Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pride

I wikied "pride" to find - in addition to religious examples and collective examples - three views tagged as philosophical. Interestingly, these, in contrast to the religious views, were all of a positive leaning towards pride.

The distinction came about as all the philosophical views (Aristotle, Nietzsche and Rand) were seeing pride as feeling of "I am worthy / capable of.." - which is a statement of ambition (unfortunately not always an objective evaluation of one's worth) and is thus a precursor to progress. Alternatively the opposite of such a feeling would inspire feelings such as "that is too big for me / I can't possible do that" and thus block any effort before it occured.

However, I was unable to eliminate from any definition / view of pride, the presence of another i.e. an entity / group that is a distinct set from those that that the pride is being applied to. 

Let us attempt some classification of pride based on the common though / purpose of the feeling. The below sets are not disjoint.

Collective pride - Pride as a community / group. eg. Nationalistic pride, linguistic pride.
  - Fosters bonding within the group
  - Unifies the members of this group against another group
  - Dissolves units at lower level and thus plays down differences - (e.g. nationalistic pride can dissolve linguistic / state pride)
  - Individual's Collective pride (see under individual pride)

Retaliatory pride - e.g. Gay pride. It might not have come about if homosexuality were not seen as undesirable / inferior and discriminated against. Have you heard of "straight pride" or "white pride" or "proud to be a hombre"? 

Individual pride - Whenever one feels proud of some achievement / attribute / possession - Materializes only when compared with those who do dont have that attribute. 
 - Individual's collective pride - This is an individual's feeling of pride which is related to his association with his associating himself with a community / others. This is not so much a pride propagataed by the community as one created by the individual. e.g. You're alone, watching India win the T20 WC. You're proud to be an Indian. You are not at that moment relating to other Indians. You are merely taking pride in another's achievement.

I'll exit with quoting one of my favourite lines which seems relevant here. Appears in P Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" - "Self-scrutiny, relentless observance of one's thoughts, is a stark and shattering experience. It pulverizes the stoutest ego."


Monday, October 06, 2008

Learn gratia Knowledgis

Can there be an unbiased learning of any piece of knowledge where the objective to learn is anything other than "to know"?

Argument- Any knowledge when sought with an ulterior motive - biases the study towards that motive instead of the knowledge itself, unadulterated. As a result, aspects of the knowledge that do not cater to or do not seem highly relevant to the objective are ignored or ill-understood.

Counter- Neccessity is the mother of invention, etc. All engineering came about as man learnt to apply science in order to solve other problems. A step further - the desire to know is always given birth from a different need - say a desire for food, or shelter, or entertainment or pride. So the "other bad impure objective" is the very reason that the "desire to know" was born.

Will need examples. 

Holiday

Seated in a coffee shop. The gang - Plato's Republic, Naom Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival, a spinach-corn-cheese sandwich and The Inimitable Jeeves.

Objective: To save the day from sitcoms, football and a blurry passage of time.

Anticipated secondary benefit - A written word.

The presence of a contrast essential to the presence of any side of the story. That is to say that you cannot have one side without the other. You cannot have a "bright" without knowledge of a "dark". There can be no "sober" without a "drunk". You get the drift.

Becomes useful then to fill in the non-work hours with those things you don't do at work. Like think. Or converse instead of talk. Or not jugaad. In order to restore order to the universe, of course.

And that is the aim of this holiday.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Inter Alia

Among other things, January saw me progressing from an attached room to C's little place in BB Halli, Karnataka of a population of 1000 ppl, to Manila, Philippines, where the food challenges the village coffee as the prime contender for the "You block the view while I dump the stuff down the drain" routine. The coffee actually was just filter coffee forcibly dumped into water where it - true to its nature, the poor thing - refused to pass on its soul into the water. 'I am not instant rubbi... " were the last words that would echo from the drain every morning.

But, that documentary belongs not here. I am in the land of the squid balls. Of islands and seas. And of creatures from those waters on dinner plates.