Sidharth Vardhan

Respectablity of Rich – Theory of Leisure Class

(Review of by Thorstein Veblen’s’The Theory of Leisure Class’First written on July 8, 2015) “For the last half of my life, I’ve learned to say ‘sir’. Its word you use when you’ve come down in the world.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Brother Karamazov) There were times in my early teens when I was confounded when upon being called by such titles like ‘sir’ by some manual-laborer, some tourist guide or like, a person much older than me – I’m a very absent-minded and in some way abnormal person and often end up in being ignorant of things which most people have already got used to – even now I feel uncomfortable being waited upon, which is at times embarrass my friends. Anyway, this observation shocked me because I didn’t fit any grounds for such respect known to me- the person in the question was obviously older and unlike me was earning and self-dependent. I, I was just a kid. Why such respect? With time I learned it was simply because I was richer. This book has a term for this phenomenon – Pecuniary respect. To date and even in the best of minds; other things being equal, a wealthy person, even one

In support of cannibalism

(A Short Fiction)   “I think the story starts when, as a kid, I was a neighbor of this family of slaughterers for a short while and, though they did their work within walls of their house, still sitting inside our home, we could hear the cries of goats, full of pain, as they were being slaughtered. These cries would go on for several minutes. It was unbearable for my family to hear those cries day after day. Personally, I found their reactions more annoying. I have never liked these kind-hearted people. Animals have always been slaughtered, and most of them never show concern except when it happens right in front of them, which is when their hypersensitive imagination starts working and they suddenly grow compassionate. Their compassion creates an inconvenience when things happen in their backyard, an inconvenience which they will have removed. They can’t care less for animals. They won’t mind if it happens at some distance, away from their physical presence. And this is true generally, even when we are talking about the suffering of humans too. There is a reason Europeans do not want immigrants from middle-East. There is also a reason why it needed an hours-long

Genes and Gods

(Review of Selfish Gene – a book by Richard Dawknis 4*/5*) “ There are more possible games of chess than there are atoms in the galaxy.” Sometimes science books can become unintentionally funny: “What is the good of sex? This is an extremely difficult question for the evolutionist to answer. Most serious attempts to answer it involve sophisticated mathematical reasoning.” One of stupidest criticism here on Goodreads of Adam Smith’s Theory of Wealth of Nations’ was that he made the human selfishness as basis of his theory. It was stupid as Smith didn’t invented that ‘selfishness’ he merely showed us how our economy was already based on selfishness of individuals. It is same here. In fact, in this case ‘selfishness’ is apparently selfish behavior of genes (‘apparently’ because genes do not make conscious choices, selfless ones just won’t survive) and any effects on the individuals are subconscious. Dawkins shows how selfishness of genes can actually bring out what, at first, may look like altruistic behavior among animals. Also, we need not be slave to our genes. In fact, we do resist behavior imposed on us by genes. The best examples are people who remain without children all their life, contraceptives,

Hinduism

(Review of The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Donigner, Rating 4*/5*)   In his book, the ‘The God Delusion, Richard Hawkins debated about the undeserved respect given to religious issues. This, very same undeserved respect is responsible for the genuine resistance, this book has met. It is undeserved because no religion or belief can be shielded from criticism. Much of the fuss is however made by Hindutava whose political agendas will be badly affected if Doniger’s version of history gains popularity – specially the parts relating to Ram-setu and Ayodhya Ram Mandir. The so called danger this book is supposed to have brought on Hindu religion is only a red hearing to mask their own little interests. To stop any book from being read is wrong but even if these fundamentalists feel so protective of their little gods then why don’t they fight against such books like Ajaya, Asura or Shiva trilogy (or – well Chota Bheem)? That Penguin group should remove it,is something which is scary for all of us. Arundhati Rai’s letter to Penguin group is something I will never forget: “Tell us, please, what is it that scared you so? Have you forgotten who you are?”

On Charlie Hebdo

(This was first written as review of Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons on Goodreads on May 6 – I haven’t edited out the parts talk to Gooodreads people. It was 1* of 5* because Goodreads didn’t allow 0 stars) Okay, I have spent a lot of time in making this review stoic but still I can’t help the ramblings that are to follow. I think I stand to lose a lot of friends ere. I’m a skeptic very heavy leaning towards atheism and an outspoken one at that – I love the works that are critical of religious beliefs and practices. Two of my best treasured books are ‘The God Delusion’ and ‘The Satanic Verses’. In fact last time I went to cinema was to watch a movie that makes fun of practices of different religions. I do think that religions bring terrorism – all the major religions do, including Hinduism and Christianity. It is high time we accept it. If religious authorities want to take credit when a person takes name of god while doing charities they must also accept blame when the same person takes name of god while killing someone. Also, no one it isn’t the west only

The Urgency

(A short story by Sidharth VardhanFirst written on October 5, 2015) “We have to be there as soon as possible.” That was objective. The idea was clear. It was never officially stated but it couldn’t be clearer – a natural deduction given the urgency everyone had shown would tell you that they knew it too. After all, it was natural to reach the destination as soon as possible. They all had to dive as fast. He did. He was really fast, ahead of them all. The others, it seemed, had lost their focus in chattering. He had just finished giving them fifth phone call – and they were still so far away. Moreover, it seemed from their tones that they think of him to be really pushy. He had reached there first, all alone and started waiting for them. The urgency shown at the beginning of the journey was still fresh in him, slowly turning into frustration with time. Why would they stop so regularly and start chatting when they were always behind? Was there the unstated rule that one must entertain oneself while on the way? But that didn’t seem to be the truth – you can’t be doing

Good, Bad and beyond

(A review of ‘Beyond Good and Evil’,a book by Friedrich Nietzsche First written on December 25, 2014) “I obviously do everything to be “hard to understand” myself” Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) This kind of admission doesn’t excite confidence in humble readers; does it Nietzsche? The best of the book is mostly in that chapter of aphorisms which take about an hour to read. In the rest of the book; it is mostly author blabbering -at first condemning philosophers and church (which I can still bear for the occasional beautiful observation he offers every now and then); and then detail his prejudices about nations and about ideal women (which made me take that star away). In between though there is a little bit of beauty which can’t be thrown away – the notion of herd morality; slave morality the idea of laughing philosophers etc. More Quotes “Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.” Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) “The text has disappeared under the interpretation.” Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) “One loves ultimately one’s desires, not the thing desired.” Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) “Objection,

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