Monday, 24 November 2014

Hating Ideas

if the majority could have its way

People are scared of ideas and I mean have serious contempt for them, of course when you bring up something complex like politics, religion, marriage they will join the conversation and act like being really interested in the discussion which if you really notice is just an impulse to give out an opinion, and god help you if you take it on its face value and make the mistake of thinking that the person wants to discuss the issue and state a counter point. In your defence it's true you can never be sure about who is genuinely interested in discussing an idea as you are but if this position the best bet is to just nod, agree and move the topic sports and movies!

It's for good reason that many "talking to people" books advice never getting into an argument or broaching up hard topics in a conversation (follow it). But like I said, most of us really interested in ideas bring them up believing in the fallacy that "this is obvious, everyone gets it" (they don't). Also this says something about the majority of the population from the fact that anything complex which requires hard thinking has to be shunned from the social sphere.

Hating books

When you hate ideas, books are an natural enemy, of course if your reading list sticks to the currently best-selling crap then everyone's at peace with you. You violate that principle and see how people just wait for you to burn. Recently someone gave me her pearls of wisdom of "never reading philosophy and'll change you and you will judge people". Interesting, here's someone terrified of ideas because they "hurt you and your brain can't handle". I expect someone to jump up with "HA! see you are judging people in this post itself"..well sad to break it to you everybody is judging everyone all the time, there's just no escaping that.

So if you are into reading philosophy and have strong views about the role of religion or relationships/marriage or how the government should function in human society or even so much as criticize their tastes in movies a bit too harsh then you are going to be very disappointed. People will nod and give opinions (mostly subjective feelings) which is just their solipsistic thinking of "I know stuff too". Here's how Robert Greene puts it:
Law 38:

Think as you like but Behave like others

If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them.  They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior.  It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.

Don't be so sure of the "tolerant friends" either. As already mentioned everyone is prone to solipsism i.e. to take things in a personal, subjective stride and evaluate them on how it makes them feel. If only this solipsism is kept in check by a constantly conscious effort to strive for objectivity, is any discussion possible. You will have to be a judge to figure out who is ready to put in that effort of striving for objectivity around you. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Consciousness > Introversion and Extroversion

A few years back that someone told me "we're both INTPs" on whatsapp. Now it's always fun to hear someone's idea about yourself, isn't it? And there I was on an internet spiral, the next half hour was then spent reading all about INTPs, the myers-briggs test and the 16 or so personality types myers-briggs identifies. While reading the INTP profile, I remember "how fuck did they figure all this out about me" going in the back of head constantly. Go through the comments on one such forums and you'll get a many "It's so weird to see someone else completely figuring you out!" 

Here's an INTP profile summary:

As an INTP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. (goose bumps begin)

INTPs value knowledge above all else. Their minds are constantly working to generate new theories, or to prove or disprove existing theories.

The INTP has no understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of personal subjectivity or feelings.

For the INTP, it is extremely important that ideas and facts are expressed correctly and succinctly.

They are likely to express themselves in what they believe to be absolute truths. Sometimes, their well thought-out understanding of an idea is not easily understandable by others, but the INTP is not naturally likely to tailor the truth so as to explain it in an understandable way to others.

The INTP is usually very independent, unconventional, and original. They are not likely to place much value on traditional goals such as popularity and security.

They love new ideas, and become very excited over abstractions and theories. They love to discuss these concepts with others (the others don't!).

And finally,
Their natural drive to turn theories into concrete understanding may turn into a feeling of personal responsibility to solve theoretical problems, and help society (unfortunately it starts with those around first, mauling their cosy little existence of self-deceptions, illusions, automatic respect etc) move towards a higher understanding. 

Feel like a beauty pageant winner already—finally somewhere someone probably half way around the world "gets me". Thank you, thank you carl jung..(tears rolling).  Also good to know I'm not completely insane, phew!

After this I found susan's TED talk on introversion and her book quiet(which I didn't bother reading). I realised the introversion extroversion debate is quiet hot on the internet with mostly introverts being portrayed as some sort of victims with articles like "things not to say to introverts" and non-stop barrage about how the introvert brain just seeks stimuli in a very different way than an extrovert's does.

True, introverts can have a hell of a time reading how religion (along with many other things) was just an mechanism to control people (crimes and otherwise) in the ancient times since in the absence of CCTVs cameras and 24-hour emergency services a supernatural cop keeping watch all the time got the job done (perhaps not so well, that's for an different post!), or how India could have easily been a first-world rich and prosperous country if it weren't for the scumbag today glorified has "architect of modern India" or get a sweet boner looking at an infograph which puts events in an timeline right from the current moment till the big bang.

While their counterparts—the extroverts are busy discussing MTV roadies, splitsvilla, bigboss and talking about a live sports match on their facebook wall, you read it right—not in the chat but on the fucking wall commenting back and forth while uploading in another tab the 200 pics they took while at the cheapest pub they could afford last weekend!

So yes the brain stimuli part is all correct but the thin line when such generalizations begin to fail is dropping an very important aspect which is—(drumroll please)—consciousness. Which means humans can take charge and change and learn stuff. This annoyed Ayn Rand too: 

In psychology, one may observe the attempt to study human behaviour without reference to the fact that man is conscious.

The damage begins when an introvert reads his own personality like this, he might just set it his subconsciousness that this is "who he is", and whole process is set in the reverse so next time when he is at a party he doesn't even make an attempt to talk and rationalizes it with the "I'm an introvert, this is who I am, it's ok" recorder constantly playing in the background. The horoscope columns in newspapers or anywhere else work in this similar manner, you read it first and then your mind tries to connect what you read with your actual circumstance and you get the "this kinda connects with my situation" feeling. Your brain tries to fit what you read into your life and the introverts might just make the same mistake about fitting into the personality type box they read.

As mentioned above Man is conscious. In fact it's all the more rewarding if the introvert goes out of his way and decides to be Dale fucking Carnegie. Agreed the culture is more leaning towards "how you say it (and how you look!) triumphs what you say" philosophy which is just because majority of the population is the sensing type who are just feeling their way through life. So it's just obvious how powerful one can get if he has got both the how and what figured out.

Extroverts on the other hand are not going to be much impacted by what is written about them as they're hardly likely to ever read it in the first place being as busy as they are reading their facebook wall and buzzfeed. If you are one and you got to this line then pat yourself on the back and go pick up a copy of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

So it can be very helpful (and fun) to know and understand yourself in this dichotomy but ultimately consciousness triumphs and you can always learn a lot from the other side.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Christian Tricks Or Tricked Christians?

This started with the Modi vs Rahul debate (people are still having those!) on a guy's wall who wrote the following status update: 

Like always it took the turn to the communal vs secular land and someone said the following:

Now the comment in the above screenshot is actually true, there's a sect of christianity by the name jehovah's witnesses out on the streets of Mumbai armed with the-only-book-they've-read (bible!) to stop you and tell you about the world coming to an end, how you can be prepared for the same if you follow their favourite-and-the-only-book-they've-ever-read which has all the answers. These morons are also known to reject blood transfusions because god says so. But all that aside.

Since these people stop almost anybody right busy roads they mostly come across Hindus (putting marathis, punjabis all under one umbrella) because of course that's the majority in Mumbai. And it's natural that if you are a believer in a certain faith you would get upset on some random guy shoving his book in your face and telling you that's the real thing and not the one you've been into (now the fact that all are equally and absolutely wrong is for a different post). So kapadia getting upset and making the above comment was totally legit. 

What's interesting are the christian responses to it. Take a look:

It has always been a disturbing fact that there young people on this planet with 24/7 internet connection, who can read english, are decently smart people mostly graduate level educated and still actually fucking believe in a GOD! I mean all this information literally at your fingers and you still get up on sundays (or as per your day) to pray. Fine. 

Institutionalized religions especially monotheistic ones have some "chosen ones" (priests and nuns!) some among them running massive conversion campaigns in third world countries like India. While its bad enough that people believe in a god, it's an absolute fucking disaster that they can't even call on the BS that is being fed to them by these "chosen ones". 

Any person of average intelligence must agree that stopping people on the road and promoting your religion (while simultaneously degrading theirs) with the sole intent of getting them to convert to it is beyond ridiculous.

I expected at least one christian to come along in the comment thread and say: "Yes that's wrong, tell them to fuck off!" but you have the picture above. So are these young people so brainwashed? Instead of staying on the topic and coming up with one rational thought and making a point or even just saying they don't want to talk about it and moving on they go on with "Jesus will bless and forgive you" and "you'll know one day" the latter one is an outright threat, which translates to: The devil's going to peel off your skin in hell.

Here's how they would play, given a harder set of questions:

Q:The bible says the world is 6000 years old (right after the wheel was invented..!) that's absolute rubbish you know right?
Ans: you know not what you say, jesus will bless and forgive you!!

Q:Jesus was probably a normal man with some really good thoughts and ideas and later the miracles got added to his life story and the whole myth came in to being, like the books on Shiva have come out—The immortals of mehua. The theory is "" what do you think about that?
Ans: yes please say what you want, jesus will bless and forgive you!!

Q:How can they claim the bible to be true? No body has any proof anyway, miracles? seriously?!
Ans: you don't get it now, one day you will (in hell? wow so forgiving of you!).

Makes me wonder if these are just christian tricks to avoid arguments (because they have none) or tricked christians so brainwashed with dogma that there's no point of return. And sadly and unfortunately it seems the latter.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Automatic Respect

Respect must be earned, not given.

Your elder brother - bhaiya, sister - didi, the brother's wife is bhabhi and they all have to be addressed as "aap". This is so engrained in the Indian culture that there's probably a term for all these relations in most Indian languages as well. It doesn't just end with terms, an elder's views and ideas all must be revered as well and without argument or even an inch of doubt — be it about international politics, bodybuilding, god or life on mars for that matter. The interesting part is that most people are aware that their elders are mostly wrong and the elders are aware that the juniors hardly take anything they say seriously or act on their advice but both the sides play their part in keeping up the act. Talk about a room of naked people all complementing each other on the beauty of the other's garments. I call the whole act an expectation and fulfilling of automatic respect.

The guy can't marry his girlfriend because of his mother's wishes but the mother also wanted him to have nothing to do with girls in the first place and just be a virgin, which the mother already knows isn't happening but she continous "have nothing to with girls" advice anyway. It's almost as if there's some psychological payback in the mother's head for just giving out the "correct" advice, knowing all fully well it's most probably not being followed and knowing all the more well never to bring that up. The son totally knows his mother is well aware of what those hours of phone calls are all about. Both parties keep the automatic respect act up and going.

Take the daughter who gets home new clothes, new shoes, is on the phone most of the time but the parents act like it's the tooth fairy and that one line advice of staying away from guys is dished out every once in a while.

Grown up adults hide their cigarrette packets from one's parents who obviously know the person smokes. Granted one doesn't have to literally blow smoke up anyone's face but the whole act of covering up such completely trivial things as a teenager would is silly at best.

Religions have been expecting AR since the begining of time. All religions and everything related to them has been automatically put out of purview of rational discourse and questioning. The usual excuse given is to prevent "hurting sentiments and feelings" but here too it's interesting to note that only the "religious feelings" are given this priviledge. Take for example politics, economics or any other field into which people invest a lot more emotionally than in religion but feelings and emotions here are just not given this protection at all.

Another certain type of AR dynamic I have observed is when a rather heavy topic of discussion is broached up in a group setting and it soon becomes obvious that only one or few members actually know the ins and outs of the subject and the rest are just chimming in to give an opinion and sound smart, the ones with the know-how usually sense an uncomfortable feeling going forward and stating any facts at all, just so as to protect the egos of those dishing out nonsense.

The purpose of writing this is to foster some thought as to why are people so scared to point out something which is wrong and retrograde to their own elders or disagree with them. One doesn't have to be a dick doing this but just politely disagree and put forth your point the next time your someone tells you about "India being the greatest country" or that the west has no morals.