Saturday, July 14, 2018

TIME TO ABANDON GDP


GDP, annual gross domestic product, is the sum of all the goods and services produced by a nation. It numerically indicates the economic growth of a country. But GDP numbers can be manipulated, especially in controlled socialist regimes and by so-called democratic governments across the globe.

Besides vulnerable of being corrupted by the deceiving governments, GDP is a flawed measurement to present the true picture of a nation. After all, the economy is not the only valuable indicator of how a nation is doing. There are equally other factors such as inequality, well-being, happiness, and environment, which are important as well for the overall development of a nation.

For that reason, GDP is now considered an outdated measurement which needs to be replaced by UN-supported indicators which include other factors besides the economy. These factors also include poverty, wealth inequality, public debt, etc. Also, to be considered the value of services provided by social media and the digital goods and services like Wikipedia.

GDP needs not be a single number.

by Promod Puri

Thursday, July 12, 2018

DRINKING WITHOUT STRAWS

 

The big environmental cheering is that Starbucks plans to discard the use of plastic straws globally by 2020.

Perhaps, the time-frame of two years is needed so the customers can learn or simply de-habituate themselves to enjoy Starbucks cold beverages without straws.

Straws for drinking purposes are certainly a big environmental wastage. They are part of the eight million plastic tons of new plastic entering our oceans every year and stays there. If the trend continues, it is estimated that in 32 years from now oceans will contain more plastic than fish.

Drinking thru a straw has never been a habit nor fascination for me. I always considered it an elite usage, which is not natural and a pure wastage because of its one-time use only.

Drinking without a straw has its own pleasure. Straw delays the taste. Perhaps Starbucks has realized it too.

-by Promod Puri

Monday, July 9, 2018

Time To End Cricket Hype With Football



Cricket has been a national obsession in most of the developing and Third World countries.
It is about time that the game should be dropped from the status of being the most popular sport. Rather football, aka soccer, must be promoted as such.

Despite generating millions of fans in countries like Afghanistan to Zimbabwe along with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc., from a crop of only a few hundred cricketers, that a needed exit from its elevated prestige is worth for the survival and flourishing of other sports.

Over the past half of century, cricket has so much dominated the sports scene in South Asia, parts of Africa and Europe, the Middle East, and Caribbean Islands, that most other equally worthy sports have been discriminatorily relegated to lower grades.

Cricket is an elite sport. It has acquired its status symbol among the middle and rich people. It is an expensive outdoor indulgence. A vast majority of poor youths can only enviously enjoy watching it (only on TV). But they can not actively participate in this “gentleman’s game.”

Compared to that the “common man’s game” of football is an all-inclusive sporting event. It is undoubtedly the most popular of all the world sports. It costs only a few bucks to buy a football. In cricket, the total cost for all the equipment, bats, balls, wickets, and the protective gears runs into thousands.

Not only that, in cricket of all the 22 players comprising the two opposing teams, just three players, two batsmen and a bowler, actively play the game at a given time. The rest of the 10 players supporting the bowler are fielders. They come into action only when the ball is delivered in the direction of any of them. Still, the nine players from the batting side are sitting idle waiting for their turns to bat which may not come at all for some or most of the players. The players are in the game, but not playing!

And many times, the stretched out the game just drags on. The thrill of either playing or watching the game is taken over by yawns, even brief naps too. Perhaps patience and boredom are essentials in the cricket regime.

Now, let us compare it with the strenuous game of football. One ball and that is it. Cheap and very much affordable. And all the players, 22 of them, are involved together in the vitality of the game. They are running, jumping, hitting, and bouncing in an action-packed and meditative focus on the ball. Full value for both the players and spectators.

The downgrading of cricket from its elite status will help the game of football to cover more ground involving every economic class of youths for their much-needed physical activities.

In Britain after all, where the game originated and exported to its colonial domains, cricket is gradually receding in popularity. It is being replaced by the more lucrative sport of football.

It is about time to end the cricket hype. It has gone too far. And let the football kick in.

By Promod Puri
promodpuri.com

Friday, June 29, 2018

With Small Doses Of Capitalism Cuba Can Achieve Its Socialist Idealism

Sculptor in the sugar factory of machete man to recognize the tough job of harvesting the sugarcane fields manually. Photo and Caption by Rita Puri

Part 1: Life In Cuba

Rather than the politics of communism or socialism, the face of Cuba is much reflected by its vibrant culture. In their healthy and shining look, most Cubans seem to be hardworking and contended folks who, more than anything else, enjoy their music, dance, and simple food loaded with organic fruits and vegetables.
The cultural and social aspects of Cuban lifestyle has an aristocracy and sophistication which has a class of its own in this classless society. The three most important ingredients of its cultural pride are coffee, rum, and cigar. And in that order, the popular Cuban custom is the after-dinner ritual of having coffee followed by sipping espresso or regular coffee and finally enjoying the smoke from their rooted obsession, the cigars.
Cubans, perhaps don’t care in which brand of political isms they are being ruled but they do love their customs and traditions doused with music, dance, coffee, rum, and cigar. And that could be the reason for their blissful life along with the year-round balmy weather.
Part 2
With Small Doses Of Capitalism Cuba Can Achieve It Socialist Idealism
Cigar, rum, and coffee beside being Cuba’s cultural identities also have therapeutic value in relieving the psychological hardships being faced by Cubans under decades of its “revolutionary” regime.
The 1959 Fidel Castro’s armed political revolt had a utopian communist promise of prosperity for Cubans. With massive Russian aid, the country survived in meeting the basic needs of its people, and that included Cuba’s pride declaration of free education and the “best” medical system in the world.
The dictatorial regime of 60 years of Castro did not turn the political revolt into an economic revolution. Moreover, typical of authoritarian and Communist regimes freedom of speech and expression have been almost curtailed. Since the early 60s, a generation has been fed on leftist ideologies. A mindset attitude has been created with the egoistic att
itude that its political ideology is better than capitalism.
Besides food, shelter, and healthcare, there are other earnest urges basic to the human nature. As the world has become much smaller thru Internet, these urges seek same opportunities as naturally available to free societies. The urge to express, explore, google, communicate, travel, educate, learn and earn is the aspirations which are denied, limited or switched on or off in the restricted political societies.
In Cuba, with the explosion of information thru social media and Internet, the country’s leadership has realized the prosperity of its people depends more than just earning few export dollars from rum, coffee or cigars.
While still under the shadow of Communism, Cuba is undergoing an economic revolution with capitalism making inroads mainly thru its emerging tourist industry. Capital is also flowing from thousands of professional Cubans residing abroad, mostly in Central and South American countries, who are regularly repatriating huge amount of funds which boost the nation’s economy.
With idealism of socialist goals along with a controlled allowance of capitalism, Cuba seems to be carving a right path towards social and economic achievements for the ultimate prosperity of its people while protecting its natural environment.
-by Promod Puri
(This article was written recently while on a two-week vacation in a Cuban resort hotel)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

SAT-CHIT-ANANDA: The Ultimate Bliss


Question: Do you have an explanation of “Sat- chit- ananda?”

Answer: “Sat-chit-ananda” is a three-word moral thesis or maxim which has several philosophical explanations based on Hindu spiritual understanding. In all these interpretations its cardinal message promises divine contentment and bliss.

Peace, pleasure, and fulfillment in every aspect of life are the objectives one seeks. The maxim “sat-chit-ananda is the awareness and consequence of those pursuits.

The quest begins with ‘sat,’ the first directive of the sutra. It means truth or reality. In our thoughts and actions or karmas, an analytic assessment is a requisite to realize and retrieve truth.

Seeking truth is an exercise which is influenced by mindset attitudes towards different issues or situations.

In that maze of mindset prejudiced sentiments, ‘chit,’ meaning mind, plays the guiding role to establish truth or reality.

‘Chit’ connects with consciousness. The latter is an inward awareness of an external object or fact, and these could include perceptions, thoughts, and feelings. Consciousness also relates to activities of mind and senses.

In our simple understanding, consciousness or ‘chit’ delivers guileless notice reacting to a situation or an event going to happen or being witnessed or experienced.

In Hindu rationalistic contemplation “sat’ and ‘chit’ together coordinate to produce the harvest of Ananda or bliss.
 
 In short Sat + Chit = Ananda.

Question: Would you say “sat-chit-ananda” is a Key Concept in Vedanta? 

Answer: The Vedanta school of thought in Hinduism is a comprehensive study with philosophies from the Upanishads which are part of the Vedas, the ancient Hindu texts. 

The axiom “Sat-chit-ananda” is one of the key divine approaches in the Upanishadic collection. 

However, the message of “sat-chit-ananda” finds more rational residency in the Mimamsa school of Hinduism. A forerunner to Vedanta, Mimamsa school is a pioneer of Hindu thought of realism. 

The concept is based on karma or action to achieve ‘ananda” or bliss. When consciousness and realism (truth) work together, the realization of God begins.

Please note, the God here is not a personified figurehead. It is blissful, ‘Ananda,’ feeling created by righteous actions.

-By Promod Puri
progressivehindudialogue.com  


Friday, May 18, 2018

NATIVE MAYOR OF VANCOUVER MORE THAN SYMBOLIC

By Promod Puri

It is about time Vancouver should be ruled by an Indigenous Canadian.

The announcement by 45-year-old Squamish Nation Hereditary Chief Ian Campbell to seek the Vancouver mayoral job is a progressive initiative of Indigenous leadership in the City’s affairs.

The political evolution also reaffirms the multicultural character of Vancouver which has roots in its Native heritage.

The electorate decision to have a First Nation Canadian to head the city council in the upcoming civic election is not only historical and symbolic, but it helps in creating better and more humane understanding of social issues from the Indigenous and grassroots perspectives especially to the needs of the poor, homeless and destitute citizens.

The growth and value of Vancouver need not be judged by the rising value of its real estate or as a popular tourist attraction. But how well it handles the social issues confronting its citizens. The City is plagued by mental and drug overdose epidemic, acute shortage of affordable housing, and the bureaucratic nightmares often being faced by Vancouverites when dealing with the City Hall.

With improved services and balance growth, both economically and socially, Vancouver expects efficient handling of its business.

And at the same time, the Vision Vancouver candidate amidst his Indigenous backdrop can offer a new and colorful image of the City with the flair and spirit of the First Nation cultural heritage.

(Promod Puri is a retired journalist, writer, and author. He was the editor of now-defunct Winnipeg-based Native and Metis newspaper, The New Nation. Website: promodpuri.com)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Political Evolution Through Science, And Religion


By Promod Puri
Evolution of any political ideology, and that should be imperative, involves almost all the natural and social sciences, philosophies, metaphysics, as well as the wisdom manifested in spiritual orders.

It is in this integrated approach that the political spectrum of Marxism and Leninism, conservatism, and liberalism; capitalism and socialism, or any of their simulated entities can be more acceptable to the contemporary society than their present consent.

Till now all these political stripes are meaningless notably for that section of the humanity which is still toiling in poverty, hunger, and disease; discriminated, exploited, and victimized in the politically patronized class and caste-ridden order.

The promises of these political isms, which have more of academic showcasing than their pragmatism, have not produced a peaceful and hunger-free world, while the environments are seriously damaged as well.

Autocrats, dictators, and tyrants; narcissists, illiterates, and idiots have elected and re-elected themselves under the democratic, socialist, and communist regimes. The vulnerability of the political systems has been exposed. The reason being there is no mix or an insignificant mix of scientific rationales, philosophical foresight, and spiritual sanity in their foundations.

Evolution in political ideologies is a hypothesis where the political science can expand its studies to determine as well as encourage the involvement of basic and laboratory-based sciences, philosophical, critical, and intellectual disciplines, and religious fundamentals in the political systems.

Inspired by the fact that sciences and institutional faculties offer systematic and observable physical evidence and logical argumentation, the premise can build more feasible and pertinent political pathways leading to better management of the civil society.

Political science besides being in its observatory and analyzing tasks of dealing with governing systems, political thoughts, and studying political activities, must seek a plurality of social and scientific disciplines which offer creditable connect with human behavior and environmental concerns.

Moreover, political science can be an active participant in the development and implementation of political ideology. It can review whether a political gospel needs some updating or renounced altogether.

The laws of physics, the formulas, and equations in chemistry and mathematics, or the biological and physiological phenomenon may or may not directly generate political thought, but their mechanisms guide its plausible acceptance.

However, human psychology is one science which has a direct impact in inducing political thinking, its acceptance or rejection, and its implementation. Without going into detailed explanations, it is the study of emotional and behavioral sentiments of individuals, and of the community of people related to natural, or human-made situations.

Psychology gives an assessed value of a political ideology.

The psychology of human nature or behavior impacts the practicality of any political order and its idealism of achieving economic development, social and religious equality of people.

Besides psychology, political science can also review the disdained relationship between politics and religion as the two do not sit well in the progressive political impression.

The fact is that the laws of the land with their universal application have been constituted from religious teachings to institute political ideologies.

Modern political pundits and their students or observers have not gone beyond religious customs and beliefs. They have seldom explored the intelligence and enlightenment generated over the centuries in discernable interpretations which touch every aspect of human endeavors including politics.

Philosopher T. S. Eliot “believed that democratic societies rejected the influence of an established church at their peril, for in doing so they cut themselves off from the kind of ethical wisdom that can come only from participation in a tradition. Thus, he argued, such a society would degenerate into tyranny and social and cultural fragmentation”.
(source: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Chapter: Religion and Politics).

As we are seeking a coordinated proposition to creating better workable political models in the changing times, the reality is that fitness and pragmatism of existing political doctrines are not of much help or have failed badly in their utopian vision.

The viability and development of a political ideology must go through intelligent observation in line with human psychology, nourished and assessed by social and natural sciences, and enriched by the philosophies and universal truths revealed in most world religions.

A related article by Promod Puri: Religion Has Guiding Role In Politics.

(Promod Puri is a Canada-based writer, journalist, and author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions”).
Websites: promodpuri.com, progressivehindudialogue.com, and Simple Thinking – Simple Living.