Words

I read these words in Fred Wilson’s post earlier in the week:

As my friend David Steinberg said to me last month, we are witnessing 1918 (pandemic) plus 1929 (economic crisis) plus 1968 (racial crisis) all at the same time.

There’s something that’s been bothering me about this. They call the current anti racism protests in the US (and elsewhere) a ‘racial crises’.

It’s not a racial crisis. The racial (or racism) crisis is what the US has had for over a century. The police didn’t suddenly start shooting black people at a higher rate. It’s just that everyone has a camera, so the racist excesses are being recorded and exposed at a higher rate.

What’s happening now in the US is a boiling over of the frustrations of the frequently suppressed black minority. The current events are their response—both peaceful and the not peaceful ones.

To label these protest events (and the counter events) as ‘a racial crisis‘ is not very different from Trump saying there were very fine people on both sides after the Charlottesville incident.

That a fairly liberal person used these words indicates how easy it is to use a soft term, rooting it deeper into acceptance.

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Notes from Viking: funerals and Abrahamic religions

In Vikings, a pre-Christian Scandinavian society is shown as burning the dead in a funeral. This is similar to how the Hindus and quite a few other cultures did it.

They even hint at how burying the dead was a sign of insulting them.

Most modern Abrahamic cultures—Christian, Muslim and Jewish—bury their dead. I’m guessing the modern, Christian Scandinavians bury their dead too. Made me wonder.

The Abrahamic religions started in the middle east in arid, often desert, land. Wood from trees must have been at a premium, so funeral by burning would’ve been expensive. Maybe that’s why they chose burial over burning.

Later, these religions spread to other areas with no paucity of wood, but the religious norm—burying not burning—went along. Even areas where there was plenty of wood, but relatively little accessible land ended up burying the dead instead of burning them.

Coming back to the Vikings, burning made sense for them. Wood was, and is, relatively plentiful in Scandinavia. Moreover, the ground would be frozen hard through long winters, making digging for a burial hard. But once Christianity came in, the new socioreligious norms quickly overturned old wisdom.

It may be the same in parts of southeast Asia where the pre-existing religions—Hinduism, Buddhism and native religions—would’ve burned their dead. Yet, after the adoption of Islam, most societies turned to burial. Despite plenty of thick tropical forests for wood, and expense of clearing land (or lack of it on islands) for burial.

Continue reading Notes from Viking: funerals and Abrahamic religions

No to ‘A’, is not a Yes for ‘B’

It’s just a demand for something better than A.

In a political tussle between issues A & B, the defeat of A doesn’t mean the public supports B. It just means they don’t support A.

Couple of examples…

Communism vs Capitalism

The people’s revolutions just said they didn’t want Communism anymore. Not that they wanted Capitalism.

Despite what every politician in the West may tell you, the people in Eastern Europe & Russia didn’t choose Capitalism. They chose to be free of Communist dictatorships. And to try another politico-economic order. It’d be a stretch to say they chose Capitalism, given a majority of them hadn’t experienced it for multiple generations

Globalisation vs Isolationism

People are saying no to rampant Globalisation, not yes to Isolationism.

Whether it’s Brexit, rise of Trump & Sanders, or the anti-trade, anti-bigCo, and anti-globalisation trends in polls, the voice is clear – a large portion of Western populations have grown vary and sceptical of Globalisation. In free trade, free movement of people, and even in free movement of ideas.

What it doesn’t indicate is that the people want to be isolated from everyone else in the world. What it may indicate is that the people want a control on the mingling – to not be completely overrun, without recourse, in their own backyard.


In most cases, people know exactly what they don’t want. And that’s why they voted as they did.

They’re not as clear on what they do want. They just want something better.

This, however, doesn’t imply that they want the only presented alternative. In most cases, they may want another, not-yet-visible solution. One that isn’t currently offered to them. One that even they may not be able to clearly describe/explain, at the moment.

Continue reading No to ‘A’, is not a Yes for ‘B’

Oil, Islam, Addiction.

It’s not a battle between Islam and Christianity, or Islam and rest of the world, but a battle for the soul, and control, of Islam.

The scary bit is that the bad guys are backed by limitless amounts of money. Worse bit is that this money comes from us, from our addiction to oil.

And that is why it’s an addiction. We know it’s bad – bad for our health, bad for the environment and bad because that money supports the very people intent on driving Islam, and rest of us, back to the middle ages. Yet, we are powerless to do anything about it.

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Evolution, Orthodoxy – Meme Triggered Thoughts

Evolution of Man

It’s highly unfair to charachterise all Chrisitans as holding that idiotic, creationist view point.

However, given the extremist positioning that the Vatican, and many American ‘born-again’ churches have taken on this (and many other) topic, the generalisation of this comic-meme seems to be fast becoming almost true.

In fact, my big fear is that we may soon see a Christian equivalent of the Islamist extremism we see in Asia & Africa – unless one conform to the extremest possible interpretation of the religious beliefs, one’s deemed to be a non-believer.

What’s worse is that last time these two religions staggered their dive into orthodoxy, to the benefit of (almost) all humanity. While Christian Europe was wallowing in ‘dark’ middle ages, Islamic societies were flourishing in scientific and artistic achievements. When Islamic societies stumbled, Christian lands took over the charge, undergoing a renaissance, to be followed later by an industrial revolution. Between them they kept scientific and artistic growth flourishing. (Not discounting the numerous contributions of non-Abrahamic societies in China, India, and elsewhere.)

What a shame it is, now, to see the leading societies (nations) of both religions race each other to the bottom of orthodoxy.