Sunday, January 29, 2006

Violence in Movies

Last week I saw 'Viruddh' in Gymkhana. Amitabh Bacchan plays an ordinary aging man, whose young son gets killed in the hands of a rich and powerful guy. AB is driven to a point where he takes the law in his hands, kills the villain, cleans the mud-stains that had been created on the image of his deceased son through a very farcical lawsuit to try the murderer. Of course, he goes to jail afterwards.

I feel, there are three effects of depiction of violence in movies.

When movies have shameless depiction of violence, there's a clear intent to kindle the basic feelings of violence in the audience. People with lots of violence pent up inside -- occasionally with some reason, but mostly because we are biologically programmed to be violent -- and unable to give vent to them, find immense relief from the pressures thus created, by watching somebody else doing those things. One has the liberty to place oneself in the place of whichever character one identifies with or idolises with the most, and live some experiences that one wouldn't dare to in a normal life -- murdering someone, making love to a very attractive man/woman, etc. The feelings which get vent this way aren't necessarily negative or violent. Feelings of pent up love, patriotism etc. also find private expressions through movies. My father, for instance, who finds it quite hard to express well how much he loves us and everybody and is quite caught up in his self-created image of strict and edgy person, finds a very powerful vent to his soft emotions while watching movies. He usually sits with a towel in his hands, and has it dripping with his tears after a single session of movie-watching. :) Movies aren't a multi-billion rupees industry just without reason.

The other effect of depiction of violence is, of course, the kindling of the right kind of violence. It's undeniable that there're evils everywhere. We need power and violence to fight them in many cases. In this age, non-violence can't tell itself from cowardice, even though they are fundamentally different. However, we are prone to get into cowardlike attitudes of resignation more often that not. That happens because callousness and insensitiveness is often the only escape from a persistent feeling of helplessness. More often than not, this insensitiveness to real problems overshoots the line of optimality. A whole people turn deaf and dumb to exploited by another people who take advantage of this. Rebellion at all levels gets necessitated then. Movies, and other media, do have the power to give us the necessary shock-therapy for awakening us from our soporific attitudes. Again, violence depiction is just one of the things that can be passed as a message. Many lessons can be learnt from movies (and other media) if one honestly depicts the right things, and one watches with an open mind.

There's a third, and not so obvious effect, of which it's my main intention to talk. I feel, movies which end in a violent climax have a deep terrorising effect on us. Our logical mind is well capable of noticing the relation between the undoing of the evil, and the way that was brought about. While we get charged up to fight evil by seeing the possibility of its end in the movie, the fact that only a very extreme act of violence brought that gets surreptitiously registered in our mind. A person of normal strength and courage is never going to resort to some extremes of violence, however hard he's driven towards it. If it's craftily shown to him that only a very violent act can bring an end to evil, he will easily believe it. His response: a conclusive resignation and surrender to his own plight.

There are many acts of courage and strength which are not violent in nature: honesty and integrity aren't the least of them. Hard-work, self-reliance being two more to count. It requires a much more expert storytelling to show that these are ultimate weapons against many atrocities. The instances of thorough implementation and success of these virtues may be rare, which proves the point that it's difficult to achieve freedom through non-violent means. But they exist, and an astute observer will notice the much greater heroism involved in them.

But, I wonder if that's at all the intention of many filmmakers. Very talented film-makers who have made movies showing extreme violence have been known to have direct or indirect links to the underworld. I wonder if they are to the Underworlds what writer used to be to the social reformers: careers of messages. While for centuries, writers and artists have effectively conveyed many forwardlooking ideas to the common people, I am apprehensive that many good filmmakers do a very good job in slowly uprooting all faith in goodness and non-violence in the normal public, to make cynical cowards out of them.

We must take care in absorbing hidden messages from movies. If life-partners aren't earned by singing songs running around trees, then liberation from social-evils can't be obtained by going about shooting villains.

My Trip to Coimbatore - A Thought about Traditions

I did say a word or two about traditions in my previous blog: Simple Ways of South India. That more or less summarises my thoughts about them. I don't care much about traditions myself. I feel I don't need them in most cases. Some lesser mortal do, though! ;)

One of the first things that come to our mind while talking of traditions are elaborate rituals in religious ceremonies of India. And, one of the prime reasons why such elaborate rituals exist in our ways is sheer blind-faith mixed with a dash of histrionics of some pseudo-religious hypocrite.

I remember one such example while in Coimbatore recently. The bride's procession was about to leave from their home to the marriage hall. At that point, Senthil's mom was getting busy with two cute puppies -- Julie and Tommy -- she has adopted. They were innocently loitering around near the gate. Someone, supposed to be Senthil's father's old friend, suggested that the dogs be removed from sight, since it's inauspicious to have dogs in sight while setting out for a journey. I found his suggestion quite novel. I have been having dogs and cats and cows and pigs and men all around me many time while leaving for a journey. Unless one claims that my life itself is a tragedy, I feel those journeys have generally ended in an untragic note. Dogs are inauspicious to journeys no more than human beings are. When I probed the reason of his peculiar suggestion with him, he started giving the very reasonable explanation that after all those were dogs and could create a mess anytime, which is not good...whatever! That person was standing there puffing at a cigarette. I didn't like it; the bride didn't like it; and the dogs had nothing to do with it either. I would well have dragged the chap out of the sight and chained him up in the backyard! Atleast dogs don't give hypocritic suggestions! But the people who were controlling things there found no reason to disagree and Julie and Tommy were promptly removed from sight. a lot of compliance to traditions happens owing to blind faith and hypocricy on one side or all sides.

But there's one other aspect. It's rather positive. It's not unique to traditions and rituals. But, it's certainly true about them. Rituals let us slow down a bit. They let us lovingly proceed through the little parts of an important thing. That way, they lengthen the process, and help us focus on details. If you look at many hard things we do in our every day life, this technique works magic. A bit of concentration; and a bit of patience. Basically, often we stumble when we are in a hurry to get over with the current occupation, and get busy with the next one. Often, we are desparate to attain a feeling of movement; and we erroneously choose hastefulness to get that. Elaborate rituals can be looked at as good indirect lesson in slowing down.

There's another connected good thing about rituals. They involve many people, are often rather joyous or painful, and cause the event getting imprinted in the minds of its participation. That, I guess, is an effective -- albiet non-technical -- way of documenting history.

One other person who was also present there talked about traditions in an offhand manner, saying that traditions are being followed because of some reason that nobody is clear about. They'll all go in good time. Perhaps, it's a very intelligent remark. But I felt that there's snag in it. Old traditions will go; new ones will come. It doesn't seem likely that man is going to do without traditions in any short future. Traditions are abstract legacies that connect people with their past and future. They give them a community identity. All very practical and fundamental requirements of a human creature. Uhm. Traditions are here to stay -- in one form or another!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

My Trip to Coimbatore - The Early Return

For the last three days, I have been having a great time. I was in Coimbatore, attending the wedding of one of my childhood friends (I have lots of childhood friends; in fact the friends that I make even now are my childhood friends! ;) ). I came back yesternight. The sensation I had at that time was a sweet, lovely exhaustion and sleepiness, and a feeling : 'Ah! Now that was one crisp short trip!' When I was having a dinner in Tea board, I asked Satyam, Maria and Rumki one by one to join me. All of them were in the Gymkhana movie. So, I got to have some nice time with myself. I would suggest you try it one of these day. Spend yourself out for the day, and become thoroughly exhausted. Then go to Tea board and sit alone on one of the corner tables with a bowl of noodles and a cup of Tea. You are bound to have a memorable time with yourself. :)

We boarded Kanyakumari Express on Wednesday night. And were in Coimbatore at 5 AM, thursday. I went to Karthik's place first. Finished my breakfast there. I started off to the marriage place at about 9 AM.

I am also happy that I will be able to attend the Rhythmica programme today evening. The trip was initially planned to be three day long. I was supposed to be back on Sunday morning. Had that happened I would have missed the programme. But the day before yesterday, when I reached Senthil's (it's his twin sister Padma who got married yesterday) house, I realised that it was quite a crowded house that day. I was given the due importance, space and hospitality. But it would have been a wrong thing to expect them to pamper me (as they always do when I go to their place) for three days in such busy times. Coincidentally we had to go to the station that day to book some tickets. And I got the idea that perhaps the best thing to do was to return early. Luckily I got the ticket. And I am back. Good! :)

My Trip to Coimbatore - Simple Ways of South India

Thursday, when I reached Senthil's house, I took bath and changed into a Kurta (Rhythmica) and a pyjama. That's a dress I usually never go out in. Supposedly my night dress, or something of that sort.

That evening, there was a premarital ceremony. It was almost in the same scale as the marriage. And know what?! I went there in my night-dress, a pair of bathroom slippers added to that! :)

And if you are thinking, that's too much, let me tell you that it wasn't by any means. Most of the gentlemen there were dressed in some light coloured shirt and veshti. My attire was more colourful than theirs.

Well, 'Do in Rome as Romans do.' I feel, that's exactly what happened there. I didn't get any scandalised glares from anybody there.

Contrary to this, I am sure that in North India, this would have been impossible. There marriages are full of pomp and show. People dress up in a very glamourous way there; and one's acceptability in the gathering increases with increasing glitz.

I feel that South-India scores over North-India in this regard. If there's any vanity involved in South-Indian marriages, it's surely not as blatant as it is in North-India.

I observed a reaffirmation of this in the food. Though, Senthil's family is a non-vegetarian family, complete vegetarianism was observed during the wedding. Contrary to this, I can't imagine a Bengali marriage without non-veg. In fact, I sometimes feel that if and when I ever marry, I will give a complete vegetarian party. But I know that it won't be listened to in my family. :( The food was heavenly. Hot rice, sambar with lots of vegetables, some simple vegetables and sweets. The message that I wrote to some of my friends after finishing one of the meals there was : 'Rice, sambar, rasam, sabji1, sabji2, kesri bath, papad, pickle1, pickle2, chutney...Grub.Grub.Grub...Burp! Blesings from a satisfied Brahmin. Happy wedding :-D'

I ate beyond all my limits, and didn't face any stomach problems. Well! Atleast while I was there.

Yes, vanity is not blatant. But it would be wrong to say that it's absent. My observation has been that dowry-system is disappearing at a faster rate in north than in south. In fact, I am quite amazed with the way people look at dowry. It's given a very noble look, and you just can't argue. Lakhs of rupees in cash and gold are transferred from the bride's family to the groom's family. It is difficult to argue why only the bride's family is so concerned about creating infrastructure of their daughter's new home, and why can't the groom's family do it. It's presented all as if it's some kind of voluntary gift for the loved one. So, it becomes a very family matter, in which others can't speak. Even if the scale at which dowrying is done is way beyond the normal scale of operation of the family, it's still voluntary! Kuprathas survive in a very clever way. In most cases, they survive not by force of the perpetrator, but the by the apparently willing submission of the victim.

Another point of vanity was regarding religious customs. They are followed to the limit here in South-India. Nothing wrong of course. But I see that they are blindly followed with a nonsensical faith. In fact I met with characters who generally chip in with a suggestion of some custom that must be followed. I feel, in most cases, their sole purpose is to attract some attention and show how much they know about religious stuff -- which in our nation is an easy substitute for being a good person. And people follow it without question. I feel, that's how Hindu rituals have got so badly riddled with rituals which lack the least bit of sense. I feel, this kind of vanity, is more a show of faith to God, as if to say: 'See! We are such staunch followers of you! How can you not bless us!'

Sunday, January 22, 2006


The greatest feats of a man will never be noticed. Sometimes they will go unseen even by its achiever. Because, these achievements aren't those which makes one proud. They are those which proves that man can survive against the toughest of odds. When there's nothing to be proud of; when there's nothing to rejoice about; when all that seems to be in stock is more disgrace, more disappointments, more pain. When contrary of promises of new gifts, life comes with threaths that even the meagre little things that are there are also gradually slipping away: health, happiness, wealth, youth,!

And yet man marches on. On towards a death that more certain than anything else, preceded by every possible sign of its slow approach. Thank god the arrival is always sudden!

Man's biggest achievement is perhaps in wishing for something, and then going on loving the life with no hope of such gifts ever coming.

Man's greatness is not in his greatness; it's in his reconciliation with his insignificance.
(written in a mood when I was not able to figure out if I am happy or sorrowful; relieved or numbed; alive or dead! All I could figure out is that I still have the courage to see how many more dramas of life I will take part in as a clown! I have just decided to go on and find out.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Addendum on Curiosity

In one of my previous blogs, Mystery and Curiosity I had made a slight allusion to the power of curiosity. Thence, I have come to know that, by many, curiosity is not always looked at in the way I had meant. Curiosity also could mean that peepy tendency, the urge to know about others' secrets.

In a very western-like society, we ought to respect the personal-space of people. By personal space, we mean a space -- in space, time,'s difficult to define, in what -- that's completely allocated to that person. An expanse, which the person may keep completely to himself. In practical sense, we consider it acceptable that a person may have a place, possessions, time, thoughts which he doesn't share with anybody. Think of all these as coordinates in some kind of abstract space. Then there will be certain points in this space which belong only to a single person. That's his personal space.

So, it's OK for people to have a personal space. The kind of curiosity that instigates somebody to violate the personal space of someone else is negative, bad. Quite right!

But, I reiterate that it's man's basic nature to be curious. It's similar to hunger, or sleep, or sex. A person who has his hands full with food, rest or erotic pleasures is not in a position to acquire any more of these things. But, as soon as present stocks deplete, man will again start craving. But, we observe that just being hungry doesn't entitle us to any food; we have to earn it. Just being tired and sleepy doesn't make rest an obvious choice; work overrides our craving for sleep, more often than not. Just being sexually aroused doesn't make it legitimate to pounce on the object of desire; there's a way (a very very complicated way, in case of humans!) to gain access to this satiation!

Curiosity, in the similar manner, is one of our basic instincts. It's always there. It always has to be fed. If the inventive mind of ours is full of preoccupation, it doesn't crib. The moment there's some compute power available, it starts fidgeting about, looking for something new to know, to explore, to understand, to become the master of the secret of. And like all the above, there're social regulations on the ways and avenues which could be used to feed the curiosity.

Like all the above cases, our volition is usually strong enough to override this primitive urges. We know when not to eat, when not to sleep, when not to make sexual overtures. We know when not to be curious too.

In all these counts curiosity qualifies perfectly well as a basic biological instinct. In fact other species also show traits of inquisitiveness. So, curiosity, in a strict sense, is not unique to humans. However, our superior intelligence, our logical, creative, imaginative powers, combined with our urge to know and explore more, gives us that special power. I consider that power special enough that following it honestly and legitimately, we will someday be having coffee with God at His house! :D

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Researchers - Germs of An Evolved Species

PhD culminates with a very different set of experiences and lessons for each person. Perhpas, it's too early for me to summarise my set of experiences and lessons, but certain thoughts do keep churning in my mind; and they seem to be conclusively true.

Research is like life. We all come into it with our own sets of strengths and failings. Before we can find out if they good for a research or not, comes the question of whether I know about them. Much tme and energy is wasted trying to tap sources of strength which are already dry. One may face severe lack of confidence and depression due to the above mistake.

The second learning is that it's not necessarily true that people who never make mistakes, never ever get to question their capability, are better off than others. Phd can't be evaluated merely by how quickly it gets over; how prompt and steady the flow of publications is. Just like life, PhD is to be judged much on the basis of how satisfied one feels at the end of it. Learning never stops. So it's wrong o say that people who don't do their PhDs don't learn. But, PhD is a duration when one is supposedly in the prime of his youth, is still open to lessons, and during the process, is pampered enough to keep believing in higher ideals of life. A PhD is potentially the example of a higher form of life, a germ of an evolved creature. The world is not evolved enough to want to be like a scholar; but perhaps is wise enough to protect and honour a race that's the only concrete hope that a higher, more evolved form of life is possible. Well! That may sound rather egotistical! But well, that's not meant to offend anybody. :)

Handwriting - the extinct art

I suppose, getting a hand-written letter from a friend manyn't be one of the very usual thngs for you now. At least that's what I get to hear from all my friends. They invariably prefer e-mails, chats, phone-calls or SMSs to writing with pen. Handwriting, now, is perhaps an obsolete craft. I too can't completely deny that compared to the amount we used to do in our school or colleges, now, handwriting has got reduced to a luxury to be enjoyed once in a while. Even my habit of diary writing has got converted to electronic: BLOGs.

But the habit of writing and receiving handwritten letters has never quite died for me. I still have at least two pen friends. And if I don't really want to write to them, and my hands are itchin, I write to my father.

The extinction of handwriting as a form of art or craft is akin to the extinction of cheetahs or tigers. They are beautiful; and everybody would like them to be there somewhere. But as a species, they have proved themselves unfit for survival. People would have them live -- in zoos and jungles. But nobody keeps a tiger as a pet (except a for a cranky few). These species will have to go, sooner or later. A few enthusiasts can't save a species for ever, if it doesn't know how to suvive by itself.

Handwriting too will become an extinct practice. With the concept of paperless offices coming into fashion, pens will be driven out of their last shelter soon. Nobody can say if this is good or unfortunate.

Man - Is he temporary, or permanent?

I am sure you all must have observed a tendency in us to reuse many things. We reuse our knowledge. We reuse our cooking, we reuse the designs etc etc. We even resuse our wastes. It makes sense, since it results in saving. But, certain things which we observe about this business of reuse seems to go a bit overboard.

I could cite an example from my field: Software Engineering. There's a great emphasis placed on the idea of reusing software in all ways possible. We try to write the program in such a way that a binary executable executes everywhere. Java, and .NET are inventions which follow this maxim. Well! It always doesn't prove to be possible. So, people try to write programs in such a way that, as far as possible, the application only needs a different build for a different platform. That's called source code level portability. They don't stop only there, though. There's this of field of software design which is mostly about building the software in such a way that the parts of the program so created should serve as much purpose as possible. No two pieces of code should do the same thing. Maximum reuse. The story continues to the realms of design patterns and architectural patterns -- they are some kind of coded design solutions to frequently occuring design problems, especially in the area of Object Oriented software engineering --, analysis patterns -- which are supposed to be reusable understanding of the problems. Upto the point of source code reuse, the benefits are apparent; but beyond that, in design patterns etc., things become a bit too cryptic and abstract for a mind of normal calibre to comprehend. Would these things have been invented had the question been only for 'reuse' in practical sense? I feel, researchers working on computer architecture have been doing a pretty good and practical job in giving us with faster and more spacious computers every other day. Yes, there's this issue of software complexity; but again, the solutions that design patterns give are not comprehensible to a big body of people who do extensive amount of computer programming.

I feel, the reason for doing investigations in any form of reuse has a more basic, albiet less practical, root. That's in man's fascination with permanence.

Man sees himself in his creation. Creation is how man (a creative man) tries to leave his mark in many things. Perhaps, somewhere at the back of his mind, there's this hope that some of them will outlive him. While his body perishes, he will live on in some of his creations. In these lines, many would argue that people like Ved Vyasa, Vinci, Newton, Tolstoy etc. are not dead yet. The corresponding belief in the immortality of their leader of the followers of people like Buddha, Mohammed, Vivekananda etc. would be particularly vehement, I'm sure.

The idea of man's immense love for his creation has been churning in my mind for such a long time! The life and identity of a person extends when he creates something. A part of the life perishes as the object of creation perishes. Regarding this, I had written a short story in my final year of engineering. The name of the story was 'The Castle of Sand.' It was about how the love for his creation leads a person to criminal extents to save it.

I see the same emotion beautifully portrayed in the movie 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' where a colonel and his regiment, who're in captivity of the Japanese during the second World War, build a bridge across a river for carrying the reinforcements of the Japanese forces in Burma. The bridge gets destroyed in the end, but within the split second climax of the story, we see how the colonel hangs in a delicate balance between the irrepressible urge to save his creation, and the call of duty to serve his nation. Wonderful movie!

A similar portrayal is found in the classic 'Frankenstein.' The inventor invents a life form which turns destructive. The inventors chases the demon of his own creation to the end of the world. His clear vow was to destroy it, as it had been a cause of many losses of dear lives. But beyond all this, there's this subtle depiction of the author whose meaning of living on ends with the end of his creation. Life doesn't lose its value by a mere fulfilment of a promise, or loss of dear ones. It will happen when it knows that by going on, it has no hope of devising its perpetuation.

The point is: We all want to live forever. If not in bodily form, then atleast in some other form: as
a painting or sculpture, as a literary work, as a musical creation, as a scientific idea.

I want to draw your attention to the concept of God, and adwaita. We believe, that we -- the creation of God -- are parts of Him. I feel, this could have its roots in the idea of man searching himself and his identity in his own creation.

I was reading some of the works of Vivekananda recently. So much vigour! So much hope! That we can discover our inherent eternity from our daily chores, from acts possible within the confines of this physical existence! No wonder, seeds of hope the great man sowed a century ago, have grown into huge trees and they still bear fruits for millions of people.

However, there's another school of spiritual philosophy which argues in a seemingly conflicting line. Our old scriptures, the Eastern philosophies of Tao and Zen, all talk about change. 'The only thing that's permanent is CHANGE.' That's the maxim!

One one hand, change is evolution, change is improvement, change is a better future. But on the other hand, change is aging, change is death.

While it's easy to accept the fruitfulness of change on the entire universe, we find it difficult to accept that we are also a part of that changing universe; and we fight decay and death with all our might. We see God as one with the Nature; we see God as one with us. Somehow, it's woefully difficult, that by simple transitivity, we all are one with the nature.

The intention of pointing out the above dichotomy in human thoughts is not to ridicule the idea of preservation of life. In fact, the idea is not even to talk about the rightness or wrongness of one or another. I wish to locate the thing that associates so much pain and fear with the concept of death. I feel, it's our love for permanence. Inspite of teeming evidence of change and temporariness, we have been able to create such magnificant concept like GOD, something that defies change and transience. At least half the population of the world sticks on to their faith in God with a vehemence that could move mountains. God is their only hope that permanence is possible; and that seeking it is theoretically not out of question. Religions and mystic theses create such foolproof frameworks that protect our faith with unbelievable efficiency. That there lies something beyond this miniscule physical existence -- wonderful if it's something so beautiful as a Heaven; but even if it's hell, far more acceptable than a sudden absolute end of existence -- itself gives a win-win deal. Anything to live beyond this body!
Life is full of contrasting ideals and realities. The tussle between our seeking permanence, and our inherent temporariness, is one of the basic ones. It would be one of the greatest realisations of life if someone would be able to see the ideal hidden within the reality; when someone is able to apprepriate, and not just understand, that 'change is permanent.' I don't appreciate it. I am like million more brethen of mine trying hard to reconcile my realities with my primal ideals!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Many Incarnations of Slavery

Yesterday, a discussion while taking juice at the juice centre turned towards the question of our opting to join public organisations like ISRO, DRDO etc. The usual pros -- service towards nation, direct social impact, lot of scope for creativity --, and cons -- organisational rigidity, leg-pulling, low salary, lack of motivation among colleagues --, were enumerated. I concluded that there's a lot of questions inside; and hence, at this point it's quite difficult to say if I would ever choose to join places like that. I also said that most of those problems do exist even in private organisations, but atleast they give you a fat salary. The salary is not desirable just for the money sake. It gives you an illusion of being valued by your organisation. Social progress in any form resulting from one's work is a very intangible thing. It's very difficult to feel proud of one's work targetted toward bigger benefit, unless the benefit has been indeed substantial.

One of us said that most of these MNCs are based in some other country; and what we produce goes directly for the benefit of those countries. For instance, some companies work directly for US defence. What we make goes directly to their defence. Given the the fact that India and USA aren't the best of friends as far as foriegn and defence policies are concerned, our work may in some way harm the interest of our country!

To this, I said 'slavery has many incarnations.' Earlier, the most dominant medium of power was arms and arsenal. People who had more of them subdued many other races, enslaved them, and used their labour as a means to become even more powerful, perhaps drawing freedom of the subjugated races further and further away from them.

Following are the distinguishing features of slavery:

  • Non-identification with the purpose of labour.
  • The largest benefactor of the result is someone else.
  • The output strengthens and perpetuates the plight of the victim. A poor gets stuck forever in poverty.

Going by this definition, our plight could be akin to slavery. We might be benefited in a marginal way by increase in employment etc. But, perhaps, by the very fact that such precious intellectual labour being generated from our developing nation has USA and other european countries as its main beneficiaries, our second position to these nations, due to the output of our very own labour, is getting more and more strengthened. When, God forbid, there's a question of choice about which one of the two will survive, we will stand no chance. Noone can promise that such a condition will never arise. With the given trends, it looks all the more looming large at the horizon!

There are many afterthoughts; and they are deluged in confusion!

Is it not true that we all are slaves all our lives? The society imposes its rules and regulations on us, keeping in view some common good. We, people, the smallest units of society, have only vague idea about the logic behind things which are good and bad. That, even if the effect of crime is subtracted, we know that the resultant structure, the society, is not completely fine. There're many social diseases at large. We have every reason to doubt with the rules we so obediently abide by all the time. Doubt is non-identification. Non-identification + obedience is slavery. If there'd been a complete faith that we aren't, as individuals, in a position to judge what's right and wrong, and think it best to believe in whatever rules have been put in place by the ruling powers of our times, it would immediately turn our slavery into loyalty.

Perhaps, even that statement is taking it beyond the truth. Blind-faith is one of the common weapons of a tyrrant to enforce slavery. When a slave doesn't even realise that he's a slave, he is going to be really useful slave. A questioning slave is soon going to free himself.

It seems that slavery is intangible, in lines of emotions, honestry, truth etc. Whether one is a slave or a free man can't be measured by tangible things. That perhaps adds an ammendment to our definition of slavery. The fact that the master gains much more than the slave is known the master.

If (1)the hirer wants to gain much more than the hiree, and (2) makes conscious attempts to use the output of the arrangement to perpetuate the arrangement, and (3) has the power to do that, it's slavery.

In (1) and (2) is true and (3) isn't, it's a monopolistic trade.
If (1) is true, (2) and (3) are not, it's trade.
If all are false, it's charity, or love or altruism, or some such stuff.

A society which is a market-place trying to discover the bigger-good through capitalistic methods seems an urealistic method of finding the bigger-good. There has to be an explicit knowledge of the bigger good with some body with some kind of power to implement it. Only then can there be any actual bigger good. A trade-like policy will continuously increase tensions all over on the economic fabric of the society, and may result in estrangement of minorities in many form. The overall process of slavery, subjugation and estrangement being distributed meticulously over such a large expanse of time, space and agencies, and not one person will ever be stared at for being greedier, crueller, more selfish than the social norms give him the sanctions for.

Well, I guess, we are digressing. I will treat this topic separately.
Let's end this blog here.