Monday, 20 December 2010


Ojas Mehta
The paradigm is fine while it lasts, but what happens when it breaks down? Do you then do as per what you learnt in the paradigm, or do you change? But how exactly do you change - the paradigm has defined yourself, including your knowledge to change. What about the time when external reality has no internal reference? Is it still reality then? what if there's no going back to the old paradigm - will you still survive, in hiding or otherwise, or will you rise and morph, change, transform, transcend yourself, in an attempt to survive... or will you transform the external force, thereby acting as the driving force in the paradigm shift that you were so afraid to be exposed to. Is this exposition called adaptation or evolution.... or is it shaking hands with the devil? For the latter at least, you must have known what you call the devil to now reconcile with it. Most of us do, but then most of us are far far off the mark with reality. Yes, the same reality that varies from me to you, but which still we feel compelled to bind under one name (and hence existence, form and structure). Of course, we all have a flawed perception of reality (as with time, space, love, life and everything else), but who's to tell otherwise? The insulation is seamless, the paradigm is robust, almost flawless..... most of the time. But when it does break down, and it will, whatever I've written won't matter anyway. Go figure.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

One of these days

Ojas Mehta
Long silky hair.... albino white.... ripped abs.... flexed biceps.... untrembling hands.... that look of raw intensity in the eyes.... axe in hand.... blood on face, hands, clothes.... the blinding lights.... the deafening silence.... the careless beauty in the inanimate eyes.... the face of horror and satisfaction.... the mirth of breaking even.... long, long silence...........................


The inaudible scream of the butterfly.

please wake me up, mother.......... please put me to sleep

Monday, 29 November 2010

The observer - I

Ojas Mehta
It would seem as if diversification is the key to relative happiness; when you got nothing to lose then baby you’ve got it all? Why is it then, that we are constantly driven by vertical goals, every now and then at least?

There comes a point in your life (every now and then at least) when you’ve expended yourself sufficiently to be reasonably reluctant of playing out the remainder of your cards too, if there are any left.

Solitude helps, but not explicitly. Solitude kills, but comfortably. Maybe you rise after that, maybe you fall deeper. Hopefully, you reach a point when it doesn’t matter, and either outcome leads to the same singularity. That is the dream. But they say dreamers are very impractical. Time will not tell. Dreamers will continue to dream by the nature of their circumloquacious ontology. That’s their flaw… and their merit. It’s the same. 

A sage is not a doctor – the ability to see your own misery guarantees no solution, it might even insulate you from a potential one.

As they say, zero-sum must be preserved. The re-emergence of an old friend necessitates the departure of the present one; actually the latter heralds the former on its way out.

I propounded this once, in youthful naivety, but I say it now, the same words but maybe a different framework: beauty and pain are inseparably and inevitably tied. The capacity to appreciate beauty comes (maybe) from the capacity to feel pain. The adjudicator of good has to graduate through the test of the not so good, the bad, the ugly, and the horrible. What’s more, the adjudicator needs to be constantly subjected to all The Others, and often spend more time researching the horrible, to still be competent enough to tell one apart from the other. It’s a nightmare for us mortals, but to him, it’s the joy of alchemy.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

An eventful Independence Day!

Ojas Mehta
First of all, I’d like to wish Happy Independence Day to all my readers. Today was a day of a national reconciliation for me (like many other of my compatriots). Yet, the national experience of today has been different than previous ones, towards the worse. Although I am more aware about my country today than I was yesterday, I feel no prouder of my country. The feeling I have today is of disappointment (and not disillusionment, mind you). I still believe in my country and its potential to be the world’s finest, but today, I must criticize it for the state of affairs that pervade it.

Incidentally, I watched the movie Peepli Live today, and it left me disappointed and depressed. I already know the current state of India, how it is soiled in corruption, red tape and dirty politics – what I didn’t learn is how can I make a difference… what I, the Common Man of India can do today to ensure a more prosperous tomorrow. The movie had plenty of Masala, its fair share of Profanities (were they trying to say its commonplace in India? – I know that too), lots of humour, pathetic and sorry humour that should make every Indian cry in shame about his country and vow to make a difference. But no, the effect it had on my fellow countrymen was… frantic laughter. Ironic is an understatement for the movie; Tragic is a more apt word. Tragic not because the “big-shot” director Aamir Khan decided to make a film exposing the true face of “Real India, Poor India” (yet again). No, tragic because he made no attempt at encouraging his countrymen to take some action in fixing it. He did a better job encouraging (urging) the youth to take up violent measures, through another of his blockbusters, Rang De Basanti. This movie then must be condemned by fervent nationals the same way Slumdog Millionare was… only worse… because Slumdog was a Hollywood film, made by a foreigner, who didn’t care about his country anyway. No far worse, because Aamir Khan is this self proclaimed activist and catalyst of change, who allegedly vowed to give part of his Taare Zameen Par earnings out as development fund to schools. Not a penny has been received by any school yet, says my friend, a student of politics, Devendra Pai.

It’s as simple as this – movies are made to entertain, with a side motive being educating and uplifting the masses. But movies like Peepli Live, that take India’s case apart, and that too in a cheeky mockery, must be banned from public broadcast, unless they feature some relief, some take-home for the audience, that they might use as a starting point in overcoming the same painful issues that they have now made a laughing stock of. Undoubtedly, movies direct wandering minds (youths, our country’s future), inspire and induce action – and certainly any efforts to exacerbate our country’s predicament, through the media or otherwise, must be curbed.

I also attended the #IndiBlogger Mumbai event, which saw enthusiastic participation from bloggers spanning different niches and styles, bound together by their nationality. It was a congregation of some wonderfully talented people, mostly social and tech savvy individuals, and people, who are positively devoted and driven for the development of themselves, their country and the global blogosphere. By profession, they (we) are engineers, managers, journalists, photographers and models; blogging being either their hobby, passion or profession. The level of involvement was amazing, the youthful exuberance oozing, as they (we) spoke and mingled confidently and decisively. Gul Panag graced the occasion, quite literally, with quite an engaging debate on the role of Bloggers in the Country with respect to dissemination of knowledge, information and ideas in the education sector. More importantly, we argued and consented on the effectiveness of blogging as a source of news, opinions and trends, as against conventional journalism, along with steps on how we could take it further and help affect a Blogging Revolution! It was a thoroughly satisfying evening; I met plenty of interesting people, and made some great friends and prospective blogging partners!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Talk About Feeling (Part 1)

Ojas Mehta
Today is my day of feeling, or in the words of Edward deBono, a day for red hat thinking. Who cares if you’re a guy or a girl, you’re still way different from a monkey or a dolphin, in the sense that you can feel. So might as well make good this liberty, than feel obliged to follow gender rules set about by society, and indeed, self

Sometimes I write well, most of the times, it’s not when I want to do so. Occasionally, it’s when people want me to, but it usually is a function of the environment and my mental state (which might be the same thing). Sometimes, I surprise myself with the words that exit my mouth, or manifest through a systematic movement of my fingers. Sometimes, I pride myself at conducting my own symphony, with my mind being the baton, and my fingers the orchestra.

Without getting too technical now, I’d like to reveal in this moment of partial liberty, that it is indeed a great feeling to release your feelings, and “be true to self”. Whether it’s the correct thing to do is of academic interest, at least for these few brief moments. It’s a liberty I don't often allow myself, often equating it to sinful indulgence. Isn't it remarkable how people ordinarily are looking at opportunities to bury their true, feeling selves in the hope of achieving equanimity, hopefully for greater success ahead? But history shows us, and so does the news, that the ones who go the furthest ahead, are the ones who think from their heart. Who go with their hunches and live their dreams, instead of looking for opportunities in where people would enable them to live their own dreams. It’s hilarious and ironic at the same time, how people look for opportunities to execute their dreams in particular, and happiness in general from their external world, when, in the process, they’re only, if successful, unleashing the power of dreaming and feeling happy in their own selves. Take a person's looks for example, or the notion of love, both of which are deeply rooted in the social revolution that has been carried out chronologically by night clubs, cafes, the telephone and now Facebook.

(At this point, I lost interest writing and  started chatting instead, hence confirming and conforming to the social revolution, which might have taken away people's ability to think with their hearts and write with their minds, for purposes other than seeking approval from arbitrarily determined human references.)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Internal Conversation

Ojas Mehta
It's nothing really. The magnitude seldom, if ever, seeps into the consciousness; the external turmoil is safely padded by layers of rust and fat.

I used to love, and hope and fear, and feel the joy in living. Now, I feel nothing. There is a burn, steady and uneasy, but no more than that. I often wonder why it must – actually I don't.

The need to conform to a style of writing vaguely nags me, but I endure it, like dozens of others every day. My fear of writing wrong impedes me from writing at all – this must be a writer’s worst nightmare come true; after perhaps the dread of understanding the implications of his own writing.

I do believe everything is a piece of a large montage that will eventually add up; but then I have begun to realise it might be beyond human capacity to see it.

I cling persistently to the thought that another world exists somewhere and that I wouldn't have to get my hands dirty after all. But it seems only a matter of time now.

The more the random real and the Utopian dream rift, the more I find myself being stretched, trying to keep a foot in both boats, deferring the point where I must make a choice by a few more moments.

I have lately often found myself saying – what is there to do in life? I wonder if any among mothers, money or medicines have the answer to it.

I turn within for answers and hit a brick wall. I look outside and get mocked.

The more I learn, the more I am driven inward.

Every time I publish one of these, I sell a part of my soul.

But I do survive, and I will.

I hope.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


Ojas Mehta
People (one person in particular, hope you're listening lawyer) have often displayed reluctance, even despise in using the three magic words. In keeping with the Valentine's spirit, i've compiled the following lines to remind ourselves of our sweet ol' emotion, in anticipation of a "warmer" tomorrow.

I Love you

Because love has no reason, no rhyme,
no season, no time

Because love is blind...
and makes the world go round... and round

Because love is right, true and beautiful
The purest, richest emotion man can feel
The ability to love is man's greatest virtue.
To be loved, his greatest gift

Because love breeds trust and faith, hope and belief
Love is.. that whereby men live
It engenders the noblest of man's spirit
And makes the impossible, possible

Because love transcends space and time...
And brings people and nations together
Love brings happiness and joy to the world
The epitome of life and youth

Because love is free for all, with no taxes or hidden costs
Free as the air...

Because love is in the air... and contagious too!
So lets end with a rhyme, and say I love you.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Arguments Against the Zeitgeist Philosophy

Ojas Mehta
The following is a letter addressed to the Zeitgeist Movement, pointing out some of its conceptual flaws and practical shortcomings

this is not a challenge nor a debate, but a discussion. i am, in essence, in support of your ideals and your vision. but i find several practical difficulties in implementing your proposed system
As a primer, i would like to state the two basic needs of man (animal): survival and procreation

an advantage of the monetary system is, it empowers a person, in the sense it, largely, makes an individual responsible for his own survival. the need to earn money partly stems from the need to stay alive and "earn" his next meal or shelter, food, health, education. Also, it provides a competitive environment which helps people push their limits of competence and hence (largely) ensures personal growth. The monetary system is responsible for a reward/punishment form of positive/negative reinforcement to participants of the system, which eventually helps direct an individual toward a desired end result.

Without the concept of money; fame, success and power might lose their significance. A person might not be driven toward personal and social improvement as well as he would in a monetary system.
In the absence of a monetary system, due to free and plentiful resources being available, a person might lose his sharply tuned survival instincts, and hence the motivation to live. some visible symptoms could be laziness, un-healthiness, and atrophy. Besides, if a man is not driven to survive and maintain, as a prediction, his drive for sex could be encouraged, which might eventually reflect in increasing population and scarcity of land or resources.

Some more issues: to consider
1. on what basis/by what means will cybernated (hi-tec automatic) machines be distributed - as the currency system is to be discarded? who would construct those machines and distribute them, initially?

2. the world is not full of engineers. when an automated system does break down, who would service/repair it, and what would be his motivation to do it, if he's not getting any monetary/other compensation?

3. if there are more people and less jobs, and no motive for a person to do a "job", then who would do it?

"The interdisciplinary teams will not be paid, for their world views have been expanded, to realize that their reward is in fact the fruits of the society as a whole."
My guess is that a very very small fraction of people in the world who would volunteer to do such work, because: there are "others" that can/should do it too, right? It is also morally unjust for some people to be working and others not. Even in the absence of currency, there has never been an era in human civilization where a minority people have worked selflessly and happily for the benefit of the masses.

With a (monetary) reward system comes answerability, responsibility and hence credibility. On the other hand, a lot of the proposed resource based system relies on faith and trust as a means of delivering justice.
Suppose that sufficient people do volunteer to work in these interdisciplinary teams. If the volunteers (due to accident or intention) make an error affecting thousands of people, there wouldn't (by definition of social work) be a mechanism to punish them appropriately.

If computers are extensively delegated decision making and programmed for self preservation & regulation, along with a certain creative (extrapolation) ability, a computer's command to serve humans might come in conflict with its principle of self preservation. I am, of course, talking about Human-Robot wars.

a government is a body that rules and regulates society, by deciding policies dynamically, in response to time-variant trends owing to a constantly evolving human mind, and a rapidly changing world around him.
It thus, by definition is too complex for a computer to analyze and appropriately adjunicate. This is because, at every stage, the computer is only as updated with trends in human drives and tendencies (and with the objective/subjective notion of right and wrong) as was last fed to it, by a human.

"The adjustment of modern society to modern methods" - Dr Ralph Linton
a. When will the world be sufficiently modern for this statement to hold?
b. On what basis is it concluded that man will be at peace with man, and there shall be order and stability in the world, eventually? This is as much a question of history, science and politics, as it is of psychology.

"everything in regard to social organization is a technical process"
"The transfer of decision making to computers is the next phase of social evolution"

By this statement, I believe, what is trying to be conveyed is that social organization runs on a precise algorithm, that can be modeled. Could you provide me justification for the same?
This consideration is of particular interest to me, as I eventually aspire to model a human mind. The above tenet suggests that such a model for social organization already exists, and hence, being able to model and make inferences from society, and (hence?) an individual is (already) feasible, which suggests that we are only one step away from reading a person's mind. Is that so?

This approach assumes that all the problems faced by man today have an objective solution (which incidentally is also an essential criterion for automation.) I strongly disagree with this notion, I believe a lot of decisions made by humans today involve multiple considerations, including those on an ethical, emotional and conscious level, something that we have not yet achieved with computers.
The way everything in this orientation lecture is called a "technical process" would come as a severe blow (or insult) to the chaos theorists that maintain that these processes are in fact NOT a straightforward, foolproof, stable processes, in the sense that something (unforeseen) and go wrong sometime, that is not governed by simple laws. Now how can this randomness be accounted for and rectified by computer robots? All I am saying is, I believe it isn't possible to switch to an automatic and self-regulating system to run the world, at least in the next century or so.

The bottom line is this - if we must move away from a monetary system, we must move away from a work-everyday culture too. Which means handing over pretty much all our technical, management, planning, decision making jobs to automated robots - which brings us to the question: How could some people work, when a vast majority doesn't work? And if we are to further minimize the number of working people, we must have highly accurate models of our social, political and legal systems, and highly competent robots capable of taking (logical, legal, ethical and maybe emotional) decisions. This would involve massive leaps in psychological modeling and artificial intelligence, which is bound to take a significant amount of time.

I'm not completely against your philosophy though. Actually, I am quite impressed and enthusiastic with your vision and I do appreciate and support your initiative in enlightening the masses in order to liberate them from the present flawed system. I support your opposition to the credit system of banks (leading to debt, bankruptcy etc). I believe there must be a mechanism that would ensure fair compensation for everyone, and the abolition of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. However, I believe that the monetary system is not all that bad, and at least (by definition) has some great advantages to offer. It is up to active citizens like us to make people see the larger picture and win them over, instead of hoping for a Utopian revolution involving the complete discard of the monetary system.

I believe education is the way forward. Millions of people over the world are weak and vulnerable, incapable of choosing whats right for them, because they do not possess the knowledge, understanding and clarity in thought that education envisages. I believe the educating youth of the world would empower them, making them independent and self-sufficient to take responsible decisions for themselves and society, and it is through education that we can plant in them ideas of justice and freedom (from corporate and government oppression). I believe once people are educated enough, we can fight problems of poverty, unemployment and health, along with corruption, pollution and global warming in a better-equipped, robust fashion. The leaders of tomorrow need must be trained today, and they are the ones that will make the revolution possible.