Showing posts from November, 2008
"Does nobody understand?"

... The last words of James Joyce.

('New career low - gave out a page of Ulysses to my freshmen and they thought it was a wordsearch.')

Islamic Banking

I was out eating with a group of friends...

Me: Terrorism aside, look at the word economic crisis.
Abdullah: Yeah, capitalism is about to fall. What would come after that? What do you say?
I took a pause, thinking about how to tackle the question.
Taimoor:Phir Islamic banking aye gee! (Islamic Banking would come after that!)

And we all burst into laughter.

Homer in the Church

[The Simpsons arrive at the church. Everyone can hear their conversation outside.]
Marge: I hate being late.
Homer: Well I hate going! Why can't I worship the Lord in my own way: by praying like hell on my deathbed?!
Marge: Homer, they can hear you inside--
Homer: Relax! Those pious morons are too busy talking to their phoney-baloney God!
[They enter the church to total silence and angry looks. They nervously make their way to their pew.]
Homer: [to people as he passes them] How you doing? Peace be with you. Praise Jebus!


Ned Flanders: [standing up in the church] The good Lord, he's telling me to confess to something.
Homer: [quietly with fingers crossed] Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay...

The Simpsons Movie

I couldn't help bursting into laughter at both these scenes!

Apoptosis and Suicide

'Suicide is contrary to biology' is an oft heard statement, expressed in different ways. This statement, unqualified as such, is somewhat erroneous, because suicide is, in fact, a very common phenomenon in biology at the cellular level. It is known as 'apoptosis', programmed cell-death. In the natural state it occurs only for the development and preservation of the organism. And if we are to believe the positivists of the 19th century, society is the next step in the integration of life, and society assumes a role akin to that of an organism, and individuals that of a cell. Hence, we also find programmed individual-deaths for the preservation of society (kami-kaze, for instance). Apoptosis which is not for the purpose of preservation of organism is triggered as a result of some pathology, due to some injury to the cell. To anthropomorphosize, the cell shouts "I can't take it anymore!!" and pop goes the apoptosis. Similarly suicide which is not for any hig…

Hurdles in Archeology

An archeologist to another over a cup of coffee: You know what happened? During one of our diggs we found a piece of parchment with something written on it. Seeing it, i became really excited because i hadn't seen anything like that ever. On analysis, however, it turned out that it was plain old English, but written in a very bad hand-writing!

Earliest Islamic Inscription: Issue of Quran's Diacritical Marks

A photo of an inscription etched by an Arabic traveler. The traveler engraved his name on the block of red sandstone over 1,300 years ago in a location northwest of Saudi Arabia. The inscription reads, "In the name of Allah/ I, Zuhayr, wrote (this) at the time 'Umar died/year four/And twenty." [Ali ibn Ibrahim Ghabban and Robert Hoyland]
Excitement spreads among historians as an important archeological discovery is made: inscription on a block of redstone by an Arabic traveller, which is over 1300 years old, older than the earliest copy of Quran, making it the earliest dated Arabic inscription! And the surprising thing about it is that it uses diacritical marks, something which are completely absent in the early copies of Quran. The absence of diactrical marks makes the text vulnerable to multiple interpretation. The inscription on the rock does not include punctuation or vowel marks, however it does contain markings to distinguish consonants that are identical in shape, …

Does Philosophy Help a Troubled Soul?

This post is in response to a question asked by Uni.
'Does philosophy help a troubled heart? Troubled mind too?'
Umm, what do you mean by 'troubled'? Troubled in what way?
And that's the sort of thing that happens when you approach philosophy: you face more questions. Questions arise about the questions to which you are seeking answers. So if you are going to study philosophy with the expectation that you would find ready-made and distilled wisdom for you to apply to your life, then you would be disappointed. Philosophy doesn't work that way.

To be honest, philosophy doesn't heal a troubled mind, at least not in the initial phase. Because philosophy encourages you to doubt, to doubt even your cherished beliefs and ideas which you had taken for granted. Moralities and views which you had wrapped around yourself like a warm blanket, philosophy would constantly force you to ask questions about them, exposing you to the coldness of reason. Deleuze said, "The u…

Movie Anagrams

Check out the contest at which asked people to make anagrams of movie titles and their corresponding posters. Some of them are really interesting! The poster above is an anagram of National Treasures. The one below is that of Iron Man.


The nausea is worse than the vomiting.

The Fashion

"Of course," she resumed combatively, "it's the prevailing fashion to believe in perpetual change and mutability, and all that sort of thing, and to say we are all merely an improved form of primeval ape--of course you subscribe to that doctrine?"

"I think it decidedly premature; in most people I know the process is far from complete."

"And equally of course you are quite irreligious?"

"Oh, by no means. The fashion just now is a Roman Catholic frame of mind with an Agnostic conscience: you get the mediaeval picturesqueness of the one with the modern conveniences of the other."
H. H. Munro (Saki), Reginald at the Theatre


X: I have a pain in my lower jaw.
Y: Could be angina.
X: The pain is on the right side of lower jaw.
Y: Your heart could be on the right side. (Dextrocardia)
X: Yeah, could be. Waisay bhi, my heart is rarely where it should be!

10 Influential Quotes

A quote may consist of just a few words, but it has the power to make indelible impressions on human thought. Here is my selection of 10 very influential quotes (placed in chronological order) which run like a refrain throughout human history and have shaped the very way we think today.
1) "What you do not want others to do to you, do not do unto others." – Confucius (551 – 479 B.C)

Among the oldest known explicit statement of the Golden Rule, it has served as a fundamental ethical principle of people of nearly all cultures. The idea of ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’ is not only a part of all major world religions but also exists in philosophy as the ethics of reciprocity.
2) “One cannot step twice in the same river.” – Heraclitus (535 – 475 BC)

This quote represents the constantly changing nature of reality and the view that, ‘everything flows’, that the world is not a finished product, but rather an on-going process. Be it Iqbal’s ‘Sabaat aik tagheur ko hai zam…

Principia Discordia: The Sacred Chao

THE SACRED CHAO is the key to illumination. Devised by the Apostle Hung Mung in ancient China, it was modified and popularized by the Taoists and is sometimes called the YIN-YANG. The Sacred Chao is not the Yin-Yang of the Taoists. It is the HODGE-PODGE of the Erisians. And, instead of a Podge spot on the Hodge side, it has a PENTAGON which symbolizes the ANERISTIC PRINCIPLE, and instead of a Hodge spot on the Podge side, it depicts the GOLDEN APPLE OF DISCORDIA to symbolize the ERISTIC PRINCIPLE.
The Sacred Chao symbolizes absolutely everything anyone need ever know about absolutely anything, and more! It even symbolizes everything not worth knowing, depicted by the empty space surrounding the Hodge-Podge.
HERE FOLLOWS SOME PSYCHO-METAPHYSICS. If you are not hot for philosophy, best just skip it.
The Aneristic Principle is that of APPARENT ORDER; the Erisitic Principle is that of APPARENT DISORDER. Both order and disorder are man made CONCEPTS and are artificial divisions of PURE CHA…

The Ten Most Irritating Phrases

Is there any phrase which agitates your nerves whenever you encounter it? Are you allergic to oft-repeated, cliched or grammatically incorrect expressions? If it is so, then you are not the only one. Researchers at Oxford University have compiled a list of the ten most irritating phrases. Have a look:
The ten most irritating phrases:

1 - At the end of the day
2 - Fairly unique
3 - I personally
4 - At this moment in time
5 - With all due respect
6 - Absolutely
7 - It's a nightmare
8 - Shouldn't of
9 - 24/7
10 - It's not rocket science


The Bomb

The Bomb
by M. Awais Aftab

There is a bomb of bitterness in me
Waiting to explode
Tick, tick, tick
Eager to unleash the darkness
That would eat me from inside
And i stand paralysed
With a scissor in my hand
Unsure what to do
Which wire to cut
To halt this impending doom
The red one?
The blue one?
All logic fails me
And it seems that
My fate is in the hands of chance
Once again


'Vampire' by Edvard Munch

'Love and Pain' by the expressionist/symbolist painter Edvard Munch, more commonly known as 'Vampire' (after its 'vampiric' interpretation by an art critic), has fetched 38.2 million dollars in auction, which is a record for any Munch painting. Although not as cosmopolitan as The Scream, Vampire is considered to be one of the iconic images in art history. The painting can be seen from a variety of perspectives, some even contradictory. I guess what meaning a person derives from the painting depends more on the subjective state of the viewer and his ideas about love. Does it depict two lovers locked in an embrace of consolation? Or is the man submitting himself in resignation to the woman who is sucking his blood like a vampire? The painting is a textbook candidate for artistic deconstruction. The dark background does seem to lend it a dark and macabre overtone, which is impossible to ignore. Are they a frightened couple clinging to each other as dark times lay …

The Tile and the Stone

"In all the ills that befall us, we are more concerned by the intention than the result. A tile that falls off a roof may injure us more seriously, but it will not wound us so deeply as a stone thrown deliberately by a malevolent hand."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
A break-up is not just a sense of loss of the one you loved; a simple death is pure grief, but if a couple is yanked apart, especially by society, or if one of them leaves the other, then the wound is deeper. Along with grief, there is the pain of betrayal, of failure, of guilt. You are let down by the very people you thought you could depend upon. You are made to break the promises you wanted to fulfill. You are plagued by how much misery your pursuit of happiness can bring. Its not the tile of indifferent fate, its the stone thrown at you by the deliberate hand that aggravates the pain. It's the bitterness, it's the anger, it's the shock...