*Not including best-of and compilations
Saturday, March 03, 2012
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Monday, September 27, 2010
Commonwealth games, it’s the hot topic these days in most commonwealth countries and is even making headlines elsewhere. Criticisms and controversies have been endless and it seems like games are doomed even before they begin. Even if they games go ahead and are successful, they are likely to be remembered for all that negativity during the lead up than for any sporting prowess. A friend encourage me to put my views on the same so here they are.
Saying that the infrastructure and preparation for the games was laggard is being too kind. The games federation gets 6 years to prepare the entire infrastructure and apparently they did nothing for the first three! Given that, infrastructure is somewhat ready is still a miracle. Despite all the criticism the fact is that the infrastructure for these games, at least on paper is far better than anything offered in any previous games. The questions are - is it ready? Is up to the quality promised? Answer to both questions in my mind is negative. The venues are not ready but I’d like to believe that they will be by the times games start. The quality of the stadiums should be up to standard but the village probably will never be. How a room can be as filthy as shown in leaked pictures is beyond my imagination. All things considered it is very unlikely that the CGF would have been planning to hand over the rooms in that condition. The other side of the coin is that that negative news always makes headlines in most of western countries and the statement on Australian and other team officials on their satisfaction with the facilities were conveniently left out. If you look at most Australian dailies 95% of news about India is negative. Surely India can’t be doing that many things wrong!!? There is lies the story. But who can blame the media, it only reflects what people what to hear and read.
On the important question of security; No one wants to risk lives for sports and I personally support this position. In all the travel advice and warnings on the threat of terrorism in India some things have been conveniently left out. Fact is India has faced terrorism for the past two decades and there have been numerous terrorist attacks in most major cities. However, I can’t remember security being compromised in any major international event. There was an incident during IPL last year but the even the outer perimeter wasn’t breached. Most attacks have been in unsecured vulnerable areas and given the nature of terrorism it’s impossible to guarantee safety and prevention from those. Threat of these attacks does seem larger in India but to the games, I can’t see why it would be different than in any other country.
But what about the hard hitting report by Australian journalist Mike Duffy and on complete inability of security from stopping him walk into Commonwealth games venue with a bomb! Many international athletes scared by the lax security started to pull out of the games! Delhi police immediately issued a response and explanation of why the report was false and what was wrong with the fabricated story. Of course no one in any western country bought any of it. As per the prevalent view Indian cops are corrupt and incompetent and they would rather trust a western media report than the Delhi police. But would you believe if you heard it from the west? CNN reported Parikshit Luthra exposed flaws in the story and ABC media watch did a complete story on unethical reporting and fabrication of the story. Don’t’ believe me? Here it is for you to watch
Getting back to the games, Can India host a successful commonwealth games? We surely can! Did we drop the ball on the lead up? Yes we did. Again, no matter how good the preparations might have been or how flawlessly the games could be executed, some countries would be looking to beat India down. They always do. All the more reason for everyone concerned to be on top of their game and get this done properly. Instead this exposed corruption and bureaucracy that India is all too well known for. All is not lost, at least India is a humble country and for all it failings will look inwards and in its own slow yet humble pace, change. West on the other hand continues to blow its trumpet and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. For them obviously all the problems lie elsewhere!
Have I been objective in writing this post? Definitely not, no one has been, why should I start? At least I don’t claim to be a journalist!
PS: Added 30/09/2010
All is not bad!
Friday, August 20, 2010
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Recently, I signed on to attend a talk and discussion on the “Philosophy of happiness” organised by the local philosophy circle.
Prior to that someone forwarded me links to this interesting debate “Is the pursuit of happiness making us miserable” Interesting question indeed! Modern life seems all about acquiring and achieving things whether it is money, goods, materialistic things or achievements and records, or for that matter, intellectual pursuits. We set goals try to achieve those and getting there makes us happy, but then we need new goals and new pursuits which is and endless cycle.
I loved this 5 minute speech by Petrea king on the subject which addresses this.
However, the counter by the advertising guy was equally impressive.
Buddhism and Hinduism try to addresses the matter by saying we must try to escape this endless pursuit. Happiness comes from escaping craving in every form. While I believe there this to be true I am not satisfied by the explanation that leaving everything is the answer. Seems a little escapist!
Anyway, the lecture was quite interesting and covered all the different views given by major philosophers from Socrates, Plato, Aquinas, Nietzsche, Sartre and others and psychologist such as Maslow etc. Many theories, but no answers!
If you really want to understand the basic tenants and philosophers who directly tried to address the topic, view this 6 part documentary "Philosophers guide to Happiness"
However, in the 20th century happiness is a topic for economist, psychologist, neuro-physiologist, biologist and one can deal with it in pure philosophy alone.
My favourite basic theory on happiness is Abraham Maslow “Hierarchy of needs” where he describes that we have certain needs at various levels that need to be met for us to be happy for e.g. if our food and security needs are not met its hard to be happy but if they are met its not sufficient, we then need to satisfy higher needs such as social recognition and self actualisation.
However, one can easily see that is modern context they may not hold as true, so it is yet another incomplete theory.
I have laid out a lot of material and theories out here but no concrete answers. I don’t believe there is one and even if there was one I am in no illusion that it can be represented in a blog post.
In any case, this is my view. Happiness is a state of mind. Obviously, happiness is felt through secretion of certain chemicals in the brain that can be intrinsically or extrinsically induced. Different external accomplishments can bring us happiness, as well as out own personal thoughts or for e.g. just saying “I feel good”. In my view the current western thought regarding pursuing happiness is incorrect. If happiness is a state and relative state, then its pursuit cannot bring a higher state of happiness. For e.g. if you thought achieving X will make you happy, achievement of that goal recalibrates you to a new steady state that might require achievement Y to bring you to higher state. That’s why use of drugs for happiness also doesn’t work as users often fall into depression.
Interesting question was raised in the discussion post the lecture about introspection on happiness. One could be “happy” or “sad” or in any state but you realise that only when you think about it. And once you begin to introspect that may change the state of your happiness. This brings into connection the Heisenberg’s theory of uncertainty but we will not go into that complexity here.
So maybe happiness lies in that fact the one needs to acknowledge its relativity and either choose to minimise its variance or live as once please for it’s high and low moments. Make your choices for you will never raise your overall state of happiness extrinsically. You can do it intrinsically by concluding that you are happy as is!
Anyway, it’s hard to address this issue in depth but I will leave you with a question.
What makes you doubt? Isn’t that what you always wanted?
Posted by Anand at 5:51 AM