Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blind Fake: Talmudic Correctional Paradigms

I happened to find myself at a celebration marking the holy day's of one of Pakistan's minute religious minorities last night. This afforded me, for the second successive night, the opportunity to drag out my soapbox and rant about the fallacy of mechanical religion devoid or distinct of religious faith.

Of course I could only do this circumspectly, because - arising perhaps as the consequence of a community-wide identity crisis - minority communities tend to take themselves and their religions a lot more seriously than those in the comfortable majority.

When surrounded suitably by a bunch of people, I proceeded to tell them of how I had discovered the work of (the Prophet) Tonclerf who, between 1792 and 1796 BCE, was inspired by divine guidance to write what we do today know as the Talmudic Correctional Paradigm / Instructional Protocols. I introduced him to my listeners as a great member of the Jewish Enlightenment of the second millenium BCE; who first introduced the Tribe of Israel to the concept of the Kteowrn (pronounced Kteowrn), which I explained was the belief that the Eternal Soul exists between the time of death and the day of judgement in a state of Disembodied Life, in which it continues the pattern by which it has existed in life. A scholar continues to read and write, to the mathematician all the secrets he has pondered in life are revealed, a sinner on the other hand continues to exist in a state of sin: it is the continuation of life absent physical restrictions, the Soul is freed from the need for sleep, from emotion, from deprivation, and may fully pursue that which it has sought in life - something that defines why the Afterlife is eternal when life itself is so short. I scanned the faces of the audience for signs of disbelief but was disappointed; apparently the Faithful respect others' convictions - if they are convincing enough.

I continued, telling them how life in this blissful disinterred state is determined by our actions in life - a concept I named Bycorz; how our comings-and-goings, our interactions with people and their opinions of us shape our existence as Bycerii. I elaborated at great length on the social structures of the world and our existence in it, and why the concept of a social Ketowrn was not so alien as we might think. I also set their hearts and minds at ease, clarifying that I was not a preacher, that the Talmudic Correctional Paradigms / Instructional Protocols were not so much Scripture as a philosophy of religion, morals and social life. I likened it to Zen and explained how it could be adhered to in conjunction with one's primary faith - that it served to complement religion, not replace it. Having thus garnered several converts to the cause of the Social Ketowrn, and placated their concerns by grandiloquent answers to their timid questions, I made up a name for myself, gave out a bunch of fake names of websites, books and other sources of information, and left.

I suspect that if any amongst my listeners had recalled how Vinton Cerf co-designed the TCP/IP suite between 1972 and 1976 CE, how first the Internet and then Social Networking had evolved - I would have been torn limb to limb by a mob of frothy-mouthed zealots. What I managed to prove to myself - for no reason, and for the umpteenth time, was that humans have a strong ability to rationalize and give in to well-constructed lies, especially when the farce does not affect their lives in any meaningful manner. For some odd reason I'm reminded of a quote from the 1980 movie Flash Gordon, when Ming the Merciless Emperor of Mingo (yeah, I know) says:

"Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would've hidden from it in terror."

What a horrible movie that was.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Romance of the Monodom

They are inseparable, such that it is impossible to define one without the other. Their existential interdependence is so pervasive as to have turned what were once two individual, self-contained entities into a single, apathetic two-headed monster of palpable misery.

She - with her endearing charms and guile, her relentless, futile pursuit of his affections,  does not know when to stop. Despite all her cunning and machinations: the love potions and black magic, astrological predictions and the advice she gets from a wide variety of sources ranging from anonymous message boards on the internet to her best friend's colleague to Oprah, she does not realize that for any design of hers to bear fruit, he must meet her half-way: The black magic cannot work if he dismisses it as hogwash, the astrology is immaterial if he is unwilling to let his actions be influenced by the relative positions of the stars across the sky, the love potions are ineffective if she puts it in his beer and he is unaware of how much more expensive his urine is. And all the counsel she has sought, going to great pains to not seem too desperate, making him out to be more receptive to her advances than he really is, has proven to be useless: the questionable usefulness of such advice diluted further by her pretended indifference to its need. Her prayers to manifold deities, for in desperation she is willing to turn to any source of strength, any possible recourse to let him return her love, have produced no miracles - for her atheistic charmer cannot be swayed by powers that have only an existence hinging on the belief people claim to place in them. He is a man of reason, and she has no rational argument to appeal to his intellect with, his brain does not accept things it cannot understand, and her obsession with him is beyond the ability of his logical processes strengthened by several orders of magnitude, she does not even quite understand it herself, but she does not need to either.

For all he knows, she does not exist, or if she does it is only as a mere nuisance: something akin to the mosquitoes he feeds in his sleep, or the electricity outages he whiles away by swatting them. She lays herself at his feet, an immovable object that like a kitten, becomes an object of affection out of sheer inevitability. But he only sees a viper coiling itself around his limbs, retarding his mobility, intruding on his freedoms, squeezing the life out of him. Her only response when he kicks her away is to cling harder. He has never heard a word of complaint issue forth from her lips, when she speaks she has only the most blatant flattery to spout. Her every action, conscious and otherwise, is geared towards his sustained comfort. His ingratitude does not even seem to slow her down. When she broke a leg after 'falling' from the balcony they were standing on, for she would never admit that he had pushed her off, she had followed him anyway. Crawling and limping, dragging the lifeless, broken limb behind her, trailing in the clouds of dust he blazed in his attempt to be rid of her - catching up to him when he paused for rest. Until the moment he finally stopped caring; she has no longer the prepossession to merit even a chance glance from his skyward-turned eyes, nor can he be bothered to swear and shake his fist at her. The hare has not any need to outrun the turtle. She is in the background: an insignificant deaf mute, that speaks and listens and feels - but cannot get herself to register on his noble, arrogant, savage mind.

They are, as I said, inseparable: he would not be recognized without the trailing husk of a living being that he keeps in thrall, she simply does not exist but as his shadow, or a speck of dust in the little cloud he kicks up with his graceless, heavy stride - willing the earth to split open under the sheer weight of the contempt he has for all things on the surface. They have been cursed with infinite patience, for neither seems to be in a hurry to break the cycle, and indeed it has gone on so long that it is no longer certain whether there is a cycle. They have been blessed with the weakness of mind that prevents humans from changing their minds,  gifted with the lethargy of spirit that keeps people shackled to the easy task of rationalizing the familiar. They were not created for a life of adventure, for the exhilaration of discovery or the admiration of generations to follow. They were created to be ignored in their lifetimes and forgotten after death.  They were created to love and be loved, and that is the fate they seem least willing to accept.