Year end reflections – 2019

Thank you for your support reading the blog posts and occasionally offering your comments. As we draw to the conclusion of the year 2019 (and hence this decade!) below is a summary of our blog posts through this year. Each summary is linked to its original post.

We have also posted a large body of reading material in a new page:

Aging Vs. Maturing :    From birth to death we get exposed to new information, situation and circumstances. All these are sources for our experiences. Aging Vs. MaturingIt is the experience as felt or observed by us as individuals that distinguish each from the other. Then we probe and learn the techniques to decipher “Experience”. As we do, we learn that an objective outlook on any experience leads us to the laws of nature (Brahman) embedded in that event and experience. In this universal outlook we remain as part and parcel of the universe (Aham Brahmasmi). This reflective management of the mind – maturing – can occur at any age, at any time and with respect to any event or situation. In that respect maturing indeed is a choice while we age and grow old inevitably!

Bishma Complex :   Age is a natural process that results in follower-ship. BishmaBut old age and the opportunities it provides if they are not used wisely can lead to harm and hardship over generations. On the other hand practiced with objectivity and wisdom, old age creates unique opportunities for leadership leading to peace and harmony over generations. The balancing act between these two alternatives may be described as “Bishma Complex”?

The best effort of every person sets the standard for those who follow him/her.   B.G. 3. 21.

Diwali – Festival of lights: A philosophic reflection on oil lamp.

  • The earthen cup is stable. That nature of the world or the universe that is changeless on its own accord, we recognize as Inertia (Thaamasam).
  • The oil is volatile. Just like oil our emotions and bias based on partial or incomplete knowledge (Rajasam) are shaped by the container (our body, mind and intellect)!
  • The wick transforms the volatile oil in the stable container into the flame or illumination. It is our knowledge and understanding (Saathvikam ).

Thus we can see in the oil lamp or the candle we place at the altar the three ever present attributes (Guna) – and their interplay Diwali 2(i.e.) Saathvikam, Rajasam and Thaamasam which means Knowledge, Bias (Partial Knowledge and the turbulence it creates) and Ignorance we experience through our body, mind and intellect.

The flame creates the glow leading to illumination. Through illumination we see the inert lamp, the volatile oil and the transformative wick, the flame and all objects that are illumined. Sum total of all of these – the visible objects, the combustion that enables the flame, the flame that enables the illumination and the illumination that enables visibility is called Brahman. We exist merely enabled by and as a witness to this lamp and the glow and the vision derived there from – I am Brahman. 

I” the observer and all that around me (the observed) are all part of the same Universe – Thath Thwam Asi !

“The un-wavering smile of a Yogi (one of self-control and constant internal or self-reflection) is like the glow of a steady, un-flickering flame of the lamp”     B.G. 6. 19.

Ethics in AI: Use of three connectors

Ethics is a matter of philosophy. We need a sustained education on Philosophy and the related topics on Subjectivity Vs. Objectivity as part of AI Technology education.

An objective person is not swayed by his/her knowledge nor tends to understate or diminish the evidences pertaining to bias and ignorance. An objective frame of mind treats all three connectors (Knowledge, Bias and Ignorance) with equal weight or merit.

Focus on ethics at every stage of the innovation process requires engagement of professionals in areas beyond their comfort zone. Engineers and technical professionals – often computer scientists – think of their work as “technical” and leave all the rest to “others” to worry about. This bias and attachment to partial knowledge is often the source of problems that manifest as larger issues such as ethics. To overcome such limitations of bias, it is imperative to teach and train professionals on “System Thinking” and its comprehensive understanding:

Ethics is not an afterthought, but built into every phase of the solution development and deployment. Such effort is preceded by comprehensive description and definition of the entire solution chain.  Ethics becomes a way of life, the life blood of every professional at every level engaged in the solution.

Repentance vs. Forgiving

When the relationship is strained there will be attempts to restore the same. People of good will can disagree, but to claim only one person is at fault is like twisting a dried wood further, not strengthening and restoring it. To restore the relationship requires internal reflection – soul searching – on two dimensions:

  • Repentance: Acknowledging the sources of strain and finding ways to overcome such strain. Repentance is the evidence of acknowledgement of the source of strain;
  • Forgiving is the evidence of the step towards overcoming the strain.

Repentance and forgiveness are important aspects of prayer in all religious worship practices.

If we truly believe that you and the universe are one and the same (Thath Thwam Asi) and everything is governed by the laws of Nature (Sarvam Brahma Mayam), Repentancethe pillars of Vedic philosophy then they should apply to repentance and forgiveness as well. The offender and the person offended are droplets of the same body of water (Thath Thwam Asi), if the offensive action and its negative effect can be isolated. This process of isolation and separation clarifies precisely what were the wrong actions and their effect. True acknowledgement and ownership of these actions and their effects are characterized as “Repentance”.  This process calls for genuine self-reflection (Yoga).

Any one – true observer who treats all three connectors with equal weight (Sagunathvam) – can arrive at the same conclusions on the actions and their impact. Decision to go beyond the acknowledgement and move further is characterized as “Forgiveness”. In this process repentance and forgiveness are not centered on either individual. Instead it is a collective outcome of the self-reflection of everyone involved on their own accord (Yoga). As a result the joyful outcome (Sath Chith Anandam) of reconciliation and progress is a collective outcome. It is not limited to any one person.

Either person who moves beyond the subjective to the objective process of analysis and reflection will be like the ship with its search lights on and brightly visible. While sailing through the dark waters (strained relationship) this ship will steer clear of others and also help to guide others, whether or not the other ship(s) have their search lights (Repentance and forgiveness) well-lit and visible.

The “spiritually refined person” (Yogi), with joy of internal contemplation is peaceful and delighted within like an internal beacon of light, reaches unification with Brahman and becomes Brahman himself / herself.            B.G. 5.24



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