Sometime earlier this year I had discussion with Krushna, that ‘how much technology contribute towards making us dumb ?’, there is a famous quote by Albert Einstein that “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”. Today I realize that to some extent. What happened was that power was down due to rain and bad weather. So my pc was down, the lappy’s battery was already dead, phone was up but again Wi-Fi was down. So I brought up the book ‘Brief History of Time’, and read it for about an hour and half. It is since long I read a book for such a long and I enjoyed it. Usually what happens is I fall down for easier options like PC game or a series. However they have and will play a crucial role in making me what I am, I have felt for long that I am not giving enough time for reading and other such kind of activities.
I haven’t been asked any question about the name ‘rational fool’ or ‘logical fool’, because of the limited audience of blog. But I am going to explain it anyway. First of all going backward the word ‘fool’, now a point should be noted that at micro level it does not mean lack of intelligence. I know that, I am not less fortunate in terms of intelligence. Robert J. Sternberg states that “Foolishness is the lack or failure of wisdom and of making proper careful choices. In this sense, it differs from stupidity, which is the lack of intelligence”. But the major dilemma here is not that about how an intelligent person can be fool, it’s how a rational person can be a fool. Any rational decision taken with pure logic, can be wrong horribly wrong as we human are not omniscient, we have a limited view of environment and so any rational decision can be wrong. A superb example was found in the our reference book of Artificial Intelligence(Russel-Norwig, Pearson 2e). If I am walking on the pavement of the road and on the other side I see and old friend also walking. I do not have any hurry and he also seem to be relaxed, so its rational to go on the other side and meet him. I check on both the side before crossing the road, its empty. Now crossing the road is a fully rational decision. But as I start crossing the road, a aero plane flying 35,000 feet above me loses a cargo. Which eventually falls on me at the middle of the road. Needless to say, what happens to me. Now this decision to meet an old friend and crossing the road, however horribly wrong(we will define right decision as the one beneficiary to me, and wrong the opposite) was not ‘foolish’. But in real life, sometimes decision made with logic and rationality in mind turns out to be foolish, or feel foolish afterwards. Another meaning which was not exactly in my mind when acquiring this name, is ardent enthusiast about something. But it can be relevant here.
Once Nietzsche famously said that ‘whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stronger.’ However true it is I feel it is in incomplete. Yes, the most challenging and hard experiences do make you stronger. But many times they also kill something inside you. The hardship helps you develop a strong shell outside, but the damage already done inside will remain with you for lifetime. And this damage will define who you are for rest of your life.
Actually hardship can have strange and vivid effects on person. A best example is young men going for war. They experience more hardship in a few days, than of their all previous life. Actually a ruthless training is given to him to make them stronger. And of course it makes them stronger, but is it free of cost? No, it take something out of them. Someone can survive that and someone cannot. When I first saw the film ‘Full Metal Jacket’, I didn’t realized this thought. Like many other thoughts, this one was also not emphasized much. The name refers to the standard type of ammunition used by soldiers in war. The film is situated at marine corps training center in the first half and in Vietnam for the second. But now, it occurs to me that the name ‘Full Metal jacket’ may have a hidden meaning of developing a strong jacket or shell. So that the hardship of war, when you see your colleagues die in front of you, do not impair your ability to react, to fight. It surely have a meaning of turning a man (or boy), in to a killing machine. If trauma caused by pain and suffering is at the core of this movie, another movie, ‘The Hurt Locker’ explores a completely different situation; where pain and suffering of war becomes an addiction and one cannot leave without that any more.
To sum it all up , it is true that suffering and loss makes one stronger, while happiness and love makes one weak. As Nikki Lauda says in ‘The Rush’, “Happiness is the enemy, it weakens you. Suddenly you have something to loose“. A man with nothing to lose is unbeatable. But here the important thing is, life is not only about being strong, it’s about enjoying it. It’s good to be weak, if you enjoy it.
Today as Microsoft officially stops support for Windows XP. When I heard this news, a lot of things came to mind. Its’ not like all XP machines are going to be vanished overnight. But gradually its popularity will fed and one day you will only study in books about windows XP a very successful x86 based operating system. But what XP meant to us, Millennial (born 1980-2000). It was the first OS that touched our hearts. Many of us, when first time pressed the power button of a personal computer, first thing we saw was that screen with the windows XP written in it. However in my case when I first did it on my first pc, it was that ‘flying in the sky’ windows logo with windows 98, written in it. But my love for computer flourished on those XP days. And like many of us, for long I used that legendary OS(vista in 2006 was a failed OS, I remember we were taught how to change Disk mode from AHCI to IDE in order to boot XP, when laptops were distributed in our college in 2009, yes our college does that on subsidized cost). Actually my contact with it lasted till the starting of the previous year(2013). I was using XP in my PC to keep graphic memory free for high graphics games. XP was the most loved and hated OS of our time, we hated its vulnerability to virus, we hated its crappy hangs. But at the end of the day we could not live without it. XP would work decently on resolution of 1024×800 in a computer with 128 MB of RAM with a hard disk of 5 or 10 GB and still you can play a lagging GTA Vice City on it. (no, I am not joking). For all these things you will be missed, dear XP.
As world chess champion Garry Kasparov has said ‘chess is mental torture’, above line was the first to come on my mind when I went out from the final round of ‘CodeJam’ event. Not only me but most of them(all who were serious), selected by 2 previous rounds, the best 20 of the lot; tries to overcome a grand challenge problem. You can sense the heaviness in the air, you can feel these persons touching their minds, often using pen and paper as a tool. Then I also see participants walking out of the room, with face like they are beaten to hell. When I myself came out, for some time all I wanted to do was to do nothing, just giving rest to this little brain. However first, thing I did after that was to write in my phone ‘programming is a mental torture’. I have done programs like this before, but first time in a competitive environment with time limit and a prize at stack.
I just scored 36.33 (normalized 34.22) in GATE exam, AIR 5039. It is not a bad score given i had only prepared for 1 or 2 weeks seriously. But if some one says i got that for free or by luck, that is not true. Like, Mr. Angier in ‘The Prestige’, “I also have made sacrifice, i also have paid the cost”. May be i have not attended hefty coaching and gave a dozen of mock tests, but for 2 years (sem 4,5,6,7) I have tried to learn the subjects, to embrace the logic behind it. I have spend hours struggling with a program, which was not even in syllabus. I am not saying i didn’t enjoy it, I enjoyed it a lot, but I also paid a price, like being a social pariah all the time.
Today is my payday. I am not taking admission on this marks anywhere, but may be it will help me in getting a tutors job, while I prepare for my post graduation. And last thing I am not going to remain a social pariah any more; I know I will never be a social butterfly, but a social caterpillar will suffice.
The great thinkers of past age like Buddha, Mahavira, Mohammad or Christ, they all gave a doctrine of thought to people in form of simple rules. They did it because it was easy for common man to understand it. Pure thoughts are hard to understand for common people. But what they failed to see was that with time this rules will become obsolete, insignificant and even dangerous in hands of irrational minds. Every man who will dare to ask questions about this rules will be trashed. They thought this simple rules would be periodically revised by wise men and will provide better leaving for common man; but it didn’t happen. Actually what happened that wise men , rational minds learned the thoughts given by the Holy man and irrational minds followed the rules; so when rules became non-contextual or misinterpreted, the wise men told that this is not the truth. But the followers of rules were irrational minds, closed minds; they didn’t listen to the logical argument presented by wise few; instead they bullied them and punished them for challenging the rule. This way after generations the essence of doctrine died and only a skeleton of original thoughts remained, claiming to be the original thoughts obstructing the little creatures trying to grow on their own (the thoughtful ones). This is the tragedy of today’s religions.
I don’t know how many times I have, wondered about ‘how the first living organism in the world came to place ?’ , I knew there is no final answer for that question yet, and may there never will be (unless we make a time machine….). But what will suffice me is a logical explanation of the phenomenon. On the second chapter of the book ‘Selfish Gene’ by Richard Dawkins I got that answer and as I read ahead other shocking ideas, which were undeniably logical.
The core of the book is “We (and all living organisms) are machines, a vehicle programmed by our genes, to ensure their survival” and that these genes are selfish, all they ‘care’ is about their survival. It denies an individual as an unit of natural selection. It says that our conscientiousness, our survival instinct and our love or altruism for relatives, all are part of the genes programming for their survival in the long race.
I have been writing personal log for about one and a half year, and I have thought more than once to make a part of it public as web log or blog. But I never did it, partly because I thought it was not worth the effort of hosting the site and choosing domain (i will not go with blogger.com or something like that, i am an engineer) and partly because i am lazy. But a few days ago i accidentally landed in a blog called themangoman (aam aadmi). It was not an active blog, last posts were about two year old, but what i loved there was the integrity of the author. I thought let me also do this, if one guy (or girl, preferably) in the whole wide world (or world wide web) enjoys my writing as i did his, it will be worth the effort.