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Welcome to KHOJ: The search to know our roots and understand the meaning of our existence.

Prejudice is the biggest problem in the society. It can be it in terms of religion, cast, sex, skin-colour, status etc. Prejudice can also be in form of the feeling that human beings are the greatest creation, or even patriotism about artificially created borders. The motto of KHOJ is to gain knowledge and break that prejudice. But there is a word of caution for the readers. To break the prejudice KHOJ might throw upon you the concepts it believes in. If the reader believes on KHOJ’s perception without question, then KHOJ itself might incept a prejudice in the readers mind thus failing in it own motto. KHOJ is trying to break its own world of prejudice, but at times that prejudice might get reflected in its writing. Please do challenge them.

Monday, May 11, 2020

3 Wishes - A Short Story




There lived a man who was eternally dissatisfied with his life. He never smiled, and always found reasons to criticize everyone. One night he got lucky. On his way home he met a Genie who felt pity for the sad man. The Genie was dark blue in colour and looked malignant and monstrous.  At first the man was scared, but the friendly smile of the giant assured him. The Genie said that he will grant him three wishes, provided he agreed to one simple condition. The man was ecstatic. ‘Finally, my life was going to change for good’, he thought. His first wish was to be rich. The Genie reminded him about the condition, ‘Whatever you wished, your neighbours would get double of that’. The man agreed. He would be rich enough to fulfil all his desires.


The man reached his home, had his dinner and went to his bed anxiously. The excitement kept him awake all night. Next morning when he got up, his  humble house has already turned into a beautiful mansion. He was richer than he ever dreamed possible. As human nature is, the happiness wasn’t meant to last for long. The moment he stepped out of his mansion his heart shattered into pieces. He remembered Genie’s words, ‘Whatever you wished, your neighbours would get double of that’. Happiness is not absolute, but relative. It is the positive gap between your reality and your expectations. His expectations were always set by the standard of his neighbours. His absolute wealth had no meaning because, based on his current expectations, his reality was that he was the poorest person in the neighbourhood. It also meant that he was the weakest, a condition no living species likes to be in. Our desires are ancient and inbuilt in our operating system. It is the carving that leads to motivation. It comes from our bodily structures and not the mental state. Desires helps us survive and wants us to be the fittest. ‘Fittest’ is a relative term. When a lion is chasing you, your absolute speed is irrelevant when you know that you cannot outpace the beast. All you just need to ensure is that you are not the slowest of the lot. Luckily for him, he still had two wishes left.


Our eternally dissatisfied man went back to the exact place and at the exact time he met the Genie last night. As expected, the Genie was right there. The Genie asked him about his day as a rich man. With a dejected look on his face the man explained his disastrous day. Concerned, the gene asked if he wanted another wish. This time the man gave some thought to the matter and uttered after a while that he wished he was turned into a poor man. ‘Are you sure?’ asked Genie with a confused look. ‘Yes’, insisted the man.  With his wish granted, the man went back to his home satisfied. Tonight he felt asleep early. Next morning when he woke up his mansion was turned into a poor hut. It did not matter to him, all he wanted was to go out and visit his neighbourhood. He was now the richest person in the village. As he came out of his house there were poor people begging to him for food and money. It took him some time to realise that these beggars were none other than his neighbours. For the first time he felt proud that he was better than them. He took out some money from his front pocket and donated to his poor and filthy neighbours. While he was walking down the street with his head held high he felt someone grabbing and pulling is shirt from the back. As he turned he saw a thin poor girl, probably eight years old, begging for food. Looking at the pitiful condition of the kid made him sad. He looked around and saw the pain and agony. At that moment he realised what he had done. To satisfy his desires he made his entire neighbourhood suffer. For the first time he felt their pain, he felt empathy and compassion. Emotions makes us human beings, and it is emotions that teaches us to control our desires. Emotions also help us connect with fellow humans and that connection is a tool of survival too. He still had one wish left to undo the horrendous act he committed.


The man went back to the Genie again. The Genie asked him about his day as the richest person in the neighbourhood. He knew exactly why the man asked for such a wish. ‘It was horrible’, replied the man with remorse, ‘and this time I know exactly what to do with my last wish’. ‘What is it that your heart truly desires?’ questioned Genie. ‘I want to undo everything and go back to the way I was before’, came the reply. ‘Your wish, my command’, said the Genie with a smile in his face, knowing very well that his message was conveyed. Next morning the man found himself back in his old house. When he grabbed his mobile to look at the time, he was surprised to see the date. Not a day has passed since the night of his first wish. Was he dreaming it all along? But it felt so real. Keen to know what happened, he ran out of his house into the neighbourhood. Everything was as they were before he met the Genie. His gaze fell on the 8-year-old girl playing happily with her mother. He never felt so happy in his life before. That whole day he spent in his neighbourhood, meeting and greeting his old friends and making new in the process. He realised how lucky he was to be part of such a caring community. Relationship is the cornerstone of happiness, and it took the man some time to realise that. The worst way to find happiness is to go looking for it. You don't find happiness, happiness finds you when you stop looking. That night the man went back to the exact same spot where he met the Genie. Somewhere in his heart he hoped that the Genie was real, and he wanted to thank him. Alas! No one was there that night. Instead, he saw a dark blue cloth fluttering in the wind. 


Story inspired by a folk tale.
Subhrashis Adhikari
Author: 5 Questions of the Inquisitive Apes

www.subhrashis.com




"Engaging and entertaining, this page-turner is remarkable in its narration and will give you a new perspective on various aspects of life. Wellresearched and heartfelt, the encouraging tone throughout the book tries to motivate towards a happier life." - Times of India

Link:


Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Revolt of 1857


On 10th May 1857 numerous Indian sepoys from Meerut were imprisoned because they refused to use the new cartridges. Sir John Malcolm, witness to the Sepoy Mutiny, noted that the Indian sepoys were loyal to the EIC until 1796CE. What happened after 1796CE?

The structure of the regiments changed as more European officers joined the army and Indian sepoys got stuck in the lower ranks. They were also forced to travel overseas, something their religion prohibited. The already discontented sepoys, treated as second-class citizens in their own land, revolted. They killed few European officers in Meerut, crossed the Yamuna River, burnt down the tollhouse, and marched towards Delhi. The revolutionaries were in search of a leader, and who better than the king of Delhi to lead them. They were heading for disappointment. The poet king was in no mood for action in this old age, and he stayed silent. The gates of Delhi were closed. 

It did not remain close for long, however. The gates of Rajghat had to be opened after protests from locals who wanted to take their morning dip into the Yamuna River. There might have been more to the demand then just their morning dip. The locals probably helped the soldiers of Meerut sneak into Delhi when the gates were opened. Once the soldiers managed to get inside the city violence spread rapidly. More British officers were killed, and the unruly rebels did not spare even their families. All local Christians the mob could lay their hands on were murdered. British officers panicked and open fired at the sepoys, including those who were fighting for the EIC.

Things went out of control, and the next day, Zafar reluctantly accepted alliance of the sepoys. The support of a Mughal king gave the movement a much-needed momentum, and it spread rapidly across northern India. Nana Saheb and Tantia Tope led the fight in Kanpur; it was Begam Hazrat Mahal in Lucknow; in Bareilly by Khan Bahadur; in Jagdishpur by Kunwar Singh; and in Jhansi by Rani Lakshmibai. Occasional rebellions also took place in Bengal and Bombay Presidency while Chennai remained largely silent. The Sikhs allied with the EIC as their hatred for the Mughals was much more than that towards the British. The deaths of their gurus in the hand of Mughal kings were not forgotten easily. The British Army brought in all support that they could get from Britain, Persia, and those on their way to China to fight the Opium War. India was the crown of British Empire. They could ill afford to lose it. What followed was a ruthless battle.

 

The British officers burnt down villages after villages, killing rebels and civilians alike. As per the records, 100,000 Indian sepoys were killed. That statistics does not take into account the dead civilians, and the rebels who did not belong to the British Army. Amaresh Misra, in his controversial book, termed it as an ‘untold holocaust’ where the Britishers killed 10 million Indians in over ten years since 1857CE. Even though the British were slow to retaliate, Indians could not grab that opportunity. Lack of faith in one another, the resulting lack of coordination, and betrayals by own men led to the defeat of the Indians. The supply of artillery belonging to the rebels also exhausted. The British forces slowly regained all their lost territories. Delhi fell on September 1857 when Jafar was captured from Humayun’s tomb. Rani of Jhansi, called by a British officer as the only man among the men, died fighting on 17 June 1857. The old Kunwar Singh managed to escape the British troops till his death on 9 May 1858. Tantia Tope was betrayed by Man Singh and was captured and executed on April 1859. Galib managed to escape and survive. He would later mourn and write, 

"So many of my friends and relatives have died that if now I were to die, not a single soul would be left to mourn for me."

 

Though the revolt failed, it managed to achieve an impossible task of uniting the Indians, to some extent at least. Years later, it would inspire Indians in their fight for independence from the British rule. The war also marked the end of two great powers of India: the Mughals and the EIC. The Queen of England took over from the EIC and established the British Raj. As for the Mughals, the dynasty ended with the death of Bahadur Shah Jafar. He once wrote a prophetic poem as if he knew his end was near:


"Bar rahi hai hameshaa zakhm pe zakhm, dil kaa chaaraagaron khudaa haafiz

Aaj hai kuchh ziyaadaa betaabii, dil-e-betaab ko khudaa haafiz

Kyon hifaazat ham aur ki dhundhen, har nafas jab ki hai khudaa haafiz

Chaahe rukhsat ho raah-e-ishq mein, ai ‘Zafar’ jaane do khudaa haafiz"

(Increasing forever pain on pain, Oh healers of heart . . . Goodbye!

Today I am unusually impatient, Oh restlessness . . . Goodbye!

Why search for protection from others, When every part of me said . . . Goodbye!

Even if ceases the road to love, Oh ‘Zafar’ let go . . . Goodbye!)



Subhrashis Adhikari
Author: 5 Questions of the Inquisitive Apes

www.subhrashis.com




"Engaging and entertaining, this page-turner is remarkable in its narration and will give you a new perspective on various aspects of life. Wellresearched and heartfelt, the encouraging tone throughout the book tries to motivate towards a happier life." - Times of India

Link:


Monday, April 20, 2020

How Stories Made Us...


“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” - Kurt Vonnegut


Why did we paint the caves? What's the connection between the rock arts of hunters and gatherers, the ‘fiction’ of Harare and the ‘Maya’ of Upanisads? How are humans related to Zebra flinch? Why do we create stories and how did it make us the top predator? How can stories limit our potential? Can we script a new story to create a better world?





Thursday, April 16, 2020

LIFE GAMES to Fight COVID Grief


"These are extraordinary times, and we are probably living through a defining moment in human history."


"We are in grief, and the whole world is connected through that common thread of grief in an unprecedented way."

These are extraordinary times, and we are probably living through a defining moment in human history.This is not just a health crisis, but also a psychological one. We are scared about our health and that of our loved ones. We are worried about our finance and our future. We are in grief, and the whole world is connected through that common thread of grief in an unprecedented way. According to K├╝bler-Ross Model there are five stages of grief. If I adopt that model in the context of current situation, the five stages of COVID-grief can be summarized as below:
Denial: It is just another flu. We are immune.
Anger: It is a conspiracy. Blame the rich. Complete mismanagement.
Bargaining: Please save us, next time we will be better with the environment.
Depression: When will this end? The markets are down? My job is at risk.
Acceptance: It is what it is. This too shall pass.

It might not happen in that exact sequence, and sometimes negative thoughts can lead to vicious negative cycle that cause acute depression. Research show that depressed mood bias our memory towards negative emotion. This in turn increases the probability of recalling negative memory leading to further depression. To break the negative cycle we need to accept the situation we are in.  How do we move to the fifth stage of acceptance quickly? I am happy to share an approach that has worked for me, and I hope that it helps some of you. I have named it LIFE GAMES and it is a way of life that includes all our daily habits.



L for Low-carb Diet: Majority of us eats more carb than our body needs. Especially, refined carbs is known to lower the production of BDNF, a protein essential for creating strong neurological connections. Excessive sugar intake increases inflammation and can cause depression. Having said that, carbs are also important. Switch to healthy carbs like whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits, instead of white bread, white rice, pasta, sugary foods and potatoes. Do not add sugar to beverages. If required, Stevia might be a better alternative. The key is to have a balanced diet of both macro (Carbs, Proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The requirements vary from person to person based on sex, health, age etc. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin B, whereas Vitamin C is found abundantly in citrus fruits. Green leafy vegetables, milk and dairy products and plant oils provide Vitamin A, D, E and K. Water is a source of essential minerals and 2-4 liters are recommended by WHO per day. Healthy body means to healthy mind.

I for Intermittent-fasting: It is amazing how cheap it is to stay fit. According to a study done in 2019 at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, fasting increased levels of 44 different metabolites. These substances formed by our body’s metabolic processes help boost antioxidant levels in our body. Fasting kick-starts the process of autophagy which repairs our cells and our immune system, which is more important now than ever. I try to follow a 12-hour slot, dinner at 8 pm and breakfast at 8 am, and just have water, tea and coffee in between.

F for Flow: Flow is a mental state of intense focus, which we might also term as being ‘in the zone’. It is one of the most difficult mental state to achieve during lockdown. Working from home can be difficult, with added household chores that were once done by our helpers. Our brain is trained for separate home and office environment. Now both environments have collided leading to loss of focus. This can lead to stress. One of the key methods to get into the flow is to try and keep the two environment as separate as possible. The best way is to follow the routine of getting ready for work as in the pre-lockdown days, and find a separate space for your work where outside disturbance is minimum. Once office hours are over, return to you home environment and focus on your family.

E for Exercise: We are built to move and our traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle kept us healthy. Our brains are hardwired to derive happiness, meaning, and a sense of belonging from physical activity. Recent studies show that regular exercise is good for our brains too. In fact it makes us more generous and cooperative. A brief 30 minutes of physical activity can lift our mood, reduce anxiety and make us positive. Exercise regime involves three types of movement: simple stretching, ones that involve strength and skill, and high-intensity interval training. Follow the one that suites.
"Reflecting on the positive aspects of ones life turns negative thoughts into positive ones."

G for Gratitude: Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools to get out of depression. Gratitude is a state of mind and can be irrespective of ones current situation. Reflecting on the positive aspects of ones life turns negative thoughts into positive ones. These are trying times for all of us, and is especially harsh to those in poverty. By contributing to the society in whatever means possible, and helping those in need can give us purpose and satisfaction. Maintaining a Gratitude Journal, by reflecting on the positive aspects of our life and write down five things we are thankful for, is known to help people get out of depression.

A for Aim: This is the right time to reflect at our life and find out our ultimate desires. Our desires are often guided by external world. It includes factors like fear of repercussions from others, guilt over hurting someone else, guilt over disappointing another and fear of being judged, criticized, or rejected. Find out things that matter to you and are not guided by the external world. It might be something tangible like traveling, or intangible like being more patient with your kid. This is true for professional life too. Write down the goals, break it down into smaller achievable entities, put a timeline, and periodically review your progress and develop goals for improvement. Having a vision for the future gives hope, reduces uncertainty and puts the chaos around us into perspective.

M for Mindfulness and Meditation: A 2011 research at Harvard revealed that students developed significantly denser concentrations of gray matter in their prefrontal cortex after an eight-week program in mindfulness training. Their brain changed in just few weeks leading to better focus, sensory processing, and planning abilities. Mindfulness also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which makes us happy and relaxed. One of the easiest ways is to sit on your favorite chair where you are relaxed and comfortable. Try to focus on one thing: may be your breath, or the pressure exerted by the chair on your body, or your heart beat. Another way is to lie down, close your eyes and scan the body. It is important to be non-judgmental and open-hearted with yourself while doing this, and be compassionate toward your thoughts and feelings. The mind will wander, that is its nature. Be aware that it is wandering and then bring it back to focus. Simple practice of mindfulness for just 15min daily can have positive influence on our life.

E for Entertainment: Being stuck in you house for days, it is important to find ways to entertain oneself. Social media is one way to get entertained. The thing with Internet is that we often get stuck at its first letter ‘I’. To much focus on ‘I’ can lead to narcissism and depression. It is a good idea to fix a limited time for social media and limit exposure to negative news. Relationship is a key indicator of happiness. It is important to stay connected to friends and family through video calls and support each other. Hobbies like reading, drawing, writing, singing, dancing, etc is a very good way of staying away from the negativities. Playing games and watching movies together is also a great way of spending time together with you family.

S for Sleep: It is essential to have a good night’s sleep. It helps in maintaining the health of our brain. All of us have an internal clock called circadian rhythm. Breaking the rhythm leads to stress and leaves us feeling tired throughout the day. Lack of sleep releases hormone ghrelin, which increases hunger and lowers levels of leptin, which regulates metabolism. Improper metabolism can make us tired and even depressed. It is recommended to have at least 7 hours of sleep every day.

"Human species are as complicated as they are resilient."

Human species are as complicated as they are resilient. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to help us, I am sure we will all find our own way through this pandemic. The strength of our species is that we adapt, no matter what the situation is. The post COVID world could be entirely different from the world we are used to. But that might not necessarily be a bad thing. Together we will definitely craft a better future for all.

Subhrashis Adhikari
Author: 5 Questions of the Inquisitive Apes
www.subhrashis.com




"Engaging and entertaining, this page-turner is remarkable in its narration and will give you a new perspective on various aspects of life. Wellresearched and heartfelt, the encouraging tone throughout the book tries to motivate towards a happier life." - Times of India

Link:



Monday, March 23, 2020

THE PRICE OF NOT STAYING AT HOME

REF: WIKI


The world is never going to be the same again. It is upto us whether the change is for better or for worse.
One infected patient can transmit COVID-19 to ~3 new people (average transmission rate). The virus spreads exponentially. And we might not even not know that we are spreading it. COVID-19 spread even before you have symptoms from it. India is currently in stage-2. It won’t take long before it reaches stage-3. The result would be disastrous and would hunt us for ages. Why?


Population of India: 138,00,04,385 people
If only 0.001% is affected we have: 13,80,005 patients
That is 1,90,440 people with severe cases (13.8%)
And over 55,000 critical cases (4%).

India has around 10 hospital beds per 10,000 people while the global average is 30 beds per 10,000 people (Italy 34). We have around 70,000 ICUs(2008) and ~4000 ventilators. Once they get filled... all critical patients, flu or not, will die.
 Over 50,000 people can end up being dead if just 0.001% of population is affectedThis virus has the potential to affect 60% of world population within a year.
 The graph below is not the real number. It is the number based on people tested. The real number would be worse.




Can we let it die its natural death? Yes, but at a high price. We would end up infecting billions and killing millions. And that is not a one time process. Viruses mutate, and COVID-19 is already mutating. Which means that surviving this one does not guarantee survival from its next generation, and then the next. Herd immunity is not the solution.


So what can we do?

Not often do we get the opportunity to save the world by staying at home. It is a rare opportunity that we should not miss. 

Complete lock down, not the soft ones like Italy, but a stringent one can cut the transmission rate to almost nil. That would give us time, and time is gold. Why?




Sure we cannot lock ourselves for months and let the economy die. Good news is, if we act now, it won’t take months. With government help, within weeks 

  • We can develop faster testing method, conduct massive testing and quarantine potential candidates. 
  • We can train people to identify symptoms early and isolate them. 
  • We can educate people on personal distance, mask wearing, hand washing and disinfecting spaces. 
  • We can also build more facilities for treatment. 



By flattening the curve we can make sure that the hospitals are not running out of their capacity. 
It will give us time to know our enemy and eliminate it with minimum casualty.
Social distancing is not just a theory, it works. Check the simulation by Saptarshi Das
a close up of text on a white background
REF: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/saptarshiprofile_socialdistancing-modeling-simulations-activity-6647500610230988800-2px6


REF# https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56

As we slowly release the restrictions after a month, we walk out into a new world. More hygienic, less mass gatherings, stricter travel regulations…but life will go on and slowly even the economy will recover. And maybe by then we would have a medical breakthrough. 

Hopefully this new world would be a better world where we realise the value of life and nature. Hopefully we will slow down and take a break from the rat race. As we accelerate the Global Warming and melt the polar ice, as we keep spreading into remote corners of the globe, we never know which new and deadly creature is lurking in the dark. 
 COVID-19 just a mild warning. We better learn.

For the moment, stay at home… save thousands of life!


REF:
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615375/what-is-herd-immunity-and-can-it-stop-the-coronavirus/
https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca
https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56
https://theprint.in/opinion/current-rate-india-30000-covid-19-deaths-may-no-hospital-bed-june-data/385386/?fbclid=IwAR1xO3W9EgL3GcYyxw2Niq4N5Sih3yhFEnYgWgFy1hOB9-PVVbL_bqpSzQc
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-preps-for-spike-in-covid-19-cases-okays-plan-to-make-more-ventilators/story-uOd5YFyqSGun0FeUf0JzCO.html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738307/
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.MED.BEDS.ZS




Written by Subhrashis Adhikari

"Engaging and entertaining, this page-turner is remarkable in its narration and will give you a new perspective on various aspects of life. Wellresearched and heartfelt, the encouraging tone throughout the book tries to motivate towards a happier life." - Times of India

Link:


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Compassion - The Future World




In a future world of greater population, limited resource, global warming, and technology threatening our jobs, the risks are global. They would need global solutions. Is there solution to our global problems?

Human brain is a complex mass of tufu-like protein that guides us through our life. Information travels faster than any F1 car inside our brains. It acquires, processes, interprets and stores information, while creating prejudices and biases. Every thought and memory that the brain generates is a complex process that uses several parts of the brain. Science is yet to unravel it’s mystery. What we do know is that it has evolved over millions of years from a rather humble beginning. 

The reptilian brain was the first to evolve. It controls the vital functions that help us survive, including heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance. The basic instincts like hunger, thirst, survival and desire to procreate is rooted in this primitive brain. In other words, it controls our desires. The main structures of reptilian brain are brain stem and cerebrum. Reptilian brain represents our nature. In nature the fittest survive. Indians call it ‘prakriti’, which is guided by the rule of the jungle ‘matysa nyaya’. According to the rule, big fish eats small fish.

The next part of the brain that evolved is the palaeo-mammalian brain. Its main structures are hippocampus, amygdala, and the hypothalamus. This part of the brain gives us emotions and binds us together. Morality and empathy comes dominantly from the mammalian brain. It makes sure that even the weak survive, as long as (s)he belongs to the same group. Rule of ‘prakriti’ changes to rule of ‘sanskriti’. Sanskriti is culture, or a set of social rules that defines a group. The group can be a tribe, a religion or a nation. Matysa Nyaya is now modified to big (read powerful) groups eating (exploiting) small (weak) groups. According to the new rule, a small fish in a big group has more chance of survival than a big fish in a small group. Empathy is the glue that helps the group bond strongly. 

The connection of empathy is created through mirroring as discussed in the last post. We are less empathetic towards people we consider as ‘others’ who does not mirror our ideas and expressions. If empathy is the factor that helps creates groups, and you are empathetic towards people you can relate to, then empathy is limited by the Dunbar number. It is the suggested cognitive limit to the number of people whom you can consider as close and relate to. For most humans it is close to 150 individuals. Stories like religion or nationalism can loosely bind a bigger group, but it is not the strong glue of empathy.

Neo-mammalian brain (or primate brain), i.e. the neocortex, is the latest to evolve. Our cognitive abilities and intelligence is derived from this part of the brain. The Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) of neo-mammalian brain is involved in all executive functions, ability to plan, decision making, expressing our personality, aligning our thoughts and actions with internal goals, and moderating social behaviour. Basal Ganglia, also part of neo-mammalian brain, store routine, repetitive behaviours, and thoughts. Habits are stored in form of thousands mini-programs or maps which helps brain go on autopilot and save energy. 

Neo-mammalian brain gives us the ability to change ourselves. I must mention here that the three parts of the grain is a simplification, but a good analog. We have done enough research to understand the limitations of our brain and know our cognitive biases. While bigotory, racism, sexism etc still exists, we are slowly getting over it. The laws around the globe are more liberal than they were a century ago. According to Steven Pinker, the world is more peaceful that it ever was. But, how can we get better?

We can create a better world if we find a way to be compassionate about everyone else irrespective of the group they belong to. If we use our PFC to set a goal of being compassionate, and practice it consciously everyday then it becomes a mini-program that gets stored in our Basal Ganglia. One can become compassionate by practicing.

All cognitive information gets stored as memories called engrams.The way we act and think results in biophysical or biochemical changes in the brain and other neural tissues. By visualising a particular outcome or goal that you seek changes your brain. It makes you more positive and increases the likelihood of the outcome. Positive faith leads to positive results through placebo effect.

According to Indian philosophy actions leave behind mental impressions in our minds, called samskara. Samskara affects our future actions and thoughts. That is Karma. Compassion and kindness is contagious and can be rewarding. When you give compassion, it comes back to you.

If we want a better future, we need to erase the borders and create a compassionate world. Compassion not just for fellow beings, but also towards other species. It might sound too idealistic at the moment. A democratic world was once idealistic too. We have changed, and we will keep changing. 

The future world would be very different from what it is today. Next time when you think of someone, try consciously to forget about the identity of the other person. That person may belong to a group that had exploited your group in the past, that person might be from another country that you now consider your enemy. Forget all that identity and think about compassion. That person might still live in the medieval era of bigotry. That is not a good enough reason for you to turn into a bigot too. 

As the old cliche goes, be the change you want to see in the world. We have moved from prakriti to sanskriti. Now it is time to move towards global citizenship - vasudhaiva kutumbakam.



REF


Written by Subhrashis Adhikari


"Engaging and entertaining, this page-turner is remarkable in its narration and will give you a new perspective on various aspects of life. Wellresearched and heartfelt, the encouraging tone throughout the book tries to motivate towards a happier life." - Times of India

Link: