Our Love For Coffee Is Proof We Exist

A body that understands and responds to caffeine is what being awake is. Don’t get it? Read the following statistics.

  1. Caffeine is unquestionably associated with lower risk of mortality. And an even greater reduction in the risk of death with higher coffee consumption. In short, you can live longer if you consume more coffee (total, caffeinated, and decaffeinated). (study)
  2. Caffeine’s biological effect is antagonism of the adenosine receptor. This means that caffeine speeds up nerve cells by tricking certain adenosine receptors. (study)
  3. Contrary to its positive side, there is a potential discussion that coffee consumption is directly linked to health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and anxiety. This is when you take coffee consumption to an extreme level; that is, more than 5-7 cups a day. (study)

Of all the times I’ve come across such statistics, I’m convinced of the psychological effects of coffee. The secret to “waking up” even after waking up consciously is coffee; in its smell, aroma, and flavor.

So, do you wake up and smell the coffee for staying awake? Or do you wake up and smell the coffee because you absolutely love to?

I tried to draw a line between these two questions. The answer comes out groggy and confusing. Groggy because that’s how most of you feel before drinking a cup of coffee. And confusing because that’s how I feel about coffee after researching on something popularly known as “coffee psychology.” Coffee psychology is deciphering what coffee does to the human body. How it makes you focus on the positive and how it makes you see things more clearly. But what I didn’t find, at least not in the initial stages of my research is this: the deliciousness of coffee as a hot or cold drink. Yeah right. What was I hoping to find?

The first few words we think of when we talk about coffee is alert, energy, clarity, and active. It’s hard, but not impossible, to find the words: delicious, delicious, and delicious. No more or no less. Maybe this article will belong to the “delicious, delicious, and delicious” family. But wait a second. Is my love of coffee a trickery? Is caffeine tricking my taste buds, just as it tricks the adenosine receptors, into loving its taste even when it’s the most bitter thing one could taste?!

The more I drink coffee, the faster the caffeine continues to conspire and blur my sensitivity toward what tastes good and what tastes bad. To someone who’s never had a sip of coffee, coffee tastes bad, right? Wait until the caffeine kicks in. We can avoid it… we can but then we go ahead and dilute it with milk and sugar and the caffeine’s conniving booby trap begins. From very sweet to mildly sweet to not-so-sweet to slightly bitter and finally, to boldly bitter.

If someone were to ask me why I love drinking coffee, I would say, “Because I love the taste so much. And it’s not about the fact that it keeps you alert, thinking quick, and energetic. I just love the taste. And yeah, I only drink it without sugar. I mean, who drinks coffee with sugar anymore?!”

People do not talk about this. But it is a good conversation starter. Look at this for example.

Cornell University (study) suggests that caffeine alters the perception of taste. Just the act of drinking coffee every morning made participants feel more awake. Also, when you taste food right after drinking coffee, the flavor of the food is noticeably altered. This happens because caffeine tricks certain receptors in the brain into reducing our sensitivity toward sweetness as a flavor. That’s precisely why we crave the bitterness of coffee.

So, are you telling me that the day I stop desiring coffee in the midst of my coffee drinking habits, I stop existing?

When Time Isn’t Enough

We consider the flow of time to be infinite – filling a void that runs its course with every generation, every birth, and every death. The physical aspect of time is body seen through the years, growing in size, dexterity, speed, and strength. The readiness of time is anything but ambiguous. However, the flow of time is what humans have harnessed and tried to manipulate, through any medium, to remain obtainable in a sense that answers to our questions. Or in a sense, the way time flows forward is the only answer to our only question: How well do we live?

After watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – a film which represents an unusually obvious paradigm of aging and time – a movie which creates a spectrum of the world’s most dreadful trio that is loving an age that exists as a defense against time – forced me to think about perspective.

Perspective as we need it. Perspective as it actually is. Imagine a bird flapping its wings over and over again, wafting in mid-air; not moving in any direction; still yet so topsy-turvy are its movements as if it’s invisibly glued to its place with nowhere to go. A perspective that defies the movement of time in space, but adopts the space as its movement until time catches up with it. Isn’t time but a glass through which we glorify our perspective until it builds itself into an entire millennium? Narrow intervals that mark our thoughts, actions, and beliefs until we move on to another entirely different or inconsequential interval.

If you were to pin down these intervals of time, it would be a room full of stacked boxes; some too big in size, while some too small and almost invisible among the crowd. Some unemptied while some that look like they’ve been destroyed and yet its charred remains still remain scattered on the floor. Or they’re drawers like the ones we have in offices to store documents. Small drawers, rusted with age, stacked on top and next to each other. Our time determines how deep and long each drawer is; each drawer manifests a different scent of a different time.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
At the end of it all, you glimpse into a few boxes or pull out drawers, but the rest remain dormant, almost futile to time. Is that how you perceive time? What happens when you reverse it from finish to start? Then, what will the room in which time marks everything down, so perfectly and so vehemently, look like?

Perspective holds time in its palms. Or is it the other way around? I guess the answer exists beyond what words can explain. Just one of those things we can experience, if in tiny fragments in movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Are Dysfunctional Relationships The New Normal?

It’s difficult to label this movie as something that provokes an easy laugh. Rather it is the kind of movie that forces you to have a peculiar or uncharacteristic reaction that’s completely unnecessary, to begin with. And this aspect is the whole and sole of why Margot At The Wedding caught me off guard.

Beside the point, I specifically chose to write about the illuminating reality of conversations that bind the idiosyncrasies of two people in a kind of relationship that defines nothing but eccentric consequences. The characters walk in zig-zag lines to not only observe but shackle the bond of beauty itself into something self-serving and conceited. In short, you’ll find yourself bound to misery in its fullest dimensions. That is precisely what a dysfunctional relationship ought to explore as a deeply exhaustive yet thoughtful concept. Perhaps becoming unaffected to a point where showing little to no concern in matters besides yourself is the greatest normalcy of life, as we know it.

Are-Dysfunctional-Relationships-The-New-Normal-4

The clever insanity and indifference portrayed is not shocking, but seems too real to be true. The kind of dispassion each character provokes in another through brutal honesty and constant justification humiliates the conventional families that are often plotted on-screen.

This same logic applies to Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).

Are-Dysfunctional-Relationships-The-New-Normal-2

I loved the unorthodox display of unanswered affection and unresolvable temperaments of each character. At this point, I feel a part of me exists as all the characters in the movie, including Malcolm, Ingrid, Jim, and Pauline. Margot and Claude taking the leading positions in my frame of mind.

In whichever way the concept of “family” is portrayed in this movie, it certainly sticks, in my way of thinking, as the epitome of perceiving the out-of-the-ordinary as completely familiar and relatable. There’s more than just seeing, but feeling the characters unravel in front of your eyes in-between the socially awkward, yet seductive, language of storytelling. And that’s one of the expert functions of good films like Noah Baumbach’s Margot At The Wedding and The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). Both exquisite tools of knowing how often people wish to be confronted by their harsh and unwavering realities, within their own limits, regardless of how much or how little they care for it.

The Scrutiny of Restricted Worldliness

Leo Tolstoy wrote in his beautiful work War and Peace, “Everything depends on upbringing.”

The Scrutiny of Unrestricted Worldliness- black mirror

A child’s personal identity, biologically and physiologically, unique and gentle – the years that create long and inevitable passages of perspective – are found and lost right from the start. It is a part of a metaphorical maze, that a child shouldn’t meander alone. The discipline of unraveling diverse and visceral cultures – that which also includes threads of languages and chronicle of events – is more important to be felt by a child rather than learned. This sparks imagination as much as it does temperament. But how soon is “the right time” to impact a child’s inner nature with stimulus resistive and nullifying, while also being realistic?

This question is deeply exemplified and astutely apparent in Black Mirror’s Arkangel, which is the second episode of the latest fourth season. The ability to blur out graphics that might elevate Sara’s cortisol levels, like in the episode it was the neighbor dog who barked incessantly whenever Sara walked past, sheds light on the general idea of parenting in this world. Anything that is considered, by the society, of course, a potential danger or stress-inducing experience to the community increases a sense of fear, anxiety, and mental and bodily distraction in children. A few examples pointed out in this episode were the suffering and finally death of a grandparent, porn, blood, or violence. Anything that stunts emotional growth, or at least is believed to, leads to the disorientation of the thing that constituted that kind of restrictive technology itself.

The Scrutiny of Unrestricted Worldliness-arkangel image

This begs you to answer a question – what you do the same for your child if you had the resources to? Such kind of restrictive worldliness has its own consequences. The upbringing based on exposing a child to only good things and avoiding and unwaveringly pushing away the bad stuff disrupts the wholeness of a child’s identity.

This reminds me of a powerful passage which extracts the importance of negativity and teaching the perspective of it in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.”

But just as negativity impacts a child’s emotional and mental cognitive capacity, the complex intricacies of the mind and the core human tendency are deeply impacted, and not in a positive way, without the very things that arouse negative feelings such as guilt, regret, tension, worry, and all forms of psychological distresses. In experiencing the present moment, as real and unrestricted as it may be, in either speech, thought, or observation builds a sense of present-moment awareness. This is significant, I strongly believe, in the acceptance and non-acceptance of what is. As it habitually alters a child’s inwardness toward all aspects of life, it also contributes to the child’s narrative which, unconsciously, constructs what makes each human unique.

Even though experiences, when analyzed, hold together a set of emotions in each of us, the reasoning, sense, and readiness are still left unhindered. The ease with which a child navigates the unmitigated realities of existing between choices and people is what matters. And the kind of environment parents, siblings, and relatives bring into existence for a young soul remains the serious and most important quest for parenthood.

What I Think About When I Talk About Working Out

I don’t always think out loud. But when the time’s right, I do.

One of the most titillating conversations about life involves talking about the things we do to stay active and healthy. Such conversations aren’t frequent, but they’re certainly a mind-opener beyond the stereotypical perspective.

Stating that fitness is nothing but an accomplishment to lose weight disappoints me to my very core. If you’ve ever been a part a similar conversation that lasted for not more than 15 minutes about the importance of staying physically fit and nothing else, then I feel sorry for you.

Who I don’t feel sorry for is the person who shares such an incomplete and self-defeating perspective about fitness. It’s clear why anybody would think the way many do.

Entering a gym is a matter of “necessity” because weight loss is at stake. It is also a matter of “gaining pride” because it’s rewarding, especially for men, to prove their masculinity with muscles. While the idea of a girl or a woman working out is beyond such standards.

Practicing yoga is a matter of “importance” because our culture does well to strike a chord with regards to dealing with stress and life problems. Yes, yoga does help you deal with emotions, but it isn’t a solution in itself. There are many layers to practicing yoga or any other form of exercise that stimulates flexibility and patience.

There’s a benchmark we’d all like to meet, in one way or another. For me, it was to be able to do a split or do a long-mile run. But it’s not anymore. These are no longer goals I’d love to reach, but rather stepping stones for the purpose of doing something. The idea that it’s my purpose to do something, whatever form of physical fitness it may be, might sound vague to you. But it’s what I use, daily, to get on that treadmill, head for my aerial fitness class, or do my inversions training.

The way to do something, is to do anything that requires you to get out of your comfort zone. This thought changed the way I perceived and pursued fitness in my life. I no longer had to incorporate a lifestyle that involved giving time to fitness, it instantly adapted to mine.

You don’t have to force a fitness schedule to reap its benefits. There is a strong case against feeling physically out-of-action and languid. All I did was metamorphose the ropes a bit and the effort I put in inevitably did me.

The psychology of running has been around for years now. And by giving it deeper thought, I’ve realized that it’s non-existent if it’s taken word for word. There is a certain kind of process or transition you go through when you start running. It doesn’t unwrap itself in the first week of training, or even the first month. Running feels different when you do it with the hopes of actually changing. And running feels different when you do it because you want to do it more often. I did it for the latter, but in moments- for the former. Even so, the effort to run reflected back to the way I converse with people and to myself when I’m alone.

When I started feeding my brains with the things that should have motivated me to work out, somehow they never satisfied me. I never obsessed over the details, the tips, or the easy ways to kick-start the “life-changing” process. I was being fed the same things millions of people are and that didn’t work. So I decided to sign up for something that might seem less ordinary, but effective. At least it was in my case.

The act of simply doing it. I didn’t wait to strike a chord with some fitness instructor or diet plan. That wasn’t my purpose. What was, and still is, is to do any form of physical exercise and keep at it. Imagine you’re reading about the same topic over and over again. Not that it’s not interesting to you or you’re getting bored of it, but there will come a point when you need to shift the scales a bit. Read about something else. Some new idea, research, or essay.

I just translated the way I read into what makes me physically active. This kind of behaviorism made up the rest of my life. The expression “know thyself” is confusing and, at the same time, terrifying. Because once you start on this journey, it’s not so much about changing the way you think, but discovering the ethos that exists inside you.

What I’m going to say next is ordinary, but it’s the hard truth- working out shouldn’t be your aim to be accepted and appreciated by others, it has to be your aim to accept yourself. So is working out a good decision or is it a decision that’s right for you, as a human?

When someone tells you to start working out because you start panting when you climb the stairs or when you eat a lot of junk food and are growing a belly- that’s bad advice. It’s normal to start working out because of those reasons, but it’s time to look above and beyond such a confined purpose.

What’s dangerous advice? It’s telling someone to understand the workings of their own mind. That’s when you see yourself as yourself when you work out and not how you want the world to look at you. There’s a slow shift of self-image, the kind that contradicts your effort along the way. And this contradiction cannot be predicted or explained, it’s only felt. That significant mental and physical effort you make for your physical set-up isn’t only physical. It leads to unexpected discoveries and revisions, even emotionally.

The best thing about working out is that you can make up your own purpose of doing so. It doesn’t have to be only one thing or one motive. We live stressful lives, all of us do, and having such options that force us to break that shell, step out, and reflect our choices is what we truly care about. Even if we are a little late at realizing it.

And running along with the fact that there’s a deeper problem (or gift?) to our lifestyle – and that is change – we set up these unrealistic objectives to beat them down and rise above. And that’s precisely what makes us bear a grudge against the idea of working out and living a healthy life.

Can We Do Better?

This article is concerned with online reading.

It’s no longer easy to stand one’s ground when it comes to online reading. It’s overwhelming to consume information, day in and out, on several topics. As consumers of the digital world, there isn’t only one topic we’d love to read about. There is plenty. And the list is growing still.

So should we dissipate every ounce of stamina we have left, for each day, to consume whatever tabs we have left open? Or there’s some simpler, less confusing way to read what we read today and remember what we have read the day before?

I wouldn’t go so far as saying that the internet is draining our lives because I may it sound like it’s supposed to happen that way. That our habit of responding to the internet is causing the sheer burdening on our brains. While it’s also taking away our social hustle and bustle. It’s now become easier to respond to a comment or article online than it is to reply, via message, to friends and family.

The truth is that we’re letting such godawful things happen to us. And there’s a possibility we aren’t even noticing it. Shrugging it off by believing it’s indifference or contemplation in society.

What role does online reading play on these protocols? It’s quite clear to me, even though it’s not the whole picture. Deciphering the paradigm of online reading down to its last bits is impossible because the existence of it depends on the lives of millions of people worldwide. People have been welcoming and responding to all kinds of information; whether positive or negative, valuable or redundant, accurate or red herring. And it’s because of this movement that we are now throw off guard with so much to read and so much to like and dislike on the web.

The result of such behavior is a sort of disconnect we have with the outside world. While we have become a part of the technology, we are slowing plucking little pieces of it and keeping it for ourselves. A thing like this soon escalates into a habit, a behavior, and later into an invulnerable personality.

Living independently isn’t an option anymore. It’s practically non-existent. The freedom to read, learn, and grow is definitely empowering. But the idea that such a lifestyle holds the license to self-discovery and individuality is horribly, horribly wrong.

Online reading is like an empty parking lot. It’s not your responsibility to fill up the empty spaces, but because you cannot comprehend its emptiness that you decide to show up with all sorts of puzzling pieces of information that aren’t worthy enough to influence your way of thinking.

Collectibles, of any kind, digital or materially-bound, need to have value. So adopting versatile strategies to create a sort of enclave of genuine and unfiltered information is the only way to straighten the little we can of our mystifying digital presence.

The Banned Books of Belief

After stumbling on The New York Times’ The Banned Books Your Child Should Read article, I found myself carving out particular details and reviews of many such repeatedly banned books worldwide. Whether it’s a book written about a complete totalitarian society, sex, the face of racism, religion, or cultural promulgation, any book that depicts a more challenging and open-minded perspective surrounding both children and adults, regardless of what the nature of the book’s message, was considered a threat to humanity. The assessment of how famously some books were banned from bookshelves across the globe is predictable, yet embarrassing.

Given the long history of controversies, suppression of thought, censorship, and the stereotypical ways of raising children, distinctively prescribing roles to both genders, I thought it was time to play a small role between such paradigms. It’s inevitable that once a book is published, if it stirs some unusual sentiments, it will be susceptible to control and confrontation, but does that also mean that the book is simply challenged or banned from public access?

Historically speaking, the roots of banning books digs deep into the past where the attempts made to control literature existed ever since published literature became a way of living. That’s to say that after years of doubtless accessibility, most of the books famously banned today are classics such as Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, 1984 by George Orwell, or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Conflicting similar sentimentality to such literature, these are also books that are considered “Classical Studies” books for children and young adults.

When books are challenged it means that there had been numerous attempts to restrict a particular book, while banned books are completely kept away from freedom, based on factors that attempt to exclude books from the curriculum, libraries, etc. To understand transparently why books shouldn’t be banned, it’s crucial to understand the concept of psychology for reading books.

To be able to map emotions, feelings, actions, and experiences, also body language of yourself and others, having a mindset beyond your conscious capacity of perception is paramount. It also guides us into emotion perception and overcoming roadblocks to mindfulness. Reading books for pleasure is not always how it appears. When you read books that are challenged or banned, you have the power to harness awareness about the world. It’s a great resource to gain information, discuss, and talk about why such books are troubling, in a more general sense.

Primarily, books were pressed in society as being extremely inappropriate for children. Materials that contain offensive use of words, are sexually explicit, or irrelevant for a particular age group are challenged time and again for the existing generation.

Reaching out to read books that have either been challenged or banned, is something every reader must do to make an effort to form a certain worldview in both cultural and social identity. If you want to deal with historical ideas with a modern twist, it’s impressively common to read banned books first. That way, you won’t be afraid of challenging relic ideas for thought-provoking ones.

ULYSSES by James Joyce

A modernist novel, Ulysses is considered to be the most dangerous book- to the extent that it has been banned by the United States and England, also it has been consistently confiscated and burned repeatedly. This book has seen episodes that led to its prosecution for obscenity. And throughout the 1920s, the United States Post Office Department had burned more than 1,000 copies of the novel on the basis of the book’s content and message.

“What is so staggering about Ulysses is the fact that behind a thousand veils nothing lies hidden; that it turns neither toward the mind nor toward the world, but, as cold as the moon looking on from cosmic space, allows the drama of growth, being, and decay to pursue its course.”

Carl Jung

The Banned Books Of Belief-ULYSSES by James Joyce

THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank

Considered too explicit and veracious for education institutions, The Diary Of A Young Girl is a hard-hitting account of a 13 year old Jewish girl of her 2 years hiding in a Secret Annex because of the Nazi Invasion. This book was repeatedly banned not because of the Nazi Invasion narrative, but because of the kind of words she believed to express in the book. If you’ve read this book (as I have), you’ll find her intentions extremely transparent and of a curious mind. This is no ordinary novel. It has been challenged and banned from formal institutions because it expresses the curiosity and intelligence of a young girl who is learning the ways of her growing body and her relationship with those around her.

Also, The Diary of a Young Girl has never been permanently banned, but it has been censored many times for its literature (that is a young girl’s thoughts) which was marked with “unnatural” homosexual tendencies.

The Banned Books Of Belief-THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. SALINGER

A striking novel about a blatant teenager Holden Coulfield, The Catcher in the Rye has been subjected to many censors between 2000 to 2009. Because of its sexual, wicked, and provoking literature, this novel was identified with 785 profanities for a high school syllabus and was marked down as “part of an overall communist plot.” The meaning portrayed in this novel is to save children from losing their innocence, something the audience rarely sees. Rather they choose to focus on the teenager’s grumpy, angry, and sinister perspective on life.

The Banned Books Of Belief-THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. SALINGER

FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury

This book’s prediction of book burnings has taken the whole world for a startling ride. A dystopian novel published in 1953, it talks of a very futuristic American society where firemen were designed to start fires where books were outlawed. It’s a classic representation of how humankind craves to suppress what isn’t understood by them. In a radio interview, the author, Ray Bradbury had stated that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 because of the emergence of threat of book burning in the United States. He also concluded that his novel takes a whole new approach at how mass media encourages the interest of disregarding reading literature as a way of life.

The Banned Books Of Belief-FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury

BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley

Speaking of a complete hedonistic society where everyone seems to be permanently happy, warfare and poverty are nowhere to be seen or felt, and humanity is technologically advanced. All this because under the thumb of the society’s hatred to family, culture, art, literature, philosophy, and science. Those things that make humanity are eliminated for a totalitarian society. Aldous Huxley’s bold literature has been rigidly compared with George Orwell’s 1984, which too is a popularly challenged book. Many notable incidents have been censored because of its negative use of activity and perception of a futurist society. The book was banned in India in 1967, as the author was accused of being a “pornographer”.

 

The Banned Books Of Belief-BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley

There are many more straightforward books that are a part of the family such as

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

I think the scope of such books is a brave one. For once, shouldn’t we allow ourselves to expose something beyond that which is permitted and comforting to the masses. 

After all, if a book doesn’t affect the realms of consciousness and intelligence, then why read at all?

Other reads:

V for Vendetta, Fahrenheit 451, and five other books that reflect Trump’s America

Bannings and Burnings in History

6 Historical High Points For Book Banning

From A.I. To What Lies Ahead

Artificial Intelligence will soon replicate human labor by half. Doctors, engineers, pilots and such. But would it last? It’s highly unlikely. Humans are known for their innate ability to draw from experience, knowledge, practice, and even privilege. And since Artificial Intelligence might be the next big thing in technology, and since humans are impervious to become more aware of their competitive surroundings as they are to themselves, this might just tip the scale to a whole new level.

I’m not saying that humans aren’t replaceable and A.I. is doomed to exist for just a generation until we realize the transparent scope of human civilization and how profound it is that it is run by humans and for them, but it seems to me that A.I. is just another existent trend that may soon boil down to just one purpose: proving to humanity that intelligence is much greater that what it was ideally set out to define. I’m saying that if there is a sector somewhere that would do more intelligibly with A.I. than with humans, there is still the demand for human beings to create that sort of technology, to build that foundation, and to maintain a certain kind of status in this world. We see it in the movies.

We hear about it from futurists, but what A.I. represents is just a fraction of what was meant to be invented. It’s not build to replicate human labor and make it more efficient, it is build to encourage intelligence from point X to point Y in a way that was never expected before.

For the short run, A.I. is challenging. For the long run, it may be exhaustive. One of the best qualities of human beings is that they derive a sense of belonging from what they do professionally and if this is taken away from them, it would mean the closing stages of augmentation. And frankly, what’s the point of it all then?

The evolution of humankind is to humanity what cement is to concrete. It’s great that brainy makers of this world have brought to us the scope of transformational reality that bridges the gap between what we have and what we think we eventually might possess, but that bridge is standing on human heads, human intelligence, and human-made postulation. Take this away from them and it will get complicated and knotty (no, it isn’t yet!).

That sense of belonging is great, isn’t it? It is in you as much as it is in me. We have to do something about something, no matter what it is to feel like we’re something. If humans are replaced by commanders who insisted that amount of power and intelligence, then this world will soon become one twisted tale of sadistic progression. I like to call it regression since the road has to lead somewhere, especially where science is concerned.

With the amount of expertise on this subject, A.I. is inevitable and it may soon surpass its own inevitableness when we regard it as an alienated convict that’s capable of defeating us in a way that our entire lives, online and offline, start depending on it. Already we’re turning tables between two worlds, and next in line is Virtual Reality that grants the very much pretended, but actualization of many whims and fancies in our minds, it is expected that we will soon adopt the mask of anonymous trounce of self-insecurity to live our lives made of something more “intelligent“, yet artificial, to the end of our days; this is only if A.I. is excogitated and materialized in place of HUMAN LABOR.

As much as A.I. is an advanced accessory waiting to shine, humankind is the only force that will stand the test of time and progression. Human history and the accurate representation of how A.I. is brought to life is the evidence of that force.

Another key point that differentiates A.I. from human beings beyond compare is the learning capability of the human mind. Even though A.I. research takes the prize in terms of machine vision and speed understanding, computer scientists conveyed in a research paper that A.I. will have more hurdles to jump over one after another infinite. Sectors that are meant to replicate human labor such as driving cars, medical services, etc. aren’t expected to adapt to sudden altering circumstances as they’re hard-wired without an authentic emotional intelligence quotient.

As it turns out that Artificial Intelligence represents the kind of life that might cause more harm than good, considering how people in the past have reacted to an unusual invention. The human mind is now adept to rely on machines one way or another for their betterment, but never will that time come that they begin to embark on a journey that makes human effort even remotely irrelevant.

To,
Artificial Intelligence

It doesn’t give to take. Neither do you. But what’s different between the two of us? We’re made to perish, learn, grow then build, and sometimes even conquer. What you’re made for are all those things that the human mind is incapable of achieving faster and in a more “plastic” way. So, as it takes for a plastic surgeon to make something seem artificially appealing, your appeal is quite on the contrary, that is useful, but it is still artificially developed meant for intelligent jobs alongside humans, but not equal to them. Because when there’s deep learning, there’s humanity; and when there’s calculated feedback, there you are.

Don’t take this personally. With you in the picture I have been awakened to the extended possibility of human intelligence and what it is capable of, but the bigger picture still relies on the human mind and its capabilities in this civilization. Not yours because you’re human-made.

Can you imagine more efficiency in all different walks of life when humans are the crisp representation of everything that ever was and ever will be? I’m sorry that I’m not sorry that I’m just not that into you.

Don’t fret. I expect great things from you. I know you’ll do incredibly well. After knowing you, I have found more depth in technological advancements and autonomous systems. You’re capable of many useful adventures, alongside humans of course. I just don’t see the meaning in working without the “human spirit” in all candidate-sectors. I’d love to meet you one day, someday. I’d love to interact and observe you just as you are. It’s a pleasure knowing you exist while I’m alive.

And I will always want to know more about you. Write back anytime.

Talk soon,
Ayesha Dhurue

Why I Look Forward To Hidden Figures

Gaining incredible spotlight, if you’re up-to-date on the reading, Hidden Figures is one of those upcoming movies that speak of an untold story from history about the great and prominent achievements that were found in making an auspicious change in the lifestyle of many. Not to my surprise, Hidden Figures is also an upcoming book that tells a remarkable story of a group of female scientists who were significant behind the biggest and most influential advances in aeronautics, in the 1940s era. What this movie tells is the proud story of a solid team of African-American women who aid NASA by providing them with crucial mathematical data in the context of making a startling change for so many black women who enjoyed their long careers within the community. According to a recent article published on The Guardian, it was pointed out in the book that just 2% of black women got a university degree and more than half became teachers. And only a few broke down their “chosen” paths to join NASA to become serious mathematicians.

According to Hidden Figures website, hundreds of women worked as “human computers” for the NACA, former NASA, from the 1930s through the 1980s. This website encourages The Human Computer Project that strives and has accomplished great to recover hundreds of names and legacy for all female scientists, data analysts, mathematicians, and engineers who worked at NASA during that time. It is a solid effort to bring to light what has been forgotten, or not given enough importance today.

Hidden Figures highlights the lives of those black women who paved the way, being steadfast and true to the end, during one of the biggest advances in aeronautics, and other influential moments that made the 20th century what it stands for today. Katherine Johnson, is an African-American physicist, space scientist, and mathematician, born in 1918. She’s been a part of many major space programs that also took a giant leap during the moon landing, a fact that remains unknown, until now. She wasn’t alone. There was a proud team of all-female and all-black scientists behind every major space programs during that time. That’s what Hidden Figures is built to portray so contemptuously and with such single-hearted commitment. And that’s why I am looking forward to this movie releasing in 2017. I will, most probably, read the book first, like I always do, but I might hold off a bit more just to read it at the right time when this movie releases so the spirit instilled in their story and their hard work is still alive when I sit with cheese and salted popcorn with a Red Bull can, to watch it passionately in the cinema.

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I didn’t choose to write about this movie, specifically, because it speaks of the unforgotten and untold story of black NASA women. I chose this movie because this is the perfect kind of a movie that the world must watch right now. It’s empowering and it keeps us reminded of the marvels that have happened in the past that have shaped our present and future. Things are rapidly transforming from one generation to the next, but what stays are such brilliant biographical films about strong, intelligent, and beautiful people in the world. It inspires us to do more, be more, and give back more. Because what’s knowledge when it’s not passed on to others?

Coming from a time when African American women were barred from studying in colleges, they were unable to be literate, forget about being educated. They were kept from being confident enough to tell their own story. And this destitution had been passed on from generation to generation until women like Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and countless more who fought for their right and place in the world. These were the women who never stopped striving, to find a way to face their own lifestyle choices in a way that it meant to go against whatever bias came their way. How can such a movie that reflects such brilliant principles not be interesting and inspiring for anyone?

Such movies boast of great sense and capability, at work and in a person’s personal life. When applied to making a change, being a woman who’s looked at as something meant to fulfill an already-decided duty, this untold and true story is heartening and conversable for all. That’s why I chose to write about Hidden Figures.

Starring Taraji Henson as Katherine, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy, and Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson, this movie is set to release in January 2017.

You can watch the trailer here and know more about the upcoming movie and book here.

What Feminism Is Not For Me

Maybe you have been “told” by others what feminism means for you, individually, or maybe you’ve “seen” some short-lived video of what feminism means for both women and men today. But how is that going to make any difference if you’re still fastened to the mediocre remarks made by both men and women, especially youngsters, about how women MUST be treated equally and how they MUST be looked at differently in the eyes of men, and even society.

Given today’s influence of social media among Facebook or Instagram scrollers, feminism has become a kind of temperament for some women rather than a strong mindset. It has become a weapon for some, while it remains a wave of embarrassing confusion or assumptions for some who are ignorant enough to make up their own “idea” of feminists and debunk the entire realistic concept of it.

Suppression of a concept such as sexism or the mere slaughtering of it by means of completely untrue and contradictory feministic terms is disgusting and frankly, discomforting. We have been told what feminism is, but when do we learn about the truths that don’t make feminism. What feminism isn’t is something that I haven’t been exposed to, if I were to compare it against the versatile articles I’ve come across written by feminists about what feminism is for every human, on an individual level.

If you’re reading this, I request you to make a quick list of what feminism is not, for you and why. This should be done, obviously, after you know the transparency of the concept and its concise definition that frames the society.

WHAT FEMINISM IS NOT FOR ME

  1. It is not ignoring the way men are treated in society:

    We have heard this chant a lot. People think that being a feminist means that you disregard male oppression and only focus on female abuse and issues circling around it. For me, feminism is not just talking about prostitution or rape in the eyes of how women are abused and tortured. When I speak about important and worldly issues that involve the use of bodies as acts of suppression or exploitation, I refer to all men and women. Yes, a majority of them are women, but supporting only one side of the argument means that you don’t care enough about the global consequence of the matter, rather you’re being sexist yourself.

  2. It is not hating men.

    Feminism doesn’t mean hating men. That’s called misandrists. Instead, if we focused on equality of all genders rather than equality of women, we know what’s going on and why. Misandrists hate all men. It is a term like misogynist, but for hating men instead of women. And frankly, as a feminist, hate is a strong word because what good are you doing by hating somebody for what they believe in when feminism is about changing the way people think in the society by means of action and reaction. Women are beautiful when they’re angry, but don’t do it for the wrong reasons.

  3. It is not blaming every man with a “dick” because of certain deceiving men.

    If you think all men want to get into your pants, you’re wrong. But if you only meet men who want to get into your pants, I believe you. But how would you feel if you meet a man who thinks all women are emotionally overpowered just because he met only such? Categorizing the entire human race on a bunch of good-for-nothings, then you truly don’t believe in anything.

  4. It is not making it a “woman’s world”.

    I’m so sick of hearing this. When women get offended by “It’s A Man’s World”, how is that any different when they say that it’s time to make it into a “Woman’s World” through feminism. I thought you were a feminist, not an extremist. What matters the most when you filter the concept of feminism to its absolute definition, is that it is about gender equality and not gender dominance. Don’t make the fact that you’re a woman a weapon to impose upon men everywhere.

  5. It is not about being physically violent with men just because they’re women.

    You want gender equality or do you want men to obey you? We see this now more than ever. Women want to be excused whenever they hit a man. Why? Because we’re women and hitting us would mean sexism. All I’m trying to say is that if we want to be treated equally then we should be willing to accept the entire picture. We won’t let women get away with hitting men in the name of feminism because that’s not what this is all about. For this point, I must say that feminism is discouraging one human to hit another, regardless of their gender.

  6. It is not about showing your bra strap.

    Saying that public display of any kind of clothing is a sure-fire act of feminism, at least in some cases, is disgusting. Both men and women are mouthed off about the kind of clothes they wear. When men wear extremely short shorts, aren’t they laughed at or told that they should wear something more mannerly? It’s the fashion that certain people want to suppress, not sexism. It’s a perception, not a concept. Don’t make something as little as showing your bra strap in public a matter of feminism because it would only make sense if men, too, wore bras and they were not questioned for showing the strap in public.

  7. It is not about perceiving women who do not want to work as being sexists.

    I do want women to work and become independent, but that’s not something that I would express in the name of feminism. Telling women that it’s unacceptable to become a housewife or mother, just because you might not want those things, is ridiculous. Do not label that as being a feminist in any aspect.

  8. It is not about male restriction.

    I know a few women who have been subjected to social or financial restrictions by the men in their lives. Some women do that too, mainly mothers or sisters, but mostly it’s a man who imposes restrictions upon a woman on matters of dressing, social interaction, work life, etc. That doesn’t mean feminist get to impose those same restrictions on men just to prove that they’re equal. The feminist path is to change the perception of having no restrictions at all on another human being, man or woman.

 

These are just the basic and, most often, misunderstood definitions of feminism. Frankly, feminism is a life-changing and revolutionary idea, something that both men and women have to encourage and promote in their lives, but some pillars have been disgracefully manipulated by those pretending to support it in a way that it benefits their individual convenience and comfort.

Being a feminist is hard for every woman because it calls for equality, not dominance. Being a dominant soul is an effortless act, and it doesn’t require courage or intelligence. It calls for insecurity or extremism. Don’t be a dominant soul and learn to be open to gender equality.

If tomorrow you’re riding the bus to work, don’t feel insulted if a man doesn’t willingly get up to let you sit on his seat. You don’t own that seat and unless you’re physically disabled, you shouldn’t be sitting on it just because you’re a feminist.