Sunday, March 15, 2009

Trusting Strangers on the Internet

I simply approve every request. You can always delete them later. And you might be missing out on something very interesting that someone will one day post. I mean, just look at their info, and posts, and see if they seem genuine, and if they share some interests in common with you. If one feels that no one can be trusted, then the Internet is not the place to be.

Besides, in my situation, everyone who is an alumnus of St. John's Annapolis or Sante Fe Great Books program automatically shares something in common with me. How will you ever meet new and interesting people if you never trust anyone. Is it not the case that all of your friends were, at one point, a stranger that you got to know. I am a stranger to 6 billion people on the planet, but that does not make me strange. And a large percentage of violent crimes are perpetrated by relatives or acquaintances.

I have been on the Internet non stop since 1998, and talked to everyone. An online friend from Univ. of Oulu, Finland, came with his 11 yr. old son and stayed at my apartment for a few days, to save on hotel costs. I went to Tampa, FL once and had dinner with 3 yahoo chat acquaintances. An AOL friend from Great Britain spent the day with me while visiting NY. And I am guessing that about 50,000 people over the past 10 years have read my blogs on philosophy, religion, poetry, etc. I have never regretted giving everyone a chance.

What would Jesus have done? The Samaritan women at the well, the adultress, about to be stoned, Zaccheus the tax collector, the Ethiopian eunuch in his chariot, reading Isaiah, Apostles Andrew and Nathaniel.... they were ALL TOTAL STRANGERS. America amazes me, because we pay such lip service to Christianity, and demand that
our presidential candidates take Jesus as their personal savior, but what do we choose to do in daily life. Dont get me wrong. I am Hindu and Buddhist in my personal beliefs. Gandhi rejected Christianity as his personal religion, but the beatitudes of the sermon on the mount were his favorite. Kurt Vonnegut wryly observed that Americans clamor to erect monuments to Moses' ten commandments, but no one thinks to have a plaque for the beatitudes.

And the Torah and Talmud say to welcome the stranger, so dont any of you weasel out of this by saying you are Jewish.

Dennis the Menace asked someone "are you a stranger". The old man replied "No, I lived her all my life." Dennis said "Good, cause my Mom says not to talk to strangers.

It's like the Lotto ad says, "You can't win if you don't play."

One of my tutor's at St. John's, Mr. Main, I think, said in seminar "you can't have too much money or too much whiskey." I guess I would add to that sentiment that you can't have too many friends (though you can have too many enemies). Lincoln said "If I make my enemy into my friend, then have I not destroyed my enemy?"

My practice for years is to pick up a book at random, a book I might not otherwise read, open it and read a page at random, and try to understand something from that page.

People on Facebook and Myspace are like books. I randomly look at what some of the 300 people on my list are saying, and I am glimpsing into the soul and life and heart of that person. They mention something entirely new to me. I look at something in a way that I have never seen before. I google and read some. I reflect, react and post. Others randomly read my thoughts.

These activities are very enriching. Even a fool has something to teach a wise man.

Where would philosophy be today, if Socrates had said to The Eleatic Stranger, "Oh, sorry, I can't talk to you 'cause you're a stranger."

Somewhere in the Talmud it is observed that "when a great king stamps out coins with his image on them, each coin is the same, but when God creates people in His image, each and every one is different." Now, YOU are a stranger to all the people who might possibly add YOU. Do you feel they should FEAR you?

No, of course not. And you know that you are totally unique. There has NEVER been another person just like YOU, and there never shall be. And you have much to offer others.

Aristotle said, "A friend is another I." Well, consider the reflexivity of this I-Thou relationship. As we esteem others, so, in a labyrinthine fashion, we come to esteem ourselves.

There is a saying in India, "When a saint meets a sinner, all he sees is saintliness, but when a sinner meets a saint, all he sees is sin."

Also, "when a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are pockets."

Is God A Mathematician?

Is God A Mathematician?
by Mario Livio. Simon & Schuster, 2009

"The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics creates many intriguing puzzles: Does mathematics have an existence that is entirely independent of the human mind? In other words, are we merely discovering mathematical verities, just as astronomers discover previously unknown galaxies? Or, is mathematics nothing but a human invention? If mathematics indeed exists in some abstract fairyland, what is the relation between this mystical world and physical reality? How does the human brain, with its known limitations, gain access to such an immutable world, outside of space and time? On the other hand, if mathematics is merely a human invention and it has no existence outside our minds, how can we explain the fact that the invention of so many mathematical truths miraculously anticipated questions about the cosmos and human life not even posed until many centuries later?"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Blessing and Curse of Imagination

Our gift and our curse is our IMAGINATION, which enables us to imagine a perfection in theory which is far beyond anything that can be actualized in practice. If it were not for the blessing of imagination, we would never strive for change. If it were not for the curse of imagination, we would never feel the sense of sadness and loss for "what might have been." "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda" is the title of an old self-help book from the 1980s, in cognitive therapy (my cup is not half empty but half full). The Old Testament has a long and fascinating motif about "the darkness and wickedness of the imagination and the human heart". Of course there is also a beauty and light side to the imagination. The mind is a wonderful servant but a cruel master. We are the authors of our own "handwriting upon the wall" saying "you have been weighed and found wanting" or saying "good and faithful servant."


Krishna In Singapore, Friend for 6 years now

[03:22] Sitaram: is your work going ok, are you hard hit by the recession
[03:23] Krish: not really
[03:23] Krish: the recession is a scam
[03:23] Krish: my business is getting better
[03:23] Sitaram: well, that is great!
[03:23] Krish: i am planning to come to the US soon
[03:23] Krish: i wish to meet you soon when am there sitaram
[03:23] Sitaram: well, come and visit
us in nyc
[03:23] Sitaram: certainly
[03:24] Krish: yes
[03:24] Krish: was travelling the region
[03:24] Krish: last month
[03:24] Krish: learnt alot
[03:24] Sitaram: which region which country
[03:24] Krish: was my first traveling experience in my life
[03:24] Krish: in 23 years
[03:24] Sitaram: are you in usa yet
[03:24] Sitaram: were you in calif.
[03:24] Krish: nope am not
[03:25] Krish: was in indonesia
[03:25] Krish: kl, penang
[03:25] Krish: then bangkok
[03:25] Sitaram: aha,.... they speak Bahasa there, right
[03:25] Krish: yes
[03:25] Krish: bangkok is a beautiful place
[03:25] Sitaram: i knew some indonesians on internet
[03:25] Krish: respectful and cultured people
[03:26] Sitaram: actually, it is one of largest muslim countries, and things
are very stable
[03:26] Sitaram: honor killings are unknown there
[03:26] Sitaram: that is what i heard
[03:26] Krish: indonesia was alright
[03:26] Krish: but i still felt quite unsafe
[03:27] Krish: compared to thailand
[03:27] Krish: i was in jakarta and kalimantan
[03:27] Sitaram: right, i am sure it cannot compare to singapore for law and order
[03:27] Krish: yes
[03:27] Krish: singapore is safe haven to me
[03:27] Krish: i feel so safe here
[03:27] Sitaram: i knew a woman in jakarta on internet
[03:27] Sitaram: just friends
[03:28] Krish: oh i see
[03:28] Sitaram: but she was a heroine addict
[03:28] Krish: oh
[03:28] Krish: gosh
[03:28] Sitaram: she claims to have lost the habit
[03:28] Sitaram: it was 2 years ago when i met her
[03:28] Krish: ohhh
[03:28] Krish: wow
[03:29] Sitaram: she said she would inject like 6 or 10 times per day, and
it would take a LOT to actually make her really high
[03:29] Sitaram: they build up a tolerance
[03:29] Sitaram: and then they need it just to feel normal
[03:29] Sitaram: i never tried any drugs myself
[03:29] Sitaram: i was always scared of addiction
[03:29] Sitaram: someone offered me some cocaine in the 1980s, but i
didnt even want to know what it feels like
[03:30] Sitaram: i figured once i had a taste, i would crave it the rest of my
[03:30] Sitaram: i have not had a drop of liquor or any tobacco for 1
year now
[03:30] Krish: gosh
[03:30] Krish: wow
[03:30] Sitaram: i never want to go back...
[03:30] Krish: thats good
[03:31] Sitaram: when you get over 60 which i am, then, your body cant
take it any more
[03:31] Krish: yes
[03:31] Sitaram: and i take 6 different medicines each day, so,
alcohol would interfere
[03:31] Krish: gosh
[03:31] Krish: yes definitely
[03:32] Krish: sitaram
[03:32] Sitaram: 1 for high blood sugar, 2 for pressure, one for stomach
acid, one flomax for urine flow, and a sleeping pill
[03:32] Krish: can i ask you something
[03:32] Sitaram: sure
[03:32] Sitaram: anything
[03:32] Krish: i started talking to you abt 5-6 years ago
[03:32] Krish: i think
[03:32] Sitaram: yes, i was thinking of that today
[03:32] Krish: my life has changed so much
[03:33] Krish: today my business is moderately successful
[03:33] Krish: and all this wouldnt have happened
[03:33] Krish: if you didnt make me think
[03:33] Krish: years back
[03:33] Krish: i owe alot to you
[03:33] Sitaram: well, i think you might have been influenced by
someone or something else
[03:34] Sitaram: because, i really only repeat like an old parrot what i
have heard and read for years
[03:34] Krish: i take it as my spiritual journey really began when i started
talking to you when i was rejected by the pentecoastal woman
[03:34] Sitaram: oh, yeah, i remember about that
[03:34] Krish: yes
[03:34] Sitaram: they are BAD news
[03:34] Krish: hahaha
[03:34] Sitaram: i mean, protestants in general
[03:34] Krish: yes
[03:35] Krish: the funny thing is she left the church
[03:35] Sitaram: catholics and orthodox (greek/russian) are much
nicer to deal with
[03:35] Krish: yes
[03:35] Sitaram: protestants can be fanatical
[03:35] Sitaram: and unstable
[03:35] Krish: very
[03:35] Sitaram: judgmental too
[03:35] Krish: yes
[03:35] Krish: gosh
[03:35] Krish: seriously sitaram
[03:36] Krish: do you think putting ur works in a book can be done?
[03:36] Krish: i think it might help alot of people
[03:36] Krish: i want to give something back
[03:36] Sitaram: well, hmmm.... i am happy for anyone to edit it...
[03:36] Krish: i want to do something
[03:36] Sitaram: i am not certain i could see it clearly myself...
[03:37] Sitaram: i mean, it might take someone else to make excerpts,
and edit and organize
[03:37] Krish: ok
[03:37] Krish: i wouldnt mind doing it but i dont know how or what to write
[03:37] Sitaram: well, you know, as long as it is alive in some form on the
internet, then, people can access it
[03:37] Sitaram: and it stays in the
search engines
[03:38] Sitaram: that is perhaps enough
[03:38] Krish: are you sure?
[03:38] Sitaram: perhaps the age of books is over....
[03:38] Sitaram: i mean, google
search engines....
[03:38] Krish: true
[03:38] Sitaram: that is where the great influence is
[03:38] Krish: of course
[03:38] Krish: i just want this knowledge
[03:38] Krish: to be spread
[03:38] Krish: to many
[03:39] Sitaram: it is sufficient if you keep the files archived
[03:39] Krish: yes i do hve it with me
[03:39] Krish: sitaram
[03:39] Sitaram: that is sufficient, and you are skilled in computers, so,
you will preserve them
[03:39] Krish: you spent many years in a monastry
[03:39] Krish: and then as a buddhist and then as a hindu
[03:39] Sitaram: well, i spent one year as a novice when i was age 25
[03:39] Sitaram: 13 months actually
[03:40] Krish: ohhh
[03:40] Sitaram: and i spent several years living as a layperson in the
monastery,... and visiting it a lot
[03:40] Sitaram: several actually
[03:40] Sitaram: one russian, one greek
[03:41] Krish: perhaps this spiritual journey can be noted
[03:41] Sitaram: yes,.... all together i have had many experiences of
several different religions
[03:41] Krish: yes this is something i would like to write about
[03:41] Krish: bcos thats the fundamental problem.. people get
stuck to religion
[03:41] Sitaram: i suppose in a nutshell, some theme about my life,
where i attend st. johns annapolis great books program for 4 years
[03:41] Sitaram: and seek truth in western philosophy
[03:42] Krish: and ur journey was what inspired me
[03:42] Krish: ohhh
[03:42] Sitaram: and then, i seek it in orthodox christian monasticism
[03:42] Sitaram: and then i spend several years reading many books on
psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis
[03:42] Krish: wow
[03:43] Sitaram: then i start blogging in 1998 with a geocities free site,
using only a few html commands
[03:43] Sitaram: so i was blogging before there was a word BLOG
[03:43] Krish: haha
[03:43] Sitaram: so, then, the 2 years around the Guyanese Hindu Mandir in
brooklyn, across the street from the apartment
[03:44] Sitaram: and then a year or two , nights and weekends at a
korean zen center in nyc (Chogye)
[03:44] Krish: ohhh
[03:44] Sitaram: and then, a year or so with the Hare Krishnas
[03:44] Sitaram: and then, my great battle with islam
[03:45] Sitaram: and then, reconciling myself to islam
[03:45] Krish: hmmmm
[03:45] Sitaram: so, that might be the framework for a story
[03:45] Krish: yes
[03:45] Sitaram: a biography, weaving in all the various blog posts
[03:45] Krish: yes
[03:45] Sitaram: perhaps all that is necessary is the story, and highlights
[03:45] Krish: i have never written a book before
[03:46] Krish: i have no idea how to do this
[03:46] Sitaram: perhaps a 100 page book, with links or search engine
arguments to find more on internet
[03:46] Krish: yes
[03:47] Krish: i did my business so that i will have money to study
[03:47] Krish: after a year of stopping school
[03:47] Krish: i have now saved enough
[03:47] Krish: for my school fees
[03:47] Sitaram: that is good
[03:47] Krish: now i wish to get back into the journey
[03:48] Sitaram: there is time, there are some years for you
[03:48] Sitaram: you will succeed when the time is right
[03:48] Krish: sitaram are u familiar with osho's writings
[03:48] Sitaram: well, yes, and he was very talented,... but there is a
dark side to osho
[03:48] Sitaram: i have one of his books on Heraclitus
[03:49] Krish: ohh
[03:49] Sitaram: the ancient greek
[03:49] Sitaram: but, i spoke for hours with a woman who was in his
oregon ashram when she was 18, for 6 months
[03:49] Sitaram: and she described the sexual activities
[03:49] Krish: they had sexual activities in the ashram?
[03:50] Sitaram: actually, she became a sex addict, with hundreds
of partners, and she went regularly to Puna to the Osho center
[03:50] Sitaram: they are required to have AIDES HIV tests, and then, the
engage in sex as a kind of religious practice
[03:50] Krish: gosh
[03:51] Sitaram: it is 4am i am forgetting the words
[03:51] Krish: thats messed up
[03:51] Sitaram: but this woman, said that after 6 months in Osho's
ashram, she was bleeding from the rectum (anus) because that was an
activity which was encouraged
[03:51] Sitaram: tantric
[03:51] Krish: holy smokes
[03:51] Sitaram: that is the word
[03:52] Sitaram: she was really convinced of the value of tantric sex
[03:52] Krish: its a god damn harlem
[03:52] Krish: not a ashram
[03:52] Sitaram: well, harlem is a nice place now,.... so, better not to
say that
[03:52] Krish: HAHAHA
[03:52] Krish: HAHAAHAHAHAH
[03:52] Sitaram: i live very close to harlem, like a 40 min train ride
[03:52] Krish: ahhh
[03:53] Krish: i see
[03:53] Sitaram: and Bill Clinton has his offices there
[03:53] Krish: why gosh
[03:53] Sitaram: former pres. clinton
[03:53] Krish: and osho
[03:53] Krish: has such a following
[03:53] Krish: in the US
[03:53] Sitaram: he is very popular with African Americans
[03:53] Krish: i know the whole hippies loved it
[03:53] Sitaram: well, the woman i knew was with Osho in Oregon in the
[03:53] Krish: oh
[03:53] Krish: tantric sex and all
[03:55] Sitaram: i know,... not
necessary,... but, contact me at my
gmail address, when you are coming

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?