Thursday, December 08, 2005

Plato

Notes from “Medieval Thought – The Western Intellectual Tradition from Antiquity to 13th Century” by Michael Harren. (MacMillan). Pages: 8-9

Plato’s philosophical background:

I.
1) Pythagoras (530 BC): doctrine of the permanence of soul in terms of transmigration.
2) Universe reduced to mathematical formulae. (Pythagoras)
3) Timaeus: description of composition of bodies.

II.
4) Earlier speculations on the nature of reality (Metaphysics) – problem of interpreting change.
5) Heraclitus (500 B.C.):

i) Change was the natural condition of reality and had emphasized the relativity of things as we experience them.
ii) Divergences were aspects of same reality & that accordingly reality was one.

6) Parmenides (475 B.C.)- founder of Eleatic School.

To notice change and plurality was to be deceived by appearances; reality as perceived by reason was one- constant Being. Such a monolithic concept of Being forbade change. If a thing does not exist (was not already Being) it could not change and if it did exist it was Being before and after ‘change’. One’s impression of change, derived from sense experience, must therefore be corrected by an intellectual judgment which dismissed it. The solution was more logical than satisfying.

“Behind the façade of impermanence lay a continuity”-development of
a) Materialism- Atomists (Eg: Democritus).
b) Idealism – Plato’s thoughts.

III.
7) SOCRATES (470-399 B.C.):
· “man”- philosophy of man è sophism ; (no more cosmology).
· Sophism è spirit of abstract inquiry
· Practical pursuits è Rhetoric.
· Connection between ‘speculation’ and ‘ethics’ derived from his identification of virtue with knowledge of Good, knowledge being understood in this context as conviction rather than simple recognition of fact.
“On the supposition that all men act in pursuit of an object which they consider beneficial, the fact that they do evil may be attributed to their imperfect understanding of what they seek to obtain”.-Socrates’ disciplined search for Good thru criticism of the various interpretations which may be offered of it.

P.Siddartha
081205

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Funny Episode

yesterday, i realized what a sucking loser i am. yet again, that is.
the beginning of the day was sort of good. i saw her after a long time, that too pretty closely. i was near the staircase, about to walk up to the food court and she was coming from the opposite direction from the ICICI ATM. she surely saw me and God knows what she thought.
to give a little background, after having been unaffected with the opposite sex after my last crush about a couple of years ago, i started noticing this pretty face really after a long time. although there are too many chicks and babes who seek attention at my work place, this pretty face was way too different. at least that's what seemed to me. although i might have seen her many times before, i noticed her only after a long time. it was during the commuting in the local RTC buses, that I got my eye on her. since i am into poems, i wrote one for her. this became a personal favorite of mine and i showed it off to my friends. the feeling didn't grow much at that time. however, suddenly i realized that i had a crush on that pretty face. may be the feeling grew gradually in the sub-conscious. but, i never got serious with the stuff. once or twice i had a dream in which the pretty face became my partner. man, that was some dream!! i was not, nor am very desperate myself. well yeah, i wrote another poem with the theme of her name's meaning. actually, her name in Sanskrit meant a celestial Star, and my poem was a Sonnet to that particular star. i even put my poems on the Bulletin Board, thought if she's intelligent enough, she'll understand. and that intelligence in a girl really turns me on. nothing happened. God and she only know if she read them, and if she did, whether she understood them.meanwhile, she began noticing that i have been eyeing her. this made life more miserable, but also exciting.
coming back to yesterday, again in the afternoon i was with my gang having tea at the food court. normally i never see her in that time. but as luck would have it, she comes down to fill my heart with a yearning to talk to her. i kept looking at her intermittently as she sat on an opposite table a few yards away, facing me. she did notice me looking at her, i am sure of it. and again, what she might have thought about? who cares? well, i departed when i thought for today it was enough. getting to see her sometimes is a great motivation to come to the workplace.
then in the evening, i started off a little earlier than usual since i had to go to my grandmother who was alone at home. i rushed off and went to the building 2 where i needed to drop a cheque to pay my never ending credit card bill. as i was entering the building, she was coming out of it. she was pulling over her sweater over her shoulder when she walked past me.i took my time to put my cheque into the dropbox. i was quite nervous, lest i get to see her again before the day ends. i then walked towards the main gate at my usual pace. then i got into an auto rickshaw. i sat in the front seat beside the driver. then she came along across the road. she came over and stood about three feet from the auto i sat in. unfortunately, my auto was filled but for one seat on the other side of the driver. so, the auto guy waited for some guy to come before he could cruise to the main road. it was atleast 3 minutes. i was just a few feet away from her. i saw her into the eyes more than once, i believe. man, if you ask me if there is God, i can't say, but i can tell you there is an Angel and that's her. the angel was standing on the footpath and i was sitting in an autorickshaw. the look in her eyes was so puzzling. i couldn't make out if she welcomed my presence in that proximity or just hated the idea altogether. then some cruel guy came out and occupied the empty seat in my autorickshaw and then we departed.
some moments later in the bus stop, i was standing, waiting for a bus or an auto. the traffic was stopped by the police as the CM was going thru that road. this meant that there won't be any buses and autos coming for some time, till the dignitary leaves the locality. then, the angel came again, this time looking more like a fairy. the fairy slowly walked past me...she crossed me...and my heart beat doubled for a split second. only once before did i have this kind of feeling, back in college. this was a sign of weakness. such a frail, poor, ugly being i am!!!
i did not even look at the direction she was standing. but i realised she walked too far, out of my immediate reach.i just waited for sometime, then got into an auto and fled the scene. i noticed that she was observing me while i got into the rickshaw and in a strange way smiled to herself. may be even she realised what a loser i am.
i actually felt torture when my auto started moving. i felt worthless. i had been praying for such an opportunity, where i could start a conversation with her. damn, i haven't had the nerve to take the initiative. i can't forgive myself for this. i will never fulfill my life, thanks to my appetite for losing.
all thru the last evening, i had my mind in a turmoil. i felt i was fixated on the image of her cherubic face. let every one hear me say that on a dark winter evening, a miracle had happened, a prayer has been answered, an angel with the prettiest face i ever saw had come down, and i simply lost the reality of the situation, only to get lost in dreams some other time. i knew i was failing myself again. but i couldn't help it. i did the thing i always did best, i gave up a chance.
yeah you know my name, i am Mr L.O.S.E.R.

Nov 8, 2005.
P.Siddartha.

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Sonnet to the Sai Baba of Shirdi

With a greying beard upon Thy chin
And a Holy cloth covering Thy brow
Thou smile at me, when all my senses go;
When my heart is weak and my skin is thin;
Thou give me enduring strength against pain,
Thou hold me up when I am feeling down-
And when in my selfish desires I drown,
And my own sins pour down as drops of rain
Thou show me way to Thine Holy Kingdom
Where Thy sweet children live in love and peace.
Let me bow down my head and bend my knees
And pray to Thee to take me to Thou home
O! The Holy Saint of the Shirdi town
Let exalted be forever Thy crown!

P.Siddartha
Dt: 29/08/05

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Purple Song

At the dawn of a day so long,
I sing for you a purple song;
Wearing purple you come along,
‘Cos a purple world is where we belong.

At the dawn of a day so long,
I sing for you a purple song;
Wearing purple you come along,
Before this feeling grows more strong.

At the dawn of a day so long,
I sing for you a purple song;
Wearing purple you come along,
Do understand; don't get me wrong.

P.Siddartha
17/08/05

Friday, August 05, 2005

Sonnet to the Seventeenth Star

The Seventeenth Star of the Eastern sky
Shimmer brightly over the world so high
Having sit on the deadly Scorpion
Till the afternoon, since the early morn
With Mitra, the friend, as your ruler
Bestow upon me the worshipping power.
Sometimes in light pink, sometimes in dark blue
But more oft Purple as your true hue
Twinkle forever and sprinkle below
On my dry life, all colors in rainbow.
Bring with your smile a shine every night
Fill all my mind with your divine light.
The Seventeenth Star of the Eastern sky!!
O Seventeenth Star of the Eastern sky!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My First Haiku

When she makes me blush
'Is it love?' I ask myself
And desire her touch.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Unfulfilled

Often I had chanced to ponder on
And awe at the wondrous gracefulness
With which she manages to climb in
The brimming omnibus amidst human mess.

Her name, I know not, but I can tell
Her's is a beauty which many fancy.
Though I'm unsure she bears which fragrant smell-
Her cheerful face, even in my dreams, I see.

Seldom she opened her little mouth
To converse with a neighbor sitting next
And spoke in sweetest dialect of the South,
Her tongue now moving and now coming to rest.

On some hard day, in the crowded bus
With effort she strains her nimble feet
Would she be angry? I start to guess..
Yet her smiling lips are just as sweet.

P.Siddartha
Dt:June 2005

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Stanzas-II

I wonder, while the summer breeze
Blows splendidly during the noon-
Of when this life of mine shall soon
By all its virtues come to cease.

In forlorn nights of trembling cold
When there's no moon to look upon
I dream of stars beyond the sun
Which glisten brighter than the gold.

When 'tis time for the autumn rain
That drops so hard causing this pang
I think of all the bards who sang
Of wealth and strife, of love and pain.

I hear slow whispers around me
"There is no devil to kill us
And no desire to fulfill thus"
I understand what I couldn't see.

I wish to seek the Truth untold
Unknown to many, and hence find
The secrets lying in my mind-
I shall then become strong and bold.

P.Siddartha
May 08, 2k5

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Thy Name

Lest I mistake this summer rain
As Thy blessing to heal my pain
Lest I forget, my life of shame
Whilst I still chant Thine Holy name
Perchance I glance backward at moon,
Hoping my dream will come true soon
Lest I feel 'tis time to renounce
And Thine own words lest I pronounce
Do make me wise, let me be right
Bless me follow the Divine Light.
Before I lose this hazy game
Before I burn in flames of blame
Allow me chant Thine Holy name
Thy name, sweet name, Thine Holy name.

P.Siddartha
April, 2005

Monday, April 18, 2005

Prithee, O Friends!

Bear me your countenance
And allow me a poet's stance
So to sing before her castle
Enamoring odes of romance.
Longing was I for this fair chance
To break this spell of evil trance
On my tonsured vocal muscle
And produce in blissful nuance
A solemn tone reflecting penance
I'd done, to be blessed with a glance
Of her eyes on my life's puzzle,
Unsolved by many and perchance
She could, with her perseverance,
End my miserable endurance
Of this tough grueling battle;
Bestow back my significance.
P.Siddartha
17/04/05

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Ode to Apollo


Shall I bow at Thine holy feet
Or gather the dust beneath them
And rub my forehead till there’s heat
To vaporize all evil from
My mind of which, I was so proud;
My thoughts of which, I seldom thought.
Like Thunder strikes a moving cloud
And kills all foes it ever fought,
Strike me such as I never had
No doubt on my ability
To serve Thy kingdom as Thy bard.
Bestow me with tranquility;
Shower on me kind words of love,
Let my honor exalted be.
In Thy pure eyes allow me have
A nobler place whence I can see
Nature and seasons in full bloom
The mighty sun; the placid moon;
Make me blissful and leave no room
To sorrow; hence I start to croon
And hum Thy hymns which I invent,
As on my art I contemplate
Leaving no moment left unspent
Caring no King however great;
My youth I shall not let go waste
By running after wine and wealth;
I despise greed and give-up haste;
With Thy blessings, enjoy my health.
P.Siddartha
16/04/05.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Essay On Soul

‘Soul’ is consciousness. Soul is the vision in eyes, strength in muscle, intelligence in mind, feeling in heart and so on. Soul can be of a particle or wave or another intangible form. The basic nature of soul is curiosity- to learn, to know. If you feel conscious of something, then your soul is in action. An intangible form of soul is that which cannot be seen, only felt. Probably, it is a ‘force’ or ‘energy’, which is not tangible but still exists and is real. The soul feels the joys, pains, anger, compassion, love, hatred etc. The true sense beyond all physical senses is the soul. The temporary state of the soul is that what it behaves in the material world. The whole universe is built on the bonds that connect the individual souls. Thus, universe is a collective state of consciousness and a hence a collective soul. Humans lead their lives based on instincts and intelligence. This intelligence is the soul of the human mind. I get back to one of my favorite conclusions that ‘mind’ is the best and most important part of human activity. All essence of human activity is to attain knowledge. How and when to attain the knowledge is the main challenge of human life. Every person must have experienced that before being related to others, like a son/daughter, a mother/father, a brother/sister etc., he/she identifies himself/herself as a person, an I. This I is the soul. The ego, the ‘self-fullness’ is the soul. The characteristic of the soul is to love it’s own self naturally. It also develops interest in some other souls that it has the knowledge of and ultimately gets attracted to something far beyond the individual souls. That which is beyond the individual souls and their interrelations is the most positive source of energy and most powerful force. Although the individual soul does not completely understand the true nature of this enormous source of energy, the Supreme soul, while it is still in this material world, it somehow develops a natural affinity and is deeply attracted by the later. This Supreme soul has all the characteristics of an individual soul. But the converse is not true. The relationship of an individual soul with the Supreme soul is the most strongest and desirable relationship as far as the forces of nature and the universe are concerned.

A soul which often gets drifted away from the Supreme soul loses its primary knowledge and thus, starts learning at the earliest possible moment i.e., taking birth. During this process of conception into material form of life, it struggles with other souls and finally enters the materialistic human body in the process of germination. While in the womb, it starts experiencing pain and fear and often wants to get back to the Supreme soul. But once the soul has been into this world, it has to go through certain pre-determined path, all the effects being associated with causes in the past. This is the only law of nature in the material world: the law of Karma. All else is either a stipulated version or derived form of this basic law. Very few souls realize that there is a destiny to reach and there in fact is an ultimate climax. The soul goes through numerous births and deaths and in each life gains knowledge. Only that knowledge will it retain, which is related to the Supreme soul and the cosmic energy. When the soul takes a fresh (human) birth, it begins to gain knowledge in some form or the other. But it cannot know the facts clearly and thus it develops doubts. These doubts may be in the form of innocence, ignorance, skepticism, criticism or disbelief. What the soul then needs is an Awakening. The awakening is possible only when the soul cultivates some prescribed qualities in life. Devotion, prayer, seeking-truth, having compassion are some of these qualities, rather virtues. How does the soul get its awakening? When does the call come?

It so happens that, there is a major encounter of the human soul with situations that set it thinking and change the whole pattern of life. (That is, all the learning that has been done and all the knowledge that’s gained is demanded by the circumstances to put into use). This is a way of getting awakened, another follows: I am not sure of this but I had a past belief in it so I write it here: A soul may meet another soul of greater knowledge, which can guide it through the process of realizing the destiny. This greater soul is what is called the Guru.
The timing of awakening depends on the karma of the soul. Some conscious souls, already in the know of the abstract principles, await their hour of awakening. The awakening will clear all doubts and put an end to all conflicts and expose the truth to the soul. Once the soul realizes the truth, it proceeds forward, on its journey to the end of its destiny. Once a soul is free from karma, then it is free from all rebirths. Then it reaches the Ultimate. What the Ultimate is? How is it perceived? All this and more would only be answered if the soul realizes the truth. The process of awakening is the threshold limit, crossing which the soul becomes omniscient and gains all the knowledge and realizes the truth.

The whole purpose of human life is to reach the ultimate, through the route of attaining knowledge and acting according to the principles and finally shaping the destiny in such a way as to put an end to all miseries and mundane unfulfilled desires.

(I believe I wrote this in all my senses. However, as usual I doubt my sanity. I need to be awakened yet).


(Finished on 11/ 03/04)

P. Siddartha

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Pain Vs Pleasure

Notes on pain and pleasure………………….
Part A: Utilitarianism
The principle of utility: In “Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation”, Jeremy Bentham (Utilitarianism) included both the principles of human nature and a list of twenty-one offences “to which the condition of a husband stands exposed.”
Explanation of Human Nature: “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it. In words a man may pretend to abjure their empire: but in reality he will remain subject to it all the while. The principle of utility recognizes this subjection, and assumes it for the foundation of that system, the object of which is to rear the fabric of felicity by the hands of reason and law. Systems which attempt to question it, deal in sounds instead of sense, in caprice instead of reason, in darkness instead of light.”
Some more points of Bentham:
Pleasure & Pain are the Motivating Factors of all human beings.
The principle: pleasure has values has its roots from Hedonism (Epicurus and Hobbes).(Gk: hedone = pleasure)
Two kinds of utilitarian hedonism:
i. Psychological Hedonism (pleasure & pain determine what we do).
ii. Ethical Hedonism (pleasure is the only good, and actions are good only if they produce pleasure).
Utility: is that property in any object: whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good or happiness, to prevent the happening of mischief, pain, evil or unhappiness for an individual or community as a whole.
Good = Pleasure; Evil=Pain
Sources of pleasure and pain:
Physical sanction (punishment due to personal imprudence)
Political sanction (punishment due to political magistrate)
Moral sanction (punishment due to a neighbor)
Religious sanction (punishment due to God).
The above four sanctions are the forces that influence our conduct.
Included in a sanction is the threat of pain that follows from ignoring the interests and pleasures of other people.
Bentham argued that painful consequences would punish extreme or indiscriminate selfishness.

Bentham said: Morality depends on the consequences of our acts. His focus was on egoistic pleasure.
J.S.Mill on the other hand said that the quantity and quality of pleasure cannot be measured, they are only relative.
Mill emphasized the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would have others treat you”.


Part B: Epicurean Thought

Epicurus started the school, the members of which called themselves: “garden philosophers”.
He was greatly influenced by the Atomist Democritus.
The key points of Epicurus’ philosophy are:
pleasure is the highest good
Meaning of life is to live a life of pleasure.
Pleasure is good and Pain is Evil.
Despite his emphasis on pleasure being the aim of life, Epicurus led a simple life.
It is impossible to live pleasurably without living wisely, well, and justly; and impossible to live wisely, well, and justly without living pleasurably....Pleasure is the beginning and end of living happily.-Epicurus.

Essay begins:

No doubt it is arguable whether pain is greater or pleasure. But more debatable point is the relation between the two. Let us analyze a situation where a person is in pain; for example say he is suffering from headache. What does he do? Does he enjoy the ache? Certainly not. He would either take an aspirin or go see a doctor to alleviate the pain. So is it that he did so to reduce the pain or to get a sense of pleasure from the medicine? Quite an issue here. The lack of pain need not be pleasure and lack of pleasure need not be pain.

The Utilitarians (Bentham) thought, pain and pleasure are the motivating factors of all human beings. All purpose of human actions is either to avoid pain or attain pleasure.
It is true to certain extent. The limitation is disclosed once we make a critical observation of how an action can cause either an isolated alleviation of pain without causing pleasure or an isolated pleasure without causing pain.

Pain and pleasure are not entirely independent. Sometimes when a pleasure exceeds a certain threshold, it could have adverse effects.

If pleasure is the highest good in the world, then why is there pain in the world?
This is similar to the question why is there evil in the world?

Let us consider the following ways and see if we can answer this question:
1) Socrates said: On the supposition that all men act in pursuit of an object which they consider beneficial, the fact that they do evil may be attributed to their imperfect understanding of what they seek to obtain. So evil in the world is due to ignorance or imperfect knowledge.
It is a common observation that people do certain illegal activities considering the benefit they draw but are ignorant of the damage it does to them or others around them. Some examples are the breaking of traffic-rules, taking/giving bribes, etc.

Applying analogy, pain is inflicted due to sheer ignorance that this will cause a pleasure. Harming self or others is an absolute act of ignorance that doing so will cause some kind of benefit.

Here, the point is: actions that cause pain are because of imperfect understanding on the part of people doing those actions.

2) There are instances when no particular human action is the cause of the pains being suffered. It could be a natural calamity, an accident or a situation where no one is responsible for the damage done.
In such cases, what is the affect of pain? When in pain, there arises a need to mitigate this pain. And of course this necessity leads to an invention to alleviate the pain and perhaps bring additionally a pleasure. World war II led to improvement of the technology.

Perhaps we can draw a thin line for the effects that the actions of men cause, a line between pain and pleasure. It is not as simple. There are certain areas overlapping both the pleasure and pain.

The point here is: pain exists for a certain period of time and either is mitigated by time (in case of no action that can heal the pain) or is eliminated by a new invention.


Bottom Line:

The pain is not what is desired by normal beings. Even if somebody does inflict pain, he does not really do that because he enjoys it, rather he does go through the pain only to reap the fruits of pleasure. As goes the famous saying: No pain no gain.
Had Edison not pained himself by spending 16 hours a day in his lab, there would not have been electric bulbs to throw us the light.


In deed, it is not the pain which is the motivating force in case of individuals who are pained, but the gain underlined beneath the layer of pain that motivates.

Pain could well be a hygiene factor. People do actions to prevent this pain. They do not want the pain.

The whole discussion was based on the assumption that Mill’s statement is followed:
“Treat others as you would have others treat you.”

The most important point I would like to make out is:

No matter what the pain and it’s severity and extent are, it is the ability of man to endure it, and convert this pain into his own or others’ pleasure which is the key to the survival and existence of his self, family, society, country, civilization in that order.


P.Siddartha
04/03/05





Saturday, January 22, 2005

Sonnet to Thoreau

Methinks, that bright blue star yonder in sky
Twinkles forever smirking at my soul,
The fiery black thunder when storm comes by,
Frightens my mind for thoughts I never stole.
The might of the mountains standing so high,
Make me panic for my lack of hard goal.
Perchance, the adept breezes willfully try
To disclose my best kept corner-and-hole
Causing apprehension as to imply
And leaving nothing for me to console
My despair'd heart, so inclined to cry,
Desolate, desperate like a tadpole
Wishing to become a lotus in pond
Aloof and free from relation and bond.
P.Siddartha
Oct,2004.