30 Sep 2010
The reason why advertising, marketing and PR work. The reason why public opinion can be played with, with fair ease (as this article suggests). The reason why image management consulting and gurus work. The reason why facts can be presented as per choice to prove or disprove anything in the courts of law. The reason why even empirical data are interpreted differently by a simple variation in criteria. Information asymmetry can make it worse, and distort invariably.
The consequences are, sometimes, devastating! One prays that it doesn't happen in the most precious of relationships, but life doesn't care!
JK puts it brilliantly.
"Perception is clouded with judgment, with comparison, with desire. To perceive without the interference of the censor is arduous. Imagination builds the image of the self, and thought then functions within its shadows. From this self-concept grows the conflict between what is and what should be, the conflict in duality. Perception of the fact and idea about the fact are two entirely different states, and only a mind that is not bound by opinion, by comparative values, is capable of perceiving what is true."
To find what is true, perceptions must never be taken as absolute. That implies all beliefs, ideals, opinions, etc must end. Importantly, the authority of oneself must end. One must be naked. So long as "I" exists, truth will elude. Unless "I" dissolves in entirety, perception can never be a direct and immediate access to reality, as it is intuitively assumed.
Russell emphasised all his life the importance of the limits of knowledge. Definite knowledge is minute, and probable knowledge is fine in the realm of scientific inquiry and must be held with skepticism. Beyond that, nothing can be known. Certainty, then, would be a detriment to perceiving what is true. For the same reason, he dealt with, in depth, the problem of how to reconcile some apparently obvious truths about our experience of the world with the possibility of certain kinds of perceptual error. Camus puts across a similar take in the following lines.
"This heart within me I can feel, and I judge that it exists. This world I can touch, and I likewise judge that it exists. There ends all my knowledge, and the rest is construction."
"We have a right to think that truth with a capital letter is relative. But facts are facts."
Truth is always beyond everything. Camus: "Always go too far, because that's where you'll find the truth".
Perception, unless admitted of fallibility, is the weakest link.
I rarely found a more beautiful reference to the paradox of fate than this line (in Telugu).
choosenduku achamgaa mana bhaashe anipistunnaa aksharamu ardham kaani ee vidhi raata
Simple words, profound, lyrical. (Thanks to Seetarama Sastri sir)
I wish I could translate it as beautifully into English (I even wonder if it could be written as beautifully in English), but roughly it translates to this:
even as it appears to be exactly in our language, yet not even a letter is comprehensible
Murthy, our adorable team mate and loyal friend, passed away on August 16, 2010. Many of you are as familiar with him as you are with Ranga Shankara itself - he was mostly found walking around with a certain sense of pride in those theatrical eyes, or sleeping in his favourite spot in the theater - under the first table in the cafe.
Murthy came to us with the site - he has been through the complete journey of the construction, opening and running of Ranga Shankara.
Murthy was a perfect theaterwallah - throughout the three years of construction, he insisted on sleeping in the area marked for the stage, has participated in all the acting workshops conducted in the ground floor and has always occupied a first-row seat during platform performances.
We will miss him dearly. May he rest peacefully.
(Spotted at Ranga Shankara. For such a touching obit, it'd be odd to mention that Murthy is a dog. The poster was complete with its photograph.)
A man once came to see the Buddha to get help with his problems. After the man had told the Buddha one of his problems and asked for help, the Buddha replied: "I cannot help you get rid of that problem."
The man was surprised that the Buddha could not help him in this regard, but he told the Buddha about another problem; he thought to himself that the Buddha should at least be able to help him with that problem. But the Buddha told him "I cannot help you with that problem either."
The man started to get impatient. He said: "How can it be that you are the perfectly Enlightened Buddha, when you can’t even help people get rid of their problems?" The Buddha answered: "You will always have 83 problems in your life. Sometimes a problem will go, but then another problem will come. I cannot help you with that."
The baffled man asked the Buddha: "But, what can you help me with, then?" The Buddha replied: "I can help you get rid of your 84th problem." The man asked: "But what is my 84th problem?" The Buddha replied: "That you want to get rid of your 83 problems."
A letter from a Holocaust survivor explaining why he had ceased to believe in God.
“God had allowed SS troops to snatch a baby from his mother and then use it as a football. When it was a torn lump of flesh they tossed it to their dogs. The mother was forced to watch. Then they ripped off her blouse and made her use it to clean the blood off their boots.”
(Source: The Economist)
It's lopsided and insensible to talk of progress and civilisation and take pride when the fumes of Holocaust still pervade the air. Holocaust is the reference point of the so-called civilisation and all things human. The point is we are still only as human.
Beast is a fact. God is a myth.