Not so long ago, I was one of those outputs of the modern Indian schooling system, which was introduced in India during the British colonial (mis)rule, which makes you believe that everything that is west is scientific and great and everything that is Indian is unscientific and full of blind beliefs.
Not any more though. After all Mark Twain had said, “Never let your schooling interfere with your Education“.
The more I read outside the school textbooks, not just Indian literature and the vedic texts, but also more from the western especially American authors – like Mark Twain, Voltaire, Warren Hastings, Will Durant, Grant Duff etc , and from the biographies and lectures of great physicists like Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Robert Oppenheimer, Erwin Schrodinger, Werner Heisenberg, etc, from the works of great Indians like Swami Vivekananda, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, like that of current western vedic scholars like David Frawley, Stephen Knapp, Francois Gautier etc – did I realize that a lot of what is taught in the schools is a myth, not to miss the Myth of the Aryan Invasion Theory and the Dating of the Vedas.
Animals Predicting Future – East and West
Take the case of those in India going to parrot astrologers. These astrologers predict the future of a person by asking a parrot to pick up a card from a pack of cards and depending on which card the parrot picked, the astrologer would predict the person’s future accordingly based on the text inside the card.
Now compare this parrot reading with the recent world cup football, where the so called developed society was asking Paul, the Octopus to predict the result of football matches. How is this different from the parrot version? Except for the fact that the future of a person would contain a large set of permutations and combinations to pick from, where as a foot ball match contains only two – one of the two teams that wins. Isn’t the task of Parrot, the astrologer more difficult than that of Paul, the Oracle? :)
Just like a trained parrot picking up a random card from a pack, all I could see in the news was Paul being hungry and moving to grab one of the two dishes whose containers were painted with the national flags of the competing teams. Who taught Paul which national flag belongs to which country? Just the way, for the same person a parrot will pick up a different card from the pack if asked the second time, have they tried asking Paul the same question during his different meals of the day? He might have been correct in this world cup, but IS IT SCIENTIFIC?
And finally we had the germans getting angry since Paul predicted a German defeat, and so wanted to make a soup of this poor octopus and drink it! Did Paul ever say that he is going to predict the football match results?
This shows us that faith in animals predicting the future is a common human psychology – be it scientific or not – be it east or west. Humans are always eager to know the future – and so would like to give a try to different and new ways – scientific or otherwise – to predict the future. Whether they take these predictions seriously or not is an individual perception. I personally do not believe in any future predictions because they tend to take away my freedom of action and I believe it is against the existence of consciousness to accurately predict future.
Yes we may predict things based on current data like – there will be a solar eclipse next month, a comet will be passing near Earth next year, John is going to get a job soon, Janardhan might call up this noon, and so on. These kind of predictions are based on currently available information and most of the time might come out true, or if Janardhan’s mobile battery goes down then he may not call up in the noon, the comet may not approach earth since it crashed into some other asteroid near Jupiter, John is attending an interview even after six months, and so on.
So future predictions can be guessed based on a combination of current set of data and past historical experiences, but not accurately and definitely, and definitely not based on the random behavior of Paul or the Parrot. If Future predictions have to be accurate, then future has to be pre-written and should have already happened, and in that case time would be an illusion then, so would be our freedom of thought and actions. So for that not to happen, predictions always have to be a guess or a gamble like the one in stock markets.
Cruelty to Animals and Civilized Societies
Sometime back one of my friends told me, “It is only in unscientific societies like ours do we see animals being slaughtered in the name of God”, he was referring to chickens and sheeps killed in religious ceremonies in India.
I asked him, “Well, how is slaughtering animals in the name of fun more civilized and scientific than killing them in the name of God? Is having fun torturing animals more civilized than killing them with devotion?”
Barbaric killing of innocent animals – Bull Fight is the national game of Spain! Did those bulls come and challenge humans to fight them? Humans are having fun when these animals are fighting for their lives. If he is a real hero then he should fight bare handedly with those bulls, and that too inside a deep forest.
Wasn’t it the same civilized western society which caused extinction of the poor bird Dodo? This innocent bird was hunted to extinction within 200 years of Europeans landing on Mauritius. In Canada even today they hunt and kill seals in thousands, many a times they are said to be skinned alive too! Watch this IFAW video on Seal hunt myths.
Warning: The below video contains disturbing content.
Then we have accusations against the american fast food restaurant chain KFC about inhumane treatment of chickens.
So killing animals for any reason is a prevailing inhumane practice all over the world, be it chickens in the east or seals in the west. And we have animal right activists and organizations fighting to save animals from the inhumane treatment of humans all over the world, be it Maneka Gandhi of India or Alec Baldwin of America or Jane Goodall of Britain.
Gender Bias – Male Chauvanism
Long back, a reader friend had asked if there was anything similar to black magic of India in the western society. I only had to direct him to the history of killing women – Gendercide and witch hunting in Europe. For three consecutive centuries in the modern European history were women selectively targeted and killed in the name of witch-craft, making it one of the largest atrocities on women in modern times.
So Gender bias or male chauvanism is not restricted only to Europe or India or east or west or to one particular religion. All men dominated societies have had this gender bias against women at some time or the other in their history. In fact it was the west who called it “History”. Why not “HerStory”, or why not “Happened Stories” (like Itihaas which is what history is called in Sanskrit and which means “So it happened”).
East + West = Best
The essence of any society should be to pick up the best and good from other societies and leave out the bad and worst practices of its own. While a lot of people in the west are picking up the best of the eastern societies like Yoga, Ayurveda, Sanskrit, Vegetarianism, etc, we find a lot of Indian youth going in for the worst of the western societies like junk food consumption, unhealthy social habits, pub culture and so on.
The best of the west – starting from something as simple as standing in a queue before boarding a bus or a train instead of pushing on top of the fellow passengers, to driving vehicles in proper lanes, to not driving vehicles with high beam unless really required, to providing equal opportunities to all irrespective of their caste, creed or color, to respect a human equally irrespective of his/her occupation (in other words the dignity of labor) – are all being rarely adopted in the Indian society.
I do sincerely hope that the Indian society and its youth pick up the best from the western society. There is a lot for the east to learn from the west, and for the west to learn from the east. And when that happens, humanity will be at its best.