Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Forgotten Map

The author has put forward an interesting statement in the beginning itself. He talks about life being a result of bifurcations that are constantly being made. In a sense it is true. I mean, we are what we are because we chose to do something at a particular point and place in time. And that having done something else may have totally changed the course of our lives forever. I candidly must confess to not being an avid reader. I am not using it as a tool either for defending my ignorance of the existence even of most of the great men that have been mentioned in the extract provided. I first of all must apologise for this as I do realize these people have shaped history or have played a prominent role in it indirectly even if it may be so. For instance I particularly liked what the great Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset said about his perspective on life

"I am myself and my circumstance"

The author has clearly listed out a lot of bifurcations that our ancestors made that has led us to this point in life that the author describes to be that of utter chaos and confusion. Well I do agree with the author on many points but do feel that he has gone a little overboard with his emotions. With due respect, I do not think economics distorts reality totally to an extent that the author describes it to be. I feel it is economics on the other hand that has led to the development of science and technology by leaps and bounds for that matter of fact. It was man's realization for the development and implementation of economics in for example, manufacturing processes itself that sped up the industrial age. Before responsible economics was developed, manufacturing plants all across the globe were running on heavy losses until Fredrick Winslow Taylor, (though his ideas were not completely original) came up with the concept of Industrial Engineering. Industrial Engineering basically involves the optimization of processes in a manufacturing facility and that directly relates to economics. The revolution that took place after companies started incorporating the use of Industrial Engineering has been profound and undeniable. It has brought in a lot of revenue for the companies and understandably the revenue of a company is proportional to its investment in research and development. This is how science has taken those giant leaps and bounds in the last 30-40 years in my opinion. Well then again it's all a matter of perspective. Its ones temperament that has been developed over the years due to this surroundings, upbringing and so on that determines his/her perspective in the end. And every person may choose to have a different perspective on the subject. But I feel what the author is trying to communicate is in fact valid. I do to a certain extent feel that knowledge does not necessarily imply understanding. It is also true when he says that understanding is holistic and that knowledge is fragmented. But I do not feel knowledge is a result of detachment. I mean it is true that science leaves no room for conscience and spirituality and that everything in science is a result of thoughtful reasoning but that does not imply only understanding can solve a problem holistically. Understanding again is a result of perspective. It is a point of view that one has on a particular subject. Take for that matter, the extract where the author talks about science and its attempts to decipher the emotion called "love". Yes, science cannot provide a holistic answer or explanation to it, but can the author actually claim that understanding really explains love? Two people need not have fallen in love in similar situations. Doesn't that also mean that the understanding of love that each one of those people have about love may vary according to the situations that the person has been through and the temperament that the person is made of? Like I said, it again comes down to a matter of perspective. Understanding of a situation is subject to the perspective of a person.

I do not exactly agree with the author's claim of the different languages that apparently prevailed in different periods of time. This may tend to project my ignorance on a larger scale if I were to discuss what I actually feel about the topic, but I would rather not vouch for something that I am not sure of. Which is why I am not disagreeing with him aggressively. Spirituality is another topic the author talks about in his extract. I am truly not very religious but do not deny that spirituality is quintessential in this world. I do agree that if it weren't for that, the world would have ended long back. It is probably the fear of an entity we call God that probably stops a good number of us from committing a lot of sins every day. Did we choose a wrong path all along? I am not quite sure. I do agree detaching spirituality and conscience from science was the wrong path chosen for science, but I do not honestly feel that is the root result of what the world is right now. One instance where I felt that the concept of spirituality and science actually made sense is when I happened to read the book "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown where he has seamlessly integrated the story and concept of antimatter with the creation of the world itself. I mean many of us tend to reason things out. It may be as a result of science and the way science eventually functions. This is how we have been taught in classes since our young age. For example in a laboratory test for the cations and anions in a chemical mixture we tend to reason out the possibilities of the various chemicals present in that mixture by reasoning it out via certain tests. That is how we have been taught. I am not trying to be an atheist and that I am not. But how can be possibly incorporate spirituality in such a scenario where logical reasoning is the only way out? But I also agree there are many fields of science where spirituality could play a positive and responsible role like the rampant destruction of rain forests and ruthless slaughtering of the whales and so on.

Having said that I would like to conclude by saying that the extract provided was interesting and very thought provoking all though I would not exactly accept all of it written in it.

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