- November 22, 2016
Life is a series of forks in the road. At each junction, you have to take one path or the other, and the whole rest of your life can be permanently altered by this choice. Should you go to college or join the Army? Should you buy a new car or a used one? Should you get married or continue living in sin?READ MORE
In 2000 I wrote a few hundred words on “The Age of Nihilism.” Some years later that descriptive title is far more apt than before. Like a poison gas settling down over a battlefield, nihilism has, at least for the moment, begun to cloak or threaten so much of contemporary life and thought.READ MORE
We all use the word “culture” on a daily basis, and just guessing its real meaning. How would we explain what it is? I would say it is all we know, all we do and all we believe in. The term was first used by English anthropologist Edward B. Tylor in his book, Primitive Culture, from 1871. He said that culture “includes capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” The Center for Advance Research on Language Acquisition defines culture as a group of interactions and patterns of behaviors influenced by socializations, and of course, the same cognitive characteristics in a particular group of people.
What blue jeans meant to a young Russian student in the late Soviet Union went beyond the mere civilizational requisite of clothing; it stood for freedom and the longing for a social reality he felt was denied to him. Blue jeans became the symbolic outcry of a generation of Russians who dreamt the good life and wanted to break away from the USSR. During the late eighties Black markets in Russia thrived with blue jeans smuggled from the United States, where people even risked jail for a nice pair of denim. The instance of blue jeans is characteristic of what sociologist George Ritzer has termed the ‘McDonaldization’ of society, where globalization not only invades the world market but also influences in culturally hegamonizing weaker societies and homogenizing ethnicities.
Dreams on robotic future are well described by one of the Francisco De Goya’s caprichos: “Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels.” The word “Robot” originates from Slavic “rabota”, which in modern language means “work”, but comes from ancient “rabu” with the meaning of “slave”. This is what most people see the robots functions in – serving.
Let’s start with the obvious: not a single international player cares about the welfare or security of the Syrian people. They may say they care, but actions speak louder than words.
David is your average everyday guy. Middle aged, married with children, he lives the ideal middle class suburban life. A dedicated and competent professional, he works full-time in a big Multi National Corporation. During his days off he goes fishing, contributes to charity and involves himself in community service and attends church unfailingly every Sunday with his family. For those around him, he seems a happy guy content and well settled in life. But what they don’t know about David is his frequent pangs of anxiety, high tension which has led him to be a chronic heart patient, dissatisfaction with work and the sense of disquietude he feels in life. A highly trained architect passionate about buildings, David has been working for the past two decades in a faceless MNC so huge that he doesn’t even know the purpose of his job. He feels like the ancillary of a machine, replaceable and immaterial. “Don’t bring your work home”, his wife tells him every time he opens up about issues at the office. His only solace is the shrink’s couch that costs him 150 dollars an hour. Disenchanted, dissatisfied, David at age fifty has slowly realized this is all life is going to offer him and has resigned to his fate silently.
To help decide that, we have to answer a few other questions. Are we talking about individuals or as one country as compared to other countries? There’s also a big debate about whether or not if we have reached carrying capacity as a species. Carrying capacity is the maximum number of individuals of any one species that can occupy an ecosystem without destroying that whole ecosystem. There are lots of people who say we’ve grown past the exponential, are just starting the equilibrium phase where our population is more stable. Others say we have gone beyond our capacity, and without using more space, power, resources, somehow we are going to hit starvation. A third camp is that of course we have gone past our carrying capacity. The claim is that we went past from world wars and the increase in wartime babies, in the U.S. generation known as “Baby Boomers”. But we pushed it further by developing fertilizers, pesticides, and genetic engineering of plants to produce more and higher yield crops for the same acreage of space.