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Showing posts from October, 2009

Psychedelic: Episode 2

Psychedelic
by Awais Aftab

Episode 2: The Kiss

I wake up. Just like that.

Fog surrounds my bed. On the wall, a self-made calendar announces an impossible date. 16 June 1904. “Damn you, Joyce.” I mumble.

I have to find that girl today. The girl with the lipstick. The girl with no shadow.

I wait at the coffee shop. She doesn’t show up. The man at the counter doesn’t like me. I wonder why.

She just exists in your imagination.

I touch the tissue paper in my pocket; it feels real. I decide to go to the library. I have never been to this one before.

Libraries are scary places. The books talk to me.

Laugh. And a chuckle.

I am not scared of you.

I enter the place. There is a counter just in front. There is a girl there, but she has a shadow. “How may I help you, sir?”

“Umm… I am looking for…” I look around confusingly. There she is! “I am looking for her.” I point.

The counter-girl makes an expression. “Penelope!” she calls out.

Penelope.

Ulysses will kill you. A sneer.

She looks at me; her lips curl. She com…

Quantum Entanglement

Larry: Hey Don, are you, are you familiar with, um, quantum entanglement?
Don: Um, I don't think so, I'm not sure.
Larry: Okay, it's a theory that holds that photons come in pairs that are separated by space and time, but always in instantaneous, inexplicable communication. Einstein calls it "spooky action at a distance." But you know I find it... I find the notion fairly romantic.
Don: How so?
Larry: Well, uh, I mean, we affect each other, even when we don't mean to, even when we don't want to, we're connected, you see, even when we try to be unaffected.
Don: Why do I get the feeling you're talking about my love life?

Numb3rs, Episode 2.01, Judgment Call

Psychedelic: Episode 1

Psychedelic
by Awais Aftab

Episode 1: The Shadow

“What’ll it be, Tom?” the waitress asks, knowing a cup of coffee is all I ever buy, drinking it slowly so the man at the counter can’t kick me out.

What would the waitress be called?

“Just coffee, Martha.” I reply, my reluctant gaze wandering over to meet a glare from afar. “And hold the cream.” I add as an afterthought. I look at her as she nods. Age ravages faces, once beautiful, but hers had never known beauty, only age.

I shake my head to clear the fog surrounding my senses. Every morning it is like this. I am losing touch of the world. Touch of reality.

Reality, really?

I have to do something about the voices in my head. I sigh. Martha slides the coffee in front of me. I let the warmth permeate into my hand, as I take a gulp and wait for the caffeine to kick in. I hear that song again in the background, the one they play so much. Ah, I love the lyrics. I begin to hum the words along with it. "Got my psycho-delic feet, in my psycho-d…

Relationship

Aati: People don't and shouldn't morph into generic 'pillars of a relationship' type characters when in one. The relationship should be defined through them, they shouldn't be defined by the relationship. The stronger the bond, the less its survival will depend on an ability to suffocate and deform personalities.

Evolution as a Fact

It is heartening to see that so many scientists and philosophers wrote letters to New York Times, responding to Nicholas Wade's review of Dawkins's book, in which he said that evolution is not a "fact" as claimed by Dawkins. [I had also posted that review sometime back on my blog, in which, i admit, i had described it as a 'balanced review', which perhaps only reveals that the issue of distinction between theory and fact can get quite confusing at times.] These letters can be found here and here. I'll be posting some extracts below:

* "If geologists had to confront a similar propaganda campaign against plate tectonics, they would get a little testy too, I imagine, and physicists might grow impatient if they had to devote half their professional time and energy to fending off claims that quantum mechanics is the work of the devil."

Daniel Dennet, author of “Breaking the Spell” and “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”.

* "The crucial point is that, as Daw…

Cryptic Thoughts 3

X: Find the girl who reminds you of Autumn.

Nietzsche's Disclaimer

"If this writing is incomprehensible to someone or other and hurts his ears, the blame for that, it strikes me, is not necessarily mine. The writing is sufficiently clear given the conditions I set out—that you have first read my earlier writings and have taken some trouble to do that... In other cases the aphoristic form creates difficulties. These stem from the fact that nowadays people don’t take this form seriously enough. An aphorism, properly stamped and poured, has not yet been “deciphered” simply by being read. It’s much more the case that only now can one begin to explicate it, and that requires an art of interpretation.... Of course, in order to practice this style of reading as art, one thing is above all essential, something that today has been thoroughly forgotten... —rumination."

Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, Prologue.

Deconstruction of a Form

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Super Snob

A Snob would persistently engage in an argument because he wants to prove that he was right and the other was wrong.
A Super Snob would simply ignore the argument, because he knows that it is not worth his time.

The Future Uncertainty Principle

Let's assume scientific determinism is true, and that there is an equation in which we enter the present state A, B, C and it calculates the future state X, Y, Z. However, the very act of calculating what the future is would change that future, because the present state A, B, C did not include the knowledge of the future, and adding the knowledge of the future changes that present state A, B, C, hence making the results of the equation uncertain. (In other words, people can now act differently from what they are supposed to do in the predicted future X, Y, Z, because they now know what that future is.) It is just like Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Trying to measure the position of a particle by introducing light into the system changes the position of that particle. Trying to measure the future by means of a deterministic equation changes that very future. Hence, i shall term it the future uncertainty principle.

Please note that calculating the future in this deterministic set…

The Personal Flavor

William James once argued that every philosophic system sets out to conceal, first of all, the philosopher’s own temperament: that pre-rational bundle of preferences that urges him to hop on whatever logic-train seems to be already heading in his general direction. This creates, as James put it, “a certain insincerity in our philosophic discussions: the potentest of all our premises is never mentioned … What the system pretends to be is a picture of the great universe of God. What it is—and oh so flagrantly!—is the revelation of how intensely odd the personal flavor of some fellow creature is.”

Excerpt froman article on the life and works of Ayn Rand, Mrs. Logic by Sam Anderson

Hell

X: I sometimes wish that I believed in a hell where I could condemn all these self-righteous, judging, arrogant believers. And then I realize why prophets invented hell, and where this need to believe in it comes from: from the desire to punish the people who reject and ridicule you, from the desire to have the ultimate last laugh.

The Story of a Balcony

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Greg Laswell - Your Ghost

Secrets and Friends

X: You are comfortable with your life, happy with your friends, and then suddenly one day you have a secret; doesn't matter what it is, it's just something that doesn't align with the moral compass of your buddies. And it strikes you that all those people you thought were the closest to you, you can no longer trust them. That's what this secret does. It uproots you from your comfortable illusion of being accepted. It painfully alienates you from your friends, who have just been rendered fake. And you realize that all the while you were looking for friends at the wrong place. A person who has no secrets doesn't know where to look for friends.

Youth Help Line

Youth Help Line by Rozan is a free telephone psychological counseling service available to the youth of Pakistan at the toll free number 0800 22444, and has helped thousands of troubled minds and prevented many suicides. At YHL, trained psychologists provide guidance regarding any psycho-sexual problem a person may be going through. This is how the Rozen website describes its program:

"The Youth Help Line (YHL) is a resource centre working on the emotional and sexual health of young people. It is primarily a toll free telephone counseling service that operates 7 days a week from 10am to 8pm and can be accessed by areas with telephone code starting with 05 and 09 . This includes the entire NWFP and northern areas and parts of Punjab. YHL is a unique counseling service as it is the first free help line in Pakistan that was launched exclusively for young people. It provides information, counseling, guidance, and emotional support to the youth in a non-judgmental and non-threatening e…

Large Hadron Collider

One of the craziest things i have heard about the Large Hadron Collider:

"Then it will be time to test one of the most bizarre and revolutionary theories in science. I’m not talking about extra dimensions of space-time, dark matter or even black holes that eat the Earth. No, I’m talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather."

Read more.

The Cheerleader Effect

Barney: Ahhh, there is so much to teach you all. You have just become victims of ... the Cheerleader Effect. Glad you asked. The Cheerleader Effect is when a group of women seems hot,but only as a group. Just like with cheerleaders. They seem hot, but take each one of them individually….sled dogs!

How I Met Your Mother, Episode 4.08

Evolution All Around

"Dawkins invites the reader to share the frustration of an imaginary history teacher, some of whose students refuse to accept that the Roman Empire ever existed, or that Latin is the mother tongue from which the Romance languages evolved. Instead of concentrating on how Western culture emerged from the institutions of the Roman state, the teacher must spend time combating a school board that insists he give equal time to their alternative view that French has been spoken from time immemorial and that Caesar never came or saw or conquered. This is exactly analogous to the plight of the biology teacher trying to acquaint students with the richness of modern biology in states where fundamentalist opponents of evolution hold sway."

Nicholas Wade, Evolution All Around

It is a very balanced review of Dawkins' new book 'The Greatest Show on Earth'. I would recommend the reader to read the whole article. Here are its ending lines:

"This brings me to the intellectual fl…

Conversations: In Defence of Randomness

An extract from an email conversation with a friend over the statement "There must be some driving force that makes all that [events of life] happen, otherwise it would indicate that the events happen haphazardly, which doesn’t make any sense..."

Why doesn't haphazard make sense? In fact, if we collect data on a large scale, haphazard makes much more sense than assuming the existence of any rational force behind it. Pick up the newspaper of any day, so many murders, accidents, suicides, fightings, so much injustice. The world is a messed up place. If there is a God, one could be justified in declaring him to be a malevolent and evil God, who allows the existence of so much misery and pain in the very world He created. So, you see, depending on the perspective, randomness doesn't seem that bad an option to consider. There is no logical irrefutable argument to rule out randomness as the underlying reality. Secondly, many people when they think, they think in a polarized…

Choice or Certainty

What is love? To make a conscious choice amidst doubts or to wait for subconscious certainty to wash over you?

Fragments

X: Love is a whole for me, but we are being forced to live it in fragments.

Breaking the divisibility law

Breaking the divisibility law
by ohsostarryeyed at deviantART

would you like to hear
a secret? sometimes i, too
divide by zero.

Posted with author's permission

Is Atheism Anti-theism?

An excerpt from the article "The New Atheist Movement is Destructive" by Julian Baggini:

Not reading The God Delusion, God is Not Great, Breaking the Spell and The End of Faith is perfectly reasonable. Why on earth would I devote precious reading hours to books which largely tell me what I already believe? These books are surely mainly for agnostics and open-minded believers. In fact, I think atheists who have read these books have more of a responsibility to account for their actions than I do my inaction. As the posters on the sides of British buses rather simplistically put it, “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” God's non-existence is a fact atheists live with, not something that they should obsessively read about.

But if I haven't read these books, surely I should have no opinion about them? I think you’d be less sure of this if you had read How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard (or even not read it). In any c…

Struck

A really beautiful short film "Struck". Couldn't find the code to embed it, but please do see it at this link:

Struck the Film

Thanks to Uzair, my brother, for informing me about it.