Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Science and Religion

I finished reading Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov recently. Its a second novel published in the Foundation series. It was an enjoyable read, but not as enjoyable as the first one. Lets see if the third book strikes the right chord. Well, this post talks about the cloud of thoughts that gathered around me when I read these beautiful lines from the books:

Foundation

It is the chief characteristic of the religion of science that it works.
It is remarkable, Hardin, how the religion of science has grabbed hold. Treating the problem sociologically, it would seem that when the old Empire began to rot at the fringes, it could be considered that science, as science, had failed the outer worlds. To be reaccepted it would have to present itself in another guise—and it has done just that. It works out beautifully.
Foundation and Empire
The Foundation has secrets. They have books, old books - so old that the language they are in is only known to a few of the top men. But the secrets are shrouded in ritual and religion, and none may use them.
Aren't these lines more to us than meets the eye? They compelled me to reflect upon the things that I could relate very dearly. I mean, look at the holy books presented to us by our great ancestors. The text in them are so complex that they cannot be understood in simple terms. It will take years just to study one volume of it.

Look at religion from a slightly different angle. Think of it as pure science - a branch of discipline that is so overwhelmingly powerful that our minds just out-rightly reject it, only because we fail to understand its secrets. Now what happens if the same thing is preached as religion? We accept it as a Heavenly blessing. We believe it; live it. Our ancestors were smart enough to preach science as religion, so that the people of today - who question everything with their half empty minds - follow it without doubting much. They always want us to have faith in it. Because the generation in which we all live is utterly incapable of realizing the true potential of it. Since we do not comprehend its virtues, we draw our own "home-made" interpretations out of it. Thus, either we end up following our customs and rituals because of our faith in them or we do not follow them at all! Sometimes, its mixed. I follow most of it, not all of it. You know, I am spiritual but not so religious! On the whole, as many generations passed, science became religion, and religion became faith.

I will corroborate what I just said. The Hindu calendar, just like the English calendar, has more than just days and months in it. It tells you about the future. Solar and lunar eclipses are foretold accurately well ahead of time (one, two or a few years before) with the exact time-stamp. How? There are mathematical calculations to deduce the times of their occurrences. We just don't know it yet. Another best example is horoscope - the destinies of people described based on their birthdays. There is more in Hinduism. Priests use horoscopes to calculate the compatibility between a boy and a girl if they want to marry. Ultimately its mathematical science expounded in religious ways. I am familiar with Hinduism and I am sure there are similar aspects of science in other religions also.

Asimov used science fiction as a clever device to explain religion through science in his Foundation novels. I really admire his intelligence. Way to go, Asimov!

The Great Isaac Asimov

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Beast

The Beast

Image courtesy: The Silence of the Lambs

... and here it comes again; it has awaken
Breaking the shackles wound around it
Into splinters of violent pandemonium
This untamed being; the abhorring brute
Looming inside me with a devious smug
Unleashes itself triumphantly with a roar -
A wicked roar that bursts sardonic laughter

To experience the long awaited freedom;
Freedom of being deviant once again
And being uncouth and mischievous
This happens only when you are gone
So I can be the king of all the spoils
I earnestly wish you to return after eons

Mindless about the depletion inside
By being unwise about its actions
The mind is poisoned to the core
By a plague of heathen thoughts
Causing devil-may-care perversion
To the point of wild palpitation
Thus, after a long run of satanic fun
Finally the beast succumbs to repose

I couldn't open my eyes when the sun was up
As it was the grim sight of a great disaster
My mind was numb; my soul - obliterated
I was vanquished by the wretched monster,
The devil inside me which I had given birth
Of which I am the father and its rightful master

Oh, is there anything less painful than
To get torn apart between my mind and soul?
It is this regret that nags me with teasing cry:
Was there something I should have done
When it was growing inside the womb?
Oh, why did I embrace it with open arms
When I knew about its repercussions?

After a long struggle to concede my defeat
That has stained this haggard look upon me,
I kneel down, ashamed, to beseech you:
Wherever you are, please come back soon
Only you can help me bring myself back;
Help me find myself for I am lost in wilderness
And rescue me from this dreadful creature

Before it gets lost from me forever
Please, I am begging you to bring it back -
The harmony between my mind and soul
Which left me without saying, "Goodbye"
Be a guiding light and I will bridle the beast
Let my righteousness be the strength to hold it firm
And I pledge to take it on the path of morality
Then it will never be called as The Beast ever again

April 23, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Review: Foundation by Isaac Asimov

I always wanted to read Asimov's works and I had heard a lot about his Foundation Trilogy. This book, first in the trio, is a series of stories loosely coupled but held together by an idea called the Foundation. It starts with Hari Seldon and his pupil Gaal Dornick - the physcohistorians, who predict future history based on mathematical calculations. Then he is exiled from his home planet, Trantor, to establish a colony called the Foundation on the periphery of the galaxy. As years go by, a series of crisis occur as foretold by Seldon. These crises are entirely political with the sole intention to gain absolute power. The internal affairs and the barbarous planets try to take over the Foundation and ultimately the Galactic Empire.

Hari Seldon seen inside the Time Vault
On the whole its about the relationship between super-advanced science- especially the use of nuclear power- and humanity. The nuclear power is used as a primary weapon not only in warfare but also as a commodity for trade. What I really loved about the book is the crisis themselves. They appealed to my senses very much. I mean, the devious plots in the grand scheme of politics are very intriguing. Also, it was even more fun reading about the resolution of the crisis for protecting the interests of the Foundation. Isaac Asimov has written the stories so cleverly that all of it is in the form of no-nonsense, obscure, high standard conversations. Thus making it a high voltage, enjoyable political drama. It easily showcases his intellect. I really hope you will enjoy this book. Now, I have decided to pick up the next: Foundation and Empire. Until next time...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Short Story: A Conversation

Here is a new short story I wrote recently. Hope you enjoy it.



(c) Copyrights All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pride and Glory

Pride and Glory


I have failed before, and I will fail again
Because I know, (Well, I came to know)
First by denial, then by utter reluctance;
Ultimately by strike of rude awakening:
It was a wretched scream without a voice:
Beseeching me to open my arms wide
Only to accept me; just to accept myself
Which I continue to fail...

To make a world understand who I am
Help them witness the treasure I possess
Through the beauty of my works of art
Relish what lies beneath the mask I wear
In return gives me strength to stand firm,
Gives me courage to hold my head high
That's the ultimate source of my pride.

After a long hiatus, through the windows
I see that my bygone glory has got faded,
They label me as a washed-up celebrity -
A comic book character wearing a mask,
Who is now old and has a bleating voice
With a family that he's no longer part of.

I sit with my head slumped in my hands,
"You are old, man. You're a crippled goat!
Smelling stench in this squalid little room,
Listen to me. It's over. You're screwed up.
You are no artist; you are a coward, man!
Get into that suit; get back what we've lost."
I lose control; fury and rage overpowers me
I am disappearing, vanishing into thin air.
"You are fake, an imposter. They will know."
Stop it! Please let me be. There is no "we"
Shut up! Argh! Get out of my freaking head!
Out of intense frustration, I pull my hair,
And bang my head hard against the mirror
Helpless and exhausted, I finally surrender.
"It's always 'we', man! Wherever you are."

*    *    *

All set to make a comeback in this time
With brave and bold new ideas of my own
I am embarking on a whole new journey
To achieve the goals painted my dreams
But I hear is sardonic laughs around me
They question the credibility of my talent
It makes the sorrow thrive without mercy
Burdening my heart which it cannot bear

The loneliness haunts me when it says...
"Wake up you miserable, bleating old goat!
How did we end up in this filthy cesspool?
You do not deserve this kind of aggravation.
Remember what you are, where you belong,
Wait until you see the faces of those who
Thought you were an old washed-up artist.
You tower over this jaw dropping greatness;
You are larger than life, man. You are a God
Saving people from their boring little lives!
Let us go back one more time to show them
What we're capable of with a grand overture
And the very next time you bleat..."

Echoes of my long lived dreams resonate
A hard hitting reality of my own manifests
With a snap of my fingers the show begins
A missile strikes, explosion across the street,
A dreadful monster circling above screeches
I take a big leap to fight that dreaded beast
Firing powerful laser beams through my fists
"This is what you are, where you belong."
A joyful smile fills my face with pride.

*    *    *

"This is it, man. The final act. Get out there;
Give it to them you mighty wrinkly goat.
Show them what you've got for the last time
And earn back what you always wanted,
What you alone deserved - pride and glory.
You are destined to soar above all of them.
Together we're unstoppable - a global force.
You're the best there is, the best there was,
And the best there ever will be!"

I win millions of hearts after the final act.
Next dawn, I sit on my bed, an encore begins;
I go to the window and gaze towards the sky,
Admiring its natural beauty I take the big leap
And they see me flying high up in the heavens.

For Birdman

Feb 09, 2016