The Cognitive Backyard

The Tree of Life

When I originally watched Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain back in 2006, except for its magical music, I did not really like the movie. The non-linear narrative always confused me and seemed irreconcilable and incoherent for my little brain. The sporadic cuts and flashbacks were not just the only reason I did not quite liked the movie, as a dutiful devout Muslim, I felt really appalled for its Semitic references; the tree of life and the obvious connection to Genesis and Kaballah.   Continue with reading

First Impression; the Last Impression

There is this famous English saying, “first impression is the last impression” which used to be the only reason I gave myself when people did not really like me. Like every other selfie-obsessed person out there, I would often pause and reflect in my mirror and confess that the saying is so true. I never quite liked what I saw in the mirror, how could others? Continue with reading

How I Lost My Heart

My dearest love,

I know that after all these years we had spent together, I just abandoned you, and left you alone without saying a word, or even a goodbye. I doubt you would want to hear from me anymore, but there are things I just wanted to say to you, I wish I could tell all this to you face to face but I do not have the heart to face you one more time. Continue with reading

Eureka! The Road to World Peace

International geopolitics is such a treacherous territory to monitor; ugly, unfathomable and unpredictable at the same time. It takes an unbearable amount of burden on my tiny brain to read and listen to all these news and analysis that I feel I will have a nervous breakdown. My family does this all the time, ah; I will die of these news drones. Continue with reading

Carving a Dream Profession

A few days ago I was having a routine chit chat with two closest friends I have. The three of us have so many failures and shattered dreams between us that the usual topic of discussion is causes of our failures in, and possible strategies for, landing a dream profession. We have done odd jobs; jobs that did not suit either our aspirations or qualifications, and all in all the experiences have been as heart breaking as exhausting. The fundamental point of our every such conversation is the question, “how to carve out a dream profession?” Continue with reading

Great Expectations and Comfort Zone

I have never truly understood what Charles Dickens might have conveyed to us in his Great Expectations, never! Even the 2012 movie based on the novel, starring Jeremy Irving and Helena Bonham Carter, actually did not help much. I am quite slow at processing things; it often takes me days and weeks or more to process an idea. There is a silly joke about it in Urdu language that explains the full potential of my mental abilities. 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

On the White Man’s Burden

Intellectuals across the world would continue to debate whether modern science is a gift, or a curse. Modern science has brought a magnitude of convenience in life that could not have been imagined a century or two ago. If by convenience, the understanding is that it has reduced distances, travel times, communication difficulties, and has substantially increased ease of doing things and much more, then yes, it has certainly done so. Some would say that science is immoral; it has brought a lot to human species but at the cost of much that was very dear, and essential for human survival, for example the environmental cost of scientific development. Continue with reading

Stability in Pakistan and Lack of Optimisim

Written on April 14, 2013

As national elections in Pakistan draw closer, there are still some who doubt that the elections will be held as per schedule.  It is widely believed that many in the political mainstream, the civil and military bureaucracy, and judiciary, as well as in the media are not only hoping but striving to postpone the general elections. It is also widely believed that only one political party would suffer if the elections are postponed i.e. Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) which is currently considered to be the front-runner in the run up to the elections, as if all others including the country itself would benefit from the delay.

However, statistics as well as the historical precedence would say otherwise. Continue with reading

Giants of Human Intellect and Our Failure

I sit there and watch people so profusely display their intellect, talent and knowledge, my jaws drop at the amazingly unbelievable expanse of their mental prowess.

This happens with me all the time; at work, watching movies, and even having a drawing room discussion on Pakistani political and security situation over a nice and cozy cup of tea which is, most of the time, a zero-sum pass time, in fact, a favorite for average minded Pakistanis like myself. Continue with reading

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