Inclinations And Reality
Is Human Consciousness Computable?
Human consciousness is a hot as well as a fashionable subject these days. It is because human beings want to go to the ultimate mystery of their lives – how they apprehend reality. But it is not a new subject of inquiry, it has been around since ancient times. Every new generation thinks it is special, so many times it thinks that they are the first to ask some intriguing question.
Simplest answer to the question of what is consciousness is that it is the workings of human brain. With all the theories on consciousness offered, none can question the validity of that understanding. So, then the sensible inquiries on human consciousness should be how does the human brain work?
With brain containing in the range of 100 billion neurons the product of possibilists of their interactions offer virtually limitless bits of consciousness. With that we can never quantify human consciousness.
There are so many wrong interpretations on consciousness. That it comes from God, that it is unfathomable, that it is the same stuff that guides the physical universe. All these understandings are wrong.
Human consciousness is a product of a 100 billion neurons and the physical and mental experiences of the individual carrying the brain. So, no two individuals can have exactly the same consciousness.
Human beings see reality, both inner and outer, through their brains. As consciousnesses have developed differently in human beings, their take on the complex matters differ. As knowledge expands so does consciousness. Five thousand years ago humans thought differently on complex matters. Therefore, consciousness is a developable resource. Also, it does not come from heavens. Because if it did, then it would have been the same in the ancient and the modern times. Therefore, the answer to the question that forms the title of this short essay, Is Human Consciousness Computable? is a resounding no.
Suffern, New York, June 8, 2019
Dr. Frances Pritchett is among the greatest Ghalib scholars extant. She is
from Columbia University, N.Y.
Recently I had an exchange of correspondence with her on Ghalib. Her
reply to my letter indicated at the top was lost. Read bottom up. I hope you will
enjoy reading it.
Dear Fran Pritchett,
I feel enormously uplifted by your response to my letter, and that too so
fast. When you ask for a moon and are instead given a star, your faith in
ethereality of life is reinforced.
Thank you for providing the two links that are supposed to indicate Ghalib’s
happy personality. The first one I was already familiar with, the second one
I have no access to at this point. But I am with you on the idea that Ghalib
was a life-loving personality, who could indulge in humor, wine, and flirt
with women and participate in other joy-inducing activities. But that was only
one side of his personality, there was another side to him also, without which he would
not have been the superlative poet that we know him to be.
All poets who write on human condition, are inherently sad. Thoughtful
people can not but see the suffering as one of the realities of human
existence. But it does not necessarily mean that they live a life of melancholy.
Artists and other thinkers compartmentalize their lives: one part lives in the
world, the other in their soul. Ghalib did exactly that. On one side he was
intensely oriented to achieving worldly success, but on the other he was resigned
to accept the builtin tragedy of human life. He wrote intense verses on the
suffering of life. To think that they were merely his cerebral exercises would be a
vast misjudgement of the architecture of his soul. My strength in this
perspective on artists does not only come from my understanding of human
life in general, but also on the basis that I am a poet also. So, Ghalib, in my
view, was not only a cerebral poet but also a wounded-soul one. It is in the
latter aspect of him that has gained him a high status in the realm of poetry.
Why this upliftment of Ghalib in modern times? It is because with the decline
of the old culture of conservatism in philosophy and culture of life, people
saw in Ghalib’s poetry the unglossed and un-rationalized depiction of human suffering.
In his superbly sensitive love poetry they saw was one of the anodynes available
to their suffering. His love for wine and less than idolatry relationship with
God, further drew them towards him. His dialog-like unpretentious letters
even more enhanced their respect for his realism in all walks of life. It is just
about seventy-five verses of Ghalib that have made lay people adore him. They
do not care for his cerebral verses. In this selected genre of realism-verses,
people find a vision of first the latent acknowledgement of the inherent suffering
of life, then a liberation from it in form of the ridiculousness of life, its ironies.
In them lay-people find that the real hero of human life is a human being, and
I an sending you a short essay What Is Poetry? in the attachment below, which may
or may not be relevant to what I have written above.
I had not intended to interview you in my request to meet you. I just wanted to meet
you, to discuss not only Ghalib, but also your experiences in India, of its civilization
and ethos. Also, in case you had been to Kashmir, I wanted to know your experiences
there. I was born a Kashmiri Pandit and lived my early years in the juxtaposition of
Hindu and Islamic cultures. I write a lot on Kashmir Problem.
But I believe now that my request to meet was a nouveau-fan-crush on you. How would
you spend time with a person unknown to you, who is neither in your field, nor a celebrity,
nor a journalist seeking an interview. To punish my juvenile audacity, I have decided to
go without food for one day.
I live in Suffern, N.Y., thirty-five miles north of midtown Manhattan.
With a handshake in thought, I remain your fan,
On Saturday, April 27, 2019, 3:57:03 PM EDT, Frances Pritchett <email@example.com> wrote:
Dear Maharaj Kaul,
Your approach to Ghalib– that he wrote melancholy verses because he was melancholy at heart– is contradicted by many anecdotes about his sense of humor told by his biographer Hali (here are some
of my favorites) and also by his own cheerful and enjoyable letters (best translated in
by Russell and Islam). If you look at both those sources and don’t change your mind, we can proceed to discuss literary theory (for example, since all ghazal poets write melancholy verses, did they ALL have melancholy lives?).
As for interviewing me, where do you live?
Yours with good wishes,
Dear Prof. Frances Pritchett,
I recently came across your site on Ghalib, oh! what a site it is.
Day in and day out I am absorbed into it. What an encyclopedic
site it is, what a labor of love it must have entailed of you?
One element of Ghalib in it I did not find so far, Ghalib’s personal
emotional life as gleaned through his biography and poetry. It, perhaps, is in the
site, I only may not have found it as yet.
While analyzing Ghalib’s poetry – you are adept at that – you do not discuss the emotional
factors that may have influenced it. Though Ghalib was an intellectual, but more
than that overall his poetry has been influenced by his personal suffering, which
was perhaps much more than his joys. To me Ghalib was a very sad man, he
viewed life as an unmitigated suffering. And that aspect of him we cannot leave
out when discussing his poetry.
I have a personal request to you, which I have never made to a celebrity until now.
I would like to meet you for half an hour or so, to discuss Ghalib. Though I know that this
is doomed to a failure, but I thought there is nothing to lose in trying it out. I take comfort in Ghalib’s
Hum ko hai malum janat ki hakikat,
Per dil ko khush rakhne ke liye Ghalib ye khyal acha hai.
(I may not have quoted this shair accurately, but the essence is there)
- · · ·
Stillness of Being
In Stillness of Being, his sixth anthology of poems, Indian-American poet, Maharaj Kaul, describes the human conditions we all must experience.
In the poems:
Stillness Of Being
The World I left Behind
A Struggling Dream Never Complete
Hope Never Blinks
Life Is A Playground
A Spiral Of Time
Music Of Earth Will Never Die
The Paradox Of God
and fifty more, the poet reflects on the joys, dreams, suffering, and will to live a man experiences though the grand and mysterious process called human life.
From the poem Stillness of Being:
Mind plots revolutions,
But inner being wants harmony.
Life came with music,
But world moves by agenda.
Childhood was a pristine dream,
But wisdom turned that into a project.
Ambitions vault our existence,
Energy seethes from our pores.
But we came with a faith,
Our elements beckon tranquility.
There is a more sublime state than success,
World wants tumult but soul seeks stillness.
Ode to Existence
We fret and fume to no avail,
Life is awake-dreaming without a goal.
World puts many a cap on human face,
But the one that matters most is one’s soul’s.
Our doings are often protests against the world,
Our best moments when we are left alone.
Desires are gateways to ultimate freedom,
Dreams its blueprint.
Make me not a villain if I knocked some wisdom,
I was only trying to touch eternity.
Brotherhood the glue that holds us together,
Uniqueness of the individual our jewel.
Give me a moment you take the history,
Dissolution in an ocean is better than life at a beach.
What is happiness but a mood,
Liberation a permanent state.
Suffern, New York, May 9, 2019
You Ask Me Who I Am
I do not know when I was born, my mother never told me,
Time the ceaseless weaver does not know its beginnings,
My sanguinity a creation of my ardor, my blues due to inconstancy,
Mornings delicate hesitancies, evenings surf-peaked.
I am the voice of epic defeats, unreconcilable compromises,
Vestige of a fallen colosseum, debris of unrealized plans.
Where are my dreams, what happened to my desires,
The insane mower levels the field, bleaching the colors.
World does not hear our songs, nature stands by mute,
The great cries of soul have no echoes to woo us back.
Long time back I had a tryst with destiny,
Life as lived enforces an agenda of its own.
My defeats are behind me, eternity the only refuge,
Biography of me a cruel joke, as time cannot read.
Suffern, New York, May 6, 2019
In the Beginning was the Song
In the beginning was the song,
Later world changed it to strife.
We must go to work
To quell stomach’s rebellion.
Life is an awakened dream
But the world turns it into a program.
Why this rape of inner poetry,
Why this squelching of God’s voice?
Conversion of soul for false designs,
Progress the ultimate illusion.
Is mind the antithesis of spirit,
World an evil invention?
World corrupts but soul demurs,
The struggle is human existence.
Between birth and death of a human is this interlude:
The slow mutilating of the cosmic dance.
Suffern, New York, April 17, 2019
Large dark tears rolled on her cheeks,
But the world cannot read.
Purpose of life confounds us,
Its process eludes us.
Why is life so difficult,
A mysterious complex design of the gods?
Her grandmother never smiled,
After early widowhood swiped it.
For most humans joy is scanty,
Strife and anguish the breath.
God sees the truth but waits,
Fairness not his inclination.
We are punished but never know for what sins,
Justice is our chimera, destiny the ultimate excuse.
Life a concatenation of moments,
Forever searching for meaning.
Suffern, New York, April 10, 2019
World Is an Inn
In the stillness of my being,
I wonder why the world did not read my poetry.
I belong to another age, another ethos,
My identity a fake albatross I carry around my neck.
I am in this world but not of it,
Success eludes me, loneliness my destiny.
Life is its discovery in progress,
Suffering its thread, humanity its glue.
Why this anguish, why this despair,
We must shut up and live.
My limbs are limp but my eyes still fierce,
Let my desires burn, I have the company of stars.
Life is a bridge, do not build a house on it,
A moment encapsulates eternity.
Suffern, New York, April 3, 2019
World is bemoaning Harold today for his virtue,
Little knowing what he wanted from life and what he got,
Life is a relentless dogfight for fairness, honor, and reward,
But what we get is a trickle for our pains.
Tell everyone that life does not do justice,
But is a heartless reckoner and broker,
What we offer is blood and sweat,
What we get is strife and wounds.
For nine decades Harold sowed flowers,
But he did not always see them grow,
Today he is in eternity where there are no judges,
Everything is truthful and there is only God’s word.
What he suffered only he knew,
What he left behind is potent for humanity,
His smile and tolerance will linger on,
His rectitude and nobility will stay with us for a while.
Suffern, New York, March 6, 2019
Human consciousness is a hot as well as a fashionable subject these days. It is because human beings want to go to the ultimate mystery of their lives – how they apprehend reality. But it is not a new subject … Continue reading
Dr. Frances Pritchett is among the greatest Ghalib scholars extant. She is from Columbia University, N.Y. Recently I had an exchange of correspondence with her on Ghalib. Her reply to my letter indicated at the top was lost. Read … Continue reading
In Stillness of Being, his sixth anthology of poems, Indian-American poet, Maharaj Kaul, describes the human conditions we all must experience. In the poems: Stillness Of Being The World I left Behind A Struggling Dream Never Complete Hope Never Blinks … Continue reading
We fret and fume to no avail, Life is awake-dreaming without a goal. World puts many a cap on human face, But the one that matters most is one’s soul’s. Our doings are often protests against the world, … Continue reading
I do not know when I was born, my mother never told me, Time the ceaseless weaver does not know its beginnings, My sanguinity a creation of my ardor, my blues due to inconstancy, Mornings delicate hesitancies, evenings surf-peaked. … Continue reading