To understand is not to condone.

If I understand why people need religion, do I support it? If I understand why religion makes people kill other human beings without having any remorse, do I support such killings? If I argue for some issues propagated by some particular political party, do I support that political party? During regular discussions, while discussing various social and political issues whenever I try to argue about less popular side or another side of the issue of discussion, people often misunderstand that I support the side about which I am arguing. The explanation, that I don’t support that side, but I understand it and I want to bring those points in discussion doesn’t register very well with most people. Many think that you cannot argue for any side unless you support it. Well, this may be true with many people, but not with me, during any discussion, if there is no representation for another side of the issue then there is no point in discussing that topic. There are very few topics about which there is universal condemnation but for all others, it is very important to know about all sides of any issue before drawing any conclusions. As Alan Dershowitz puts this very wonderfully in his book, Letters to a Young Lawyer, he writes, “To understand is not to condone, but to enlighten and perhaps to prevent the same mistake others have made.” It is very important to understand that “to understand is not to condone.” There is a huge difference between understand any issue, argue about it, or represent it in any debate, and wholeheartedly support it.

For me monotonous discussions are boring, I am not interested in praising any political party or political leader unconditionally to the level of worshipping them and projecting as if things what I support are the ONLY right things. I also don’t like venomous one-sided criticisms without much rational and logic to an extent to project things in extreme bad manner. I like to have a representation from another side, if there is no one, then I volunteer to represent that side; in a liberal group, I represent a conservative side, and in a conservative group, I try to bring up the liberal point of view. This makes it possible to see why people criticize some particular ideology and how rational their criticism is. Very often people consider me a supporter of that particular ideology or political group (the group they oppose), which is completely wrong. Yes, I do have certain political preferences, but I don’t support any particular political party or ideology.

Many people don’t understand the importance of having a representation from another side in any discussion. This is particularly challenging in political discussions, as a politically independent person, if you try to argue good and bad points of each political rivals, people often get confused. The normal expectation is that a person will choose a particular political party or a leader and defend or attack them vehemently. People try to support their chosen party, no matter what, and try to criticize their opponents, no matter what. But, if they don’t see such a clear loyalty or animosity, they get confused. I am the victim of such confusion many times, I don’t mind this, as many times this is an unavoidable situation. I feel that if people understand and learn to look at both sides and try to understand good and bad points of both the sides in any argument or debate, we will see much less political polarization and much more bipartisan collaboration.

There is no ideology or political party which is perfect with answers to all the problems. Very often best answers to questions are scattered through all over the political spectrum and we need to consider many issues before taking a final decision on any major policy issues. But very often the political supporters of these leaders and parties don’t understand this and fall in a trap of political polarization to the advantage of these parties and leaders. Polarization always helps someone to win an election, but it seldomly helps the nation to move forward. Please understand the need to be fair to people who you criticize, it is very necessary to understand opponents point of view clearly to be able to criticize it properly, point by point. Otherwise, that criticism has no value other than political rhetoric or angry passionate rant, which can be used in politically charged speeches for the supporters of that own party, but useless for any conducive political policy discussion. Try to understand opponents view first, before commenting about it, maybe it will help to shape your own views in a much better way.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

Relationship is a Mirror.

Self-knowledge is not according to any formula. You may go to a psychologist or a psychoanalyst to find out about yourself, but that is not self-knowledge. Self-knowledge comes into being when we are aware of ourselves in relationship, which shows what we are from moment to moment. Relationship is a mirror in which to see ourselves as we actually are. But most of us are incapable of looking at ourselves as we are in relationship, because we immediately begin to condemn or justify what we see. We judge, we evaluate, we compare, we deny or accept, but we never observe actually ‘what is’, and for most people this seems to be the most difficult thing to do; yet this alone is the beginning of self-knowledge.

 

India at Olympics- always waiting for some miracle.

Since I started watching sports on TV I always loved to watch Olympics, for me, it is a symbol of ultimate human struggle and triumph symbolized in the form of sports. We get to witness epic struggles and ultimate triumphs, old records are broken and new records are set.Sometimes it is enthralling to watch and sometimes it is heartbreaking to witness an athlete missing a medal by a whisker. Today, I have a luxury of rooting for two countries in Olympics (India and USA), but I never watched Olympics for supporting any one country. For me, it was fun to watch spectacular performances of athletes all over the world. Maybe, I developed this attitude as India rarely used to win any medal in Olympics, there were some like P T Usha who came very close to winning a medal but there was nothing worthy of mention.
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India started participating in Olympics in 1900, since 1920 they are sending their players regularly to Olympic games. India’s first Individual Gold medal came in 2008, by a shooter Abhinav Bindra. Last Olympic games (2012) was the most successful event so far when India won six medals, two silver, and four bronze. India has won total 28 medals in Olympics so far (out of which nine are gold, eight for field hockey and just one individual gold), not a spectacular achievement for one of the most populous countries of the world. Just for the sake of comparison, we can compare India with the most decorated Olympian in history, Michael Phelps of USA has also won 28 medals in just four Olympics, and 23 of them are gold medals! What can be the reason that such a big country can not match the achievement of an individual? Definitely, large population or lack of resources and money cannot be the only factors responsible for this, because even countries more populated than India (China) or poorer than India (like Kenya, Ethiopia or North Korea) also win medals at Olympics consistently. It is also not true that Indians are not passionate about any sports, India is considered as a superpower in cricket, it is one of the most lucrative markets for this game and Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most successful league for cricket all over the world. Is cricket responsible for killing all other sports? Many love to blame dominance of cricket for pathetic infrastructure for all other sports, but then how come all other sports flourish in countries like USA where basketball, baseball, and American football dominate so much? India even has a dedicated sports ministry to look after countries sports activity, I don’t think in US there is even a position called the secretary of sports.
The major difference I found between both countries is that in US kids start playing competitive sports at very early age and there are professional private facilities available to them for almost any sport. Sports is a part of culture as well as school curriculum, and most kids are either directly or indirectly involved with some sports activity. For many sports earlier you start better it is, in India many primary and middle school don’t even have their own playground, playing is often considered as a waste of time. I remember that we used to get punished if my dad caught us playing cricket instead of studying,which according to him was much more essential activity than playing any game. I don’t think my dad was an exception as many of my other friends also used to get a similar treatment.

During every Olympic games, a question pops up that how come country of more than billion people cannot produce even few Olympic gold medalists? It is fiercely debated, cricket and government are blamed, but if some athletes win any medals because of their own hard work and efforts they are hailed as heroes and saviors, they are showered with gifts and rewards from all over the country and everything else is forgotten until next Olympic games. This is going on for last so many years, so regularly that this activity has become a regular drill for many Indians and they all perform so mechanically. Whether it is Sindhu or Sakshi or Abhinav or Sushil, they all won their medals, not because of infrastructure and sports culture, but despite that. They defied all odds against them and triumphed at international level, but how long a country of more than billion people can depend on the efforts few brave individuals to bring ultimate recognition in sports? During every Olympics entire country expects some miracle to happen and at least one of their athlete wins some medals. If USA can do it, China can do it, Brazil can do it, why not India? Something needs to change if India wants’s to compete with these countries in the medal count, sports should become a regular activity, only then talent can be recognized at an early stage and can be groomed to compete at intensely competitive international level. Lots of perseverance, dedication, and hard work is required to achieve success at international level in any field and sports is not an exception. Let’s hope that achievements of Sindhu and Sakshi act as a wake-up call and not as an opium dose which makes entire country high and forgets about ground realities. Let’s celebrate their achievements with an intention of making it a regular event, not just a pleasant surprise for which entire country depends to celebrate.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

Work-Life Balance

There are times in everyone’s life when a person gets extremely busy, there is no question of so called work-life balance (if anything like this exists) as your professional work completely takes over your daily routine and everything else gets a back seat. This is not a bad situation as such, but because of some perceptions many people don’t enjoy it. I personally have no problem if this happens once in a while as being busy is always better for me rather than having no work at all. Presently I am facing one such phase, things are so busy that I didn’t find time to write a blog post, this never happened since I started writing this blog. But I can’t complain, work is as important as anything else in my life so it gets the attention it requires and I try to do it with best of my abilities. I see sometimes people complain about their work, talk about the myth called work-life balance. This mainly happens if you consider your work as a not integral part of your life. According to me our professional life (which we all call work) is an integral part of our life, so when we separate work and life that means we consider our work as something not part of our life or something which affects our life adversely. Actually our professional work is a very important part of out lives, sometimes it creates our identity so we should not look at it as something separate from our rest of life. So ultimately, when things get busy we need to prioritize the stuff as time becomes more valuable, this is the best strategy to deal with this situation, complaining doesn’t help at all.

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This post is going to be very brief as I have some other things to do 🙂 Writing the blog, playing cricket, reading, exercising, spending time with friends and family are among many things which I enjoy, at the same time I enjoy my work also. No matter what I try to find some time to do most of the things which I enjoy, this is why I am writing this post today. Now a days I am having a great time with my colleagues in the lab, the same way I enjoyed playing cricket at east rock park. Keep on reading and sharing.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic

Why Do Movie Theaters Serve Popcorn?

The savory smell. The crunchy bite. The salty kick. The buttery finish.

Americans will recognize the smell and flavor of their favorite moviegoing snack anywhere. Why is it that we feast our taste buds on these crisp kernels while our eyes feast on the big screen?

A few converging aspects made popcorn the quintessential movie snack, according to Andrew F. Smith, author of Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America. Mostly, it boiled down to the snack’s price, convenience, and timing. Popcorn was cheap for sellers and for customers, and making it didn’t require a ton of equipment. Popcorn also became popular at a time when movie theaters were in desperate need of an economic boost, which is how popcorn got introduced to the silver screen.

Fun fact: popcorndoes not refer to the popped kernel alone. It’s also the name for the specific type of corn that is used to make the snack. It was originally grown in Central America and became popular in the U.S. in the mid-1800s. Compared with other snacks at the time, it was supereasy to make, and it got easier in 1885 when the mobile steam-powered popcorn maker was invented. What hit the streets in the late 19th century was a fleet of independent popcorn purveyors. They were like the great-great-grandfathers of food trucks.

Since popcorn was cheap to make, it was also cheap to buy, which increased the popularity of this treat during the Great Depression. The Depression increased consumer spending on cheaper luxury items such as popcorn and movies, and the two industries teamed up. Theaters would allow a particular popcorn salesman to sell right outside the theater for a daily fee. By the mid-1940s, however, movie theaters had cut out the middleman and begun to have their own concession stands in the lobby. The introduction of the popcorn-driven concession stand to movie theaters kept the movie theater industry afloat, and popcorn has been a movie-watching staple ever since.

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Comparison

If you do not compare yourself with another you will be what you are. Through comparison you hope to evolve, to grow, to become more intelligent, more beautiful. But will you? The fact is what you are, and by comparing you are fragmenting the fact which is a waste of energy. To see what you actually are without any comparison gives you tremendous energy to look. When you can look at yourself without comparison you are beyond comparison, which does not mean that the mind is stagnant with contentment. So we see in essence how the mind wastes energy which is so necessary to understand the totality of life.

To investigate the fact of your own anger

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Investigate the fact of your own anger you must pass no judgement on it, for the moment you conceive of its opposite you condemn it and therefore you cannot see it as it is. When you say you dislike or hate someone that is a fact, although it sounds terrible. If you look at it, go into it completely, it ceases, but if you say, ‘I must not hate; I must have love in my heart’, then you are living in a hypocritical world with double standards. To live completely, fully, in the moment is to live with what is, the actual, without any sense of condemnation or justification- the you understand it so totally that you are finished with it. When you see clearly the problem is solved