Friday, June 27, 2008

Reading Rand might Kill you

"I like Cigarettes; I like to think of fire held in a man’s hand. FIRE, a dangerous force, tamed at his finger tips. I often wonder about the hours when a man sits alone watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking. I wonder what great things have come out from such hours. When a man thinks there is a spot of fire alive in his mind – and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression."
- Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged, 1957)

This quote by Ayn Rand, some few years back, almost compelled me to take up smoking. After few failed attempts when i was finally able to take the puff inside my lungs, i almost choked myself by coughing intermittently, there was a sure heaviness in the head and mouth was foul with bitterness. I decided never to try it again.
Since then i believe.."Reading Ayn Rand can be injurious to health"

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Loss of Words: Side effects of Depravity?

It has, comfortably, been a year since i read the last book. Life has surely changed ever since i have landed to Los Angeles. It’s not that I was unaware all this time that i have stopped reading, it was always there back of my mind, like a splinter caught in the eye.

But i have convinced myself that reading is something you can pursue only in leisure and it requires a luxury of time. And it’s not so that my coursework here does not allow me to read a book or magazine here and now. But perhaps its this very idea that reading is an activity to pursue in your leisure, i have kept myself away from picking up a book. Or perhaps and more likely is that pursuit of reading as a refreshment and 'Enlightenment' has been replaced by a more viable option-YouTube. Am I at the loss of Words?

The second idea not only sounds more convincing but also comforting. i perhaps want to condole myself that my pursuit of enlightenment hasn't stalled since i have stopped reading; it just has shifted to a different source. it has shifted from words to pictures, from white papers and black words to gamut of colors that change at 16 frames per second. From a description to visualization. From a silence of a room to a stream of Stereo sound coming out of ear plugs, going straight into my mind through the ear drums.

I have heard this, I don't know how true it is, that mind becomes passive when you watch television and it is more agile when you read a book. Isn't that one another doctrine being pushed by the torchbearers of traditionalism who still feel that "good old ways" are still the best way to do things? I am perplexed because i do find myself more engrossed when reading than watching videos. But i can not negate the fact that amount of details thrown by a video to me is infinite compared to what i may perceive by reading a book. Should not that make my mind more agile as it has more information to decode? One counter argument to this is that by being engrossed in reading your mind creates pictures and builds information that are far more complex than what is being viewed on videos. But the pictures made by mind would be the one mind would have seen before somewhere and sometime, so it would be presenting the information which already existed. Someone might argue that tons of information is known only to the sub-conscious mind and that reading is a bridge between consciousness and the sub-consciousness by presenting pictures only known to the sub-conscious.

As of now i don't plan to pick a book. I myself was never an ardent book reader until I got into my undergrad school. However, I picked it up well and could comfortably say i was among the "literate" people of my class. Just like people are natural sportsmen, I guess was a natural TV watcher. My passion for TV deserves another post sometime. My Grandpa and i have had serious arguments regarding my TV watching habits, to make long story short my passion was nipped as my family got rid of cable connection. I think me being over hooked to the YouTube is just a side effect of keeping me deprived of the required dosage of TV. At least, thinking so keeps me out of the guilt and blame it all on my family. You know after all, I need to keep a clear conscience;)))

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Dream Deferred...

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

A poetry by Langston Hughes, inscribed on the glass at Aviation LAX Green line station.

A lonely number like root Three

I fear that I will always be
A lonely number like root three

The three is all that’s good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath a vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine

For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic

I know I’ll never see the sun,
As 1.7321

Such is my reality, a sad irrationality
When hark! For what is this I see,
Another square root of a three

As quietly come waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer

We break free from our mortal bonds
And with a wave of magic wands
Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed

very interesting poem.....i first heard this when i saw the movie Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and after a bit of googling i found out that the author of this poem is David Feinberg, a computer science teacher at MIT