Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Be aware of your personal blind spots.

We are taught to be aware of the blind spot during driving lessons. In the normal course of driving, it's not easy to check what's there in the area of a blind spot, and depending on what it is it can be really dangerous for the driver or the thing which is in that area. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that we have some way to make sure that there is nothing in the blind spot area before we change our lanes or direction while driving. We try to use various techniques or different rearview mirrors to look for the vehicles and objects in the blind spot range to avoid accidents and to be safe. But we are not that careful to look for blind spots of our mind in our day to day lives which is equally important to avoid unnecessary clashes and terrible mistakes due to our ignorance and lack of knowledge.

Why we need to be aware that there are blind spots when we drive our thought process? Very simple, because then only we will take some efforts to eliminate them. If we are not aware of them, we are not going to take any efforts to overcome this problem, and then the problem will become chronic. Ignorance or lack of knowledge can be cured with learning and acquiring knowledge. In today's era, we have so many resources available literally at our fingertips. Yes, I am talking about the world of the internet, which we can access from our phones or any stationary or mobile device connected to the internet connection. The internet has created a level field by allowing access to variety of websites where you can learn about many things and gain useful information. One can access diverse resources to collect vast amount of information to learn about almost anything. We can self educate ourselves. Please spend some quality time to learn about the issues which affect you, about the things which you care about before getting into a debate with anyone. This will not only help you to get well informed but also help the next person to have a very informative and constructive discussion. Being well informed is also necessary for being a responsible citizen of any country. It helps to form a well informed public opinion. So, take the first step and start by taking some positive steps in a direction to eliminate the personal blind spots of your thinking. All the very best.

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

Monday, December 24, 2018

The saga of RaGa

I think most people in India know what NaMo and RaGa mean, these are the brand names of the two of the most famous national political figures Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. Unprecedented branding of political figures started in India with the rise of Mr. Narendra Modi. Mr. Modi and his team aggressively developed his brand just like any other product, this started during his tenure as a chief minister of Gujarat. When that strategy worked superbly, every party started doing the same thing, no one could match the fire and force of BJP for quite some time, but all are still trying and RaGa brand is Indian National Congress's answer to BJP's NaMo brand. 

Rahul Gandhi belongs to Nehru-Gandhi family, there is no doubt that one of the major reasons behind where he is today is the family to which he belongs. He himself recognizes it, acknowledges it and I don't think there is any doubt about the role his last name played in his political existence. But dynasty is not an uncommon thing, it is prevalent in many parts of the world and Indian is not an exception. It is common to see dynasties in Indian politics, business, or any other field where there is a scope to have a dynasty. In the Indian film industry, there are dynasties which are in their third or fourth generation, big corporations are run by families where top management consistently comes from the same family, Indian mythological stories are full of dynasties. It is difficult to ignore the presence of dynasties in various fields including India and politics or any political party. Dynasties are present in most political parties in India, their level and positions they occupy might be different in different parties, but they are there. This all is not to justify the rule of the dynasty, but to show that the Nehru-Gandhi family is not the only dynasty in India, but maybe it is the most famous one. I think Rahul got into politics out of compulsion rather than his own choice. His father, Late Rajiv Gandhi also got dragged into politics after the untimely death of his brother Sanjay and then the death of his mother Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Somehow the Indian National Congress feels the perpetual need of having someone from Nehru-Gandhi family at the helm. Somehow the party and its workers feel safe and secure under their leadership. Many senior leaders acknowledge this thing and they feel it keeps the party united. This reasoning never made any sense to me, but this is what it is. I am not going go into pros and cons of dynastic politics, this is not the subject of this post.

Rahul didn't have a conventional upbringing, his uncle, grandmother, and father all died unnatural deaths. Two of them (grandma and father) were assassinated brutally by terrorists. He was very young when his grandma and father was assassinated. His mother was forced to enter politics and then he has to follow her. In the beginning, he was not even considered as a viable option,  he was visibly uncomfortable during his political appearances. Congress party suffered humiliating loss after loss at the hands of BJP and other parties, and Rahul was projected as one of the reasons for these debacles. He was attacked for who he was (a Gandhi dynast), he was ridiculed as "Pappu," his lack of stage confidence, fumbles during interviews were highlighted, his comments were edited so that they sound utterly stupid, and it was unimaginable for people to even compare Mr. Modi and Rahul. But, somehow he survived all these attacks from outside. The main reason was that no one within his party asked for his resignation due to all those failures, this is the advantage one gets when your position within the party is secure, there was absolutely no challenge to his position within his own party. He became president of Congress party even though the party was not performing well in election after election. Recent victories in some state elections might justify his promotion and turn his party's fortunes in other direction, people might see him now as a national leader who can challenge Mr. Modi. But, this is too early to predict any such thing, and Rahul has a lot to prove before he can present himself as a serious contender for the prime minister's position. Actually, BJP helped him a lot by constantly attacking him and ridiculing him, they always kept him relevant for some reason, they used him as a punching bag and it seems that the punching bag punched them back really bad. The same way, Congress party helped Mr. Modi to get prominence on a national stage by attacking him relentlessly. I have no interest in judging Rahul's political acumen and capabilities. I was purely drawn to his story because of his unique background and his roller-coaster political journey. As I already mentioned there is no doubt that he got many privileges and advantages just because he was born in a particular family, but for the same reason, his life took many unexpected turns and presented him with unique challenges. It will be interesting to see his future progression. 

I had very high expectations from Mr. Modi's government. After all, BJP secured a single party majority under his leadership and this government had a golden opportunity to introduce some reforms which only a single-party majority government could implement in a country like India. However, instead of focusing on that he focussed all his attention towards conquering all states of India. Let's see how RaGa compares to NaMo as far as delivering reformative governance is concerned. I am happy to see that at least Rahul is not talking about eliminating BJP from India. The presence of a strong opposition is necessary for any democracy to be vibrant and functioning. I wish both brands RaGa and NaMo deliver what they claim, and people hold them accountable for their promises and not get blinded by their glitter and glamor. If this doesn't happen, then the same old musical chair circus will continue without much change in governance, RaGa and Namo brands might become successful, but brand India will fail and I don't think any right-minded Indian would like to see this happen.

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Me Too - easy to mock, but difficult to understand

Sexual harassment is a serious issue, this is a widespread problem in each and every country around the world. It will be really naive to assume that it is more prevalent in developed countries where women participate more in the workforce compared to developing or undeveloped countries. Also, this problem is more prevalent than one can imagine. We underestimate it due to the fact that traditionally many behaviors were not recognized as harassing because for many centuries societies around the world ignored them or accepted them under some lame justifications like "boys will be boys."  Patriarchy and chauvinism not only sheltered such behavior but they also legitimized it and generations were raised believing that this was a part of social male-female interaction in a heavily male-dominated society.  Now, before anyone points it out, let me make it clear that this is not a gender-specific problem, men also get sexually harassed, but women are at the receiving end of this type of harassment in disproportionately high numbers and one can confirm this by checking the data.

When "Me Too" movement started and many women started openly talking about the sexual harassment they faced, societies got rattled. It was totally unexpected and not a very comfortable situation for them to see the elephant in the room being addressed so openly and directly. I am sure most of us knew that this problem existed but somehow we accepted it as a part of a day to day ordeal of being a man or a woman. Many famous and not-so-famous people got exposed for their predatory and harassing behavior, this is how it caught media's attention. "Me Too" movement became viral on the internet and was in the news all over the world. Now, like any other movement, there are people who will try to misuse it, but this problem is not unique with Me Too but that's the nature of our society; any law or popular movement is always misused by few people, and I don't think Me Too will be an exception. Misuse by few people cannot be a reason to question the legitimacy of any social transformation. But the way this movement got ridiculed from its start, especially in India was not a very good sign. I was tired to read so many messages on WhatsApp making fun of Me Too and questioning motives of women who chose to come forward with these allegations. The messages were so many that it was not easy to ignore them, for a few weeks it seemed like it became a favorite time pass on WhatsApp, especially for men. 

First of all, it takes immense courage to share any such thing publicly knowing that nothing might come out of this except ridicule, humiliation, and character assassination. Second, the kind of publicity you get after coming out is not always desirable, one can look at the way most of the victims were treated if anyone of us would like to be in that situation. And lastly, for all people who ask the question, why now? Why not when it happened? Please try to understand the vulnerability, social and personal situation of the victim before passing any judgments. Many harassment or discrimination incidents are exposed much later than the time when they actually happen. The main reason for this is that normally the victims are suppressed and not in a position to raise their voice when they face such incident, they fear serious repercussions for their personal and professional lives and prefer to keep quiet. Normally the victim and their harasser have disproportionately different professional standings and harassers take advantage of it. This is not their failure to report but as a society, it is our failure to provide them with an atmosphere where they feel comfortable in reporting such incidents. 

I just have one request, before being judgemental about any victim of any harassment or discrimination please try to understand their situation at the time the incident happened with them. If you can, I am sure you will be empathetic towards their plight and offer them all the support and help they need. At the same time, we must acknowledge that it is everyone's right to express their opinion, no matter what it is. No one should be penalized just for expressing their opinion no matter how offensive we might feel that opinion is. It is important to offer criticism whenever we see anyone misusing any movement or law, this is necessary to keep the legitimacy of such social movements intact. Mocking any social movement like Me Too without understanding it is very easy, the difficult part is to try to understand the intricacies of such movement and relate with the victim's plight. Now, the choice is yours.

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

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Simple doesn't mean it's easy

Being a responsible citizen is simple; minding our own business and not interfering with others private matters is simple; being conscious of the difference between our needs and desires is simple; respecting each other is simple; not discriminating people based on their gender, race, or any other characteristic is simple, but many people struggle with these things. Being simple doesn't mean it's easy. There are many things which are straightforward and we all understand them clearly still we fail to follow them even if they can be really helpful for our and our society's own good. We ignore that fact that simple things also might require a lot of effort, dedication, and commitment to bring them in practice. This careless attitude is the reason for the fact that even after acknowledging the relevance and importance of many of above-mentioned things we fail to make them a habit.

Please recognize one truth, "simple doesn't mean it's easy," once we understand this our mind should be prepared to take all the necessary efforts with all seriousness to take all the necessary steps which are required to inculcate many of those "simple" habits in our day to day life. These things are simple because they are easy to do, you don't need any specialized degree or strenuous physical work to practice them, not because they are easy to achieve. They do require the presence of common sense, rational and balanced mind, and sincere efforts, if we lack any one of these or take them too casually we will be left wondering why and how we failed to learn such simple habits. 

First of all, why should we bother about such simple things? The answer is also very simple because those are the things which make our lives and lives of others around us better and happy. These simple things show we care for each other and respect in spite of so many differences among us. These things make happy and progressive societies where all individuals are respected and free to pursue their goals. So, the takeway from this post is, please don't take things lightly just because they look and sound simple, and please remember and acknowledge the fact that "simple doesn't mean easy."

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Do you monitor your psychological diet?

Most of us are very conscious of the food we consume and try to monitor our diet based on our age, health goals, or doctor's recommendations. We know that the type of food we consume have a direct effect on our physical health. The origin of many serious diseases can be traced to our dietary habits, this forces us to be a responsible consumer of food. But how many of us pay equal attention to our psychological diet? How many of us are even conscious about the type of food we feed to our mind? It should not come as a shock to anyone that the type of content we feed to our brain directly affects our thinking and in turn affects our behavior. Our personal and social life gets affected by what we think and hence our psychological diet matters a lot in determining what we think. So, why don't we pay attention to our psychological diet, and if we want how one can monitor our psychological diet?

The first problem is that we can't see or feel thoughts like we feel other tangible things like the food we consume or gadgets we buy. When we eat food we can smell it, feel it, taste it and these factors can dictate whether we like that food or not. It is true that information also comes in different flavors, we do reject or accept some information or thoughts just based on their source, but such behavior is normally associated with some strong religious or cultural emotions. But in today's era, we are bombarded with information, it is continuously fed to us through different outlets like social media, online news, and other traditional sources (like books and print media). We hardly get any time to scrutinize them before consuming them as we receive them on our newly "acquired organ" called a cellphone. This is where lies the rub. On one hand, it is great that if we want we can receive a lot of information from different sources, but at the same time, these platforms guess our habits, likes, and dislikes and can channel only particular type of information towards us (welcome to the world of Artificial Intelligence). Most of the information we receive, especially on social networks, we have no clue from where it is coming or how authentic it is.

When we know that the type of information we consume shapes our thinking shouldn't we all more careful to verify the content or check the reliability of the source of that information before allowing them to become part of our intellect, or sharing them with others? Getting to know every side of any issue is necessary and getting information from different sources may help us to look at the same issue with many different angles. But unfortunately, this is not what people are doing. These social media networks and groups are designed in such a way that people are receiving the same type of information from many unverified and unreliable sources. When this information gets validated by their idols (politicians, celebrities) who also get that information from the same unverified sources, it becomes a vicious cycle. So, the lies not only get perpetuated openly but also go unchecked and get consumed as if they are the facts. It seems every group, political leader, or a political party has its own set of facts, the same way as every religion has their own set of facts about their own book or messiahs. This is not a very healthy situation for any society.

When people stop caring about the quality of their personal diet society suffers from a serious public health crisis. In the same way, when people are careless about their psychological diet society starts suffering from various social issues like political and racial polarization, divisive and hostile social environment results from this. If you are interested in preserving the good psychological health of your community, monitor the quality of your psychological diet, verify the information before you consume it, and see the effect. Our mental health is as important as our physical health. Remember, responsibility always starts with us, be responsible and share the information responsibly.    

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

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Guilt is an effective weapon used against women for centuries

A feeling of guilt is not a good feeling, it makes us feel bad for whatever we did or failed to do in past. It makes us feel responsible for whatever bad is happening around us. This feeling is necessary many times to make us realize our mistakes and take corrective actions, but this feeling can also hurt our progress if we feel guilty for no reason, or for doing things which we were supposed to do but which were against the established social norms of that time. The feeling of guilt has been used against women for centuries to make them fulfill some stereotyped roles. Overcoming this imposed feeling of guilt is an integral part of every women's struggle to break the shackles of unreasonable stereotyped restrictions. Women are successful to overcome this feeling and achieve substantial progress to prove that they are no less capable to achieve success in every field, but even after all these years, I read posts on social media where a woman feels guilty for not doing enough for their families by prioritizing their careers, they feel or made feel guilty for not paying enough attention to their in-laws or kids at the cost of their flourishing careers, they are blamed more for neglecting their familial duties compared to their male counterparts. In contrast, I rarely see any post by men, where they regret focussing on their professional lives at the cost of not paying enough attention to their family members.

So, why career-oriented women are more targetted for not being involved enough with their families? Because many times this strategy works, many times society becomes successful in imposing that feeling of guilt in women's mind. This weapon of guilt has been used for centuries against women and it is still one of the most used weapons against them. Victim shaming also comes in the same category where the motive and behavior of the victim of sexual crime is criticized instead of a blatant act of harassment or assault by the perpetrator. It is not easy to deal with such attacks. As human beings, we are sensitive to our surroundings and have a tendency to fit in. Both women and men are targetted by outdated and rigid social norms do fill in certain types of roles and whenever they try to break those boundaries they are being targetted for not being a man or woman of their respective families. We as a society need to fight this mentality if we want each and every member of the community to contribute to the welfare of our society to the best of their capabilities. In the era where a lot of professional help and care is available, it is unreasonable to expect only a particular gender to fulfill particular responsibilities. There is nothing wrong in being a career oriented person for a man or a woman. Partners can help each other to fulfill their career aspirations and achieve professional as well as personal success. Without support from each other men and women, both will fail to achieve their aims no matter what those aims are. 

Hilary Moore, a lawyer who decided to leave law to look after her family wrote in her article, "A real freedom is freedom from condemnation, no matter what choices we make. A woman's place is where she pleases. In a truly egalitarian society, a woman's value will not be measured by her ability to reach the traditional male definition of success." Make your own choices, go through the struggles and hardships which come with it and reap the rewards. If the imposed feeling of guilt is only used to deter you from breaking stereotyped roles, just ignore it, we need to diffuse this weapon as it is being used for quite some time to frustrate efforts of brave men and women, especially women. 

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

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Get rid of your mask

Do you feel pressure to fit into society?
Are you living your life to fulfill expectations others around you?
Do you feel obliged to fit into a stereotyped definition of a man or a woman?
Are you doing things which don't interest you at all only because they make you look successful and accomplished in the eyes of others?
If answers to any of these questions are yeas or even maybe, then you are living with a mask to project what people around you want to see in you, not what you yourself want. Actually, among all the conditioning which happens to us since childhood and all the chaos around us, it is not easy to decide what we really want to do. We are guided and misguided so much since our childhood that it becomes extremely hard for many of us to decide what we really want to do in our personal and professional lives. We are told to chase our dreams, but many times situations don't allow us to do that and for many of us it's not easy to decide which dream to chase as we have too many of them.

In this confused or conditioned state of mind, knowingly or unknowingly we all start wearing a mask which we don't even realize. We start doing the stuff which others tell us is good for us, we start dreaming about life which others say is good and happy, who chose a career which others say is safe and rewarding. We want to be successful in the eyes of our parents, other relatives, and society. Nowadays, to make sure that everyone knows about this we start doing these things and post about them on social media so that people think that we are successful and happy. That mask forces us to chose only certain type of careers because those are only guaranteed to make us rich and happy. We hate our job but still do it as we need those big bucks which we believe will bring a lot of happiness. But the problem is, this mask makes us forget what we really want, in which things our happiness really lies, what we would like to choose as a profession if we don't have burdens of expectations from others. That mask becomes our face and we get stuck with it, rather we ourselves start believing that it's our real face.

I am not saying that getting advice from others is bad or we should not follow anyone's guidance. Many of us need some help to navigate the path of our lives and we should seek such help. But at the end, the choice should be ours, it should not be forced on us. To make such a choice and to live such independent life we need to get rid of our mask first. We need to break free from inhibitions which stop us from exploring new paths and test our capabilities. Any career is not a bad choice if you are really good at it, but please remember that only being passionate is not good enough, one needs to acquire the required skill and expertise also to be successful in any field. If you are happy while working hard to acquire such skills and expertise this journey becomes more rewarding and fulfilling. So, get rid of your mask and look at the world with a fresh outlook and see what difference it makes. Live life on your terms, this doesn't mean to be irrational, erratic, and without any bounds, being rational, sensible, and practical is also part of living a happy and fulfilled life.

Michelangelo said, "I saw the angel in the marble and I chiseled until I set it free." We should not wait for someone else to see that angel in us, we need to find that hidden angel which resides inside all of us and take all the required efforts to set it free. Getting rid of the mask which we wear to make people around us happy is one of those important steps in that direction. 

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

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The dangers of stereotyping the definition of fun and enjoyment.

"Why don't you go on a vacation and have some fun, what's the point in working so much and earning those big bucks if you don't want to use to have some fun?" a coworker asked one of my friends. My friend could not come up with any explanation as he didn't have any. He knew that his coworker won't believe if he said that he loves his work so much that he doesn't need any other enjoyment to really enjoy his life. For him his work was fun and that's all he needed to feel content and happy. However, for most of us, this is not true and I feel stereotyping the definition of fun and enjoyment is the main reason behind this.

It is true that there are some people around us who love their work more than anything else and they don't feel the need to do anything else. But many of us can't even imagine that work or studying can be so much fun. The problem is we have stereotyped the definition of fun and enjoyment. We are told that ONLY fun is going on vacation, partying in pubs, having drinks with friends, or spending time with friends and family, or watching movies, almost anything but apart from our work. It is true that many or all of these activities are entertaining and many people enjoy engaging in these activities, but it is not necessary that everyone needs to do them to have fun. I don't understand why people find it hard to digest that someone can have fun while doing their job or studying for some degree? Why study or job is stereotyped as boring and hard, why can't they be super fun and entertaining like other so-called entertaining activities? The main reason behind this stereotyping is that most people don't do a job of their choice or study in the area they really love. They stay in their job even though they don't enjoy a bit of that work and they study subjects in which they have zero interest. Most people do these things (job and study) just because someone told them that this is what everyone does and this is the only way to be successful in this world. They were made to believe that this is how the world works. The effect is, most people feel that they are stuck with this so-called routine life and try to seek refuge in enjoyment methods which are again prescribed to them by their surroundings to make up for their boring life.

Our society has stereotyped definitions of work, fun, and enjoyment. Why work need to be always boring? Why weekend culture is so prevalent as if people don't live their lives during the weekdays? Why people who don't go to parties, go on vacation, drink, or watch movies but focus on their work and studies are perceived as boring and not having any fun? The danger behind such stereotyping is that many people start believing in such categorization and they feel increasingly unsatisfied with their lives. They feel that their life is boring due to their job and students feel they are trapped in studying and they need to do something different to have fun and enjoyment in their lives. The reason for this misunderstanding is simple, we fail to understand that someone can also have fun while working on their job or studying for their degree or doing research because we are not taught that these things can be fun. Yes, one needs to have a healthy atmosphere at a workplace to enjoy it, one needs to love the subject and have to have great teachers to enjoy their studies, but these things are not hard to find in today's world. There are a variety of industries where one can choose to work as per their liking. The number of universities and courses they offer (online or on campus) are vast and one can choose any subject of their liking to study. We can have fun while working if we find our work really exciting and find some purpose behind doing it. If we look forward towards the knowledge and wisdom we could get by studying the subject which we like studies will not be boring. One needs a break from everything, there is nothing wrong in taking breaks, but not because that particular thing was boring or torturous, but to bring a variety in life and this could be a good reason to do different activities.

It is true that strenuous physical or mental efforts are part of work and study, these things can be very demanding physically and mentally, and some people might say that this is the part which makes these things less interesting and boring. But, gym or sports also demand physical and mental stamina, but many enjoy going to the gym or playing some sport. They don't mind the physical and mental rigor which sports and gym demand. Similarly, if we can have the same attitude towards our work and studies these things can also give us the same enjoyment. Please try this approach and then you will realize that there is no need to live life only during weekends, but weekdays can also be equally rewarding and exciting. Our work consumes a major part of our active lives and we invest the best part of our youth in studying, so it is better if we also enjoy these things. Let's fill our lives with unlimited fun and excitement.

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

Sunday, August 12, 2018

None of the religions are scientific, and they don't have to be.

I find it very interesting when various religions try to claim how they are the most scientific ones among all other religions. It is very amazing that such an old institution like religion feels compelled to demonstrate that they also possess some or all characteristics of a much younger academic discipline like science. I am not saying that science didn't exist when religion originated as a personal and social wellness product for human civilization, but science was not an organized and well-defined discipline back then as it is today. Scientific facts and phenomena exist whether we know about them or not. But this fight among all religions to claim how scientific they are demonstrates how science has become a more reliable discipline than anything else, so reliable that even ancient institutions like organized religion feel the compulsion of demonstrating a commonality with science.

The compulsion to prove how scientific they are is not limited to any particular religion. If you look at any major religion in the world today, you can find various articles, books, blog posts, and even research papers published in some scientific journals where they claim how various scientific facts or phenomena were already explained in their religious scriptures. There seems to be competition among all religions to show who is more scientific, whereas none of them can pass the rigorous test of producing verifiable data to prove their religious claims. I always thought that most religions can stand on their own without demonstrating any association with science or claiming how scientific they are. Religion satisfies a unique need of a human mind, it puts an end to your questions about the unknown by convincing you that there is some supreme power who controls everything and hence you don't have to worry, just try your best to follow the path recommended by whatever scripture is prescribed by that particular religion and you will be fine. This answer is supposed to put an end to all the anxiety about the unknown to all people who are willing to accept the existence of any such power. On the contrary, science is an endless pursuit of knowledge. It is a never-ending journey, science not only searches for solutions to existing problems, but it also searches for new problems, the quest to find answers to existing problems and new problems from existing answers is an endless voyage. There is no book in science which can claim that it has all the answers to all human problems because that's not what science is supposed to do. Science doesn't hesitate to accept that it doesn't know answers to many questions, but hardly any religion has the courage to accept this and this is one of the major differences between science and religion, and as long as religions don't gather the courage to accept this simple fact they cannot claim themselves scientific. 

So far, I have not come across any scientific discipline claiming that they are the most religious, I don't think they ever felt the need of claiming any association with any religion to demonstrate their validity and relevance. But somehow religion feels insecure because of the popularity and rapid spread of the scientific knowledge, they can't stop this, so it is better for them to claim an association with it. I personally feel it is an unnecessary tactic. As I mentioned, religion satisfies a unique need of a very large number of humans on this planet, this need is going to remain as long as people fear the unknown and don't accept the role of randomness in our lives. It is tough not to worry about the unknown because as a human we are innately curious and want definite answers to our questions, no matter how illogical that answer is, we want an answer and religion does a very good job in providing answers to these type of questions. Need for religion is going to remain no matter how much science progresses as there will be always something which we don't know. Fear for the unknown is not easy to overcome. It is also true that many of the religious scriptures do mention some scientific facts, but this is not enough to validate their claim to be scientific. Even some fiction books contain elements of scientific facts, but that doesn't mean those stories are scientific. Presence of verifiable data is one of the important requirements of any scientific experiment and religion doesn't believe in presenting any such data. None of the current religions are scientific, they don't have to be and they don't have to claim that they are.

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

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Is there a democracy in your family?

Democracy is the most desirable social and political structure which most of the world prefers as their way of social and political governance. I agree that it's not a perfect system, but there is nothing better than the system of democracy, it is the most perfect system among all which we can consider. We all (or most of us) love to live in a democratic society, a society where we are free to express our views, free to dissent with powerful people and organizations no matter who we are. We value our democratic rights and expect our governments and society to provide a proper environment to practice those rights, wherever we feel disagreement we raise our dissenting voice without any fear, this is the ideal picture of any vibrant and working democracy. The topic of today's blog is about democracy at home, is there democratic environment in your family where dissent and disagreement are encouraged, or there is a dictatorship where elders or a particular elder takes all the decisions for every member of the family?

First question people might ask, why we need to have democracy in our homes? Why kids who are minor and non-earning members of the family need to have the power to oppose or challenge decisions taken by the earning members or elders of the family? The answer is very simple, for the same reason why everyone needs to have a right to express their views in a society, to have a safe and welcoming environment. I agree that it's very easy to run the family when one person has all the decision making power and others just follow it without asking any question, but then it will be easier to run a country like that, no opposition and no dissent, just one voice for all. Do we want to live in such a country where someone else speaks for us all the time?

Allowing people to express their views does create some chaos and one needs to spend a lot of time in discussions and debates, but this process also makes everyone understand each other's needs and viewpoints. The democratic environment encourages the exchange of ideas and sometimes this leads to a polarized environment, but if the process of discussion continues eventually people learn how to agree to disagree. This also teaches each member of the family to speak up and stand for their and other's rights. We should not expect that schools will teach the value of dissent and disagreement to our kids, it is our responsibility also as parents to teach them the meaning and value of dissent. Democratic families result in a vibrant democratic society, where there can be disagreements but at the same time, there is a collective decision making and space for alternative opinion. 

Please encourage kids and all other members of the family to share their views and ideas, this will not only make them feel at home but also make them feel a valuable member of the family. This will not only increase understanding of each other but also increase happiness and remove the feeling of fear and suppression. Give it a try and let me know your experience with this. After all, a democratic family is also a happy family.

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