Thrasymachus vs Socrates or: How I learned to stop worrying and love oppression!

One of the most important tenets of a rational outlook is to change one’s model of the world in light of new evidence, or persistent failure. I was watching the Oscar nominated flick, Zero Dark Thirty last night and was appalled by the implicit racism towards brown folks in general, and “Paks” in particular, as the film deigns to call us. As it was, I was already saddened by Aaron’s death and then came this movie.

But then I had an epiphany: Socrates was wrong and Thrasymachus was right! Thrasymachus, contra Socrates, had said that justice is what the powerful decide: might is right. I realized that everything would be all right if we accepted the Thrasymachus version of justice, which is so thoroughly substantiated by overwhelming empirical evidence. I realized that my model of the world was wrong. In fact all my values (i.e., model assumptions) that I had acquired since childhood were wrong, and deserved to be consigned to the dustbin.

I finally grasped that the world is supposed to be like this. There is no use vomiting blood and burning your soul. Continue reading Thrasymachus vs Socrates or: How I learned to stop worrying and love oppression!

Profits over people: Aaron Swartz and the dominant model of our world

For those who did not know, Aaron Swartz committed suicide on the 11th of January, 2013. He was being prosecuted by the state attorney for having ‘stolen’ thousands of documents from the online academic library JSTOR, and faced up to 35 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. He did this at MIT, and MIT did not help him at all during the subsequent court-case.

Aaron obviously did not seek (could not in fact, there is no profit in this) any profit from these documents. He was an Internet activist who wanted research information, largely paid for by the general public’s tax money, to be accessible to the same public free of cost.

Now, being a researcher myself, Continue reading Profits over people: Aaron Swartz and the dominant model of our world

Complexity Science, Marx and Religion

One of the tenets of a religious life is the acknowledgement of the fact that we are not in control; we surrender to the belief that there are bigger forces at work. This is construed by some people to be defeatist. It could be argued that this line of thinking is not only not defeatist but is also borne out by a rational/scientific outlook.

People come to think that they are in control of their lives. But perhaps this is an illusion. Continue reading Complexity Science, Marx and Religion