I had to share this. Politicians are generally fools, and Mausavi is probably only marginally better than his opponent, but there is no reason to doubt his assertion that “these masses were not brought by bus or by threat, they were not brought for potatoes; they came themselves.”
Posts Tagged ‘people’
When I walked out of the bathroom, she was still singing the same tune. She had been singing it on and off for the past several days. The song was now stuck in my head. I loved the song and loved her singing it.
A thought struck me.
“You know what, I just realized something.”
“I have started subconsciously associating this song with you. I think that whenever I hear it again, I am going to remember you. It could be someone else singing it, it could be years in the future — I don’t think I can ever hear it without thinking of you.”
“Well, that’s nice.”
She smiled beautifully as I shook my head in only half-mock desperation. There was a long kiss.
She slapped my butt playfully. Her lips pursed. ”Off you go,” she said.
I walked out of her apartment and made my way back to mine. Somewhere in the middle, I stopped momentarily to let the song play clearly in my head and felt the association stronger than ever. It was a weird sensation; painfully pleasurable with notes of utter beauty and tragic sadness. But then, I am sure I have been through this with other people before.
In view of certain recent events, it seems appropriate to re-post this wonderful video.
“It’s impossible to reason people out of something they have never been reasoned into.”
The posts on this blog are mostly socio-political commentary from a libertarian perspective which might lead regular readers (if any exist) to falsely conclude…
It is almost 2 am now. Having spent the last two hours reading old posts on “Overcoming Bias” and other excellent blogs (some of which, like this one, I just discovered), I am fatigued. Yes, those things are important. Yet, if I were to make an informed guess, I’d predict that my degree of passion for political matters will one day become similar to those of EY who writes:
I started my career as a libertarian, and gradually became less political as I realized that (a) my opinions would end up making no difference to policy and (b) I had other fish to fry.
…that my biggest fish are reflected by what I blog about. But people are mortal, all political theories imperfect, all systems of government temporary. Isn’t is obvious then that math is of far greater value?
Tyler Cowen suggests that for many people, “the real force behind a political ideology is the subconsciously held desire that a certain group of people should not be allowed to rise in relative status.”
Take the so-called “right wing.” I believe that some people on the right do not like those they perceive as “whiners.” They do not want these whiners to rise in relative status. That means they must argue against the whining and also they must argue against the presuppositions behind the whining.
If the whiners say that times are bad, the rebuttal is that times are pretty good or times will become better again. But if the whiners want to increase government benefits (perhaps there is a victim to whine about), we hear about the need to tighten our belts and all the talk about good times is, at least temporarily, muted. Fiscal discipline is now in order.
Take the so-called “left wing.” Some of these people favor a kind of meritocracy. They feel it is unfair that money so determines access in capitalist society and they do not want the monied class to rise in relative status, certainly not above the status of the smart people and the virtuous people. It is important to fight for the principle that the desires of this monied class have a relatively low priority in the social ranking.
Fits in with my long held view that ideologies (and many other things, including degree of faith) are to an extent preprogrammed by personality or temparament (which certainly express themselves through the manner of emotional response to other people).
Ed Winkleman writes:
My personal take on political correctness is that it’s an artificial construct that has benefits in the short run, but will outlast its usefulness and eventually become harmful. What I mean by that is shaming people into considering others’ feelings (or at least keep their hurtful opinions silent) long enough for those others to gain some power socially is a good thing, but for everyone to truly be on an equal playing field, that pseudo-politeness eventually has to end. It’s foolish to think you’ll ever get everyone to like/accept each other. The only practical thing you can hope for is that people have equal opportunity and equal protection under the law and that with those protections they can fairly fend for themselves.
I am no big fan of political correctness. I articulated my thoughts recently in a comment at Quirky Indian’s blog:
Personally, I dislike political correctness and think it does more harm than good.
It is of course a laudable trait to keep in mind other people’s feelings. And I have nothing against those who choose not to use phrases that might demean certain groups of people. However, there are pitfalls to taking these kinds of things too seriously. Today, we are in an era where political correctness often takes precedence over accuracy or truth, or where it is deemed right to suppress free expression simply to avoid hurting certain people. Or, it leads to situations like you mention, where certain groups get worse treatment than others. It leads to other absurdities too, with alarming regularity.
The better alternative to political correctness is a culture where people are — well — less sensitive. I am not saying this lightly. I am fully aware of the historical suppression of certain peoples and also of the power that words can carry. But everything is ultimately about striking balance and it seems to me that if people display a little less offence and a little more humor in dealing with perceived slights or offences, and able to, for instance, laugh off a politically incorrect joke rather than get worked up over it, we will all be better off. And the kind of culture I am proposing would also be one in which freedom of expression is accorded more respect than it is today in much of the world.
Is morality just codified human preference? Or is it given and absolute? How are our notions of right and wrong related to our evolved psychology and semantics?
The articles are long and the arguments presented in the form of dialogues. Thus the reading takes some effort, which, however is amply rewarded. I should add Yudkowsky’s disclaimer that his own position on the matter is not represented by any of the parties depicted in these articles but will be elaborated in a follow-up post.
It is probably fair to say that the linked articles contain no new revelations (at least none that I haven’t myself derived). However their greatness lies in the way the central arguments and rebuttals have been crystallised, presented and clarified. Looking forward to the next one!
Posted in on certain arts, writings and performances, tagged fiction, human, insight, jhumpa lahiri, life, literature, people, relationship, short story, story, tension, writing on June 28, 2008 | 2 Comments »
There’s a certain quality about Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories. For want of a better word, I’ll call it tension.
It is not the fear-laced tension of a well-told ghost story or the sexual tension of a romantic novella. Nor is it the tension that comes from reading a truly great novel of ideas, the kind that turns your world upside down.
No, Jhumpa Lahiri’s tension is of a more earthly kind. It thrives upon the most basic unit of human society, the relationship. It entertains the reader, yet makes him feel uneasy. There are no grand flourishes in her writing style. Her sentences don’t evoke wonder the way Fitzgerald’s, Nabokov’s or even Kiran Desai’s do. Yet, her writing contains an astonishing understanding of the human condition and of the extraordinary potential for disquietude, contradiction and waste when two distinct beings interact for a long time. You read her for a while and slowly you fall under the power of the mundane. Everything is subtle, indeed subliminal, but the effect is a powerful one. Or is it just me?
Posted in personal, uncategorized musings, tagged associations, change, email, friends, friendship, happiness, life, love, lovers, memory, past, people, relationships, sadness, sentimental, sentiments, time on May 8, 2008 | 3 Comments »
Rummaging through my old emails, I found this passage, from an email I wrote to someone three years and six months ago.
There are so many things that are close to you at some point of time. People who were important in your life or just friends ; and then there are surroundings and places. They become part of your everyday existence — in a way sharing your joys and sorrows, and then when you move to a different place, or circumstances change, or maybe you stop loving someone, all of these people and things diminish in importance. You get new friends, new surroundings, and though you might keep in contact with your old friends, its not the same really, is it?
I suppose it is all very natural and obvious — to be happy one needs to do precisely this — move on when necessary. It is inevitable that things change and indeed I have never really bothered about that fact. But just now, as I was reading my French textbook, one of my office-mates started playing these old Hindi songs on the computer, and you know how associations are — they made me think about India and people I have left behind, people who were so important to me at one point of time, *****, *******, ********* … ISI, Bangalore, Calcutta, home; and then for a second it struck as something unbelievably monstrous that such things too can change!
Change is such a weird thing! It is beautiful, wonderful, exciting; and it is certainly irresistible and inevitable. But five minutes ago it seemed to me, for those fleeting seconds, as something tragic, something purely and unbelievably tragic.
Posted in on certain arts, writings and performances, tagged babies, couch, couches, couple, couples, difference, gays, homosexuality, lesbians, life, love, movie, music, orientation, people, race, sharing, video on April 17, 2008 | Leave a Comment »
Watch twenty couples on twenty couches in a video response to the question “What’s the difference”?
I think the idea was great and the execution was beautiful. My major peeve: too many laptops.
(Link via Instapundit)
Update: The music in the video is growing on me. I wish there was a ringtone version of it.