Posted in Aesop, fables, history, Aesop and the Ass, modern fable, tagged Aesop fables, axe, Benny Thomas, deforestation, fables for modern audience, Hermes, profit motives, progress, woodcutter on March 25, 2013 |
Leave a Comment »
A woodcutter went to cut wood and he lost his axe in the forest. He didn’t know where to look for. So he sat there cursing his luck. Hearing him swear high and low in an awful mood Hermes approached him and asked him why he was upset. ‘I lost my axe.’ Hermes said,’That happens to more people. Always losing things.’
Yes the woodcutter lost the means of livelihood. ‘But it is not some trifle that I lost. How will I ever cut again?’
The messenger god promised him a way out.’Look I will make your hands into axes. So you shall never lose it’. The wood cutter thought for a while and said,’Oh no!’ I have a wife and children back home’. The woodcutter didn’t want accidents at home with an axe as flying hands of some parents. Hermes said,’ I can make an axe with free will. Only you need tell it ‘Cut woods for me.’ It’ll cut trees and make you some money while you stay home and enjoy the comfort of a family. Will be alright?’
The wood cutter said, no. ‘If the axe can think for itself it may go out one morning and may be it will never come back.’ Hermes understood the man was right.
‘Ok what will you have then?’
‘Oh a big machine that I can operate myself and cutdown acres of trees by a couple of days. It should have few replaceable parts, low in maintenance and bring maximum profits.’
In opening the woodcutter’s mind to many options available to him God Hermes set him to think of profits, time and motion. The god shook his head sadly realizing the state of the earth in a couple of years. ‘OK go down the road. You’ll find the machine and it is yours.’ The god disappeared.
Read Full Post »
Prometheus found the gods on top of Olympus night after night sitting around the campfire and entertain each other with stories. Ganymede would go around them filling their cups and the godly jollity went on day after day. Prometheus on climbing down one night asked other clan members,’why not we also sit around and entertain each other?’ Some clapped their hands with joy and thought it was an excellent idea. One elder by name Calchas said it was a foolish notion. ‘Foolish notion?’ Prometheus could not understand,’ They are like us.’
Calchas looked at the whippersnapper sadly,’ Prommmy, they are immortals. They are of a different league.’
‘But they steal, seduce innocent girls and take no responsibility to take care of the waifs or their mothers and they tittle-tattle..’
‘Enough said,’ Calchas was getting irritated, ‘These gods owe none any explanation so they may establish, each his moral code and is a law unto himself.’
Prometheus went that night to his straw bed and next morning he saw the glorious sun rise sending its golden beams all across the land. Prometheus said,’Gods live indeed in splendor!I will steal a little of their fire if it is the last thing I do on earth.’ He went and begged an audience with the king. He said the gods had fire for the day as well as for the night. I shall steal a little fire.’ The king was astounded but was convinced the motives of Prometheus were above-board.
Did he not say the fire would serve them well in cold nights? He permitted him to try his chance. He cautioned him however,’Prometheus, if you are found out I will plead no knowledge of our interview. You are on your own.’Young Prometheus understood the risk. He said, ‘as much as I love my king and my clan I shall risk dangers so it benefits us for ever.’
Thus he climbed Mount Olympus by stealth and stole their fire. He brought it to the people below and they all acclaimed him as a hero. The gods discovered the theft soon enough and the punishment was swift. As demanded Prometheus was bound by the king and delivered to them. The gods had him chained to a rock. Hephaestus The lame god while creating the fire noticed a fire-bird fly out of the sparks. It was out of his control. ‘He said,’You can eat his liver. Better than dogs eat hm alive.’
He went back to the abode of gods.
This raven would daily visit him to eat his liver. Mankind pitied him and said,’the sin of daring gods was punishable by death. At least he escaped death.’ They went off as quickly as they came up. Prometheus had become too hot for their comfort, Months later they hardly went that way to give him company or share his misery. The fire-bird went on feeding his liver that somehow gave him healing powers. Nobody could explain why. He became cheerful and could withstand pain and endure inclement weather. Gods wondered whether the god of fire helped him. They questioned him. He put to rest their doubts by saying that in the punishment gods had a safety clause that they could not have avoided. ‘As gods we are dealing with Either or situation’.
Now it so happened gradually mankind took to bed often from illness that they had never known. Many of them died young or would die a lingering death. What the gods did not know was that mankind in learning to cook their meat and making it rich they had irreparably damaged their constitution. From overcooked meat and too much fat their liver became exposed to various maladies ever since.
Gods could not escape Either or situation; neither would mankind escape it. In their indifference and giving cold shoulder to Prometheus despite of his selfless service had invited something of the curse of impiety laid on him.
Moral: progress has its kill/cure condition. People in accepting fire from Prometheus was destined to suffer in some other manner. Look at the way the gun culture the Constitution of America has helped to be part of their way of life, decimate the young and vulnerable! Their very ‘manliness’( of which gun has symbolic value) has robbed them a way forward, a sane law that shall be in their best interests.
Read Full Post »
(Reuters) – The father of the man suspected of killing 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school said on Saturday he was in a “state of disbelief” and was fully cooperating with law enforcement officials investigating the massacre.
Peter Lanza, father of 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who law enforcement officials have said burst into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday and killed 20 children and six adults, said: “We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why.”
“We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so,” Peter Lanza said in a statement. “Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.”
It is a pity progress has overtaken us so well that we parents are the last to know how deep in trouble are our children. Remember progress gave us a buzz word like ‘greed is good’ in the 80s. I remember another that said,’quality time.’ When I read it I said to myself,’If I am bound to my workplace by my boss I will take the advice of sociologists who are in fashion. I will take them at their word. It was quality time for me and also for the poor tax guy.
Now Peter Lanza must be wondering how did that quality time turn out to mean so little?
Poor Lanza did not ask his wife: ‘How can parental control and bonding with children be buit up in a healthy manner if we parents are not around?’ Progress was so stressful that their marriage split up.( Quality time is defined by development experts as meaningful time parents spend nurturing and teaching their children.)
Naturally pursuit of pleasure guaranteed by the Independence declaration document was so strident for the mind to register its consequences. Consequently this question lay unasked: How can Time-crunched working parents give quality time?
The human brain continues to grow rapidly for the first five years after birth. Because of our inefficient brains it takes 20 years before all the circuits are laid out and connected up. Are we not setting our children in harms way by neglecting their emotional growth? Symptom of our inability to afford progress can be explained in the buzzword ‘quality time’I mentioned above.
Progress has come to mean so much to the irresponsible that they may believe anything. Like the fool of an Emperor who put on his new clothes and made it to the catwalk of his empire. He knew style when two jackasses fitted him out with the latests trends in haute couteure. Emperor’s stlye was ‘retro’ but what does it matter? He was still the emperor. Similarly we fit out with progress without exercising our grey cells. If we are in terrible mess at least we can dismiss it of no consequence,’It is progress.’
Read Full Post »
Truly hairy mid-life crises: chimps and orangs get them too
A new study finds that chimpanzees and orangutans, too, often experience a mid-life crisis, suggesting the causes are inherent in primate biology and not specific to human society.
“We were just stunned” when data on the apes showed a U-shaped curve of happiness, said economist Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England and a co-author of the paper, which was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
The U-shaped curve of human happiness and other aspects of well-being are as thoroughly documented as the reasons for it are controversial. Since 2002 studies in some 50 countries have found that well-being is high in youth, plunges in mid-life and rises in old age. The euphoria of youth comes from unlimited hopes and good health, while the contentment and serenity of the elderly likely reflects “accumulated wisdom and the fact that when you’ve seen friends and family die, you value what you have,” said Oswald.
The reasons for the plunge in well-being in middle age, when suicides and use of anti-depressants both peak, are murkier. In recent years researchers have emphasized sociological and economic factors.
Oswald and his colleagues decided to see whether creatures that don’t have career regrets or underwater mortgages might nevertheless suffer a well-being plunge in middle age.
They enlisted colleagues to assess the well-being of 155 chimps in Japanese zoos, 181 in U.S. and Australian zoos and 172 orangs in zoos in the United States, Canada, Australia and Singapore. Keepers, volunteers, researchers and caretakers who knew the apes well used a four-item questionnaire to assess the level of contentment in the animals, said psychologist Alex Weiss of Scotland’s University of Edinburgh. One question, for instance, asked how much pleasure the animals – which ranged from infants to graybeards – get from social interactions.
All three groups of apes experienced mid-life malaise: a U-shaped contentment curve with the nadir at ages 28, 27 and 35, respectively, comparable to human ages of 45 to 50″(Reuters-Nov.19.2012)
In terms of biology life gives each a form. The Chimp has his gait and the one per center his bulging wallet. When the chimp sees you and me knows we are a chump with the same biological functions.Only that they need not deal with progress as we need to. The Chimps do not jump off the Golden Bridge since they know it is a passing phase. On the other hand the modern man has had far greater expectations as a kid. Only these hopes have now come in the bills and bailiffs are out to repossess his all. When pressures of modern life pile up and you have no roof over your head you may even be driven to think of taking extreme steps. Orangs and Chimps have no old age home to look forward to but their social groups keep them survive. Only progress has taken away our social capital and left no crutches to lean on.Don’t ask progress to provide you with a safety net but learn to make one when you can.
Read Full Post »
Posted in current news, tagged Benny Thomas, building bridges, folly, GOTV, human relationships, news on the March, ORCA, progress, Romney campaign, virtual reality on November 13, 2012 |
Leave a Comment »
Recent US elections showed the folly of relying on technology. Mitt Romney’s campaign had hatched a highly secret weapon to track and control voting pattern on the election day.
In the week leading up to the election, Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul told Business Insider that ORCA was ”the Republican Party’s newest, most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 election,” touting it as the game-changer that would blow even the Obama campaign’s sophisticated GOTV system out of the water.
Urging the electorate Go To Vote(GOTV) is one thing and to let technology take over the command is yet another. The folly of relying on technology to replace the age old human social interactions is no more starkly illustrated than in this occasion. Romney who hoped to change the political landscape showed his hand here.
“Their priorities were so screwed up — [they were] hypersensitive about information security, but also wanted to use the best technology they could,” the strategist continued. “In the end they got neither. They put out a laughable GOTV product.”
As a result there ensued a massive organizational failure that resulted in lower Republican turnout than even John McCain got in 2008.
A major source of Romney’s GOTV problems appears to have been the disastrous Project ORCA, an expensive technological undertaking that was supposed to provide the campaign with real-time poll monitoring that would allow Republicans to target GOTV efforts on Election Day.
To quote the Business Insider,:
It appears that in its singular focus on competing technologically with the Obama campaign, the Romney team neglected to adequately account for and organize the essential human element necessary to any grassroots undertaking. Thus when its technological efforts failed, the campaign was left without a Plan B, and its volunteers were forced to fly blind at the moment the campaign needed them most.
“I think sometimes people get enamored of technology and they take people out of the mixture because its easier,” Republican strategist Dave Carney told Business Insider.
When we equate progress with our advances in technology we ought to remember we cannot leave the essential component of building up interpersonal relationships to an impersonal program or technology in its narrowest sense. Reading sometime ago of corporate heads firing employees through emails made me think how far we had fallen short from the true objective of progress.
Progress as the fellow said, is a human thing and it ought not let technology rob its sweetness.
(Insiders Explain How Mitt Romney’s Campaign Completely Fell Apart On Election Day
By Grace Wyler | Business Insider of Nove.12,2012)
Read Full Post »
Posted in philosophy, tagged Benny Thomas, brain, Cosmic Mind, free will, iPad, neuroscience, progress, rational conduct, religion,, The Accidental Mind on April 12, 2012 |
Leave a Comment »
What is evolution but adapting things that are already existing? Thus we have some primitive parts from lizards and jellyfish.As a result our brain at its best has to account for what it is built upon.
“Although the things it can do are very wonderful and impressive, its design is very poor engineering in many respects,” says David Linden, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the author of The Accidental Mind.
These parts may have been OK for their original owners, he says, but they aren’t ideal for us.
Take brain cells, for example.
“They are slow. They are inefficient. They leak signals to their neighbors,”
We’re still using a communication system developed 600 million years ago by jellyfish.
Deep Down, We’re Lizards.
Jellyfish don’t have a brain, but they were the first animal to have any sort of nervous system. It’s a loose network of nerves called a “nerve net,” says Chet Sherwood, who studies brain evolution at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Evolution’s tinkering gave lizards the brain they needed to hunt and survive in a tough world, and our brains still have that ancient wiring.
The brain of an adult human is about three times the size of a gorilla brain.
In evolutionary terms big brain gave our human ancestors bigger volume for brain and it is still evolving and at the root of it we still have the reptilian brain.
Brain has two halves like walnut. These are shot through two worlds: conscious and unconscious mind. our conscious self does not initiate all behaviours. Instead, it is somehow alerted to behaviours that the rest of the brain and body are already planning and performing. Also keep in mind conscious experience does play some moderating role. We think rationally and we speak as though we understand what we speak about. But do we?
Take the matter of religion.
Religion relies on mystery and requires certain rituals and symbols to maintain this mystery. People are ready to defend their faith to death. On the other hand what about the fascination with iPad or iPhone for which people are ready to kill themselves? Or do desperate things disproportionate to the intrinsic value of objects themselves, and sell their kidneys as one did in China only last week? People queue through the night, despite the inclement weather to be the first to grab when shops are opened for business. Are we not seeing Progress masquerading religion in this case? Some Nerd who cannot do anything else makes a jargon and creates applications into program and lo and behold, he is looked upon with wonder. He is a modern shaman. Craze for latest gadgets is controlled by which part of our being? Unconscious mind or Rational mind?
Our brain evolved over some 6 millennia as I mentioned earlier is not the best,- and communication system leaks, and we have no idea which part of it is triggering us?
Brain is our thinking part but it depends how we want to interpret external impressions that we see.
In an earlier post I wrote about Cosmic Mind. We make our experience as basis and draw necessary conclusions from these events around us. If we are thinking from our unconscious mind a little and from conscious mind we cannot tell.
When we look into brain we are going down in time,
Read Full Post »
Posted in futuristic, tagged Benny Thomas, humor, IBM, innovations, invasive, life, livescience, progress, science and technology on March 13, 2012 |
Leave a Comment »
Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, and the thoughts of a person. Sitting away from home you may send instructions to the plumber and glazier to attend to the chores around the house. Those who ride the gravy train in company time may not get to write a best seller for the boss would have changed the password to prevent other activities coming in between.
Digital divide closes
In five years, IBM said, the gap between information haves and have-nots will narrow considerably due to advances in mobile technology; by then 80 percent of the current global population will have a mobile device.
This will empower people without a lot of spending power, they believe.
Only such power without money will be like froth on which you cannot get drunk. Champagne bottles will be still opened among the one percenters and froth for the man on the street.
In India, IBM used speech technology and mobile devices to enable rural villagers who were illiterate to pass along information through recorded messages on their phones. With access to information that was not there before, villagers could check weather reports to help them decide when to fertilize crops, to know when doctors were coming to town, and to find the best prices for their crops or merchandise.Astrolegers will be pestered to know sex of the next baby. If it is a girl baby ‘is there a way to avert the calamity?’
Junk becomes gems
In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant that you’ll think spam is dead. At the same time, spam filters will be so precise that you’ll never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again.
Just what I wanted to hear. Our wishes have become redundant and Technology lets you take Pepsi even if you happen to have a craving for Coke at a precise moment.( ack: liveScience-Ned Smith 9-12-2011)
Read Full Post »
Posted in philosophy, tagged Benny Thomas, body, collective memory, environment, experience, genetic push, life, life experience, man, mind, miracles, nature, progress, Thomas Malthus on February 2, 2012 |
Leave a Comment »
Man’s needs, say for a specific example his social needs have configured his anatomy accordingly. No one will dispute the fact he as a social animal requires speech in order to communicate. Apes also are gregarious and live in social groups and speak in a manner of speaking but speech of man is altogether of another league.
His speech owes to the larynx or voice box, that sits lower in the throat than in chimps, one of several features that enable human speech. Human ancestors evolved this roughly 350,000 years ago. We also possess a descended hyoid bone — this horseshoe-shaped bone below the tongue, unique in that it is not attached to any other bones in the body, allows us to articulate words when speaking. Add to this the use of hands where we can bring our thumbs all the way across the hand to our ring and little fingers. We can also flex the ring and little fingers toward the base of our thumb. This gives us a powerful grip and exceptional dexterity to hold and manipulate tools with. Thus man although he bears many similarities to other species have cut the bridges behind him so to speak. Research has shown that monkeys that live in larger groups grow bigger brains. If man did learn to speak at first with signs or clicking his teeth he went further to perfect speech. Here also modulated speech served him well to give different shades of meaning to his thought. Wisdom and power in the case of man was put to a specific purpose.
By inventing writing around 3100 BC he added his skills to strike a different path from other species. Writing led to other skills art and literature,- each step keeping his progress so unique, and reversal would never mean going back to the state where he began. Life experience of one has become common for all. His personal experience has become part of collective memory of his species.
Experience and his social back up are the two pinions that keep the species survivors. Miracles and ability to move through other dimensions are as trivial as a conjurer’s tricks. It does not add to the common experience.
No man lives for himself and his pioneering work adds to the common fount. Have you thought the invention of wheels by a nameless inventor is even now crucial to human advancement? Invention of movable printing freed man’s thought from the Church of Rome’s stranglehold. Man’s progress is fuelled by unrestricted exercise in setting goals for individual advancement and in meeting them experience has added to the whole.
We as humans traded off working with many dimensions in order to get our image of the physical universe in focus. Our body thus is made to prioritize our goals since we are mortals and bequeath our gains to our children. Our genetic push is not only in terms of hereditary traits but also our civilization. Is it not better to live focused and be vital in one’s short life than live useless playboy style of living for some 200 years, and competing with our children for livelihood and place in the sun? Nature also indicates this point according to Malthusian theory on Population and Resources. Under threat of limited resources wars, plagues and calamities Nature clears off the old, useless and the weak. The idea is that the young and strong stand better chance of passing on the gains forward.
In such trade off what we call as miracle is against natural laws. Every day Prophet Muhammed did not ride up his winged horse to commune with the Angel Gabriel. Nor did Jesus of Nazareth make five fishes and loaves multiply to go around. This being the case a man being able to enter another dimension or distort time holds for the world no practical value or merit. Nowadays the Church of Rome needs to propose a name for sainthood more often and ascribe miracles to the candidate, which seems more an exercise to distract the world from looking at the all pervasive sex abuse and corruption that goes under the Holy See.
Read Full Post »