Post Adolescent Idealism? Why psychologizing behavior is APSD: Acute Pseudo-Science Disorder

The travesty that was Bradley Manning’s trial is a topic for another forum. Reading about the court proceedings, what immediately struck me was the psychotherapist’s verdict on Manning’s behavior. He was suffering from “Post Adolescent Idealism”, said the therapist. His bashers took this and other psychological judgements that were passed on Manning (narcissism, obsessive compulsive disorder, gender identity disorder etc), as a clear proof of the fact that he was clueless and made the leaks for ‘personal’ reasons. Some of his sympathizers on the other hand were quick to claim that “post adolescent idealism” is not a pathology but a normal stage of human development. Reading all this, I underwent a severe, almost fatal bout of the WTF disorder (yes, What The F**k). Continue reading Post Adolescent Idealism? Why psychologizing behavior is APSD: Acute Pseudo-Science Disorder

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Bombs, Sectarianism and Blasphemy: What’s Art Got To Do With It?

March 4, 2013

Was coming back from an “Art Event” at the Karachi Arts council. I don’t go to such events but mom insisted (emotionally blackmailed to be precise), so I went. While coming back we started getting messages and calls on our cellphones that there had been two bomb blasts a few hundred meters from our home. Continue reading Bombs, Sectarianism and Blasphemy: What’s Art Got To Do With It?

The Chomskyan Style

Chomsky’s review of B.F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior

There are two quotes about Chomsky the scientist that I think best describe him. First is by a person whom I normally wouldn’t quote, Daniel Dennett. Dennett says about Chomsky: “Not many scientists are great scientists, and not many great scientists get to found a whole new field, but there are a few. Charles Darwin is one; Noam Chomsky is yet another”.

However, it is the second quote that I like more; probably because it reflects the feeling that I have always got myself. In an article (Chomsky and his Critics), discussing books in which Chomsky interacts with his critics among philosophers, Ian Hacking says, “It is like watching the grandmaster play, blindfolded, thirty-six simultaneous chess matches against the local worthies. He almost always wins.”

Indeed, Chomsky often reminds me of the great 18th century Urdu poet, Mir Taqi Mir. Continue reading The Chomskyan Style

Leo Tolstoy: The Supreme Agent Based Modeler OR What is Agent Based Modeling All About?

I am fond of saying to myself that science is not like art, it is art. However, upon hearing the late Iris Murdoch say that the aims of science and literature are divergent, in that science seeks to clarify whereas literature seeks to mystify, I have been forced to reevaluate my statement. Apparently, some (much?) of modern prose falls under the category of mystification. To my unsophisticated mind, that is sad.

Anyhow, to be honest, I haven’t read a lot of literature to be in a good position to evaluate Iris statement. The few writers that I have read, I daresay I have read them more completely and devotedly than many people. Chief among them is Leo Tolstoy. Whether or not science is art, or like art, what is true is that Tolstoy was a prime practitioner of the scientific method in art. Let me explain.  Continue reading Leo Tolstoy: The Supreme Agent Based Modeler OR What is Agent Based Modeling All About?