Hegel on Knowledge

Reading “The Phenomenology of the Spirit” by Hegel. Find it fascinating. While, I have myself often taken an intellectual position of not trusting what I do know, or what I can know. I have been wary of error. Hegel points out beautifully, that this lack of trust itself cannot be trusted. It presupposes quite a bit, among them that Knowledge is distinct from us as well as from what Hegel calls the Absolute – which is true. (In the excerpt below, ‘Science’ refers to Philosophy and not the scientific method Science.)

Meanwhile, if the fear of falling into error introduces an element of distrust into science, which without any scruples of that sort goes to work and actually does know, it is not easy to understand why, conversely, a distrust should not be placed in this very distrust, and why we should not take care lest the fear of error is not just the initial error. As a matter of fact, this presupposes something, indeed a great deal, as truth, and supports its scruples and consequences on what should itself be examined beforehand to see whether it is truth. It starts with ideas of knowledge as an instrument, and as a medium; and presupposes a distinction of ourselves from this knowledge.

He goes on to say – what I think have been stunning lines for me.

More especially it takes for granted that the Absolute stands on one side, and that knowledge on the other side, by itself and cut off from the Absolute, is still something real; in other words, that knowledge, which, by being outside the Absolute, is certainly also outside truth, is nevertheless true – a position which, while calling itself fear of error, makes itself known rather as fear of the truth.

Jonjhua

Surely we are asking the wrong questions.

Why are we alive?
Why do we exist?
What is the purpose of life?
What’s the point?
What is going on?
Why do we die?
What is reality?
I have figured out – the right question to ask is Jonjhua.
Jonjhua we alive?
Jonjhua we exist?
Jonjhua purpose of life?
Jonjhua point?
Jonjhua going on?
Jonjhua die?
Jonjhua reality?
What is Jonjhua?
Patience. 🙂 Read on…
All our questions are based on trying to figure out reality.
Let’s see how well we do on “reality” on a day-to-day basis.
What we normally refer to as our experience of the world is actually a set of events that have already been significantly transformed with respect to the world and bears only a shadowy resemblance to the real world.
What we see is just a narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Photons of wavelength between 400 to 700 nanometers strike receptors in the retina of the eye. All wavelengths below and above this are undetected and unexperienced by us directly. The photons between 400 to 700 nm are detected by our receptors and create an impulse which travels through the optic nerve passing through larger complex structures (eg. distinct nerves, lateral geniculate bodies, hypothalmus etc.) and leading to the occipital lobes. At each of these stages mapping through neurlogical processes changes or adds on to the data stream that serves as the initial input to the receptor.
(Simple translation: What we see is not what is really out there, but a version of it corrupted by our own receiving antennae)


John Grinder in ‘Whispering in the wind’ says –

The image we see of what we take to be in front of us is actually behind us on our occipital lobes. We “know” that that occipital lobe image corresponds to some event in front of us through learning and especially the multiple descriptions of the our experiencie of the world that we create through a comparioson of the products of the neurological transforms that define the individual sensory modalities – in particular touch and audition. The sound we hear emanating from behind us is an event that is actually occurring on our temporal lobe – but we have learned as in the case of vision through coordination with the other modalities and in particular by arrival time differentials as refined as 1/250,000 of a second between the two ears where in the space around us the source of the sound is located. Again similar descriptions are available for the other sensory channels.

Case in point – Stainless Steel. Stainless Steel is made ‘stainless’ by a thin film created when chromium, oxygen (from air and water) react with iron, chromium, manganese, silicon, carbon etc. This thin film is invisible and prevents additional corrosion by acting as a barrier that limits the access of oxygen and water to the underlaying metal surface.
What this means is – that stainless steel does not corrode – because it is already corroded. Since, we can’t see the new film – it looks “stainless” to us.
Similar sequences of corruption of each sensory channel can be described. What we hear is within a limited bandwidth. What we feel is too. What we smell is again inhibited. And so is what we can taste.
We can’t hear dog whistles.
We see stars which are probably long dead.
A dog can smell what we can’t.
What we experience is not reality. What we experience is a shadow of reality – mutilated, corrupted, modified, added on,
changed beyond recognition by our own neurological receptors.
In his book, Grinder gives a beautiful description of this distinction –

You are likely sitting in a comfortable chair holding this book in your hands as you read these words. You are sensing a vast number of things; most of them occur without your being aware of them; some force their way into your consciousness. We invite you to back out of your present perceptual position for a moment and look at this reader seated comfortably in a chair, holding a book. What is the larger context in which you observe him or her holding the book?

This reader whom you are observing is awash in a sea of electromagnetic energy – the entire electromagnetic spectrum is in active play in, around and through her, her chair and her book. The reader has very limited access to this vast spectrum of events. Her eyes are capable of detecting wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 700 nanometers. Her ears register the arrival the sound waves, alternating compressions and attenuation of sound waves generated between 20 cycles per second and 20,000 cps. The tactile sensitivity of her skin responds to differences in position, temperature, moisture… within extremely limited ranges. The rest of what is happening — indeed, the vast majority of those events that occur in the electromagnetic spectrum that defines the actual world — occur without any awareness, in fact, without the possibility of unaided awareness (that is, without instrumentation) by her. In the time that it took her to read the last paragraph, a large number of sub atomic particles have literally passed through her body.

The channels of access – her sensory apparatus – to this booming buzzing riot of movement, energy and flux are as small knotholes in a fence through which she attempts to peer as if to catch a fleeting glimpse of the great game being played out there.
Having already demolished the reality of the real world – let us now zoom in to what seems to be going on inside our mind.
Thought.
Memory.
Imagination.
Reasoning.
Cognition.
Decision Making.
Sentience.
Subjectivity.
Self-reflection.
These are the tools or appratus available to us through which we are trying to figure out the ‘meaning’ of reality.
What makes us believe that these tools are enough? How do we know that there are not other tools that exist and are available – just not to us?
We are not equipped to “see” the real world.
We are not equipped to “hear” the real world.
We are not equipeed to “feel”, “smell” or “taste” the real world.
What makes us believe we are equipped to “think” about the real world usefully and come to ‘real’ answers?
And isn’t the construct of an ‘Answer’ merely that – a construct?
What if our intellect operates within a limited range and once one goes beyond this range (which is of course, not possible) – the whole construct or idea of things having an answer or solution dissolves and something unknown takes its place?
What then?
And then – comes the problem of ‘framing’ the question. Our experience of the world – is not real. It is merely First Access. It’s messy. It’s corrupted. It’s downright inaccurate.
But at least its a representation ( a re-presentation, we present the world again to ourselves ) through the apparatus available.
To this cocktail of confusion – we now add Language. It is like doing tequila shots when you are already pissed drunk so that you can get a grip on reality.
Language is not even a re-presentation. It is a re-presentation of a re-presentation.
Remember First Access? Language deletes, distorts and generalizes from the First Access and tries to make sense of the world.
This means – language undergoes two levels of corruption (the more appropriate word is “transormation”).
Now imagine – you are trying to figure out the meaning of reality (or life) by using tools of language – which are a representation of a representation of reality – when the first representation itself is assuredly inaccurate.
Good luck with that!!
Hence, Jonjhua.
Jonjhua is the word I have invented to describe a language construct – which uses a range of mental faculties not available to us so as to get rid of all the limitations posed above. If we use Jonjhua – we are not dealing with the challenges of corruption in language. We are not even dealing with the challenges of corruption from First Access.
When you use Jonjhua in language – it directly (and what must seem like magic) connects one to “reality”.
And using Jonjhua helps you access the unknown “stuff” that helps ‘real’ reality makes sense.
Jonjhua we alive?
Jonjhua we exist?
Jonjhua purpose of life?
Jonjhua point?
Jonjhua going on?
Jonjhua die?
Jonjhua reality?
If only, it were possible.

Fake

How easily our lives get swept away by the fake world of borders and stock markets, advertisements and sports, being good-looking and looking good, the evening news and the morning newspaper, the talk shows and the reality tv, the national elections and the international ones, the wars and the freedom struggles.

How easily we make that business deal over there, matter to us so much that we develop ulcers over it. How effortlessly we get swept away in the world of distractions that surrounds us – till we forget to be with ourselves. Then – we are alone and we want the TV on, or that magazine to read. The distraction from life has now become life – while life looks on – hapless as an accident victim, the only witness to it too busy to take note and rescue it.

Almost nothing that touches us in real life is real. Almost nothing.

Money is fake. Countries are fake. Passport and Visas are fake. Stock Markets are fake. Deodorant and Perfumes are fake. Clothes are fake. Cars are fake. Sports are fake. Movies are fake. Advertisements are fake. Religion is fake. Godmen are fake. Promotions are fake. Laws are fake. Currency notes are fake. Banks are fake. Police and military are fake. Schools are fake. Colleges are fake. Degrees are fake and Ph.Ds are fake. Organizations and corporations are fake. Houses are fake. Rules are fake. All traffic signs are fake. Marriage is fake. Divorces are fake.

Almost everything that touches us in real life is fake. The things we care about, get high blood pressure over, cry, scream and wail over – are fake.

Money, passports, visas, bank-statements, insurance claims, bills – pieces of paper which we have agreed to mean something. Fake.

Promotions and Corporations – invisible designations in artificial constructions called organizations make us feel good or bad. Fake.

Degrees and Education – Spend so many years visiting the same buildings with the same people, sitting in the same rooms, pretending to study the same thing, answering the same questions, getting different marks and you have graduated. Learning – is optional. Fake.

God and Religion – A megalomaniac of a God, waiting to hurl punishments and the everlasting fires of damnation upon you if you dare to break his rituals, forget to remember him or worse still – pray to another god. A needy clingy monster egoist god who would not smile and bless you till you kneel in submission at him, for the rest of your life. By the way, he loves you. And he’s always a He. Fake.

Marriage – a fire, a ceremony, a party, a court-paper, a judge, two witnesses is what you need for marriage. Not understanding and compassion and growth and expansion and creativity and sensuality and love and laughter. A paper, with four signatures and a seal. Fake.

Divorce – a court proceeding, hurled accusations or amicable separations – must be legal. A couple married long ago – bored, stiff, unfulfilled, no conversations or love or laughter or sensuality, a limp resignation and cynicism about each other, hoping like hell to be somewhere else every minute they spend together – are still married, unless the paper says so. Fake.

Houses and Cars and other Toys – who you are is everything around you except you. Who you are is the house you live in, the car you drive, the mobile phone you use, the gadgets you own – You don’t exist, you have no inherent value – the Toys make the man. Fake.

Rules and Laws and Codes – Everything that is held sacred now, was up for sale once. Everything that was held sacred once, is up for sale now. Societies keep choosing the way they wish to live. And keep changing their choices. It gives workability, transient – in the moment – workability. Fake.

Countries – lines drawn on sand, grass, desert and across seas by an invisible hand-mind-gun invoke passion, fury, hatred, love, pride and breeds violence. Fake.

Then, what is real?

What is intransient and exists.

Music is not fake. Music is real.

Learning is not fake. Learning is real.

Love is not fake. Love is real.

Fear is not fake. Fear is real.

Courage is not fake. Courage is real.

Love, Fear, Courage, Learning, Music – is real. Is Life.

“Is it true?” vs “Does it work?”

Lately, I have been so intrigued by the question “Why” that it has clouded my life-long fascination with the “How”.

Trying to answer the fundamental Why questions remains a quest – its deep, its meaningful, even sexy.

Trying to answer the How is less glamorous. It is an arena filled with squabbling crooks, missionaries, conmen, charlatans, quacks and well… those like me. Since masses care about the How more than the Why, there has been commercialization of this space too.

Here is why I care about “How”

The lack of empirical evidence is more the norm than an exception of the discipline of mind-science (to use a not-so-graceful term).

John Horgan in his book “The Undiscovered Mind – How the brain defies explanation” says… (not verbatim)

Evolutionary Biologist Erns Mayr argued that no field of biology can match the precision and power of physics, because unlike electrons and neutrons, all organisms are unique. Even then, the difference between two different kinds of bacteria or different types of horses is trivial compared to differences between two human beings, even those who are genetically identical. Each individual mind may change dramatically when its owner is spanked, learns the alphabet, reads a book, takes a drug, falls in love, gets divorced, undergoes Jungian dream therapy, suffers a stroke. The variability and malleability of the human mind enormously complicate the search for general principles of human nature.

Investigations into the human mind have failed to generate the kind of applications that compel belief in a particular paradigm. Physicists can boast of lasers, transistors, nuclear bombs. Biologists can show-off vaccines, cloning, antibiotics. By-products of mind-science are less impressive: cognitive behavioral therapy, thorazine, prozac, shock therapy, IQ tests etc.

Millions and millions of people receive inputs through psychoanalysis, which Freud invented a century ago. Psychoanalysis also fares very poorly in empirical research. Freud has been described as a cult-leader who excelled at self-promotion and also as a genius whose insights into the psyche, though difficult to pin down empirically, still “ring” true. Each of these views is defensible, and the persistence of psychoanalysis proves the inability of science to offer an obvious superior explanation of the mind and its disorders. Freudians cannot point to an unambiguous evidence of their paradigm’s superiority, but neither can proponents of more modern paradigms.

The field of social psychology – which continues to speculate about human culture – coining terms that we are so intimately familiar with as teachers – like “identity crisis”, “conventional wisdom” or “learned helplessness” – these are not scientific theories but “help us think”.

A slightly different approach then, would be to judge paradigms of thought, not on what they say – but for what they do. The question shifts from “Is it true?” to “Does it work?”

Early advocates of Quantum Physics could only describe results from esoteric experiments. Later, they had the supporting evidence from fission reactors, transistors, lasers, thermonuclear bombs – technologies that altered the course of history. For many physicists; whether quantum mechanics is true is almost irrelevant. It works.

I believe – the name, the label, the thought-movement or affiliations don’t matter. I discovered NLP and several other philosophies in a personal quest for meaning and growth and accepted that which made sense and matched my experience. This strategy has worked for me. I cannot claim in all honesty that I have not been skeptic or unfairly judgmental of certain bodies of knowledge. However, in such cases – the loss has been mine.

Ambition or Meaning?

When I think about how I have evolved, there seem to be two main players.

Ambition and Meaning
These are the two principal actors in the theater of my life.
Ambition and Meaning.
Ambition takes center stage at times, his demeanor is assertive, his gaze fixed. He is full of passion and believes in his dreams. Ambition strives to succeed, to create, to partner, to conquer, to defeat, to win. Ambition takes a hard look at reality and proclaims “This needs to change” or “I will create this and that”. Ambition got me to be dynamic, learn skills of persuasion and negotiation. Ambition tells me I should hire an agent who will do a good job promoting me. Ambition got me to start my own company and persist in the face of odds. Ambition gets me to create new products, ideas. Ambition gets excited at the slightest mention of fames and riches and seeks glamor and the limelight. Ambition is full of energy, constantly dissatisfied, constantly striving, constantly improving.
Meaning on the other hand is much pensive. Much reflection, curiosity and intellectual honesty seem to have gone into the making of Meaning. Meaning strives to find, to connect, to synthesize, to combine, to bring together, to understand, to analyze. Meaning does not believe in perceptions. Meaning does not believe in the “outer world”. Meaning is beyond social, political, environmental and even personal happenings. Meaning only strives for intellectual honesty and believes only in the power of reason. Meaning does not care about glamor or riches or fame. Meaning only cares for an understanding, for things to make sense. Meaning seeks its place in the universe and its role in the scheme of things. Meaning does not even seek fulfillment or satisfaction – merely the beauty of “it makes sense!”. It seeks the higher truth, not worldly gratifications.
Here I am, typing these words into a screen with zillions of shimmering digital drops of lights. I run a company, care about my work. I make a difference to people’s lives – when I know in the ‘absoluteness’ of it all – it doesn’t matter. I strive to succeed, yet understand that success is an illusion. I seek fulfillment, yet understand that its impossible.
This is my malaise. Who do I choose to rule my life – Ambition or Meaning?
As of now, we continue with their uneasy co-existence.

The Albatross

Often, to amuse themselves, the men of a crew
Catch albatrosses, those vast sea birds
That indolently follow a ship
As it glides over the deep, briny sea.

Scarcely have they placed them on the deck
Than these kings of the sky, clumsy, ashamed,
Pathetically let their great white wings
Drag beside them like oars.

That winged voyager, how weak and gauche he is,
So beautiful before, now comic and ugly!
One man worries his beak with a stubby clay pipe;
Another limps, mimics the cripple who once flew!

The poet resembles this prince of cloud and sky
Who frequents the tempest and laughs at the bowman;
When exiled on the earth, the butt of hoots and jeers,
His giant wings prevent him from walking.

— Charles Baudelaire

Brain, Mind and Me

For more than a decade now, I have been fascinated by the human mind. And the more I have understood, the more baffled I have become.

Simple things – seemingly simple things like perception, decisions, awareness, emotions are such complex events and happen at so many levels (chemical, electrical, macroscopic- physiological, environmental, metaphysical, spiritual…) that with every passing moment, my awe and respect for the web of complexity in which we live has only increased.

While scientists have made some useful connections in terms of details, we are still struggling with some very basic questions –
“What is consciousness?”
“Who is the observer?”

Recently I have been reading a book called “How do brains make up their minds?” by Walter J. Freeman. In spite of the deceptively simple title, the book is a difficult read, but I am persisting and the result has been a rare insight into the workings of the brain (not the mind!).

Learning about the brain is fascinating, because unlike in the case of mind (which is intangible), in the case of brain – you actually have something to work with. The physical mass of gooey matter between our ears we call the brain. The neurons, the hypothalamus, the neuropeptides and the neural network are some of the labels we have given to an absolutely unexplainable miracle happening inside our heads all the time.

Every emotion has a chemical associated with it (called a peptide) and every time you choose to experience an emotion, the chemicals are produced in your hypothalamus. These chemicals are then released into the bloodstream. So, the happiness-chemical or the sadness-chemical literally explodes into your entire body through the blood-stream and finds its way to different cells. It then docks on a cell and then changes the very nature of the cell, sometimes even the nucleus.

We literally, with chemicals – poison ourselves with anger.
We literally, with chemicals – fill ourselves with fulfillment.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

How does this fit in with making real, measurable changes in our lives?

This is a good place to share another distinction I have made. In learning about the brain and creating real change in life (which is what I am committed to).

It is very interesting, it can give you amazing insights – but it is no more necessary to create changes in real life than it is to understand the intricate workings of the internal combustion engine to drive a car or even know how exactly a microprocessor works to use the computer more effectively.

Of course it would help, but it is not necessary.

While studying hardware is good for a deeper understanding and quenching our thirst for knowledge, it is surely more important to know your operating system and how it works.

Which is why for someone like me, who hopes to create effective results in life – better relationships, fulfillment, satisfaction and passion – study of the brain must remain secondary to the study of the mind.

If only it were not so damn fascinating!!

A better world

I do not believe in a perfect world.
I do not believe in a world without death, disease, anger or tragedy.

I do believe in a better world.

I have often felt my anger against ‘how things are’ versus ‘how things should be’.
I am sure you have too.
Anger against obvious injustices.
Men and women losing loved ones because of man-made reasons for one.
Anger against profit-motives overriding humanitarian concerns.

I have recently realized, anger against injustice is like war for peace.
It’s an anomaly. It’s useless. It’s pointless.

A more spiritual and a much more practical perspective to adopt would be to just start doing things that I would do if the world were just what I expected it to be.
If I want the world to be kind, let me jus believe it is and respond.
If I want people to be humane and selfless, let me just believe it is and respond so.

Somehow, this belief seems to have made a difference in my experience of life.

The questions is – what do I do when you witness proof to the opposite, which I surely will.

The answer – nothing. Just forget it and move on. Just tell myself, that this was an anomaly, an aberration – not reality and move on.

But then what is the truth. What is the world really like?
The truth is – nobody knows!!
Nobody knows whether people are good or bad or cruel or kind. There is surely no empirical proof and the subjectivity of the matter can be debated for eons to come.

The newspapers or TV Channels, if you choose them to be a mirror of our world are I believe, inaccurate.
They do not report reality, they just report what is newsworthy.
And more often than not, what is newsworthy is violence, tragedy and death – because they are abnormal.
Newspapers or TV Channels do not and can not report millions of people falling in love this very moment. They cannot report millions being selfless and kind and helping others. They cannot possibly be witness to the mind-battles millions fight and win by making a higher choice.

Since, no objective reality exists – the world will be whatever we choose it to be.
I choose a better world.
And remember Gandhi.

He said – “Be the change you wish to see in the world”

Terrorism and Loveism!!


In the age and time that I have lived – Terrorism is an important world issue.

I was born in 1979, so I missed most of the Cold War action. That was good, because it ultimately turned out to be nothing. A damp squib. I vaguely remember seeing the Berlin Wall fall and the break up of Soviet Union.

But as I grew up, what most definitely changed the world forever happened just a few years back. 9/11 – the digits chillingly the same that Americans dial to get help from Police when in distress.

Since then, Terrorism became an important issue. Probably, the important issue. Whether I will live to see the day a girl would decide to go out with me depends entirely upon whether my country is sending some troops to Iraq. It seems, in the cold war you could blame everything – from a rude neighbor to the weather – on Russia (or U.S depending upon where you were). After Russia decidedly stopped being a threat – there was a godforsaken peaceful vacuum in which the world existed.

Now, things are better. We have Al-Queda. We have an enemy, we have somebody to fight with. And that is great!

If we don’t know who we are against, if we do not know who is our enemy – we don’t know who we are!! Not having an enemy might lead to such wasteful things as introspection and worrying about unimportant issues like environment or poverty or even…. Shudder shudder… hunger-deaths.

We don’t have to worry about those things anymore. We have terrorism. Yippee!! We have to worry about smoking them out of their holes and shooting them down and waging war and counting dead bodies and preparing for bomb-blasts and hostage negotiations.

The world is normal again!

Thank you Osama uncle.

Terrorism – Terror-ism. Philosophy of Fear.

Interesting.

I wonder if there was another way to fight terrorists.

Is there something called Loveism. Well, the red underline under the word on my word-processor says there isn’t.

But imagine if there was.

Loveism – Love-ism. Philosophy of Love.

Love is the opposite of Fear. Isn’t it natural that we should fight fear with love? Fighting fear with fear could result in overall – well…… more fear!
Oh, you are a terrorist?
Know what, I am a Loveist!!

Here are some imaginary headlines from newspapers not yet published.

Loveists strike in the heart of New York! Police reach in time to be kissed.

Unknown Loveists sprinkle flowers and rosewater over Iraq.

Loveist head – Cupid Bin Bush warns: All those who believe in fear are our next target.

Loveism is a threat to the Weapons Industry – stocks plummet.

Here is a small news item:

Loveists attack London, Afghanistan, Iraq

By our international Reporter,
September 11, 2xxx

In a worldwide attack of chilling accuracy, Loveists today struck three corners of the world – London, Kabul and Baghdad at 8 A.M GMT.

London
Londoners were in for a shock as the Loveists forcibly stopped an underground train and distributed, again, forcibly – footstep counters (small digital devices which count the number of footsteps you take everyday!) and conducted small training programs on how to stay healthy. They segregated the smokers and shot water pistols at them. The stunned smokers were then presented with toy-lungs and asked to care for them. The hunt is on for the Loveists, but as always – they have left no traces. Later on a statement was posted at an unofficial site on internet which said a new group ‘Random acts of Extreme Kindnesses” has taken responsibility for the act.

Baghdad
A group of rebel U.S marines sent a chill down the spine of the entire world by revealing their real identities as agents of “Love Group for Middle East”. They shocked the Iraqis by reciting verses from the Koran over loudspeakers in the city. They had been practicing for months, reports say. They proceeded to the now-famous Abu Gharib prison and made a public apology on behalf of mankind to those who had suffered there. The matter has shaken the U.S army to the core and head in command was sacked the same evening. The U.S marines have been arrested for the heinous act and will be face a court martial.

Afghanistan
At about the same time – a group of about 100 loveists appeared out of nowhere – and in a precisely executed operation erected a plywood school building with a well stocked library and built a huge water tank for a small town near Kabul, all within eight hours. Eyewitnesses say, the authorities were kept at bay by a parade of strippers, who in eight hours of a sleazy dance show – managed to take their veils off and also exposed their elbows. The Mayor of the town was then kidnapped and tickled till he approved of both the constructions as legal.

World Reaction
The love attacks have brought the world community together in expressing their condemnation and disgust. President Gregor Bush of U.S.A in a white house release today said “The Loveists pose a threat to the world as we know it. They stand against the concepts of profit, power and believe only in spreading harmony and love in the hearts of our voters. We will not tolerate this. We will smoke them out of their holes and kill them. For without fear, there is no power”. He was supported by the British PM, Mr. Tony Blare. Indian PM, Mr. Manmohan Sing said that the Loveists were looking for a resolution of the Indo-Pak hostilities without any extended negotiations over hundreds of years. This, he said, went against the very idea of two countries making peace. The Loveists, he said – would never succeed in their loving schemes.
Stop Press
The French however, have extended their full support to the Loveism movement and has been declared a Loveist country.

Ha ha…
Ha ha ha …
Ha ha ha ha….

Very funny, you say?

Romantic but not realistic, you say.

Exaggerated? Yes.
Romantic? Very much.
Realistic? Totally.

How do we know? When was the last time we responded to terror with love? When was the last time we felt fear and said “I forgive”. As a race, when was the last time we did it?

And if we have never done it, how do we know what consequences will it bring?

If U.S, instead of vying for the oil of Iraq, provided water and food to Iraq and Afghanistan and marketed its contributions well enough – are there any chances that some of the hardcore militants would soften? If I am giving you water, will you kill me? Well, maybe after you read my book, no matter what I do, you will kill me – but I mean seriously. If we made a genuine, from the heart effort to help those who hate us – would hatred give way to shock… to guilt…. To tolerance… to understanding…. To appreciation… to love.

Maybe not.

But then,

Maybe.

Is it worth a shot?

I should have…

The saddest words in English Language are – “I should have….”

The novel ‘War and Peace’ by Leo Tolstoy has a character called Ian. Ian is old and he is dying. On his deathbed this is what Ian says to himself

“What if my whole life has been wrong? What if all I did was live by the rules – others wanted me to live by? What if those rare flashes of inspiration – which lasted only a few seconds and which I let pass as something abnormal – were the real thing? What if I never did what was really important to me? What if all the happiness I felt was only incidental – not created? What if the happiness I felt could have been deeper, richer and more intense? What if I never really asked myself what was important and never figured it out? What if… what if my whole life has been wrong?”

In the twilight of life, it is not what you did that bothers you – it is what you didn’t do, what you could have done – that gnaws at your soul.

In old age, with so little left in the future and so much there in the past, you will come back and live your life all over again. A life that is being created now, as you read this message. Try and make it a life, you can look back on and tell your grandchildren about, and laugh silently at the looks of admiration in their eyes.

Because the alternative is grow into a cynical, bitter old person where you will choose to make your existence mundane, routine and uneventful while the wait for inevitable death continues.

Remember, we do grow old and die, you know.