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Showing posts from November, 2008

Model Based Learning

Reality in the strictest sense is described as reality “as it is” or in the most absolute sense is “how something exists”. Human kind has been making models of things or a reflection of reality from the day it began to reason. In each era the assumptions on which the whole of civilization choose to see things changed. For example at the time of Galileo it was believed by people that the Sun revolved around the Earth. In fact there were giants of human kind like Socrates and Aristotle whose contributions date a long time before the period of Galileo who must have believed on the same assumption.

Now as each era evolved human kind was able to control nature to a better degree and it did this by revisiting the models that it had made of nature. I say models here because they were not reality in the strictest sense. But by revisiting these models and bringing them closer to reality "as is" their ability to predict and thus control improved.

Even today we have millions of models …

Benefits of discipline

Ommar Khayyam a muslim sufi once said that one must aim to come to a point where the answer to every question is a “yes”. This of course is only possible if you keep growing by learning. Now as one learns and is able to influence his/her environment more the positive feedback you get is tremendous and it works in two complementary ways:

1) You enjoy the learning process
2) Things around you start to make sense and you start to get “yes” answers to things that previously might have seemed insurmountable

In fact the process is quite addictive, but since you are able to achieve what you set out to achieve there is nothing stopping you from continuing to grow.

There is one important angle to it though. The process of learning is not only through thinking but more importantly by doing and they are both complementary.

Of course there are many things that a person has to do that he might not have “yes” answers to but still has to do them. For example you might want to spend less time socializin…

Nature of Science, Art and Religion and putting them in perspective

Science works on the following principle: it discovers ontological reality i.e. “things as they are” by being objective. The phenomenon of which the objective/ontological reality is revealed is then “predictable” and therefore “controllable”. This is all true because nature works according to “unchangeable laws”, also called the “laws of nature”. These laws of nature owing to being laws always repeat themselves and so if you discover them you can control the environment around you on the basis of these “discovered laws”.

For science to be able to do this it needs to follow two rules:

1) It has to be empirical, i.e. everything it discovers has to be validated by the senses
2) Material i.e. it is impersonal

Science has been instrumental in the phenomenal boom of the standard of living of the human race. However science has certain limitations which are these:

1) Science reveals efficient causes but not final causes. An efficient cause explains how something is caused, the process of it whe…

How I can beat somebody older than me and How I can live to be a 1000 years old

Some people are more experienced than others their own age. In fact some people are more experienced than people older than them. Examples could include young people in top management positions with subordinates who are many times older to them. This is one example. Another one is of students who have a double promotion in class. Yet another is of people who finish their Bachelors degree or PhD degrees faster than others.

All these seem to be instances of people who are beating the learning curve and so move ahead of their peers.

Let’s analyze this a little bit. What are these people doing when they ‘beat the curve’?

Answer: They are working harder and in turn understanding what is to be understood. So by putting in more effort they understand the subject matter in lesser time. This learning can be of things very structured such as mathematics or unstructured such as leading a group.

In either case the one’s ahead know things that we haven’t figured out yet.

And so, by working hard ourse…

About the philosophy of art and how to take a photograph

I would like to relate this post to my earlier post about “left brained thinking vs. right brained thinking”. I have started to associate left-brained thinking with the sciences and right-brained thinking with the arts.

Right brained thinking as I have already mentioned is the set of mental faculty that are as follows: “Creativity, Imagination and Intuition”. I find that these map perfectly onto the arts such as poetry, literature, photography, painting, music, etc.

All of these then give ideas that can be developed by the sciences and brought into the practical world.

I will elaborate this concept a little further by walking you through the process of taking a photograph.

So how do you take a good photograph?
One of the ways is this:
1. You develop an idea
2. ‘Look’ for a physical manifestation of that idea
3. Use the rules of photography to capture that manifestation as you want it

Let’s take an example. Suppose you want to take a photograph that documents ‘the way back from work’. You woul…

Left Brained thinking vs. Right Brained thinking

I have been made aware of two different sets of mental faculties that humans are capable of:

1. Analysis – Left side of the brain
2. Creativity, Imagination, Intuition – Right side of the brain

These two attributes are completely different from each other though each set facilitates the other set.

A man or woman can deliberately move from one spectrum to the other through meditation. At the most conscious level we are thinking in a left brained way i.e. we are analyzing. If we are able to sedate ourselves through specific exercises while being awake and go to the level just below the first level –alpha state, into the second level – the beta state, we can stimulate the right side of the brain.

If you are following my post about decompartmentalization or were already aware that the goal of maturity is to be able to view the world as a singular reality you would know that the most abstract thoughts that you carry with you could be translated into the most practical through a process of detai…

How do we know we know and what is the attitude required to know?

When I was a kid and I wanted to get a burger I thought it was a simple process. I just needed to ask my parents, they would get it somehow and an hour or two later I was eating my burger. So what do my parents do…send the driver, he goes to the shop buys the burger and brings it back.

However when I grew older and had to get the burger on my own (while living in a different city) the process was a little more complicated.

One of the basic things I had to do for example was to get to the burger shop. This in itself would be a big challenge for a kid.

So I thought I knew, almost had a gut feeling, but did I know really?

Other examples are starker. Running a family seems a simple job too when you are a kid. When you run your own house you realize the number of things that have to be managed. It is quite a task to master and takes sometimes quite a bit of education and then some experience at work to be able to start a family.

So at some point in time we ‘thought we knew how to get the burg…