Saturday, July 25, 2015

Zeno and Nano

Zeno was a lonely man. In a sleepy town of Velia on the coast of Tyrrhenian Sea he only had his friend Parmenides for company. Velia was ravaged so many times that the only professions that prospered there were Philosophy and Prostitution. People would come to this city to be stripped naked either by Philosophers or Prostitutes or sometimes both.

Zeno was very ugly for a Greek. Socrates nose, ordinary face and small questioning eyes. Of his seven siblings he was the least loved of his parents. He appeared to have a problem with everything. He questioned every idea, every belief around him. He could not make sense of very obvious things in his life. He spent most of his childhood to get a glimpse of the time passing. He would argue - What has passed? He could not see anything passing, yet the world around him changed every moment. Maybe nothing passes, we just hop on from one world to another.Every world being only slightly different so as to give us an impression of something passing. But again he could not see himself hopping around either. The world just did not make sense to him.

He would spend evenings chatting with the only people who he believed understood something about the world - the famous prostitutes of Velia. Zeno would explain them why the whole world did not make sense and they would nod saying - "Yes we know".

He would never want the sun to go down. The nights were cruel. Forever sleepless, he was waiting for something, someone. The missing piece of the cosmic puzzle. He fell in love with the missing piece that would forever elude him. This is where is postulated the famous paradox of motions. While it is explained in many ways, what Zeno framed originally was about a man and his love across the river Alento.

If a man and his love are on the opposite sides of the River Alento and the man starts swimming across the river towards his love, will he ever reach her? He argued that the man would need cross half the river first, so he will still be left with another half. When he crosses the second half of the river there is half of the half still left. No matter how far he goes there will still be a part left for him to cross. There was no way he could get across the Alento. His love would forever be an unfulfilled quest.

He however saw people crossing rivers everyday. He just could not make sense of it, there was the missing piece he could not find. This was the missing piece he loved more than anything. He died looking for it.

2400 years after him, we know what he was looking for. Zeno was looking for his Nano. Nano was the missing piece of the puzzle. Nano is where the weirdness begins. Nano is a term attributed to things of the scale of 10 ^ (-9). This is the scale where the quantum behavior sets in. This is where you start growing week on your knees, your senses stop being your guide. You are left alone in Nano's company.

Nano will hold your hand and take you into this weird world. Unable to see, hear , touch, smell or taste you can only feel in this world. You can feel color , texture and smell without actually seeing, touching or smelling. She would show how gold has a different color here, how space-time continuum is warped around carelessly as if in a perpetual immobile stretch. The further we we walk with her the weirder it gets. Deep into this world there is place where existence becomes an idea. We cannot walk any further. She says it is Planck's wall. We have reached at  10 ^-33 cms. She has never been any further, the world beyond this does not exist.

Zeno did not realize that he could not keep subdividing space infinitely. Eventually he would hit the Plancks wall and no further subdivision would be possible. There would ultimately be a finite distance to travel. But Nano was not there to tell Zeno, Nanos did not exist then.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Barber who did not shave himself

In a somewhat weird town there was a group of barbers who followed a simple rule - they shaved only those who did not shave themselves. Now let us make an assertion (which can either be true or false) - "There was a barber in the group who did not shave himself". Well possibly. What is the big deal about it? If the above statement is true, then by the definition of collection (that barbers only shaved men who did not shave themselves) the barber must shave himself. But also, no barber in the collection can shave himself. The statement can neither be true nor false. Something is seriously wrong.

In early 20th Century, Bertrand Russell's paradox, outlined above, lent a severe blow to the philosophy of mathematics that was trying to find its footing among established disciplines (or find it again after Archimedes, Plato etc) . 

Looking at the problem more closely a bit of help from mathematics might come handy. The “group”” as used in the paradox mentioned above is often referred to as a SET. A Set of things is different from the thing itself. A SET of humans is not a human. Similarly a SET of humans in love is not the same as a human in love. There is simple way of explaining this idea in mathematics (precisely Set Theory).

If x is free variable (Humans for example) and there is a property λ(Pronounced Lambda)  limiting it (Humans in Love, African Elephants, North Indians in Bangalore etc). Then we can define a set

A = {x:x is in love}. This would be read in English as A is a set of humans who are in love. Or more precisely.

A = {x:λ(x)} where λ is a property which means - " Is in Love".

I used hate those braces "{}" in set theory, but I guess she is like an elegant and exotic woman who wears braces to ward of insincere suitors.

Back to What Russel pointed out

Let us define a set R where R is a set of things that not members of themselves. In mathematics it would loosely translate as 

R = {x: ~λ(x)}

Where λ(x) stands for  x x . The ~ at the beginning of the property denotes the inverse. If λ(x) means a property where x belongs to x then  ~λ(x) would refer to a property where x does not belong to x.

If R defined above is a set of things that are not members of themselves and we start with the assertion, is R a member of itself? If R is a member of itself, then it must satisfy the condition of not being a member of itself so it is not. If it is not then it must not satisfy the condition of not being a member of itself, and so it must be a member of itself.

Would it be fair to say that such set like R cannot exist? Why not? Well it obviously leads to a contradiction, but that is none of R's problem. What is a set that is not a member of itself. If we look at a set of all things. All animals , plants, bananas, apples, Macs, iPods, men, women, mountains, Andromeda galaxy, Space, time and everything else that senses can perceive or cannot perceive. When such a set is created it should have as its members all that has been, is and will be. Even that which could not be. That would be everything, but  everything is also something so this set should contain itself.

For no mathematical or philosophical reason, I would like to name this set as ∞.

 = {x:x is everything}

But a set cannot be a member of itself. If there is something outside the set then
∞ is not a set of everything. 

How can infinity be contained within itself. If it cannot then there is something outside
infinity so obviously its not infinity. Indian philosophy terms it as Infinity's constraint.
Just being infinite, you have to be infinite in infinite number of ways, constantly evolving andchanging in dynamic infinity.

In Indian philosophy there is an apparent reconciliation of the problem posed by Russel. What if there are two infinities that can mutually exist without making the other impossible? What if there is an infinite that is also a null set, that is zero that is not manifest. That infinity can coexist with the manifest infinity. You could take out of infinity from the infinite that is not manifest but it will still remain zero. As the sage Kapil goes on to explain to his mother the theory of Samkhya, he says that the manifest infinite is nothing but knowledge (Vedas) defining tangible things out of infinite that is not manifest.

As Tulsidas puts it,

नेति नेति कर वेद पुकारा !

When Vedas tried discovering the non manifest infinite, they looked at everything they discovered in the process and cried out - ït is not this, it is not this. The universe (The manifest infinite was created in the process).

Thursday, July 16, 2015

पश्चाताप कर

पश्चाताप कर ,
पश्चाताप कर ,
अश्रु बहा ,
क्रन्दन कर।

नष्ट कर अपनी घोषतंत्रि,
हर स्वर को कम्पन कर,
साक्षी बन अपने विनाश का,
अपना सर्वस्व अर्पण कर।

छलनी उर में बसती कविता का,
अपने हाथों से वध कर,
काट अपनी हस्त रेखाओं को,
नियति को फिर से विस्मृत कर।

कर प्रज्वलित संताप की अग्नि,
आशा की आहुति कर,
नग्न हो तत्व से सत्व तक,
वेश्याओं का आलिंगन कर,

जीवन को वर,
विषपान कर,
तुमने पाप किया है,
तुमने प्रेम किया है !

Thursday, July 9, 2015

On an uncertain pi (22/7) his epitome of success he built,
and the drift of a pre -ordained force he called his fate !!

Monday, July 6, 2015

तुम मेरी अंतिम कविता

नियति की विस्मृत रेखाओं में ,
खोई तुम मेरी अद्भुत रचना ,
काल बोध के पूर्व सृजित ,
तुम मेरी अंतिम कविता। 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Temple of Dead Gods

When you venture too far out into the sea never with an intention to return, when the fleeting horizon appears to get tiered of ever eluding every seeker, when thoughts start freezing in necessities fearsome chill, when hope starts taking laboured breath, you know you are close to the temple of dead gods.The waves stroking your vessel dies down, the guiding star is lost and so is every desire to go back to the world again. You put out every flame of aspiration, every hint of light from within, purge every memory. You offer your soul to the dark and then does the Island with temple of dead gods materialize.This is where every quest for an escape from life ends. This is where the quest for living death begins.

You no longer captain the vessel, the engines no longer hum. It is slowly sucked into an inconscient dark. In the dark around the island dead plants from the bottom of the ocean rise up higher than the sight can go. The laws of nature have given this place a miss. Huge swarms of fishes would crawl up the dead trees and cling on until they die breathless.In that moment between the end of life and approach of death every dying fish has a last enigmatic smile and casts a somber look on you.
The dead fishes are quickly reborn as they fall back into the dark ocean. They crawl up the tree to die again. Here the wheels of karma are no longer governed by time.

With your first step into the cloudy mass that makes the surface of the island, you are laid bare right to the hollow where your soul once resided. Everything ever made to protect you, to cover you is gone. Without your clothes and hair your body, without hope and love your heart and without time your existence all lie exposed to the play of possibilities. You do not feel nude, it appears you have worn nudity.The coherence of the body is gone. Every organ is the master of its own will. The body becomes the playground of the dark. Every emotion,every desire, every passion manifests and the body meekly obeys. Uninhibited tears,mischievous play of genitals, quivering of the limbs and a senseless beating of the heart. The desire to be a conqueror, the pain of a refuted lover, the joy of birth, the fear of death, the passion of fulfilled love all manifest together, fighting for your body. This does not end until all desires, all vitality has been fruitioned and have been lost. The Catharsis makes you pure for the temple.

From within the island there are no boundaries, there is no beyond. Time has long long been driven out of here, only the "Now" remains. An ever present, all encompassing now.Because the island is infinite it has no center. Its center is everywhere. Somewhere in this everywhere there is the temple of dead gods. Supported by dark clouds that cling to it with all their hands, the stairways to the door is made of dead divine virtues. The first few steps are made of compassion, probably compassion was the first to be sacrificed. After a laborious trip up the flight of steps made of compassion you reach the steps made of dead truth. Dark, ugly,mutilated truth lying bare on these steps. These were white marble stairs with marks of blood, as if it has trickled down not so long ago. After truth,beauty, joy, hope and love you reach the final step - the bare bosom of the earth. Infertile, soulless, hopeless.

There are no accounts of the inside of the temple. It is in a different dimension beyond what can be perceived and communicated.The fallen gods have many seekers and many come in the search of the temple. It is hard to say if they lived or died. It is my quest now. I see that the horizon has stopped receding and my hopes are deserting me. I am near. If I live through this, I promise to write what I saw in the temple.