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strange

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One of those ‘good one’s that I missed on the first viewing of the The Royal Tenenbaums: “Strange day out here at the windswept fields”

… or should we say, “Gandhi going medieval in Queens,” by his standards at least!

Written by kowsik

November 15, 2008 at 09:56

Posted in death, happiness, life

Ayas

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Aggressive Atheism –> Fanatic Proselytism

Aggressive Feminism –> Polygamist Societies

Aggressive Liberalism —–> Totalitarian Regimes

Aggressive Alpha-male determined societies –> Stone-Age

Irony, that’s one natural resource that we will never run out of!

Written by kowsik

August 22, 2008 at 10:19

prakruti/vikruti?

with 7 comments

I find this post marginally insane. For once I have a problem with every single paragraph of a post. For God’s sake… sorry, its author belongs the the ‘God Delusion‘ school, so why bother! In any case, coming to Postdoc’s post:

The entire article is about mother nature being this chaste virgin and how humans, through their industriousness, have been violating mother nature. I know, it’s not a new theme, but when the dude appears to begin to lose it, it is a thing to be arrested, or at least ticketed. I also know that Postdoc should have the freedom to go on a rant every once in a while, this my corresponding counter-rant.

Nature is beautiful in NatGeo. But when you are out in it, it is– as Murphy puts it– ‘a bitch’. When you are out in the wilderness/nature, it is a battle for survival, much as it is in the concrete jungle. The average man is spared the Freudian guilt because, not only has he (thankfully) no access to Disney/NatGeo but also because, he is enduring the battle for survival every day. Only when you are asked to live up to an ideal do morality & guilt come in, this is one such case. I find the attitude in this post to be in the same league as that of most doomsdayers and moralists, damning the entire mankind by comparing it with a dream, obviously we fall short– what chance has reality got against a dream?

As to the balance in nature: I don’t think there is one, if we are talking of a balance that ensures that any perturbation will bring it back to the initial state. I don’t even see the need for such a balance to exist– if it were not for some of the ‘spoiling of the nature’ level destabilizations, mankind would never have come up.

While it is patently absurd to argue that perturbations to the existing nature happen only due to humans, one might still argue that some of the perturbations are due to humans. I agree, but one should understand that perturbations happen, if not by us, by the nature in our immediate vicinity, or at higher levels (nature, as the dinosaurs found out first, is the entire universe). Here is where I find the biggest contradiction in the post. For some one having (not just ranting) serious problems with religion’s views like creationism, the author takes a condescending on the ‘lowest common denominator’ (‘lcd’ from here on). As far as I understand history, human civilization evolved in the same way that life evolved on our planet, survival of the fittest. If we want the religious people to accept and internalize this knowledge in their world-view, how hypocritical would a denigration like ‘lcd’ be? As to whether ‘lcd’ is bad for us, it has been the way evolution happened, and for some arcane (is it?) reason that has been the way progress in most aspects of our civilization has been. In short, if we want this ‘ugly’ ‘lcd’ to go away, we have to give up the present civilization and be ready to live in the forests and deserts (not oceans, of course). Incidentally, all the so called ‘cruel’ cultures happen to be the cultures living closest to nature, so I am not sure if any of us would want to take that risk. While I feel some pain when I see the deserted concrete houses and stuff like that,  a sensible/fitter way would be to try to find a way to avoid that (alternative to concrete?), rather than blame the ‘lcd’s. I am taking so much offence at the word ‘lcd’ because I am one. And I think that art is as much of a luxury as soap-operas are, that’s some red pill that I wouldn’t mind if taken by Postdoc though I am sure he thinks his pill is redder than mine.

Now to the most politically correct condemnation ever: religious intolerance. My only disagreement here is about the effect of religion. Religion does not divide, in fact it has been the most successful unifying mechanism ever. The only problem seems to be our missing the forest for the trees. With religion, you have <10 broad divisions on matter of faith, without it, the number will be much more. If we can’t find a way around <10 broad divisions, how can we manage to do any better in the absence of religion? As to intolerance, it has always been there. Sistine Chapel was in a region and period where there was no intolerance because the other groups were wiped out. Is the author ok with a state of tolerance and high-art if it is attained through a wave of intolerance? ‘IED’-art? Mirabai was a victim of intolerance, I almost fell through the beauty in that line. That’s another probem with beauty, most of the time it is rhetoric, the same thing that the author accuses religion of.

In short the author sounds like a character out of ‘American Beauty’. I believe this is the age of the market forces, we ‘lcd’s deserve better. On a serious note, I think attitudes like those exhibited in the post of interest are the ones that lead to totalitarian regimes, all the while condemning it in letter.

PS 1: I have serious problems with the abuse of the word ‘beauty’, in a way not much different from Postdoc having problems with the abuse of nature– just as we are a part of nature, part of beauty lies in our gray matter.

PS 2: In my opinion ‘art’ is a corrupted spelling for a word that should be pronounced with f-silent. We all know what they say about opinions, we can leave it at that

Written by kowsik

August 3, 2008 at 09:13

maaya

with 4 comments

The Dark Knight is an awesome movie, almost real. Almost! The only shortcoming, the one that forces the ‘almost‘, is this: if it were real life, the joker would’ve got everything and the Knights would’ve ended-up heart-broken. I know, I belong to the half-empty school of thought. A sound school of thought, I must defend myself- emptiness seems to be the most abundant thing in the universe, the only thing I conclude that I can count on. I can’t understand my conclusion though, it is proving to be a very hard task to manage.

On an arguably related note, is it of any consolation to know that the much-wanted prize, that one was forbidden to fight for, was never a prize? Should one feel relieved, for being spared of the Albatross situation, or should one give-in to the frustration at the futility of it all? Which is worse: to find out that one is fallible, or to find out that every one is?

Written by kowsik

July 27, 2008 at 13:41

Posted in cribs, happiness, life

Tagged with

Madam

with 2 comments

Arrogant Bastard AleThrough out the past two years, every time I went to Round Table Pizza for lunch at UCSD, I would pass by a tap for Arrogant Bastard Ale. Today I finally found out what it is about, and here is the exclusive report for the readers of this blog.

If I knew Latin it would’ve sounded nicer, for now here’s the account in English. I saw, I drank, I was conquered. I might not have found God, but I knew it is He who gave me the nudge. Too often we fail to see a good thing that is right before our eyes, not to speak of the things that are right behind them… It took me two years in this case, God knows how many in many others!

Such was the impact that I started a search for more info on ambrosia and I came across an interview of Greg Koch, the maker of Arrogant Bastard Ale. If I was a fan before, I stopped short of becoming a fanatic after the read. This guy seems to have a clear idea of what he expects out of his work. He is doing what he wants to do, he knows that not everyone shares a desire for high standards, and he seems to accept it. As to how high the standards are: ABA might not be what Bheeshma would’ve begged for on his death bed, but that’s only because Greg Koch was born much later.

For the readers of this blog, here are the important excerpts from the interview (replace beer with any other product, the points made here are equally valid):

What’s standing in the way of Stone’s world domination?

GK: We are. The only styles of beer that will ever have the chance to dominate the world are light lager styles. Because of a set of realities, I would say that there is little to no chance of this not being true. Those realities are:

1) The generic consumer does not want something that challenges them. They want safe and familiar — even if they know that it is not the best choice or the best for them — as long as they don’t have to think. Thus the success of McDonalds, Kraft singles, Pringles, Bank of America, Lipton Iced Tea, Oscar Mayer Bologna, Ford Escort, etc. Generic products for generic consumers. The reality is that the majority of the people in this world are generic consumers.

2) In beer, I see there are two major schools of thought to creating and selling: Product driven marketing or Advertising driven marketing.

“Product driven” means that the beer must speak for itself. If there is advertising, it is generally aimed at simply creating awareness that the brand exists. Most of the reason the consumer chooses this brand is because of the beer itself. These brands must be good as they rely on word of mouth. If they are not good, their chance for wide success is quite limited due to lack of a significant word of mouth, or worse, negative word of mouth. The target audience for “product driven” beers are people who seek out better, new and more unique beers.

“Advertising driven” means that the brand owners concentrate on pushing the beer through advertising. Since the vast majority of the public is of a “generic” mind, the product cannot exceed that level. Otherwise, they are spending money sending their message to a population that does not care about or want extra quality or uniqueness. As you know, much of the approach for these brands is “lifestyle” based. In other words, they try and tell you that if you drink their brand you will be the life of the party, or that you will be transported to a tropical frame of mind, or that you will attract the opposite sex, or that you are an original thinker, etc….

3) Since we make “product driven” beers, we will never reach the mass public and therefore we will never dominate the world. That’s OK. I only want to be popular amongst those who make CONSCIOUS decisions about the beer they drink.

It is my theory that if ALL beer advertising was suddenly banned (TV ads, magazines, billboards, sports sponsorships, free t-shirts, little blinky buttons with brand names, beer promo girls, etc.) and people only had the beer itself on which to base their purchase decisions, all fizzy yellow beer brands would suffer a minimum of 50% loss in sales volume within a half generation. Then Stone might have a shot at world domination!

… … …

… … …

Have you ever had a Budweiser?

GK: I have sampled countless brands of beer. Some I have enjoyed immensely and some I have not. Without being brand specific, I tend not to gravitate towards brands that are not known for being honest, true to style, additive free or otherwise meeting up to a high set of standards.

Growing up, I drank fizzy yellow beer. It was all that was available. I didn’t know any better. I moved on.

I run into many people who use the “It’s what I grew up with, that’s why I drink XYZ brand of fizzy yellow beer” excuse. Bullshit. It’s because you got used to a generic taste and have decided not to move on. That’s OK, but the fizzy yellow beer drinker should at least be able to acknowledge their own reality. They don’t want to expand their horizons. There’s a reason why better things in life are referred to as “acquired tastes.” you may have to work at developing your palate, but when you get there it’s nirvana!

I think it was the rock band RUSH that said “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

PS: One more thing that the Arrogant Bastard Ale made me realize was that the pinnacle of civilization was when alcohol was discovered, the rot set in shortly after that.

Written by kowsik

August 27, 2007 at 07:12

santosham

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Saw this first in Vinu‘s blog:

Titled “The (misguided) pursuit of happiness”, this is a talk by Dan Gilbert at Monterey in February 2004. Dan Gilbert a psychology professor at Harvard about how our choices actually affect us.

Written by kowsik

March 29, 2007 at 20:14

Posted in happiness, life