The curious case of…

November 14, 2009 - Leave a Response

Here are a few things those came across my mind while watching ‘The curious case of Benjamin Button‘. One if not allowing the attention of the audience go anywhere else while watching the movie is a parameter of a well made movie, it scores really well on this front. One is just sucked into it beyond the first 5 minutes.

Two, a movie is one art form which given the right hands, morphs an imaginary world to such an extent that it leaves the audience – both mass and elite – with questions of what-if. What if somebody is born old, grows up reverse(grows down!) and dies being a baby.

Three, given a great script with well written dialogues and good story telling abilities, the audience actually forgives the improbability of a make-believe happening. Something, that the directors in Bollywood have not been able to replicate successfully.

So, in a week where Sachin plays a knock that reminds us of what he used to be decade back, its such a nice coincidence. Is he getting younger? 😉

Some more thought on things that were actually born perfect and gradually going backwards made me feel almost like – well – is not the United States of America the perfect example? An old habitation, created young and perfect by the founding fathers of the country, making it the best place on earth to live in, and then the gradual intellectual decay of going backwards. Are we going to see a juvenile America and then see it on the cradle? I hope not.

Chanda re chanda re

August 30, 2009 - One Response

Now that the Chandrayan is officially declared over, I believe it is the perfect time to raise this issue.

At a time, when the runoff from a five minute rain does not find a proper channel and creates the muddy hole that is officially a road in front of my house, how rational is it to waste my tax on a failed trip to moon?

At a time, when the five minute rain is enough to disrupt the power supply to my house, should my tax be wasted trying to find water in moon?

At a time, when the prices are touching the roof though the inflation shows negative, should we be investigating the feasibility of life in moon? And if yes, why should I pay for it?

Can we undo some of the premature chest-beating we allowed ourselves to indulge in last year?

Free society is not free elections and democracy

May 6, 2009 - Leave a Response

In Capitalism Magazine Michael J Hurd has written an insightful essay titled “War and Peaceful Majority“. He describes why it is irrelevant what the majority of a nation believes in, because it is the government which gets to make the decisions which affect the future of everybody.

People generally are peace loving, but history has shown repeatedly – in Russia, Germany, China and other countries – that they cannot really stop a government from making gross and immoral decisions. Democracy, it can be argued, can bring in the change for the better. But for that, the democracy has to work; the people should be able to analyze the good from the bad, the ideal from the rhetoric and make their opinion heard. After all, Hitler did not start out as a dictator but he did manage to get absolute power from within a democracy.

The following quote rings so true today for US, as it does for India.

 A free society requires much, much more than free elections and democracy.
These are necessary tools, but they are not absolutes. There’s only one absolute in a free society: The right of the individual—each and every individual—to be free from the initiation of physical force. This right makes the necessity of a strong limited government—with a police force, military and civil/criminal court system—quite obvious.

Take the award or face prison?

April 21, 2009 - Leave a Response

When people in power believe that all their achievements are due to “good fortune” which in other words mean “being at the right place at the right time” they can never accept that some people actually earn it through hard work. Sports Minister S.S. Gill believes so, so does Arjun Singh. I guess most of the Congress loyalists believe so because they have earned it through their loyalty to somebody.

But to say “YOU take MY national award the way I want it, or it stands withdrawn”, Mr Gill has proved that there DOES exist a soft-Taliban as Mr Obama believes. Just imagine, what is the next probable step:

On gun point, you take the National award or go to jail?

Where is the perpetual machine?

April 21, 2009 - Leave a Response

I always knew these guys have a sound metaphysical backing of what they are promising. After all, promises presuppose an absolute method -may not be proven yet – but a conviction that there is a logical method to prove it. When Mr Tata promised to manufacture a car in the India -at the same price as the Europeans manufacture their cars’ audio systems – he had envisioned a method to do it. It surely cannot come out of thin air, can it?

Years ago, when I was going through the Atlas Shrugged for the first time, I was excited to read about the self perpetuating machine called the Galt’s motor. Not that I was excited about its feasibility in the real world because I could comprehend what it stood for in the novel. Galt not only had the temerity of thinking he could make a machine which runs on the environment (it used static electricity from the environment to run) and there by turning the metaphor ‘out of thin air’ on its head, but he actually made it run.

Now come on guys, bring out that machine and show it to all of us. We have a right to see along with the rights to eat, learn and be healthy. And have a little pity too, we are a socialist republic. Don’t just think about profit, it is such a dirty word. You think we are such fools we won’t realize, didn’t you? You will use the machine to create rice at zero cost and plan to sell it at Rupees 3(Congress manifesto) and Rupees 2(BJP manifesto) a kilo and thereby earning such enormous profits?

Umm, what do you mean there is no such machine? You mean rice still needs to be produced the conventional way? Whose money have you decided to spend then?

Pragmatism: The new age philosophy

January 31, 2009 - Leave a Response

Consider what President Obama had to say about the size of government in his inaugural address. It signaled the rise of pragmatism as a new-age philosophy in the world stage. Not that it did not exist before, but never before has a leader of any consequence declared it in the grandest stage as the basis for taking decisions and made to sound virtuous about it.

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end…”

 

Dictionary.com defines the word ‘pragmatism‘ thus:

(philosophy) the doctrine that practical consequences are the criteria of knowledge and meaning and value

 

By definition it means the absence of any principles. It means taking some ‘arbitrary actions’ having no relation with moral values. The thing that decides what actions to take, is an assumption that it might work, or it might attain the necessary goals. Because, in the absence of any principles, it is absolutely impossible to have any concrete basis to hope that it will work.

 

Rational capitalist, has two excellent posts on the topic.

 

The desire to “compromise with anybody on anything” is the hallmark of the pragmatist and such a desire necessitates contradiction
 

      Pragmatism primed consists of being so disintegrated intellectually that in addition to dispensing with principles in favor of that “which works” you dismiss the possibility of being able to determine if the action does indeed “work”.

      Gandhi @historicaltweets

      January 30, 2009 - Leave a Response

      TOI misses the point once again.

          “Bapu spoof on US website in bad taste”

      Historical tweets, is meant to be a frivolous site. Nobody who goes there, has anything remote in mind that can be related to Gandhian philosophy.

      And Gandhi was amongst the most sportive politician of all time, was not he?

      NDTV, Dutt’s wrong

      January 30, 2009 - Leave a Response

      A lot has already been written about the Barkha Dutt Vs. C Kunte topic, and rightly so.

      Sandeep has put together the whole discussion remarkably here.

      NDTV and it’s presenters take the high moral ground of speaking against terrorism day in and day out. Just one question to them, can’t this be called terrorism?

      Political supermen

      January 30, 2009 - Leave a Response

      Rediff reports:

          Pranab takes charge of finance ministry”

      The way the top brass of politicians are jumping from one ministry to another, there are only two inferences. Either they are super intelligent supermen, or that we do not really need ministers to run this country.

      I really wish they were supermen. And if wishes were horses, we would be served, not ruled.

      Dying for a cause

      January 29, 2009 - Leave a Response

      CNNIBN reports attempted self-immolation of a man in Chennai for the Lanka cause.

       

      A computer operator on Thursday attempted self-immolation here, outside a building housing central government offices, to draw attention to the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka, police said.
      Twenty-six-year–old M Muthu Kumaran was admitted to a government hospital in a serious condition with 95 per cent burns.
      According to police sources, Kumaran, who works for a PMK-owned Tamil periodical, said: “the attempt was to open the eyes of the central and state governments to the burning issue of Lankan Tamils”.

       

      It is quite surprising how so many people think they find value in dying for a cause which is so dear to them. What should be more important is to live for it, and fight.

       

      This question was handled immaculately by Ayn Rand in the Playboy interview.

       

       

      PLAYBOY: Would you be willing to die for your cause, and should your followers be willing to die for it? And for the truly nonsacrificial Objectivist, is any cause worth dying for?

      RAND: The answer to this is made plain in my book. In Atlas Shrugged I explain that a man has to live for, and when necessary, fight for, his values — because the whole process of living consists of the achievement of values. […] You ask me, would I be willing to die for Objectivism? I would. But what is more important, I am willing to live for it — which is much more difficult.