Monday, September 21, 2009

Today's Random Thought

Mahatma Gandhi is known the father of India. In accordance with his philosophy, politicians have banned liquor in the State he was born. The man called for non-violence even in the face of evil. I think his claim amounts to, "Don't defend the good, don't kill for any cause even if barbarians initiate force."

Here is what Gandhi had to say to the British people when an invasion from Nazi Germany looked imminent:

"I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions...If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them."

Yeah right!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The BCCI bans galli cricket.

Cricket is the most loved and followed game in India. It is probably the only sport that most Indian kids play after school. Many players who made it to the national team started out playing on narrow streets [gallis] in India. In this format, the game is usually played with a tennis ball so that people can play without using pads and gloves for safety. Even kids in my college play with a tennis ball. Just get a bat and a ball and we are good to go.

Here is the cracker: the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) has decided to ban all forms of galli, indoor games played by kids and adults alike with tennis, hockey or plastic balls!

An official said, ""We are specially warning children playing cricket without wearing shoes, pads and gloves, or using tennis balls or any non-cricket ball — stop it or face our fury, which will be unleashed ruthlessly, by placing a life ban on you, preventing you from watching any IPL matches, having your thumbs cut off if you persist, or your TV cables blocked out of all cricket telecasts,"

Somebody remarked a little while earlier that "It was always there openly in front of the public. The alphabet 'C' in BCCI stands for control…why cricket or cricketers need control, no one questioned. This is the logical end of it." I fully agree.

This is without reservation – crazy! Who the heck are they to tell me how to play a game cricket with a couple of my friends by setting rules none of players accept in the first place? Is it not total lunacy to hijack a game and use nothing but force to implement ones arbitrary wishes? What is even more surprising is the long line celebrities and cricketers endorsing such an absurd view. If somebody would have told me a few years ago that people -- and I mean the elite could defend such a preposterous view – I would have laughed hysterically at the speaker that it was impossible for so many people to give into such absurdities. After watching the global warming hysteria, I have come to see that most people have no limit for stupidity. Even by that account, banning galli cricket is a far cry.

It really is a mad, mad, mad, mad world!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It happened to me.

I am really, really proud to announce that I have been accepted for the four year undergraduate program for Objectivism at the Objectivist Academic Center. It is "is currently the only academic institution to offer systematic instruction in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism." I was not accepted last year or even during this year's early application process. I was informed that I would be reconsidered for the regular deadline but I was pretty skeptical. The chances seemed slim when I was weighing it then but I think applying early was the one thing that really helped. Like most students, I have received a tuition waiver and a phone scholarship to cover my costs. I've told a few people at home about my acceptance and they don't really know what to make of it yet. I am not sure I do at this point!

On a different note, I was actually prepared to write the entrance for the next decade if I had to in order to gain that kind of necessary understanding. The course is really that good.

I am a pleasantly shocked with my acceptance. I read Atlas Shrugged in my first year of college when a friend told me that it was ranked second most influential book and that it was fiction. Who would imagine I would come this far! It is ironic that I read the book in Sector 24, Gandhinagar in the state of Gujarat in India where nobody would ever imagine a guy going nuts reading Atlas. Or maybe it is not so ironic because I read it in my first year of college wherever the college was. It really depends on which way you look at it. Another contextual absolute.

I am overjoyed with the prospect of working the staff at the OAC when I go to law school in the US next year. It is kind of hard to digest the fact that I don't have wonder about what courses to take next or whether I will chew on the material presented to integrate challenging ideas. Moreover, if college class rooms are filled with ideas such as "right to food" and whatnot, one has to ask: if I don't get to hear the truth in class, then where the heck am I supposed to go? Happily for me, I simply have to go class and report back to the faculty at the OAC with a remark to the effect of "Here is what happened in class" and they will help me integrate all the cool stuff. Is that awesome or what!

I still do have my doubts about how well I'll do in the course itself. I don't think I have ever taken a course which required me to do stuff like assess the viewpoints of major philosophies and then defend my view on the subject. Hell, most of my education consisted of memorizing stuff that was way too soporific. I am mildly tensed how the training will turn out to be and insanely happy for the opportunity provided. I will, without a doubt, do my very best in this course.

Overall, I am really glad to make it and am also looking forward to improve my writing and sharpen my skills on Objectivism. It's a rare opportunity to study with the leading and rational intellectuals of our time. To put it another way, Objectivism is being served on a platter – if you are thinking of applying, DO IT!

Here is a video by the Ayn Rand Institute outlining the basic structure of the course –