Love of Science

This is an excerpt from an address at the Physical Society, Berlin, on the occasion of  Max Plank’s sixtieth birthday. The words belong to one of the greatest scientists that ever lived on the face of earth. Any guesses? You can see the entire address by the speaker at this link: Principles of Research

IN the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them thither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this altar for purely utilitarian purposes. Were an angel of the Lord to come and drive all the people belonging to these two categories out of the temple, the assemblage would be seriously depleted, but there would still be some men, of both present and past times, left inside… let us have another look at those who have found favor with the angel. Most of them are somewhat odd, uncommunicative, solitary fellows, really less like each other, in spite of these common characteristics, than the hosts of the rejected. What has brought them to the temple? That is a difficult question and no single answer will cover it. To begin with, I believe with Schopenhauer that one of the strongest motives that leads men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from personal life into the world of objective perception and thought; this desire may be compared with the townsman’s irresistible longing to escape from his noisy, cramped surroundings into the silence of high mountains, where the eye ranges freely through the still, pure air and fondly traces out the restful contours apparently built for eternity.

Dispute Settlement

There’s a constant noise, but its meaningless to me. A constant hum of my classmates, low treble – high bass, and a varying note of the lecturer. He is talking about something related to Human Resource, is elaborate at times and normal at others. But there’s a constant noise, an incessant chatter. I am not complaining. Though I can’t even do that.

The Blackboard has an eerie figure. Some kinda flowchart. The heading reads ‘Dispute Settlement’. Don’t wanna read any more. Don’t wanna strain my eyes and push my inertia. No I am not lazy. But I don’t wanna waste my time and energy. How can they teach me life in a classroom?

– Mundane

Do read the article Mundane, for a reference to the pen name used above. I wrote this short piece while my Lecturer (the HoD of Mechanical Engg., Respected Khumani Sir) was delivering an instruction, sometime in the year 05 or 06. He is the strongest techie I ever met in my life. He did his masters in pneumatic controls at a time when the technology was in. But it lost to elctronics by the time he graduated. Nevertheless he didn’t stop. He worked with India’s major research and technology firms like HAL, CVRDE, etc. to name a few. And when he felt like giving it a break he became a teacher. I am sure it is not in his volition to stop himself from investing his grey cells into something productive. He used to deliver his lectures in several languages and dialects together, and the switch from one to another used to be rather unnoticeable. We loved him for his maturity and awed him for his intelligence. This particular lecture was actually good but I, apparently, was in a cribbing mood. And the grudge was definitely with the entire curriculum  not with this specifc instance. Whatever.


If you are reading this article don’t miss the comments.

Life is not fair. It never was, and probably never will be. There is no universal regulatory body to make sure that the just happens. We incorrectly confuse God with Life. He/She (I prefer “It”) is not this life or the force driving it. If it were so, would It let innocents suffer. No, It won’t. And this isn’t some angry-god-teaching-a-lesson or adam-eve-paying-for-eating-the-apple stuff either. If there is some force in this world, It isn’t to manifest Itself through our lives. It cannot, and even if It can, It will not control our world. Hence all the wrong things we see happening with us and around us cannot be attributed to God’s negligence or insensitivity because It has no say in this.

But bad happens, as frequently as good. Often people deserving a reward, at best get nothing and at worst get punished instead. Why? There is no answer, in fact the question itself is invalid. How can there ever be a justification to the misery and pain of an angel? The problem is we think there is some mechanism working behind all this. Some algorithm, some plan, some script governs what happens. And assuming a system in place, we expect it to deliver justice.

And then we think that why is that system unfair? Why did I get pain when I helped someone? Why did that person get what he didn’t deserve? We say the mechanism is flawed, that it favors the evil. The truth is there is no mechanism. It is a jungle. It’s an ungoverned unplanned unjust setup of chaos, where nothing happens “because”. Things just happen. No reason, no logic. So don’t ask “Why?” or even worse “Why me?”. I am not trying to prove the non-existence of God or the futility of faith. That is something for you to decide. I am just trying to warn you from holding your goodness as your reason and excuse to expect justice and fairness.


What I needed was her hand in mine,
What I held onto was my own pain.

And I closed the door behind me,
As a denial to the truth (in vain).

What I needed was her hand in mine,
What I held onto was my own pain.

I waited for her all my life, but,
Never told her, now she can never know.

I wanted to break, I wanted to feel,
But was left with no reason, life or soul.

And then I knew I had finally reached home,
When I felt her fragile grip on my palm.

And saw the rigid lines of her face,
In the crimson pool on the floor.

Looters and Moochers

The good might happen by itself, but the evil is done, coldly, professionally, thoughtfully. The people who follow his irrational outcries are guilty. Thackeray is just the charmer. It is the lured who must resist their inherent temptations to claim against their needs.

My parents never told me to reject something I didn’t deserve, specifically if it were good. I don’t accuse them; their parents too probably didn’t. What this makes me, an average Indian, is integrally challenged.

I go to any extent to spend one quarter of a penny less and to earn another quarter of a penny more than what is justified. And such halves make me a fraction of a person. The issue does not end at Money. Go out of the way to help me and I’ll chant your name forever. Make some consideration, compromise or a special favour and I’ll place you with the gods. Who knows, I might even profess your holy kindness on my blog.

I am saying all this to prove that Raj Thackeray is not at fault. He is merely using his political skills. I am sure he knows how wrong he is. The good might happen by itself, but the evil is done, coldly, professionally, thoughtfully. The people who follow his irrational outcries are guilty. Thackeray is just the charmer. It is the lured who must resist their inherent temptations to claim against their needs.

Moreover, all the action taken against Mr. MNS will only lead to his glorification amongst the mindless masses that already dietify him. The best way to deal with these hooligans is to leave it all to them. Let them run Mumbai (and the rest of Maharashtra) and tap its potential for their “son’s of the soil”. Cause the actual creators do not need a Mumbai to create a Mumbai. What they need (and what actually burns in the furnaces of this economical giant) they’ll carry away in their skulls.

This is a fairly old post. It was first posted on my previous blog at a time when Maharashtra was seething with its “son of the soil” sentiments. The upsurge caused a lot of damage to Maha’s and specially Mumbai’s cosmopolitan image. What I really love about this post is its relevance to all Indians, Raj Thackeray or not.