Friday, August 31, 2007

Once upon a time
I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

Meat Loaf & Bonnie Tyler, A total eclipse of the heart
A relationship is like a plant in a garden... the gardener looks at it, and he is instantly reminded of all the toil and effort he has put through the months and years to develop and nourish it... that time, that effort binds him and the plant together... and that is why when he looks at it, he looks with tenderness, affection and care. Imagine what would be the gardener's feelings if the plant is razed in front of his eyes.

Or, you can also compare it a with painting... the artist draws it with passion, inspiration and caution... concentrating on every line... pondering over every stroke of his brush... and when he sees that painting, he feels a bond because of all that time, all that effort he has put into it... and that is why when he looks at it, he looks with warmth, love and attention. Imagine what would be the painter's feelings if the painting is burned down in front of his eyes.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Abstract Russell
Drawn by me for the Arts exhibition in King Edward Medical University.

In case you have difficulty identifying what it is, it is an abstract sketch of Bertrand Russell. :)
"If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner."
Tallulah Bankhead

Same here... strange how you can begin to value even some of the apparent 'mistakes' that you have made in life.

Monday, August 27, 2007

X: She is going.

Y: And this troubles you?

X: Of course, it does! What else do you expect?

Y: Have you not read La Rochefoucald, "Absence diminishes the lesser passions and increases the great ones, just as the wind extinguishes candles but fans a great fire."? Perhaps it will only serve to enhance the relationship, make it more durable.

X: It is this 'perhaps' which terrifies me. What if it extinguishes?

Y: There will come many more 'what ifs' in your life... will you allow yourself to be paralyzed by them? Learn to be strong, learn to be resistant.
X: Sometimes when i see her face, her expressions, especially when she is trying to avoid my gaze, i feel very afraid; a strange fear clutches my heart... Unknown phantoms fight their way through into my consciousness.

Y: You are projecting your own fears and doubts on her actions, dear boy. It's not her expression per se what troubles you, it is you yourself. In this case, your mind does not see what it wants to see, but rather, your mind sees what it is afraid of seeing.
And who knows how many of her subconscious uncertainties does she cast on your conduct?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

X: At times i feel like cursing... her, myself, the time when i fell in love, because now i have to suffer through all this pain.

Y: Why do you curse? Did your mother curse you when you were born, despite all the pain and trouble that you caused her? She didn't... she still looked at you with affection, love and longing. Be like a mother in your love. If you are unwilling the pain in love, then you are unworthy of tasting it's joys as well.
Philosophers rarely resort to poetry, and mystics rarely employ logic.
"I loved her, but in the crazy world into which i was blindly plunging, my heart was far away, trying to adapt to something it possibly knew, but couldn't accept: being large enough for two people."

Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I have been pierced by the arrow of love, what shall I do?

by Bulleh Shah
English version by J. R. Puri and T. R. Shangari

I have been pierced by the arrow of love, what shall I do?
I can neither live, nor can I die.
Listen ye to my ceaseless outpourings,
I have peace neither by night, nor by day.
I cannot do without my Beloved even for a moment.
I have been pierced by the arrow of love, what shall I do?
The fire of separation is unceasing!
Let someone take care of my love.
How can I be saved without seeing him?
I have been pierced by the arrow of love, what shall I do?

O Bullah, I am in dire trouble!
Let someone come to help me out.
How shall I endure such torture?
I have been pierced by the arrow of love,what shall I do?
I can neither live, nor can I die.
Nothing leaves a more bitter taste in mouth than the feeling of loneliness.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Consider an argument of this form:

Since the intellect of any person is of finite value, it means that a person of greater intellect might detect a logical flaw in his arguments. This implies that any argument advanced by any person has a logical possibility of being wrong, the logical flaw being visible only to a person of greater intellect. The only argument that would have no possibility of being wrong is that which would be given by a being of infinite intellect. Since there is no such being, it follows that one can never be 100% certain that a particular argument is correct.
The interesting thing is that this argument leads to a paradox. If all arguments have the possibiltiy of being false, then it means that this very argument also has the possibility of being false, and hence the conclusion that one can't be 100% certain of any argument is also not 100% certain!
"A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art."

Jorge Luis Borges

[Happy birthday to the great Argentine writer.]

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

X: But your family loves you!

Y: If they really love me, they should accept me and respect my views, and let me live the way i am instead of trying to impose their beliefs on me!
This little dialogue in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows caught my attention:

'All right,' said Hermoine, disconcerted. 'Say the cloak existed... what about the stone, Mr Lovegood? The thing which you call the Resurrection Stone?'
'What of it?'
'Well, how can that be real?'
'Prove that it is not,' said Xenophilius.
Hermoine looked outraged.'But that's -- I'm sorry, but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn't exist? Do you expect me get hold of - of all the pebbles in the world, and test them? I mean, you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody's proved it doesn't exist!'

Compare this with the famous china tea-pot argument by Bertrand Russell:

"Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."

Has J.K. Rowling been reading philosophy, or is it just common sense?
"Love isn't a decision. It's a feeling. If we could decide who we loved, it would be much simpler, but much less magical."

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park, Chef Aid, 1998

Monday, August 20, 2007

X: Yaar, i really like her, but i can't reveal it to her; i don't think myself as being worthy of her. She deserves someone better than me.

Y: It is not for you to decide.

X: What?

Y: Whether you are worthy of her or not... it is not your choice to make; it is her's. If you really do love her, then tell her! Confess! And let her decide whether she accepts or rejects.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Jeffrey Goines: You know what crazy is? Crazy is majority rules. Take germs for example.
James Cole: Germs?
Jeffrey Goines: Uh-huh. Eighteenth century, no such thing, nada, nothing. No one ever imagined such a thing. No sane person. Along comes this doctor, uh, Semmelweis, Semmelweis. Semmelweis comes along. He's trying to convince people, other doctors mainly, that's there's these teeny tiny invisible bad things called germs that get into your body and make you sick. He's trying to get doctors to wash their hands. What is this guy? Crazy? Teeny, tiny, invisible? What do they call it? Uh-uh, germs? Huh? What? Now, up to the 20th century, last week, as a matter of fact, before I got dragged into this hellhole. I go in to order a burger at this fast food joint, and the guy drops it on the floor. James, he picks it up, he wipes it off, he hands it to me like it's all OK. "What about the germs?" I say. He says, "I don't believe in germs. Germs is a plot made up so they could sell disinfectants and soaps." Now he's crazy, right?

Twelve Monkeys

Friday, August 17, 2007

The thunderous voice fills up the court room:

"You are like a vampire; you suck the lives out of other people and make them a part of your own. You are so hungry for experience, you don't even care whose life it is you are consuming. You are eager to reach out and touch people, but you infect them with your own corrupt ideas.

You are an aberration. Maybe it is better for everyone if you are quarantined. You are sentenced to a life of isolation..."

... and i wake up from my nightmare, drenched in sweat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Especially if the idea belongs to love or religious philosophy.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Danny: Does he make you laugh?
Tess: He doesn't make me cry.

Ocean's Eleven
The Radiance

The radiance of this ring
That i offer you
May fade away one day
But trust me
Its limited glow
Is more sacred to Apollo
Than sun's light
Shining bright

Muhammad Awais Aftab
13 August 2007
Poetry gets away with a crime so innocently; it instils in the youth a spirit of romantic idealism, which has little in common with reality. What do these poets know what love is? The only kind of love they have experienced (if they have experienced love at all!) is unrequited love. But instead of recognizing their failure, they idolize it... they construct a whole myth of 'ideal love' around it, burying real love beneath layers and layers of poetic metaphor. They mutate it into something sterile and unrecognizable. Oscar Wilde was perhaps right when he wrote about love: 'The poets have killed it.' A person who has only learned to venerate the pain and bitterness of love, calling it 'sacred', begins to see the happiness in love as a sin. When a person stubbornly asks for 'eternal' love, he refuses the joy of the finite love which life does offer. These poets make you run after a dream, only that you may wake up and find yourself in a nightmare. It makes me very sad to see that adherence to a flawed and obsolete theory of poetic love is bringing so much misery and pain in the lives of so many intelligent and creative young people.
"The main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as means to other things, are knowledge, art, instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection."
Bertrand Russell

I totally agree. And much of the unhappiness and dissatisfaction i see around myself is because people have ignored these very things in their lives.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Separate Ways

Me and thee,
We met like two ships
Thrown together
In the tempestuous sea

We talked and smiled
And shared our lives
Our tales of joy
And the tales of sighs

But passengers we were
Of the stormy sea
On different waves, with different ships
Neither of us was free

Had we met
In another time
In another place
We might not be going
On our separate ways

When the world comes to an end
On the end of days
And the cycle of life begins again
I’d pray to God
To make this little change:
Let us meet
In that time
In that place
Where we would not be going
On our separate ways...

Muhammad Awais Aftab
11 August 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

By Faiz Ahmad Faiz
Translated by Azfar Hussain

Loneliness like a good, old friend
visits my house to pour wine in the evening.
And we sit together, waiting for the moon,
and for your face to sparkle in every shadow.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A little family birthday celebration... the pictures were taken while we were at Spin Bar, an ice-cream parlour in Lahore.

And mama says i hate milk...

My cousin and me

Me alone
(ignoring that guy behind me, sprinkling nuts on his ice cream)

Mama and Me
This is what my best friend Saad Javed gave to me as a birthday note, and that is surely the most special thing of today.

A very sweet, special day!

If people were jewels, Awais, you would be a ruby; not because it is red and brilliant but because it is the stone of passion and lyrical energy; the things your aura embrace so perfectly.

If people were flowers, Awais, you would be a primrose, not because it is a 'rose' but because voodoo witchdoctors would use it as a wound-healer, an ointment and a painkiller. This is exactly what you have been to me.

If people were edible, Awais, I know you would make a delightful lean meat steak. Not 'well-done', nor done 'medium'; rather a 'rare'... juicy, satisfying and divine.

But jewels, I cannot afford; flowers wilt and food goes stale. But i have my very special gem, my garland, my gourmet... I have you.

So look out, Awais. It might be raining. Not because it is Monsoon but because it is a very sweet, special day and it might be raining honey... Luv!

Saad Javed

Thanks honey, and yeah, it did rain! :)
Today is my birthday. :) The day uptil now has been a bit boring and disappointing, but it has not lacked in some special moments. I hope the rest of it is spent in the best possible way.

I share my birthday (8th August) with the American poet Sara Teasdale. This is one of her poems which i really like, and which also sort of defines my today's mood.

Love in Autumn

I sought among the drifting leaves,
The golden leaves that once were green,
To see if Love were hiding there
And peeping out between.

For thro' the silver showers of May
And thro' the summer's heavy heat,
In vain I sought his golden head
And light, fast-flying feet.

Perhaps when all the world is bare
And cruel winter holds the land,
The Love that finds no place to hide
Will run and catch my hand.
I shall not care to have him then,
I shall be bitter and a-cold --
It grows too late for frolicking
When all the world is old.

Then little hiding Love, come forth,
Come forth before the autumn goes,
And let us seek thro' ruined paths
The garden's last red rose.

Monday, August 6, 2007

"Are you fleeing from Love because of a single humiliation?
What do you know of Love except the name?"


Sunday, August 5, 2007


Question 3: Can science give us certain knowledge about ultimate reality?

In most aspects, my view of Science conforms to that given by Karl Popper. Popper denied the idea that any scientific theory can ever be verified as true. To the contrary, Popper believed that the only sure test of a theory being as scientific was its quality of being potentially falsified. A theory is to be considered scientific only and only if it is capable of being falsified.

Why a scientific theory cannot be verified is because of its universality (Hume's problem of Induction). Let us consider a statement like ‘All crows are black’. Now this is a statement which can never be verified by no matter how many observations we make, because the hypothesis of crows being black extends to all existing crows, which may be beyond the reach of our observation. And therefore, this statement can never be conclusively verified. Discovering a black crow every time we make an observation does not confirm the theory, but only makes it more probable; the confirmation is only provisional. On the other hand, this statement can be conclusively rejected or falsified. It would take a single observation of a white crow [or red, or any other colour] to finally prove that this theory is wrong. This asymmetry between verification and falsification is central to Popper’s account of science i.e. a theory can be falsified but not verified.

A genuine scientific theory is therefore one which is prohibitive, i.e. it prohibits certain observations or events, which if happen would falsify the theory. Any theory which doesn’t contain any criteria of its falsification, and therefore explains everything, cannot be called as scientific.

Stephen Hawking writes:

“Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of the experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.”

Popper believes that science advances in an evolutionary manner, on the principle of selection and the survival of the fittest. It is a game of conjectures and refutations. Popper describes this with a formula:

PS1 -> TT -> EE -> PS1
In a response to any problem situation [PS1] the scientists present a number of tentative theories [TT]. These theories are now subject to critical examination and vigorous attempts of falsification. This is called error elimination [EE], and is a selective process which selects those theories which survive the critical tests posed by the investigators. The theories which are falsified are therefore rejected, and only the fittest of theories are allowed to go on. The theories which survive falsification are not true but only more fit. This leads to a gradual evolution towards more and more interesting problems [PS2] and the process of selection and falsification is carried on at each step.

Popper is perhaps unusual among contemporary philosophers in the sense that he accepts the validity of Hume’s denial of Induction. However, he does not share the resulting skepticism. Hume said that just because we have observed that A follows B does not mean that A will always follow B. Popper accepts that it is not necessary that A follow B, but we can theorize that A will follow B. If A follows B in all our observations, then although this theory is not verified, it has also not been falsified.
So, although it cannot be shown that sun will necessary rise tomorrow, we can make a theory that it will. If the sun doesn’t rise, the theory will be conclusively falsified. And if it does, the theory will be provisionally verified.
Similarly, although it can’t be shown that all crows are black, we can theorize that they are. If we observe a white crow, the theory will be falsified, otherwise it will survive.

The picture of science this leads to is very disturbing. The common sense view that the growth of science is a gradual accumulation of truth about the world is overthrown by this philosophy. Science is not an accumulation of truths, but rather an accumulation of unfalsified theories about the world, which may or may not conform to the Reality. Worse, this means that we can never prove that we have found a theory which really does explains things as they are. Even if our theory was correct, there is no way we could ever find out!

So, the answer to the question is in negative. Science cannot give us certain knowledge about ultimate reality. [Please note, i am talking about 'ultimate reality'. When science deals with superficial phenomena, such as in anatomy, it does give us certain knowledge.]
"There is only one good thing in life, and that is love. And how you misunderstand it! How you spoil it! You treat it as something solemn like a sacrament, or something to be bought, like a dress."

Guy de Maupassant, The Love of Long Ago

[Happy Birthday to Maupassant]

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Taking the first steps of life so happily. :)
Who could tell what this boy would turn out to be. But i simply love this photograph... always brings a smile on my face.

That's me. :)

This is my YLC participant trophy.
"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."
Robert Byrne

Ah, so beautifully and succintly put! This could very well be the conclusion of my post of the meaning of life.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

An interesting application of Proust's quote about Voyage of Discovery to the field of love could be stated as:

"The voyage of romance is not in seeking new partners but in seeing the existing ones with new eyes."

A lover becomes blind, not because of a lack of vision, but because everywhere he sees, he sees only love.
"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
Marcel Proust

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Saad: Aik waqt main aik hee dewi meharban hoti hay, qismat ki, ya muhabbat ki.
[Trans: Only one goddess favours you at a time: either the goddess of fortune or the goddess of love.]

These gods are capricious creatures, my buddy, you never know. :)

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