meaningful content that focused on one theme that
had now become my quest: what was that knowledge that was worth pursuing in itself that would reveal why
humans came into being and how they came to be what they are now, and how, where and for what it all ended.

I had no idea how to build a meaningful content for my site, but the moment I stared the website, and in the initial
process of trying to define what exactly was my goal for this website,

I found that I had a predilection for writing that had remained latent up till then, but came to light into the conscious
when the right conditions had come together. Starting from a single sentence – the title itself, and in order to explain
to myself what is it that I wanted to express, it all kept on building up. I discovered that language was the metaphysical
tool by which the human mind could be taken apart (deconstructed or reverse-engineered) and then put together again
 - my engineering quest.

I also came to realize that I would write for myself primarily, and more importantly there would be no commercial
or monetary interest involved. It would be done freely (as in freedom), without any expectations, without any approval,
rewards, praise or acknowledgement from anyone, and even if need be, antagonistic to everyone. This would not be
rhetorical in its essence, for its aim would not be to persuade anyone towards any point of view but to serve as
a provocation to others to find out what’s real for them as a living being in this world.

Back in college, when I had lost interest in the academic, I again was rescued by the excellent library there. I went through
every book they had on brain research. I came across the extensive research done by Wilder Penfield, ‘The Reward and
Punishment Systems of the Brain’. By planting electrodes in certain areas of the brain and stimulating them with a
current, a strong perception of pain or pleasure was registered by the subject, and thus a mapping of the areas
were made where either pain or pleasure were felt. In certain areas of pleasure centers associated with sexual pleasure,
the intensity of pleasure were so strong that the subject animals who had been trained to press a lever to send a current
to this pleasure centre, chose to do so rather than eat food even when almost starved !

On reading this I felt a chill run up my spine for a long time!

How is it that a current in the neurons in one place caused such extreme pleasure and a current in the neurons in another
place caused extreme pain that the creature at times even died as a result? The neuron is an impulse passing cell – it
does not feel anything itself! Then where exactly was this perception being registered, especially when there is no difference
in the neurons of the pain or the pleasure centers? How was the electrical activity in one place so radically and substantially
different than that in another place?

Up to that time I was a materialist through and through. On that day I began to realize that there was a joker in the
pack of molecules and cells that could not directly be detected! But here in these experiments and the experiments on
memory or clinical cases of amnesia, it was staring in the face at point blank range. The joker was pointing out that the
brain was only a physical data processing organ and that consciousness and perception itself was not a physical
thing at all, but occurring in a hidden dimension that had no physical location as such, only associated with a
physical happening!

The irony in human knowledge is that answers are possible if you ask the right question, and that even the most
blatantly obvious question goes completely unnoticed if you are not willing, trained or prepared to look for it.

Thus in the results of science emphasized educational training, even asking those questions is blasphemy who’s
possible answers cannot be systematically verified and quantified by general consensus. From that day on I realized
that the scientific method was severely limited only to a very narrow spectrum of reality – and that which completely
excluded qualitative experience. This narrow spectrum is true only for the ever growing machine, but that
machine is haunted by a ghost.

A Question put up on this story:  why the mind, the idea, that intangible ghost, needs tissue,
the brains, to manifest itself?  When the ghost is autonomous, why is it housing in matter ?

The Answer in abstract: The intangible, the infinite, the eternal NEEDS the finite, the tangible, the temporal, the
material (tissues, brain etc) as a TEMPORAL CONSTRUCT, that is, AS MEANS in order to test and realize itself and
then for creativity or art (in the eternal unitary state there can be no creativity) which then REFINES the eternal. 

The ghost is a metaphor for that Spirit which has not yet been realized, and therefore 'haunts' the machine, to find
the 'fallen into the unconscious' animate being so that it wakes up and gets it act together (into affirmative action,
not mechanical action)

But which is pure machine (no potential for being animated, and therefore no-being as such, only serving as 'means'),
and which being is a 'fallen into slumber' but capable of waking up, I can't say, it is only the 'conscious of existence'
individual that can find and answer that for himself/herself.

In temporal reality, autonomy is necessarily limited, that is, the limitations are the necessary conditions in which,
and the means by which, this autonomy is tested through affirmative action and choices - especially moral choices.

Therefore the autonomous needs the limited in order to test, realize and refine itself - the result of which is
'manifest' only by creative expression and moral action of an individual being. As such the temporal is not by itself
a 'manifest' of the autonomous, but a construct of the autonomous in order to serve as a necessary challenging
counterpart. The locus of this 'test of reality' is an individual human being, by and for the sake of the existing
individual human being, not for some abstract reality in a remote realm. Which means that the action must
originate or sourced from within an individual being, although the trigger may well get activated by
some other one's work of art - even the work of some dead artist.

 

 

PREFACE TO THE 2012 UPDATE

"To a large degree I think the sixties were probably misplayed. But on the other
 hand it seems to be the last decade when anything happened. The lid has been
 utterly on ever since. It's an illusion all this change. There is no change. We're
 living in some sort of weird eschatological hiatus while the people who rig the
 game try to send out for new batteries or something. I don't know what's going
 on. There's energy for change building. I think that when it ultimately comes
it will be fairly spectacular. It's astonishing actually the way in which change
 has been halted. Everyone is running around saying "change change change"
 but on the other hand there is a curious sense in which things have become
eerily dreamlike and still, while we just teeter on the edge of the end of history;
and the same personalities, the same design elements, everything has looked
the same in the galleries for twenty years. There is an eerie suspension."
........Terence McKenna

What has changed since the last update 2005 ?
There are no major changes in the work, only additions have been made, in some articles quite
substantially. Some editing and modifying in some articles is also there. And as a result of the
consolidation process the views of many other people have been incorporated or embedded
in the form of notes and quotes, some of them quite extensively. See also the postscript update
2012.
In the world:
The economic crisis is one major change that has had its impact on everything else. The faith of the
capitalists has been shaken, but not gone. Nationalism is as strong as ever at the level of rulers,
although the thinking people are now increasingly seeing through the limiting and strangulating
effect of  parking one's values in the basket of race, tribe, nation, ideology etc., and that is a good
sign, and gives some hope that some or even many may come up to facing the challenges ahead,
or even the approaching crisis or catastrophes.

Here's wishing the reader the strength and power to face the future that promises to test each
one of us to the fullest, as it should. No running away from that and no place to hide. Au revoir:
till we meet again.

2005 Update
From the valuable feedback of some readers, I am forced to write another introduction into this work.
Firstly, someone suggested that this work should be as a "blog" rather than a web site. Well that is not
what this site is about, that is, its not a personal diary of my opinions and views  Besides, the articles
have not been developed chronologically, and within the articles themselves several additions and
modifications have been made over time. This work is not in the form of a book, but just what it is :
an ongoing work on a web site. As long as I am alive, I shall continue to keep developing and
updating the site.

This site is the condensed results of my own explorations into my own inner spaces, not the personal
experiences themselves. Therefore there is no story here, only a generalized construct of my
explorations.
Generally speaking, this is a construct on meaningful self- exploration and the
pitfalls or traps on the journey to self-discovery. The poetry and story sections are separate.

In response to a series of questions I had clarified that this work is an engineering construct : a sort of
home space for me, because by interest I am an engineer. This work has now become "castle" for me :
a place and space that gives me a sense of "concrete reality". I have no interest to promote it or to seek
any kind of approval or agreement from anyone about it. That's why this is a web site and not a "book"
in the conventional sense. Besides that is how this work started : with only a single page with a brief idea,
but gathered momentum and a grain of sand  which I had been toying around for a decade or so, over
only five years turned into a "castle". Major additions and modifications were made after my journeys
on the web But it started with a thought that I must somehow make a contribution : a gesture of gratitude
towards this world and all the wonderful, but especially the best people in this world for all the things I
have learned form these people all over the world. And that is why none of this work is copyrighted.
Anyone is free to use any contents of this site, even without any reference to this site. If anyone reaches
this site and finds something useful in their quest for discovering what it takes to be human, I will be
content that I have made my contribution to the web and to the world, which is the net result as well
as the central theme of this work : to give back more to this world than to take from it. And this may
well mean displeasing more people than pleasing them, and I am aware that very, very few people
will find this work pleasing.

I am quite aware that this work attacks both religion ( organized ) as well as science. Furthermore, I am
clarifying here that this work is an anti thesis to both organized religion as well as science. Art and its
resource : imagination are the only fields that are promoted, and these too are not to be accepted without
rigorous scrutiny. I am therefore content with this work's intent to be able to get across to only those
people who have a genuine desire to be self-explorers and who have a deep respect for Nature and also
an undying yearning for the unknown.

This work is not a philosophy, since philosophy is "love of wisdom". This work is not "love of
wisdom", but an application of  knowledge in its best and rightful direction. So it would be correct
to say that this work is all about forceful application of wisdom. Mere accumulation of knowledge
and wisdom are considered here as the pastime of vain people. There is no attempt to classify this
work into a narrow field of any 'ology or any 'ism. The closest to an 'ology that this work comes to
is : Epistemology of the Self, or in simpler words : the exploration and application of the knowledge
of one's own self and its relation to its parent entity - Nature. The only method that is stressed upon
repeatedly is to make maximum use of all of one's given faculties of reason, intuition, emotions,
instincts, imagination, etc, in order to attain a self that has integrity : and more importantly a state
of "active moral integrity".( The tendency to seek a passive withdrawal into a shell has been given
negative weightage in this work.)

To attain such a state of active moral integrity it has been deemed necessary for the individual to
develop their own reasoning and logic, and not to depend upon the logic that has been handed
down by society and culture. This work attempts to cut through accumulated and decadent social
and cultural norms, values and attitudes and the logic as well as the assumptions that underlie this
logic, and which has never been questioned for its validity. And it is because of this continuing blind
acceptance of the existing norms and the logic behind them, that the cultures that continue to promote
these, utterly fail to see where this is leading them.

This work therefore encourages the individual to go beyond the culturally imposed logic and develop
a logic that is independent of social and cultural norms, but that which is relevant for one's own given
nature and its predilections. The second most important consideration of this personally developed
reasoning should be that it must have a fluidity and flexibility at its core, so that this logic does not
become stagnant. One's ability to be imaginative and innovative depends greatly upon this one factor.
This is essential not only to learn from the experiences and mistakes of others but also to fulfill the
need to make adjustments and refinements with time.

Since everything in existential  reality is inherently transitory( but not so in absolute reality),
so should be one's reasoning.
It must have the ability to transform itself with ever changing
reality, for time is the greatest innovator.

To remain stuck in a fixed logic is to be trapped in the past, and become a prey to Time, that will
undoubtedly find endless possibilities to put us through its tests. Time is merciless in its motion and
will wait for no one to catch up. The only way is to be one step ahead. And to do that requires creative
imagination as well as knowledge of human nature and capabilities. These can only be known by an
exposure to the deeds and misdeeds of various cultures, their failures as well as their accomplishments.
Both the positive as well as the negative aspects must be correctly understood, and even a single
misreading can prove fatal for oneself.

Although this work emphasizes and promotes expressions of a diverse kind , its thrust is the
development of the intellect and its fusion with art, so that the resulting expressions in language are
creative and have moral integrity. But since a successful fusion rests upon the foundations of one's own
mind and how it has been formed by the requirements of survival and socialization process, a critical
study of the functioning of one's own mind is a prerequisite. This work therefore is technically classified
by myself as an engineering construct of the the human mind. Something like : A Manual on the Reverse
engineering of the Human Mind, and if this sounds too tech then how about : How to Take Apart your
own Mind and Put it Together Again, or if this is too morbid then : The Dis-Assembly and Re-Assembly
of A Human Mind. Now you can take your pick. The deadliest of course is the first one in which an in
depth study of the Human Mind can not only lead to revelations about human nature but also shocks
and surprises, not to mention terror.
If one can withstand the full impact of  this, one can become capable of going way beyond culturally
imposed limits to take on challenges that seemed impossible before. Everything will then depend
upon one's creative abilities.

Since the main theme as well as conclusion of this work is each being's relation with the world in
which the being lives and dies, the following is a condensation of this idea, given in response to a
question :

Question : How can I give back more to this world than I have taken ?

Answer : The only way you can give back more to this world than to take from it is to have a genuine
desire to do so. If I have to put it  in a single sentence, it would be : try to bring out the best not only
in yourself, but also to bring out the best in whoever you meet or interact. The rest you have to figure
out, but there is no way a balance sheet can be made.
But it may not be a bad idea to make a list of all the possible mistakes that one has made in one's life
that have resulted in hurting some one else and try to relive the incidents and seek forgiveness from
the beings whose rights have been infringed upon. That may lessen the negative hold those incidents
have. But it will be effective only if there are follow up positive actions, not merely seeking empty
forgiveness. Ultimately each one of us is the best judge of our actions, and the future has to account
for each of our actions. And any deceptions about this become crystal clear when one leaves this world.
No one can lie to death........

 

 

 

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