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Life/Philosophy

An over 12-year-old cartoon that featured in the national media to mark 50 years of India’s independence: the situation is as grim

Same Chairs, Different Bottoms

Once upon a time there was a beautiful land in which clear rivers flowed through lush forests. Birds flocked to the trees which were heavy with fruit until one was almost deafened by the cacophony of their cries. And if one dared to walk under the trees, then one needed an umbrella which quickly changed color and became white with[Read More…]

Obesity And Health Hazards

Obesity And Health Hazards

Obesity is a major health problem arising out of excessive overeating with less outcome in terms of physical activity. Its prevalence has dramatically increased in the last few decades. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) equal to or higher than 30 kg/m2 resulting in a number of medical disorders, including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic[Read More…]

Where We’re Heading (If We Don’t Take Heed)

Where We’re Heading (If We Don’t Take Heed)

  Written to a friend: Look — no sweat about the particulars of here and now with Trump (vs.Clinton) being the winner in the US Presidential election contest. Either way, there’s no big difference when one looks at the bigger, long-term picture. You personally know about where the world is going with increasing human overpopulation, climate change (which according to[Read More…]

Historical Knowledge Creates Empathy And Ignorance Fuels Easy Hate- Let’s Discuss!

Historical Knowledge Creates Empathy And Ignorance Fuels Easy Hate- Let’s Discuss!

  Years ago, a professor told me of a situation at her university in which a colleague of hers broke down while describing the massacre at Nanking to her students. The professor remarked not about the break-down but about the complete lack of empathy her colleague’s students had shown to their teacher. Worse, still, many students laughed, poking fun at[Read More…]

The Ideological Stagnation Of Communist Parties:  A Moment To Go Back And Reaffirm Marx

The Ideological Stagnation Of Communist Parties:  A Moment To Go Back And Reaffirm Marx

“The educator himself has to be educated”– Marx, Theses on Feuerbach. There is no confusion and hesitation is saying that established left parties have arrived to a deadlock with a lurking ideological stagnation. From CPI, CPM to CPI Maoist there is very much a visible political-ideological deadlock. CPI has become a non-relevant party who abandoned Marxist politics decades ago. Similarly,[Read More…]

Photo by karen H. nickname.{ pooh}

Is Peace Possible? A Dialogue With Johan Galtung On Ukraine; Trump, Putin, Gandhi, And….

  “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (from “The Sermon on the Mount”) [Interviewer’s Note: A man who has published more than 150 books and 1500 articles on peace and related issues; the founder of TRANSCEND: A Peace, Development and Environment Network; a man who has worked as a mediator with the U.N.[Read More…]

Photo by matrianklw

Virtues Of Being An Informed Ignorant! 

   ” Success ke piche mat bhago…excellence…excellence ka picha karo…success jhak maarke tumhare pass ayegi..”  – Amir Khan, 3 Idiots. At a time when catastrophic events are happening around us, be it the  jaw-dropping victory of Donald Trump or the ongoing chaos in India after the demonetization episode, why did I stumble upon this ‘success-excellence’ thought now? With the refugee[Read More…]

Seeking The True Path

Seeking The True Path

One of the more subtle manifestations of the intimate link between (unconscious) human emotions and behaviour is illustrated by the simple concept of choice and how this is so often reduced to a dichotomy between two bad options. In such circumstances, most people choose whatever they consider to be ‘the lesser evil’. But how often are there only two options,[Read More…]

Similarities And Commonalities

Similarities And Commonalities

There is so much similarity and commonality among people, voters, left, right, social, center, liberal, or not politically interested. Almost everyone has had enough of the establishment, of the selfishness of greed, of the failure of the elite. The degradation of society, spiritual values and decency. Similarities: Hard work, work longer, without getting anywhere. The gap between rich and poor[Read More…]

It Is Not Just Cash, Government Policies Hurt Us In Many Other Ways

It Is Not Just Cash, Government Policies Hurt Us In Many Other Ways

The money crisis is more painful because of is suddenness. But the government has been causing hardships to citizens for years through various ways. One is the anti-people policy on transport. The pain is spread over a long time and we do not feel it so intensely. The government has inflicted motorization on the country without any safeguards to vulnerable[Read More…]

Tubeless Tyres And Soulless Bodies

Tubeless Tyres And Soulless Bodies

Tubeless tyres are a great discovery; a marvel of sorts. They claim you can run for fifty odd kilometres even after the tyre is punctured! I had other reasons to enjoy the boon of the tubeless tyre. A month back air pressure in one of the tyre of my sedan went low. On my way to work I stopped at[Read More…]

Muslim Countries And Science Outreach: A Steep Decline And Way Forward

Muslim Countries And Science Outreach: A Steep Decline And Way Forward

Science has it’s roots established as old as Islamic civilization. The institutes of scientific dissemination had been established first by muslim dominated nations as is evident from history & historical monuments. The Islamic theology lays claim to the world’s oldest continually operational university. The University of Qarawi­yyin was founded in Fes Morocco in 859 AD at the beginning of an[Read More…]

Capitalism or Life

Capitalism or Life

The global socioeconomic system of capitalism, is forcing us to work harder to surpass previous consumption and population numbers until we have devoured everything that maintains life, ending up with a polluted, lifeless, and a scorched planet. Civilisation’s present and ultimate mode, capitalism is the system that can only lead us to our annihilation. This isn’t any individual’s, or any[Read More…]

Modi Is Cheered, As The Mahatma Is Reduced To A Pathetic Figure In Gandhinagar

Modi Is Cheered, As The Mahatma Is Reduced To A Pathetic Figure In Gandhinagar

  Gandhinagar, 13 November, 2016: This turned out to be quite a travesty of Mahatma Gandhi and his teachings in the land of his birth. This was in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat . The occasion was the inauguration of an official government of India conference on urban transport on November 8 but the inauguration proved to be a well-planned[Read More…]

Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness

“Direct action is necessary for democracy to work, bold moves walking a fine edge, going over the line at times. But talk about ‘revolution’ in the U.S. is premature, to say the least. The thing is, if one wants democracy to function, there must be leadership which is trustworthy. People are either too cynical to embrace that notion, or they[Read More…]

Kindness

Kindness

IN ACTIVISM — acting out as a concerned citizen seeking movement in solidarity (to make this a better world, to encourage a sense of family among all the creatures on this earth) — kindness must now rear its beautiful head. Treating one and all as kin.

Reconciling Mutual Aid With Revolutionary Violence: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

Reconciling Mutual Aid With Revolutionary Violence: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

An American evolutionary biologist and historian of science, Stephen J. Gould, wrote the following in his essay titled “Kropotkin Was No Crackpot”: “More generally, I like to apply a somewhat cynical rule of thumb in judging arguments about nature that also have overt social implications: When such claims imbue nature with just those properties that make us feel good or[Read More…]

The Loneliness Of  The Long Distance Activist

The Loneliness Of  The Long Distance Activist

“The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.” — Lorraine Hansberry “One of the problems with activists is that they’re afraid of being lonely, and they don’t get that the road they have to go down doesn’t allow for moving four abreast.” — James Baldwin “Direct action is[Read More…]

McDonald’s, McDonnell Douglas, 3M And Me

McDonald’s, McDonnell Douglas, 3M And Me

“The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas…. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.” — from The Lexus and the Olive Tree At the bottom of Public Servants or Corporate Security? An[Read More…]

Atypical Revolutionary Effort (ARE): You Ready?

Atypical Revolutionary Effort (ARE): You Ready?

“There is a new kind of secessionist movement taking place in India. Shall we call it New Secessionism? It’s an inversion of Old Secessionism. It’s when people who are actually part of a whole different economy, a whole different country, a whole different planet, pretend they’re part of this one. It is the kind of secession in which a relatively small[Read More…]

Human Potential: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

Human Potential: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

  “The function of ethics is not even so much to insist upon the defects of man, and to reproach him with his ‘sins,’ as to act in the positive direction, by appealing to man’s best instincts.”[1] Those best instincts are the very ones that urge us to engage in acts of mutual-aid, justice, and self-sacrifice. Peter Kropotkin writes that nature is[Read More…]

Is Gandhi Still Relevant?

Is Gandhi Still Relevant?

Mention Gandhi in certain circles and the response might be one of cynicism: his ideas are outdated and irrelevant in today’s world. Such a response could not be further from the truth. Gandhi could see the future impact of large-scale industrialization in terms of the devastation of the environment, the destruction of ecology and the unsustainable plunder of natural resources.[Read More…]

Thinking Is A Responsibility

Thinking Is A Responsibility

                        We all constantly hear the lament of how our education system is in a mess. Education today is no more about exploring new ideas, seeking multiple forms of knowledge and an eagerness to get introduced to hitherto unknown terrains of intellectual wealth. Job security precludes the possibility of[Read More…]

Punishment Is Violent And Counterproductive

Punishment Is Violent And Counterproductive

Punishment is a popular pastime for humans. Parents punish children. Teachers punish students. Employers punish workers. Courts punish lawbreakers. People punish each other. Governments punish ‘enemies’. And, according to some, God punishes evildoers. What is ‘punishment’? Punishment is the infliction of violence as revenge on a person who is judged to have behaved inappropriately. It is a key word we[Read More…]

Obscured American: Hank The Christian Constitutionalist

Obscured American: Hank The Christian Constitutionalist

  America has become an eviscerated country draped in a gigantic flag. Day by day, its culture becomes more grotesque and obscene, a luna park of lunacy. Leached of essence, it burps up slogans, but who’s convinced? What define America, exactly? Paul Craig Roberts narrows it down to the Constitution and Christianity, “All Americans have a huge stake in Christianity.[Read More…]

Morality: The Lust For Pleasure -The Case of Peter Kropotkin

Morality: The Lust For Pleasure -The Case of Peter Kropotkin

According to N. Lebedev, Kropotkin’s editor with whom he frequently corresponded both in person and through letters, two central reasons prompted the celebrated anarchist to devote the last years of his life to writing about the fundamental questions of ethics. The last decade of the nineteenth century saw an influx of ideas about the relativity of ethical conduct and even[Read More…]

Corporate Media, ‘Robo-Citizens’ And Bourgeois Democracy

Corporate Media, ‘Robo-Citizens’ And Bourgeois Democracy

INTRODUCTION: Journalism and the Open Society In contemporary US, and in most countries, the media presents itself as a sentinel of the ‘public interest’. This implies that ‘public interest’ is universally encompassing and equally distributed in its benefits for all classes. The implication is that there is no difference for a pauper than a billionaire when it comes to the[Read More…]

Propaganda By Deed And The Glory Of Self-Sacrifice: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

Propaganda By Deed And The Glory Of Self-Sacrifice: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

  George Woodcock, a prominent Canadian writer and anarchist thinker, writes that anarchism’s “ultimate aim is always social change; its present attitude is always one of social condemnation, even though it may proceed from an individualist view of man’s nature; its method is always that of social revolution, violent or otherwise.”[1] Peter Kropotkin was not a pacifist. More often than[Read More…]

Photo by Thejaswi

Echoes From The Past Expressing Hope For Humanity

A 2012 World Bank report stated that without quick action to curb CO2 emissions, global warming is likely to add 4 degrees Centigrade (39.2 degrees Fahrenheit) during the 21st century which is dangerously close to the temperature that initiated the Permian-Triassic extinction event 252 million years ago when 96% of all marine species and 70% of all terrestrial vertebrates were[Read More…]

Legacy Of Samar Sen, Founder-Editor, Frontier, Kolkata

Legacy Of Samar Sen, Founder-Editor, Frontier, Kolkata

It was March 1969. Andhra Pradesh State Assembly was in its budget session. T Nagi Reddy was delivering a speech in the Assembly. While announcing his resignation as member of the Assembly and the path he was choosing to carry forward the struggle for emancipation of the people he was making his observations on the condition of the country, policies[Read More…]

Obscured American: B.B. The Bartender

Obscured American: B.B. The Bartender

The flame-like tree and yellow stars from Van Gogh’s Starry Night burn on B.B.’s right shoulder. Blonde, slim and 33, she bartends at Friendly Lounge twice a week. She calls everyone “darling,” as in, “Are you good, darling? You need another one?” When B.B. told me she had lived in the Tenderloin, had drifted much, was fond of Jameson and[Read More…]

Homage To RVK Satyanarayana

Homage To RVK Satyanarayana

RVK Satyanarayana, the General Secretary of the OPDR (Organization for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh States) and a leading functionary of the UCCRI(ML), passed away in the early hours of 8-10-2016 while battling his illness. He was suffering from chronic kidney failure and its various complications for several years. He was under dialysis for the last[Read More…]

Anarchist Communism: The Most Moral Organization Of Society?

Anarchist Communism: The Most Moral Organization Of Society?

Introduction Prince Peter A. Kropotkin (1842-1921), second only to Mikhail A. Bakunin among the Russian anarchist philosophers in terms of popularity and influence on the anarchist communist thought, authored a momentous scientific work which asserted that cooperation within a single species was a more significant factor of evolution than were the competition and struggle for existence. On the other hand,[Read More…]

Obscured American: Amanda Zinoman The Film Editor

Obscured American: Amanda Zinoman The Film Editor

  Yes, it is a bit odd to include Amanda in my series of obscured Americans. She is a very successful editor of films that have appeared on television and in theaters. Her credits include Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider (1994), Carmen Miranda: Bananas is my Business (1994), The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999), Drinking Apart (2000), The Last[Read More…]

Science And Society

Science And Society

  I would like to announce that an updated and very much enlarged edition of mu book “Science and Society” will very soon be published by World Scientific (in November, 2016). The book can be purchased at a 20% discount at the following address by quoting the code number WSSPPS20. http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/10227 This book has a very interesting history. In 1986,[Read More…]

Kamaraj:The Selfless Leader

Kamaraj:The Selfless Leader

Kamaraj was a rarity in Indian politics, and undoubtedly the tallest leader in Tamil Nadu. A school dropout and freedom fighter who went on to become the Congress president despite knowing no Hindi and no English. His genuine concern for the poor was matched only by his scrupulous honesty and integrity.

Is There A Future For Our Species ?

Is There A Future For Our Species ?

Only with honesty, truth and justice can there be a future for our species, and I don’t see any of it-anywhere

Rethinking Gandhi

Rethinking Gandhi

                          October 2,  like all public holidays, is cherished as a token appreciation for the reason behind the holiday. Can we try and make a modest effort to move beyond this ennui of arrogance for understanding Gandhi, the phenomenon? What does Gandhi mean for us in the 21st[Read More…]

Economics And Politics Of Heart Surgeries

Economics And Politics Of Heart Surgeries

We need people to understand that better living standards would eliminate most of the valve problems. Let us do the less publicized but humane methods in medical care instead of the media savvy hi-tech but top-heavy procedures, which would reach only the rich.

Gandhi And The Message Of Nonviolence

Gandhi And The Message Of Nonviolence

As most of the world ignores or hypocritically celebrates the 147th birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on the International Day of Nonviolence on 2 October, some of us will quietly acknowledge his life by continuing to build the world that he envisioned. When asked for his message for the world, Gandhi responded with the now famous line ‘My life is[Read More…]

Interventional Cardiology

Interventional Cardiology

World Heart Day on 29 September is the World Heart Federation’s (and the world’s!) biggest platform for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD)   When the editor asked me to write an article on Interventional Cardiology, I attempted that with great trepidation. Being a poor clinical cardiologist, that too of the untouchable variety, (I do not have my DM; in[Read More…]

Edward Snowden, The CIA And Sioux Indian Converge In Man’s Life

Edward Snowden, The CIA And Sioux Indian Converge In Man’s Life

The premiere of Oliver Stone’s film Snowden Live brilliantly depicts the intellectual and emotional underpinning that motivated Edward Snowden to first enter into and then defect from the CIA with the revelatory files that have since become a fundamental game-changer in not only American but World History. The convergence of this film with the Standing Rock Sioux Indians defiance of[Read More…]

Do We Need Eco-Friendly media or Citizen Friendly Media?

Do We Need Eco-Friendly media or Citizen Friendly Media?

You wake up in the morning pretending to be fresh in this world full of gadgets making you sleep at 4 a.m., the first thing in today’s world you do is not rushing towards the most peaceful place shedding the load of junk you ate last night, but what you do is grabbing the gadget which did not let you[Read More…]

Both Ms. Clinton And I Got Burned Out – For Very Different Reasons

Both Ms. Clinton And I Got Burned Out – For Very Different Reasons

Yesterday I watched Ms. Clinton on television screen, stumbling towards her van, after attending a ceremony at the WTC in New York City. She had to be grabbed by both arms by her aids, and then literally pulled into the vehicle. Embarrassing? Not really. People get exhausted; they get sick and sometimes they can even hardly remain standing on their[Read More…]

Indifference

Indifference

Indifference is an American-European story. As French chansonnier Serge Gainsbourg sang of his love for Brigitte Bardot: “What does the weather matter, what matters the wind? Better your absence than your indifference.” Or Gilbert Bécaud: “Indifference kills with small blows.” The indifference of one person to the other in a dwindling love affair is emblematic of the terrible impact of[Read More…]

For Age Is Opportunity No Less Than Youth Itself…

For Age Is Opportunity No Less Than Youth Itself…

“…As the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars invisible by day” are the immortal words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Alas! this does not hold ground for many people in countries of Asia Pacific (and maybe elsewhere too). The elderly are getting pushed more into a dark night devoid of stars. The erosion of traditional livelihoods and[Read More…]

Money And Power In America

Money And Power In America

Sixty-six years ago this summer, on my 16th birthday, I went to work for the daily newspaper in the small East Texas town of Marshall where I grew up. It was a good place to be a cub reporter — small enough to navigate but big enough to keep me busy and learning something every day.  I soon had a[Read More…]

Kaepernick Gate

Kaepernick Gate

  This article is not about Colin Kaepernick. It’s also not about other athletes who have joined him in expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo and the injustice inherent in it. No, this article is not about particular celebrities or individuals. Instead, it is about the depths to which we’ve fallen. We. Not them. We all. A young athlete-disgusted with[Read More…]

Protect candle flames

Guarding The Flame. Reflecting On The Herbal Medicine Traditions

The Western herbal medicine tradition represents a neglected and devalued repository of much of the knowledge developed over many thousands of years of medical experience in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas. Practitioners of herbal medicine throughout the world continue to make use of several hundred medicinally-active plants many of which have a long and established history. A few among[Read More…]

Photo by Pardee Ave.

Can Zoos Teach Us Compassion?

It happens that the offices of YES! are in a building complex that also houses Studio Hanson | Roberts, one of the leading zoo-design firms in the world. As a result, I recently found myself breaking bread with a group of folks shaping the future of U.S. zoos. The conversation quickly turned to the future of zoos, their relevance to modern[Read More…]

“The Horror, The Horror!”

“The Horror, The Horror!”

Apparently it is impossible to continue to exist without righteous indignation at the present. There are more than enough reasons to exercise your anger. In fact, it is becoming more and more difficult to continue to contain ones anger. Everyday debilitating news brings us close and closer towards breaking our own vows of resistance and restraint at social indifference and[Read More…]

Why Work Performed By Differently Abled Persons Do Not Get Due Recognition

Why Work Performed By Differently Abled Persons Do Not Get Due Recognition

Disability is not a curse, for those who actually live with it. It’s ironical, that those who are so called “able bodied” time and again make persons with disabilities realize that they are disabled and they lack something which is very important for the survival of human beings on this earth. Based on my own experiences, I can say for[Read More…]

Loyalty

Loyalty

Most certainly in the struggle between guilt and innocence, and between loyalty and betrayal, I have never been peaceful. Walking along the lip of the precipice, you learn what loneliness is. Yet loyalty and duty and responsibility and love can save you from a leap into the dark.

Smriti Nagpal

Two Ladies, Who Made The Mission Possible!

A 6-14 year old minor girl could be an‘object’used for dispute settlement between two parties. No matter how absurd it may sound, this practice, known as “Swara” (http://bit.ly/1PWTLKm), is prevalent in some parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, mostly in tribal belts. This is a 400 year-old tradition based on principle of “blood for blood” for dispute settlement where virgin girls[Read More…]

The Raoul Wallenberg stamp, released by Canada Post on Thursday January 17, 2013, is shown. Wallenberg is credited with saving at least 20,000 Jews in Budapest during the Second World War by giving them Swedish travel documents, or moving them to safe houses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

We All Need Chutzpah

The meaning of “chutzpah: is as follows:Chutzpah (/ˈhʊtspə/ or /ˈxʊtspə/)[1][2] is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad. The Yiddish word derives from the Hebrew word ḥutspâ (חֻוצְפָּה), meaning “insolence”, “cheek” or “audacity”. The modern English usage of the word has taken on a broader meaning, having been popularized through vernacular use in film, literature, and television. The[Read More…]

Giang in Fort Indiantown Gap

Postcard From The End Of America: Fort Indiantown Gap, PA

  It’s remarkable that I’ve been friends with Giang for nearly four decades. We’ve spent but a year in the same state and, frankly, have little in common. Giang studied computer science, business administration and engineering technology. He makes more in a year than I do in ten. He drinks Bud Lite and recycles corny metaphors and analogies. A director[Read More…]

Nonviolent Revolt In The Twenty-First Century

Nonviolent Revolt In The Twenty-First Century

I sometimes wonder whether one of the ways in which ‘Amercian exceptionalism’ manifests is that many US scholars and others are unable to consider the contributions of those who are not from the USA. For example, I routinely read about studies of Martin Luther King Jr. and his associates (such as strategist James Lawson) in relation to nonviolence while the[Read More…]

Photo by notfrancois

Let’s Become A Part Of The Commons Once Again

Alas education in civilization justifies and encourages ruthless greed. It seems that all vertebrates go through a learning process and all mammals need or do better with an education from their parents and siblings. However, people are completely dependent on human interaction to be able to participate in any social setting. That is we must learn from other people to[Read More…]

Remembering Legendary Humanist Ramswroop Verma

Remembering Legendary Humanist Ramswroop Verma

Being a humanist, it is time to speak of Mahamana Ramswroop Verma, one of the tallest leaders of socialist movement in Uttar Pradesh and founder of Arjak Sangh which was constantly working to eradicate social evils, bring social change and demolish the brahmanical structure. And the ways it adopted were unique. If any one read the books written by Verma,[Read More…]

Innocence

Innocence

Dostoevsky’s Myshkin has retained much of his innocence and therefore, like real innocents in real life, is considered odd, naïve and ignorant by others who are already branded by “experience” and are just muddling through life in a world in which innocence dies away while the great majority of people, ignorant of their former childhood innocence, strives to toe the line and be like others

Rudy List and Henry Herskovitz

Obscured American: Rudy List The Retired Math Professor

  Though each life is rich, some are staggeringly so. Over four days in July, I had a series of conversations with Rudy List at his house in Dexter, Michigan. A 74-year-old retired math professor, Rudy introduced me to Hua Luogeng, Zitang Zhang and Terence Tao. In return, I told him about Otto Dix, Cindy Sherman, Honey Boo Boo and[Read More…]

“It All Turns On Affection”

“It All Turns On Affection”

Land and people have suffered together, as invariably they must. Under the rule of industrial economics, the land, our country, has been pillaged for the enrichment, supposedly, of those humans who have claimed the right to own or exploit it without limit. Of the land-community much has been consumed, much has been wasted, almost nothing has flourished. But this has not been inevitable. We do not have to live as if we are alone.

 Uncle “Sham” Says “Dance”…. And The Band Plays On….

 Uncle “Sham” Says “Dance”…. And The Band Plays On….

    I recall from my early teens, the “Judgment at Nuremberg” movie, which made a big impression then about “justice” and the “rightness and virtue” of the Allied cause.  But when I watched the movie on TV, years later, it was the Richard Widmark character–one of the prosecuting colonels, I believe–who made the deepest impression because, by the end[Read More…]

Human Nature: An Evolutionary Paradox

Human Nature: An Evolutionary Paradox

Today, human greed and folly are destroying the global environment. As if this were not enough, there is a great threat to civilization and the biosphere from an all-destroying thermonuclear war. Both of these severe existential threats  are due to faults our inherited emotional nature. From the standpoint of evolutionary theory, this is a paradox. As a species, we are[Read More…]

Existential Threats And Our Belief Systems

Existential Threats And Our Belief Systems

This new Homo sapiens contradictory planetary reality leaves not just the western world, but the whole world in search for answers. We need to find the reason we are heading so rapidly toward dangerous shoals. How could we, the most clever and brilliant primate ever, be bringing on our own demise? Where did we all go so wrong? Could it[Read More…]

A Nonviolent Strategy To End War

A Nonviolent Strategy To End War

There is a long history of anti-war and peace activism. Much of this activism has focused on ending a particular war. Some of this activism has been directed at ending a particular aspect of war, such as the use of a type of weapon. Some of it has aimed to prevent a type of war, such as ‘aggressive war’ or[Read More…]

Detroit gas station, 2011

Obscured American: Hank The Small Business Financial Advisor

  I had spent four days in Ann Arbor, Dexter and Chelsea. This stay allowed me to experience a whiter and more Norman Rockwell Michigan. On two previous trips, I was confined to mostly black and car wrecked Detroit. Flying out from Detroit Airport, I bought two National coneys and, boy, were they sad. Hotdogs, chili, onion, mustard and buns[Read More…]

After witnessing a catastrophic oil spill in San Francisco Bay in 1971, John Francis got out of his car, took a vow of silence, and walked for the next 22 years. /Photo by Gabriela Urda.

My Walking Pilgrimage

I clearly remember learning to walk. I remember falling and the frustration of trying to stand on my feet unsupported, without the help of parents. Finally, there was the euphoria of one day rising by myself. Like a young bird flying, my hands flapped, and my feet lifted to make the first wobbly steps to the other side of the[Read More…]

 Is Democracy Consistent With Islam?

 Is Democracy Consistent With Islam?

Some people are under the impression that democracy and Islam are incompatible. But I don’t see any contradiction between democracy and Islam, as such. Though, I admit, that there is some friction between Islam and liberalism. When we say that there is a contradiction between Islam and democracy, we make a category mistake which is a serious logical fallacy. There[Read More…]

Courtesy: UNICEF

It’s Breast Feeding Week 2016

We were sitting in Bonefish Grill in Omaha, Nebraska,  eating my favourite Bang Bang Shrimp.  The whole restaurant was packed to capacity, with a big crowd still waiting to be seated. Our food had arrived and suddenly the baby began to cry. It was her feed time. In seconds my  friend, swiftly covered herself with her feeding sling and very[Read More…]

Mickey and his mom share a hug. Photo credit: Mickey Z.

What My Mom Taught Me About LOVE

I wasn’t supposed to be born. After my mother gave birth to my sister, the doctors told her she’d never have another child. They couldn’t say exactly why (she was eventually diagnosed with endometriosis) but they were pretty damn certain… in that unique way doctors tend to be pretty damn certain. Wisely, my mother ignored such white coat condescension and[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Mainstream Media Are Betraying Humanity

Mainstream Media Are Betraying Humanity

“Donald Trump is bad for America, but he is good for CBS” Leslie Roy Moonves, President of CBS Physicians have a sacred duty to their patients, whose lives are in their hands. The practice of medicine is not a business like any other business. There are questions of  trust and duty involved. The physician’s goal must not be to make[Read More…]

 Think like A  Genius, Stephen Hawking

 Think like A  Genius, Stephen Hawking

(Open letter to professor Stephen Hawking.) In your 6 part GENIUS TV presentations, you made it easy to understand that we cannot possibly be alone in the universe, and gave people much to think about. How sad that you had to challenge us, earlier, with these words: “How can the human race sustain another 100 years? A month later you[Read More…]

 Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU 

 Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU 

Over half the population of the European Union (EU) is overweight or obese. Without effective action, this number will grow substantially in the next decade warns an important new report. ‘A Spoonful of Sugar: How the Food Lobby Fights Sugar Regulation in the EU’, by the research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), notes that obesity rates are rising fastest[Read More…]

The Rich Are The Encroachers On Public Space In the Era Of So Called Reforms

The Rich Are The Encroachers On Public Space In the Era Of So Called Reforms

The Maharashtra government is back to its policy of privatizing open public spaces in Mumbai. Ordinary people are the losers because of this policy declared on July 27. . The upper class is not bothered because it has created its own spaces for recreation when it is not grabbing public space. I got a glimpse recently when I attended a[Read More…]

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Tarimela Nagi Reddy Remembered

Tarimela Nagi Reddy Remembered

July 28, 1976 was the day when  veteran communist revolutionary leader Com TN, as he was called, died of a sudden illness when he was not even 60. It was the period of  Internal Emergency  proclaimed (on 1975 June 26)  by Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s regime, a watershed in India’s  political history. He along with his comrade-associate  DV Rao ( the[Read More…]

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The Weak Constitutions Of The Privileged

The Weak Constitutions Of The Privileged

The privileged are hypocritical in large ways and small.  Working one’s way out of that hypocrisy is no mean-feat but it’s vital if we are to have a decent society to call our own. While I’m struck by the disregard the privileged have for the less-lucky, even more shocking perhaps is that they lambast others for reasons that more resemble[Read More…]

The Psychology Of Ideology And Religion

The Psychology Of Ideology And Religion

Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion. Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization. This organization[Read More…]

Integrated TB-HIV Responses Are A Must To Meet Sustainable Development Goals

Integrated TB-HIV Responses Are A Must To Meet Sustainable Development Goals

(CNS): At the 2015 United Nations General Assembly, governments committed to achieve SDGs by 2030, one of which is to end AIDS and TB by 2030. If people living with HIV continue to die of TB, we will not only fail to achieve SDGs but also lose gains made in the fights against HIV and TB. Keeping in mind the[Read More…]

 Self-Stigma: Let Us Do More Than Just ‘Talk About It’

 Self-Stigma: Let Us Do More Than Just ‘Talk About It’

Senior HIV activists who have not only helped shape HIV responses on the ground over the years, but also have been living with the virus for several years, shared their personal battle against self-stigma at a press conference session hosted by The Work For Change (www.theworkforchange.org) and partners at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) held in Durban, South[Read More…]

Rainforest Etiquette In A World Gone Mad

Rainforest Etiquette In A World Gone Mad

  Let us begin with theettam. Or if you prefer, with Leelamma’s kitchen, where thee (fire) burns. Between the wood-burning stove and the community pit-loo, an ecological picaresque unfolds.   Perhaps this is why, in Malayalam, theettam (excretum) and thee’tta (food) are near-homonyms.Newcomers to the language, whose ears (and tongues) cannot distinguish between  ‘tt and tt (slight upward flick of[Read More…]

What Is The World? Who Are We? What Are We Going To Do About It?

What Is The World? Who Are We? What Are We Going To Do About It?

We are better people, individually and collectively, when we reject hubris and embrace humility, and we stand a better chance of making real progress — defined by Rowe as “whatever is conducive to sustainable participation in Earth’s ecosystems” — when we better understand the world and our place in it

Battling With Three Diseases And Still Going Strong

Battling With Three Diseases And Still Going Strong

(Based on an exclusive interview given by Nqobile Zungu, and her doctor Dr Samele Madela to CNS – Citizen News Service) I met 37 years old Nqobile Zungu, at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) that is being held in Durban. And yes, her looks were deceptive in the sense that one could never guess that her outwardly healthy[Read More…]

Single Worker May Slit Throats Of 600 Dogs Per Hour, 8 Hours A Day, For 40 Years

Single Worker May Slit Throats Of 600 Dogs Per Hour, 8 Hours A Day, For 40 Years

Every workday, for eight hours a day, often for many years on end, a worker gets up and has breakfast, then goes in to the office, picks up a blade, and starts slitting the throats of live dogs. That day, he or she will personally slit the throats of about 600 or more dogs per hour, every hour, all day,[Read More…]

Even the temporary settlement is in danger of being evacuated since the Delhi Metro construction is getting intense in the area.

Photo Essay: Life In Pieces For Delhi’s Displaced Community

“The bulldozers were running over our homes even without any prior notice. We all ran to save our belongings, only to find most of them destroyed,” says Geetha, a former iron carver who is now working as a maid in homes nearby. She belongs to Gadia Lohar community, which seeks its origins from Rajasthan and finds its existence in History[Read More…]

A Letter From Germany

A Letter From Germany

A friend in Frankfurt emailed me on July 19th: It is sheer madness what is happening here… The noose is tightening and yet—it is still only the beginning… What took place in some dull regional express close to Würzburg, a town in Franconia in the middle of Germany, was—in some respect—like a watershed event—just like the mass sexual assaults in[Read More…]

Veteran Communist Revolutionary  DV Rao  Remembered

Veteran Communist Revolutionary  DV Rao  Remembered

July 12 is the death anniversary, and 2016 marks the beginning of the centenary,  of  Com DV Rao. Devulapalli Venkateswara Rao (Born 1917 June 1- died on 1984 July 12),  prominent communist revolutionary (CR) of India ,  known for his unique role in leading the Telangana People’s Armed Struggle (1946-51), was the youngest member of the Central Committee of  the[Read More…]

International AIDS Conferences: From Durban To Durban – Has Anything Changed In 16 Years?

International AIDS Conferences: From Durban To Durban – Has Anything Changed In 16 Years?

  AIDS 2016, the XXI International AIDS Conference – (with the theme of ‘Access Equity Rights Now’) which will be held in Durban, South Africa, from 18 to 22 July 2016, marks a dramatic change in the country’s AIDS response in the 16 years since XIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2000), which was also held in Durban “When Nelson Mandela[Read More…]

Hiding head in sand

The Delusion ‘I Am Not Responsible’

One of the many interesting details to be learned by understanding human psychology is how a person’s unconscious fear works in a myriad of ways to make them believe that they bear no responsibility for a particular problem. This psychological dysfunctionality cripples a substantial portion of the human population in ways that work against the possibility of achieving worthwhile outcomes[Read More…]

Euro Cup Final: A Neutral Point Of Happiness.

Euro Cup Final: A Neutral Point Of Happiness.

 ” I go about the world, hand out-stretched, and in the stadium I plead : ‘ A pretty move, for the love of God.’ And when good football happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it.”  –  Eduardo Galeano. Watching as a neutral spectator, this is exactly what I[Read More…]

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Right To Road Must First Go To Pedestrians, Non-Motorised Vehicles

Right To Road Must First Go To Pedestrians, Non-Motorised Vehicles

  (CNS): “It did not strike me even for a second how fatal it could be for my child to ride a two-wheeler as a pillion rider – without a helmet. If I was conscious about the risk then I would have definitely given a helmet to my child” said the mother of a child who died in an unfortunate[Read More…]

July 4th Reflections From Frederick Douglass

July 4th Reflections From Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, one of the most brilliant minds in history, had many praises for the US and its founders. However, he experienced the nation more fully than any of them, beginning his life a victim of the totalitarian fascism they practiced and promoted, and ending it a statesman and a friend of President Lincoln.  Thus his understanding and analysis of[Read More…]

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN08 - captured during the session 'Message from Davos: Believing in the Future' at the Annual Meeting 2008 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2008. 

Copyright by World Economic Forum    swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger

+++No resale, no archive+++

Was Elie Wiesel Really “The Conscience Of The World”?

  When news of Elie Wiesel’s death broke on July 2, the predictable paeans and plaudits flowed. President Barack Obama, for example, called his fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner “the conscience of the world.” As for me, I instead reflected back to July 4, 2004, when Parade Magazine to hired Wiesel to pen a little something for Independence (sic) Day[Read More…]

Ahistorical And Deluded, With Fireworks

Ahistorical And Deluded, With Fireworks

  The Dinh Dynasty lasted only 12 years and ended in 980, but in the 20th century, there were around a dozen plays about one of the Dinh queens, Duong Van Nga. When I was a kid in Saigon in the 1970s, a folk opera about her could pack a theater night after night. In 2013, an elaborately produced 12-part[Read More…]

Dynamics Of Intercultural Education in Schools: A Perspective

Dynamics Of Intercultural Education in Schools: A Perspective

Interculturality is a dynamic concept and refers to evolving relations between cultural groups. It has been defined as “the existence and equitable interaction of diverse cultures and the possibility of generating shared cultural expressions through dialogue and mutual respect. Interculturality presupposes multiculturalism and results from ‘intercultural’ exchange and dialogue on the local, regional, national or international level.

Need For ‘Compassion Of Buddha’ On The Road

Need For ‘Compassion Of Buddha’ On The Road

 The roads are regarded as the ‘Lifeline of a country’ India has one of the largest and densest road networks in the world. But a newspaper recently published an alarming report stating that ‘according to 2015 data released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 400 people die daily in road mishaps, ten times the entire global toll of[Read More…]

Beryl & James Burrowes 1942 & 2016

Lament For Humanity: A 50 Year Reflection

Deeply affected by the death of my two uncles in World War II, on 1 July 1966, the 24th anniversary of the ‘USS Sturgeon’ sinking of the Japanese prisoner-of-war ship ‘Montevideo Maru’ which killed the man after whom I am named, I decided that I would devote my life to working out why human beings are violent and then developing[Read More…]

 Knowledge Through Entertainment

 Knowledge Through Entertainment

    Knowledge is empowering. It is enriching. It keeps you aware, makes one conversant with issues and broadens your horizon in a rapidly changing world. Seen through a traditional framework, it is normally seen as something that gets imparted through the written words. Oral communication has had its vital share in broadening the horizons of knowledge as seen in[Read More…]

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Accusation Claims Syrian And Russian Troops Are Looting Palmyra! Indictment Not Proved

Accusation Claims Syrian And Russian Troops Are Looting Palmyra! Indictment Not Proved

Palmyra: “Syrian Troops Looting Ancient City Of Palmyra, Says Archaeologist.”  So shouted the highly respected UK Guardian’s headline of June 1, 2016 on the eve of the opening day of this month’s two-day Berlin Convergence attended by more than 170 scientists, archaeologists, architects and planners.  The gathering of experts was convened to discuss how best to preserve Syria’s, and our heritage,[Read More…]

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Iceland’s Football Story: The Glory Of Public Football

Iceland’s Football Story: The Glory Of Public Football

“These guys now with us in the [Iceland] national team were brought up on artificial pitches. Many would have had youth coaching in an indoor dome. They could go out if the weather was good, but they always had good facilities to train.” Heimer Hallgrímsson, joint Iceland football coach, BBC Sport, Nov 15, 2015 This has been a competition of[Read More…]

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Counter-Thinking  BP :What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

Counter-Thinking  BP :What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

    “When people cheat in any arena, they diminish themselves-they threaten their own self-esteem and their relationships with others by undermining the trust they have in their ability to succeed and in their ability to be true.” – Cheryl Hughes I have been wondering about this normal blood pressure for the last sixty years ever since I joined the  MBBS class[Read More…]

Who Should Make Political Policy, The People or The Politicians?

Who Should Make Political Policy, The People or The Politicians?

In the midst of what undoubtedly will be the nastiest and most expensive presidential campaign in American history, it is important to remember that the question is not so much whether a candidate is a good or bad person, but rather what should and will be the policies, objectives, and consequences of her or his administration? What do the People[Read More…]

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Robotic Politics Is Menace To Global Peace And Security

Robotic Politics Is Menace To Global Peace And Security

  “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion” (Thomas Paine) “Most Americans go along with unaccountable murder, torture, and detention without evidence, which proclaims their gullibility to the entire world. There has never in history been a population as unaware as Americans. The world is amazed that an insouciant people[Read More…]

Don the hunter and fisherman, Philadelphia, 2015

Obscured American: Don The Retired Building Contractor

  Showing up in Friendly Lounge, beaming Maria said to bartender Manon, “How’s my baby? Come here and give me a hug! How are your job applications?” “Nothing yet, but I have a couple of interviews coming up.” For the last six months, Manon has been trying to get hired as a school counselor. She only gets one shift a[Read More…]

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The Rich In Their Posh Clubs Are Having Fun At Our Expense

The Rich In Their Posh Clubs Are Having Fun At Our Expense

Bombay Gymkhana Mumbai: The 140-year-old Bombay Gymkhana asserted its elite and exclusive character earlier this month. It voted after much debate not to admit senior government officers as members. But then how come this class, so keen to preserve its privilege , has for years so openly intruded upon public space just outside its premises for almost 20 years ?.[Read More…]

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It Is Expensive To Be Poor

It Is Expensive To Be Poor

Mumbai: A man murdered a woman in Mumbai recently because he was afraid she was going to deprive him of his job as a temporary watchman. This shows the crisis of employment in Mumbai. And this is a city which among all places in India is supposed to provide the maximum employment opportunity. And the watchman security industry is one[Read More…]

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The Devil’s Century

The Devil’s Century

Our present generation is living out of the spiritually vacuous philosophies of modernism and post-modernism, the cancerous ideologies of free-market economics and unrestrained economic growth, and the corporate and political tyrannies that have nurtured an energised ethos of transience. The triumphalism of modernity has effectively wiped from our collective memories a coherent view of just what has gone down in[Read More…]

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Islamophobia: Why Are So Many People So Frightened?

Islamophobia: Why Are So Many People So Frightened?

Islamophobia has become a significant factor driving politics in many western countries. Islamophobia – fear of Muslims – is now highly visible among European populations concerned about terrorist responses from Islamic groups claiming Jihadi links. However, it is also evident among those same populations in relation to the refugee flow from the Middle East. In addition, Islamophobia is highly evident[Read More…]

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Italian Lessons

Italian Lessons

From “Positano,” a 1953 article by John Steinbeck: About ten years ago a Moslem came to Positano, liked it and settled. For a time he was self-supporting but gradually he ran out of assets and still he stayed. The town supported him and took care of him. Just as the mayor was their only Communist, this was their only Moslem.[Read More…]

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Linh Dinh and Eirikur Orn Norddahl in Stokkseyri Iceland 2007

A View From Iceland: An Interview With Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl

Born in Reykjavík in 1978, Norðdahl was raised in Ísafjörður, a fishing village of just 2,623 people in northwest Iceland. Its population has been shrinking for several decades. Norðdahl’s father was a fisherman, and his mother a school teacher. Starting with his first job in a shrimp factory at age 12, Norðdahl has worked as a hotel night watchman, cook[Read More…]

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