Monday, September 23, 2013

Blog Hop

Do you have a favorite fall memory linked to a train? What do you imagine you would see if you were riding a train in the fall? Join the authors of Wild CHild publishing and Freyas Bower as we Take an Autumn Train Ride through our blogs.

Prizes will include

  • Four $50 gift certificates (two for Wild Child and two Freya's Bower)
  • An awesome swag package that includes:
    • Bookmarks
    • Books
    • Wild Child T-shirt and mug
    • Wild Child and Freya's Bower bags
    • Four handmade, crochet coasters by Kit Wylde
    • An autographed copy of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
    • A rare DVD copy of the Matheson/Furst classic "Up The Creek" (lovingly used)
    • One ebook copy of Nita Wick's short story, The Dream (previously published as part of a Freya's Bower anthology.)
    • Book trading cards
    • Signed Dangerous Waters poster
    • of "Battle for Blood: The Blood Feud"
    • winner's name as a character in Kissa Starling's next sweet romance story.
    • A Yankee Candle
    • more...

The little girl stared at me, wide-eyed, curious. I smiled at her but she turned her face away.
The train played the never-ending klink-klonk sound as it sped past the autumn landscape. Klink-klonk is what I played in my mind and klink-klonk is what I heard as it crossed one segment of the railway tracks to another.
I was glad when the girl stopped staring. She tugged at her mother’s sleeve. “That man is not from here, is he?” she said.
​The mother hushed her. She whispered something to her, then looked up at me and smiled. “Children…” she said.
I acknowledged her effort at covering her embarrassment with a nod. “I have two of my own. I know how it is.” I assured her.
“Where are you from?” She inquired.
“You mean where I originally came from?”
“Yes,” she said. “Are you from India?”
“Uh, uh.”
“Imagine that. I’m reading this book called, Moments in Life. They are short stories and very interesting.” she said, pointing at her Kindle.
“It does cover a lot of genres. Which of the stories did you like the most?”
“Well, I’m not one for the horror stories but I loved some of the others that touch upon cultural aspects.” She turned pages in her Kindle then held it up for me. It had the cover of the book on it.
“It’s a great book. It’s got mystery, stories about relationships, about cultural differences, and current affairs. Like I said, other than the horror stories, I loved it.”
“Did you read the horror stories?”
“No. I’m sure they are good but that not for me.” She smiled.
After a moment of silence, “You said the book covered a lot of genres. Have you read it?” she asked.
“I wrote the book,” I said.
“What? Get out of here. Are you kidding me? You are Shanbreen?”
“Shanbreen is my pen-name.”
“I can’t believe this. Why Shanbreen?”
“That was my daughter’s name?”
“Yes, she died. Got struck by lightning.” I chocked.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…”
“That’s okay. It was some time ago.”
The little girl stood leaned into her mother. “Mom, how long do we have to be in this train? I’m bored.”
“We should be there any time now.” Mom replied.
I smiled at them.
The train slowed then screeched to a stop.
“It was good to meet you,” she said extending her hand.
“It was good to meet you too,” I replied.

Dr. Husein Taherbhai

Please visit these sites for more chances to win, the more you visit the more chances you have to win. We have 46 participating authors. You can stop at as many or as little blogs as you wish. At each stop, you will find either two chances to enter per blog to win some awesome prizes. If you visit all, that's 92 chances to win! There will be five, lucky winners.
Take the Blog Train and Visit These Blogs for more chances to win

Marci Baun/Kit Wylde

Critters at the Keyboard

Teresa D'Amario

Judith Leger, Fantasy and Comtemporary Romance Author


The Fictional World of Jaime Samms

Follow Where the Path will Take You

The Wandering Mind of Lizzy P. Bellows

Where Love and Magic Meet

Kissa Starling

Marianna Heusler

Hell's Ambrosia

C.M. Michaels

The Shadow Portal

The Blog Zone

Blog By iMagine

Ardyth DeBruyn Author Blog

Shadows of the Past

Dear Reader

Cassie Exline -- Mystery and Romance

Sarcastic Rambling & Writing

That's What I Think

Sue's Random Ramblings

Make Old Bones

Elements of Mystery

Molly Dean's Blog

Kenzie's Place

The Forbidden Blog

David Huffstetler

Cassandra Ulrich

Carol Marvell

Andrew Richardson

Nick Lloyd

Fiddleeebod -- land of stories

Nita Wick's Blog

Ruth G. Zavitsanos

Too Poor for Texas

Jenn Nixon

City of Thieves

Musings and Doodles


The Western Writer

Bike Cop Blog

The Character Depot

Allen Currier

Tracy Holohan

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Monday, September 9, 2013

The Birth of God

In the distant prehistoric past, outlined as a miniscule dot on the man-made timeline that runs through the universe, when the first few men and women presumably walked the earth, a mother’s crest-fallen look at the birth-waste that surrounded her, could have harbored in her countenance a semblance of grief at the still-born child that lay at her loins. The dead child was perhaps no more than an “occurrence” in an era when such occurrences were common, but enduring the nine-month sheltering of a child inside the womb without any desirable manifestation of the results may not have displayed grief but it could have displayed “disappointment”, or an equivalent feeling that in all probability did not have a psychological labeling at that time. To belabor the point, the feelings of disappointment for pre-historic human beings could also have been awakened for other scenarios as when the beast escaped the hunter’s trap, or the hunter being eaten by the hunted. In the minds of those who lived in the dark ages, these “other” scenarios could be seen as an explainable activity that provided direct cause-effect relationship in the sense that the beast escaped the trap because it was not set right or the hunter still lived, but now inside the beast’s stomach. In other words while an understanding of an action to a reaction had occurred, there was no association or a real understanding in the minds of the homo sapiens as to the transfer of a person who had grunted and moved to now being immobilized through no external action of the self, of another person, or of a beast. Simply put, the action of death had still not found its voice in the consciousness of these people. Death was obviously a very powerful hunter or a beast that immobilized a person, without manifesting its physical presence. A person who could exist in a life-like format at one time and then re-exist in an immobile one was a truism sustained through visual dictates (and to a lesser extent through some other senses such as the smell or sound) of the prehistoric people during that time. However, as the still-developing brain acquired understanding and knowledge (or as some would say, a better form of the human being was created), the homo sapiens inadvertently could have questioned the source of the horrible hex on the person that was now in a comatose state, paralyzed or dead, his body left to provide much sought after food for the scavengers or others who were hungry for the human flesh. Even after Darwin articulated that nature could be manipulated, the theory still did not provide a counter-method to avert such demise. None of the body-manipulation and spiritual activities, nowadays in the hands of medical doctors and the priests, could alter the state of nonexistence or conditions that created such nonexistence. Death, therefore, could have become a topic of discussion, perhaps with some apprehension with respect to “violent” death. However, as alluded earlier, proof obtained through the auspices of the senses for an occurrence to have happened, was perhaps the only accepted form of understanding in the human mind. The age of reasoning beyond the cause-effect theory had not yet arrived. In the human mind, every action had to have an ownership associated with it, which in the case of death was relegated to the person, animal or the poisonous food that did the killing. But death that was observed without any outward manifestation of the “attacker” was an inexplicable phenomenon. Such an “inexplicable” death that immobilized the body which had at one time, stored grunts and groans, directed hunts and fornicated to replenish the supply of members in their little group could have proven to be a mystical event. What happened to the “man” that now lived inside a beast’s body and had at one time the wherewithal to move its limbs? The need to understand the identity of the “thing” that lived somewhere far away behind the mountains, taking long-range unobservable “shots” in decapitating the human form, implied that this thing was very powerful, way beyond the comprehension of those who lived on earth. Because such an action from whoever was out there was never observed, imagination had a field day in the prehistoric days. Some of these people could have attributed the fundamentals of weather that provided conditions of farming in the control of the “Thing”, the so-called Deity. However, it is possible that even for some with an imaginative mind an omnipotent deity was much too hard to accept. The entity possibly could not possess the power to undertake such a wide range of unfathomable activities or provide such phenomenal objects as the sun for warmth and the clouds for the rains. Perhaps the very things that provided warmth and water were the elusive “gods”. The imagination thus could have created various gods to undertake such activities. The Egyptian God, Ra was the sun god, while the Norse God of thunder was Thor. Some, however, managed to overcome the limitations of their imaginations and created an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God to sustain their supposedly immortal activities. But such a God even if it remained in their minds could not be brought to fruition in their vision. This God could not be linked to the images of the mortals, for mankind had still not come to terms in connecting the skeletal man to an all-powerful God. The man in God’s image could not be a truism only because the mind had not developed enough to promote man as superior earthly being. There were other creatures, physically more powerful than men, or much more important to their lives, that were more likely to have been created in God’s image (e.g., Lahar the Sumerian cattle God, circa 3000 BC; or Bata the Egyptian bull God). But even these animal beings did not provide satisfaction in the understanding of the Deity. The animal part of these dual animal-god beings could be controlled, hunted and killed by mere mortals, which belied the idea of the perceived god as omnipotent and, therefore, indestructible. Since there were no super humans or animals that could likely take place of the imagined God, there was no recourse but to cast the Almighty as something quite different from mere mortals. Some, therefore, imagined God in the form of a bright light (provided through the auspices of Hollywood), while others saw God as a wisp of smoke, while still others created an aura of mystery that did not allow any sort of an image of God as a possibility, because nothing in their imagination came close to creating the “true” picture of God. But prior to, or at about the same time as the realization of “gods” or a single “god” to explain that which could not be explained, the governance of “life” in such ventures as controlling behavior in a harmonious fashion among the members of the group had already been observed. The spoils, for example, after a kill or a war had to be distributed on a hierarchical basis with the leader taking the lion’s share. Similarly, women who were “dragged by their hair” for the lustful desires of men’s libidos now added a new dimension to their being on earth. Soon, their role in the economic well-being of the group came to the forefront. At this point, the best woman for the best man to produce the best offspring was, perhaps, still not understood. What was understood was that dominance over women, an economic entity that could provide more members for the group, was a necessity. Cooking, and gathering fruits and edible plants, seeds and roots (mundane tasks well below the strength required from the macho men) had to be undertaken, and there was nothing like the inclusion of women to enhance a man’s economic fortunes. Thus through the performance of “menial” tasks, as a factory to produce useful future members for their group, and at the same time providing instinctively desired pleasure for men’s lustful desires, women can be seen as becoming a very desirable commodity for men to keep, protect and maintain. It should be recognized that the necessity of women in a group, however, was not all one sided. Women required security and protection from those who took advantage of their weaker physic (particularly during childbirth), or those who kidnapped or killed their kids. They, therefore, accepted work assigned to them not because they were forced into submission to do the back-breaking work, but they did for the security provided by their men and group. Thus, the groups of maundering men and women could now have seen the first light of the virtues of possession and belonging to a particular group. For the ancient groups of people, the realization for a community could have sprouted “rules” to sustain a relatively harmonious living condition. These rules (perhaps unspoken) could have been established on the bases of the members’ comparative productivity or necessity vis-à-vis others in the group so that acknowledgement and benefits were proportionately dished out to correspond to their relative importance and need to the group. Although, one can visualize various such activities in the distribution of “spoils” on a hierarchical basis in bygone-days, Hinduism, known to its followers as Sanatana Dharma (a Sanskrit phrase meaning "Universal Principles"), came to the forefront as a means of guidance for an exemplary life. The religion, itself, rests on a complex set of rules, taking its philosophical cue from the ancient Vedic scriptures, and encompasses a wide variety of thoughts that culminate in different sects that worship a particular nature of God (e.g., Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti) or a combination of various gods (as is practiced by the Smartas) that dissolves in the ultimate Brahman or the Supreme Being. However, discussion on God and religions is not a simple matter because it does not follow the basic course of hypothesis testing. And yet, in spite of it not falling into any one category or the other of evidential reckoning, it draws its own boundary in spiritual awakening that re-defines empirical evidence as unnecessary in the understanding of the spiritual man. There is a common tendency for mankind to formulate a plausible research question (in most cases, unknowingly), the hypothesis of which when once established, is proven or disproven through a preponderance of similar belief, empirical research, or a mathematical formulation, as is often the case, say, in the field of theoretical physics. In theoretical physics, an awareness of a phenomenon, such as parallel universes, lies outside the scope of empirical evidence, but it is derived either as a likelihood through a secondary related observance (e.g., an observance of a tornado to be associated with the vagaries of nature) or as a possibility based on a mathematical derivation. The idea of god, therefore, can stem from the basic need of human beings to explain an effect through a cause, where the creation of mankind can be seen as an effect for which an omnipotent God is a necessary cause. However, the hypothetical formulation of such a deity does not have any empirical standing because God is elusive and has never manifested Itself/Himself/Herself through a direct contact with people amass, or has only been described as hearsay through the eyes of the lucky or the chosen few who have had direct communication with God. But as stated earlier, such an empirical non-realization does not negate the existence of God. From one point of view, if the existence of God cannot be proven, nor can the alternative hypothesis of there being no God proven. However, for the agnostics and the atheists, there are many hypothetical axioms that have never been proven or disproven, and if one were to accept their occurrence/s, one must also embrace the idea of fairies living in gardens and trolls under the bridges to sustain an understanding of beauty, magic, monstrosity and things that go “thump” at night. But even among the agnostics and the atheists, to nullify the assertion of God’s existence at first requires an acknowledgement of the possibility of God’s existence, because all hypotheses have a certain expectation of an occurrence. One cannot, for example, propose a hypothesis that the earth is triangular unless substantial observances, logic, amass perception, or pre-existing beliefs propel such a hypothetical stance. A strict atheist, therefore, can never be involved in the disapproval of God’s existence because for an atheist there is no God to talk about. The philosophical arguments against God’s existence and the critics who counter-argue for his/her/its existence have played their part in history. But spiritual hypothesis, as stated earlier, need spiritual standing that depends not so much on empirical or mathematical evidence but on the necessity for the “inner self” to gyrate toward an understanding of life after death, and in the process come to a “self-fulfilling” identification of the source of one’s creation. The philosophical agenda to preserve the spiritual deity then lies on the bases of reasoning to assess the cause-effect doctrine that negates the randomization theory of the “big bang”, and in answering the question as to who created the big bang, relies on pointing fingers at something or somebody called “God”. But the cause-effect theory can ultimately lie on hollow grounds when humans by-pass the creation of mankind through God with yet another relevant question as to who created God. The core justification of the existence of God in all religions, therefore, does not or cannot go beyond a termination of the applied spherical argument as to who created the last God standing. On the contrary, the adherents assert the fact that God has always been there, based on a spiritual judgment, and if not that, an acceptance of the message of their religion-based prophet/s or their perceived understanding of divinity. Monotheistic religions’ claim to the existence of God as the ultimate Supreme Being, propagated via communication (scriptures, holy books, through dreams, etc) or sighting of the divine through a messiah or a prophet can be said to be based on the legal terminology of hearsay because to-date no prophet or messiah or god-incarnate has left us any empirical proof in the search of the elusive God, nor has God faced us with the proclamation of Her/His/Its existence. In this respect, the Christian religion allows us little room for argument because it professes the proof of God’s existence in the “divinity” of Jesus Christ. However, to the non-believers there is no validity to the divinity argument of Christ other than referencing it to the New Testament which again does not provide proof of God’s existence (through the body of Christ) as would be required through the vigor necessary in deciphering evidential facts. Miracles performed by Jesus, of course, play a part, but miracles were also performed by saints and prophets in other major religions. Besides, the resurrection of Christ has as many “nay-Sayers” (for example, the Jews and Romans during that time), and Christ’s ascension to heaven has duplicity for the Muslims who also proclaim the ascension of Prophet Mohammed to heaven. The spiritual evidence of God, therefore, can only be explained by a dependency of the self toward inner awareness or feeling (call it faith) that may have been conditioned by the persuasive arguments of believers (however, irrelevant it is to the non-believers), through environmental influences (e.g., attending Sunday school, a madressa, or being born in a God-believing family), or simply by an unexplainable feeling that God exists, in spite of what others in the community believe. While “conditioned” faith (for example, one’s belief formulated by family or community beliefs) provides an intuitive understanding of the origin of faith, the “unconditioned” faith that occurs in some beings (for example, the born again Christians) can only be attributed to an external force or a biological/neurological phenomenon or occurrence within certain bodies, not yet known. It is this select provision by God in providing religious knowledge or birthrights (e.g., the Jews selected as the “chosen people”; the general belief that a Hindu is born, not converted; or being a Muslim places you on a higher hierarchical level as a recipient of the final outcome of sequential “happenings” in the progression of monotheistic religions to a supposedly truer form of the religion) that harbors the same criticism of God being biased as those who proclaim their religion being the only way to heaven, particularly when the claim is directed at those who have had no chance to know “better”. This type of selectivity on the part of God further creates doubts for the agnostics who try to validate their case by cries of unfairness from the supposedly “most-just” God. So while the existence of God holds for the believers, the non-existence of God has a viable if not a “truthful” argument. For all the pros and cons associated with such arguments, the best counter-argument can be summed in the universal usage of the word “faith”, which unfortunately can, in many cases, also be conditioned by teachings, circumstances, and other environmental influences over the life span of human beings.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Please welcome horror author, Patrick Royal, to my blog site as a guest. Patrick is announcing the release of his latest novel, Shattered.
The only thing that multi-published, award winning horror author, Tom Elliot, wanted was to move to the country for a change of scenery and relaxation, to a quiet part of southern Illinois. It seemed he'd picked out a wonderful spot, miles away from the closest neighbor and even further away from civilization. Tom couldn't write to save his soul. Weird thoughts trampled through his head and left him wondering if he'd made a mistake moving from Chicago. Could it have been that he ripped himself from his element, like his best friend, Michael Gully, had predicted? That he couldn't answer yet. Words came and flowed like wildfire, but at what price? Tom's imagination was getting the best of him and running rampant. The very characters that he created tormented him, driving him mad where he couldn't distinguish fiction from reality. Genre: Horror Book Length: Novel Word Count: 53, 387 Pages: 181 Price: $4.99 Formats: PDF, ePub, Mobi, HTML WILD CHILD PUBLISHING:

Moment's in Life

“Why did his children always ask him to say ‘please’ when he only asked for what was rightfully his, and why should he be asked to say ‘sorry’ for such trivial things as dropping his spoon while eating. He had not intentionally dropped the spoon, and besides, was he not making an effort eating with silverware instead of using his right hand as he was accustomed to? And to top it all, there was this ‘tone modulation’ that his children insisted on. What was the difference in saying, ‘please, give food,’ softly or loudly? It seemed that even when he said ‘please,’ his children were not always pleased.” — from …and the Old Man Cried Moments in Life is a multi-culture collection of 15 stories that coaxes, teases, explores and entices our emotions to examine the inner-self and scrutinize the lives of those who live around us. Of these collective stories, Nursery Land Blues was published in an anthology of short stories titled Storied Crossings, while Through the Eyes of Innocence was a semi-finalist in an Australian global competition. Most of the other stories have been written for Moments in Life and have had no public exposure (other than to friends and family). The book flirts with mystery (The Pawning of Erica’s Children, and A Blind Man’s Justice), and crosses ethnic boundaries in Through the Eyes of Innocence and In Search of an Identity. It touches on women’s issues (The Emancipation of Anjali) and confronts abject poverty (Nursery Land Blues) in India. It focuses on the absorption of American values and the stumbling blocks faced by a segment of the immigrant population in …and the Old Man Cried. It also relates to personal relationships in America (A Marriage of Convenience), and stretches our imagination towards the nature of mankind (Samantha of my Dreams and An Affair). Homeless personifies profiling in the U.S. after 9/11 while A Day at Miranda High highlights yet another aspect of current affairs. Social issues relating to psychological imbalance is related in Sarah’s Story and the coming out of the closet of a gay heterosexual couple is personified in United. The stories cross over to the depiction of horror via The Silence of the Living Dead, and to the supernatural with I Have Come to Get You.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Macho Mania

This painting was done for my daughter, Shazeena. She loves horses.

Macho Mania
Water Color
20" x 15"
(Not for Sale)

In Retrospect

First of all, a big thank you for those of you who follow me and/or posted comments. Also thank you all so much for making my book the 10 most popular book on Indie Tribe for Week 3.

After communicating with a few of you on the phone and by e-mail, one thing really hit home: The last rambling was much too long. From now on, I'll do my best to keep it short =).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Oh, the Good Old Days...

The other day, I heard someone say how life was so much better when they were young.
Really? Is that true?
 Most of us have heard the usual glories about the good old days, how kids played out every evening (no TV, computers and Smart Phones), drank water from the stream, were cuffed for answering back by their parents, etc. This was the time when a cut on the shin of boys was a decorative piece to be worn with pride. (Nowadays, a visit to the doctor or a trip to Child Welfare may be the first act to follow).
But lamenting about our present does not tell the whole story. As a psychometrician, for whom generalization of data plays an important part, let’s not forget that the life-expectancy rate has gone up substantially over the years, our knowledge base has expanded to astronomical levels, availability of information to fuel our knowledge is only a computer-click away, and there is a slow but sure provision of basic necessities for most if not all of our citizens. Today’s average man/woman would most likely be better off than the Royalty of the past (in terms of physical comforts, of course).
I believe when people talk of the glory years of the past, they do not refer to it so much with respect to their physical and financial well-being, but on the basis of how simple life was and the emotional satisfaction it provided. A big pull towards this type of thinking is the acceptance of the fact that ignorance is bliss. In other words, we did not know how much better we could be (financially and physically). We were not such a “spread-about” society (more so now with the internet) than we were then. We lived in our cocoons and it provided the nourishment and emotional requirements we needed.  Of course, the desire for more was always curtailed by the fact that there was no “more” available. Those who prospered and were more than satiated with the status quo satisfied their conscious with a percentage of their discretionary incomes to charity; a discretionary income that was not that high in today’s terms but it was higher (and still is) than most others in the world.  
Yes, I can see the lure for any child toward the idea of belonging to a family, being taken care of by “stay-home” moms and “bring-the-bacon (if available)-home” dads, who seldom, if ever, ventured out to achieve their own personal desires and aspirations. But the child soon became an adult, fueled by a conditional mechanism (based on a different society than that in which her/his parents lived) that desired the accomplishment of his/her own expectations. These aspirations were the same held by the child’s parents in the past, but still quite different in a changing society.
The new society is indeed different. The children of today, for example, cannot hide behind the facade of “I can’t do that because of my gender”. The “new” adults function in a much different environment than what their parents did, and are no longer in “servitude” to their children (i.e., parents living for their children).  That does not mean the children are loved less, but in today’s world love is transferable to those who are professionals in taking care of such a need, i.e., the various day-cares and pre-schools that dot our environment. Love is transferable in other ways, too. No longer does the axiom of marriages being made in heaven apply“If I don’t get what I want from you, I’ll transfer my love to someone else”, is the credence by which we live.
 Where does one draw the line? 
The sacrifice for the simple joys in life had to happen.  Not only are our present-day joys very different from what our parents knew them to be, but such aspirations are now easily attainable, albeit with some effort. What was, once upon a time, an aspect that was outside our reach is now not too far in the distance. But there is a requirement for achieving that which we desire. We have structured our lifestyle differently, the result of which is the demise of the simplistic life that we once cherished.  Because of the sacrifice for the simple things in life (which we treasured) we have now transferred ourselves from a society based on survival to that which flourishes (again, in the physical and financial sense, only).
Yes, the price of progress has come at an expense. It has changed us. We have reached the moon because the moon is a concrete place (not made of cheese). It is a far-away place but distances in today’s world are much shorter than those in Jules Verne’s, “Around the World in 80 Days.” Through our vast internet services, we rub shoulders with others who incite new needs within us. Competitiveness becomes the new ball game in the rush to achieve. Our packaging has to be better even if the content of the package are the same. We, in fact, create artificially high standards of living. An itch on the back which was, at one time, erased by a long stick can now only be scratched by a rose-wood rod with a carved “hand” at one end.
But not all “needs” are artificial. Our lives have become better in a physical sense which to a great degree has pacified our mental state as well. We have hot and cold water. We have a wide selection of food to choose from and we try to educate all our kids (however differently education is defined).
Well, what do we know? Common folk not only have their needs taken care of but they become a major source of income generating source.  The not-so-rich and the rich are dependent on each other. They interplay to create their own little piece of heaven on earth (albeit the heavens of the rich and the not-so-rich are world apart). There is a progressive urge to pump money into the economy which is seen as circular instead of a one-sided help from the rich. The poor now have rights and can demand a slice of the pie. It’s not left to the whim and fancy of the fortunate few. Nowadays, the demands of the market are expected to dictate what the true worth of the output is so that a specialist-worker may make more money than the manager. But our needs for physical well-being are limited. They are based on the laws of diminishing returns—one can only eat so much or one can only have so many yachts and homes to live in before their accumulation lose meaning to us.
Enter the age of knowledge and information.
The world is indeed getting smaller. We now know how someone across the world spent their New Year’s Eve without us having started our own celebrations. The obstacles for the common man to reach the top have been cast aside. No longer do you need an acceptance through an audition. You have the U-tube to do that. It’s still not perfected, but toying with grand ideas such as self-esteem and self-actualization are possible. However, although we have it in our power to compete for things that were once unattainable, the competition has also increased through world-wide channels.
But such advances have had a reality check with some other aspects of our lives.  One major outcome of the new revolution is the closing of the gap between the adult and the child in terms of their requirements. As society has transgressed from a need for spirituality to a desire to accumulate, adults in our society have started questioning their responsibilities. The sparkling-eyed joy and love for the matriarchic figure (in particular the mothers) is now found in the hands of teachers at schools. Parents, with their own aspirations, have little time for their children. They, who were to be obeyed at any cost, now find their children’s alliances in the arms of others in their own communities or across the internet.
Everything is available but everything has a price, including one’s emotions.
The net result of so much information provides one interesting fact. There is no real difference between that what is desired by the young (of course, we are not talking about babies, here) and that which has been the privilege only of the adults. Everyone, young and old, desire food, shelter, privacy, sex, etc. Children go to school where they are told what to do while adults go to work where they are told what to do. Adults have a craving for the opposite sex as much as children do (unless, of course, one is too young or too old). This is further compounded when adults, like their children, function not in the role of adults but as competitors for the common needs, which many a times are in direct competition with those of the children. This is especially true in some parts of the Western world where love and affection are desired by a physically over-reaching society that is emotionally deprived.
The only real difference that sets children apart from adults is, of course, the lack of experience. Everything in the Western world is black and white with no shades of grey.  Emotional stability in adults is slowly deteriorating to the point that they are identical between the two groups with one exception:  It’s still raw for the children – still a source for contentment, partly because of society imposed sanctions as to the do’s and don’ts for them to follow. When everything they want is not achievable until they reach full adulthood, they revert back to being children, unlike the hardened adults who exist, so it seems, with serious lack of emotional maturity.  
Before someone pounces on me for suggesting that a gap between adults and non-adults does exist, let me assure them that the gap certainly exist but it is closing. We do not tell “young adults” to do something; we explain to them why it should be done in the first place as we would do to any adult (which I believe is good). We have family conferences in which young-adults may not have a majority voice but they are heard just the same. Such luxuries were not afforded to the children of the by-gone era.
We treat children like young adults, and in the bargain we expect them to act like one. The onus for closing the gap, therefore, has nothing to do with the desires of the child but it has always rested on the need of the adult. That does not mean the adult is at fault. It simply means that through learned experiences and the scientific data available to adults, young adults are seen as a younger version of adults rather than as children. For example, corporal punishment is not accorded to young adults. It is not something adults, themselves, would like in the first place. That type of punishment is frowned upon even on people whom we consider are our enemies.
Many of the “new” adults have a need to further their own agenda, which in turn may mean that the young-adults at home may have to prepare their own meals or go out and get their own dinner.  The gaps gets closer when both the young-adult and the adult hunt for similar desires or trophies, be it someone to love or the quest in winning fame and fortune. The platform is even, the baseline is the same. In the bargain, many young-adults use parents for food and shelter (sub-consciously, of course) in much the same way they feel they have been used for whatever the parents received from their birth. After all parents had brought them into this world, therefore, food and shelter, and most importantly being left alone, is an entitlement.        
While the desire for the past with its “emotionally advanced” population may be a the requirement of many a person who lives in today’s society, the settling question for the on-going debate lies simply on the basis of whether one would trade off what we have today for what we had then? Of course, it goes without saying that we would trade some parts of our lives for some parts in the past, but if we had only two choices with an either-or- decision to go to the distinct past or stay in the present, what would we do?
While some may talk of the advantages of living in the past from an argumentative point with the safety for never having to do that, I do believe that some people, who have a remembrance of America’s hey-days in the 60s and the 70s, sincerely would opt for the past. Presumably, some of these people would willingly trade-off the material advances of today for the simplicity of life in the years past. I, however, could not have functioned in the society of the past. I would not know what to do if the microwave was not available, and my smart phone did not provide me on the spur of the moment GPS coordinates.  =)
How deprived am I emotionally? In the context of the past, I am deprived, but I am of the opinion that a new definition for emotions needs to be formulated. We are, after all, a society of creators. Perhaps a time has come for new emotions to wash out the old ones.
What say you?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Desert Gossip

Every now and then, I'll place one of my paintings on my blog. Here is a painting which is one of my favorites. I wish I had made a copy before I sold it but...

(Desert Gossip)
Husein Taherbhai
Oil on canvas
36” × 48

Friday, March 8, 2013

Death of Poetry

Death of Poetry
(…and its implications, thereof)

            Societal progress in our world is measured in terms of techno-excellence. It is the advancement of our technological performance, perhaps our preoccupation with it,
who many believe, is a prerequisite for our desire of a higher standard of living for our masses. But like many societies of the past, the growing affluence of the masses does not curb societies’ desire for aesthetics but rather heightens their senses to new vistas, new awareness, and a surge towards creativity. This was true before the Renaissance with its single-dimension portrayals, and later on in the post-Renaissance period when realism hit the scene and further stretched it to abstractionism and to Picasso’s cubism.
            The spoken word, too, remained parallel with the visual senses, awakening to the words of Byron and Keats, Emerson and Blake, Woodworth and Dickinson. But here too, as society became more modernistic it imposed its will so that the structure of poetry, written in precise syllabus and rhyme, now opened its arms to free-flowing words.
            In today’s world, we acknowledge the changes that have, and are occurring in the pleasuring of our senses. We acknowledge the changes, however grudgingly, but we have never abstained from partaking in its pleasures. Our fixation with the hi-tech world of computers and the sciences cannot, or should not, deprive the evolvement of our inner-self, which most of us crave; albeit some of us more than others.
We are engulfed in discussions on the virtues of cloning better human beings, but shouldn’t “better” reflect the evolution of both our physical and mental state? If we ignore the passion for the written word, aren’t we creating a society of mechanical beings that do not require a heart? Do we even need to have children? We can learn to love our mechanical geniuses, our robots that can communicate with us in correctly constructed grammatical sentences but have no power to pacify the savage beast that sometime lurks in our hearts.
            As Blake would have stated, it is the poet that hones our appreciation of the “words” to sweeter delights. Or as I would like to state:    

The poets
imaginative fragments
in assorted puzzles,
with godly senses
they hope,
creating soothing or
tempestuous lyrics,
before being summoned,
to a rendezvous
with the righteousness
of the rhyme.
Husein Taherbhai

            It may be a bit presumptuous and rather arrogant of poets to assert godliness to their work, but their effort at creating soothing or tempestuous lyrics cannot be ignored. It breathes life in an otherwise dormant, robot-like society; it creates a soul to transcend the physical pleasures to glories of the heart. By depriving students of the joys of poetry is tantamount to raising a futuristic society without one aspect of the fuel that nourishes its heart, and that under any circumstances would be a heavy price to pay, i.e., creating a society surviving with partially evolved hearts.
Imagine the medical dilemma that would cause!