Friday, April 19, 2019

Quote of the Day

If you want the shortest version of my answer to the question of why Buddhism is true, it's this: Because we are animals created by natural selection. Natural selection built into our brains the tendencies that early Buddhist thinkers did a pretty amazing job of sizing up, given the meager scientific resources at their disposal. Now, in light of the modern understanding of natural selection and the modern understanding of the human brain that natural selection produced, we can provide a new kind of defense of this sizing up.

- Robert Wright, Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor & Exercise

Every time you work out, your muscles, fat cells, and liver release a variety of molecules into the bloodstream. Some of these molecules circulate through the body and travel up to the brain, where they cross the blood-brain barrier. Once inside, they trigger a cascade of beneficial changes that can make you feel sharper and happier.

One of the most crucial changes is the release of a growth hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. When it comes to exercise’s positive effects on the brain, BDNF is the star.

“This is one of the most important molecules for brain function in connection to the effects of exercise,” says Gomez-Pinilla. “BDNF is very important for all of the basic processes related to learning and memory in the brain.”

BDNF helps the brain build new connections, or synapses, between neurons — a process called synaptic plasticity that is thought to be the foundation for learning. Cells communicate through these connections both within and across areas of the brain. For example, neurons in the hippocampus create synapses with cells in the prefrontal cortex, another region that significantly benefits from exercise. The prefrontal cortex is where a lot of our higher-level executive functions originate, like decision-making and attention, processes that are also improved with exercise.

- More Here

Quote of the Day

Mankind’s true moral test consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect, mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.

- Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

What I've Been Reading

To know reality you have to know beyond knowing.


One cannot do evil in awareness. But one can do evil in knowledge or information, when you know something is bad.


How does one cope with evil? Not by fighting it but by understanding it. In understanding, it disappears. 

Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by Anthony De Mello.

One of the best books I have ever read ! Anthony De Mello blunt truths bringing in religion, philosophy and psychology is a treasure for life.

  • The three most difficult things for a human being are not physical feats or intellectual achievements. They are, first, returning love for hate; second including the excluded; third admitting that you are wrong.
  • Do I do anything to change myself? I've got a big surprise for you, lots of good news! You don't have to do anything. The more you do, the worse it gets. All you have to do is understand.
  • People react so quickly because they are not aware. You will come to understand that there are times when you will inevitably react, even in awareness. But as awareness grows, you react less and act more. It really doesn't matter.
  • Pleasant experiences make life delightful. Painful experiences lead to growth. Pleasant experiences make life delightful, but they don't lead to growth in themselves. What leads to growth is painful experiences. Suffering points up an area in you where you have not yet grown, where you need to grow and be transformed and change. If you knew how to use that suffering, oh, how you would grow.
  • I remember that when my own mother got cancer, my sister said to me, "Tony, why did God allow this to happen to Mother?" I said to her, "My dear, last year a million people died of starvation in China because of drought, and you never raised a question."
  • This is what is ultimate in our human knowledge of God, to know what we do not know. Our great tragedy is that we know too much. We think we know, that is our tragedy; so we never disconnect. In fact, Thomas Aquinas says repeatedly, "All the efforts of the human mind cannot exhaust the essence of a single fly."
  • Flags are in the heads of people. In any case, there are thousands of words in vocabulary that do not correspond to reality at all. But do they trigger emotions in us! So we begin to see things that are not there. We actually see Indian mountains when they don't exists, and we actually see Indian people who also don't exists. Your American conditioning exists. My Indian conditioning exists. But that's not a very happy thing.
  • As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life. But life has no meaning; it cannot have meaning because meaning is a formula; meaning is something that makes sense to mind. Every time you make sense out of reality, you bump into something that destroys the sense you made. Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.
  • The only tragedy there is in the world is ignorance; all evil comes from that. The only tragedy there is in the world is unwakefulness and unawareness.
  • A nice definition of an awakened person: a person who longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within.
  • You don't need conscience when you have consciousness; you don't need conscience when you have sensitivity.
  • You lapsed into what the gospels call "the world" and you're going to lose your soul. The world, power, prestige, winning, success, honor etc., are nonexistent things. You gain the world but you lose your soul. Your whole life has been empty and soulless. There is nothing there. There's only one way out and this is to get deprogrammed! How do you do that? You become aware of the programming. You cannot change by an effort of the will; you cannot change through ideals; you cannot change through building up new habits. Your behavior may change, but you don't. You only change through awareness and understanding.

Quote of the Day

Next to the ridicule of denying an evident truth, is that of taking much pains to defend it; and no truth appears to me more evident, than that beasts are endowed with thought and reason as well as men. The arguments are in this case so obvious, that they never escape the most stupid and ignorant.

David Hume

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Take Care Of Your Mind & Body - Warren Buffet

In his essay for “Getting There,” Buffett elaborates on a message that he thinks “is very important to get across to younger people”: Take care of your mind and body.

Sounds simple, right?

But Buffett takes it a step further by offering an analogy: “Let’s say that I offer to buy you the car of your dreams. You can pick out any car that you want, and then when you get out of class this afternoon, that car will be waiting for you at home.”

As with most things in life, Buffett says there’s just one catch: It’s the only car you’re ever going to your entire life.

“Now, knowing that, how are you going to treat that car?” he asks.

“You’re probably going to read the owner’s manual four times before you drive it; you’re going to keep it in the garage, protect it at all times, change the oil twice as often as necessary,” says Buffett. “If there’s the least little bit of rust, you’re going to get that fixed immediately so it doesn’t spread — because you know it has to last you as long as you live.”

And then, like a bag of bricks, Buffett hits us with a brilliant realization: The position you’re in with your car is exactly the position you’re in concerning your mind and body.

In other words, the way you treat your car should be no different than the way you treat your body.

“You have only one mind and one body for the rest of your life,” Buffett says. “If you aren’t taking care of them when you’re young, it’s like leaving that car out in hailstorms and letting rust eat away at it. If you don’t take care of your mind and body now, by the time you’re 40 or 50, you’ll be like a car that can’t go anywhere.”

- More Here

Quote of the Day

Monday, April 15, 2019

Quote of the Day

A slight sound at evening lifts me up by the ears, and makes life seem inexpressibly serene and grand. It may be Uranus, or it may be in the shutter.

- Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Quote of the Day

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object of which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

- The Last Paragraph of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Wisdom Of The Week

Longmate’s If Britain Had Fallen went further into the moral entanglements of a Nazi occupation of Britain. Like Lampe and Clarke, he searched the records for individual Britons whose lives would have been different under German rule. The members of the Auxiliary Units and the 2,700 people on the Germans’ notorious ‘Black List’, slated for immediate execution after the invasion, grabbed his attention. If Britain Had Fallen also specifically considers collaborators as a social type. It emphasises that Germans expected the cooperation of a British civil authority, and planned to delegate most of the administration of civilian life to it. The entire British legal system was to remain intact, as were the functions of teaching, policing, postal service, even customs administration.

Indeed, Longmate points out that the Germans presumed the French model of occupation by referring to ‘occupied’ and ‘unoccupied’ zones, and that the Germans’ invasion force was projected at only 250,000. They would have needed a compliant figurehead and government ministers, who might have been found, ‘somewhere among the noble families which feared a revolution and which had fawned upon von Ribbentrop or been entertained by Göring at his hunting lodge’. Longmate declined to name individuals, but his description is specific enough to bring to mind the Cliveden set of upper-class individuals, who met at the homes of the viscountess Nancy Astor, members of the Anglo-German Fellowship, and even diplomats such as Neville Henderson.

If Britain Had Fallen stresses that these British Nazis would not have been representative of the occupied British nation. Longmate portrays the struggles of British judges, lawyers, district nurses and doctors, postmen, teachers, tax collectors, mayors and city clerks pressed between the subjugated people and the Nazi overlords. If Britain Had Fallen gives us a very different Nazi Britain from Clarke’s England Under Hitler. Clarke’s model of British behaviour had been Major Colin Gubbins, the head of the Auxiliary Units, assassinating Nazi perpetrators after a village massacre. Twelve years later, in Longmate’s If Britain Had Fallen, the exemplary Briton is the anonymous civil servant, ‘a good mayor or, perhaps even more, a good town clerk’, bearing the day-to-day burden of carrying out German orders and consequently ‘likely before long to be unpopular all round’.


Times have certainly changed, but what lasts is the tendency to use a counterfactual thought-experiment to explore the question of whether Britons belong in Europe or not. Regardless of whether the thought-experiment concludes that Britons are typical Europeans, or that they’re intrinsically different, it starts with the same question: what would have happened if the island had been invaded and/or occupied in 1940?

This is, to be sure, a question that can never be definitively answered and, since Britons can never know how they would have acted under the heel of Nazi oppression, they are likely to continue speculating about it. Perhaps that is the one characteristic that truly does separate Britons from other Europeans.

- The Many Counterfactual Histories of Nazi-Britain