Learning and teaching…

As a perennial student of everything around me, it is important for me to remember Feynmann’s thoughts and take it to heart every day. More so when you have a little neutron willing to grasp, and absorb all that comes her way. So for posterity, and to remind myself, here is what I think teaching and learning should be about.

1. Question what you read in a book, and that you learn from others. Articulate to yourself in a language that you understand, and correlate them with your experiences that make you uniquely you.
Fear not to question what you read,
Or that taught to you by others;
Entwine knowledge with experience,

to render thee from within

2. Doubt can be a marvelous learning tool, if applied right. Do not fear it, embrace it, and remove it through a better understanding of the world around you
Doubt thy learned truths, without doubting thyself;
Fear not, live with it, a tool
Refine thoughts and visions of a fool.

3. Think for yourself, analyze the problems, and explore the universe as it is, for it offers answers to every question conceivable. We either are only short sighted (often), or not experienced enough to visualize it just yet
Truth remains vivid for those who can see
Thought drives action, focus and let it free.

4. Make mistakes, be not afraid. Mistakes teach far more valuable lessons if you are willing to recover, and continue the search again. No action in this universe happens without making its lessons available for those who ask
Be obedient, to the master that teaches absolute truth
No teacher greater, past fallacies accounted
Recover, learn to move without satisfaction.

5. When you understand how something ticks, teach it to someone who does not. Humanity and knowledge learned is transient, and is propagated/refined faster in the collective. And often, teaching someone else improves the self understanding undoubtedly.
Absolute truth is pure delusion;
Iteration inevitable my fierce child,
Instill thy thought, truth version,
Purify self experience, propagate philosophy.

What is Philosophy ?

Well written and a nice weekend read. Philosophy, in my opinion, is an all encompassing search for the reasons driving action, the science behind our so called evolved mind and the never ending quest to understand the ways of the universe. Yes it is science. And it is abstract. I would like to think there is a reason why one of the highest forms of scientific degrees is called a `PhD’. I could talk more about the topic but read the article and develop your own philosophy that makes sense to you.

“In the life of a man, his time is but a moment, his being an incessant flux, his senses a dim rushlight, his body a prey of worms, his soul an unquiet eddy, his fortune dark, and his fame doubtful. In short, all that is of the body is as coursing waters, all that is of the soul as dreams and vapours; like a warfare, a brief sojourning in an alien land; and after repute, oblivion. Where, then, can man find the power to guide and guard his steps? In one thing and one alone: Philosophy.”
~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Source: The Fading Art of Philosophy – Musing Mind

Friends met and lost.

I feel sad. Friends are all I’ve had in my life to comfort. And I am going to be disconnected with few more today. It was my last day of physiotherapy, an ailing need after a knee surgery. And my therapists, lovely as they are, are also incredibly beautiful in their persona. Now that I’ve decided to move on, the chance of ever seeing/meeting them again might be a far off chance.

How many people do we meet everyday who change our lives in ways unfathomed. It was not just their act of helping me through my physical disability, even if it was their occupation, but it was much more. The mental support, a conversation that showed you care and a genuine interest in your patient’s life. And that, I can never do. Nor even remotely replicate. I am not selfish by any means but to maintain that kind of attachment to someone you’ve known for a short while makes me humble. Humble because they think that everyone at the clinic is worth it. Without judgement. Without bias.

Like best friends afar, I will miss another session. It is the most depressing times that brings closer the like minds. I will surely spit on anyone who says otherwise.

Its all for the good.

Yes. I was hurt recently. Not mentally. Its been a while since I’ve taken that punishment. But physically. And that still hurts. On top of that, being told that you need another surgery, something you went through already (although not the same one) does not bring one up. Given the depressing weather, it doesn’t help either.

But cooking. The divine smell, the transcendent taste of food, the 6 inches of space that controlled man’s fate so far, eventhough unrealized, still changes my fate. I’ve been told that I’m a good cook but its unrealized until it brings you back up with making a grand dinner on a depressing day. In my opinion, very few people share the same passion towards two different aspirations but for some reason, I contradict this in some way. If I was not good at what I do right now (along the lines of applied physics/mathematics), I would be a chef, or an adrenaline junkie. And all of them elate me equally. Unfortunate ?

The beauty about life is that it seems so complicated, with unimaginable results but given enough simple assumptions, it is completely predictable. But of course, this is hindsight. I have run so far, still long to run another million miles but limited by the endurance. Unfortunate, yes. But the reality outweighs the thought. I will run again. Another surgery or not. I shall run another 10 marathons until I hit 3:10. And I shall run that Boston marathon with pride, with a screw in each of my leg. Take that Life !

Its cliched, yes. “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. Time will tell. Until then, I will rest and enjoy the unpredictable, beautiful chaotic events that elate me…

The last unmeaningful update. Hopefully.

When I started this blog/site, I intended it to be a lot more than just personal updates. Of course, constraints on time have reduced me to doing just the opposite. And so to keep myself and my infrequent readers in the same page, I give you yet another personal update and a rant. I promise you that this will be the last in a series that have been unavoidable.

The last few weeks have gone by so fast and thinking back, I can see why. Lot of good things have happened the past month. I have officially graduated, have made progress on at least 2 journal and a conference paper and also successfully moved to Chicago without any major glitches. And that is leaving out all the juicy gory details leading to it. Time has lost its sense these days and I seem to be dreaming while I’m awake and sleeping when I’m not supposed to. Few more days of such revelry left before I start my job officially. And the impending urgency to get a car and the necessary paper work that goes with it only hastens the need for a damn license.

Enough thoughts forebearing, future unseen
Sneaks up and binds unsuspected.
In plain view the answer to my riddles,
Wilfully I keep searching incessantly.
And a simplical surd evolves. Just like that.

A lighter moment.

Tired and in bad need of more sleep, I was looking for quotes on numerical analysis and mathematical modeling for one of the main chapters in my Dissertation. Of course, everything I came across did not sound anywhere near perfect and so my search continues…

But, along the way, I stumbled upon another Dilbert gem. It’s on lateral thinking. I guess I’m so programmed these days to solving mathematical problems that as soon as I read the second cartoon, without even a forced thought, I’d already solved the puzzle in my mind. Then I read the next one and could not stop smirking for 10 mins. Literally.

I guess, I do need to loosen up a little. Even my marathons had some slow paced intervals. Only another week to go to D-day. And I’m not sure what will drive me this intensely, next …

Liberation

I had an argument, in an elated state
Few years back, with someone who understood
The idea, but not through my eyes, a distorted palate,
Here I am again, watching, standing on what I believe.

This movie, a rebellion from mundane existence,
Far moved thoughts, than Matrix ever has.
Absolute resignation the key, to rise, to see,
An aghori created within,
To know, to discern Liberation.
Here’s another master piece, misunderstood.

This is another reason why I watch as many movies as I do and read as many fiction/poetry as I can get my hands on. May be I’m still searching for that affirmation for what I think I know…

When will we change ?

This is a pure rant and thoughts that came across based on a mundane incident.

Today I met a guy at a grocery store and passed “hello” casually while buying the milk I had in my hand. I noticed the guy talking to his friend on his phone and realized he was talking Bengali. Even if he looked a little middle-eastern/Indian, I wasn’t sure initially about his origin but after hearing him speak, it was clear that he was from India. And so while I was paying my bill, I casually asked the guy if he was from Bengal and saw a grin in his face. His answer was “Are you from India ?” and so I happily said “Tamilnadu”. He replied again “I’m from Bangladesh” with a serious stare, without blinking, his grin vanishing and still cold. All I could muster was “OK” and walked away. Looking back, an incidental encounter like that should not affect me but it was still disturbing.

Why ? I ponder. Did he have to break off the conversation because I was from India ? May be he suffered in the hands of some random Indians, amongst the billion of us. Or he just hates Indians. And more specifically south Indians. Either way, I do not care. But it pains me to think how all of us, humans in general, hate each other so much and create segregations based on race, religion, land, ethnicity, faith and even ideas that we often forget the beauty of the divine unity.

Sometimes I think, the only way to bring people together is to create this all powerful ‘Alien’, a devil, that oppresses every human, immaterial of the origin or belief, all the same. Then, the hatred can be channeled on this one source and unite us as the earth race. And that is the first step to reaching universal singularity. I hope that will happen eventually because this attitude we carry is self destructive and cannot last long and will not let us live in peace. It is probably the nature of our species and a higher evolution might change the perspective. Or so I hope.

I diverged from couple of steps to light years on this post but my thoughts, hopefully come across clear. May be it is time for me to get a smart phone to type this up as when I get the thoughts rather than remembering what I came across couple of hours before.

Is common sense, sensible ?

Like always, searching through the archives, I stumbled upon an old post over at Crackled. And the reason hence, for this post …

What is interesting about the article is that, personally, I’ve been naive enough to assume every one of those 5 fallacies at one point or another. Every time, I think I’ve learnt and think that I can’t make the same mistakes again, but a slightly different situation always brings me back to the same coal pit, without even a hint of the downfall. And that is the beauty of nature, and why you and I, have to strive constantly to work towards training the mind to understand that fooling yourself, even for your own good, is dangerous.

But, what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger, eventually. And that is an axiom I do believe in strongly. And so we move on …

PS: I wanted to ask ‘Is common sense, common’ but considering that it is more of a cliche, I settled for the above title.

Wiggle that big toe.

Past few years, I’ve changed my outlook towards life or rather refined would be a better way to put it and sitting alone, contemplating and meditating on how far I’ve come, still puzzles me. I want to say so many things, put forth ideas that could be useful to others but part of me does not feel like solidifying it in words. Unconsciously, the writer’s coma that I’ve been trying to wake up from has also been affecting my work and the vigor, passion seems to have fizzled a little, it seems. Now that I understand quite well what I do, it does not hold my interest as it once did. Bigger challenges await in future for sure but task unfinished grows from monotony.

Nevertheless, I’m trying to wiggle my big toe, the crud caught up in my mind, blocking my thought flow, to get going a new lease on life and realize the original priorities, to finish what I started. Abstract but clear, visible is a new beginning and an upcoming end of an old chapter.

I hope in another 4 months to finish the work and get my head around my plan for the future… Or maybe just a month of good sleep might clear my head enough to stop all this rambling.