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Quantum Chips, an intuitive, creative computer ?

Bristol University announced they have developed a chip that works not electromagnetically but through light (did I get that right ?), so it’s not only much much faster but also one that works on the principles of Quantum Physics. Where particles can be at several places at the same time.

Now am I getting this right ? Are we talking about a computer that can live with principles of Uncertainty and Chaos, and deduce results that are defined from there ? Is this the beginning of HAL out of 2001 Space Odyssey ? The applications possible with this chip are mind boggling.

A camera that can intuitively sense your ‘eye’ over time and frame pictures exactly as you would like them, but once you feed in all the masters (say Renoir) it could see your pics with the ‘eye’ of Renoir. Make everyone into a master photographer.

A Robot of course. But more essentially :

a. Medical diagnosis by a computer not really needing a doctor, so taking medical services to where they are needed most.
b. teaching without teachers
c. Intuitive Robots reaching outer edges of Space, saying ” Houston , we have a problem’
d. Chips designed to learn their own structures and continuously exploring their own ‘quantum, structure and exploring the micro meaning of the universe,

and to me the best : A computer that can write a creative script for a film that does not need to sleep, or take weekends off. And whom I could have hours of discussions and arguments with,

I could go and so could you, but have I got it completely wrong ?

Does God exist ? Stephen Hawkin’s ‘hot’ new debate

No, actually He does not. Neither does She. Neither does any religion push the existence of an individual as God. Buddha denied the existence of God except as the idea of ‘nothingness’. Christ was the Son (and therefore born of) God that is Eternal and the Light. The Prophet Mohammad was the Prophet through whom God the Almighty and Omnipresent spoke. The fundamentals of Hinduism are based on the idea’s of an eternity that encompasses all existence as described by Krishna (or at least revealed to) Arjun in the Bhagvad Geeta. Each religion has attempted to expand the concept of God to include ideas of universal eternal love and compassion.

I sometimes feel people keep raising these issues to sell their books or to get on to TV shows.

Of course science will go continue to expand the frontiers of knowledge in the logical understanding of our Universe. And wise philosophers and spiritualists will continue to co opt that part of science that somehow corresponds with concepts of centuries old spiritualists. Such as quantum physics. But while science can give us many theories to describe love, can it give us the experience of love ? And are experience and analysis the same thing ? No they are not.

There in lies the difference. We live in an infinite universe that we must describe and measure in finite terms for it to be ‘scientific’. The ideas of infinity can only come as mathematical possibilities with a ‘constant’ always needed to complete the infinite equation. More often than not that ‘constant’ is the assumption of ‘non linearity of time’ . Which will be proven no doubt, but to a human ego existing and addicted to the idea of linearity of time, ‘eternity’ is essentially incomprehensible other than in moments of expansive emotions of ‘faith’ and ‘love’.

The spiritualists describe the Universe as infinite probabilities. Infinite potential. It exists as you imagine it does. In fact it exists and does not exist at the same moment.

So does God also exist and not exist at the same time ? Is there a ‘being’ that is pulling all the strings of the Universe according to huge design ? Yes, if the design is infinite. And encompasses all possibilities that gives infinite choice. The idea being not someone or somebody that controls the Universe , but a Universe that is consistently creating and destroying itself.

Can there be a scientific equation that ‘explains’ the Universe ? Yes, if you could find an equation that is consistently evolving and destroying itself, refusing to be a static defined representation of our infinite existence.

‘A Blackberry Addict’ Part 2: The story of Lattoo

“You should be accepting credit cards” I said. “No one carries cash anymore you know, get one of those machines that waiters have?”

The young boy grinned widely. Smiling benignly at my perfectly impossible request. Probably has never seen the inside of a restaurant that takes credit cards.

“How much does it cost ?” I asked pointing at one of the five ‘original’ Blackberry car chargers he was holding up. I am one of those that regularly charge my Blackberry last thing before I sleep, but often forget to turn ‘on’ the main power switch. Don’t you get confused between the US and India, where off is on, and on is off ?

“250 rupees”. Five dollars

‘But I don’t have any cash”, I said ” will take it next time I pass through”. By now the cars behind me are angrily honking away. The lights are about to turn from red to green. You notice in India how people start honking at you before they turn green ?

“No, you take it now, and pay me later when you pass through”

The cars honking increased as I sat there looking straight into his honest eyes. Is he serious ? Not a hint of doubt there.

“How will I find you ?” For we were at a heavy traffic junction where most boys his age and dressed like him are begging.

“Oh, just ask for me, take it and pay me later. My name is Lattoo”. Means a spinning top. But my head was spinning now, this kid was making a sale, and he was gambling on the negotiation like a pro. Could this really be true ?

By now drivers were passing me by and hooting to show their displeasure.

“But what if you are not here when I pass again ?”

” Here, put my mobile number in you Blackberry, just call me”, he said as he handed the Blackberry charger to me.

I had enough charge for that, so quickly did and drove away before the lights turned red.

The whole transaction took about a minute in which Lattoo made a quick risk assessment against potential return. And no, he did not recognize me. In that time he told me he bought the charger for Rs 250, but I insisted he told me the truth so he admitted to Rs 230.

Given that I have spent the whole of yesterday and last night with my lawyers going through reams of contracts from executives covering every possible eventuality in a transaction, I was amazed at the trust a street urchin put in a transaction.

I am flying to London tomorrow. My office has Lattoo’s no, and Rs 500 to give him. He deserves it. When I come back I am going to call him and invest Rs 5000 in him and show him the same trust he showed in me. For he showed true entreprenuership at grass root level.

And yes, the charger works !

where is this place called paradise ?

where is this place called ‘Paradise’

except within the misery of the hungry
and dispossessed people ?

where is this place called ‘Paradise’

except in the dark recesses and demons
of your own mind ?

where is this place called ‘Paradise’

except within the daily struggle
to find that elusive ‘peace’

where is this place called ‘Paradise’

except in the breathing in
of all that is,
and in the letting go
of that breath

Killing your Dreams, reproduced from Paulo Coelho’s blog (with his permission)- it’s amazing

1 min reading: Killing our dreams

Published on July 31, 2010 in News. 222 Comments

The first symptom of the process of our killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the Good Fight.

The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the Good Fight.

And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the Good Fight.

When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being.
We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.

And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoons

Words from Petrus to me during The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

A Blackberry addict discovers grassroots enterprise in India

A greater ‘hole in the wall’ you cannot imagine. A small fading sign on the top saying “Cellphoon reapars” barely visible through the street vendors crowding the Juhu Market in Mumbai. On my way to buy a new Blackberry, my innate sense of adventure (foolishness) made me stop my car and investigate. A shop not more than 6 feet by 6 feet. Grimy and uncleaned.

‘Can you fix a blackberry ?”

‘ Of course , show me”

” How old are you”

‘Sixteen’

Bullshit. He was no more than 10. Not handing my precious blackberry to a 10 year old in unwashed and torn T shirt and pyjama’s ! At least if I buy a new one, they would extract the data for me. Something I have been meaning to do for a year now.

‘What’s wrong with it ?”

‘Well, the roller track ball does not respond. It’s kind of stuck and I cannot operate it”

He grabs it from my hand and looks at it

“You should wash your hands. Many customers have same problem. Roller ball get greasy and dirty, then no working’

Look who was telling me to wash my hands. He probably has not bathed for 10 days, I leaned out to snatch my useless blackberry back.

” you come back in one hour and I fix it’

I am not leaving all my precious data in this unwashed kid’s hands for an hour. No way.

“who will fix it ?”

‘Big brother’

‘ How big is ‘big brother?’

‘big …. umm ..thirty’

Then suddenly big brother walks in. 30 ??? He is no more than 19.

‘What problem ?’ He says grabbing the phone from my greasy hand into his greasier hand. Obviously not trained in etiquette by an upmarket retail store manager.

‘Normal blackberry problem. I replace with original part now. You must wash your hand before you use this’

What is this about me washing my hands suddenly ?? 19 year old big brother rummages through a dubious drawer full of junk and fishes out a spare roller ball packed in cheap cellophane wrapper. Original part ? I doubt it.

But by now I am in the lap of the real India and there is no escape as he fishes out a couple of screwdrivers and sets about opening my Blackberry.

“How long will this take ?”

” Six minutes ”

This I have to see. After spending the whole morning trying to find a Blackberry service centre and getting vague answers about sending the phone in for an assessment that might take a week, I settle down next to his grubby cramped work space. At least I am going to be able to watch all my stored data vanish into virtual space. People crowd around to see what’s happening. I am not breathing easy anyway. I tell myself this is an adventure and literally have to stop myself grabbing my precious blackberry back and making a quick escape.

But in exactly six minutes this kid handed my blackberry back. He had changed the part and cleaned and serviced the the whole phone. Taken it apart, and put it together. As I turned the phone on there was a horrific 2 minutes where the phone would not come on. I looked at him with such hostility that he stepped back.

‘you have more than thousand phone numbers ?”

‘yes’.

‘backed up ?’

‘no’

‘Must back up. I do it for you. Never open phone before backing up’

‘You tell me that now ?’

But then the phone came on and my data was still there. Everyone watching laughed and clapped. This was becoming a show. A six minute show.

I asked him how much.

‘ 500 rupees’ He ventured uncertainly . People around watched in glee expecting a negotiation. Thats $ 10 dollars as against the Rs 30,000 ($ 600) I was a about to spend on a new blackberry or a couple of weeks without my phone. I looked suitably shocked at his ‘high price ‘ but calmly paid him. Much to the disapointment of the expectant crowd.

‘do you have an Iphone ? Even the new ‘4′ one ?

‘no, why”

‘I break the code for you and load any ‘app’ or film you want. I give you 10 film on your memory stick on this one, and change every week for small fee’

I went home having discovered the true entreprenuership that lies at what we call the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. Some may call it piracy, which of course it is, but what can you say about a two uneducated and untrained brothers aged 10 and 19 that set up a ‘hole in the wall’ shop and can fix any technology that the greatest technologists in the world can throw at them.

I smiled at the future of our country. If only we could learn to harness this potential.

‘Please wash your hands before use’ were his last words to me. Now I am feeling seriously unclean.

Is it a wonder that India’s roads are dangerous ?

Problem is that this looks like a lot of fun. And the problem is that it’s what I used to do when I was in college. On my lambretta as if even death could not touch me in the flush of youthful optimism and daring. What was it about us in those days ? What looks so foolish now, looked so daring and exciting then. Sometimes I wonder about my poor parents who used to get reports of my crazy antics on the Delhi roads. Always wondering if i would make it safely back from university everyday.

And I ? I loved the thrill of it. I still remember going down the wrong way on the ring road standing on my vulnerable little lambretta with my arms stretched wide. About to be crushed any second by an on coming bus or truck, daring death and accident.

Madness ? Stupidity ? Yes both. That’s one thing I will never ever let my daughter do, ride on someone else’s pillion. Because of the stupid things I got up to

This video was shot by Tara Bedi – budding film maker on the GT Highway between Delhi and Chandhigarh

What does it take to become an Actor ?

This is a question I am often asked and want to answer it as truthfully as I can

You must want to be beyond the needs of being accepted as being glamorous and beautiful. Looking for acceptance from other people is to put yourself at the doorstep of unhappiness. Acting is not an indulgence. Do not do it unless the passion is for the art of acting, even if that is expressed through stage, and no matter how small the exposure is – even street theatre. The passion to express stories through the process of acting should be paramount rather than aspiring to live and emulate the lives of the people photographed in the Bombay Times. Do not be led by falsehood. I am presenting to you the answer to the question “what does it take to become an actor” – not what does it take to become a star. For that there are enough people teaching acting in 3 months.

Acting takes incredible discipline. You body is the instrument through which you express yourself, like a violin is the violinists instrument. It takes years of discipline to create mastery over your body and voice. It takes years of introspection and hard work to learn how to use the inherent emotions in you, to be able transfer them seamlessly to your mind and emotion and from there seamlessly to your body and voice. The discipline and riyaz of an actor is no less than that of a classical dancer.

Moments of absolute truth are the most satisfying moments in any art, and the only way you know them, or recognize them, are because you feel closer to something infinite, some power beyond yourself that seems to be in control of your emotions, you body, your heart, your mind.

Those are the moments to aspire to and just a few in your lifetime will make you a true artist.

You asked me a a question about the art of acting I assume and not the commerce. The second I know nothing about and do not care to. You go to the Gym, get great pictures taken, discover your best angles, and go to parties to network. Get a six pack or a great body and go to photographers that know how to exploit those assets and then later photo shop them into perfection. Being attractive on the outside may be important , but the art of acting is to be attractive on the inside.

Sorrow .. to a friend facing tragedy

if you do not feel sorrow

you are not human,

if you don’t deny sorrow and welcome it

you have understood what it is to be human,

if you let sorrow so completely engulf you,

like a monsoon rain, drench you completely, right to your soul

then, when the sun comes out, and you dry out,

you will have experienced your true universal, God like self

and a new beginning

Sorrow is often our path to experience that

which is beyond the ego and the self,

Heart of Darkness, Guest Column by Sudhir Mishra

The Naxal crisis has blown up in our face because of our vanity. We have failed to see it as a valid militancy because at the heart of it is desperate poverty. Extremism is often the curse of the impecunious. While the insurgency in Kashmir can still be seen as a diplomatic tangle, or terrorism originating in the North-East as a war of identity, the Naxal crisis is naked in its despair. Unless urban India rises up to the obscenities of inequality that have underlined this militancy, it will be akin to Nero, the Roman emperor of yore, fiddling his thumbs whilst Rome was burning.

Lets start with a very simple beginning: lets pay attention to the crisis. One obvious symptom of the malaise is that the only interface between the government and the people cannot be the police. It must be development work.

One argument could be that how can development work start when extremism is so rampant. To this, I wish to say, that even in Uttar Pradesh, where I am currently, there is barely any Naxal activity, but there certainly is no developmental work happening either! We need to stop asking the question, Why is Bihar poor That is elementary. Let us instead ask ourselves, How did Bihar become poor If this crisis is about tribals losing their land because the government wants to go on a mining binge, let tribals too participant in this orgy. There must be a vision of a state, and it must be shared by all. There are some very respected names who have worked on a grassroots level with very specific areas, men with a deep knowledge of peoples grievances and unjust histories. The government should be eager to engage them. I dont see that.

I am not proposing Gandhism, even though some great Gandhians have done radical work in the worst-affected zones in the Naxal heartland, districts that have seen generations of negligence. What I am saying is that given the problems of a pluralist society such as India, if there can be a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), there is always scope for a Special Government Zone (SGZ).

That said, Naxals will have to give up violence. There is a deep irony at the heart of this bloodshed: a poor policeman posted in the middle of nowhere (nowhere for us on the fringes, geographically at least) is also choosing such a job out of desperation. He must be poor. Killing him is not the way to win a war. The war can only be won by consensus. And our urban classes, that can celebrate a Fashion Week with exotic variations of fabric, but fail to see the irony of a cotton farmer killing himself a hundred kilometres away, will have to see the grotesque injustices that still exist at the heart of their beloved nation. We should lose our vanity and come to terms with the fact that there is a desperately impecunious nation at the centre of all this. The economic liberalization has hugely benefitted the urban middle-class. Let us begin to share the spoils, as they say.

The answer to the Naxal crisis is dependent on urban Indians reaching out. They owe a great responsibility to the disadvantaged, because if a nation is to progress, it must take all people along with it. I want to be optimistic and believe that this may be possible. But as Desmond Tutu of South Africa once said, Of course there will be forgiveness. But first let there be justice.

(Published in the Mumbai Mirror on May 30th 2010)

Sudhir Mishra has been blogging on cinema at PassionForCinema, and has now begun a new blog on cinema as well as life beyond just cinema, at <a href=”http://sudhirmishra.wordpress.com”>http://sudhirmishra.wordpress.com</a>