Who’s the boss? — Part 2

When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are pockets. Thus goes a well-worn Zen Buddhist saying. Our perceptions of the external world are filtered through our internal desires and motivations. This process is not linear; a powerful feedback mechanism is involved. How we apprehend the world out there depends on what our internal model of the external world is; and our internal model gets modified with fresh inputs from our filtered apprehension of the world. Regardless of which came first – whether we start off with an internal model and then examine the world, or whether we examine the external world first without prejudice and only later build an internal model – the cycle once initiated continues for the rest of an individual’s life. Who we are dictates how we perceive the world to be; how we perceive the world to be dictates who we are in the continual process of becoming.
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Who’s the boss?

The other day I received a forwarded email informing me that in Mumbai there is a traffic law which requires that a taxi driver has to comply with a request — no, not request but rather a demand — for service. Here’s what the email said:

Do you know, Rickshaw & Taxi Drivers do not have a right to say NO. So remember that each time the rickshaw/taxi driver tells you a NO, take down his vehicle registration number, note the time date and place, please click on the following link and register your complaint.

We have had enough of these guys bullying us around, and refusing to ply specially when its urgent. They have been told that they cannot say a NO to any customer when their meter is FOR HIRE! not even for short or long distances. I’d suggest you stop asking them whether they will take you wherever you wish to go and rather tell them where you want to go. And if they refuse. REGISTER a COMPLAINT. Let’s teach these guys who’s the customer , and who’s the boss!

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Power, Scarcity, and Corruption

Education in India is generally in dire straits even though some people mistakenly believe that it is excellent from the successes of some ex-IIT non-resident Indians in the US who made piles of money. It is not hard to figure out what is the root cause of the distress of the educational system in India: the near-monopoly control of the system by the government.
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The Directness of Zen

Here is a brief video on the Zen Mind — An Introduction. I like Zen Buddhism. It is profoundly simple and direct. The voice-over states clearly at the end of the clip that “… do not differentiate yourself as apart from others, or from the world outside. The search for self-realization is powered by our anxieties and our fears which feed our ego causing frustrations in our daily life. Selfishness, jealousy, anger, hate — which unconsciously serve to protect us, and in doing so, set us in opposition to everyone and everything. To awaken to this realization is the practice of Zen. ”

Then from the Department of “Do as I say, Not as I do” the copyright notice warns, “No part of this motion picture may be copied or broadcast unless authorized. Copying is illegal and subject to prosecution.” Now what was that bit about not differentiating ourselves from others?

The Renaming of Things

Hugh Fitzgerald over at Dhimmiwatch says in an article titled “Aurangzeb Road” (hat tip: Tushar) :

“The Danish Embassy in India is located on Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi. So there is still a road in India that is named after the most ruthless and cruel of the many ruthless and cruel Muslim rulers, oppressor and mass-murderer of Hindus. Why is there a road by that name? Change it, for god’s sake.”

Nope. We can’t do that. Bangalore can be changed to Bengaluru for reasons not very clear. Airlines can be renamed from “Indian Airlines” to “Indian”. But mass murderers have cities and major streets named after them. Dhimmis tend to do that. Personality cult disorder, as I wrote a few years ago.

Delusional People

Two items today from this amazing web. First, a simple rant telling monotheists that they should stop being delusional. Nothing fancy but a lot of fun. Next, a great conversation with Susan Blackmore at the Point of Inquiry. “In this far-ranging discussion with D.J. Grothe, Susan Blackmore talks about her research into the paranormal and near death experiences and why she left that field of study, memetics and religion as a meme, free will and the question of moral responsibility, consciousness and the illusory nature of the self, and Zen Buddhism and meditative practice, among other topics. She also explores why is it more important than ever for scientists to speak out about important issues of concern in the world today.”

Gordon Dryden on India

New Zealand author Dr. Gordon Dryden, who showed me around his home-country last year (mentioned before here and here), breezed into India last month, and a week later flew out “head filled with a haze of contraditions”:

Air travel: Horrified at the Air India trip from Hong Kong to New Delhi (“Do they really have to spend several minutes, first up, showing what not to push bottles down the toilet? Have they not heard of the power of negative suggestions? Possibly my worst flight since the Soviet Aeroflot slog from Moscow to Tokyo in 1970.”) But thrilled at the Jet Airways flight from Delhi to Pune (“Great airline; beaut service.”)
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Oh No! India Shinging Again

From the “Don’t Know What’s the Point Department,” the new release is I am India on Google Video. A collage of images–a field of wind power generators, a soaring jet in the blue skies above a lush green field, the majestic fall of water from a dam–introduce words of ersatz wisdom: “A man’s karma is to forever turn the wheel of life towards a better future for all.”

Wow. How absolutely majestically profound-sounding. Of course, I paused the video to ponder it for a bit and gave up after the screen saver kicked in after the usual 10 minutes of inactivity. Time to move on.
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The theory of computation studies a class of problems called ‘NP Complete.’ These are problems that are considered computationally hard in the sense that all known algorithms to solve them require a non-deterministic Turing machine polynomial orders of time. The traveling salesman problem is a classic example of this set. They all share one characteristic – indeed it is the test of membership in the class – that they are all isomorphic. An algorithm that solves any of the problems would therefore solve all of NP Complete problems.
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