Bequeathing a better legacy for posterity

In 1977 the National Aeronautic Space Agency, famously known as NASA gathered its might and launched a space mission to study the planetary systems of Jupiter and Neptune known as Voyager 1 and 2. These two are robotic probes launched to study the systems of Jupiter and Neptune carefully and after its original mission was accomplished the secondary mission was to study the outer solar system. The secondary mission was to go beyond Pluto, beyond the heliosphere and into interstellar space to sent home new information about the unknown uncharted expanse of the cosmos. The agency also hired the great astronomer Carl Sagan to record greetings of the people of earth and the sounds of earth so that if one day into the far future comes in contact with an extraterrestrial race they would know we existed. As of today after 42 years later Voyager 1 is travelling at 61,000 km/h and 11 billion miles away from earth, Voyager 2 which took a different route through the solar system is 9.5 billion miles away from earth. According to its speed Voyager 1 will reach the nearest star from earth Proxima Centauri in about 40,000 years from now. Both the probes are already into the interstellar space nowand will keep on sending new data for hundreds of years to come.
The scientists at NASA knew that it was impossible to reach interstellar space or the nearest star from earth with the current technology so they relied on time and launched two probes that will last for hundreds of years to come. They were aware that the fruit of the labor will not be theirs but it will be for the future scientists, the future generations who will one day into the far future will receive a signal from the probes pictures about the new worlds. An exciting time awaits the future generations. The scientists at NASA and astronomers like Carl Sagan knew they were leaving a legacy, a reason for someone in the future to wake up and be at joy and at expectation because someone years ago left something for them to look forward for their future.
Numerous endeavors such as this that speaks of leaving a legacy, a better future, a future that brings excitement to the bone either by an individual, a nation, a state or an institution are out there in multitudes but not so with the story of my people. The fabric of the future is woven by the people but my observation tells me that Nagas are in a state of comatose when it comes to the building of our future. Our future looks bleak and grim from today’s binoculars. We know how to survive day by day but a future where the young Naga wakes up ecstatic because it finally looks bright for the Nagas seems farfetched. We have a pattern that we have been following for quite some time now “get a job, wait for the end of the month, survive the month, repeat until death”. It doesn’t look like we want a future for ourselves and neither for our coming generations. The other parts of the world seems to be taking giant steps into the future and we look like we are dead stuck trying to survive the day looking for two meals. It is heartbreaking to know that far into the future our people are going to wake up to the same dreary daily activity according to the trajectory we are going. It is a shameful existence.
We could come together put our brain power collectively and build the future we want, but are we doing that? No. As of today we as a people and as a society are going nowhere and it looks like the future Nagas don’t have a future to be excited about. We are not prepared for the impending future nor are we taking actions to prepare for it. Our education system is mediocre, we have no scientific pursuits, we are not even at the starting point of technological building and good governance is foreign to us. As of today we got nada, zilch. Our young people are stuck with run-of-the-mill education resulting in lack of innovation and creativity. The previous generation were entrusted with a future as desolate as we are about to leave for the next generations. The people responsible for the governance of the Nagas can only do so much and they have a record and whether the record is good or bad it speaks for itself. It looks depressing as of now but there is always a faint of hope in the darkest of times. We got each other we can come together and begin from there. The least we can do is to try and take the first step in building a brighter tomorrow.
History has proven time and again that any nation that invested rigorously in the four foundations of nation building has benefitted highly from it. These four foundations are Education, Science, Technology and Good Governance. It is conspicuous that education is one of the driving forces of building a world class nation. A system of education that is based on learning with freedom which favors expression of creativity and innovation and not on learning irrelevant archaic information where emphasis is given on praising an individual who memorizes the most and regurgitate those information on a test. The next component is again no brainer, any nation that has lead with heavy emphasis on doing science has been on the frontline of discoveries and inventions that has highly benefitted the world and it has also found itself as a nation on the good side of history. The next one on the list is technology, any nation that wants to take the next step of building a civilization that can last for millennia to come it is technology. A technological revolution is the next step to answering most of humanities ailments. The last on the list is good governance that can implement the other components on the list. A system of government that can uphold the principles of equality, freedom, law, order, justice, peace and never to cease from building a better future for its citizens.
So, if we Nagas are to forge a better future we need to give precedence to these four components. We need to light a fire and keep sustaining the momentum. I am unwilling to leave a future like I found it but if we don’t get our shits together and act on it the same gloomy picture will be staring the future Nagas like it’s staring at us now. Take this not as a pessimistic view of the Nagas but as an honest observation and also as a premonitory. I honestly believe we can do something if we really try hard, we could leave something better, a future where the coming generations can break the survival pattern and thrive, a new and exciting future for our posterity.

Humanity and its final frontier of interaction

Life appeared on earth 3.5 billion years ago and it had to wait a couple of billion years of evolution for the first modern human, Homo sapiens to appear around 150,000 years ago. Before that, around 4 million years back the evolution of humans began in Ethiopia with the first species known as Australopithecus afarensis then it was followed by another species known as Australopithecus africanus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo Neanderthal and finally Homo sapiens. Human evolution went through four stages starting with evolving terrestrially, bipedalism, encephalization, and civilization. The last two stages are where humans started interacting heavily with their surroundings. Evolving terrestrially we started moving from place to place, bipedalism is where we started walking with two legs, encephalization is where evolution through natural selection helped develop a large brain with more neural connections and our surrounding started making sense to us and that’s when we started interacting with our environment which finally lead to civilization.
The development of a large brain in the later stage of evolution initiated our interactions with our surroundings. Humans have always interacted with something the moment the right neural connections in our brain started firing. Our first interaction undoubtedly was with nature which we still do today, our interaction with nature gave us the tools to survive. Our next interaction was with each other which perhaps might be one of the most crucial interactions we have done for the survival of our species. Our communication with each other lead to the invention of language which in turn lead to the sharing of knowledge and propelled the human civilization building. It can be safely said that had we not found ways to communicate with each other we would still be crawling around in caves wearing only loincloths. One minor interaction we humans stumbled upon also contributed much to our survival, our interaction with animals. When humans first domesticated animals it served us in many ways as a hunter, guard and maybe as a companion too, then as the years rolled on we amplified our interaction with the animals and used every bit of it to our advantage.
As the 18th ct came to an end and the 19th ct dawned a new kind of interaction was about to hit humanity, the industrial revolution. The revolution of the industry gave humanity a new interaction with machines. We now had to communicate with something created by us, the first of its kind. Until now we had interactions with nature, with each other and with animals but a whole new dimension showed up, we now can interact with something entirely made by us. One thing was clear though with this new interaction, we were thriving as a civilization. There was no looking back after this new interaction appeared. We started creating more. Towards the end of the 20th ct and the dawn of the 21st ct another new dimension of interaction appeared, technology. The domination of technology in the lives of humans started showing up at the beginning of the 21st ct, with the emergence of technology and how technology dominates almost every part of our lives now humanity is on its way when interaction between a human and another human will only be through the use of technology. It’s alarming to note that we are on our way there because we have already started interacting with tech more than we do with one another.
As technology grows and takes over every facet of our lives another dimension of interaction has slowly started creeping up on us. Until now every interaction that we have had with our creations never had the intelligence of their own, the machines were built to execute an order, every gadget or tech programmed to follow certain codes. But as our codes get more complicated and sophisticated every year, there is a time approaching when our machines and our tech will achieve intelligence of their own and surpasses human intelligence. That will be the first time when we interact with something that we created with the intelligence of its own. Dubbed as AI or artificial intelligence, it will be our final frontier of interaction. Artificial Intelligence or Human Made Intelligence will be unlike any other interactions we have had so far, every interaction we have had so far we were at an advantage due to our intelligence but AI once it achieves human-level intelligence and surpasses our intelligence we as humans will be at disadvantage. We knew more before but not anymore. Hence we will be left with only two options perish as the inferior species or merge with the machines and keep evolving.
Until now we were the ones who asked the questions, we were the ones who executed the orders, we were the ones who set the rules but not anymore. We are heavily dependent on them we have passed that stage where we as humans cannot function optimally without The use of tech or machines but as of now we are in control but we won’t be anymore when we create an intelligence that surpasses us. There is no foreseeable future where harmonious co-existence between superior intelligence(AI) and inferior intelligence(humans) can be predicted, that future can be seen on the horizon. Left with only two choices it will either be the end of the species known as Homo sapiens or merge with the machines and become a new species. Either way, it will be our final interaction.

Predicting the Future

Graphing out the future contrary to the popular believes is not impossible the only hurdle is that it is quite difficult. The thing needed to achieve this astronomical task is a very powerful computer to collect enough data analyze the collected data, point out the pattern emerging from the data, extrapolate and whatever results from the extrapolation is the prediction. Pinpoint accuracy however seems unachievable unless endowed with foreknowledge. Humans are however not known for that faculty. To adduce my claims the famed futurist and inventor Ray kurzweil has been though not accurately but consistently predicting the technological advancement since the 1980s.

I am going to make an attempt to predict the future starting from the next decade. Before I am misunderstood and taken for something that I don’t want to be associated with, no I don’t possess a crystal ball like the hokum Nostradamus neither do I have the gift of a prophecy like Daniel, nay I do not but what I do have are books a ton of them and I never stop reading and the perks of being a reader is that books fills heads with knowledge. I am extremely passionate about science and I fill my shelf with a plethora of them and my knowledge about the impending future comes from them. So this is my take.
I am going to give 5 predictions that I am sure will come to pass because all the good books are screaming about the certainty of these five starting from the next decade. Here are the 5 as follows,
1. Digital Currency: I am starting with this one because I see this happening in the next decade if not in the next 15 years. Fiat currency is going to become obsolete and it’s going to be replaced by digital currency. A digital currency is just like a fiat currency only that it is not digital. The candidates for these are cryptocurrencies built on the Blockchain technology used with a distributed ledger. 10 years ago an anonymous person by the name Satoshi Nakamoto wrote a white paper for a decentralized digital currency called Bitcoin and the rest is history. The idea behind Bitcoin was decentralization which meant no central government no central bank controls the currency it’s the people who controls the currency. 10 years later i.e. today Bitcoin is losing its vision and so are most of the cryptocurrencies. How this is going to turn out I believe is that nations are going to come up with their own digital currencies making fiat obsolete. Venezuela has already done that and they call their digital currency Petro.
2. Inter-Planetary travel: This is the one that I am most excited about. I am not only predicting that this is going to happen but I am also going to add that whomever achieve this will become the first trillionaire because Inter-planetary travel is going to be the next big thing. At the moment Elon Musk’s Spacex and Jeff Bezos’s Blue origin are getting ready for this but Elon seems to be 5 steps ahead of everyone he is getting ready to go to Mars by 2024. Becoming a multi planetary species is our inherent duty. We have got to go out and explore. Imagine looking down at Earth from Mars or some other planet a moment I want to see before I am wiped out of existence. We don’t have the technology to travel even to our nearest star form our Solar System that is Proxima Centauri B, so we have to begin within our Solar System.
3. Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence or AI in short is an exciting field and no matter what Hollywood are producing an Arnold like robot from the future will not come back to change the future because within the AI community the discussion is a little different. Ray Kurzweil is of the opinion that the technological singularity will happen in 2049. Technological singularity is the phenomenon where machines will achieve consciousness. The positive side of AI advancement is that it will make our lives better and easier the negative side is that it will make us all archaic leaving us all with massive existential issue. There is weak AI, Strong AI and general AI. Weak AI is present now everywhere, they are in our pockets. AlphaGo a line of codes by Demis Hassibis has already beaten the best Go player, the fascinating thing about AlphaGo is that it learns from its mistakes just like a human being. I can go on and write about AI but space prohibits me.
4. Designer Babies (CRISPR Cas9): A recent development made in the biological field is something called CRISPR Cas9 where with more development in the future we can design babies the way we want. Eye color, height and so on can be chosen from the beginning. CRISPR Cas9 is a genome editing tool. It allows geneticists to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA. This is going to happen in the future and with this we get into the danger of playing God.
5. Quantum Computing: There are two kinds of computers classical computers and Quantum Computers. The ones we are using now are all classical computers. A classical computer uses only a bit for calculations hence it can only do so much however a quantum computer exploits a quantum phenomenon called superposition where a particle can exists in two different state at the same time, it uses qubits hence can perform a million times better than a classical computer. The science is quite difficult and the best way I can put it down is that given a task to find a way out of a maze a classical computer will find out all the possible way out one attempt after the other but a quantum computer can find out all the possible way out in one go. There are a lot of challenges to building a quantum computer but it is not impossible because some quantum computers prototypes are already being used. If one day quantum computers can be produced for every homes like the classical computers now some part of our lives will be a lot easier.
I am betting for these five in the future. While some are possible in the next decade or so some will take at least four or five decades to come to pass. There are a few more in my mind like different forms of Governance, 3D printing, bionic prosthetics, increasing lifespan, a totally different forms of transportation and so on but the 5 mentioned about in detail are the one that will do the most impact. The thing that I question myself when I muse about these things is how are we (Nagas) going to react to these developments? And whether we will make any contributions or not? I hope we do because there will be no dodging these developments, keep in mind that the cellular technology just took only a few years to infiltrate every home in Nagaland.

Fixing the unemployment crisis among the youths in Nagaland by changing the educational system

The current state of unemployment among the youths in Nagaland is in a crestfallen state. It is a ticking time bomb that is going to explode in the next 10-15years given the unemployment rate of growth and leaves us all in a befuddle condition with an insurmountable task of coming to a solution. In the year 2016, there were 70,422 unemployed youths registered in the life register of the Department of Labor & Employment, that was two years ago, by 2018 the number must have jumped to above hundred thousand unemployed youths. The 2016 registered number I presume must be way below the actual number of unemployed youths. If we take the estimated numbers of students graduating annually it comes to tens of thousands. The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2016-17, report released by Human Resource Development (HRD) reported that for Under Graduate there were around 30,000 students and 1500 students for Post Graduate. Out of the staggering number of students graduating barely, 2000-3000 will see employment both Government jobs and self-employment. What will happen to the rest? They will be added to the Unemployed Youth files and that number will only begin to grow exponentially every year.
The Morung Express reported on the 6th of April 2018 that a number of 4, 40,306 students were enrolled in 2835 schools. My worry is that one day 60-70% of those students will graduate, in approximation that’s around 3, 00,000 students. We don’t have the resources to employ even 10% of them, what is going to happen to all of them? Let me make this very clear, it’s not the Government’s headache, it’s a collective problem, it’s an impending crisis for the Nagas. It’s your problem as much as it’s mine. Whether you and I have an opinion on the duties and the responsibilities of the Government done properly or not, the Government can do only so much in fixing this issue. We have got to come together collectively and take this matter a little seriously and find a solution before we are left with no option but to abandon it completely.
Someone once said “Don’t be a part of the problem but be a part of the solution” and I don’t want to keep on grousing about how bleak our situation is, I want to be a part of the solution. It aches my heart every time I hear about this issue and I have given a good amount of thought as to how it can be fixed. In my cogitation to find a solution I have repeatedly asked myself, what is the root of the problem? And how can I fix it? I have come to the realization that the root of the problem is not the paucity of jobs, it’s not the Government but it’s what we are teaching in our academic institutions and how we are teaching. There is a need for revamping, reshaping and reconstructing our educational system. I will be the first one to admit that not everything about our educational system is wrong but that does not mean it does not need a fixing. I have contemplated much on the word “Educated Unemployed” and I have asked myself why can’t a person be employed if he or she is educated? And I realized that the things that have been taught are obsolete now, it cannot be used anymore. Every person that steps out of a college or a university has the same hundred years old knowledge that cannot be monetized and it’s not good enough to score a job.
My last blog talked about how our educational system is designed to smother a child’s curiosity and creativity. Every great invention that has changed an era or brought prosperity to a nation came out of curiosity and our schools, colleges, and universities does exactly what is needed to stifle that “I-need-to-find-out” hunger. A child’s uniqueness is shut close either by a teacher, the institution’s rules or just some stupid silly reasons. The freedom to be self and freedom of expression is discouraged. I have had the fortune of visiting some few schools and I was appalled to find out that some of them are almost like a prison, no sense of freedom at all. Why should learning be done in such a suffocating place? That’s the reason why learning is despised by so many students. Students are given so much outdated information to memorize and learn that they have no time to create, innovate and come up with something new. They are kept busy with irrelevant subjects that when they come out looking for employment they possess nothing new to offer and no relevant skills. There is a need for renovation in our educational system.
I can go on carp about how dissatisfied I am with how teaching is done with no passion at all but let me just say this, teaching is one of the highest calling anyone can get and if it is not done passionately and creatively don’t expect students to retain what has been taught which leads to disinterest in learning and that is a recipe for crisis in the long term.
Locating the root of the problem is only half of the job the other half is, now that I found the problem, how do I fix it? I did some research and did some brainstorming as to what our students are lacking hence the present crisis and I was able to come up with some few things that may fix the issue not immediately but will definitely show positive results 10-15 years down the line. It may take time but it sure will give us progress. So what needs to be done? We need to introduce new subjects, relevant study and modern fields that will propel our students for guaranteed self-employment in the future. I say self-employment because that is the only way now, the Government cannot create jobs for every citizen. Once you teach an individual how to fish he/she will feed herself/himself for a lifetime.
These are the things we need to start teaching in our academic institutions;
1.Entrepreneurship: How to be an entrepreneur or how to run a business should be taught very early. It is one of the best forms of self-employment. It not only employs oneself but it is also one of the best ways for creating more jobs. Selling is an art and art should be taught early in schools and colleges. If you want to be wealthy be an employer, not an employee. Amazon and Alibaba are some good examples I can go on with more examples but I have made my point.
2.Basic Financial Management: My knowledge of financial management is very thin so I won’t say much but it’s important that every student should be taught how to manage personal finance very early in school.
3.Technology: The current biggest wealth creator in the world is technology and I think that should suffice but if that is not enough here is my point, technology will continue to exist as long as humans exist and to be ignorant of how technology works is digging your own grave. Artificial intelligence is going to take over the world very soon and we need to be ready. The new craze in the technology world is Blockchain and data management. Schools, colleges and universities in Nagaland must introduce technology as a subject for the sake of our students.
4.Coding: Our world is run by computers as of now and it will continue to do so and computers are run by codes, it’s the language of computers. Coding knowledge is guaranteed employment or employer in the future. It must be included as a subject in our schools and colleges.
5.Management: Whether it is time management, planning or organizing it is an important subject to be included in the curriculum. If we can teach how to manage time properly, how to handle, prioritize, organize and plan well I think it will be a stimulus for the students for a successful life.
6.Critical Thinking: I think the ability use logic and reasoning is one faculty that everyone should possess and must be taught in schools and colleges
7.Problem Solving: the ability to think in a different way and solve a problem is a huge advantage for anyone to possess
8.Life Skills: life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enables humans to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life. Basic life skills such as public speaking, efficient writing, networking, emotional and mental health and the ability to do good research should be taught in schools and college.
These lists of skills are not currently taught in schools and it needs to be if we are to fix our unemployment crisis in the next 10-15 years down the line. This is not the full list I am refraining myself from including the comprehensive list because this is a blog and not a guidebook. I hope this reaches the right people that can implement this and wait for the wave of change to come. By taking this small step we can unleash a sea of innovators, employers, wealth creators, inventors, entrepreneurs, world-class business people, CEOs and so on in Nagaland and to the rest of the world.
This is the dream.

Breakfast at Lyngdoh’s

Recently I had the privilege of receiving an invitation for breakfast from a fascinating individual who goes by the name of R.G Lyngdoh. Sir R.G as I call him and also by everyone who is aware of him is not one of your run-of-the-mill person, he is a well known personality (he also possesses quite a personality hence my description of him as a fascinating individual) in the northeastern part of India. He has adorned many hats in his career, a cornucopia of titles to say, he was the chairman of the Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum, CEO of the Meghalaya Livelihood Improvement Finance Company, Vice Chancellor of Martin Luther Christian University and Home minister of Meghalaya, oh! He was also the founding member of a once popular R&B band called Mojo. That’s him! Quite a man. The reason I am writing about this is for two reasons, one because of how much I am appreciative of him and second because I derive immense pleasure from this kind of conversations. I am big on conversations that matters.
Now when you are fortunate enough to be seated with a man of such high caliber and have breakfast together, I guarantee you that the conversation about to happen for the next 1 hour and 40 minutes or so is not going to be banal chit chat. The breakfast started with a prayer telling God how grateful he was for everything and after that the conversation took many turns. It started with spirituality and ministry then it went to peace building and on the next segment we talked about morality and values then we talked about each other’s book and of course I was not going to let it go without probing him on the issue of politics which is his element, we talked about honesty, corruption and compromising in politics extensively.

We also talked a bit about the current system of education that requires a bit of reshaping and how the system is unappreciative of students inquisitiveness. This segment went right to my frontal lobe activating my gamma waves that does the higher thinking because making our education system a little bit better than now is right up my element.
Such is the nature of people who has seen and done a lot in life that they don’t leave you without some advice and lessons learned by them. One thing he said to me captured my mind “Nzan we have stopped investing in our dreams” I liked that a lot particularly the word investing, it’s an interesting choice of words. He also implored me to hold on to my principles and never to compromise.
What did I noticed about him in that two hours you ask? I noticed that he walks in gratefulness, he is not afraid to deliver the truth, he thinks through everything, he has covered everything he has achieved in life with humility but the one thing I noticed about him was that he has seen a lot of isolation in life, the word isolation keeps coming up in our conversation. He gave me a copy of his book who the cap fits and on it he wrote “be prepared to stand alone” and I think standing alone has taught him a lot in life and also how to survive in a world full of predators with his principles still intact.
What did I learn from that two hours you ask? Saying no to people can often leave you alone, he quoted John Donne No man is an island No one is self-sufficient to me but it can be the right response most of the time no matter what it leads to.
It can be isolating when one is at the top but that is the place where one can make the most positive changes which people down the years will reap the benefits unaware of who initiated the changes and Sir R.G has done that.

Smothering Curiosity for Mediocrity

Someone once said “Curiosity is the ingredient needed for the next great discovery” sadly I have observed and experienced that our existing educational system the place that is suppose to nurture curiosity only give gravitas to filling our heads with facts and knowledge and smothers the only thing needed to carry the world ahead. One of the most adored scientists of our time Astrophysicist Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson keeps on ranting about this particular point that our current system of education has totally abandoned this matter. The great Carl Sagan the beloved Astronomer who hosted the famed documentary Cosmos also kept bringing up this issue.
Let me illustrate the point that I am trying to make with an incident that occurred between my niece and I. One evening after dinner my niece and I were in the kitchen seated near the fire and I was educating her on the field of Astronomy and Cosmology, things about the expanding space and when I arrived to the subject of Planets like terrestrial planets, Jovial planets, number of planets, exoplanets and so on… she took a pause pondered for a while and asked me,
“So are there humans on the other planets?”
I was both surprised and impressed because I was not expecting any of that sort, when a four year old child inquires something as profound as that one cannot help but to be impressed and surprised simultaneously. In hindsight I should not have been surprised, impressed but not surprised because I am cognizant of how the mind of a child operates they all operate at the genius level.
Now what is my grouse with the way teaching is being done? Our schools, colleges and universities our educational institutions have either forgotten or they are totally ignoring teaching the art of pure thinking. We are all so full of facts and knowledge that we have forgotten what curiosity looks like it has become foreign to us. I love facts and knowledge knowing has a lot of advantage but in the bigger picture it smothers original thinking and curiosity and what’s leftover are a whole generation of general knowledge virtuosos and not curious individuals.
I brought up Dr. Tyson because he is an ardent defender amongst hundreds of original thinkers, of the idea that educational institutions are at fault of stifling curiosity from the moment a child sits in the classroom. I also brought up my niece because if you have interacted with a child you must have come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to assuage their curiosity, every answer to their question is followed up by another why.
Most of the greatest scientific discovery has been the result of an insatiable curiosity. Albert Einstein came up with special and general relativity because he was curious about the consequences of travelling in a beam of light and the fabric of the cosmos. Sir Isaac Newton came up with gravity because he was curious whether the moon was also falling like objects falling on earth, whatever story you have heard about an apple falling on Newton’s head leading to the discovery of gravity please discard that because that story is apocryphal in nature. Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Tesla, Maxwell, Boltzman, Planck, Bohr, Hiesenberg, Schrodinger, Curie, Dirac, Turing, Hawking and so on to name a few discovered the things that are associated with their names because they wanted to know why.
Imagine the kind of today we would have if we give our children the freedom to think in their own way and not snatch away their wonderment with grades, exams, facts and excessive home works. They don’t get the time to be original toiling away for all these irrelevant and inconsequential matters. I think it is safe to assume that our present educated unemployed youth problem goes back to kinder garden class day one when a series of outdated facts and knowledge is presented to them to be memorised. By the way if there is any doubt as to what I am saying has any credibility or not, know that Newton came up with the laws of motion and Gravity when he had to spend two years away from college because of the plague. Einstein came up with E=mc2 and matter and energy bending space while working as a patent clerk.
My carp is not with education itself but with the way education is delivered. We have got to teach our students how to think and not what to think. We may have to change something about our system, not everything is at error I would admit that but it still needs a lot of fixing. We need a system where we allow each student to grow in their own pace, learn in their own ways and style, nurture freedom of thought and curiosity, teach subjects that are relevant thus creating a future where the possibilities are endless.
It breaks my heart as I see students running out of their classrooms screaming for the approaching holidays saying among themselves “No more studies”. I ask myself, what are we doing so wrong that we are discouraging students from learning? My regret as I look at them is asking myself how many Newtons, Einstiens and Hawkings have we lost while we smother their curiosity turning them into mediocre individuals.

A Dog’s Purpose

A few days ago I was comfortably seated on my couch working on my laptop and after several minutes of working I felt the need to stretch my aching back so I gently lifted the laptop placed it aside got up to do some stretching and while I was in the middle of it I saw my Pomeranian dog and in the tradition of my family everybody calls him different names I call him Mr. Buff, my brother calls him Toby, My cousin calls him Fefe other name includes seven star hotel and 5 star General he earn those name due to his dislike for every curry we cook other than meat. For the real name though he is known as Buffy named after the Vampire slayer. Fun fact! My brother nearly named him Sir Charles after the character played by Sir Patrick Steward. Imagine shouting out “Sir Charles lo…” would be fun though. As I was in the middle of relaxing my derriere and my lumbar I saw Mr. Buff lay comfortably on the wooden floor in his mixture of white and brown fur wearing a harness so I walk up to him bended both my knees patted his head and had a one way conversation,
Buff all you do is eat, sleep, bark, play and repeat. Your existence comprise of only that, no meaning no purpose”
As I spoke to him those nihilistic words he looked at me with an adorable face and licked my hand. I guess that was his way of having a conversation with me, so it was not actually a one way conversation. So as I was unloading those words at him suddenly I had an epiphany like my brain was talking to me and I had these words ran through my head,
“No! that’s not It, he too has a purpose he is not meaningless at all though he may only eat, bark, play, sleep and repeat while doing those he gives joy to the humans around him, he brings smiles on your face, he brings out love in you, he is a play partner, he is not only a dog but he is a part of the family”
Now ruminate on that carefully, if a dog can do that what about a person? An individual? A human being? We take it for granted that there are many people walking around dead from the inside feeling purposeless and meaningless. If you have ever felt like a pathetic useless person making no countable contributions to life just contemplate on what a dog can do being a dog, this is not to degrade the canine species but to make an important point. I have met several individuals that have questioned themselves “what am I doing with my life?” to the point that they have pondered on doing away with their lives.
You matter. You have a value. You have a purpose look for it. You have a meaning look for it obsessively till you find it. You have been bestowed with life leak it wherever you go. You are a weapon of positivity use it to the point of exhaustion. You are a smile machine smile till it hurts. You are a river of creativity let it flow till it floods. You’re extraordinary just being you.

Now I have I have to go play with Mr. Buff.

Cogito ergo sum realem?

A while ago somebody said something about the nature of reality that instantly captured my mind and has been on my mind ever since. It has taken a permanent place in my sub-conscious mind and pops into my conscious mind every now and then I presume that’s my brain reminding me that I have to battle it out. So this is going to be my feeble attempt on not answering the nature of reality but brain-storming on the notion of REAL.
What does it mean when something is said to be real? For something or anything to be real It has to have the property of identifiable that means it has to be identified as something. It has to have the property of quantifiable that means it should be measurable. It has to fulfill the laws of thought that means it must not contradict and must logically be consistent. It has to pass through the test of our senses especially touch and sight, it must have the property of tangibility and seeing. Fulfilling all of these requirements falls under the definition of REAL.
Looking carefully at the requirements again one can see the loophole staring at you and that is, something’s that are identifiable is not measurable at the same time. Take the examples of “Ideas”, they can be identified as ideas but are not measurable, feelings are identifiable but not measurable. Hunger can be felt but not seen, the rules of logic can be quantifiable and identifiable but not felt. The planet Neptune can be seen but not felt. So does that mean that they crumble down failing to fulfill the requirements? No because we know that hunger is real because we feel it, Neptune is real because we see it, ideas are real because we can convert them into a physical form, 5 plus 5 is equal to 10 is real because it is covered by the rules of math that is measurable, identified and fulfills the rules of logic though it cannot be felt or touched (unless you are special kid and have been endowed with synaesthesia) so how do we solve this conundrum? We give them different degrees of realness, though something may not fulfill other criteria’s of what constitute being real is, it fulfills the other criteria.
Take a simple object and examine it, for example take a pencil, it can be felt, touched, identified, quantified, and it does not contradict it’s not a pencil and a pen at a same time it is identified as a pencil. It has passed the test but my question is even after passing all the tests, what is the possibility that there is no such thing as a pencil and it’s all a projection of our mind? Let’s go a little higher and ask what if our mind doesn’t exist and we are all just a projection of something else? Let’s go even higher and ask what if nothing is real and that nothing exists? It’s highly unlikely, but just a thought.
Now this is what has troubled my mind, how do I prove that I am real? How do you prove to me that you are real? Because if I am not real then the things that I can touch, see, smell and so on are not real because if I am not real then those things are just a projection of my thoughts they exist because I exist. Now how do I prove that I am real to you? Going back to Rene Descartes he battled with these same quandaries and then concluded that “Dubito ergo cogito, cogito ergo sum” which mean “I doubt therefore I think, I think therefore I am” he concluded if I am doubting that means I am thinking and then if I am thinking then I must be real but he only succeeded in proving that he is a thinking being, he could just be a brain in a jar thinking. So I cannot follow that same line of thinking because I could also be just another thinking entity levitating in a dark unending space thinking that I am seeing a face and I am hungry.
So how do I prove that I possess a body? That what I am eating is real, that the trees I am looking at are real, I cannot, maybe nothing is real and the only thing that is real are thoughts produced not by brains because those are the only things we know off that can think but entirely something else that has convinced us that it’s brains that does the thinking or maybe we are just brains hovering in an edgeless dark void.
So, like Descartes the only thing I have are “thoughts” and if that’s the only thing I have then I have to conclude by saying Cogito ergo sum realem? I think therefore I am real?

Grappling with WHAT and WHY!

Pondering about the What and the Why’s of life is a task that I as a wannabe philosopher loves to do, it is not an easy task and has to be done carefully. The epiphanies that one grasps in peering into life itself are no short of getting high. I recommend everyone to do some contemplation once in a while, you never know what life may unveil or reveal to you. I have done my share of contemplating with the complexities of life and in my cogitations I have not only come upon the convoluted attribute of life but I have also come upon the vagaries, the whims, the idiosyncrasies and the jocular part of life but none compares to the part where a particular illumination give birth to a mixture of states such as amazement, utter anguish, indifference and failure to grasp within my very being.
You are now wondering what that illumination is, let me enlighten you.
The study of Physics, Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology has strongly concluded that our universe was a result of a random quantum fluctuation, means something from nothing. The late great Stephen Hawking with Jim Hartle came up with a theory of the big bang called The No Boundary Theory which says that before the Big Bang there was nothing. Keeping that in mind, a universe out of nothing started expanding and after sometime it experienced inflation, rapid expansion, giving way to annihilation between matter and anti-matter leaving off some matter, in turn making it possible to form stars and galaxies, the stars then explodes scattering its guts, rich in elements across the universe making it possible for planets to form and life to start in a regular planet energized by its parent star called the Helios making life to emerge in a few million years. Now this life took a few million years to evolve (if the word evolve offends your sensibilities then replace it with arrive) and transitioned from water to land and took another few million years to evolve from Australopithecus Anamensis to Homo Erectus to Neanderthal to Sapiens. Now this Sapiens branch learnt how to use fire, tools, wheel and agriculture in a few thousand years and then went on to make machines, computers, come up with religion and invent ways to decipher nature called science. These activities will go on until one day in a few million years or a few thousand years this Homo sapiens will go extinct from the history of the universe without a vestige and simply disappear. In the cosmic timeline we will be here only for a blip and then gone, that’s it.
Hence, the mixture of states for this realization.
Indifferent because we are here as a result of a quantum process and we will go away when the universe turns hostile or time decides it’s time.
Utter anguish because what does it matter since it looks like we are just a blip, here for a blip and gone in a blip. I must make something clear here, least you accuse me of being a nihilist, let me make it clear to you I am not! I believe in meaning but not born with it but given to it! I am an existentialist, existence precedes essence. I will make it clear as we go ahead.
Failure to grasp because no matter how much I contemplate I am nowhere near to an answer hence giving way to grappling with questions such as these, what is the meaning of all these? Why are we all here? What is the purpose of achieving consciousness? Is life worth it from the cosmic scale?
And lastly amazement because even though we are here only for a blip and no matter the circumstances leading to the achievement of awareness, for this short period of time in the history of the universe we get have something call life. We are aware even though we are a result of a quantum fluctuation and in our awareness and short life we get to do love, we get to live, we get to feel, we get to see beauty, we get to give meaning to our lives, we get to believe in a creator, we get to know, we get to make music, we get to do art, we get to do poetry, we get to win and most importantly we get to be a part of the universe and know the universe. As I write this no matter what fate lies ahead of us, good or bad, I am reminded of what Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “If you know the why, you can live any how”.

Quasi Jackson Pollock with Rorschach and a hint of Projective test

Festooned with a multitude of colors, there is a painting hanging on my wall. It’s adorned with the colors of red, black, green and blue. The identity of the artist is a mystery. One fine day when the sun, as usual, decided to set on the West, I came upon this painting hanging on someone else’s wall and it caught my attention instantly, the person who was in possession of this painting noticed my odd adoration for this art and decided to bestow this art to me as a gift and now it adorns my lonely wall in an ineffable manner making my wall not so lonely anymore. The unknown artist decided to go quasi Jackson Pollock on the painting by making drips of colors on the canvas but also decided to add the spirit of Rorschach and a pinch of Projective test. I cannot say for sure that the artist knew what it meant when the canvas took drips of color reflecting the works of the incredible Jackson Pollock but the artist definitely wanted to reflect Rorschach and some Projective on the art.
I have the oddest reason as to why I am writing about this quaint art that is on my wall. Emotions. Yes, this is about how a number of colors randomly mixed together on a white canvas generate a blend of complex feelings to the observer, the observer being me. Looking at the painting I can deduce that the nameless painter started with green and on top of it sits blue and on top of the blue sits red and towards the end, drips of black are noticeable. The colors are spread out right in the middle of the canvas and towards the edge of the canvas strokes of all the four colors in the shape of a circle can be seen.
What I fail to grasp is how this painting gives me a complexity of emotions and the irony is that I am not a huge fan of emotions and feelings. I take the view that it makes one incapable of making logical decisions and I have also observed that humans cease to function optimally in the presence of emotions. What I understand Is how humans get their emotions but what I don’t understand is how something as simple as this art can conjure such emotions in me that I am aware that I am really feeling them. The painter definitely did not set out to make a recognizable picture out of this art; it’s just a bunch of colors mixed randomly. I have yet to decipher why my brain finds this art appealing and capturing. I do have a conjecture though, I don’t possess substantial data to prove it hence a conjecture and it is this, since the art does not take the shape of any picture that is already recorded in my brain, it (my brain) does not know how to respond to the art, a failure to comprehend the painting if you must say, hence the complexity and then to a blend of emotions.
One thing is clear though, I may not yet fully comprehend or understand the painting but as paradoxical (I say paradoxically because it’s hard to pinpoint how one can enjoy something if one does not understand it) as it may sound I will definitely enjoy the painting every possible moment.