“Why My Blog is Named Ramana’s Musings.”

There are two issues here and I shall address them one by one.

The first is the name of my blog. To explain why this particular name, let us first see the definition of part of it.

My blog’s name is Ramana’s Musings.  Ramana is my given name and my blog reflects my musings about life. The Tag Line for my blog is Wisdom by Hindsight. This explains my firm belief that all wisdom is only by hindsight as we learn from our experiences and thus become wise after the experience.

The second issue is the name of my domain. This domain name is owned by me and I have paid for it. When I came up with this name, the idea was to use part of my name and musing together and none of the  combinations that I could come up with  sound right.  I then decided to use one of my nicknames Rum which some friends still call me though Rummy is more common. Combining Rum and Muser sounded just right and so that was born.

The image of Rodin’s The Thinker on the left top corner naturally followed to reflect the second part of the name, muser.

There is another funny story behind the domain name. One of my friends from the days of my misspent youth wrote to me to suggest that the domain name was misspelt and it should read as Rumuser. His logic was that my favourite drink in those good old days was rum and naturally it should be rum user. That clinched the matter for me for good and decided to keep both the domain name and the name of the blog as they are today.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 8 On 1 blog post topic. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman , Srinivas and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Conrad. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Is COVID The Only ImmediateThreat To Mankind?


This is a guest post written at my request by my close confidante and friend Koushik Sekhar with whom I have discussed this topic threadbare on a number of occasions. He is more articulate than I am as the post will reveal and hence my request to him to write this post for this week’s 6 on 1 Friday blog post.

Over to Koushik.

Covid is not the immediate threat to mankind. Covid is merely the messenger.

There is a more serious threat to mankind- a kind of epistemological disaster and Covid related problems is only a symptom of a deeper malaise . It is a steadfast refusal by the elites of the world to acknowledge the value of knowledge generated by earlier societies and to accept that the generation of knowledge does not have barriers of time, space, race etc. Moreover there is an attempt to eliminate or suppress knowledge that does not generate wealth for the few or which threatens their power.

Decades of globalisation has made it so that these elites are no longer define-able by geography or a political affiliation or education or race. Hence taking aim at the root of problem is no longer so easy as the threat is amorphous and not easy to target and work upon.

This attitude that ‘all conjectures are conjectures but my conjecture is more science than yours’ is deadly for the future of man especially when the conjectures are failing badly. If this isn’t deadly enough, the way institutions are used to muzzle the spirit of enquiry among the outsiders of the systems makes it a larger threat to the world. And lastly , an attitude that ‘all vested interests are vested interests, but mine is more science than yours’  is also prevalent. I am not sure which is causing more damage to society as the competition is lively and tremendous.

To name a few, the new class of global elites have no answers for huge problems we face:

1. How to maintain a happy society with constant economic output or even if economic growth is not possible.
2. How to have social stability in a society where technological advancement is seen as the goal and highly disruptive, to society, technologies are unleashed at a rapid pace.
3. How to handle societies which have become destructive and want to spread their ideologies to others who have better solutions using any means fair and foul.
4. How to manage highly heterogeneous societies which want to have separate rules for each of its constituents.
5. How to guarantee rights to people when they have near zero duties
How to leave the world as we found it.

The attitude of these elites has been that if we pretend that these problems do not exist they will go away. They have spurned knowledge that did not come from them or came from sources unacceptable to them. But these problems have become too big now and the chickens are coming home to roost. Propaganda is no substitute for logic nor can it solve problems created by a long history  underlying such propaganda.

As I could not phrase it any better, I am quoting from this excellent blog on the topic.

Quote

‘pratyaksham hyetyormūlam kritantai etihyorapi, pratyaksheṇāgamobhinnah kritanto vā na kinchan’,

essentially meaning that ‘in case of a conflict between direct evidence and inference/scriptural evidence, direct evidence shall prevail because it is at the root of both inferential evidence and scriptural evidence’.

Adi Shankaracharya, the first Shankaracharya said: ‘gnānam na purushatantram, kintu vastutantram’ — knowledge is not derived through word of command, but though objective reality.

UnQuote

We need the intellectual vigour encapsulated in the Indian proverb which states that ‘truth spoken by a fool is preferable to lies spoken by the great Guru Brihaspati’, also known as the planet Jupiter, the giver of all wisdom.

There are serious epistemological problems in the world today. The Aristotelian logic is no longer adequate to understand reality and solve problems and is at the root cause of many of the problems we have today. We need to understand nuance which is ever present in nature and reality and our logical systems should be in consonance with that.

More here

and here.

We are increasingly becoming exclusive instead of being inclusive.  Many of our values are driven by ‘either or’ rather than by ‘and’.  For example : the framing of the LGBT issue as one being either pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT is seriously deficient. The truth is that society has to be both pro and anti-LGBT at the same time. Pro LGBT as far as providing them safe spaces are concerned and providing them protection and avenues for self-sustenance; but society also has to be anti LGBT in so far as it being discreet and not impeding the lives of other people.

Today’s elites consisting of bankers, businessmen and politicians have become equivalent to those that tried to punish Galileo for his heliocentric theory and a lot of mainstream scientists are tagging along as they get their share of the booty. Such scientists are not scholars in pursuit of the truth.

Truth doesn’t need advocates or us. We, the mankind, need the truth as it helps us manage our societies and avoid making disastrous and irreversible decisions regarding environment, family, culture, food, education which can set us back by 100s of years. In the last 100 years, we have done a lot to move the clock back. It is not clear how far we can push in the wrong direction without being able to turn back.

I am an optimist. I believe that this too shall pass and one day our descendants will look back and see how foolish we were about so many things. But right now it is imperative that we do not believe things at face value that are fed to us and question what is right and wrong. We need to look for ideas, concepts and hypotheses that provide alternate solutions to the prevailing wisdom as the prevailing wisdom is not working. We need to have only one permanent affiliation namely that with the truth and all the rest our affiliations and associations of political, material and religious kind are only the means to that end.

We also need to update our epistemological tools drastically.

The steadfast inertia/ refusal to not do these things that is perhaps a greater threat to mankind than Covid. In fact the impact of Covid itself is much larger than what could have been because of this mindset and this will reveal itself as the efficacy of various successful approaches taken by the discredited ones all over the world come to light after the Covid storm has passed.

The pursuit of truth has taken a backseat for a long time now and its cumulative consequences are amongst us. This is the most serious threat to mankind.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Raju. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Retirement Humour.

A friend and ex colleague now retired from employment but, in his own start up business sent me this nice video this morning.

I responded with this truth: “The only decision that I make nowadays is whether to sleep or to read. For that I don’t need an MBA.” He responded with laughing emojis and that was that.

Ten minutes later, I got a phone call from a landline number. Since it was a landline number I answered only to be completely taken aback by a totally strange voice addressing me by my name and asking me to spare some time. Under the impression that it could be a tele-marketeer, I first demurred saying that I am retired and not in need of anything. He explained that he wanted to talk about one of my blog posts and that piqued my interest and I said that okay let us talk.

He said while searching for a Visiting Card maker, he saw a link to my blog post My New Visiting Card and that is what he wanted to talk about. On enquiring further he wanted to know what position I retired from and where I lived.

Being in a frivolous mood, I told him that I never had to work for a living and had always been in retirement but now, I have formalised it by getting these visiting cards made. His interest was now piqued and he wanted to know how without working for a living I had lived and I responded that I simply spent my father’s money. He wanted to know how old I was and when I told him that I was 77 he was quite taken aback and asked whether my father was still supporting me. I responded that I now spend my son’s money, he finally got the joke and pleaded me to enlighten him seriously. I requested him to go back to my blog and read the post on Ambition. He promptly did and called me back after a while and had a fairly intense chat and he has promised to come to meet me once the lockdown is lifted as he often visits Pune from Mumbai where he lives.

My Tuesday was made. As I write this, I am smiling at the memory of the two exchanges.

PS. The Ted Talk is very interesting and I recommend that my readers listen to it.

My New Visiting Card.

MY SOUL HAS A HAT

I counted my years
and realized that I have
Less time to live by,
Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure
But when he realized that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings
where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.

My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
and who take responsibility for their actions.

In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow with sweet touches of the soul.

Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.

My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

We have two lives
and the second begins when you realize you only have one.

~ Poem by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945) Poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist.

One of the founders of Brazilian modernism.

Writing.

A well wisher who, I am sure, would rather not be publicly acknowledged, sent me a link to a remarkable article on writing. I am sending that link in this post to my readers most of whom are writers of blogs too.

The main take away for writers from the article, which are part of the article are:

i. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

ii. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

iii. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

iv. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

v. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

vi. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

My sincere gratitude to the well wisher.

Happy writing!

Spirituality And The Media.

This week’s Friday 2 on 1 fascinating topic has been chosen by Shackman. I am really curious to know quite what he will have to say on it and, I am sure, so will you be. So, without much delay, please go over to his blog to find out for yourself.

For me, the most important media is the print one. I prefer that to any other and I am lost without my quota of newspapers, periodicals and books. The largest of these is the newspaper one and India’s largest, The Times Group in two of its publications offers daily small stories and every Sunday, publishes a suplement devoted entirely to Spiritualism.


The next in the Print series will be my monthly dose of publications from five separate institutions, though three of them belong to the same order, The Sri Ramakrishna Mission.

The next in line for me are shows on religious / spiritual themes on our television channels. India has a long history of such serials starting with the famous Ramayana Series by Ramanand Sagar in the eighties. Today too, there are any number of channels offering such fare and I watch one on Sai Baba Of Shirdi every week day for half an hour.

India has any number of Godmen as they are called derisively by the sophisticates, and I occasionally get links through WhatsApp to Youtube broadcasts on spiritual matters by some of them. Here is one by Satguru, a very popular religious leader which should amuse my American readers.

One also gets bombarded by messages on spiritual and religious matters via WhatsApp, email and SMS messages, all using modern social media and I often get quite annoyed at the sheer volume of stuff that I have to delete every day.

I can therefore conclude that this must be the single largest subject for modern media and I am sure that my readers will agree.