Saturday, February 24, 2007

The nessecity to depict evil..

I know this one is going to sound too philosopical but could not help coming to this conclusion. I have seen a lot of english movies involving paranormal events.. like Constatine etc. The lastest in this 'series' is the movie Ghost Rider. The movie is fantastic with amazing special effects and stuff. The plot is absolutely shit. A total dharmendra movie. The common point in all such movies and indeed many action movies is to show the presence of evil. And in the end evil is the one side which has to loose. Take Ghost Rider.. the rider in this case is shown to be a horrific creature ( a flaming skull is hardly attractive ) but still fights on the side of 'good' does all the things a hero does.. you know, save the innocents and stuff like that. Since these movies come from the west I guess they are based mostly on the christian philosophy. Evil is always personified as an external agent. It is powerful and can only be overcome by:Love, Self-Sacrifice,Faith and other such qualities. To me this is an extremely elaborate way of refusing to accept the fact that whatever one calls 'evil' is extremely subjective and that oneself is responsible for it. Come to think of it greed, lust, survival etc. are all natrual tendencies, but are termed as evil. I am not saying they should not be, all i am saying is 'good' is transcending these qualities which occur natrually due to instinct. Then the question is why is it so hard to accept that we are responsible for our actions and that good and evil cannot be defined objectively ? Good and evil are just opposites of each other whatever they may contain and they are not external agents. Just saying keeping faith will destroy evil is utter stupidity.. since there is no evil out there trying to get you. If there is no evil out there, keeping the faith in the opposite of evil which is also out there is meaningless !! Faith is a wonderful thing don't get me wrong, but faith should be kept for better reasons than defeating evil !!
If one can accept that good and evil are not two absolutes but are both inside the human head.. then one can be a much more rational person who can appreciate life. This does not need a lot intellect, it just needs common sense and honesty enough to test this hypothesis.
So i say it is nessecary to depict evil and to show that it loses because of this inability of the western people. In the hindu yogic tradition there is no such thing as evil. In the indian religon(s) evil is not personified. Of course we have demons and ghosts an ghouls, but they are not the equivalent of satan. They are other beings just like humans and gods. None of them rules existence. The whole point of this regligion is to get one to transcend one's mind and not to play around with games like who has more souls.. god or the devil.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A transition state

We had the cultural event for the 'Darwin's Court', a students activity hosted by all the life science departments at the university yesterday. There were people from all the respective departments to cheer on their colleagues and if possible to hoot at the others.. What i realised was this... 3 years ago I was exactly like them.. especially the younger ones who joined an institute called the IBB after passing their juior college ( junior high to those who don't know the Indian education system ). There was no worry in the world, there was not fear of starting a career and definitely no weight of responsibility on my shoulder. Not that anything like that is there now but starting a PhD was like starting an elaborate and excruciating mutation on oneself. This is a very tricky place to be in. If u look at it one way a PhD student is what is says there 'a student', but if you look at the actual work load and things we are supposed to do, it is no different from any job in a semi-corporate situation. So we are neither students nor are we full fledged professionals. My personal experience is being a student is the best possible place to be anytime.. but the way things are, I would have to give it up and start doing mundane things with an english accent which would earn me money but would be absolutely redundant and boring after a few years. I wonder how people do their jobs for years together. Don't get me wrong.. a PhD is not boring, it is rather fun.. what is irritating is the difference in the point of view it forces upon me. Earlier I was never bothered about what my immediate future would be, what would my next lecture or exam be like. That was when everything was planned and I just had to go through that system. A PhD is different. I have to think about where my next experiment is going and taking me with it. There are no supports. Our advisors and seniors says it is not that big a deal. I believe otherwise. A student is taken from the lap of a planned activity schedule and thrown into total randomness...
So a phd is rather like a transition state. Where one stops being a carefree student and is expected to 'grow up' but one is neither given the rights of a grown up and is still expected to be like a student. A transition state with a paradox !!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Snake and the Rat...

I work in the department of zoology for my phd... But to be honest I have had not much to do with animals in the course of my short academic career. I do not need to touch, handle or even look at live animal specimens for my work except the ONE rabbit I use in my experiments.This rabbit also is bred in captivity so is hardly worth the trouble of getting excited about in the first place. One tends to forget where one is if this goes on for a while. Yesterday, while I was feeding the aforementioned rabbit and was getting water for it from the adjeacent animal house, I heard a distinct sound of something sliding or slipping across the floor. I turned around and was not surprised to see a 7 foot long rat snake trying desperately get away from me on a hard linoleum floor with no grip. There have been reports of a snake in our animal housing facility ( goes to show the times we live in... :D). The snake was a beautiful specimen and really powerful and agile. One of my labmates knows how to handle snakes so i called him and we both tried to catch it. It evaded us beautifully and vacated the premises immediately. But this was the first time in my life when a real live snake has slithered within a foot of me, so naturally i made the most of it. Snakes are so beautiful.. there is elegance and grace in their motion itself. I cannot imagine moving without limbs, but to move so beautifully... one would have thought it to be impossible.
The amazing part of this thing is... in the morning i was talking about how we should go somewhere to see snakes and i was told " you need luck for that " and in the same afternoon i see a beautiful snake !! right at my doorstep.. i don't need to go anywhere to see them. they seem to come to me !! Now if this is not luck, I don't know what this is..
The corollary to the snake :
Our lab is housed exactly on the top of the animal housing facility. Mostly mice in there. harmless little creatures who at the most might bite your finger. There entered a huge black rat into the washing area of our lab on the same afternoon. Maybe because it was afraid of the snake below, who can tell. After 3 of us tried to either catch it or kill it, it jumped out of the window. I have never seen anything jump like that. This rat jumped 3 times its length to reach the open window. I am not saying that is great.. there are animals who can do more than that. This is great because it was on the same day and reminds me harshly of the fact that i work in the 'Zoology' department of this university. So far i had only seen dead and preserved animals in this department ( except for the rabbit and the mice ie.) but two intruders, one so beautiful and one so persistant, tells a lot about shutting ourselves in an ivory tower of phd doesn't it ?

About Me

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just your regular guy who dreams too much. i read a lot don't remember it all though.. swim, trek, yoga.. think and read more.. that about sums it up..