I am a very kind person. Almost. Whenever I get involved into any discussion, I try my best not to let it turn into an argument. I listen to the other person and let them have their own opinion and point of view. Sometimes. At other times, I get deeply annoyed and irritated, and lose my temper. Most of the time. What is my criterion of a healthy discussion? Besides the generally accepted social norms like not to make personal comments, not to use obscene, vulgar or provocative words, not to make remarks related to caste, creed, religion, gender, social status etc, I also give importance to information. An informed discussion and argument is always a healthy one. But most of the time you would find yourself either witnessing a discussion or yourself getting involved in a discussion with a person or group of people who don’t even have basic information or knowledge about that subject. I agree that having a complete knowledge about any subject or field is nearly impossible and also there is no end to the learning process. The more you explore, the more new questions and doubts arise in your mind. But I am talking about having basic information about the field which you are discussing. Otherwise you are fooling yourself only, given that the other person could be well informed. Well, I have also witnessed arguments where none of the parties had any information about the subject and both of them were giving heated arguments to support their points of view. In such cases, I do the wisest thing possible under the given circumstances — run away.Continue reading
Wish you a healthy and happy new year!
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A fellow scientist narrated me an incident from his college days. This scientist has a very beautiful deep voice, and sings classical Malayalam songs very nicely, and enjoys it too. When he was in hostel, every morning he used to sing while bathing, getting dressed up and so on.
One day his senior complimented him, “Ajay (name changed)! You have a very beautiful voice, your pronunciation is perfect, and you do understand the ragas very well. Words come out smoothly and it is simple enchanting melody…”.
Ajay was overwhelmed. Perhaps it was the first time that anyone had given him such sincere compliment, that too someone much senior to him. His senior asked who his guru was, whether he had anytime given concerts etc. Ajay told that he was self taught, and that he never thought that he was good enough for giving concerts. On this, the senior gave him a soft rebuke saying that he was wasting his talent, and that he should start learning classical music while he still had time. Though concert would be tough in the beginning, he could at least try giving auditions at the local radio station where they encourage young artists. Ajay grew shy and said that the senior must be joking.
“No, I am not! You can ask anyone in this hostel. Surely you should present your singing at the radio. Promise me that you will.”
The conversation went on for a long time. Finally, Ajay was convinced and promised his senior that he would contact the local radio station at the earliest.
Before leaving, the senior said, “That is good. At least then I would be able to turn the radio off.”
I usually say that we as a people are not a scientific community. I still maintain this opinion. I do not concern here with what might be the reason behind such a mindset of Indians. May be in a future post we would delve deeper into that issue. Today I restrict myself with what makes me form such a strong opinion against intellectual health of Indians. Continue reading