The Cognitive Backyard

The Folly of Abstract Morality

Morality is not abstract, it is absolute

If there is one thing popular television shows teach for certain; it’s the shades of grey. I am not sure if there are fifty; for I am forever a nyctophile. These shows indoctrinate that there is no such thing as absolutely evil or pure good. This world is not a battleground of angels and demons, but humans where every saint has a past. Continue with reading

The Doubts of a Nihilist

A person who doubts is not necessarily a nihilist

The other day a close friend suggested that my mind is metamorphosing into a nihilist one. One of my golden brothers is a psychiatrist. I told him about what my friend had said just to see if he could diagnose me of some psychological issues. What he said, well I am not going to repeat it here, definitely sounded like a serious psychological disorder. Now that was something serious because most crackpots don’t really know they are crackpots.

I most definitely know I am a crackpot. So am I really? Continue with reading

Is Politics Good or Evil?

It is natural to think is politics good or evil?

“We hear about politics all the time, but is politics good or evil?” asked Dr. Amani Moazzam.

She is a bespectacled, studious looking professor with an aura of a headstrong woman which many of her students find intimidating initially. In reality, she is a sweet and kind at heart teacher whose concern for her students gradually manifests itself rather involuntarily. Continue with reading

Why So Serious?

Someone I greatly respect has told me that I look at things quite pessimistically. It is not the first time I have been told this. In fact, people have told me that my worldview and, consequently, my writings are melancholic. Whenever I write something, I try to outpour on the paper how I actually feel about a particular issue unless I am trying to be objective. Continue with reading

The Freedom in the Veil

This is a guest article.

Five years. It’s been five long years since I hid behind the screen that would forever hide me from the world. One would think I’d get used to it, not the fabric hugging my lips or the wind never reaching my cheeks; those things I got used to by day three. Even the soup always finding its way onto my veil didn’t bother me so much. Continue with reading

Social Class Discrimination at Work

I am neither a Marxist nor I find myself completely in agreement with Karl Marx, however, I am sometimes fascinated by him. He identified many problems with the budding capitalist, industrialist western society of the 19th century. Marx essentially based his economic philosophy on the basis of class discrimination in the capitalist world. He divided the capitalist society into two distinct social classes; bourgeoisie (haves) and proletariat (have-nots). The social class discrimination in Marxist terms is based on the ownership of means of production; those who own the means of production (bourgeoisie, haves) and those who do not (proletariat, have-nots). Continue with reading

The Real Horror Is Not War

The image of a Syrian toddler lying dead on a Turkish shore has shocked the world. The innocence screaming in the picture touches even the most self-centered and the selfish. The gruesome reality of the horrors which imperial designs and unceasing wars have unleashed in the Middle East is just beginning to dawn upon the public opinion of the rest of the world. Continue with reading

Change and the ‘Self’

This is another of the many Urdu articles I wrote before and after Pakistan National Elections in 2013.

This one, titled Muasharti Tabdeeli Aur Humara Nafs (transliteration: “Societal Change and Our “Self”), was written after the elections on June 7th, 2013, discussing briefly how we want to bring “change” in the country without changing ourselves for the better – which, in my opinion, is our gross national folly. Continue with reading

Social Justice and Motivated Violence

In a very stimulating recent article, David Dubois of the INSEAD has studied the patterns and reasons of bad behavior in different levels of social classes. Initially, he refers to the anecdotal evidence that suggests that people higher in social class are more likely to behave unethically; he goes on further to acknowledge that people in the lower social class can also have unethical behaviors. However, what differentiate the two are the reasons for which people in different social classes behave unethically. David Dubois’ work “found that higher-class individuals are more likely to cheat when the unethical behavior benefits the self but lower-class individuals are more likely to cheat when the unethical behavior benefits another person”. Continue with reading

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