Thursday, December 06, 2012

CF Revived (Oh My God! - About Infinity, Probability & A Hidden Paradox)



What follows is a set of spontaneous thoughts that were allowed to flow out as words.

Semiotics is the science of meaning. How does God get meaning? This is an attempt to understand the meaning of God by decoding how our mind is hardwired to react and perceive the world. No layer of editing or structure has been applied. Whatever little structure exists is intrinsic. The way it got created.

7 Thoughts in Mind

1.      Infinity is being fed into the mind regularly. All the senses, sensing all the time. Information, knowledge, debates and arguments. Blankness too
2.      Mind can't comprehend everything that is fed into it
3.      Mind makes sense by organizing this complex data/information feed, on the basis of likely assumptions made through past experiences
4.      Mind tends to believe the sense it makes, and thus believes itself
5.      Mind also tends to question itself
6.      Belief and questioning help the mind to sharpen its assumptions
&
7.      Mind is "amazed" at all that which goes 'against' its assumptions.

***Amazement, Awe, Wonder, Distress, Bewilderment***

Amazement is an expression of a mistake that does not hurt
Distress is an expression of a mistake that hurts

Mistake is what went against the mind's assumption
Hurt is a driving force that makes the mind change its assumptions

Belief*Questioning*Mistakes*Amazement*Hurt

Poetic Conclusion:
"The idea of not binding the mind with an assumption and keeping it open to imbibe change without getting hurt is GOD."

Non Poetic Version:
"God = Incomprehensible Data"

But how?


7        More Thoughts

1.      The Mind assumes an event as being less likely or more likely to happen, basis the assumptions made from the limited amount of data that it has been able to comprehend and structure sensibly
2.      When a 'mistake' happens, the mind either reacts in amazement or with distress
3.      Both the situations seem beyond its control
4.      Mind needs a support system to get back to its process of "perception/reception ---> comprehension ---> belief/questioning ---> Assumption". Reboot.
5.      God is that Support system. A notion that lets mind forgive itself for the mistakes it made
6.      God thus is nothing but some 'incomprehensible data' that helps the mind to go back to the state of believing & questioning. Because Infinity/Incomprehensible data is where it all started
&
7.      Probability is one such incomprehensible set of notions.

God elicits awe and wonder. It’s a Universal Set of all that we believe to be beyond our control. Probability is beyond our control by definition.

Event A: Very likely to happen. Happens everyday. We are amazed when it doesn't happen. (Eg. A politician refusing to take bribe)
Event B: Very likely to happen. But we know there are times when it may not happen. (Eg. Continuous success. Sachin hitting a century in every game)
Event C: Less likely to happen, but we know it happens. At times we can’t even believe when it happens. (Eg. You winning a game of Poker, Tambola, Scratch card or state lottery. Earthquake on Tv vs Earthquake in our city)
Event D: Unlikely to happen. Most of us think that they know it can’t happen (Eg. Extra terrestrial life, Someone waking up after dying)

All the sources of our awe, amazement, wonder, distress and hurt come from some such improbable event that went against our mind's assumptions.

The vastness of probabilities can never be comprehended by the mind. And if an event, that has lesser probability of occurrence, actually occurs, the mind is amazed and needs to define such an occurrence. We end up calling this 'mistake' as God.

Thus God, by definition, needs to be incomprehensible. It implies miracles, which are nothing but realization of a rare probability. Thus one brings the notion of faith into picture. Belief in God (The Incomprehensible) implies having faith, and faith has no reason.

Just because something is rare does not mean its occurrence is inexplicable. And just because something is inexplicable does not mean it is guiding or controlling us. This is a stone age thought.

Those rare events, that are interpreted as God's signals, become noticeable by the virtue of their unlikeliness of occurrence. A guiding force is a notion, that a certain set of probabilities will dominate over all other possible outcomes, because of the presence of an external factor. There is no way to find out if that external factor ACTUALLY affected the outcome or not, because one can’t go back in time and repeat the event sans the external factor.

Thus, the intrinsic value of the Stone Age God (That Incomprehensible Power Guiding My Life) is null. That God is only as valuable as the value WE associate with/allocate to it, in order to support rebooting of our system when the mind's assumptions are proven wrong.

'Less Likely' is NOT equal to 'Unlikely/Will Never Happen'.

When Event A is more likely than B, it’s the occurrence of B that will amaze you.

Probability does not rule out the occurrence of B and thus, leaves that door of Hope open, which makes you want to ensure that B happens instead of A. And when it happens, out of sheer probability, you tend to correlate the steps you took and the strategies you applied, and suggest that if the entire 'process' is repeated, you can make B occur over A, again and again! Thats how Knowledge is generated. And we tend to spread this knowledge at times without realizing the complete nature of the context.

If you didn't do anything, neither A nor B might occur (A third Probability C may). So doing (Karma), which is in your control, takes precedence over occurring, which is beyond your control. So you must keep doing what you think you are supposed to do.

And this cycle goes on and on. And it’s a fight you can never win inspite of having won, because you can never be sure of it. But thats OK.

This is where, I think, the poetic idea of God begins to make sense.

"The idea of not binding the mind with an assumption, and keeping it open to imbibing change without getting hurt is GOD."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Open Letter To Nandan Nilekani

Dear Mr Nilekani,

You have said that Aadhar card, by fixing the delivery system, will help curb corruption. This, most will agree, should be able to resolve petty corruption.

However, I'd like to darw your attention towards the not so petty corruption. Corruption involved in spending public money on activities (like conducting commonwealth games, or constructing roads) that are not related to government schemes for the last mile. The kind of corruption involved with procurement of products and services by government, for the public at large. The kind of corruption that involves moulding policies and managing information (mostly in real estate) in such a way that a few make windfall gains. When contracts/tenders are awarded for projects worth crores of rupees, someone gets the right to handle public money, with no responsibility/or substantial check on how effective that utilisation is. Aadhar, correct me if I am wrong, is not really geared to tackle this. If it can, or if you have some other ideas on how to fundamentally fix the system to take care of such large scale corruption on part of a few individuals, then do enlighten me.

You are a smart man - but bear with me while I share this little example -

When an individual gets the right to spend public money (for any public purpose), he is likely to be lured by possibility of kickbacks. Now, if the legal entity/department having the power to investigate and check his corruption is controlled and managed by A himself, then my guess is we are kind of doomed.

Now, if there is another individual C, with an independent power to check A's corruption, but with no power whatsoever to affect the usage/spending public money for any purpose, the probability of an effective anti corruption law becomes a reality.

Now put your hand on your heart and tell me if Aadhar can somehow help us out here?

You are a learned man, and I hope you have been tracking the media and reading up detailed documents (available in public domain) yourself. Do you really think that the likes of Kalmadi and Raja deserve to come back and be a part of parliamentary standing committees? You really think that there is no scam because "coal was never taken out of mother frikkin earth"? You really think that Vadra is just a nice little businessman whom DLF started loving because he looks cute to them in an Italian sort of way? You really think that Digvijay Singh is right in saying that he has evidence of corruption/wrongdoing against the kins of Vajpayee and Adwani, but will not reveal it because of some godforsaken twisted definition of "political ethics"? Don't tell me that you find it even remotely funny when Beni prasad verma says that 71 lac is too small an amount for Salman Khurshid to get involved with, and that if it was 71 crore, even he would be serious about it?

Well... the point I am making is this -
Aadhar is great - but that in itself does not make Kejriwal's movement against corruption incorrect. You are not the only one doing a trench job. No one is perfect, including Kejriwal. And like everyone else, even he will have his learning curve. But don't sit there and OB Van him like this. Many people have called him many things and it doesn't matter because so far these people have themselves been on the wrong side of national interest.

Your support and process acumen can help India tackle corruption further. If you have any suggestions on how to tackle the non-petty corruption, then please share with all of us.

Sent to - nandan.nilekani@nic.in

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

How content...

I have written stories. I have read stories.

Some stories, such as these, leave me in a state of turmoil. A part of me finds them lovable, and another part of me wonders if I relate to them at all. So instead of smiling a half truth smile, I smile exactly the way I should.

Sometimes I feel like I am playing games with my soul, touching more than I can reach out to. I can play act well that way. And at other times, I wonder how calmly aimless my life is. I am still lost, not wanting to be found, drifting peacefully, content with my aimlessness.

And thats when these stories come up from nowhere. Hitting me with these waves, splashes, bursts of excitement and daring me to not be swept away. But you know what, I am as happy and content being swept away, as I am not.

A very thin line there between dead and content, isn't it?

So heres one -

Can a content man die?

The chase had ended and the drama was over. Each breath that they now took was drenched in this stunning silence. They loved watching movies together before going to bed, and this was yet another satisfying one. This time, a thriller.

As he slipped into his dream with the ease of his hand slipping into hers', warmly tucked under the blue blanket, she moved for the umpteenth time getting her sleeping posture just right. They had hardly begun to wander off into that blissful dream state, when he suddenly felt her soft but cold hand on his cheek. His eyes smiled and he knew it was morning. And she had again woken up, walked around the house, enjoyed the chill in the air, and now back to relish the warmth of a winter morning bed with her love in it. Yet another beautiful morning next to his girl, the girl with the prettiest smile in the whole world.

As she moved closer, he opened his eyes as much as he could, kissed the inside of her palm and pulled her into his arms, hugging her with every inch of his existence.

She felt soft and nice, and he felt content. A broad smile brushed his sleepy face and he slipped back into the dream. The dream of having your dream in your arms.

He was content, and dead to the world.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

at 31... i am feeling good

i just changed the look of my blog! yay! (i think its the woman inside me who is feeling good about it. not sure if that's a good thing, but then ...they say you get wiser with age!). so, after some umpteen attempts at restarting crimson feet, it just feels like it might finally happen. these things you can't explain... you just know it! isn't it? (tsk! not me.. its that woman again)

so i had a little jog down my blog. last most active phase of CF revolved primarily around this character i had created, called "Ramprasad Rasiya!". Apart from RR, there were a fair amount of posts revolving around the idea of god, will power, relationships, morality etc.

a lot has happened since then. i fell in love and got married. (and the rest is thanks to my wife). i ran a marathon. I have 2 dogs now. got my wife's debut novel published (and psst psst... her second novel might soon be out). i traveled way more in the last 3 years than i did in the previous 27. i am planning to buy my second car. i have finally started running and exercising again. i know a little more about a few more things, and worry lot less about many more.

i am wondering what might this phase of cf be all about. motivated by Roger Penrose's "Shadows Of The Mind" and a workshop on semiotics by Santosh Desai, these days i am exploring the idea of reality (sensory vs unassailable truth), perception, and meaning of things. i am also grappling with some deep and disturbing moral questions like "is it fair to say that more the number of fools it takes to screw up your day, better the human being you are?", or something less complicated and more frustrating like, "why does zoozoo drool so much?".

i wonder..

but one thing i know... at 31, i am feeling good! :)

Intellectual Property - Beware