Saturday, August 15, 2020

Government: Dos and Donts

Let me define some terminologies in the beginning.
Government tasks: The tasks that government carries out using tax money.
Voluntary collective: People supporting a cause who come together, pool money and work for the cause. Unlike the taxes collected by government under threat of a gun, the contribution to the collective is entirely voluntary. Example: Ramkrishna Mission, Resident Welfare Associations, etc.

I prefer to restrict the government to only those tasks which need some form of coercion or force. Like police, military, judiciary, community discipline in case of pandemic etc. I want to explain the above with some examples:
Task Responsibility
Impoverished seniors Voluntary collective.
Military spending Government
Long term pandemic management Government
Public schools/primary education Ideally voluntary collective. If government must come, let it only fund educational vouchers. The school should be run with profit motive by private entrepreneurs.
Homelessness Voluntary collective
UBI নৈব নৈব চ
Bail out industry Definitely NOT government. Industry should create its own rainy day buffer.
Non intrusive testing/tracing capabilities for pandemic management Ideally government as this is public-health-issue. But I cannot imagine any government building a tracking/tracing capability which it won't misuse by invading into citizen privacy. Honouring privacy requires ethics of the highest order, and no government can maintain high ethics.

None of the ideas is my original. It is a synthesis of ideas that I picked up over the years from Swaminomics, Atanu Dey, Gurucharan Das, Paul Graham, Ayn Rand, Amlan Dutta, Ashok Desai.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

'Love' এবং তার বাংলা অনুবাদ by Biswadeep Chatterjee


Have you been broken
Like the banks of a river
Gushing water constantly chipping off
Leaving jagged edges
As it builds a distant bank
With what was yours

Have you bled
Haemorrhages invisible to the eye
Every moment eating your vitality
Leaving a carcass behind
As it embellishes another life
With morsels of magical moments

If you have
Then you have loved.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

My experiments with meditation: Breath

(part 7)
For last 3 years, I am sticking with breath-meditation. I focus my attention on breath. While breathing in, I focus on the sensation of air rushing past my nostrils, filling my lungs, my stomach bulging out a bit. Then I exhale through my mouth and I focus on the pressure of out-breath on my lips. I try not to think about anything else, but I do get distracted most of the days. When I realize that my attention has wandered, I bring the focus back to breath.
I use the website for tracking-time and daily-habit-streak ONLY. I do not listen to voice-guided-meditation/music/chanting any more.
I did get into turbulent times in last 3 years but that did not disturb my meditation streak. It is difficult to conclude whether meditation helped me or was the turbulence not turbulent enough. All my skepticism about meditation-effectiveness still remain. Inspite of the skepticism, I am still continuing with meditation due to following 4 reasons:
  1. Streak addict: My account shows an unbroken streak of 650+ days. I am addicted to this big number and loathe to bring it down to 0.
  2. Feels like game: I miserably fail to hold my attention to breath without a break. Till date I never had a single session without mind taking a stroll of its own. It makes me more determined to log my first day of zero-wandering-meditation.
  3. Pulse-rate-monitor: I am using a fitness band for last 6-7 months. Meditation invariably brings my pulse-rate down to 57-60 range. This is a solid proof as opposed to questionable mental/spiritual benefits. A drop in pulse-rate helps my body.
  4. Blogs/articles: Credible articles and blogs keep popping up regularly detailing benefits of meditation.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Inequality, Paul Graham and Me

Rich getting richer is fine if poor gets richer as well. If rich gets 100x richer and poor gets 5x richer, inequality increases but that is a desirable outcome.
Unfortunately, many of us (especially Bengalis) have an unhealthy anti-rich-pro-poor tendency at heart. We have vilified the rich. We assume that riches are always acquired by unfair-means instead of hard-work and intelligence. This is tragic since enterprising-rich has been the fountainhead of all civilization-advances.
We Bengalis have paid (and still paying) the cost of this hypocrisy with our collective degrading poverty.
Paul Graham has written two beautiful essays (gap and inequality) related to inequality and wealth-creation.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Machines are coming!

I like to believe that AI and robots will create so much food/clothes/homes/gadgets, that cost of living will go down to zero. All of humanity will be able to get every material-need satisfied, freely and effortlessly.

However, humans need something more beyond materialistic-stuffs. We need entertainment, sense-of-purpose, joy-of-overcoming-hurdles. Many a times I curse my daily struggle for the stress it creates. Ironically, the same struggle gives me a sense-of-purpose. It is the same struggle that gives me joy-of-overcoming-hurdles. It is the same struggle that tires me out and primes me up for entertainment and relaxation.

I guess that challenge will be to get these extra-materialistic needs fulfilled when machines are providing us with all our material-needs.

I like to believe that our psychologists and philosophers will find a way out.

Friday, April 21, 2017

My experiments with meditation: Guided voice at

(part 6)
I persisted a while with passage meditation. Then came extremely stressful situation in life. Meditation seemed inconsequential in face of such storm in life. When the stress went away, I felt like resuming meditation once more.
I was very tired and passage meditation seemed more tiresome. Hence I wanted an easy meditation technique. I came across CALM. There was a soothing guided-meditation option on the website. I took to it. It felt good to start meditation again. There was/is a huge scepticism in my mind. Meditation had failed me during my time of stress. I resumed again, due to an innate belief that some time in future, it may still help.

The ease/novelty/feel-good of guided meditation at wore off soon. The same soothing voice, after repetition, started jarring. Some words/expressions seemed vague and meaningless. I continued liking other features of the website like timer and daily-statistic-collection (how many days streak, total time spent in meditation etc). Soon I transitioned to my next meditation technique.

(To be continued)