Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone - Issue #68: look through the window and celebrate the world

Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone

Long time ago, before the onset of the pandemic, one fine morning while I was driving to the office I looked out of the car while waiting at a traffic light.

The weather was beautiful and temperate - the kind I would have loved to play cricket in when I was younger!

On the divider of the road, a homeless young guy was selling newspapers. His walk was fresh and defiant. As if he was daring the world.

Then I looked at the guy in the adjacent car. His face was burdened with ennui. He was off to his daily grind.

While the homeless had to battle every moment for the basic survival, the guy in the car had predictability carved all over his face. We strive to succeed to make our lives “stable”. And predictable. Predictability is the bed partner of ennui. Freshness to life unfortunately loses out in this battle.

It would be very wrong of me to say that lack of money brings “freshness” necessarily.

It is the frame of mind.

A frame of mind which welcomes the unknown with a child-like innocence and wonder. Wonder to be curious. Curious of the next moment.

If you cannot enjoy the current moment in its fullness… the hurt, the joy, the anger, the happiness… then it is not possible to be curious of the next moment. Because if you cannot enjoy all the emotions of the current moment, then you take a baggage to the next. You approach the coming moment with a feeling of the known. Happiness or sorrow or hurt is then pre-planned. You have already defined the next moment because you have analyzed the current.

“Now, look through the window and celebrate the world” X said.

Y in his faithfulness to his teacher looks out and frames the scene and starts chanting hymns in its “celebration”.

The world keeps moving on outside the window. To capture the world seen through the window and make it subservient to those four sides is childish. But Y was happy with doing just that. His definition of the world was now confined to the structure of the window, not what was beyond it.

And we all do it.

We take the snapshot of the world from our windows and take it as a “forever”.

It is our way of living the future from the view of and with the baggage of the present.

Present is frozen in time. The window has become the master. A master that cannot let go of its dominance.

If only Y could let the world move on. Move on in its own flow. And observe. Really… celebrate the world.

Not be chained to the confines of the window.

“Observe things as they are and don’t pay attention to other people. There are some people just like mad dogs barking at everything that moves, even barking when the wind stirs among the grass and leaves.” ― Huang Po, The Zen Teaching of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind

have you wondered?

Encyclopedia Britannica discusses how the Dutch started a successful and prosperous business of spices with India.

For Holland, a fleet under the command of Cornelis de Houtman sailed for the Spice Islands in 1595, and another, commanded by Jacob van Neck, put to sea in 1598. Both returned home with rich cargoes of cloves, mace, nutmeg, and black pepper. Their success laid the foundation for the prosperous Dutch East India Company, formed in 1602. (Source)

Heck, India at that time had an economy which accounted for around 24% of the world’s GDP.

So, the Dutch and other Europeans must have been trading a lot of spices. But where the heck were they using those spices?

The Continental European cuisine is bland. Whatever spices are there in the Dutch cuisine seem to have entered in because of the colonial influences (Quora - what spices are used in Dutch cuisine).

Have you ever wondered why is it that an entire continent was vying to beat it’s path to India for spices, enough to make India the richest economy in that time, has had such a negligible influence of those spices in its cuisine?

light at the end of tunnel?

Covaxin, the drug developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited is set to begin human trials in 12 institutes across the country including the two private hospitals in UP - Prakhar Hospital in Kanpur and Rana Hospital and Trauma Centre in Gorakhpur. These UP hospitals are to begin the trials soon.

Two Uttar Pradesh hospitals set to begin human trials of India’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin

Prakhar Hospital in Kanpur and Rana Hospital and Trauma Centre in Gorakhpur to begin human trials.

Meanwhile close to 38,000 news cases were added in India with 541 new deaths.

Source: Hindustan Times.

Source: Hindustan Times.

the artificial intelligence arms race

Nations are making rapid progress in AI led weaponry. Future of wars will be fought based on AI. Countries like China are taking AI to a whole news level. For example, Wuhan has an entirely AI-staffed police station! It is expected that as soon as 2030, over 30% of Russia’s combat capacity will be driven by artificial intelligence. This will include AI-guided missiles that can change their target, trajectory and direction mid-flight! Israel is already using networked sensor-to-shooter system to aid the Israel Defense Forces in remotely patrolling the dangerous areas near their borders.

Many other countries like U.K., Brazil, Australia, South Korea and Iran, are also investing in research into AI-powered arms and weapon systems

Which Military Has the Edge in the A.I. Arms Race?

Countries are rapidly expanding their AI arsenal.

spate of teachers abusing students

There has been a spate of cases of teachers having sex with their kids in Australia. The indiscretions have occurred at both prestigious institutions and poorly funded public schools. The cases underscore the abuse of authority and power by the teachers. As Forensic psychologist Tim Watson-Munro said:

‘They’re immature, they enjoy the power, and I think for some of them - and I say it with great respect to the victims - it’s like shooting a trout in a barrel,’ he said.

It is about power. left feeling devastated and betrayed afterwards

Inside the secret lives of teachers who have sex with their students

There has been a recent spate of Australian convictions and high-profile court cases where male and female teachers have had sex with their students.

nota bene

Pak drugs targeting Punjab: Punjab state in India has been specifically targeted by Pakistan for pushing drugs. It is estimated that over half of all rural households in Punjab have at least one drug addict. Today BSF caught a contraband, weighing 64.33 kg, concealed in 60 packets of long fabric cloth tubes and tied to a bunch of water hyacinth floating in the river. This had been pushed in the river from the Pakistan side. BSF caught it near Dera Baba Nanak in Nangli. (Source)

Rafale for Ladakh?: The Indian Air Force may be planning to deploy its new Rafale fighter jets in the Ladakh sector as part of India’s overarching plan to strengthen its military position in the region. In fact, India is pushing France to speed up the deliveries of Rafale fighters to India. As a result six jets are likely to be delivered by end of July as opposed to the earlier target of four. (Source)

Bermuda offers WFH visa program: Now even Bermuda is offering a year’s program for living on the island during the pandemic as more and more people work from home. Bermuda’s program, which costs $263 and will begin Aug. 1, will be marketed in big cities across the East Coast, including New York, Toronto, Boston and Miami. As we had reported earlier - just last week Barbados, had shared a similar plan. (Source)

Medieval Cathedral burned: A fire ravaged a 15th-century cathedral in the western French city of Nantes on Saturday, blowing out stained-glass windows and destroying a grand organ. French officials said they suspected arson was behind the blaze at the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Nantes or Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul of Nantes. Question - is someone targeting Churches in Europe? (Source)

fundamental flaws of democracy

Socrates was a prescient man. A razor sharp mind, he had anticipated the ills of democracy very early. He warned that unless the populace has the requisite wisdom to vote, democracy, with the vote of all, based on birth right as opposed to merit and wisdom, will spiral into demagoguery. It is important to dwell upon his famous example of a popular vote battle between a Sweatshop owner vs a Doctor as candidates and how it will always result in the former putting down the latter with his falsehoods that look like a better option to less wise constituents.

Unfortunately, education is not a great predictor of wisdom. Look at Delhi, an educated city or West Bengal, one of the most educated states in the 1960s. Both have installed the proverbial Sweatshop owners whose only accomplishment have been to destroy the lives of their constituents.

Why Socrates Hated Democracy

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