Do we know fully about nature?

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“Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, Covering the earth with odours, fruits, flocks, Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable, But all to please and sate the curious taste?”
-John Milton

Nature endowed with the five powerful elements and men endowed with five senses are still an enigma. We will never be able to fathom the bounties of nature fully. Sometime calm and serene, sometime furious and devastating the elements of nature make man wonder. Experimenting and experiencing nature in all its diverse attributes makes the thinking man elates and relishes its gifts, yet leaves him puzzled.
More than seventy percent of the earth’s surface with its water bodies like oceans, seas, rivers and lakes with their innumerable living and non-living things, the varied terrains of the land like mountains, hills, deserts, glaciers and snow peaks, the flora and fauna of various species are still matters of wonder.
Who or what created the juicy fruits, which created the fragrant flowers, what gave colors to them, how man is able to use his senses to perceive, feel and enjoy the fruits of nature and use them for his emotional, social and economic and life saving activities.
How did the coconut get the water inside, why is water melon soft and juicy, what gave colors and aroma to flowers? how do the grains sustain life? what makes the herbs and spices likeable to our taste buds?
Man has with his inquisitive nature and thinking brain has tried to seek some of the answers to these puzzles. But the mystery continues……
who taught the bees to build their hives and store honey? where did the birds learn to build their nests?
It may be true that these things have been written about several times. But the uninitiated and the young minds are still groping for answers. Scientific knowledge and explorations have helped in finding some solutions…..they have even tried in harnessing and utilizing the energy stored in nature….but not fully.
That brings us to some supreme power of nature, which some call as God has his own way of creating things like an artist……Poet Angela Morgan has beautifully portrayed the enigma in her lines, in her poem, God the Artist

God, when you thought of a pine tree,
How did you think of a star?
How did you dream of the Milky Way?
To guide us from afar.
How did you think of a clean brown pool?
Where flecks of shadows are?

God, when you thought of a cobweb,
How did you think of dew?
How did you know a spider’s house?
Had shingles bright and new?
How did you know the human folk?
Would love them like they do?

God, when you patterned a bird song,
Flung on a silver string,
How did you know the ecstasy?
That crystal call would bring?
How did you think of a bubbling throat?
And a darling speckled wing?

God, when you chiseled a raindrop,
How did you think of a stem?
Bearing a lovely satin leaf
To hold the tiny gem?
How did you know a million drops?
Would deck the morning’s hem?

Why did you mate the moonlit night?
With the honeysuckle vines?
How did you know Madeira Bloom?
Distilled ecstatic wines?
How did you weave the velvet disk?
Where tangled perfumes are?
God, when you thought of a pine tree,
How did you think of a star?

We can see what we call nature, can we see God?

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Lie low and keep quiet

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The term ‘Alienation’, was always an enigma and a puzzle to me; I first came across this when I was reading some plays of Bertolt Brecht and what critics had to say about him and his works and specially about the theme of ‘alienation’

….I found that Jean Jacques Rousseau was the first to use the concept of ‘alienation’ when he wrote:

“ When a people is represented by deputies it becomes alienated from its own collective and so ceases to be a people; community could be the instrument of government but never of the common will, for then it was bound to become alienated from itself within the state.”

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, Alienation is generally defined as a withdrawing or separation of a person or a person’s affections from an object or position of former attachment .

This definition seemed a little ambiguous to me, and led me to study further when I came across this;

Alienation, a sociological concept developed by several classical and contemporary theorists, is “a condition in social relationships reflected by a low degree of integration or common values and a high degree of distance or isolation between individuals, or between an individual and a group of people in a community or work environment”. The concept has many discipline-specific uses, and can refer both to a personal psychological state (subjectively) and to a type of social relationship (objectively).

Then Kafka confronted me with his diabolic, mysterious and intriguing plots in the form of ‘Trial’, ‘Castle’ and ‘Stranger’.

Kafka’s novels about individuals confronting a powerful but opaque organization — the court or the castle — seemed to be fables of existential uncertainty.

Self estrangement; “the psychological state of denying one’s own interests – of seeking out extrinsically satisfying, rather than intrinsically satisfying, activities…”. It could be characterized as a feeling of having become a stranger to oneself, or to some parts of oneself, or alternatively as a problem of self-knowledge, or authenticity.

Social alienation; led to entire communities becoming uprooted: no longer fully part of their homelands, but neither integrated into their adopted communities. Diaspora literature depicts the plights of these migrants, such as Hafid Bourassa argues, “Low-income communities or religious minorities may feel separated from mainstream society, leading to backlashes such as the civil unrest

Political alienation; One manifestation of the above dimensions of alienation can be a feeling of estrangement from, and a lack of engagement in, the political system. Such political alienation could result from not identifying with any particular political party or message, and could result in revolution, reforming behavior, or abstention from the political process, possibly due to voter apathy.

American sociologist Bob Blauner argues that alienation is a subjective experience. The feeling that may be experienced can vary from individual to individual. Alienation was a state of mind and generally has four dimensions.

Powerlessness: (due to being controlled by others in an impersonal system); the remedy is to increase autonomy and empowerment.
Meaninglessness: (from lacking a sense of how their own work contributes to the whole); the remedy is to ensure a sense of purposefulness.
Isolation: (no sense of belonging); remedied by giving a sense of belonging and identifying with the organisation.
Self-estrangement: (detachment, no sense of identity or personal fulfillment): the remedy is to allow self-expression
In the modern context of human resources management many experts feel that Organisation science has overlooked the issue of alienation, pointing out that the organisation “is a significant barrier that separates them [individuals] from their true natures”

Organisations themselves can therefore be a source of alienation. Cognition by the employee of separation from the inner self can in turn lead to a reduction in organisational attachment and a deterioration in the individual-organisation relationship.

Experts like Webber and Sanders, later feel, Probably the most pervasive structure is the bureaucratic, characterized by job specialization, authority hierarchy, merit appointment, record keeping, rules and personality, a cumulative effect of which is de-personalization.

Impersonal administration may be more desirable than management by whim, by separating the bureaucratic person from the office held; however, it results in the individual feeling a loss of self or personal identity, so becoming a mere cog in a dehumanizing machine.

The individual’s feelings of a lack of control and powerlessness, especially over important aspects of work spill over to affect the individual’s life more generally.

Kanungo, an Indian expert feels, ‘This form of alienation can be interpreted in psychological terms as feeling unable to achieve self-realisation and satisfy ego-esteem needs. He further argues that “conditions leading to the loss of individuality deprives the workers of self-fulfillment or the realization of who they are or what their essential nature is” and thus is an affront to human dignity.

Advocates of empowerment believe that it, along with related forms of power sharing, provide antidotes to the problem of powerlessness experienced by employees.

After going through many tomes, websites and discussions with many like me , I have come to the conclusion, that in a democracy like ours, the great decisions are removed from our elected representatives and placed in the hands of a small group, many of them unsuited for their positions. The state is alienated from the average citizen who generically thinks of the group asthe powers that be’ or ‘them up there’ never as ‘us’.

I feel totally alienated with poor opinion of politics and politicians. I am getting convinced day in and day out that the whole business is pretty dirty, but I also know that I hardly can do anything about it……timidly do I accept it as it is telling myself “Lie low and keep quiet”……I know that the active citizens are disappearing fast retreating into resigned private lives…….Sometimes, I feel alienated from my own family and friends……This seems to be total alienation.

Easy Chair

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Easy Chair

Whenever I see an easy chair, the association of contiguity takes me back to my childhood. My maternal grandfather was most of the time glued to his easy chair and got his inspiration of new ideas, new way to punish the children and do immense research on agriculture.

Once or twice I too tried to stretch myself on his easy chair, of course, when he was not around and found that piece of furniture really made a difference to the thought process. Perhaps, psychiatrists chose the ‘Shrink couch’, somewhat similar to the easy chair as it made you relaxed and at ease.

At another time I asked my grandfather boldly as to its importance; first he tried to brush me aside and then said “ This is my magic seat and makes me think fluently “….He taught me languages, mathematics, science and so many other things sitting there…..he just could not see it being moved around. He was a strict disciplinarian but when he is on that piece of furniture he used to be a changed man…..

Later, I had come across his notes and jottings which he meticulously preserved and found a wealth of knowledge on innumerable subjects…..Medicinal properties of herbs, how Eskimos lived, what led to the Industrial revolution in Britain….how WW II could have been averted, which animals and insects believed in mutual aid, the life of Nilgiri tribes and much more……

I don’t really know any philosopher or great thinker with an easy chair to inspire his thought process…..

One day he was terribly upset as someone picked his pocket with considerable sum of cash…..on reaching home, he was in a dark mood.
My mother gave him a glass of water as he sat down in his easy chair….and asked the reason for his sulking…..By now he felt relaxed and said, some idiot, may be in need picked my pocket…Its alright, at least his problem may be solved……..That I think is the magical power of my Grandfather’s easy chair.