Sartre and the human reality of existentialism

I know it’s a funny topic to write on, when the world around is running after profits, cuts and commissions, jobs and promotions, and cashing in on every opportunity to capialise on every conceivable difference in caste, class and status, and its jealousies and low self-esteem. Human reality – For the poor, it’s two difference concepts – man and reality. To the middle classes, an argument or a joke over coffee. For the rich, another excuse to get richer? No one, I assume, will bother to ever look inside, until they get banged on all sides by reality itself. This is the true world that we can now witness in the making. A vast school for scoundrels, that it always was. So if we are to believe Sartre, man can “exist” before he is anything at all. And where he goes depends on his will and actions. And the paradoxical conclusion of this: that there is no such thing as human nature. That’s...
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Will technology turn us all into slaves?

The internet, or more accurately, the world wide web, celebrates its 25th anniversary today. Some rambling thoughts on the rise of ‘the machine’, invented to do log tables and census work, on the likes of patterns or threads woven by looms. My first encounter with computers and software was when my father brought home a book on learning BASIC. So I learnt the basic coding loops, and got to know about COBOL and FORTRAN. That was in 1989. A trip to a Soviet exhibition in the city was where I first saw the machine – the IBM PC, and some guys keying in a program. They made me type a few lines of code. And then at school in 1990, where we had a science festival, I had a glimpse of the mouse… though its use and functions were unfathomable. Today the advances in this space look mind boggling. We are talking about technology and its influence, the good and the bad...
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Is happiness the only thing in life?

“Whatever we do is for our happiness,” my cousin sister put it across me, quickening her pace as she joined me on the night stroll. The conversation happened nearly two decades ago in a city adjoining Delhi. Years later, I sometimes reflected back at that small talk, wondering at the motivations, the tussles and tribulations of the young minds, that lay underneath. Those were the 1990s, when youthful aspirations were again in conflict with the preceding generations. My own state of mind in those days was one of inner absorption, undisturbed by the harsh grind of reality around. I was rather indifferent to the pulls and attractions of the world. Happiness is what everyone wants to reduce all of our actions and behaviour to. Maybe it is the case. But I always thought there were other matters that did not involve  pleasure. It couldn’t be just for my own happiness that I did everything I did. Everyone in the world today wants to be...
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Kuch to log kahenge!!

Kuch to log kahenge, Logon ka kaam hai kehna! (The guy on the right is found on Facebook these days!) Kuch reet jagat ki aisi hai…fir kyun bheeg gaye tere naina? Is it not our fault too?… hum khoye hain, in rang-raliyon mein… Kahin beet na jaye raina… Bolo yeh sach hai na?!! Great song and enactment. Sharmila Tagore does look more beautiful in a sari than in a bikini! ...
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Mass opinion or democratization?

“It is no longer the season to listen, but on the contrary, a time to pass judgment, to pronounce sentence, to issue proclamations.” via The Smartest Book About Our Digital Age Was Published in 1929 – The Daily Beast. It may of course gladden the critics of the information age, but popular culture, mass opinion and the wagging tongues of the hoi polloi have always been a subject of derision by some. It wouldn’t be a gross justification if I call the internet, the web and social media a democratisation of information that technology has brought about. And I am not trying to sell any gadgets here…. we are all the worse for them! As for opinions, everything is one, so said Aurelius. ...
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