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Purpose of Us August 4, 2011

Posted by Akash in Experiments with God.
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One of the reasons I started this blog is to communicate my idea and beliefs about reality and truth.

In the course of writing a few articles under this category [Experiments with God] I would like to indulge you into my conception of reality.

I do not have any structure in mind for this writing. So a reader might feel lost while going though these articles. But I assure you that the things will make full sense when I finish publishing the whole set of articles on this.

So what this article(s) are about? It’s about a lot of things but it is mainly about our quest to search the Truth. I will be basically discussing a lot of interconnected subjects here like:

  • Faith: God, Religion (Hindu/ Buddhist/ Christian/ Muslim concepts) 
  • Physics: Relativity, Quantum Physics, Lagrangian Mechanics
  • Computer Science: Simulated Reality

And finally I will try to connect them together to form my understanding about the Truth.

In the process, we might also need to discuss verious concepts from some encient Indian texts (e.g. “Gita”, “Veda”, “Advaita Vedanta”) and even concepts from some recent movies like “The Matrix”.

A word of Caution

All the ideas described here are merely my personal opinion that I have mastered through-out the observations and learning in my life. I do not claim that these ideas as unquestionable or absolute or even complete. It’s just what I have come to believe through logical reasoning. 

So let’s start our first discussion on Purpose.

What is the purpose of us (you, me, individual human being, animals, plants, earth and planets and the whole universe in general) to exist? Why we are here in this Universe at all? Why the Universe itself exists? This is the first question that we need to ask in our quest to find the truth (the other question is what “truth” itself is, which we will discuss later).

But my quest for the purpose did not start with this universal question of purpose initially. It started with a simple question – what is the purpose of “me”? Why do “I” exist? When I searched for this answer, I got different views, some of them are not so profound or fundamentally correct. But even though, here are the different views that I have found:

  • My purpose of existence is to serve my God – Spiritual answer mostly from faith driven religions (Inherently ambiguous and open ended)
  • My purpose is to finish a task for which I have been brought into this world – Utterly Ambiguous (what task? Who brought you? What if you don’t complete your task? Why “You” were chosen to complete the task?)
  • My purpose is to create choices (by creating variations) for the natural selection
  • My purpose is fake (may be simulated) and imposed upon me as an illusion (choices are illutionary, causality is truth) – Proponents of Simulated Relaity theory often believe in this
  • No purpose, we are here as a result of systemic jitters, randomness and chances. We (or anything) do not serve a purpose and it does not matter to the universe.

We can start analysing any of the above answers. But each one of them (with the notable exception of the last one) will lead us to more open questions.  Questions like who imposed the “purpose” and “why” and “how” will remain with each one of them. As such there is no answer which is simple enough to be treated as beautifyl truth. But in order to progress further in our quest to seek the truth, we will chose two possibilities from the above choices (heck, I hate this word!).

Let’s concentrate on these two possibilities first (I am not completely rejecting the other possibilities yet, I am just starting off with these two possibilities first partly becuase of their simplicity and largely because of the fact that unlike others, these answers do not lead us to a plethora of other open ended questions) :

  • My purpose is to create choices (by creating variations) for the natural selection (knowingly or unknowingly)
  • No purpose, we are here as a result of systemic jitters, randomness and chances. We (or anything) do not serve a purpose and it does not matter to the universe.

Creation of Choices (to be continued)

 

 

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On finding fulfillment – A message from a father August 2, 2011

Posted by Akash in Life as it goes.
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Paul, a teacher, who died of cancer at the age of 45 in November 2009, passionately believed his children, Thomas and Lucy, should have more than just fading photographs to remember him by. For the children were only five and one-and-half years old at the time of his passing. “There was nothing more important to Paul than being the best father he could be,” says Mandy, Paul’s wife.

So among other things, he wrote a list of 27 instructions that he believed would help his kids to live a fullfilling life.

“I’ve been thinking about the matters in life that are important, and the values and aspirations that make people happy and successful. In my view, and you may well have your own ideas by now, the formula is pretty simple. The three most important virtues are: Loyalty, integrity and moral courage. If you aspire, friends will respect you, employers will retain you, and your father will be immensely proud of you. I am therefore giving you several pieces of advice. These are the principles on which I have tried to build my life and they are exactly those that I would have encouraged you to embrace, had I been able to.” “I love you very much. Never forget that.”

A FATHER’S RULES FOR FINDING FULFILLMENT

  1. Be courteous, be punctual, always say please and thank you, and be sure to hold your knife and fork properly. Others take their cue on how to treat you from your manners.
  2. Be kind, considerate and compassionate when others are in trouble, even if you have problems of your own. Others will admire your selflessness and will help you in due course.
  3. Show moral courage. Do what is right, even if that makes you unpopular. I always thought it important to be able to look at myself in the shaving mirror every morning and not feel guilt or remorse. I depart this world with a pretty clear conscience.
  4. Show humility. Stand your ground but pause to reflect on what the other side are saying, and back off when you know you are wrong. Never worry about losing face. That only happens when you are pig-headed.
    Learn from your mistakes. You will make plenty so use them as a learning tool. If you keep making the same mistake or run into a problem, you’re doing something wrong.
  5. Avoid disparaging someone to a third party; it is only you who will look bad. If you have a problem with someone, tell them face to face.
  6. Hold fire! If someone crosses you, don’t react immediately. Once you say something it can never be taken back, and most people deserve a second chance.
  7. Have fun. If this involves taking risks, so be it. If you get caught, hold your hands up.
  8. Give to charity and help those who are less fortunate than yourselves: it’s easy and so rewarding.
  9. Always look on the upside! The glass is half full, never half empty. Every adversity has a silver lining if you seek it out.
  10. Make it your instinct always to say ‘yes’. Look for reasons to do something, not reasons to say no. Your friends will cherish you for that.
  11. Be canny: you will get more of what you want if you can give someone more of what they desire. Compromise can be king.
  12. Always accept a party invitation. You may not want to go, but they want you there. Show them courtesy and respect.
  13. Never ever let a friend down. I would bury bodies for my friends, if they asked me to . . . which is why I have chosen them carefully.
  14. Always tip for good service. It shows respect. But never reward poor service. Poor service is insulting.
  15. Always treat those you meet as your social equal, whether they are above or below your station in life. For those above you, show due deference, but don’t be a sycophant.
  16. Always respect age, as age equals wisdom.
  17. Be prepared to put the interests of your sibling first.
  18. Be proud of who you are and where you come from, but open your mind to other cultures and languages. When you begin to travel (as I hope you will), you’ll learn that your place in the world is both vital and insignificant. Don’t get too big for your breeches.
  19. Be ambitious, but not nakedly so. Be prepared to back your assertions with craftsmanship and hard work.
  20. Live every day to its full: do something that makes you smile or laugh, and avoid procrastination.
  21. Give of your best at school. Some teachers forget that pupils need incentives. So if your teacher doesn’t give you one, devise your own.
  22. Always pay the most you can afford. Never skimp on hotels, clothing, shoes, make-up or jewellery. But always look for a deal. You get what you pay for.
  23. Never give up! My two little soldiers have no dad, but you are brave, big-hearted, fit and strong. You are also loved by an immensely kind and supportive team of family and friends. You make your own good fortune, my children, so battle on.
  24. Never feel sorry for yourself, or at least don’t do it for long. Crying doesn’t make things better.
  25. Look after your body and it will look after you.
  26. Learn a language, or at least try. Never engage a person abroad in conversation without first greeting them in their own language; by all means ask if they speak English!
  27. And finally, cherish your mother, and take very good care of her.

I love you both with all my heart.
Daddy x

Life never ceases to surprise me July 29, 2011

Posted by Akash in Life as it goes.
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Last June and July were difficult months. I used to work for a company specializing on Telecom softwares. I left the job and joined in Investment Banking last May. On May 28th, my baby was 2 months old and my wife was still on her maternity leave. We were hoping to spend some good time together before she joins back office again. We had a bit of financial problem at that time but it was manageable.

In the early months of June, my wife called me in office to inform that she got a call from her doctor’s office asking her to report as soon as possible and it was about her pap-smear result. We both were taken aback with this call. Although she tried to take it lightly and postpone the meeting with the doctor, I convinced her to book an early appointment following week. Now, we all know that the Pap test is done for early detection of cervical cancer and it is a routine test that everybody does. But we didn’t expect that there can be something wrong in the results of our Pap test. So naturally our reaction was that of disbelieve and shock and denial. But we had to find it out in detail anyway from the doctor.

Even before visiting doctor, I started checking on it in the Internet and guess what, I was freaked out! There were all sorts of freaking story out there on cervical cancer which frightened me enough for the upcoming doctor’s appointment.

Anyway following week we met the doctor and doctor told us that her Pap test report is not normal and was detected with something called AGUS – Atypical grandular cell of undermined significance – which is quite abnormal (a more normal one is called ASUS) and spreads faster than ASUS. And we need to go for some further tests for which my wife needs to go through some surgical procedures wherein doctors would collect several sample of tissues from the inner and outer parts of the cervical canal (curettage) and send them for biopsy. Treatment will start after they get the biopsy report. In short, doctor was saying something that I do not understand and do not know what does that mean. The only question that I was able to ask to the doctor is – “doctor, is such cases common?” – and doctor said – “it’s not very common”.

So I again went back to Internet and tried to figure out what the doctor is talking about. Is he saying that she has cervical cancer? I read it in the Internet that life expectancy of cervical cancer is around 5~7 years.  Although I made myself quite familiar with the meaning of the words that doctor uttered that day, the more I read about it, the scarier it appeared to me.

And the first time in Life, I realized that I might lose her one day and I can’t explain how it felt.  We took a time of 1 month from the doctor before we do the surgery and doctor gave her an appointment on 6th July for the hospital admission.

Now we had 1 month in our hand. We did not know what lies ahead at the end of the 1 month. But I knew that our life could change completely after that month. And most importantly we might end up in a situation where I can not do anything but to wait to lose her.  I was terrified but it brought back a lot of old memories of her. I remembered the great times of our college days together, when we used to meet over the bridge of river Karala and the arch-bridge of river Tarthari, when we were like two birds freely roaming around the beautiful tea gardens / rivers / fountains around the foothills of Himalayan mountains.  The sun kissed valley was our play ground, remote river bank was our resting area, and following the unknown alleys of the paddy fields was our amusement.

I suddenly realized, to be happy you need to remember your past. Future is uncertain, there is hope in the future but there is no assurance. And the present is what you are going through and go through anyway without realizing much of what you are doing.   

Cervical cancer. Since I live inSingaporeI had to brought-in others of my family here to support us during the time of her hospital admission. I called-in my parents. But we never informed anything to her parents lest they get over tensed. On 6th July she went in for the surgery. I was asked to pay a hospitalization and surgery bill which thrashed me to ground. The bill was at least 4 times more than what I anticipated and it flushed-off my bank account and best portion of my credit card. Sitting outside the operation theatre, I thought to myself – what should I do now – like others I could not even pray to God as I don’t believe in the existence of God. So what should I do now?

The surgery went on fine and doctor gave a date of 19th July for the biopsy report to come out. We waited a breathless week and reached to doctor on 19th. When I was entering the doctor’s chamber I knew that in next 5 minutes my life can change for good.

Doctor gave us a copy of the biopsy report and told us that her Pap results were false positive. She is absolutely ok and normal.

Life is a merry-go-round which never ceases to surprise me!