Sunday, 25 October 2009

Transformation:Good to Bad

Philip Zimbardo is Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. His famous ground breaking work Stanford Prison Experiment now has been published in a very detailed a researched volume titled THE LUCIFER EFFECT. His research is based on the notion that Certain circumstances makes people bad and evil and he conducts a mock prison, to check his thesis, and the results are startling. Following is a passage from Chapter ONE of his book:

“The Lucifer Effect is my attempt to understand the process of transformation at work when good or ordinary people do bad or evil things. We will deal with the fundamental question ‘What makes the people go wrong?’ But instead of resorting to a traditional religious dualism of good versus evil, of wholesome nature versus corrupting nature, we will look at the real people engaged in life’s daily tasks, enmeshed in doing their jobs, surviving within a turbulent crucible of human nature. We will seek to understand the nature of their character transformations when they are faced with powerful situational forces.

Let’s begin with a definition of evil. Mine is simple, psychologically based one: Evil consists in intentionally behaving in ways that harm, abuse, demean, dehumanize, or destroy innocent others—or using one’s authority and systemic power to encourage or permit others to do so on your behalf. In short ,it is knowing better but doing worse.”

Most of us hide behind egocentric biases that generate the illusions that we are special. Theses self serving protective shields allow us to believe that each of us is above average on any test of integrity. Too often we look at the stars through the thick lens of personal invulnerability when we should also look down to the slippery slope beneath our feet. Such egocentric biases are more commonly found in societies that foster independent orientations, such as Euro-American cultures, and less so in collectivist-oriented societies, such as Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The Goal of Existence

The divergent opinion gives fillip to achieving new possibilities and exposes us towards the dimensions that are writ with variety and choices. The goal of existence is worship and worship is spiritual, temporal and spatial exuberance.

Worship is not ONLY a prayer performed in a mosque, a church, a temple, a synagogue etc….or in a lonely solitude of a home; it’s also not only a remembrance of the Beloved in dire times or in moments of fulfillment and bliss. Worship is loving the family, nation, and all forms of Life.

Worship is standing on a shore of a deep blue sea and admiring the beauty of a sunset, watching in awe the twinkling little stars, feeling the soft gentle and cool morning breeze and praising its sublimity, feeling insignificant but tall amid the majesty of the magnificent mountains.

Worship is respect for all and sundry, WORSHIP is finding the Grace of Creator through His Creation, touching the benevolence of Creator by holding a hand in need…

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Evil and error are not forms of reality

There such things as "sick souls"--souls that are unsound, evil,
are perverse-as opposed to "souls" that are "healthy"?

This was the question raised by BENEDETTO CROCE (1866-1954) an Italian Critic, Philosopher and best known author of Aesthetics of Twentieth century. He has some interesting insights about goodness and evil. Following is a passage from his book THE CONDUCT OF LIFE:

Evil and error are not "forms of reality," as people sometimes doggedly
assert, but nothing more nor less than the transition from one form of
reality to another, and from one form of the Spirit to another of its
forms--the Spirit, in its effort to attain the higher coming to regard
the lower as irrational, erroneous, evil. We have evidence of this in
the fact that wrong-doing is always attended by a consciousness of doing
wrong, by an effort, that is--it may be a faint one--to overcome evil;
and this effort constitutes the true definition of "good." In accepting
this point of view we are in no danger of slipping into a crass
optimism, or worse still, into brute determinism; for here we are
denying the reality of evil by making it implicit in the good, an
aspect, therefore, a constituent, of the good, as eternal as the good
itself; and the process we affirm is a process of liberation, of

Monday, 5 October 2009

An unlimited idea of freedom

“How much more there is to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s a reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!”

This is from a book JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL written by the bestselling author Richard Bach. The simple story and the numerous beautiful photographs of seagulls that captivated me all my childhood and I learned a lesson or two about life and Meaning of Life from it.

The story is about a seagull and the decision it makes about his life, following is the most powerful passage of the book and the one around which the story revolves:

“Each of us is in truth an idea of the Great gull, an unlimited idea of freedom, and precision flying is a step towards expressing our real nature. Everything that limits us we have to put aside. That’s why all this high-speed practice, and low speed, and aerobatics…” “Your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip is nothing more than your thought itself, in a form you can see. Break the chains of your thoughts, and you break the chains of your body, too…”