The English word ‘gut’ is rich in its range of meanings. In Biology, ‘gut’ means ‘intestine’ – as in ‘gut bacteria’ or ‘gutting a fish’; this meaning extends to the racquet strings used in sports such as tennis and badminton. In common usage, ‘guts’ refers to ‘courage’, as in ‘having the guts to take on the huge challenge of _______’ (fill in your favourite). Continue reading Gutless Wonders
People often wrongly interpret the process of natural selection – which drives the evolution of living species – by the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’. However, the latter phrase can be highly misleading – for two reasons. One reason is that ‘survival’ may be wrongly understood as ‘survival of an individual’, whereas the correct understanding should be ‘survival and continuation of a species’. The second reason is that a criterion of ‘fitness’ is left unspecified in the second phrase. If these two potential errors are avoided, ‘survival of the fittest’ can be brought into agreement with ‘natural selection’. Continue reading Homo Implacatus
‘Wish I could be a fly on the wall when X and Y meet one-on-one’. This is an ardent – and not very uncommon – wish among those who must know ‘what is really going on in the world’. X and Y are of course two global power-mongers – of the greater or the lesser kind – who imagine that they hold the future of mankind in their hands.
In the absence of the wish coming true, ardent knowledge-seekers are left with no ‘raw material’ except ill-informed and uninformed speculation, to be garnished liberally with flights of fancy and hints of the mysterious. This is how common folk are led to think ‘they know what is going on’ – by those who think ‘they know more of what is going on’. Continue reading FLY ON THE WALL
Full disclosure: While the author has at times felt being “on top of the world”, he cannot claim any personal experience of “life at the top”. However, being a keen witness and a dogged student, the common idea of “top” fascinates him. After all, a crazed race to “the top” inevitably leads to injustice, crime and war. But anyone obsessed with “reaching the top” can provide only a self-serving report of his or her life. Therefore an objective if light-hearted study is attempted here. Continue reading Life at the Top
Case 1: Imagine, in a picturesque suburban neighborhood, two pet dogs of immediate neighbors quarreling over a bone – growling, barking, snarling, lunging; that is, a typical instance of canine conflict over a prized object.
Imagine that the two owners come out and notice the conflict. How might they resolve the conflict? Surely this would be a simple matter, with several decent solutions. For example, the “bone of contention” may be tossed into a covered garbage bin. Or one of the neighbors may come up with a second bone so that each dog has one. Or each neighbor may simply drag his or her dog – growling and snarling – away from the conflict.
This would be civilized behavior. The neighbors would smile at each other, exchange a civility or two, and go happily back home. We can conclude rightly that a “higher intelligence” at work resolved the conflict. Continue reading It’s the Rapacity, Stupid!
The human child needs protective nurture which stretches from birth to at least teenage. The earliest part of this nurture – that is, the first few years after birth – provides to the child the innermost core of ‘identity’, including core values. A child’s eager young mind takes in whatever is offered by parents, teachers and other trusted adults. This is the ‘ABC’ of healthy childhood nurture. Continue reading Identity & Peace
Not many will dispute that ‘freedom’ is one of the more popular words in English language today — in spite of the fact that, as we shall see, this word does not even have a well-defined meaning.
Despite lacking a clear meaning, the idea of ‘freedom’ is much loved the world over. Would any human being ever choose ‘not being free’ over ‘being free’? That is unimaginable. And yet human beings may put up with lost ‘freedom’ today, with the promise of ‘greater freedom’ tomorrow. Continue reading What is Freedom?