Archive for the ‘moral philosophy’ Category

 How far chance plays a role in the history of nations? Let me recall the story I had posted some time ago.


Blind Chance

Agastya, a householder from Tulu desam, who lived in the middle of two constantly fighting neighbors Ambu and Subbu, had enough of his life. He went to Kailas to meditate. He received in due course enlightenment and his mentor asked him to choose a gift. He chose a deity in gold as large as a man’s palm.

“Chance it is called.” The mentor commented.

“It is a good gift to make my going back to my folks worth remembering.” Before he reached his home he came along a river where one man was about to make a hole in the river. “Don’t,” Agastya ran up to him. “It is chance which brought me to save you.” To his great surprise he was Subbu, his neighbor.

Yogi Agastya gave him his image and said,” Remember Chance has saved you.” Not long after Subbu went on a journey and he carried his image for his protection. While passing through a forest he was waylaid by robbers and was killed for the gold he carried.

As soon as news reached his home Ambu the other neighbor went to the Yogi and fell at his feet and said “Chance which you brought was for my rescue. Was it not?”

Chance has to be explained in terms of total interaction of life-forms. Certainty is settled by actions. Certainy of any ony one set of events in turn is on its own and must take its chance with others. History as with individual plays with larger groups and on a wider scale but the principle is always the same.



In Cosmos certainty of any action creates its own chains of events which create chance for a new player. Thus the war on terror in 2003 deposed Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Consequences of US intervention seems to have strengthened the hegemony of Shi’ia faction in the Middle East. So the Sunni faction whips up an opposition to cut the role of Iran in the region. Syria’s ability to withstand the opposition is a proof of Iran’s growing clout in the region. In a 4-D world of certainty chance is in the flattened down 3-D version of reality.












Read Full Post »


 Proof of the pudding is in eating. Can a cook escape blame by serving mush instead of pudding? But the way we go about it we might as well ask what is wrong with us? 

We are humans and we are short on truth but infinite in our intentions. You ask the politicians who are caught with unaccounted money stuffed under the mattress and in Swiss accounts, off-shore accounts or with the mob. What will be their excuse? Will they own up they are swindlers? No they would  come up with excuses. Surely they will have them ready. They might say they are holding  up all the money to spend on the weal of people. You ask the fellow who is on the death row for killing. He is sure to say, ‘Pulling the trigger was a mistake. While my finger pulled I had a black-out and I was thinking of having dinner with my family.

Such are our prophets who speak of ‘ self purification’  but those who think they are the best interpreters of the prophet might translate it as ‘waging a war or *Jihad. Intentions are blind and cannot be taken as the real thing.

Our truth being such suspect do we connect it with what is knowable, quantifiable and what is workable? If God is truth and we cannot define God as he is, would it not be better to err on the safe side? I think it would be more practical to say,” Truth is what we make of from what we express best without fear and express naturally. From such we may trace origin of society, politics and our economic growth. In such free exchange of give and take truth must remain as a value everyone can subscribe to. Where there is freedom man thinks as well as do as free men. But what if our thinking has been compromised what shall be ?

As the twig is bent so is the tree. Man who has been subjected to unnatural influences shall learn to push the same ideas more twisted I must add, on whom they may impose upon. I can cite the case of Chas. Taze Russell.


Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916), American religious leader,


There are prophets self- appointed and those who think God set them up for a special mission. Under which category Charles Taze Russell belongs you may decide for yourself.

Prophets no matter what message they carry, begin in the household earthly parents. They show their upbringing no matter how bizarre or luminous their messages might be.

Russell began helping his father who had a chain of clothing stores. Naturally a man born to affluence and of his mercantile class would know how far one dollar would go. In 1911 the Brooklyn Eagle charged the “Pastor” with profiteering in the church’s sale of “miracle wheat” to members, who were told it would produce fantastic yields. Once touched by filthy lucre it is not difficult to see what motivates these self appointed prophets. They may claim a church of faithful adherents but the heart is in the money-box. Naturally he also founded a sect, known as Russellites or Millennial Dawnists, which provided the nucleus for the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect.

As for the quality of a prophet’s message is inescapably enmeshed with his or her early upbringing. Russell’s parents awed him at an early age with grim tales of hellfire and damnation. While helping his father build the family’s chain of clothing stores, Russell began to question the validity of including the concept of eternal damnation in Christian dogma. Bible study, fascination with the Millerite, or Adventist, movement, and his own inability to reconcile hell with the Christian concept of mercy caused him to develop a personal theology, which he began to teach others. Russell believed that Christ’s Second Coming might be invisible. When others were disappointed because Christ’s much-predicted advent did not seem to occur in 1874, Russell always had an answer. Did God put it there we may never know. Only that he had a ready answer. Russell believed it had happened invisibly, and he wrote The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Returning.

We carry the burden of truth in our intentions but our tongue runs away with lies since these make way open for us. This seems to be the case of all human enterprises  be it religion, politics or in finance.
*Jihad means “to struggle in the way of Allah”. Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression “striving in the way of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)”.[wikipedia]


Read Full Post »

If we are made of atoms that have inherent quirks and quiddities it must also show in some unmistakable manner when made as complex as human beings. What is the nature of atoms? You smash atoms into fundamental particles but you try dividing them further you get more of the same. Can it be a moral quotient to give us a place in the scheme of things? We are connected to all things at the level of atoms where quiddity of nature has written its moral imperative consistently throughout. It is like a giant jigsaw puzzle where we must fit with all mankind. In terms of a physical dimension it may not be possible. Yet in terms of moral sense we are painted with the same brush. You destroy one area and you are breaking the moral order of universe in some manner of speaking. Its consequences, (I deliberately avoid the term ‘sin’ for its theological connotations) must leave its impact in some manner. For example, you exploit nations and the lawlessness of it, call it imperialism, leaves its mark on you. Africa was formerly the white man’s burden and Africa has still not recovered from it. While the west exploited the Arab merchants were carrying on slave trade in the heartland of the continent ,converting the natives and throwing down the genuine and natural form of their culture to suit their form of religious requirements. If Africa is reeling under the fresh onslaught of these Arab imperialism the west paved the way. Moral sense when outraged as Africa has experienced it must express itself in some manner. It may be that in not so distant future Arab fundamentalism will be pitted against the west from this part of the globe.

Read Full Post »

The human body has about 1,000 kinds of receptors, structures on the surface of cells, which let the body respond to a wide variety of chemical signals, like adrenaline. Some receptors are in the nose, tongue and eyes, and let us sense smells, tastes and light.
“They work as a gateway to the cell,” Robert Lefkowitz told a news conference in Stockholm by phone. “As a result they are crucial … to regulate almost every known physiological process with humans.”
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said it was long a mystery how cells interact with their environment and adapt to new situations, such as when they react to adrenaline by increasing blood pressure and making the heart beat faster.
Scientists suspected that cell surfaces had some type of receptor for hormones.
Using radioactivity, Robert Lefkowitz managed to unveil receptors including the receptor for adrenaline, and started to understand how it works.
Brian Kobilka and his team realized that there is a whole family of receptors that look alike — a family that is now called G-protein-coupled receptors.
In 2011,Brian Kobilka achieved another breakthrough when his team captured an image of the receptor for adrenaline at the moment when it is activated by a hormone and sends a signal into the cell. The academy called the image “a molecular masterpiece.”
Mark Downs, chief executive of Britain’s Society of Biology, said the critical role receptors play is now taking for granted.
“This groundbreaking work spanning genetics and biochemistry has laid the basis for much of our understanding of modern pharmacology as well as how cells in different parts of living organisms can react differently to external stimulation, such as light and smell, or the internal systems which control our bodies such as hormones,” Downs said in a statement.(AP news of Oct,10,2012/Karl Ritter,Louise Nordstrom)
For scientists creating new drugs this breakthrough holds tremendous interest. For a moral philosopher it may be in the manner cells react to external stimulation. Think of each individual as a cell. Cannot individuals like cells react to moral imperatives of Truth which is in an abstract plane? Biological imperatives of reproduction,- propagation of one’s kind, has an abstract counterpart in love. Truth loves its own kind and would see it accepted as natural as one breathes the air or winds down after a day’s work.
Each chromosome has its genetic material and so has a moral being the requirements of truth.

Read Full Post »

In the book The Universe by Isaac Asimov he writes about the parallax by which distance of a planetary body could be measured. One observer may sight the moon in the horizon while for the second observer it is overhead. In such a case the base of the triangle is the equal to the radius of the earth and the angle at the moon is the ‘equatorial horizontal parallax.’That is 57.04 minutes of arc. In other words from your known position in the earth and in relation to another you zero in whether it be the moon or truth or whatever. In the post ‘Web of knowledge’ I mentioned that the pure impulses of the baby are clouded over gradually by ways of the world that bear upon it. However the only way we can get at the reality of our moral sense is in relation to others. An anchorite may retreat from the world and yet he shall not take away the hold of the world. Like the saints of yore who even in a desert shall face temptation each according to his or her choosing. The fellow who from the fleshpots of Sin City went to the wilderness saw hills so smooth and it reminded him of the bosom of the harlots he had in the past fondled. You may imagine the kind of temptations he would have to face from that point on. Experience of the world is not be run away from but to be used as an ally to make your stand.
How many well meaning men and women adopt a monastical life and over a period of time are lured away into secret vices? Where lay the fault? It was not the cloisters but their own experience in contact with others led them astray.
Suppose the blades of a fan are painted in primary colors and when the fan is switched on you do not see the same colors. Your mind has rearranged the individual colors into white. Similarly in Christian theology we speak of the Son, the Spirit and God as one. In Islam there is only one God. Think of the way two religions view the divine aspects of truth. One may aver one is obedient. But obedient to what? For some it would mean saying yes to the words mechanically without even entering into the spirit of the word. It is like one looking at his image in a mirror and forgetting it as soon as the back is turned.
There are three aspects of truth. Does a person submit to acknowledge his errors? The first step to break a bad habit is to accept it is a bad habit. Truth delivers one from repeating the same mistakes. It is a prelude to forgiving and dismissing it as of the past. Thus submissive nature is an aspect of Truth to gain an higher ground. Once freed from the past is it not prudent to substitute the place vacated with positive habits? Creative nature allowed the woman with a physical ailment to touch the hem of the garment of Jesus. She got her healing because her trust prompted to be creative in her mind what she ought to be as a result.
Submissive nature of the Son is one aspect; Regenerative Power of the Hoy Spirit is another aspect of Truth. Truth like God the Father completes the trinity. With which creative nature of Truth is made obvious. These three are all in one and co-equal.
Do I have a problem with the trinity of God? Oh no. It is the rule of three. Even among the crowd I know I am complete. A three plaited cord is not easily broken.

Read Full Post »

Samuel Foote(1720-1777) wit
Dear Son,
I am in prison for debt; come and assist your loving mother.-E. Foote

Dear Mother,
So am I; which prevents his loving duty being paid to his loving mother.-Your affectionate son.
Samuel Foote
P.S_ I have sent my attorney to assist you; in the mean time let us hope for better days.
John Ruskin (1819-1900)

John Ruskin once received a request for donation to pay off the mortgage of the Duke Street Chapel and I have given here below an excerpt of his reply. It would seem he was addressing our present world; and for those who want buy now and pay later it may even be an eye opener!
Brentwood, 19 May,1886,
I am scornfully amused at your appeal to me, of all people in the world the precisely least like to give you a farthing! My first word to all men and boys to hear me is”Don’t get into debt. Starve and go to heaven-but don’t borrow. Try first begging_ I don’t mind if it’s really needful_stealing!. But don’t buy things you can’t pay for!”….
Isn’t it surprising how what we hold up as a virtue and a proof of a solid character is chipped away so slowly that none notices the enervation of personal values? In his essay ‘Unto This Last’ Ruskin wrote ‘There is no wealth but life.’
Dulled senses of a person who has chased a mirage at the cost of his or her personal values,-character, take the place as a slave driver. No pity or no worthwhile example but the constant goading the person to acquire branded items that he or she doesn’t really need. The victim scarcely notices what is branded right through the flesh to the spirit.

Moral: Virtues of one Age are the vices of another. Capitalism invented mass consumerism and made the bible for the lost and the damned. One only needs to see the mess we are all in.


Read Full Post »

In my post on Theory of Something I used the analogy of a walk in the woods to develop a scientific temper. Nature gave man the first stirrings to wonder at the simple daily occurrences. Thus one may wonder why leaves fall or an apple falls to ground and not fly off. If his train of thoughts carried him to come to grips with the gravity, naturally he may soon wonder why the moon does not fall as leaves or fruits? Man is in context of other humans who all have sometime or other similarly wondered as Isaac Newton Galileo or Kepler. How come then all are not scientists? The same pure impulses that instilled in a baby to wonder at everything have changed shape or run into other experiences that carry him to follow in many other directions. The pure impulse of truth must negotiate with life of each. The baby that wondered at the falling leaves has found what makes the world at large go gaga. Wealth. If he sells himself to cut down rain forests for profit he is only falling in with rest of the world that has made wealth their goal above everything else.
No man even with a proper scientific spirit has stuck to a groove to investigate the alpha and omega of his universe. In 1869 Miescher discovered nuclein (DNA) and left since he could not precisely identify its use. Some 25 years later he could separate it into nuclide acid, a protein. It had to wait till 1920 to realize this nucleic acid plays a vital role in the chromosomes. In 1944 Oswald Avery identifies it as the active principle in bacterial transformation. In 1953 Watson and Crick could determine the double helix shape of DNA. In short the path cut in the woods is not one single highway but meandering pathways of so many acting out their hunches based on the single stirring of truth in each.
Miescher wondering over the DNA in the cells of a pus he was working with, had no idea but got around to investigating it further after so many years. By then his active life must have passed and it was left to others to come back to it at their own convenience and needs. Meisher was vindicated in another age and on account of many other breakthroughs elsewhere.
Child is the father of Man and unfortunately in many cases the truth has been clouded over by ‘ways of the world’ and how he looks at the world is not one to one but accumulated peer pressure of so many and immediate needs.
Moral sense of an individual is unfortunately clouded over by many others. If he has gone under and did not do as he ought to have we may say it is human failing. There is no one who is perfect and if one say he is, he is a rascal of the first order. We can only behave as human hoping for the best and if we have found our feet we ought to think of failings of others in similar light. As a Christian I am in need of grace and it is what I owe to truth when given a Being and a name God.
For each of us web of knowledge must be held in tact upon truth.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,688 other followers