Category Archives: Culture

Choosing Thoughts

Is it possible to cause a shift in the universe just by the way we think, or by the way we think, or by controlling our thoughts?

Thoughts come from the Universe. We are an integral part of that universe. We may say that we exist inside the thoughts that exist in the Universe. So we are nothing but the thoughts; and our thoughts are a link to the vast universe. We could argue endlessly by whether the thoughts are imposed upon us, or whether we have the choice to control our thoughts. I would like to choose a position ‘We can choose our thoughts’, to start with. Tht seems realistic and easy. It gives me the satisfaction of being in control of my life and my mind. By choosing the right books, right information, I can control the power of thinking.

PRINCIPLE 9: POWER OF THE MASTERMIND – THE DRIVING FORCE

Plans are inert and useless without sufficient power to translate them into action.

Power is “Organised and intelligently directed KNOWLEDGE”.

Power is ORGANISED EFFORT sufficient to enable an individual to transmute DESIRE into an equivalent outcome (Monetary Equivalent).

ORGANISED EFFORT is produced through the coordinated effort of two or more people, who work toward a DEFINITE end, in a spirit of harmony.

Power is required for accumulation of money. Power is required for retention of money after it has been accumulated.

SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE

  1. Infinite Intelligence
  2. Accumulated Experience
  3. Experiment and Research

When the minds of two people are coordinated in a spirit of harmony, the spiritual units of energy of each mind form an affinity, which constitutes the psychic phase of the Master Mind.

Man’s brain may be compared to and electric battery. A group of batteries provide more energy than a single battery.

When two or more people in a spirit of HARMONY, and work toward a definite objective, they place themselves in a position, through that alliance, to absorb power directly from the great universal storehouse of Infinite Intelligence. This is the greatest of all sources of power. It is the source to which a genius turns. It is the source to which every great leader turns. (whether he may be conscious to this fact or not.

Gandhi accomplished a miracle, for it is a miracle when two hundred million people can be induced (not forced to) cooperate in a spirit of harmony for a limitless time. If you doubt that this is a miracle, try to induce any two people to cooperate in a spirit of harmony for any length of time.

Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a Burning Desire for wealth, are the only a dependable means of accumulating wealth.

Think and Grow Rich Principle 7 – Decision: The Mastery of Procrastination

DECISON: THE MASTERY OF PROCRASTINATION Every time you open your mouth in front of a person who has abundance of knowledge, you display to that person your exact stock of knowledge, or lack of it. Genuine wisdom is conspicuous through modesty and silence. If you talk about your plan too freely, you may be surprised to learn that some other person has beaten you to your goal by PUTTING INTO ACTION ahead of you, of which you talked about unwisely. Let one of your first decisions be to KEEP A CLOSED MOUTH AND OPEN EYES AND EARS. TELL THE WORLD WHAT YOU INTEND TO DO, BUT FIRST, SHOW IT Deeds and not words what count most. Analysis of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes well beyond a million dollar mark, disclosed the fact that every one of them had the habit of REACHING A DECISION PROMPTLY, and changing these decisions slowly. The value of the decision depends upon the courage required to render them. The great decisions, which served the foundation of civilisation, were reached by assuming great risks, which often meant possibility of death.

FREEDOM OR DEATH ON A DECISION Lincoln’s decision to issue the Proclamation of Emancipation, which gave freedom to coloured people of America, was rendered with full understanding that this act would mean death to thousands of men on the battlefield. In the end, it cost Lincoln his life. That required courage. The greatest of all decisions as far as America is concerned was reached in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, when 56 men signed their names on a document which they well knew would bring freedom to Americans, or will leave everyone of the 56 hanging from a gallows. In union there is strength. The citizens of colonies had been waging disorganised warfare against the British soldiers, through incidents similar to Boston riot, but nothing of benefit had been accomplished. Their individual grievance had not been consolidated under one Mastermind. No group of individuals had put their hearts, minds, souls and bodies together in one definite DECISION to settle their difficulty with the British once and for all until Adams, Hancock and Lee got together. Socrates’ decision to drink the cup of poison, rather than compromise in his personal belief, was a decision of courage. It turned time ahead a thousand years, and gave people then unborn, the right of freedom of thought and speech.

UNDP – Sustainable Development Goals

One of the reasons I started this blog is to investigate the evolution of Humanity. If I remember right, it is Deepak Chopra who said, “you are not a drop in the ocean, you are an ocean in a drop”. Humans, as social beings, not individuals alone, but are individual members of the society at large. We wouldn’t have been members of society without the existence of the society around us. We so take the existence of society around us for granted that we hardly even notice it’s there. But the society as a whole has an influence on us and the society as a whole consists of individual members. So an individual and the society cannot be separated. In a way, the individual and the society are the same, just like a drop in the ocean, and the ocean are the same. I believe that the way I think and act can, and has, an effect on not just the society, but the physical universe as a whole.However, for the this discussion I would like to only put the society into the perspective and not the universe, because the correlation between the social phenomena and thinking is much more tangible than the correlation between the social phenomena and the physical phenomena of the universe. Since a lot of variables around us contribute towards our individual evolution as a human being, I considered my thinking as Human Development.

When I started researching the term Human Development, I realised that I am not the inventor of the term. United Nations already had a programme in place called Human Development – a term which was invented by Dr. Amartya Sen. Human Development is a part of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For years, UN has been publishing their yearly Human Development Report (HDR). This post is a reminder that the UN has a very powerful programme in place with Sustainable Development Goals.

I am not a part of the UNDP; and UNDP does not know who I am. But I invite everyone to have a look at these links and move towards these goals step by step in whichever way we can contribute.

Altruism versus Individualism

There are different paradigms to look at this issue. One of the paradigms is from Sociology. A paradigm of Sociology is that the Society exists for the Individual, rather than vice versa. The society exists for the individual to prosper. A stable, developed society may be beneficial for everyone and it appears that society comes above the individual. However, it is still the Individual that matters. Society collectively exists so that each member benefits by co-existing. Nation is a formal structure given to the society. The laws for the proper functioning of the Nation exist categorically, where a society exists because of traditions. The principles that make a Society exist are abstract. For the societal norms to become laws, they have to be documented so that they become statutory laws.
The other paradigm that exists is from Ayn Rand’s book Fountainhead. In her books, Ayn Rand talks about the inherent Selfishness of the Individual. She appears to endorse Selfishness, as it is a fact of life by my interpretation of her.
The Individual is almost always at war with the Society. An individual grows by responding to the stimuli. The individual has desires which may be morally acceptable or unacceptable. But in a social structure, the actions of the individual are governed and limited by social standards. What may be morally right for one person may be morally wrong for another. However, both sides have to agree to the civil or statutory law. The statutory law in this case may in favour of one, or the other; or it may be a compromise. In any case, certain elements feel disadvantaged. A law in favour of A may make B feel disadvantaged and vice versa. A compromised law may in different situations, on different occasions may make one or both parties disadvantaged. A compromise may appear like appeasement. Appeasement of A and B may make another element C completely sidelined by A and B.
Statutory laws that are accepted unanimously relate to public infrastructure. Laws that maintain a smooth flow of traffic are universally liked, no matter if you are A or B or C. A driver driving a car follows the same rule whether they are A, B, C or D. A pedestrian crossing the road has to wait for the pedestrian signal to turn green whether they are of group A, B, C or D.
The Nation is defined by its ideology – Democratic, Secular, Christian, Islamic etc. Ideologies that define Governance encompass Religion. That is when they are effective. In other words, they are effective when they are implemented by looking at the human needs of the society rather than ethnic or religious. They are effective when there is no preferential treatment to one group over another – whether the group in question is a majority group or minority. The ideal situation may never occur where everything is black and white for everyone. The Nation still has to stick to its national ideology for it to be considered a Nation.

Does Better Education Mean a Better Nation?

When I ask the question ‘does better education mean a better nation’, it leads to a further question, ‘What do we mean by better?’ There is no simple and unique answer. Everywhere in the world, there exist schools to suit every socio-economic class. There are expensive schools for those who can afford, and free schools for those who struggle financially. There are elite curricula and there are curricula for the masses.

Among the criteria for parents to make their children’s schooling decision is the local or international acceptance of the school curriculum. A parent, while enrolling their children in the school is more concerned about the future of the child than that of the nation that they live in. If better education and better future is available in a foreign country, it is natural for them to overlook their national pride and let the child travel the seven seas for a better future.

I have a graduate degree in Electronic Engineering and a masters in Information Systems. If I were to get a second shot at life, I would probably study Social Sciences, or Creative Arts. When I look back, every decision early in my education led to engineering as a final destination. Based on what was available in the country I grew up in, in the society that I belonged to, it was the in thing to do engineering. After studying electronics, the next in thing was to study Information Technology. The world around me was designed for me to follow these pathways.

International education introduced me to an international crowd, as well as diverse Indian crowd. My university had students from all over the world. No matter where you came from, you had to have a certain prerequisite educational level, a certain excellence in your own country, to play on a level playing field where your national or ethnic background didn’t matter. Not everyone that I knew had a background similar to mine.  It was an eyeopener for me to know how broad the world was and how much knowledge there was for us to explore. Even among my fellow Indians there were no clear criteria to pinpoint why someone chose to study what they did. Everyone’s inherent interest, family background, and various factors unknown to me made them choose their course of study. At the university, different people scored better or worse with no direct correlation to whether they had an advantage or disadvantage because of their national, ethnic, socioeconomic or academic background. ‘Each person dealt with the evaluation criteria best to their own ability’ is the only thing I could deduct from my observation.

Did anyone have a better education compared to another? Across the spectrum, everyone was the same. There were A-grade students from remotest corners of the world and there were A grade students from economically developed worlds. At the end of their graduation, all were qualified achievers with the name of the university as the only common factor. Again, years after graduation, everyone’s struggle was different. After leaving the university, some people struggled, some did not – some struggled less, some more! Everyone went to different corners of the world and had their own individual experiences. The countries that they went to after graduating didn’t end up becoming better countries overnight. Some countries probably even ended up worse off, maybe for political or socioeconomic reasons.

Every faculty at the university prepared its students to a future structure of that particular field. What every student did after entering that particular workforce was their individual effort. People who made contribution to their field based whether on their intelligence or on their hard work excelled irrespective of the geography. I am sure their workplaces benefited from their contribution. Better education in this sense for me, is a combination of individual’s personal ability, their professionalism, backed by their qualification.

The second half of the title refers to ‘better nations’. A better nation in my view is a nation with a strong economy, strong infrastructure, strong system of government and a productive and healthy population among the most important factors. In a nation with democracy, the power lies with the people. A stable nation is one which helps its people benefit by virtue of its citizens’ contribution so that those very citizens can be instrumental in supporting and strengthening the nation that created them. A nation with a strong government, strong infrastructure, strong economy provides education to its people to reinforce all these strengths. It educates them in strong governance, strong economy and strong infrastructure. It creates competent social scientists, legal experts, architects, engineers and doctors.

An individual alone cannot build a nation. A nation cannot become strong without capable people. I feel that it goes both ways. A nation needs strong leadership. Strong leadership of a nation makes the population productive. Most importantly strong leadership also knows the pulse of the people. It requires education that resonates between the leadership and its citizens.

At this juncture, I would like to define better education as an education that follows a certain accepted standard. So, an education that has better standard is almost impossible to emerge out of a place which has failed to achieve a socioeconomic standard. In that case, better education needs a better nation, and not the other way around. Better education is a default outcome of better socioeconomic conditions.

Human Nature and Law

It has been a human endeavour to know how things work. Humans have had the interest in understanding how the world works, how the universe works, and how humanity or human life works.

To simplify this quest for knowledge, humans have formulated laws in every area, or every science.

The science of Sociology talks about three kinds of laws – Natural Laws, Moral Laws and Civil (municipal) Laws. The natural law tells us what we CAN do. The moral laws tells us what we OUGHT TO do.The civil law tells us what we MUST do.

The Natural Law gives us an understanding of our current existence as a society. It explains to us why things are the way they are, how they got to be. Natural laws give us the explanation of historical events – how and why the past events might have taken place. They give us an explanation of how things might have developed starting from the past events, i.e. the chronology of the way things were then, in the past, until now. The natural laws are the Universal Truth, so to speak! ‘What goes up, comes down’, for instance is a universal truth that explains gravity (which itself is another universal truth).

In the social context, the natural law tells us what we can do. For instance, when it rains, there are floods. “What we can do” is evacuate or dam the rivers that cause flooding.

Moral law tells us what we OUGHT TO do. The human society appears a little different from the animal world in that humans have definitions for things which distinguish us from animals who follow their instinct. Humans have the civil society which has laid down rules for the advancement of the society, rather than just following instinct for individual survival. A civilised person has a clear understanding of doing the morally right thing. The morally right thing complies with their own, individual standard of morality. They might inherit their moral standards from their family, social, cultural or national backgrounds. Their background determines for them as an individual what is right and what is wrong.

The civil or municipal law tells us what we MUST do. In the human society individuals, communities, groups of diverse backgrounds and needs live together, though not necessarily harmoniously. Civil society, shares the regional boundary, resources and infrastructure therein for every individual and group of individuals to live without conflict. An individual’s instinct to survive combined with their group’s or community’s need to exist puts pressure on the civic system for itself to exist.

Natural Law takes precedence over the civil law which, in turn, takes precedence over the moral law. If civil laws fails, so does the moral law, and both of them fail to exist because now the Natural Law prevails.

Human Nature

Human interest in Human Nature: Many humans are confronted by the question, “Who am I?” At a philosophical level this question becomes more complex. we tend to ask ourselves further questions like, “Am I my body”, “Am I my mind” etc. Ultimately, inquiry leads to further inquiry. Humans’ quest for knowledge is almost never ending.
Sociology attempts to answer the questions about Human Nature at a scientific level. Human Nature is the easiest point of inquiry in my opinion. Inquiry into human nature in my opinion, begins with the comparison of two individuals and their behaviours. No two humans are identical in their behaviours, with similarities and differences. People with similar backgrounds show similarities in their behaviour, and those with different backgrounds exhibit difference.
It is logical that the inquiry should lead in the direction of social and economic variables. The study of the social behaviour of humans and the characteristics of the human society lead to the research to the science of Sociology.
Human Nature is a ‘product of’, or a ‘response to’ the various environmental stimuli. The Environment in this context may comprise of family, neighbourhood, locality, nationality, social clubs, education, educational institutes, work environment etc. The study of human nature takes into consideration all these factors.

Public Opinion

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An individual member of the society forms a percept of the world around them. A percept is purely personal. No person can know what percept the other person sees. All they know is how they perceive the world.

Communication, particularly by way of language allows one person to describe their own percept of the world.

A public opinion is formed when people come together in to form of an organised group. A special something is experienced which is far different from their individual opinion. When people transmit their experiences to another by way of communication, their own experience is transmitted in a way that the other person is able to grasp it, by way of understanding how the second person sees the first person. A common, shared experience evolves. In a society, that public opinion exists, which is a cumulative experience of the social individuals.

The individual opinion is never formed in isolation.

Every individual opinion at its core is a public opinion.

Social Consciousness

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Imitation is the inherent nature of a gregarious animal. In human society people form a common experience, by imitation of actions of others.

Communication causes an experience of one person to be present for another, leaving both of them with a new experience which is different from their original experiences before the communication took place. The final experience becomes a common experience. When multiple people come together in an organised way, a new experience is formed which is what they live inside of as their social experience.

It is the social process and its repetition that gives the members of the society the social experience. In a social organism, what causes the social aggregate to control the individual to stay within? Society lives in transmission, in communication. Public opinion is formed which influences the individual opinion. In fact, individual opinion cannot be formed by isolation. Hence, every individual opinion is public opinion. Social processes give rise to

  1. Traditions and
  2. Public Opinion

Both these are the products of the Social Process.

The social process and its products viz Traditions, and Public Opinion give rise to Social Consciousness.

Social Consciousness, which is different from individual consciousness, makes the individual conform to the social doctrines, when there is a conflict between individual interest and social obligation. As in a herd, the participation of an individual in a group is instinctive. Humans too live in the society instinctively. However the social process and its products (Public Opinion and Traditions) together give rise to Public Consciousness. The products of the social process cause the Social Control.