Have we done enough?

So judgement has been passed on the Nirbhaya case. There has been mixed reactions from the general public, some rejoicing the justice finally delivered, some regretting the few that walks free. But almost all are in unison in believing they deserved death penalty. It is an easy judgement to pass, such deviants deserve no place in the society, heck not even on the face of earth. They don’t deserve the basic right to life since they are not human, they are an outcast- outside of social boundaries and bear no semblance to any of us in the society. But by assuming they are outside our moral and social domain, are we overlooking something?

The devils that did this are not monolithic tombs of aberration. It is not purely bestial lust that caused this nor is it solely criminal tendency. It is a concoction of several social malice such as male chauvinism, social inequality, moral deprivation colluding with individual traits of these animals. Such disease exists in all of us, walks among us in plain sight. But by training our swords on a single crime, we are turning a blind eye to all such illness. By alienating the rapists, we fail to acknowledge the inherent devils within us.

Even today, the first advise that comes out of such ghastly event is that women should dress less provocatively. A girl is judged more readily than a guy against a pile of moral etiquette designed by a patriarchal society. Etiquette that treats them as property and designed to minimize that property loss. Whereas a guys moral etiquette begins only so far as his actions interferes with another person, a girls etiquette is rigid in defining what she can or cannot do with herself. Because she is a property.

And that judgmental and condescending attitude permeates everywhere, from respectable families to bottom-fed criminals. That attitude which manifests as condescension in the civilized will manifest as violence in radicals and social outcasts. I see no difference between the rapists and those culture mafias who attack women in parties, advice them on the length of their skirt. Their attitude is the same, only its manifestation is different.

Finally the topic of capital punishment. Whether any crime justify capital punishment or not, is a different topic of discussion. Whether capital punishment for rape would help? I think not. The reason such crimes still exist is not because the punishment is lax but because people think they will not get caught. Time after time, studies suggest that improving the efficiency of law enforcement is a greater deterrent for crimes than the severity of punishment.

We should have the courage to deny ourselves the gratification of such simple punishments, to expose the wound and dig into our moral fabric to clean it. Let us not rejoice at justice done, for justice will not undo the dead. There is more at stake here. For every Nirbhaya for whom we shed tears, there are thousands of other silent victims with no hope in the horizon, too afraid to shout, too suppressed to flex.

Do we need excessive violence and media frenzy to warrant our attention? Do we just boil at the extremes and tolerate the therebetween? What have we done for the rest? The road to victory is not just of tightening of a noose, but of slackening of in-numerous knots of social malign. If we acknowledge victory, we give up the struggle. Instead let us use the judgement to remind ourselves of the challenging path ahead. 

Musings on the opening credits of Westworld

It is not a secret that Westworld is the next big thing from HBO. The cast, the writing and the production values were all top notch and in fact much better than the initial few episodes of GoT. For a series with such big ambitions, at first I felt the opening sequence was rather dull. However with each passing episode, I can find more meaning in each of those frames and can’t help but wander of in to a philosophical meditation about the meaning behind each scene and how it relates to the theme of the show. I don’t mean this is how its creators intended the meaning of each scenes, but I always take the liberty of painting my own interpretation over any art, more an art that lends itself to it, more beautiful it is.
The sequence starts with machines delicately weaving a world out of artificial milky material. Both living and inanimate objects are made the same way, of the same materials, just like our real world. Then suddenly some of these objects spring in to motion. The visuals don’t even try to differentiate between voluntary & effected motion. A bullet fired is the same as a horse galloping or the rider woman riding it. They are all slaves of their original design reacting to some stimuli, time included. The robots that the machine make, even appear to be having sex, but their emotions seems programmed as well. The robotic arms breathe life into their circuitry and robots rock to the joys of electric circuits firing (which Bender explained to us decades back). 
It is hard not to wonder whether the whole thing is a detached commentary on ourselves, an artificial rendering of our real world. After all, we too are slaves of our constituent atoms dancing to the tune of physical laws, the emotions that we feel so sure and true, are mere concoctions of hormones & chemicals. Yet we harbor thoughts of sentience and consciousness, and we are so sure of them that we draw definitions of alive and dead. This conflict between the notion of alive & dead, conscientious & unaware is one of the core themes of the show. By drawing parallels between the artificial world and real world, the opening sequences pushes us to question whether the hosts are persons.

But that alone would be grim determinism and reductionism. The sequences don’t stop there. The hand that plays the piano, recedes from the keys and the piano starts to play on its own. Its precise & mechanical components, in their tryst with time, produce something beautiful & spontaneous! It is like the hosts in the show, that were cast with the rigors of code & logic but with a deft touch of randomness, they blossom in to something so unique & beautiful. There are even theories that our consciousness itself is a result of our quantum substrate interacting with reality with an element of probability governing its collapse into various states. If this is not consciousness, what else is? The whole may be bigger than its constituent parts, but is it also so very different1?

Not everything in the title piece reveals all its meaning at once (such as Invertius man sinking into his the pool of his constituent matter). But I am sure as the show progresses, the meaning behind some portions of the title piece will reveal itself.  One of the shows lead writer, Jonathan Nolan has a quite bit of talent in weaving philosophical quandaries in to everyday story lines, as evident from his work with his brother Christopher Nolan. But with this show and its setting, he has a fertile ground for exploring much more complicated themes and sending our head in to a dizzy. Hope the excitement keeps up!
Here is the official link to the opening credits. See for yourself.

1 This is not much different from the loose definition of ‘Complex Systems’ in Herbert Simon seminal paper “The architecture of complexity“. 

“Roughly, by a complex system I mean one made up of a large number of parts that interact in a nonsimple way. In such systems, the whole is more than the sum of the parts, not in an ultimate, metaphysical sense, but in the important pragmatic sense that, given the properties of the parts and the laws of their interaction, it is not a trivial matter to infer the properties of the whole. “

Irrespective of your topic of interest, it is a great read written in a simple lucid language touching several disciplines. Recommended reading!

Series reboot…

Ok, I am not here to reboot a superhero franchise such as Batman or Spiderman (Former was a terrific idea, later one turned out to be a terrible one). This is about my stupid, useless blog, the supposed realm of my immaterial squabbles, the upholstery of words that lend shape to my nebulous deliberations, the drainage of my thoughts (How insightful I was in my choice of words when I made that first post). Truth be told, the blog never really started since I never posted anything substantial beyond “Hello world”. And then there was the other post, but that blogging traveler, describing about his Bangkok trip is forever going to be trapped in the flight (like the lover trapped in precarious stance on that Grecian urn). For the time being, it is unlikely that he will resume his travel in blogosphere. Meanwhile other noteworthy events such as “getting married” happened which were not dwelt upon in the blog.  And that is the sad thing, despite my continuous self-abominations and in-numerous “ah-should-write-about-that” moments, the cupboard is bare.

Truth is that I have made numerous unsuccessful attempts at making a blog post and equally successful attempts at deleting them, for the fear of looking stupid (which is of course inevitable given my disposition). In any case, one is always wiser than when he was young, conversely one’s stupidity at given point of time is greater than or equal to his stupidity at any point of time in future (Unless you have been fed on a regular diet of media). Given this law, I am sure to look back and regret at my stupidity right?

What I have come to realize is that I have far more regretted not having written something rather than having written something. My English hasn’t improved a bit since my last classroom English lecture. Even worse, my ability to articulate things has been nose-diving to an extent that I have started to doubt my reason. But one doesn’t go anywhere without making an attempt. The caveman didn’t learn swimming by standing at the shore and contemplating whether he would float or not. So I am going to stop worrying about the end result and take the plunge…

No I am not promising that I will regularly post something. I am not going to add to that unkept count of failed resolutions. I merely vow that I will not delete this post, no matter what. Hopefully over a period of time, with the same attitude, this blog will gather some stuff that I will feel confident to share with others. Until then, you my dear reader, are a fictional entity, because my blog doesn’t exist. Blogger statistics shows that my pages have 526 page views since beginning of time (yes, you are right… since the big bang) and quite inexplicably has been read by people from North America and some Eskimos from Alaska.

I feel very sorry for those people… I am sure the post on trip to Thailand must have (mis)led quite a few. Anyway, I am not going to extend this self-centered blog post any more. Hopefully there will be some stuff to come.


Ahemm… Hi guys.. here I am with a new blog of mine. I had a slightly dysfuntional homepage that was as primitive as stone age and hence fittingly outdated. This is my feeble attempt to engage myself a bit more. Hopefuly in future I will be able to drain my thoughts here, capture few memories here and there and of course, to kill time (I seem to have a whole lot of it pretty underutilized).

Nothing special has inspired me to start this one, other than long hours of uninspiring boredom and an onslaught of pointless thoughts in due course. Just as some wiseman put it, great thoughts are not to be left alone. I mentioned resolve somewhere, coz this blog has been part of my resolution for so long, but postponed indiscreetly by consistently fresh bouts of laziness. I am an expert procrastinator and proudly so. After countless battles with my laziness and creative slumps I have put together this first post of the blog and God only knows when the next one will come up.

I am a simple guy who forms an uninterestingly tiny miniscular microscopic dot of the unimaginable infinity of creation just as Douglas Adams rightly put forth. I like music, mostly every kind but specifically only those I like. I like sports as long as I am at a safe distance from it, well settled at the comfort of my house, with popcorn and other ancillaries. Patience permitting I watch few films now and then. I do some work at office but mostly pretend so. Further attempts to describe myself any further is only demoralizing since it highlights how futile the whole exercise is.

I thank Blogger.com for giving me this wonderful chance to write some nonsense. I also thank my friends and relatives for their continued tolerance. I thank my mom and dad for things that are beyond grasp of any language.I also thank God for providing me with a partly functioning brain which conjures up most of these nonsenses(As I write the functioning part of my brain is vehemently denying this and abdicating any claims of ownership). Above all, I thank my employers for feeding me with so much leisure time.