Positive Attitude Helps Beat Cancer

20292990_10154759466483016_8756093436878505998_nMeeting Ashok Bhargava,on right, after a couple of months was like welcoming a combating soldier returning home from a winning battle.
Ashok, a long-time friend, is back on the track of his active and scholarly life after going thru several chemos for the treatment of his lymph cancer. Whereas, the doctors attending on him had their own tools and expertise to handle an army of cancerous cells, Ashok’s only weapons to defeat the dreadful attacker were his extremely positive attitude along with pleasant and charming nature.
Ashok is a writer and poet par excellence both in Hindi and English. He is also an avid photographer where nature is his favorite subject. A progressive thinker with utmost faith in the power of God, he spent most his lonely moments during extremely painful treatments with Him, as well with his own positive company which he says was a “learning experience” too.
It was indeed an inspiring get-together at the McDonald over coffee and muffins, which he seldom allows me to buy.

Past, Present And Future

By Promod Puri
“The past is history, future is mystery, but today is a gift……”, stay in the present and enjoy the moments. These are some of the many favored in-vogue quotes.
The popular quotations or advisories suggest our prospects belong to the moments we live in. We are told to live, feel, and enjoy the era of the present, rather than being prisoner of the past or future.
The reality is: our past is an assortment of both joyous, rough, memorable, and learning experiences. Whereas, our future lies in the prospect of imagination.
Imagination is an inspiring concept which is very natural foresight in the life of an individual as well as the society we belong to. Civilizations have been created, nourished, and developed on our ability to contemplate about the future.
No doubt, anxieties, worries or concerns often become parts of our contemplations, but so do the dreams. In this package, destiny is created thru our forward-looking karmas of the present which influence our future. Progress comes by prospecting at the future.
Flights to the future with optimistic imaginations are the thrills and promises of the prospective unknown.
Prospecting is natural. It is a functional activity of our cognitive powers. Sighting the future is both a conscious and unconscious activity. We can’t stop it while realizing, dealing, or playing with the moments of the present.
In these moments, our moods also swing like a pendulum, moving back and forth, from past to future while creating new flashes for the present.
Sometimes, journeys to the past contribute to the pleasures of the present. Past is a treasure like an old photo album. It is an asset and a companion. Ask the person lying on a hospital bed for long time. Or when a fatal blow to the past happens to a person with dementia. Moments of the present do not offer a “gift” here.
Moreover, for the society, past is not merely a history, but it is a heritage as well. The identity of a society is based on its heritage.
Past, present, and future are interlinked, and complimenting to each other with indelible events, experiences, karmas, and imaginations. The act of managing the future involves gathering and distilling the right information from the archives of the past within the time span of the present.
Time does not cover the innate past, or cause a pause to our imaginations for the future. It does not flow like a river. It does not fly either. Time rather spreads out. In this spread, past, present and future reside for ever.
It is our mind which ferries us around for stopovers at our memories, and sojourn us to conceive our imaginations, as well as bringing us back to the present. And the life’s journey continues while sailing through our past, present, and future.
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Promod Puri is a journalist and writer. He is author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions”, a book which explores the rational, secular and progressive nature of Hinduism.

Social Divinity And Hinduism

Source: Social Divinity And Hinduism

Why do human beings speak so many languages?

Courtesy The Conversation

File 20170713 11780 17ip7zb
People currently speak 7,000 languages around the globe.
Michael Gavin, CC BY-ND

Michael Gavin, Colorado State University

The thatched roof held back the sun’s rays, but it could not keep the tropical heat at bay. As everyone at the research workshop headed outside for a break, small groups splintered off to gather in the shade of coconut trees and enjoy a breeze. I wandered from group to group, joining in the discussions. Each time, I noticed that the language of the conversation would change from an indigenous language to something they knew I could understand, Bislama or English. I was amazed by the ease with which the meeting’s participants switched between languages, but I was even more astonished by the number of different indigenous languages.

Thirty people had gathered for the workshop on this island in the South Pacific, and all except for me came from the island, called Makelua, in the nation of Vanuatu. They lived in 16 different communities and spoke 16 distinct languages.

In many cases, you could stand at the edge of one village and see the outskirts of the next community. Yet the residents of each village spoke completely different languages. According to recent work by my colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, this island, just 100 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide, is home to speakers of perhaps 40 different indigenous languages. Why so many?

We could ask this same question of the entire globe. People don’t speak one universal language, or even a handful. Instead, today our species collectively speaks over 7,000 distinct languages.

And these languages are not spread randomly across the planet. For example, far more languages are found in tropical regions than in the temperate zones. The tropical island of New Guinea is home to over 900 languages. Russia, 20 times larger, has 105 indigenous languages. Even within the tropics, language diversity varies widely. For example, the 250,000 people who live on Vanuatu’s 80 islands speak 110 different languages, but in Bangladesh, a population 600 times greater speaks only 41 languages.

Why is it that humans speak so many languages? And why are they so unevenly spread across the planet? As it turns out, we have few clear answers to these fundamental questions about how humanity communicates.

Why do some places have many languages, and others only a few?
Man vyi, CC BY-SA

Some ideas, but little evidence

Most people can easily brainstorm possible answers to these intriguing questions. They hypothesize that language diversity must be about history, cultural differences, mountains or oceans dividing populations, or old squabbles writ large – “we hated them, so we don’t talk to them.”

The questions also seem like they should be fundamental to many academic disciplines – linguistics, anthropology, human geography. But, starting in 2010, when our diverse team of researchers from six different disciplines and eight different countries began to review what was known, we were shocked that only a dozen previous studies had been done, including one we ourselves completed on language diversity in the Pacific.

These prior efforts all examined the degree to which different environmental, social and geographic variables correlated with the number of languages found in a given location. The results varied a lot from one study to another, and no clear patterns emerged. The studies also ran up against many methodological challenges, the biggest of which centered on the old statistical adage – correlation does not equal causation.

We wanted to know the exact steps that led to so many languages forming in certain places and so few in others. But previous work provided few robust theories on the specific processes involved, and the methods used did not get us any closer to understanding the causes of language diversity patterns.

For example, previous studies pointed out that at lower latitudes languages are often spoken across smaller areas than at higher latitudes. You can fit more languages into a given area the closer you get to the equator. But this result does not tell us much about the processes that create language diversity. Just because a group of people crosses an imaginary latitudinal line on the map doesn’t mean they’ll automatically divide into two different populations speaking two different languages. Latitude might be correlated with language diversity, but it certainly did not create it.

Can a simple model predict reality?

A better way to identify the causes of particular patterns is to simulate the processes we think might be creating them. The closer the model’s products are to the reality we know exists, the greater the chances are that we understand the actual processes at work.

Two members of our group, ecologists Thiago Rangel and Robert Colwell, had developed this simulation modeling technique for their studies of species diversity patterns. But no one had ever used this approach to study the diversity of human populations.

We decided to explore its potential by first building a simple model to test the degree to which a few basic processes might explain language diversity patterns in just one part of the globe, the continent of Australia.

Map of Australia’s 406 languages before contact with Europeans.
Claire Bowern, Yale University, with support from the National Science Foundation BCS-1423711, CC BY

Our colleague Claire Bowern, a linguist at Yale University, created a map that shows the diversity of aboriginal languages – a total of 406 – found in Australia prior to contact with Europeans. There were far more languages in the north and along the coasts, with relatively few in the desert interior. We wanted to see how closely a model, based on a simple set of processes, could match this geographic pattern of language diversity.

Our simulation model made only three basic assumptions. First, populations will move to fill available spaces where no one else lives.

Second, rainfall will limit the number of people that can live in a place; Our model assumed that people would live in higher densities in areas where it rained more. Annual precipitation varies widely in Australia, from over three meters in the northeastern rainforests to one-tenth of a meter in the Outback.

Third, we assumed that human populations have a maximum size. Ideal group size is a trade-off between benefits of a larger group (wider selection of potential mates) and costs (keeping track of unrelated individuals). In our model, when a population grew larger than a maximum threshold – set randomly based on a global distribution of hunter-gatherer population sizes – it divided into two populations, each speaking a distinct language.

We used this model to simulate language diversity maps for Australia. In each iteration, an initial population sprung up randomly somewhere on the map and began to grow and spread in a random direction. An underlying rainfall map determined the population density, and when the population size hit the predetermined maximum, the group divided. In this way, the simulated human populations grew and divided as they spread to fill up the entire Australian continent.

Our simple model didn’t include any impact from contact among groups, changes in subsistence strategies, the effects of the borrowing of cultural ideas or components of language from nearby groups, or many other potential processes. So, we expected it would fail miserably.

Incredibly, the model produced 407 languages, just one off from the actual number.

The simulation model predicts virtually the same number of languages (407) as were observed in reality (406).
Gavin et al DOI: 10.1111/geb.12563, CC BY

The simulated language maps also show more languages in the north and along the coasts, and less in the dry regions of central Australia, mirroring the geographic patterns in observed language diversity.

And so for the continent of Australia it appears that a small number of factors – limitations rainfall places on population density and limits on group size – might explain both the number of languages and much of the variation in how many languages are spoken in different locations.

A simulation model based on a few simple processes predicts much of the geographic variation in language diversity in Australia.
Gavin et al DOI: 10.1111/geb.12563, CC BY

Applying the model elsewhere

But we suspect that the patterns of language diversity in other places may be shaped by different factors and processes. In other locations, such as Vanuatu, rainfall levels do not vary as widely as in Australia, and population densities may be shaped by other environmental conditions.

In other instances, contact among human groups probably reshaped the landscape of language diversity. For example, the spread of agricultural groups speaking Indo-European or Bantu languages may have changed the structure of populations and the languages spoken across huge areas of Europe and Africa, respectively.

Undoubtedly, a wide variety of social and environmental factors and processes have contributed to the patterns in language diversity we see across the globe. In some places topography, climate or the density of key natural resources may be more critical; in others the history of warfare, political organization or the subsistence strategies of different groups may play a bigger role in shaping group boundaries and language diversity patterns. What we have established for now is a template for a method that can be used to uncover the different processes at work in each location.

The ConversationLanguage diversity has played a key role in shaping the interactions of human groups and the history of our species, and yet we know surprisingly little about the factors shaping this diversity. We hope other scientists will become as fascinated by the geography of language diversity as our research group is and join us in the search for understanding why humans speak so many languages.

Michael Gavin, Associate Professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Who Is Right: Atheists Or Believers In God  

Source: Who Is Right: Atheists Or Believers In God  

WHAT IS PROMODPURI.COM

https://promodpuri.com/
Rationality, humanism and compassion with liberal, secular and progressive preferences are the basis of the readings covered by promodpuri.com
The world we are living in is politically divided between the Left and Right ideologies governing or misgoverning the nations as well as nurturing the fascists and dictatorial regimes. Our perceptions of issues and concerns are influenced and even corrupted by the lack of morality we often witness in the practicality of these ideologies.

This website seeks a non-partisan ground based on conscious purity of thoughts and actions, ethics and moral, justice and human rights toward fellow human beings and our environments. It seeks guidance, not from the rituals, but from the spiritual wisdom offered by most world religions.

We human beings, along with animals, plants, mountains, rivers, seas and everything visible and non-visible in this shared universe, are all inter-related and inter-dependent to each other. This is the connectivity we seek here on this website.

Simple Thought

In my humble spiritual thinking, my religion is short, simple and flexible that it can fit comfortably in any other religion.

Past, Present And Future

By Promod Puri

“The past is history, future is mystery, but today is a gift……”, stay in the present and enjoy the moments. These are some of the many favored in-vogue quotes.

The popular quotations or advisories suggest our prospects belong to the moments we live in. We are told to live, feel, and enjoy the era of the present, rather than being prisoner of the past or future.

The reality is: our past is an assortment of both joyous, rough, memorable, and learning experiences. Whereas, our future lies in the prospect of imagination.

Imagination is an inspiring concept which is very natural foresight in the life of an individual as well as the society we belong to. Civilizations have been created, nourished, and developed on our ability to contemplate about the future.

No doubt, anxieties, worries or concerns often become parts of our contemplations, but so do the dreams. In this package, destiny is created thru our forward-looking karmas of the present which influence our future. Progress comes by prospecting at the future.

Flights to the future with optimistic imaginations are the thrills and promises of the prospective unknown.

Prospecting is natural. It is a functional activity of our cognitive powers. Sighting the future is both a conscious and unconscious activity. We can’t stop it while realizing, dealing, or playing with the moments of the present.

In these moments, our moods also swing like a pendulum, moving back and forth, from past to future while creating new flashes for the present.

Sometimes, journeys to the past contribute to the pleasures of the present. Past is a treasure like an old photo album. It is an asset and a companion. Ask the person lying on a hospital bed for long time. Or when a fatal blow to the past happens to a person with dementia. Moments of the present do not offer a “gift” here.

Moreover, for the society, past is not merely a history, but it is a heritage as well. The identity of a society is based on its heritage.

Past, present, and future are interlinked, and complimenting to each other with indelible events, experiences, karmas, and imaginations. The act of managing the future involves gathering and distilling the right information from the archives of the past within the time span of the present.

Time does not cover the innate past, or cause a pause to our imaginations for the future. It does not flow like a river. It does not fly either. Time rather spreads out. In this spread, past, present and future reside for ever.

It is our mind which ferries us around for stopovers at our memories, and sojourn us to conceive our imaginations, as well as bringing us back to the present. And the life’s journey continues while sailing through our past, present, and future.

-30-

Promod Puri is a journalist and writer. He is author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions”, a book which explores the rational, secular and progressive nature of Hinduism.

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Source: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Who Is Right: Atheists Or Believers In God  

Atheists (e.g. Christopher Hitchens in “The Portable Atheist”) deny or disbelieve the existence of a supreme being, not by putting forward their own reasons or facts, but by ridiculing, condemning and even satirising believers who themselves accept and trust absurd, unrealistic, and imaginary explanations about God, and still have firm convictions in Him. progressivehindudialogue.com

Rediscovering God

“While on the progressive path one can explicitly observe that in our religious places, God’s existence is marred by elaborate rituals and customs which impact and disturb invoking His presence in the prayers and reverence for Him.

Furthermore, our antiquated scriptures are not of much help either in His realisation.
Written in the language(s) of bygone eras, their meaning, and interpretations of the wisdom contained in them are tough to comprehend for most of us at any intellectual, and educational levels. These sacred writings need to be edited and rewritten to conform to the demands and concerns of the contemporary civilization. We seek easy and clear understanding of the scriptural teachings and knowledge with or without the services of priests.
In this age of explosion of intelligent knowledge available through mass media like Google and internet, we can rediscover God who can create righteous thoughts to stimulate righteous deeds in creating a righteous world around us”. Excerpts from “Man Created God Or God Created Man”.  

Post navigation

Apology From Govt. of Canada

“Today, we are announcing that the government of Canada has reached a settlement with Mr. Omar Khadr, bringing this civil case to a close,
“On behalf of the government of Canada, we wish to apologize to Mr. Khadr for any role Canadian officials may have played in relation to his ordeal abroad and any resulting harm”.

Along with the apology Khadr received a compensation of $10.5 million for the torture he faced in the notorious Guantanamo jail starting at the young age of 15.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal govt. deserves praise for this bold and principled step based on Canadian values for justice and rule of law which were shamefully traded with racist and ultra conservative stand by the Conservative Harper government.

Congratulations to the team of lawyers for successfully handling the Khadr case, which sure will get some space in the contemporary history of Canada loaded with prejudice and hatred. promodpuri.com

Politics And Religion

“Politics and religion must be kept separate” is an acknowledged doctrine in secular and democratic-socialist systems. But there are elements in most religions which are liberal, secular, and democratic. For these reasons, politics can incorporate religion in its order, whereas religion can keep its sanctity if the “dirty politics” stay out of it. Read more: Religion Has Guiding Role In Politics in promodpuri.com 

MODI Vs TRUMP

Whereas Trump has stiff relationship with the media, Modi is steadily developing a controlling relationship with the media. promodpuri.com