Showing posts from March, 2011

Illustrated Kisses from Sylvia Plath

This post might be described with a number of adjectives, depending on your taste, but there is one common strand running through it: Sylvia Plath. This is my attempt to highlight some of the ways in which Plath brought up kisses in her writings. The pictures have been taken from various sources (mentioned) and quotes have been added by me. All quotes except the last one are from the journals of Sylvia Plath. MescalineGirl, Lips Alfred Gockel, Romance in Red II Gustav Klimt, The Kiss Jojuya, The Picture Francesco Hayez, The Kiss Zombieoverload, Ghost Lover Adour, I kissed a girl Gone with the Wind, movie Gerald Laing, The Kiss Blue IV, Kiss Me Roy Lichtenstein, The Kiss


Aati: It's funny how parents want to protect you from the mistakes you make but expect you to live with the mistakes they make.

How Religion Hijacks Spirituality

'[Psychic being (the individual divine soul)] "makes do" with what it has, so to speak. Yet that is precisely the problem: when it comes out of hiding, if even for a second, it casts such a glory upon everything it touches that we tend to mistake the circumstances of the revelations for its luminous truth. Someone who experiences the revelation of his psychic being while listening to Beethoven might say: "Music, nothing but music is true and divine on this earth"; another, who feels his soul in the middle of the ocean's immensity, may make a religion of the open seas; still another will swear by his own prophet, his church, or his gospel. Each one builds his own structure around his own particular nugget of experience. But the psychic being is free , marvelously free of everything! It needs nothing to exist; it is Freedom incarnate, and it uses each of our greater or lesser pieces of music, our sublime or less sublime scriptures, simply to bore a hole in ou

The Harm That Porn Brings

Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality by Gail Dines * From the Book's Introduction : "As someone who studies porn, I am accustomed to these kinds of images, but Patricia is new to them, and it is through her eyes that I see it for what it really is: a parallel universe where the complexity of humans, the multiple pleasures of life, and the deep connections that nourish and sustain us, vanish. …. Both Patricia and I are in the middle of a world which reduces humans to orifices and body parts, bled dry of soul, personality, history, and future, as life in the porn world is only about the here and now where penetrating someone or being penetrated is all humans exist for. ... Rather than sporadic trips into a world of coy smiles, provocative poses, and glimpses of semi-shaved female genitalia, youth today, especially boys, are catapulted into a never-ending universe of ravaged anuses, distended vaginas, and semen-smeared faces. When they masturbate to th


"I do not know how to teach philosophy without becoming a disturber of established religion." Baruch Spinoza , letter to friend. Quoted in James A. Haught, 2,000 Years of Disbelief

The Reason: Perspectives


Beautiful People

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross [hat-tip: Amna Raza]

Dil Phaink

Me: Hey, have you seen that new talkshawk commercial on tv, in which the wife says ' suna hay college mae aap baray dil phaink thay '? Aati: Yeah, I have seen that. Why, does it remind you of your former love-junkie days? :P Me: Lolz. No, I was just thinking about how a commercial depicting the reverse situation of a girl having the history of being the dil phaink one and the husband joking about it would be practically impossible for our audience to accept. Aati: Haan , because that would make the woman 'loose' and the man ' beghairat ' (shameless). Halaanke , in real life, I think couples might possibly joke like that too, at least the closer ones.

Philosophy as a Blood Sport

This excellent article highlights an important point regarding the manner in which philosophical debates are often conducted, especially within the academia. It holds true for much of the philosophical debates I have witnessed on internet. Unfortunately I have myself been a party to it on occasions, sometimes the victim and sometimes the guilty. The issue is the blood lust and the arrogance and aggression with which philosophers act, the intolerance of dissent, the feeling of combat and hostility that robs the debate of any opportunity for genuine learning and growth. Where is the intellectual charity? Where is the philosophical generosity? Must we be consumed by our role as a predator? This is something for all philosophical souls to think about. Let us aim to extend an attitude of intellectual tolerance. By all means, let us seek truth and let us uncover erroneous and mistaken beliefs, but let us do it with a generosity of spirit, and perhaps we may find something to learn from disa

Mind vs Heart on Free Will

An interesting x-phi discovery "in our abstract brains we’re incompatibilists, but in our hearts we’re compatibilists". See the article here at the New York Times. Not that it settles the philosophical issue in any way. Just tells how people tend to think about the issue. [I personally think that a compatibilist free will, if it exists, is sufficient for moral responsibility.] An excerpt: 'At an abstract level, people seem to be what philosophers call incompatibilists: those who believe free will is incompatible with determinism. If everything that happens is determined by what happened before, it can seem only logical to conclude you can’t be morally responsible for your next action. But there is also a school of philosophers — in fact, perhaps the majority school — who consider free will compatible with their definition of determinism. These compatibilists believe that we do make choices, even though these choices are determined by previous events and influences. In

Editorial: Atlas Shrugged

My Editorial in Kemcol 2010 , KE's official magazine.


"The concept of eternal punishment is so abhorrent that, were it true, the only ethical choice would be to sin one's way into hell in order to work there for the overthrow of heaven's tyranny, and be on strike against God eternally." Roz Kaveney , Divine control-freakery can go to hell [Hat-tip: Maria Amir]


If everything , including God, is bound by Logic, then where did Logic come from?

Jay's Toons: Talking Islam With Dad

Taken from Jay's Toons page on Facebook

Moral Dumbfounding

An excerpt from Mob Morality: The Dangers of Repugnance as Moral Authority by Tauriq Moosa on 3QD: "Jonathan Haidt famously provided the following example in a study. Julie and Mark are brother and sister. They are travelling together in France on summer vacation from college. One night they are staying alone in a cabin near the beach. They decide that it would be interesting and fun if they tried making love. At the very least, it would be a new experience for each of them. Julie was already taking birth control pills, but Mark uses a condom too, just to be safe. They both enjoy making love, but they decide never to do it again. They keep that night as a special secret, which makes them feel even closer to each other. What do you think about that? Was it ok for them to make love? Haidt, in an interview, explained the responses of subjects reaching ‘moral dumbfounding’: People almost always start out by saying it’s wrong. Then they start to give reasons. The most common reasons i


You'd think that when your heart dies, you'd die too. But you just keeping living on, heartless.

Clingers and Pushers

Me: Do you think that if the person you love is not the top most priority in your life, then it means you don't really love them? Aati: I think it depends on your personality more than the depth of your love, for the most part. Some people are very love-centric. For them, it is important to give all their attention to the person all the time, as demanded and even otherwise. This may be a healthy, non-disruptive part of their life but this is also the kind of person more likely to become dependent, resentful, obsessed or have a self-image/identity far too reliant on their object of affection. But at the same time a person may give a low priority to a lover, also in a healthy way, but that's the kind of person more likely to have trouble forming attachments, and so on. Me: And love-centric are also likely to define love in the love-centric terms, and judge the companion accordingly. Aati: Yes, that's exactly why they become resentful. Me: So it's a small healthy zon


Gabriel Garcia Marquez, on reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis : “I didn’t know you were allowed to write like that.” Source

Dealing with B.S.

What are the possible ways to deal with the judgmental bullshit of the society? [ Such as this. ] 1. Hide your inner private life from your public life as much as possible. Be the sinner in thought while acting like the saint. The Gain: No judgmental bullshit The Cost: Your hypocrisy and your passive support to the society's bullshit in maintaining the status quo, so that others like you have to face the same bullshit. 2. Live your life, without going out of the way to keep it hidden. Distance yourself from the bullshit and/or stop caring about it. The Gain: Your are living your life, and not the shallow life you are expected to conform to. The Cost: You'd need to be financially and psychologically independent of the judgmental elements of society, and for that you'd need a social circle and friends like yourself, and a great degree of mental resilience. My Advised Solution: Begin with the first strategy to protect yourself, but with the aim of achieving the goals of sec

Seeking the Now

When can I start living the life that I want to live and not the life that I am 'supposed' to live? At what point would I have fulfilled the social stereotypes of success to a degree that I would be able to say 'Enough. Now I can do what I want. Now I can stop doing what I hate'? There is no discernible moment. It's now or never.

Talk Doesn't Pay

This is an alarming situation for the profession of psychiatry: Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy There ought to be more responsible mental health insurance policies that can cover the cost of psychotherapy.

Understanding Psychopathy

I have often referred to psychopathy with reference to morality on this blog, but I haven't really discussed psychopathy itself. So I am giving some links for the benefit of those who only have the pop-culture notion of psychopathy, and haven't read about what psychologists actually consider as psychopathy: Wikipedia's entry Psychopaths among us . Inside A Psychopath's Brain: The Sentencing Debate

Morality and Psychopathy III: The AI Experiment

Imagine a human-looking AI robot is created that is programmed to be a psychopathic rapist. It simulates cunning and manipulative behavior, displays grandiosity and narcissism, abducts, tortures and rapes people, avowedly 'for fun', appearing to derive pleasure out of it, and exhibits a lack of remorse or guilt. How would we humans react to this rapist-robot, while being aware that it is a robot programmed to rape, and therefore has no "free will" in the usual non-compatibilist sense of the word? How would we react if the victim was someone close to us? To go even further, how would we react if we were its victim? I believe that our emotional reaction to it would be the same as our emotional reaction would be to an actual human psychopathic rapist. We'd experience the same anger, outrage, resentment, fear, disgust. And if it was somehow possible that the robot could actually be designed to experience pain, we'd want to hurt that robot. Yes, we'd want to h


Religious people (faith-based) who initiate study of philosophy already convinced of the truth of their dogmas and seeking merely a confirmation of that will fail to grasp philosophy at all. Philosophy is not a tool to justify what you already believe. In fact, if philosophy can be said to be a tool at all, it is more of a tool for refutation than for justification. Everything, literally everything , can be subject to doubt. If you wish to do philosophy and do it the right way, then there can be no belief in your mind that you should seek to protect from doubt. No cherished article of faith that you should not genuinely question. Come to philosophy to purify your mind of falsehoods; do not come to philosophy cowardly and clinging to comfortable falsities. You can only learn from philosophy if you open yourself to the possibility of being wrong. You can hope that you are right and that your belief may survive the process of genuine doubt, but you cannot already believe that you are

Be Yourself

A psychopath's favorite maxim: Be yourself!