Friday, July 27, 2007


What happens when you cannot trust your instinct at all in certain situations ? Instinct is supposed to be that ancient wisdom that you get along with all other prerogatives of evolution. Or you can think of it as the prodding by the one unifying force, to guide you in the directions where you will be in harmony with the universe.
Suddenly one day you realize that the instinct always lets you down. To be clear, it takes you to a result that makes you unhappy (What is YOU ? that is another post sometime !). If we try to analyze it logically .. it means one of the following :

  1. What you thought was an instinct, was actually a course of action that YOU created to lead you to what you want, and passed it off as instinct
  2. Your unhappiness is a desirable/harmonious event for the universe. This is disagree with a lot, because i firmly believe that happiness is the result of harmony.
  3. Your desirable end result was not in harmony with nature/universe.
  4. The unhappiness that you felt was a sham .. Only superficial.

Where am i going with this ? All i can say is that hopefully this post will someday guide me towards discovering myself.

BTW.. I think i really like St Germain. I am listening to Boulevard (old version). It is an excellent follow-up to Afrolicious.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Is life losing fidelity ? I mean fidelity in a audio terminology .. as in Hi Fidelity.
MP3s are compressed audio files, and audiophiles assure us after conducting double blind listening tests that a well encoded mp3 file sounds identical (to most people) to the original CD. And they are the experts - who am I to question a study conducted using the scientific method ! But then, anyone who has ever heard a live concert can tell you that no CD can reproduce it. I guess the live concert is more than just the music. There are those vibes you get from the people around you, the memories of the last time you heard the song which you share, the inevitable joint which is passed around. You look up at the sky (when was the last time you did that ?) and try to imagine what this concert is in context of the universe. Or maybe the concert is the whole universe at that instant.
Coming back to the mp3 file. It loses something. I have tons of music as mp3s. They are convenient, you can easily find what you need to play by doing a simple file search. What it takes away is the randomness of browsing a CD tower (hey .. i have owned LPs, but only in very limited quantities. and any LP fellow will tell you that Cds suck too. but, just as a baseline, lets go with CDs) looking for the next song to play. And discovering that Allman Brothers recording that you had not heard for years.
Are we consciously trading fidelity for convenience? It may be a natural progression - we want to experience so much in life that the only way is to compress those sensations, in terms of time as well as quality. Think about it .. 10 years ago, would i have had access to so many different genres, so many different artists ? So we trade in quality for variety. And maybe our lives are richer because of that.
Same with images. Instead of film, we have jpegs. Which allow us to capture 200 pictures in the time we took to shoot 20. We still sacrifice fidelity. Even with the so called RAW. Its bits after all .. and whatever the resolution, there is no digital format which can accurately reproduce analog. It will be almost similar .. with no discernible loss in quality. Discernible. What a concept. When we move towards low-fi, thats the first one that comes up. No perceptible difference. We train ourselves to ignore it. Our perceptions become coarser and coarser. Part of evolution !
My life today can be encapsulated within the 0.5"x3"x 5" confines of a 120 Gb portable hard drive. That will be more than enough to store all relics of my existence. And most of that will be the images that i have generated using increasingly sophisticated digital cameras, 99% of which count for nothing. I realized this when i was trying to catalog my belongings, as a prelude to moving out of my residence of the last 5 years. I tend to be attached to paper (magazines, old letters - the paper versions, receipts), but the bulk of that is more than 5 yrs old. All the recent stuff is mostly digital.
Makes you realize how fragile all these memories are. I can stomp on this hard drive and make my life vanish. I will then remain as bits (and bytes) in other peoples mind. Or their hard drives.

Friday, April 20, 2007

random political thoughts

Has politics always been a part of the human civilization ? I am sure there was no such thing in the hunter/gatherer days .. folks barely had time to survive. But ever since the establishment of a so-called society, there have been individuals who prefer to engage in manipulations and machinations to secure some advantage over their peers. This became possible only after the establishment of a 'civilization' and 'society', because otherwise the politician was likely to get their head bashed in by someone who received the short end of a bargain. So .. a politician can only survive in a social setting where there is some semblance of law and order.

How does a person decide to become a politician ? I am not just talking about a leader here. Leaders are individuals who take the initiative, and are able to rally popular support. Leaders usually rise naturally in times of conflict or hardship. I am talking about a politician in a stable society. Does a politician come into existence after discovering some issue within the society as it exists ? Or is it that a person discovers that he is good at manipulating others, and realizes that this can be a source of livelihood. The adoption of a cause is just an afterthought, because he realizes that a cause makes his job easier.

The average politician is not more intelligent, or more strong. He is quite possibly more cunning. Well - let me correct that. Intelligence can also be emotional .. and this is where the politician will excel. But the point is this : Is the politician the best person to control the fate of a society ? He knows that in a fair game, he will not come out on the top. His only way to win is to rig the game itself. The "game" here is the society, and the interactions between different people in there. Winning probably implies getting control of an inordinate amount of resources. So the very people that conduct the game, have a interest in the game not being fair. He is probably not even qualified to judge what is best for the society as a whole.

So who is ? The 'intellectuals' ? Maybe. The intellectual will use facts and deductions to make a rational judgment, without getting emotionally swayed. But the problem is, how does he make his opinion heard ? Isn't that what a politician is good at - Using emotion to sway people away from facts. And rational judgments !! Thats why an intellectual will never come forth and oppose a politician on his own. Other politicians may use the intellectuals opinion as a starting point to counter something they don't like - but only till the point it suits them.

In the next installment, i will rant about society itself - and power.