Friday, 27 March 2009

Senses and SenseAbility: Sex-as-a-Sense

Illustration, here, shows "Design by Nature" of human body striped to bones, which shows differences in the skeletons of man and woman. It is only now that the scientists are realising what they so far thought human brain is one is wrong. There are two human brains that of man and woman, reports Hannah Hoag, science writer from Montreal, Canada (“Sex on the brain”, New Scientist, 19 July 2008). Mystery of body deepens.
Sex is a Sense: Its organs are male and female genitals; their functions are cleansing by urination (for both sexes) and menstruation (on puberty for female), and on maturity in union of both sexes the procreation for the survival of the species. The function of procreation or propagation is present by variation of Design by Nature in all the life-forms.
I have not come across any scientist, sociologist, anthropologist, linguist or economist ever considered “Sex as a Sense” (whatever little that I have heard or read). It may be so because of their religious taboos that have become a habit?
In this regard, of course, it is least expected from the religious of many popular brand faiths for whom ‘sex’ is a taboo, though it is dominant on their minds: The topic is expelled from all polite talk; forget they would recognize “Sex is a Sense”. For them “sex” is sinful. Hence the “Sex-Sense” is religiously expelled from the recognized senses and dictionaries! (Remember ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ by D. H. Lawrence that was banned!)
No! We are not talking about the “sex of hedonism” that prevails in the so-called advanced and civilized societies, where prostitution and sexual crimes are rampant, which also receive abundant attention of the media. The developing civilised societies are no exception, for example, the Third World India.
This is obvious fallout of the creation of limitless wealth and waste by Industrial Civilisation. Fallout also includes population explosion. And the institutionalized religions cannot do anything about it.
Otherwise, adivasis – aborigine – communities who adore vagina and phallus, neither have prostitution nor population explosion, unless forced by the civilized powerful classes/castes.
Sex being a primal force, sex as a sense has place in Intuition, i.e. the Sixth Sense. Why then it is not recognized and added to the five senses?
I do not know the history of who, why, when, where and how this vital sense was expelled from the popular (populated) religions (if it was ever there) and languages? Yes, I come across news that a lot of research goes on sex-related issues in science labs, either on mice or men.
During my adolescence I was working with a Spanish priest–architect in Mumbai, as an apprentice for a year. On his bookshelf there was a book of measured drawings of classical Greek and Roman architecture. The drawings of buildings also showed sculptures in bass relief of naked men and women on the building surface. This puritan man had cut with skilled scissors 1mm x 1mm pieces of plain paper and meticulously pasted them on the breasts and genitals.
Where I was born and brought up in my native village in Konkan Region – one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world – there was sex every where: dogs, cats, cattle, snakes, flies, hens, frogs… We kids often saw the mating of cow and bull, birth of a calf…
There are innumerable nude sculptures on thousands of temples across India, for example, Khajuaraho Temples. Without knowing the significance western scholars and art critics interpreted them as obscene, erotic, pornographic…
Indian mind has understood the paradox in the genitals – Yoni (vagina) and Lingam (phallus) – Sacred and Profane, for millennia. They even worship them. The Warli tribe in the backyard of Mumbai, likewise many other tribes and cults, worship Fertility Goddess.
However, in modern India, fundamentalist sections of Indian society get touchy and even violent on artistic expressions that depict nude. Perhaps they too are influenced by the slavery under the Firangi’s rule, teachings by Christian Missionaries and Victorian values of morality.
The fallout of denial of SEX has never been assessed in the modern times by the so-called, self-coroneted leaders of the states, in politics, in social or moral matters, institutionalised religions…

Procreation is certainly a function of genitals. However it is not the cause of population explosion, as is often implied by the vested interests. The real cause is the exploitation of the poor and the powerless of the societies at local as well as global levels by the powerful by military and wealth. It has been going on for millennia of feudal powers. It continues now at accelerated rate, since the rise of Industrial Civilisation in the West and imitated in other regions. It is not only the poor humans but even the insect population is on rise due to global war on insects. The immediacy of the survival of the species comes through Homeostasis – “the wisdom of the body”, not economics.
The experts and specialists in various disciplines of knowledge, the statesmen and politicians and world leaders are either ignorant of this fundamental principle, or ignore it because of their weakness and vested interests. The powerful are the most insecure species (!) amongst humans.
Previous Posts: 1.

Sense and SenseAbility, 2. Sense and SenseAbility2, 3. Homeostasis, 4. Touch, 5. Hearing, 6. Smell, 7. Sixth Sense.
© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Senses and SenseAbility: Sixth Sense

Remigius de Souza writes:

Bruce Durie mentioned in passing in his article “Doors of Perceptions” (New scientist, 29 January 2005, p. 34-36) ‘…Some things commonly labelled a “sense” are no such things – a sense of loss, having a sixth sense…’ The term “Sense of loss” is clearly a literary phrase.

But “sixth sense’, or “intuition”, or “inner voice”, or call it whatever you may like, we can’t say, is “no such thing”, only because we can’t put it in a laboratory test-tube, or we don’t perceive it, or experience it or we don’t want to listen. Dr. Deepak Chopra defines intuition as “heightened perception” (that I heard in one of his audio cassettes). In other words, intuition or perception could be developed, by any person – rich or poor, educated or illiterate, of white or black-brown-yellow races, civilised or aborigine.

Such an argument is typical by the scholarship or expertise that goes on single tract. This is also typical of the advance societies of missing the direction: a “circular path”, which enables to reach back to “value” to all human beings and all the living beings.

However, Mark Buchanan concludes his article “A billion brains are better than one: a single microbe won’t have much to say for itself. But put a lot of them together and it’s a different story” (New Scientist, November 20, 2004, p 34-37), with following words:

‘As we find out more, we will perceive microbes as more like ourselves, or
discover the roots of our own social behaviour in the supposedly “simple”
microbial world. Perhaps our ability to talk and communicate, to form teams and
root out and punish the freeloaders, goes all the way back to our days as

Among bacteria, however, there are different species; human are one species irrespective of colour, race, religion, nationality, patriotism, etc. The world of bacteria gives us clues to how DEMOCRACY should function, which is not developed with thousands of years of civilised society. Of course, the aborigine tribes function in democratic way even to this date, despite all the atrocities caused by the civilised societies over a period of time. Democracy is still languishing in the chaotic conditions created by the past barbarian feudal powers that now lead by a new garb called “leadership” – a new avatar of centralised power within the so-called democratic nations.

To reach the democratic level of “simple” bacterial world is a tall order achieve for the so-called democratic states in contemporary times.

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Senses and SenseAbility–7: Seeing

Remigius de Souza writes

SENSE OF SEEING is the function of eye. Seeing, when one is looking, witnessing, going beyond a cursory glance, reveals many facets of an event. Perhaps one may discover roots of some great event in an ordinary one. For example, Galileo watching a chandelier swing back and forth at the Cathedral of Pisa or Newton looking at the falling apple, or Dronacharya (of Epic Mahabharata) demands a thumb from Ekalavya as his fees [a dakshina or deed of gratitude] for being an absentee guru.

The descendants of Ekalavya, the Bhil tribe do not use their thumb even to this day. This is his living memorial that signifies Aryan atrocities on the aborigine communities. The aborigine, then, though assimilated in the Aryan society, its purpose was to add a service class, which was identified as Shudra caste. Even in the free democratic India the discrimination continues. In the era of Industrialization in India the peasants are now facing the onslaught of elimination. In the last decade, between 1997 and 2005 about 150,000 farmers have committed suicides (Ishwari Prasad, “Significance of Farmers’ Suicide”, Janata, Vol. 69, No. 32, August 31, 2008, p. 3-8, Mumbai), one of the reasons is farming is no more sustainable.

Such a seeing or watching or witnessing also combines other senses. The whole body becomes an eye, as in archery, which has iconic dimensions in eastern cultures. Or for example, a cricketer who throws or hits a ball: be alert or miss the target.

Observing (without malice, likes-dislikes, taboos or judgments) during even the ordinary routines such as, seating, reading, eating-drinking, walking, traveling etc. or watching the people watching TV, the ordinary activity of seeing becomes an action, which could be a creative action.

Such an action, which involves self and the outside, has values of entertainment (leisure) and education both. No investment. No time schedule. No rules and regulations. No legal curbs (in case you don’t intrude in other’s privacy). No losses in time-money-health… on the contrary, by being alert the senses become sharp.


Scientists say all animals received vision some 540 million years before now (identified as Cambrian Explosion); they were in the sea then. It is said the vision brought great change in their lives also: the conflict between the pray and the predator accelerated (see: Andrew Parker, ‘In the Blink of an Eye’). “Pikaia”, our remote ancestor, survived: thus we are.

In modern times the sense – vision – has overtaken even other senses. ET-IT has taken this change to great heights. We live more and more in virtual reality than ever before through canned visuals, canned music, canned games, canned wars, canned education… on cell phones, computers, TV screens… The worst victims are the youngest, younger and young generations in the increasing proportions. The poor little ones, who have not yet seen even a smallest fraction of real world, are trapped by the game called virtual reality. It is happening before our eyes but we don’t see or notice it.

A few decades ago the children were provided with toy-guns and toy-cars. Now as they grow a little they are with violent games in the Vice City or Road Rash or Sports of cricket or football etc. on the TV mast, and quietly Porn enters…

Neither parents (citizens) nor educationists nor the planners, and never the governments of any brand, dogma, right or left or fundamentalist ever think of play grounds for the children of different ages within their neighborhoods. And they boast of holding Asian Games and Olympics: indeed the height of hypocrisy.


A true story of an extreme case of a computer-nerd

“Y”, a young man, is, or now was, a student of engineering in second year. His father – a professional engineer, mother – a high school teacher, sister – a medical student. Y spends hours on computer, almost an addict, many a times late at night, while other family members are fast sleep. (I don’t know what he was looking at, and don’t want to know). His eye sight was very low from childhood. On one fateful day, or perhaps night, Y’s both the eyes started bleeding profusely, it was a hemorrhage. The veins busted. There is no remedy. Y is permanently blind. I don’t give the names for obvious reason. Hid kin should have informed all their contacts and the public about the gory incidence as a warning and caution. Precisely because the cause is absolutely foolish, though unfortunate and sad it may be. The educated could be ignorant in many, many ways.


Vision – inner vision, light, an eye, eyesight etc. – has been a subject of visionaries and scientists, of metaphysics and scientific discoveries… There are a great number of volumes on vision written by scientists and pundits; great schools of theories have been founded; great monuments have been erected.

Yet vision is still elusive, still a mystery, and the mystery deepens with every invention… Reading about them my eyes have gone foggy, but in vain. No salvation. What am I to do? In my ordinary life I must find my own answers. When I took and followed an advice and took a curative measure I saw the ‘Rainbows’.

See previous post: Smell

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Senses and SenseAbility – 6: Smell

Remigius de Souza writes

Smell goes with breathing, a vital function. Indic people believe that our life span is measured (or decided) by how we breathe – or the number of inhales and exhales, and not by days or calendar years.

It is a common experience that taste, smell and seeing also goes together when food is seen. Smell of food prompts appetite – attraction, or repulsion, in certain environment, for example when we are hungry. Infant wrapped in mother’s sari, as many people do in India, recognizes her smell, not only when she is physically close by.

How does our sense of smell get diluted when in familiar environment, or after we get familiar? For example, pollution of land and water and air – the three vital links to life – and in urban habitat, is unmistakable to nose, though not for our egocentric or helpless mind – whatever we are in social – political – economic hierarchy.

Plants have aromas, and their company on daily basis can rejuvenate our living. But we go on hacking them to make concrete jungles, to build industrial empires etc. for monetary gains. We don’t spare even the forests to make hill stations for our sensual pleasures.

Isn’t it absurd to destroy trees in the urban neighbourhoods, and travel miles away to enjoy nature, or build holiday houses there? Can’t we (or the experts) plan corridors of woodlands for the neighbourhoods in the new town or existing cities that are under revision every twenty years? Such green corridors would give safe passage to wild life (not necessarily tigers) and neighbourhood people would have company of plants and wild life at a walking distance. Instead we put them both in the compartments of reservations. Indeed we are becoming intolerant to other forms of living beings, consequently other humans, which may belong to other caste, class, religion, language, province or nationality.

The thoughtful technology (science, research, industry and trade hand in hand) is ready with remedies – deodorants, cosmetics, drugs… And when we fall to live a life of vegetable, it offers healthcare. We go on pumping deadly toxins in the soil and waters and air in the name of progress and development and economic gains: We neither think of posterity nor improve living of all the citizens on equitable basis.

Plants are helpless because they can’t move. However nature helps them to move far and wide and to propagate by various means, one of them is other living beings (other than man), whom also we eliminate along with plants.

Our love of plants ends with our love for visual aesthetics and imported exotic species, which at times overpower and destroy indigenous species, just like the firangis who came to India to buy spices. Under the influence of our past colonial masters, anything desi – local or indigenous – is detested, though it is Nature-given. I deliberately don’t use the term God-given. How God has messed up our lives, or to put it other way, how we have messed up our lives in the name of God?

Fragrance of Soil rises from the Earth with first shower/s of monsoon, which I relished for decades. But in this concrete jungle of Mumbai it is rare; I feel homesick when monsoon comes. In one of his stories G. N. Dandekar mentions an ascetic presents a small bottle of the perfume containing fragrance of soil to a passionate collector (“Kuna Ekaachi Bhraman Gatha” (Marathi).

Fragrance of Mahuva flowers have left with me their sweet memories forever, which I enjoyed many times during the Holi festivals among the Bhil tribes. Summer is the bloom time for Mahuva trees; the fields, forests, villages, wherever the trees are, are filled with sweet fragrance. So also the fragrance of its precious liquor, which is used on special occasions such their religious rite. The Mahuva flowers are the part of the Bhil’s staple food: vegetables, rotis and biscuits of maize flour… Indeed palm and Mahuva are inseparable part of tribal people.

Collectors of Fragrance: Like honeybees that collect honey, the orchid bees are ardent collectors of fragrance, various fragrances, all types of fragrances; from flowers to woods, decayed woods, even shit, perhaps to impress the females with their collection.

Humans may boast their superiority over the animal world, but they can’t beat orchid bees. Bijal Trivedi informs, ‘talk to any performer and you will discover that brewing a top-selling fragrance is mostly art and very little science. These olfactory connoisseurs travel the world roaming markets, gardens, jungles and rivers to sniff out exotic new scents – their brains trained to tease apart complex odours and describe them in words” (‘Smells rank’, New Scientist, 17 Nov. 2007, p.48-51). And the urbanites that choose to live in urban jungles must surely envy the tribal folks!

It’s plent! It’s all free!! For decades I enjoyed aroma of paddy farms. When you enter Konkan region you can’t miss it if you are travelling by automobile or by railway. During summer, the aromas of cashew and mango in blossom are distinct. Like Mahuva liquor, aroma of feni – cashew liquor – also spreads in the atmosphere.

The rich biodiversity of Indic region provides pleasant fragrances in the environment through all seasons for us to enjoy. And it comes free for all; you need not bottle it like kings and emperors. We have six seasons; the Chinese have twelve seasons: how keen interest the Chinese people must have in the environment. No, we are not talking about the Chinese government; the governments come and go; the civilisations come and go; the people prevail.

Modern city is a parasite, alienated from the nature. Not only does it devour the nature (in land, waters and living beings), but also denies the citizens their kinship with the nature. It becomes increasingly destructive with its growing size; its reach extends beyond and across the continents and the oceans. The modern city is a by-product of Industrial Revolution and handiwork of the centralised powers.

See previous post: Hearing

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Slumdog Millionaire Laugh (Review)

The Slumdog Millionaire Laugh (Review)

Entertainment 24x7 is Opium of Industrialism

After so much of hullabaloo on media I decide to write on the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”, which I had ignored so far, to pamper my ego. First, let me quote Coomarswamy:

“Modern pragmatism, of course, deals with the bastard truth of facts, according to which, we expect (though we do not know) that the sun will rise tomorrow, and act accordingly: Hence, also, the modern concept of art as a merely aesthetic experience”, (Anand Coomarswamy, “Time and Eternity”, Select Books, Bangalore, 1989, p 5).

The award winners of “Slumdog Millionaire”, and media were laughing at the awards collected by the movie. They were laughing at the grim reality not only of the slums in Mumbai and cities and towns all over India but also at the precariously grim reality of 900 million people of India’s agrarian society.

Capitalist society continues to capitalize on anything and everything available; the buzzword these days is Poverty. It capitalizes even on its condemnation by anyone – an individual or a group – that may condemn and criticise its systems, dogmas and society; it would bestow awards and titles upon them, (see for example, Nobel Awards and/or alternatives to Nobel Awards in the recent past), which, of course, do no make even a dent.
Or, for that matter, the gender exploitation and the feminist protests, both, flourish side by side, through multimedia, cyberspace and in real life in the capitalist societies, besides racism.

Poverty is a by-product

Poverty, in the contemporary times, is a by-product of Industrial Revolution, inflicted by the capitalist society. Poverty has reached to a shameful dehumanized state to a global scale.

If the modern lifestyle cannot spare the natural environment from degradation, how could market economy / free market / globalization spare the disadvantaged across the world not to reach global poverty?

It is not only the global cities, but also the industrial capitalist societies (the western and westernised) have their footprint on the regions far beyond their sovereign state boundaries, from the North Pole to the South Pole, from East to West. Wherever they place their foot they leave the people of other cultures and other societies in utter poverty (just as it is said, “Wherever civilisation puts it foot it leaves desert behind”).

And the slums, not only in Mumbai, but in other cities and towns across India, are the by-product of the industrial capitalist society – the First World India – initiated by the past colonial masters, and followed by the development obsessed governments in India with their misplaced priorities for the past sixty years.

Indeed, if we should be ashamed of, it is not the “slumdogs” or the “underdogs”, but our democratic government, therefore, ourselves, we who staunchly believe in the First World India (of minority), or which we call the mainstream society of India!

Inspiration behind the plot

A fiction writer can map, manipulate and design acrobatics with characters and events for the purpose of entertainment, just as the stunts in the Hollywood / Bollywood movies. The book, “Q&A”, on which the movie is based, is one of them, authored by a bureaucrat (what more can one expects from a bureaucrat, though there are few exceptions)? Its questions and answers are inspired by “Kaun Banega Crorepati”(KBC) – who wants to be millionaire – TV serial programme. Hence, movie too is a typical vulgar farce and far-fetched.

Though it is said to be produced on a shoe string budget (by Western standards) is politically, economically and socially irrelevant and least creative: It does not do any justice to the people.

At last, a British Sahib reached Mumbai, slyly, to showcase the slums and poverty in India, which was initiated by the Empire. The movie has ploughed back its investment many more times not only awards.

Peasants are the Lifeline

Kaun Banega Crorepati” (KBC), of course, was typically imitated or adopted from its western origin, like many development projects in India. KBC and other similar avatars that appeared on Tellywood channels, which have been epitome of vulgarity, had no relevance other than glamour, passive entertainment and profiteering: It squandered money, which go in to smoke, laugh at 900 million people of agrarian society- the real Third World in India.

The peasants are the lifeline of India, not hundreds of movies produced at Bollywood, and such programmes as KBC on Tellywood, or cricket…! “KBC”, “Jai Ho”, “Chak De India”, Dhan Shanaa Dhan Dhan”, “Mera Bharat Mahan”, “Pro-Poor”, “Garibi Hatao”… and such slogans and promises are not going to make any dent on the sordid condition of the slum dwellers and peasants.

Exodus of Peasants to Cities

In Mumbai alone there live more than 50% people in the slums. They have been self-supporting and self-reliant, though often accused as illegal occupants. Just as Mumbai’s footprint goes far and wide (Mumbai that lives the life of hydroponics) so are the affected, displace and marginalized people flock to Mumbai in search work to earn livelihood with dignity. They hardly dream of being millionaire.

They built Mumbai

The major workforce of skilled, semiskilled and unskilled building workers lives in these slums. They have built Mumbai. The government i.e. legislators and bureaucrats, experts and policymakers hardly know this fact, or perhaps ignore it. Slum dwellers of Dharavi and anywhere else are capable of rebuilding and developing these on their own in far more decent and economical way for sustainable living.

Corrective Measures is the Need of the Hour

Intelligence and creativity are not the prerogative of the elite alone. But the power lobby, greedy of profit, would stifle them with legal instruments, either in countryside or in cities.

They don’t need handmaidens of capitalist society help them to plan, design and build their homes and homestead. What is urgently needed is that the Democracy in India must restore their autonomy by providing proper tools.

Some Statistics
1. The United Nations World Food Programme says that the largest concentration of hunger in the world is in India: 230 million or 27% of the world total (see: M. J. Akbar, THE SIEGE WITHIN, Times of India Mumbai, Mar 1, 2009, p. 16)
2. Wanted: property developer for Mumbai slum
The Indian government has invited developers from around the world to submit plans for the regeneration of a slum in Mumbai, home to Asia’s largest population of slum dwellers… …Nationwide India is facing a slum crisis as more people lock to the cities in search of work. The latest census data reveal that the number of people inhibiting India’s slums more than doubled between 1981 and 2001, rising from 27.9 million to 61.8 million”, (Geographical, Royal Geographical Society, UK, August 2007, Volume 79, No. 8, p.8).


© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Sense and SenseAbility –5: Hearing

Remigius de Souza writes

Hearing: It is a second sense, though some musicians may claim it’s a first sense. Never mind. Now modern science says listening to music while in the womb improves the child’s mathematical power.

We have heard stories from Itihasa – Epics and Puranas. Abhimanyu, while in the womb, learnt about how to enter the Chakravyuha – a strategic circular maze formation of army in war – while his father Arjuna was telling his mother. He, however, did not hear about how to come out. During the great civil war of epic Mahabharata took place, Young Abhimanyu was defeated and killed. Perhaps he did not use his senses…

Another story is of sage Ashtavakra (bent in eight places in body). His father while reciting Vedas made some errors. Ashtavakra, from his mother’s womb, pointed out the errors. The father was offended and cursed that he will be deformed in eight places in his body, and thus he was born with eight deformations. Later in his youth he preached a king on spirituality, which is known as “Ashtavakra Gita” or “Ashtavakra Samhita”.

We may have heard these stories several times. What we understand and how we interpret them is another matter. Sri Krishna and many saints have preached “Sahaja Dharma” – natural dharma or inherent nature. Accordingly one may deduce there could be seven billions of dharma – religions.

What do the foetuses in modern urban environment hear? Isn’t it ring tones on cell phones, 24x7 noises on TV sets, household electronic gadgets including their electromagnetic radiation, noises in the city…? No wonder some children are born with deformation. Viva!

Hearing with attention (not concentration, said J. Krishnamurti) becomes listening. So also, seeing with attention becomes noticing. Listening and noticing reveals many facets of an event, even an ordinary one.

Silence, it is said, is the heart of music. Listening to silence is supreme. The silent spaces in between words and sentences, and the silence before the storm…

Woefully we are so much used to the noise (and hurry) that silence unnerves us; we are irritated by silence, particularly in urban environment. We want 24x7 excitements.

Our governments, too, have lost the capacity to listen notice the reality. Unless people take to the streets, burn the public and private properties, a few people are dead by police-and-or-public violence, they can’t take notice of the malady. Of course, of course, we all know the government is a faceless entity.

Hence, hearing loss is a common phenomenon. Loud noise with impact, for example, a gunshot close by, could cause deafness. However, on such an event, if we observe, mouth opens instantly to counter the impact on the eardrum from inside. We call it reflex action; perhaps that’s homeostasis.

An extreme example of hearing loss

I know at least one person who became permanently deaf because of noisy work environment in an industry. Mr. Lobo was working at one of the oldest cement plant at Sevalia in Gujarat State. That was a few decades ago. I don’t know how many were affected like him?

See previous post: Touch
© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Senses and SenseAbility-4: Touch

Senses and SenseAbility-4: Touch

Remigius de Souza writes:

Sense of Touch is attributed to the skin.

Senses and SenseAbility are important for our personal and social health, in fact, all the four aspects – Work, Leisure, Education and Health – for our survival (survival means, said J Krishnamurthy, living sanely).

In the blind the other senses are highly active and enhanced. Their sense of touch works in the feet even while wearing shoes, not only hands, and cane.

In the growth of babies, emphasised Margaret Mead, anthropologist, in her famous book, ‘Coming of Age in Samoa’, it is important to hold them close. Among the young from their infancy, their senses are alert and highly active. In the course of time, their senses and creative ability are stunted by the contemporary education here in India. Even the educated parents are hardly aware of what is happening.

As we know the skin is the organ largest in area. It is also the youngest as the body continues to shed the skin until last. When one gets a fever – say, malaria fever or love-fever – the skin is an indicator.

It is not only the nose, the skin also breaths, and protects us. (Buchanan mentions there are millions of microbes on our skin as well as in the gut.) Hence we call the clothes, a second skin, and house is the third skin of man – both are expected to breath (particularly in the tropical climate0 and protect. Well, whatever may be the result of synthetic fibres and, and the houses with sick building syndrome!

The touch is the first sense that we experience in our mother’s womb that is oceanic. There is tradition among Indic people. They wrap newly born baby in soft cotton linen, which is mother’s recycled sari. The mother and the infant/s stay in confinement room that is dark. Modern gynaecologists may differ, though!

Touch obviously reminds us of the Untouchables in India (see: A tale of a scavenger in India). It continues in spite of efforts by the most revered saints of India across the country for centuries and in modern times by several social reformers: they could not eradicate this obnoxious distinction.

In very recent times, the young Indian elite had been holding agitations and campaigning against the reservation for the untouchables (official term is Scheduled Castes) in educational institutions and jobs in the name of equality. Perhaps they did not check the worth of this British-made education? The atrocities on the untouchables in various forms sometimes result in killings, house burning, rape, and physical assaults.

Another class of untouchables is the women when in menstrual cycle. Though it is less due to contact with the urbanised, the women do not enter the places of worship and the temples. Traditionally they suppose to ‘sit out’ i.e. do not cook, not even enter the kitchen, and touch to any person, and actually sit in out side veranda. The orthodox families and those who perform religious rites and rituals and magic – Mantra-Tantra, and those who practice traditional medicines strictly observe this custom. Perhaps it may continue for unknown time.

I would not judge, like or dislike, or accept or reject any of these issues, but prefer to examine in historical, social and scientific context, keeping aside what the western societies believe or approve of.

Until now what I understand that both the classes of untouchables originally were service classes in the civilised Indic societies. In the course of time, as population increased, the high castes and men, to keep their power, attached the stigma upon them as untouchable. Perhaps the original context of the rites and rituals and customs were lost and got distorted in the course of time.

We, however, can’t ignore a fact that society, which refuses to evolve, which remains stagnant like water in a pond, stinks. Do such things happen in the Industrial Society, which would lead it to decadence? Or has the decay already begun?

See previous posts: Homeostatis

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Senses and SenseAbility-3: Homeostasis

Remigius de Souza writes:

Homeostasis is The Wisdom of the Body

(Continued from the previous Part 2)

Body houses our senses, perceptions, memory, mind, intellect, intelligence… and soul.

Unfortunately in the modern times, “body” is yet another four-letter word like Self, Soul, Love, Life, Work etc. that are much abused in our fast pace of hedonic lifestyle.

We take our body too much for granted: Mind has become the colonial master that colonises the body like a bonded labour and exploits it without restraint, until it is exhausted, in part or full. Just check our work pattern/s. certainly we decorate it, beautify it; it is rather to satisfy demands of our egoistic mind than to elevate.

We take even our senses for granted. While eating/ drinking, for example, most of the time, we rarely pay attention to the action of eating. We simultaneously are involved with something else: daily news, TV shows, talk over the matters of business or gossip, think over the “urgent” matters on mind, or flatter our taste buds forgetting the need of the body: We at times call it a passion.

It is almost the same situation, more or less according to our passions, with other senses (except perhaps sex impulses: We shall come to that later).

Quite often we ignore or forget, if we know, that body too has intelligence just as we have. At least, we as Indic people have recognised the body-mind connection for a considerable time.

Body, however, continues to work, whether we are awake or asleep, till the end like a “Nishkam” – without desire for fruit – Karma Yogi. And whenever necessary, when something goes wrong with the system, sends us the signal – hunger or starvation for example. But we are too busy with our mental flights, passions or addictions: We tend to ignore it.

A Case of My Ailment of Heart

My own experiences are not very different from what I just mentioned above. However I have also been aware of the “Presence of Body” on several occasions. One of them was my ailment of heart, some fifteen years ago.

I started getting palpitations. In the beginning it remained for a second of two and recurred at interval of a couple of weeks. There was no apparent cause: fear, or worry of any kind. It would appear any time. Later it was for 2-3 minutes at a few days’ interval. I had started taking medicines, including exercises in self-hypnosis under a guidance of psycho-therapy specialist. I stopped the medicines and exercises.
One day the palpitations remained from noon to midnight. That was an opportunity for check up while it was on. With a note from family doctor I met a heart specialist at a neighbourhood hospital.

After the necessary check-up he diagnosed and told me in simple words, that my heart is sound, that it is a case of “electrical short circuit” in the heart, and the present rate of palpitation is at 250 per minute. He added, if the rate increases to 400-450 per minute it would be fatal – an instant death. That was music to my ears.

For me the diagnosis was enough. The specialist, however, did not tell me why it happens. He advised me to get admitted there and then in the ICU for observation and prescribed some medicines. Of course I flatly refused both. He was furious. I returned home, remained on fruit diet, gave rest to my mind and body.

After two days, I left for Delhi to attend a workshop on “People, Law and Environment” organised by Centre for Science and Environment. It was very romantic episode though I report it in brief.

I, then started dialogues with my body, and observations – or call it meditations as I am inside my body – without judging, my likes-dislikes, prejudices etc. leaving the information baggage.

I am aware of the “Presence of Body”, and this awareness is constant like breathing, even during my pet indulgences and petty vices. There has been no palpitation for last fifteen years.

A decade or so after this episode, while reading “The Ages of Gaia” by James Lovelock, I came across the word “Homeostasis”, which now has a meaning.

Links to MINI-TEXT :1. Solemn Celebration and 2. Body Dharma

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