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Showing posts from 2007

Hurt

(Claire stands up on the sign. She looks at West, then she falls – her arms outstretched in front of her. After a moment, West catches her.)

CLAIRE: You caught me.
WEST: Of course I did.
CLAIRE: But I would've been fine.
WEST: I know you can heal, Claire. But I never want to see you hurt.

Heroes, Episode # 204

Customs

"Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history."
Will Durant, The Lessons of History

Sajni vs I Don't Love You

As soon as i began watching Jal's new video 'Sajni', i immediately recalled the video of 'I don't love you' by My Chemical Romance. The resemblance of the scenes in which the girl is standing beneath the tree is striking... and i doubt that it can be a result of mere coincidence. See for yourself:

Jal - Sajni:



My Chemical Romance - I don't love you:

Discover

"What you discover on your own is always more exciting than what someone else discovers for you - it's like the difference between romantic love and an arranged marriage."

Terrence Rafferty

Heroes

* Mr. Bennet: I could never love you enough. Sandra: You do fine.
* Linderman: There comes a time when a man has to ask himself whether he wants a life of happiness or a life of meaning.
Nathan: I'd like to have both.
Linderman: Can't be done. Two very different paths. To be truly happy, a man must live absolutely in the present, no thought of what's gone before and no thought of what lies ahead. But a life with meaning, a man is condemned to wallow in the past and obsess about the future. Heroes, Episode # 118

Love is All Around

Such a sweet song. :)

Once in a Lifetime

It only happens once - not twice
the moments vanishing like mice,
scurrying past, life much too fast,
and only for the very brave, the strong, the true,
and when the moment comes for you,
don't let it pass you by,
for in the twinkling of an eye, the love is gone,
the moment dead,
an empty ringing in your head,
your heart will know when fate has whispered
in your ear...oh, never fear, beloved friend,
for in the end it's worth the price, the fee, the cost,
when all is lost, but love is won,
when true love comes, there is but one.

Danielle Steel

[Courtesy of Mehreen; thanks!]

The seven great ‘medical myths’

The seven great ‘medical myths’
By Peter Griffiths

LONDON - Reading in dim light won’t damage your eyes, you don’t need eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy and shaving your legs won’t make the hair grow back faster.
These well-worn theories are among seven “medical myths” exposed in a paper published on Friday in the British Medical Journal, which traditionally carries light-hearted features in its Christmas edition.
Two U.S. researchers took seven common beliefs and searched the archives for evidence to support them.
Despite frequent mentions in the popular press of the need to drink eight glasses of water, they found no scientific basis for the claim.
The complete lack of evidence has been recorded in a study published the American Journal of Psychology, they said.
The other six “myths” are:

*Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight
The majority of eye experts believe it is unlikely to do any permanent damage, but it may make you squint, blink more and have trouble focusing, the res…

Questions and Answers

"He who asks the questions cannot avoid the answers."
Cameron Proverb

So think before you inquire. :)

Think Critically

'I asked my music-history class the question, "What is music?" I introduced the subject by showing a video of American composer John Cage describing his silent piano composition, 4'33'' - so named because it was four minutes and 33 seconds long. After composing it, he erased the notes from his score as a way of compelling others to think critically about what they consider "music". I was amused by one student's submission. She wrote a five-page essay, and then erased every word with white-out.'
P. Janson, Reader's Digest, Campus Comedy, Dec 1997

Pygmalion

Pygmalion
Muhammad Awais Aftab

And there she stood
A mere child
With all that snow around
The desire to create a snowman
Beating in her heart, profound
So, she rolled the balls of ice
And made the body and head
And for the pointing nose
She chose a carrot red
Two dark coals for the eyes
A curved twig for the smile
Two branches for the long arms
And a hat and scarf for style
And there she stood
At night, looking at it in awe
With the love of a creator
Not a single flaw she saw
And she prayed and prayed to God
With an intensity unknown
To give life to this man of snow
And make it her very own
And there she stood
Weeping to see it melt
To her prayers
A death-blow dealt
As it softened
And thawed
Into an amorphous mass
Of watery snow
Her eyes shimmering
With the tears' flow!

[Published in Us Magazine today.]

The Universe

"There is a theory which states that if anybody ever discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Only Answer

"Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence."
Erich Fromm

The Inner Freak

Claire: I'm finally realizing who my friends really are. And that maybe being different isn't the end of the world. That's just who I am.
Zach: Exactly, you gotta embrace your inner freak. Because the only thing that you'll regret is denying who you really are.

Heroes, Episode # 109

Peeping Tom

Russell's witticisms at his best! Leaves me laughing whenever i read it:

"Although we are taught the Copernican astronomy in our textbooks, it has not yet penetrated to our religion or our morals, and has not even succeeded in destroying belief in astrology. People still think that the Divine Plan has special reference to human beings, and that a special Providence not only looks after the good, but also punishes the wicked. I am sometimes shocked by the blasphemies of those who think themselves pious-for instance, the nuns who never take a bath without wearing a bathrobe all the time. When asked why, since no man can see them, they reply: 'Oh, but you forget the good God.' Apparently they conceive of the Deity as a Peeping Tom, whose omnipotence enables Him to see through bathroom walls, but who is foiled by bathrobes. This view strikes me as curious." [Unpopular Essays]

Linked

Paulo Coelho posts a link of this blog on his own blog!
http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2007/12/14/warrior-of-light-and-love/

:)

Meaning

This quest. This need to solve life's mysteries. In the end, what does it matter? When the human heart can only find meaning in the smallest of moments?

Heroes, Episode # 101

Vampire Heart

Hold me
Like you held on to life
When all fears came alive and entombed me
Love me
Like you love the sun
Scorching the blood in my vampire heart

HIM, Vampire Heart

Becoming Jane

My favourite scene from the movie Becoming Jane: a conversation between the young Jane Austen and mischievous Thomas Lefroy, who makes her aware of what she lacks as an author.



And this is what she says after she has read the book:

The World of Paulo Coelho

My article on the life, works and thoughts of Paulo Coelho, published in Us Magazine today:
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2007-weekly/us-14-12-2007/p22.htm#1

The Power of Words

"I promised to tell you how one falls in love....

And then she began to read from The Histories -- the story of Candaules and his queen... There are several things one can say. Knowing that eventually I will become her lover, just as Gyges will be the queen's lover and murderer of Candaules. I would often open Herodotus for a clue to geography. But Katherine had done that as a window to her life. Her voice was wary as she read. Her eyes only on the page where the story was, as if she were sinking within quicksand while she spoke.

This is a story of how I fell in love with a woman, who read me a specific story from Herodotus. I heard the words she spoke across the fire, never looking up, even when she teased her husband. Perhaps she was just reading to him. Perhaps there was no ulterior motive in the selection except for themselves. It was simply a story that had jarred her in its familiarity of situation. But a path suddenly revealed itself in real life. Even though she had …

HIM - Gone with the Sin

Oh, isn't this an enchantingly spooky song!

The Wonders of Qing Qi

"The more i see it, the more i realize that there is no vehicle more expressive than the qing qi that has been roaming the city road for some years now.... The beauty of the vehicle is that it brings the people sitting on its rear side, exposing them from head to toe, face to face with those following behind. The exposure is such that a discerning follower can tell about the relationship of the people occupying the rear seat in a qing qi. And once the relationship has been established, with a slightly deeper look at body language etc., the follower may be able to say whether the insistent (and if you ask me rather undeserving) husband will succeed in getting an amnesty for his acts from the stern-looking wife and whether the boy's backbreaking accompanying journey would earn him the medal in chivalry he richly deserves."
Excerpted from Lahore Diary [The Dawn, December 10, 2007]

The Irony

Russell writes about a friend:

"He inspired the deepest affection in almost everybody who knew him. I never knew but one woman who would not have been delighted to marry him. She, of course, was the only woman he wished to marry."

The Dawn

My story 'The Dawn' which won the Consolation Prize in short-story competition by Us Magazine:
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2007-weekly/us-07-12-2007/p25.htm#1

Quote

"I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation."
George Bernard Shaw

:D

Untitled by Simple Plan

A song for all the gloomy, pessimistic souls out there:

Silence

"Everything has returned to silence, but it isn't the same silence."

Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

Past Mistakes

Looking back at the past mistakes...

Alicia: I mean, I remember feeling angry and alone and doing all those things, but I don’t know, when I think about it now, it’s like... it’s like watching a movie, like it wasn’t even really me.
Clark: Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe this is the real you.

Smallville, Episode # 411

In the gap

"Romantically she decided that love must surely reside in the gap between desire and fulfillment, in the lack, not the contentment. Love was the ache, the anticipation, the retreat, everything around it but the emotion itself."
Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss

Truth

Lana: You know, with you, everything seems like it's a secret.
Lex: What you may perceive as secrecy, I see as precautions.
Lana: I'm a big girl, Lex. I don't need precautions. I need the truth.
Lex:Sometimes we think we want the truth until we actually get it. Lana, if you want me to be honest with you, I will. But you're not going to like it.

Smallville, Episode 413

Takes Two to Tango

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Drawn by Tabassum, appeared in this week's issue of Dawn magazine

Take Me Away

This time all I want is you
There is no one else
Who can take your place
This time you burn me with your eyes
You see past all the lies
You take it all away
I've seen it all
And it's never enough
It keeps leaving me needing you

Take me away
Take me away
I've got nothing left to say
Just take me away

I try to make my way to you
But still I feel so lost
I don't know what else I can do
I've seen it all
And it's never enough
It keeps leaving me needing you

Take me away
Take me away
I've got nothing left to say
Just take me away

Lifehouse - Take Me Away

Illusion and Disillusion

"Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion."

Miguel de Unamuno

Teddy Bear Blasphemy Case

The end of November has witnessed the emergence of yet another international blasphemy case, which revolves around a Sudanese teddy bear and a British school-teacher Gillian Gibbons working at Unity High School in Sudan. She was arrested by the authorities under the accusation of insulting Islam and its Prophet by allowing her class to name a teddy bear as ‘Muhammad’.

From BBC News:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7112929.stm
Ms Gibbons, who joined the school in August, asked a seven-year-old girl to bring in her teddy bear and asked the class to pick names for it, he said.
"They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad," Mr Boulos said, adding that she then had the children vote on a name.
Twenty out of the 23 children chose Muhammad as their favourite name.
Mr Boulos said each child was then allowed to take the bear home at weekends and told to write a diary about what they did with it.
He said the children's entries were collected in a book wi…

Love and Stars

In 1929, two physicists Robert Atkinson and Fritz Houtermans (1903-1966) at Gottingen, Germany, forwarded the idea that nuclear reactions are a source of energy of stars. The day Houtermans wrote down the research paper he felt over-worked aand so went for a stroll with a pretty girl in the evening. When it became dark and stars looked down upon them in all their splendour. 'Oh, stars! How beautiful! They shine beautifully, don't they dear?' the girl remarked romantically. Houtermans could not contain himself. He thrust his chest out and said proudly, 'I've known since yesterday what makes them shine!' The girl might not have understood what he had remarked or its implications in science. Nevertheless she became Houtermans' wife later.
Excerpted from Folk Tales of Science by Dilip M. Salwi

Emotions and Meaning

Try to imagine a person who has no emotions and feelings at all. What meaning or purpose would his life revolve around? As far as i can judge: none. Because reason per se is not capable of generating a meaning in life. It is emotions which do so. Rationality is condemned to absurdism from the start. Logos might understand the universe better, but only mythos can make life worth-living.

Golden Dust

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They say to us We live in the sands of time Shapeless, nameless moments But they don't know what we know That all it takes is two hands joined And they can turn the soil Into the golden dust of love. M. Awais Aftab

1927 Solvay Congress

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"Perhaps the most famous conference was the October 1927 Fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons, where the world's most notable physicists met to discuss the newly formulated quantum theory. The leading figures were Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. Einstein, disenchanted with Heisenberg's "Uncertainty Principle," remarked "God does not play dice." Bohr replied, "Einstein, stop telling God what to do." Seventeen of the twenty-nine attendees were or became Nobel Prize winners, including Marie Curie, who alone among them, had won Nobel Prizes in two separate scientific disciplines." [From wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvay_Conference Thanks to Tamoor for the picture!]

Over-acting

We were watching a drama on TV, and a group of 3 women was shrieking, giggling and gesticulating excitedly and wildly. I turned to my brother and said, "A person who doesn't know women very well would assume that they are over-acting." :)

Religion to the Rescue!

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The Box

At Lex's 12th birthday:
Lionel puts the present in Lex's hands. Lex opens it and pulls out a lead box.

Lex: (Unimpressed.) It's just an old box.
Lionel: No, no, it's much more than that. This box was formed from the armor of St. George.
Lex: (Surprised.) The dragon slayer?
Lionel: That's right. According to the legend, St. George was fighting a particularly fierce dragon. The battle between them had raged on for days, and St. George was losing his strength... and his faith. So he took a piece of broken armor, and he made it into this box. Inside it he put all his doubts and his fears, and then he went out to face the dragon again.
Lex: (Amazed.) Without any armor?
Lionel: Yeah. (Almost a whisper, telling the story with intensity.) But when the dragon saw St. George coming to do battle with him again, it hesitated and drew back, and in that moment, St. George plunged his sword into the dragon's heart, and it fell dead.
Lex smiles.
Lionel: So when people are cruel to yo…

David and Goliath

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David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio (1571-1610),

"There is a painting by Caravaggio, done late in his life. David with the Head of Goliath. In it, the young warrior holds at the end of his outstretched arm the head of Goliath, ravaged and old. But that is not the true sadness in the picture. It is assumed that the face of David is a portrait of the youthful Caravaggio and the head of Goliath is a portrait of him as an older man, how he looked when he did the painting. Youth judging age at the end of its out-stretched hand. The judging of one's own morality." Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Bertrand Russell

Will Durant writes about Bertrand Russell in The Story of Philosophy [Oh, how i long to be like a person of this description!] :

'All in all, a very lovable man: capable of the profoundest metaphysics and the subtlest mathematics, and yet speaking always simply, with the clarity which comes only to those who are sincere; a man addicted to fields of thought that usually dry up the springs of feeling, and yet warmed and illuminated with pity, full of an almost mystic tenderness for mankind. Not a courtier, but surely a scholar and a gentleman, and a better Christian than some who mouth the word.'

Hate

One of the countless fictitious dialogues swirling in my mind...

X: Why can't you just go away! You don't even let me hate you!

Hatred often gives a lot of strength to a person's mind, especially when it is directed towards the person who has hurted him/her. Imagine your inability to hate the person who has caused you pain... now that would be a tragedy.

Smallville: Funeral Scene

I don't know what it is it about funerals that attracts me so much... anyhow, this is me and my brother's favourite scene from Smallville Season 1... the funeral scene of Whitney's dad.

The Two Happinesses

The narrator observes a couple in a restuarant:

'... they are happy to be together, happy to be seen together.' (Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea)

I wonder how much of the latter contributes to their happiness. Would they be less happy if they couldn't afford to be seen together? Or maybe it doesn't make much difference? Or perhaps the former happiness is independant of the latter happiness... even if you don't have the latter one, it doesn't mean that the former should lose any of its value or charm.

Silent Victory

I have always been the intrigued by the idea of a silent victory; my efforts to appreciate this phenomenon have only been partially successful. There are so many things that the world never gets to know about; they remain hidden, either by choice or by necessity... but the person who is involved in them, how does he feel about it? What is the charm, if any, of a success or an achievement or a happiness that you cannot tell the world about?

Associated with the theme is the idea of a pseudonym... suppose you write a book under a pseudonym that becomes an international hit, but no one knows who really wrote it. What would your feelings be about it? Does the idea of public recognition also play a part in what that achievement means to you? I once read a novel when i was young, in which a child saves the world... but in the end, the child is too shy to admit that it was he who did it, and the world never comes to know who the saviour was. And i used to think about it: What would that child …

Love at First Sight

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Here are some excerpts from an article in this week's Dawn Review.

Love at First Sight

By James Randerson

Their eyes met across a crowded room. The party chatter ebbed away and the music slowed. That first lovers' glaze is the staple of the romantic novelist, and scientists believe they have now revealed the true nature of its real attractive power. According to new research, romance has very little do to with it. That “look” is all about sex and ego.

“People are attracted to people who are attracted to them, and that shows attractiveness is not just about physical beauty,” said Ben Jones in the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen.

He said the work challenges most previous studies of facial attractiveness that have focused on physical characteristics, such as a preference for symmetrical faces or masculine versus feminine features. Dr Jones and his colleagues say they have shown that attraction is based on social cues that say, “I'm interested in you”. The mo…

Guess

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Can anyone guess what this is? :) [See the comments for the answer.]

The Hugeness

Out of the memory scrapbook:

Saad: Do you even feel the hugeness of it? You have made a woman the happiest woman alive... and another, the unhappiest one... in one day!

Temptation

Gandalf: Sauron needs only this ring to cover all the lands of a second darkness... He is seeking it, seeking it; all his thought is bent on it. The ring yearns, above all else, to return to the hand of it's master. They are one, the Ring and the Dark Lord. Frodo, he must never find it...
Frodo: Take it Gandalf, take it! You must take it!
Gandalf: You cannot offer me this Ring...
Frodo: I am giving it to you!
Gandalf:Don't... tempt me, Frodo!I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand, Frodo, I would use this ring from a desire to do good, but through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [The movie]

Part of fighting a temptation is not just having the strength to resist it, but also having the wisdom to stay away from it. :)

Warrior of Light and Love

One of my most favourite excerpts from Paulo Coelho's writings. [Thanks to Kishore for finding it for me!]:

For the warrior there is no such thing as an impossible love.

He is not intimidated by silence, indifference or rejection. He knows that, behind the ice mask that people wear, there beats a heart of fire.

This is why the warrior takes more risks than other people. He is constantly seeking the love of someone, even if that means often having to hear the word 'no', returning home defeated and feeling rejected in body and soul.

A warrior never gives in to fear when he is searching for what he needs. Without love, he is nothing.

Manual of the Warrior of Light

[See also my article on Paulo Coelho's life, works and thoughts, published in Us magazine:
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2007-weekly/us-14-12-2007/p22.htm#1]

Indifference

Dure: Maturity leads to partial indifference [of public opinion].

So speaks my precociously-mature little friend. :)

Believe

"But why, in any case, do we so readily accept the idea that the one thing you must do if you want to please God is believe in him? What's so special about believing? Isn't it just as likely that God would reward kindness, or generosity, or humility? Or sincerity? What if God is a scientist who regards honest seeking truth as the supreme virtue? Indeed, wouldn't the designer of the universe have to be a scientist?... Would you bet on God's valuing dishonestly faked belief (or even honest belief) over honest scepticism?"

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Page 104 [He is talking about Pascal's Wager]

Laws of Philosophy

Found this little piece of satire:

The First Law of Philosophy: For every philosopher, there exists an equal and opposite philosopher.
The Second Law of Philosophy: They're both wrong.

:D

Defined

A man is defined not just by the thoughts and temptations he has but also by how much he resists and limits them.

Jealousy n Salt

"Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening."
Maya Angelou

Hmmm. :)

Braveheart

This is my favourite scene from the movie Braveheart, in which Murron gives a thistle to William Wallace after the funeral of his father. Found it on YouTube after a lot of search. :) Enjoy.

Truth and Women

“Supposing truth is a woman—what then? Are there not grounds for the suspicion that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, have been very inexpert about women? That the gruesome seriousness, the clumsy obtrusiveness with which they have usually approached truth so far have been awkward and very improper methods for winning a woman’s heart?”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Genius and Most Genius

Bender: You made the cover of Fortune... again
Sol: Please note the use of the word "you", not "we."
Nash:[sees the magazine cover; his picture is there along with pictures of several other people] That was supposed to be just me.
Sol: Oh. [Laughs]
Nash: So not only do they rob me of the Field's Medal, now they put me on the cover of Fortune magazine with these hacks, these scholars of trivia.
Bender: John, exactly what's the difference between genius and most genius?
Nash: Quite a lot.

A Beautiful Mind

Claude Monet

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* "Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. To such an extent indeed that one day, finding myself at the deathbed of a woman who had been and still was very dear to me, I caught myself in the act of focusing on her temples and automatically analyzing the succession of appropriately graded colors which death was imposing on her motionless face."
* "Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love."
Happy birthday to the French impressionist painter, Claude Monet.

Complete Explanation

"I do not envy people who think they have a complete explanation of the world, for the simple reason that they are obviously wrong."

Salman Rushdie

Smallville continues

* Martha: Did I ever tell you about the first time I ever saw him?
Clark: No.
Martha: He came to Metropolis U. to take a finance course and he was sitting by a fountain all denim and flannel eating an apple. And I asked to borrow his notes. He didn't know that I was the note-taker for the class. He still doesn't.
Clark: You were sly, Mom.
Martha: He was so cute. So I asked him for his notes and he just handed over his notebook without even asking my name and I said, "How can you be so sure I'll bring it back?" And he said, "I prefer to believe in people."
Clark: That sounds like Dad.
Martha: And I remember looking at him, completely embarrassed because I was thinking the dumbest thing. I was thinking God, I hope he marries me. I still think that. Every day there's part of me that says, God, I hope he marries me.

Episode # 115

* Lex: In his own way, he's just trying to give you something my father never gave me.
Clark: What's that?
Lex: Limitations. Al…

Commitment

What does commitment mean to you?

The realization that even if there is someone better than you out there, it is you alone whom i want to spend my life with.

Dis-Trust Us

Dis-Trust Us!
By Saad Javed and M. Awais Aftab

The day Trust Us was hijacked by a cranky humorist and a rogue skeptic!

See the cover-story published today in Us magazine:
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/nov2007-weekly/us-09-11-2007/p25.htm#1

Gracefully Insane

"Even so, I must admire your skill. You are so gracefully insane."

Anne Sexton, referring to Robert Lowell

Hehe. I wouldn't mind if someone said that to me. :)

Who's the brains behind this?

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This cartoon would certainly be a rare gem for Russell fans! Description: This cartoon from the Evening Standard refers to the week-long prison sentence served by Russell in September 1961, following his conviction on public order charges brought after a large central London peace demonstration in commemoration of Hiroshima Day (6 August).

Taken from The Bertrand Russell Gallery

What is the problem of induction?

Bertrand Russell writes in The Problems of Philosophy, Chapter 6, On Induction:

"We are all convinced that the sun will rise to-morrow. Why? Is this belief a mere blind outcome of past experience, or can it be justified as a reasonable belief?...

It is obvious that if we are asked why we believe it the sun will rise to-morrow, we shall naturally answer, 'Because it always has risen every day'. We have a firm belief that it will rise in the future, because it has risen in the past. If we are challenged as to why we believe that it will continue to rise as heretofore, we may appeal to the laws of motion: the earth, we shall say, is a freely rotating body, and such bodies do not cease to rotate unless something interferes from outside, and there is nothing outside to interfere with thee earth between now and to-morrow. Of course it might be doubted whether we are quite certain that there is nothing outside to interfere, but this is not the interesting doubt. The interesting do…

Is problem of induction actually a problem of language?

Alifar commented on the post "Fire Always Burns?" and he raised a very interesting point. He wrote:

'Fire, as an entity, has a certain property that (we implicitly assume) is inherent in it. And that property is heat. Remove heat from fire, and we will get a flame that does not burn. This will, in a way, do away with the problem of induction, pro tem.
Any phenomenon that we can classify, based on certain visible characteristics, under the broad hypernym of “fire” must necessarily, under certain arbitrarily set yet inflexible linguistic rules, possess the property of burning. That is, that which we call fire must necessarily burn or else we cannot call it by that name. For a layman, the argument runs as follows:

“If it ain’t burnin’, then it ain’t fire.” '

Apparently, it seems to provide a solution to the problem of Induction, but i believe that it only tries to hide the actual issue, like shoving it under the carpet. The problem of induction is not a problem of pure log…

Adiemus by Enya

My cousin Sana introduced me to this song, and i find it so enchanting and magical that i had to share it on my blog:



Thanks Sana!

7: 40 am

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Kemcol 2007, the annual magazine of King Edward Medical University is out!
My short story 7: 40 am has been published in it.


7: 40 a.m.


Muhammad Awais Aftab 2nd Year
The Intrigue of the Past, glimmers through tears, memories and dreams! Awais takes a closer look...
It was 7: 40 a.m. And it was raining. The digits flickered on my wrist-watch, which had the words “Water Resistant” stamped on its face. What was its purpose, if not sheer mockery? No amount of downpour can wash away the past; the scars that time leaves behind are indelible. As I stood in the rain beside my mother’s grave, just one day old, I felt myself being showered: not by rain droplets, but by memories. Memories damp, and memories cold. Once they had been warm, but no longer…

It was at 7: 40 every morning that my alarm used to wake me up with its shrill noise. As I would open my eyes, I would see these numerals flash at the dial of the table clock. After a few seconds, I would hear the firm, loud voice of my mother: “Sahil! Wa…

Bicharna...

Suno tum azam walay ho,
Bala ka zabt rakhtay ho,
Magar jisay tum choray jatay ho,
Usay tu theek say shaid,
Bicharna bhi nahi aata...

Anonymous

This little piece of awesome poetry has been roaming around on mobile networks as a forward sms. I have no idea who the author is. If someone knows, i'd appreciate if he/she can tell me too.

Wittgenstein

Russell writes about the early student days of Wittgenstein:

"At the end of his first term at Trinity, he came to me and said: 'Do you think I am an absolute idiot?' I said: 'Why do you want to know?' He replied: 'Because if I am I shall become an aeronaut, but if I am not I shall become a philosopher.' I said to him: 'My dear fellow, I don't know whether you are absolute idiot or not, but if you will write me an essay during the vacation upon any philosophical topic that interests you, I will read it and tell you.' He did so, and brought it to me at the beginning of the next term. As soon as I read the first sentence, I became persuaded that he was a man of genius, and assured him that he should on no account become an aeronaut.
... In early days, I once asked G.E.Moore what he thought of Wittgenstein. 'I think very well of him,' he said. I asked why, and he replied: 'Because at my lectures he looks puzzled, and nobody else ever look…

Unreal Tracks

Should i invent a dawn
To lessen the night's pain?
And fabricate a god
To keep me sound and sane?
Should i search for truth in life
To know that meaning it lacks?
Or make my heart my sole guide
To lead me on unreal tracks?

M. Awais Aftab
26 Oct 2005

Smallville

*Clark: Mom, if you could see anything, what would you do?
Martha: Learn to close my eyes.

Episode # 104

*Jonathan: I know. Metropolis, do you miss it?
Martha: Sometimes.
Jonathan: Yeah?
Martha: But I didn't move to Smallville for action and glamour. I moved because a certain man told me we'd never be rich or travel the world, but he'd always love me. How could I pass up an offer like that?

Episode # 108

*Lana: That's the thing about Clark Kent: he's not always there when you want him... but he's always there when you need him.

*Lana: The other night on the porch, I felt you were trying to tell me something.
Clark: I was... Nell's timing was impeccable as always.
Lana: She's not here now.
Clark: What I wanted to tell you was... what I wanted to say was... I would never do anything to hurt you.
Lana: I know that.
Clark: But if I said what I really wanted to say right now, that's what I'd do. I'd hurt you.

Episode # 110

The Decadence of Romance

An article by Munizeh Zuberi, 'Gone with the wind?' came in this week's The Review (of Dawn newspaper) about the decadence of romance in our society, and its replacement with a more physical version of relationships. It is an excellent article, and voices my own sentiments to a great degree as well.
You can read the complete article at this link:
http://www.dawn.com/weekly/review/archive/071101/review1.htm

And here are some extracts:

"Romance needs time and thought, two things that most people do not seem to have enough of in this day and age of ‘attention deficit’. Just like young people are not afraid to change jobs every time they get a slightly better offer –– in fact it is said to raise their ‘market value’ –– they do not want to commit to a romantic relationship in case there is ‘something better out there’ waiting for them.

The sensitivities needed for romance are no longer present in the average person; to stop and smell the roses is an awkward, alien concept. For …

Being and Difference

[Kay]: My life would be rendered useless unless my being or not being with people makes a difference. :)

Very well said, my friend, well said.

Waking up...

There are little feelings more beautiful than waking up with a smile and knowing that someone out there loves you.

Fire Always Burns?

It seems that only a philosopher can doubt that fire always burns*, and perhaps that's why a philosopher is most likely to get scalded by a flame. :)

* Referring to Ghazali's version of problem of Induction. In simple words: How can we be sure that fire always burns? Just because we have seen it happening in the past doesn't mean that it will happen in the future as well. A layman may laugh at this question, but philosophers are yet to come up with a satisfactory solution to this problem, which also tends to raise doubts about the integrity of science.

Depend

X: Why do i feel so lonely now? I never used to feel that before.

Y: Previously you were dependent on books for company; now you depend on people... and people are not always there.

Above all else...

My brother to me: "It seems to me that above all else you fear loneliness."

About You Now

"I know everything changes
For the cities and faces
But I know how I feel
About you

Can we bring yesterday
Back around
Cause I know how I feel
About you now
I was dumb I was wrong
I let you down
But I know how I feel
about you now"

Sugababes, About You Now

Meant For

Jonathan [to Clark (future Superman)]: You were meant for much more important things than winning football games.

Smallville, Episode # 103

People with greater talents are meant for greater goals, but often they frustrate themselves by running after lesser things that were never meant for them.

Beauty

"Beauty always comes with dark thoughts."

Nightwish, Wish I Had An Angel

Can't you see

Oh can't you see what love has done
Oh can't you see
Oh can't you see what love has done
What it's doing to me

I know I hurt you and I made you cry
Did everything but murder you and I
But love left a window in the skies
And to love I rhapsodize

Oh can't you see what love has done
To every broken heart
Oh can't you see what love has done
For every heart that cries

U2, Window in the Sky

False Security

"The worst thing you did was to let me lull myself in a sense of false security...
...Why did he lie to me? Did he think me incapable of standing up to the truth? Was he ashamed?"

Simone de Beauvoir,The Woman Destroyed

Novelist

Bertrand Russell writes about what happened after the divorce of his brother in his Autobiography:

"Elizabeth, in her turn, left him and wrote an intolerably cruel novel about him, called Vera. In this novel, Vera is already dead; she had been his wife, and he is supposed to be heartbroken at the loss of her. She died by falling out of one of the windows of the tower of Telegraph House. As the novel proceeds, the reader gradually gathers that her death was not an accident, but suicide brought on by my brother's cruelty. It was this that caused me to give my children an emphatic piece of advice: 'Do not marry a novelist.'"

Wounds

There are superficial wounds.
There are deep wounds.
There are wounds that heal slowly.
There are wounds that heal quickly.
There are wounds that never heal.
And there are wounds that kill you...

Perhaps love, too, is a wound.

Ashley... Awais

A close friend sent this extract from the novel Gone with the Winds by Margaret Mitchell, which is a description of a character named Ashley. According to her, even though she didn't quite agree with the context, the description sounded quite a lot like me. How much i really do resemble this description can be subject to debate, but it certainly raises some very interesting points of similarity:

"He was courteous always, but aloof, remote. No one could ever tell what he was thinking about, Scarlett least of all. In the neighbourhood where everyone said exactly what he thought as soon as he thought it, Ashley’s quality of reserve nature was exasperating.
He was as proficient as any of the other young men in the usual County diversions: but he differed from all the rest in that these pleasant activities were not the end and aim of life to him. And he stood alone in his interest in books and music and his fondness for writing poetry.

… So courteously aloof, so maddeningly boring wi…

LUMS

Image
That's me, during a visit to LUMS.

Live

"When one has lived so much for others it is quite hard to turn oneself back again - to live for oneself."

Simone de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed

Achilles' Choice

Thetis: [to Achilles] If you stay in Larissa, you will find peace. You will find a wonderful woman, and you will have sons and daughters, who will have children. And they'll all love you and remember your name. But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be forgotten... If you go to Troy, glory will be yours. They will write stories about your victories in thousands of years! And the world will remember your name. But if you go to Troy, you will never come back... for your glory walks hand-in-hand with your doom. And I shall never see you again.

And Achilles chose Troy... but it seems it wasn't much of a choice:

Briseis: Why did you choose this life?
Achilles: What life?
Briseis: To be a great warrior.
Achilles:I chose nothing. I was born,and this is what I am.

From the movie Troy

Why does it rain?

Why does it rain?
Because
The dyes of earth
Dry and parched,
Like a voice sans mirth
Arid and barren
Like a scorching hearth
Wait for the heavenly drizzle
To paint the picture
Of fertility, of birth
In lovely water colours

Why does it rain?
Because
Like mortal men
In these transient spheres
Drops die.
Pierced by solar spears,
They ascend to heaven
And are reborn as tears

Why does it rain?
Because
The gods of war sitting above
Observing, watching men’s world
Jealous of the lovers’ love
Sprinkle water in their vain abuzz
To put out the sacred fire

Why does it rain?
Because
It is the wine that drops
Which the divine hands of Muses design
To refill the hearts of men
Which as empty ewers
Wait for this poet’s wine

M. Awais Aftab
Published in today's Poet's Corner in Us magazine

Poison

A character speaks in a play that has not yet been written... but might have been performed somewhere...

X: You wish to poison love? Poison it with guilt. It will it eat it out.

Floating...

Image
Photograph shows underwater view of a woman, wearing a long gown, floating in water.

Created by: Frissell, Toni, 1907-1988, photographer.
Taken from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Weeki_Wachee_spring_10079u.jpg

A Little Evil

Sybilla [to Balian]: There'll be a day when you will wish you had done a little evil to do a greater good.

Kingdom of Heaven

Sigh. But it takes strength to be cruel, and i am too weak for that...

Defines...

Bruce: Rachel, all of... all this... it's... it's not me. It's... inside, I am... I am more.
Rachel: Bruce, deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it's not who you are underneath... it's what you do that defines you.

Batman Begins

Promises

What are promises but words uttered at convenience and broken at convenience?

First and Foremost...

Helmer: First and foremost, you are a wife and mother.
Nora: That I don't believe any more. I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, just as you are.

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

This reveals the true spirit of feminism, and this is precisely what the traditionalists, especially the religious people, ignore when they talk of women rights. It is not enough to give rights to women in their roles of wife, mother, daughter and sister... what is needed is a decentralizing of the perspective: the role of women is not always to be defined in relation to men. Women are first women, just like men are first men, and not husband, father, son or brother. What the traditionalists need to realize is that they have to treat women as independant individuals. To say that, "Our religion/society gives great respect to mothers and wives" is simply not enough and misses the crux of women liberation.

My Eid

The maulvi's enchanting, enthusiastic, and certainly very entertaining khutba is the highest point of my Eid day... after that, it's a gradual decline. Lolz.

Ancient Wisdom

Mareez-e-Ishq per rehmat khuda ki
Marz barhta giya joon joon dua ki!

Ah, little that is said can surpass this gem of ancient wisdom! Lolz.

Can Evolution Explain Morality

The dichotomy that i expressed between the 'question of good' and the 'question of ought' previously has been expressed with remarkable clarity by John Kilcullen in his article "Can Evolution Explain Morality?" A highly recommended reading for those interested in evolutionary theory of morality and ethics.
Here is a relevant extract:

'I have been discussing the question whether evolutionary theory is able to
account for the existence in human beings of moral dispositions. The question of
"foundations" is different. This means, can evolutionary theory provide us with
a reason for being moral?... Perhaps morality has no foundation outside
itself... It seems pretty clear that an evolutionary explanation will not
provide a foundation for morality. An attempt would be to say that we
ought to observe morality because moral conduct enhances the survival chances of
our genes. But why should we care about that? We do care about it, perhaps, but
if we don't (or…

Over You

In the memory of October 10, here is a personal dedication:

"Well, I never saw it coming.
And I should've started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I'd doubt you,
I'm better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I'm slowly getting closure.
I guess it's really over.
I'm finally getting better.
And now I'm picking up the pieces.
From spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
'Cause the day I thought I'd never get through,
I got over you."

Chris Daughtry, Over You

Malevolent Theism

There is a rather peculiar form of theism (or atheism, if you prefer) in which the person loses his faith in a benovelent diety, and yet, he has been so accustomed to the idea of God that his mind is unable to reject his existence. As he result, he does believe in a God, but this is a God which is very malevolent... cruel, merciless, biased. Usually such a person likes to call himself an atheist, but it is obvious from his behaviour and thinking that he is incapable of disbelief. [I am reminded of something which Rushdie wrote: 'And was knocked forever into that middle place, unable to worship a God in whose existence he could not wholly disbelieve'] Such a conception of malevolent diety arises almost invariably through extreme suffering... when a person becomes victim to the bitter tragedies and great losses, he becomes disillusioned with the idea that God can be good. How can there be so much misery and pain in the world, if God is good? He asks, and since he cannot reject t…

Mock Me!

Salieri:

Go on. Mock me. Laugh!
That was not Mozart laughing, Father.
That was God.
That was God laughing at me through that obscene giggle.
Go on, Signore. Laugh.
Show my mediocrity for all to see.
One day I will laugh at you.
Before I leave this earth. . .
. . . I will laugh at you.

From the movie Amadeus

Ah, what a movie! I saw it last night and i am deeply touched! The tragedy is so immense, i am over-whelmed!

Artificial Love

Is it possible to design a computer program that mimics love, or to be precise, mimics romantic behaviour? Because after all, there is a certain recognizable pattern in the way people behave in love. If it is possible to design such a thing, perhaps it is also possible that someone might induced to fall in love with it.
Imagine yourself chatting with a new person on msn, and he/she behaves very nicely and flirts with such romantic precision that you find yourself developing feelings for him/her after a month or so... and then you discover to your consternation that the id you were talking to was a computer chatting program designed by a scientist researching on romantic behaviour!

I know, its too far-fetched to happen in reality [at least, at the moment]... but still, think about the core idea. How much validity does it have, if any?

Why??

"Why was I born with such contemporaries?"
Oscar Wilde

Hahaha! I guess it's a real tragedy being born at the wrong time, at the wrong place! :)

Posthumously

[Inspired by Nietzsche’s life]

The future-seeker:
In a world
That promotes the banal
He becomes the denizen
Of an alien world
Fated to be ignored and misunderstood
Ridiculed and Discriminated
But his eyes shine
With the light of tomorrow’s sun
And he smiles with resignation
Knowing that he was
Meant to be born
Posthumously

M. Awais Aftab
24.9.07

Delusion

"The ability to delude yourself may be an important survival tool."
Jane Wagner

An apparently funny quote that makes a serious, and probably valid, point.

Killat-e-khat-i-ulfat

Killat-e-khat-i-ulfat per na jao Ghalib,
Mehboob sharmeelay bhi tu hua kerte hain!

:) I said this once when a friend commented that i don't sms him very much. The shair is my own, of course, but i added Ghalib's name just to add the ta'asur (poetic effect) to it! Lolz.

Grandmother

Bertrand Russell writes about his grandmother:

"It was obvious from her conversation that she never came anywhere near to knowing what it feels like to be in love... she lamented that so much poetry should be concerned with so trivial a subject as love. But she made my grandfather a devoted wife, and never, so far as i have been able to discover, failed to perform what her very exacting standards represented as her duty."

Honesty and Obscurity

Beauvoir never pretended that her memoirs told the whole story. “There are many things which I firmly intend to leave in obscurity,” she warned... *

But... Three years after Beauvoir's death, her executrix, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, published Beauvoir's letters to Sartre, completely unedited, which revealed much of what Beauvoir had wished to leave in obscurity... and which, no wonder, anyone would have liked to have left burried. However, the question with which i am concerned is not what Beauvoir wanted to hide, but to what extent was she justified in keeping some portions of her life as secret, while flaunting others to the public, enjoying her status as a philosophical celebrity? Intellectual honesty is supposed to be one of the greatest virtues for a philosopher, and yet we find Sartre and Beauvoir, philosophers who preached concepts like 'bad faith' to the world, hiding facts about their lives... [though, perhaps i am being a bit too harsh. What they did reveal t…

Mona Lisa's Smile Decoded

Image
In late 2005, Dutch researchers from the University of Amsterdam ran the image of Mona Lisa through an "emotion recognition" computer software developed in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The software found the smile to be 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful, 2% angry, less than 1% neutral, and 0% surprised. [http://www.livescience.com/history/ap_051215_mona_lisa.html]

My Mind is Music

My Mind is Music
by Jocelyn Ortt-Saeed

My mind is music since I saw
you-
since the fragrance of your
hair
wound around me such a gar-
land
of delight my only care

is to look and look so lightly
your eyes won't tinge with
fear
of this unknown between
that may yet disappear

if the joy that grows in giving
be too far or too near

[From Poetic Justice in today's Dawn newspaper.]

Barely Distinguishable

There are loves which are barely distinguishable from friendship and there are friendships which are barely distinguishable from love.

Your Laughter

Your Laughter
by Awais Aftab

[Translation of Parveen Shakir’s poem ‘Tumhari Hansi’]
This laughter of yours
Illuminated, luminuous
Moulded in moonlight
Freshened by colours
Fragrant with love
Was whenever heard by my heart
It broke into a dance
As if a rainbow had arched in my soul!

The laughter had no different colours today
The radiance of light was the same today
The scent was maddening as well today
But there was something which it lacked
And, with a question, my countenance was tagged

[Published in Us mag today:
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/sep2007-weekly/us-28-09-2007/p8.htm]

Modern Art Movements

My cover-story on 'Modern Art Movements' published in Us magazine today!

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/sep2007-weekly/us-28-09-2007/p24.htm

But i wouldn't recommend reading it online... on the web-page they have shuffled the arrangement of paintings, and they haven't mentioned the names and artists of the paintings as well. So, get your hands on the printed copy of the magazine, if you can.

Friendship

The passion in love may burn out one day but the friendship in love remains forever.

Love is Gone

What are we suppose to do
After all that we've been through
When everything that felt so right is wrong
Now that the love... is.. gone...

There is nothing left to prove
Now you still deny the simple truth
Can't find the reason to keep holding on
Now that love is gone

David Guetta, Love is Gone

Epilogue to Question of Morality

WHAT I BELIEVE

It was only after writing the post on Question of Morality, that i realized that i was in fact dealing with the two questions, which had been treated as one by many previous thinkers. i.e. the question "What is Good?" and the question "How do we ought to act?", which i believe to be independent of each other. It was previously assumed(/defined) that a good act is intrinsically equivalent to an act which we ought to do. However, when the matter is seen from an evolutionary point of view, this dichotomy between the two becomes apparent. A good act is no longer an act which we ought to do... a good act becomes an act which satisfies our moral sense, which is a product of our (biological plus social) evolution. Crudely speaking, good has been reduced to a mere feeling. And in a sense, it has pushed the issue of "what is Good?" out of the domain of ethics. If we assume that we ought to follow our moral sense [i.e. we ought to do what is 'good…

Angels