Her tongue is in her cheeks

Four Sonnets(1922)
By Edna St.Vincent Millay

“I shall forget you presently, my dear
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever…

“I shall forget you presently, my dear”– Imagine the girl telling the lover this. Cheeky ,yet romantic .She has her cheeks full. He cannot afford to while it away. To her it does not really matter because she will forget him presently. There is a strong possibility of her forgetting .Of her dying .Of her moving away . It is in his interest that he make most of this moment – his little day , his little month or his little half a year.

If he does not use this very moment, it is all over and may be , they are done for ever.Carpe diem.

Cheeky girl indeed. Does it not matter in her cheeks to hold this moment for ever?

The past is not dead

It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it. Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts – between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks.” – Will Durant

An interesting quote. The past is never dead,but only rolled into the present. When you are dead you do not become the past but infuse the present with your absence, your past . An idea once born,will never die and you are this idea that becomes a part of the past rolled into the present and you are always there.

Going mobile

One wonders how the mobile phone penetration (at about 30%) has reached such a high level in a country where 80% of the people earn less than Rs.20 per day(less than half a dollar) (that assets worth 25% of the GDP is owned by as few as 100 people out of a billion-odd people is another story). Validity of these data apart, I keep thinking that the popularity of the cell phone in India has a lot to do with the closed spaces in which India’s vast majority of people live. Imagine a typical Indian family of around 4 to 5 people living in a tiny space of around 300-400 sq. ft of space, where everyone is within seeing and hearing distance of the others all day. The family bonds are very close and extend beyond the family, embracing people in the neighbourhood and the entire community. In such a milieu drawing on each other’s support in the daily business of life is a very natural thing.

A mobile phone enables all the members of the close-knit community to stay in touch when some of them are out eking out their living in other parts of the town or even in other towns. The mobile phone keeps together all the members of the community making others of the community available instantly. A real good substitute for the traditional community habitations like mohallas, poles, chawls in which several families live in close communities. That probably is what explains the phenomenal popularity and use of the mobile phone in India

We humans are bound to act according to our free will

    An interesting question is : if only man has free will and has evolved from an animal which is not supposed to have free will ,it is supposed to have developed at some evolutionary stage .Of course, one never knows if man has free will at all because what we think is free will may have been a part of the grand design and it is likely that we are acting the way we are merely because we are being prompted to act that way. That is a side -issue.
      An interesting idea is the difference in the way the desires function in the animals and in human beings -while both animals and humans have the same set of primary desires viz:food,sex etc. the animals are different in that they have no secondary desires-the desire to desire a particular thing e.g.the desire to desire to go to the opera or the desire not to desire cigarettes etc. According to this idea of Harry Frankfurt, free will requires the second order desires of the above kind .Animals have only desires of the first order i.e.food .sex etc.

    Let us leave our pictures unfinished

    I’m more interested in a photography that is ‘unfinished’ – a photography that is suggestive and can trigger a conversation or dialogue. There are pictures that are closed, finished, to which there is no way in.” Paolo Pellegrin

    This man has said the right thing.Why do we want to make well-rounded pictures which leave nothing to be discussed , nothing to argue about. There are several things in a photograph which occur much later than when the click takes place .The endless possibilities that exist for juxtaposing different worlds to derive newer meaning and beauty can actually occur after the event ,not during the composition and clicking. Let us leave our pictures unfinished.

    What happens when the mind gets into a loop?

    A comparison is made between a computer programme and our own mind’s working.Here it is not even a comparison but assuming that the mind works like the computer an attempt is made to understand the possibility of the mind suffering from a similar limitation that a typical computer programme suffers from.We are talking about the “error out” situations when the computer sometimes embraces the blue screen of death and terminates the programme that is running at that moment. In such situations what does the mind do ? Does the mind get into endless loops refusing to move ahead with the job on hand ? Of course whatever happens has necessarily to be a short term phenomenon and the termination of the programme may not lead to a permanent inability to run the programme but the current job is lost.

    We may talk about the availability of different modules and  that the temporary incapacitation of one module will limit the damage to the particular module or lead to another module taking over its functioning.

    Here is something that comes to my mind . I am involved in a series of short term dialogues with different people and all the while I am wrestling with the inner logic to arrive somewhere .I pursue a train of thought aided by words and going along in uncharted areas of thought  not knowing where the argument is ending up.I come into fascinating new areas the existence of which I have been entirely unaware .I keep hearing the drone of the inner logic entirely mesmerised and go on undisturbed by the tiny inconsistencies creeping up with the hope that the bigger wave of logical totality will come and wash away the  tiny pebbles .Very often such a thing happens on conclusion but some times I do get into a loop or a freeze of thought I have necessarily to cover up in order to make sense to the audience. Here I am confronted by something like a creative block , a paralysed state of mind which refuses to proceed further.

    In such situations the argument gets cut short and no conclusions are drawn -something like what the computer programme does in “error out” situations

    Unconscious or automaticity ?

    How do we characterise the unconscious as distinguished from the conscious ? Neural pathways which run with automaticity -are the same as unconscious ?

    Actually automaticity does not mean unconscious necessarily. Only unconscious states are representations -that is they are about anything while automaticity means neural pathways running without being about anything. As an example ,the blood flow goes on with automaticity but it is not a representation or about anything.The unconscious means neural pathways running automatically but they are not about anything.
    (Peter Lipton’s response)