Monday, 25 April 2016

On Tolerance, Intolerance and Infinite Tolerance

 On Tolerance, Intolerance and Infinite Tolerance

Engineering is all about fixing limits and tolerances and achieving them. Civil engineers have been using their plumb bobs and spirit levels, Mechanical engineers their Vernier calipers and micrometers and Electrical engineers their multi-meters and so on for a long time to check that their structures, machines or installations are actually built exactly as required. If there is a large deviation, the structure may look like Leaning Tower of Pisa, the machine may make terrible noise (if it works) and the electrical gadget may get overheated or cause a short circuit, all leading to premature failure and resulting in heavy loss of property and perhaps even lives. This would be totally unacceptable. However, absolute perfection is also not achievable in the practical world. As small deviations from the target values may not really matter, they need to be tolerated. But the question is how small is small?

Engineers having deep knowledge and vast experience in their fields come together to decide appropriate tolerance levels for different parameters used in engineering and set upper and lower limits for them. These values are specified in various Codes, Guides, Standards etc. supposed to be followed in practice. Exceeding any of the limits can be a cause for repair or rejection. However, some deviations may be reviewed case by case, considering the design intents, nature of duty etc. and minor non conformances accepted as a concession. It may be said that generally engineers work within a narrow band of tolerances. You may call them 'intolerant', but it is for good of the society.

Some engineers are refining processes and tightening quality assurance measures to achieve 'six sigma' or 'zero defect'levels. Some others are making their products/ systems more and more 'fault tolerant' by using superior materials, accommodating wider margins on input parameters, adding fault detection and alarm systems, auto-correction mechanisms etc., so that their products/systems can withstand wider fluctuations in external factors.  It means they are making their products/ systems more tolerant.

Most of the things in life are not quantifiable or measurable like in engineering. Still we individually have different tolerance limits for them. For example how much spicy or sour or bitter food one can eat, how much one can remember, how loud music one is prepared to hear etc. Every one tries to live within his limits. If he crosses them it may cause suffering.

We generally use words 'tolerable' on 'intolerable' for the behavior of other persons interacting with us. Actually 'tolerance' means 'mutual adjustment' in interpersonal relationships and 'intolerance' means lack of it. We can bear the unpleasantness in our exchanges up to our tolerance limits and react, sometimes violently, if it crosses the limit. These limits are not fixed and depend on many other factors such as mood, our relationships and prejudices. Social environment also makes a difference. 

Tolerance or mutual adjustment is the foundation on which long term relations are built. A family can peacefully stay together only if every member can accommodate the other members tolerating their behavior, fancies and idiosyncrasies. If it is not possible, the intolerant member tends to move away. In earlier times all members of the family used to have a close bond. It has been weakening as the individuals' tolerance levels are reducing and the families are disintegrating.  

There are only one or two children in each family now a days and their busy parents are unable to spend some quality time with them. So they try to compensate that by spending money and giving their children whatever they ask. As a corollary the children discard anything they do not like. When parents strive to give their children the best of everything at an early age, they are sowing seeds for materially insatiable monsters that are prone to sloth, apathy, avarice and fear. This gives rise to a new disorder called Parent Induced Wastefulness (PIW). When these children grow up they are unable to cope up with the real world and develop an intolerance for it. They can neither complete their studies, nor hold on to any job nor stay happily with their family. 

Tolerance is considered to be a great virtue as it is a binding force uniting the family and the society. Sant Eknath was able to forgive the miscreants who repeatedly threw mud on him whenever he was returning home from a river after taking bath. He simply walked back, without saying a word, and took another dip in the river. There are stories about other saintly persons who also preached and practiced forgiveness (क्षमा), indicating their high level of Tolerance. However, it is not possible for normal human beings to attain that status. They will flair up when their temper reaches flash point because of mismatch between their expectations and the reality, exceeding their tolerance limits.  

Word 'Intolerance' had suddenly cropped up in the news reports, when some little known 'Intelligentsia' went on returning their awards as a protest towards some perceived intolerance. Media created a sort of hype, sometimes going to such ridiculous levels that their noise about 'intolerance' itself became intolerable.  We hear terms like 'Infinite tolerance' in philosophical or metaphysical discussions about an infinitely huge void, whatever that means. 

Highly interesting exchange of views on this subject are compiled in this blog. 

Ashok Malhotra :
          I think "Intolerance" really means "failure to tolerate" or "unable to absorb an issue that's against your natural instincts" or even to "impulsively react to an issue before even absorbing the matter".
   Only the humans are endowed with a large three stage brain: The cerebrum that fills up most of the skull, involved in remembering, problem solving, thinking, feeling n control movements. The cerebellum, at the back  under the cerebrum, controls coordination and balance, the brain stem, beneath the cerebrum in front of the cerebellum, connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls automatic functions such as breathing, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure etc.
   Size of female brains is about 130 cm3 smaller than men. But it is in the use of our cerebrum that we humans differ from other life forms n within ourselves.
  Those who react more impulsively, will be categorized intolerant. I think the  humans have a great capacity to learn n evolve and can be trained to be tolerant.
K.Natarajan :
Nostalgia on schooldays, after the session with Ashok Malhotra ji!

Medulla oblongata is probably the technical name for brain stem, which I have read in my school days.
The react-response control function is the privilege of the brain when man is awake.The transition from react to response is what is accomplished by 'enriching ' the brain, which, I think, is the unique privilege of man.
The instinct of self preservation is embedded in the 'react' function, which, like the shutdown function in a reactor, do not wait for a seasoned analysis and command-response- from the brain but acts on the spur of the moment as a best effort to 'save'., under quick provocations, like the involuntary jumping back with the fast approaching truck.
When man goes to sleep, Nature, amazingly, passes on the essential controls to Medulla oblongata, which partially adopts the control functions, like the involuntary action with mosquito bite in sleep!
All of us have reasonable built up capacity in brain for a proper response-tolerance-,if we can curtail the urge to react,immediately, no great training is required!
Ashok Malhotra
  Thanks for remembering the "school days" the Malgudi days, the Chandamama, the Garth clips. There is only a zero between 8 n 80.
  Coming back to the subject, there is a paradigm difference between an individual's intolerance response, where the fight may be over a common interest item, e.g. the age old saas-bahu one and that of a crowd, a community, a country or a religious sect's response, where more complex issues like historical conflicts, ideology, dominance etc come into play and the the tolerance levels go down considerably, some thing like a common denominator factor e.g. inter conflicts between the Muslims, Christianity, Jews, Hindus communities etc. Inter sectoral conflicts are now diluted due to many social reforms, though not extinct as yet.
    Some time back we had discussed the wealth disparities n one conclusion was that the communal tolerance levels are decreasing now because of social disparities.
Mohan Rao :
Where is Intolerance
As you can see from the subject title, Intolerance starts with an “I”. This ‘I” in intolerance should tell us that it is the person who feels intolerant is the one who primarily suffers from it, rather than the object of that intolerance, be it a person, a thing, or an act, or whatever else it may be. So, remember, it is always better to be tolerant, than be intolerant.

As engineers, we know what tolerance does. Two parts can move or fit relatively better if correct tolerance is provided for with proper allowances in machining of parts. As you get down to zero tolerance, parts chafe at each other and with less than zero tolerance (or intolerance), things don’t fit and have to go back to the shop for refit. But don’t feel sorry for yourself if you are intolerant. It comes with the human baggage. Soon I will tell you why we have evolved with this ‘tolerance/intolerance’ thing in our bag. But act on it to turn yourself into a tolerant being rather than an intolerant pest. Your wellbeing depends on it.

We are programmed (by the power that be) to have the power to understand the universe we are brought into. The key to this power is in separating this universe into what the Chinese call ‘yins’ and ‘yangs’ or simply two opposites (negatives and positives) such as day and night, love and hate, up and down, full or empty, light or darkness, war and peace. Think about it:
we tend to separate everything we sense (see, hear, smell, touch or taste) and sort them as good or bad. Often we even find fifty shades in between yin and yang in our quest for exactness. Half of them we tolerate and half of them we don’t. Where we don’t we improvise. Where we don’t like either, we improvise again. Rain or shine. Rain we take an umbrella, shine we take our umbrella again if we don’t like the shine in too much tropical sun.  There are times where we don’t have the power to improvise. Then we simply don’t have a choice. We run away from it or find a shelter. More to understanding the situation. As I said earlier, we are what we feel.

Our senses play games with us as to who we are. Imagine for an instant someone who cannot see, hear or even unable to feel other senses (smell, touch or taste). Be in the shoes of such a person and try to meditate in your mind what you will be feeling like. The universe will be a total void and unimaginably incomprehensible. Or you may feel that the universe is a mess of a blob with nothing in it to separate. Or some such thing. Such a person will be under the total mercy of someone else to survive if at all.

Here is the key to turn the tolerance-intolerance situations around in your favor. Meditate on each situation and you will find an answer. Peel the problem like you do with an onion, until you explore the intricacies of the problem, causes and solutions. If you keep on peeling you will ultimately find that there is nothing more to peel, and ‘nothing’ is all that is left.

You will come to the revelation that the tolerance-intolerance situation is simply your own creation and it really does not exist.
If you are meditating on a love-hate situation, you will find that love is more enduring than hate and you will be finding ways to change the situation for the better. If lactose-intolerance is your problem you will find the solution would be to go for lactose-free milk or do away with milk altogether. Whatever the situation be, you will come to the realization that the problem really does not exist in the mind of the ‘power that be’ and that it is just a silly game played in your mind by the sense-relations that
you created for yourself at first encounter.

Always realize that separation, love or hate, war or peace or whatever yin and yang, is your own creation. Two things cannot exist. Only one thing is justifiably the right thing. There is only tolerance, there is no room for intolerance. There is only love and no room for hate. The same mind can be your friend in sorting out the mess it creates. Without your action it can be your enemy too.
Ravi Rustagi :
Nicely put in engineer’s lingo.
There is a practical problem still, as Firstly most politicians and religious leaders are not engineers.
Secondly the key point is both interacting parts are engineered to accept mutual tolerance per well defined technical rules.
Unfortunately, this is not the case in resolving current issues facing the world- such as terrorism, reservation, religious zealots etc. The usual cry is: Let the other leader be tolerant, not me!

I would think all leaders who matter be sent to mandatory school of management training in tolerance, acceptance of mutual love and understanding and of course yoga. This must be the pre-requisite course 101, before an MP takes a seat in the Parliament for example. There are minimum qualification and training requirements even for a low level engineer, why not for the powerful leaders?

If such a course, be conducted in a foreign country, so much the better.

As an optimist by nature, I am hopeful Mohan Rao, your beautiful idea will take practical next step.

Ashok Malhotra
A case for Intolerance:
    It may appear that all forms of Intolerance are bad, but that is not at all the case. The epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are central to the issue of "intolerance of all forms of evil or अधर्म". The image of Lord Vishnu itself embodies "Giving or forgiving, Patience, Prepared to fight n readiness for a war sounding", all together with the four arms. That's the complete picture n ideal for the mankind. Both tolerance and intolerance are complementary and have their time n place. Thanks

Another justification of INTOLERANCE:

Kiran Dixit <>
To Apr 17 at 11:11 AM
Recently there is an ongoing debate on tolerance and intolerance. a general impression is created that tolerance is a great virtue and intolerance is evil. Some thoughts/ comments on this
The words tolerance, tolerant, intolerance etc., originate from verb to tolerate, which means to condone some ERROR, committed by some person, group, machine, system or manufacturing process.
Tolerance means permissible Error Band.
For an ideal person or ideal machine, no error would occur and hence no tolerance is necessary. However in real life situation, when no one is perfect, errors have to be accepted with due provisions for accommodating them. These provisions for accommodation decide what is permissible error i.e. tolerance.
Thus tolerance is accepting some error (or unacceptable) as fait accompli.
Tolerance always has finite limit. Accepting a single part, outside tolerance band can cause unacceptable malfunctioning of machine or system.
Non conformance due to error beyond tolerance band, can be reviewed and judged by only those knowing reasons or provisions for acceptance. Those who do not know such reasons should be intolerant to any error beyond tolerance limit
Intolerance is essential in many situations. some examples
Any QS/QC/QA MUST necessarily be intolerant to deviations from specifications/drawings. Only the designer, who knows design intent can decide on disposition. Others must refrain from making any judgement
Management of a company must be intolerant to habitual non performers
BSF personnel must be intolerant to infiltrators at international borders
During a war the army must be intolerant to enemy
In the context of debate in media on this subject, some observations
The slogans such as "Bharat ki Barbadi", " Bharat ke Tukade" etc. are very clearly unacceptable and beyond any permissible tolerance band. If considering these as unacceptable is intolerance, such intolerance is perfectly justified.
Some media persons (Presstitutes) are intimidating general public to consider such persons (b*****ds giving such slogans) as heroes, and that is also beyond any tolerance band
In Historical situations, intolerance was necessary. Consequence of tolerance have been severe. Some examples
In 1938, Chamberlain (British PM) and other allied leaders, showed tolerance to Hitler and condoned the act of gobbling up of Austria and Czeckoslovakia, so as to prevent war. But such tolerance did not prevent World War II. Finally Intolerant Churchill stepped in to fight the war and won.
King of Calicut was unduly tolerant to Vasco de Gama. In any other country, the foreigner would have been arrested, disarmed and then welcome
Prithviraj Chauhan was tolerant to Ghori many times. Ghori was absolutely intolerant at the first opportunity itself.
Freedom struggle of India would not have been possible if the leaders and public had been tolerant to foreign rulers
The intention here is to say that intolerance is not always bad and tolerance is not always good.

These are my views. Those who dislike, please exercise use of tolerance button on keyboards (delete)
Shakti Sharma <>
You have excellently analyzed the two. Like mother some time she tolerate the mistakes of the child & other time thrash also and She is right. Thanks for sharing the good thought.
Ravi Rustagi

Dixit ji has described that Intolerance can take many forms not only in modern politics, but since the olden days of Prithvi Raj Chauhan.

When I was in work, special consultant was hired to educate all managers on the problem of sexual harassment in american companies. Stealing company trade secrets and sexual harassment were labeled zero tolerance.

Would you believe Zero Tolerance rule against sexual harassment has been promulgated in schools across America? It is definable and measurable like inspection and quality control in engineering. I read in the news paper that a 5 year old boy had kissed a 5 year old girl student in the class. This was considered unacceptable, and the boy was sent home, not allowed to rejoin the class. Sort of rustication….

Another issue of ugly intolerance has been in religious matters. I had attended the World Religion Summit in the United Nations in New York in year 2000. A definition of tolerance was formulated- 'respecting all religions, not to disrespect, abuse any other religion, not to convert the faithful men and women of other religions by force or inducement'. It appears very logical, and the Millenium Summit had a consensus view but finally the proselytising faiths did not let it go through.

So my dear friends, the definition of Tolerance must be of Mutual Acceptance that All Faiths are Sacred and Valid, and no Faith should be Allowed to Claim Superiority over Any Other Faith.

Mohan Rao <>
To Apr 22 at 8:14 AM

Rustagi Saab and Friends:

I am pleased that your post has come up under the topic of ‘Tolerance and Intolerance’. Ideally, I agree with what you say, i.e no faith should be allowed to claim superiority over any other faith. My concern however is how we can advance this ideal in societies and the world at large. So much of blood has been shed in mankind’s history over two millennia over religions and with so much of bad blood, intolerance, fanaticism, the task seems to a formidable one. The adage that religion is the opium of the people seems to reflect our dilemma.

All faiths have evolved, grown, often misunderstood and mistreated, documented and re-documented by humans towards reform. The humans live in the real world that basically behaves like a market place. That seems to be however an historic undercurrent in some faiths that erroneously thinks often that it has the truth and none else and which surfaces as sectarian issues. All types of human pressures come to bear, in such cases orating, teaching, sermonizing, even cajoling, and ultimately proselytizing, threatening with severe ideas of sin, punishment, societal pressures to convert, inducements, and in general intolerance over a section of the population for religious reasons, etc. Even taxation, wars and genocide have been used in history to put undue pressure and change society. The weaker sections of society (the poor, the uneducated, the vulnerable) often succumb to these pressures and my hunch is that developing countries suffer more than developed ones and countries dominated by a single religion find it more difficult to prevent religious pressures put by the religious majority and the local institutions on the minorities. Often governments themselves committed to one religion may try to influence its religion over the minorities using its powers on education, immigration, employment, demography, segregation, etc. All this is common knowledge.

What do we do? Perhaps a whole range of measures like secular education, clear separation of faith and politics, even legislative steps may be required where religious tolerance is lacking to change the current paradigm? But who is to bell the cat? The world as we see it will have to change and commit itself to the view that religion should be a matter of personal choice and the national ethos in every nation should promote this view and work against forces of proselytization and social factors involved. For countries that are on the flipside of this notion, there will have to be a paradigm shift, if things have to change.

The world being a community of nations has to bear a responsibility as well and institutions such as the UN have to worry about these issues which I do not see happening now. Before the ‘utopian’ ideal that Shri Rustagi talked about can exist, there is the historical baggage which has to be shed in which often nations themselves promoted the opposite in the past, of establishing religious states and even at the expense of minorities leading to bloody crusades and genocide.

There may be reason for hope despite the current state of affairs in some countries. Overall the civilization has moved forward in the direction of pluralism, non-intervention by the state in the religions of people, and the notion that religion is one’s own journey in finding a meaning in life and meeting one’s God of his choosing. There is hope for a world where different religions meet one another not in illwill but in peace.
Tolerance and intolerance are both human nature. Our task is to ensure that religions live together in peace and with mutual respect and understanding, which requires enhancing our values of tolerance and suppressing forces of intolerance.

Ashok Malhotra
Role of Religion in the Tolerance-Intolerance Tussles:
   Sh Rustagi n Sh Mohanrao have aptly brought out the Religion as the biggest influential factor affecting this ideological tussle. Generally it is often easier to define a problem, necessary as a first step, than to suggest solutions.
         In a society, the opposing forces always follow the 3 Newtonian laws, as in physics e.g.
  1. Action n reaction forces are equal n opposite till acted upon by a third force, (normally remaining dormant) e.g.the entry of females to some temples as was recently directed by the Courts.
2. A tradition continues to be in vogue(tolerated) till it is diverted by the force of intolerance, e.g. the sati pratha, sacrificial killings etc.
3. Rates of Changes in the Social Structures are directly proportional to the Public, Democratic or Statute forces applied against them, e.g. the Social Liberation n Reservations for the Backward Classes, Equalities for the Feminine Class from the Patriarchal Societies n Family values, Dowry laws, Parental laws, Property rights, Social Equalities, what not.
   Hope we will move to strengthen the Reformist Forces. Amin.

A View on the "Politics and the Political class"  (Partly a reaction to Sh VCA views on political class)
   Now a days Politics has assumed an abusive intonation, or a dust bin, any thing rejected by even a small section of the society is dubbed "political". Is this picture realistic or perceptive?
    Politics is defined as "The art of the possible". Or in a way "finding a way through the murky path".
    All those who have handled PRO or front desk jobs, would be aware how tough it is to handle people. But that is exactly what our Leaders are meant to do. The present imbroglio of "dirty politics" is not unlike the case of "one fish making the whole pond filthy". The positive side rarely sticks, n the negative side gets enlarged.
     Inspire of a few things lacking, ours is one of the best Constitution as far as "for the people, by the people" is concerned, not for National GDP though. Many Times I am very much impressed by the arguments n speeches of our Leaders in the Parliament n outside, but also equally disappointed by the obstructions created for functioning n reforms.
  The dirt associated is two dimensional: 1. The struggle to dominate, Influence Voters, and be in power by hook or by crook.
2. The Corruption associated with the wielding of Power.
     The positive aspect, by n large is "the Sustenance and not Subversion of Governance".
     Summing up this monotonous issue, but a necessary reminder once in a while is :
    "Our failures are not systemic but mostly in planning and execution (corruption included) that need to be eliminated through hard work n dedication". Thanks for the stand by.

Mohan Rao :
 Real-time systems and distributed RT systems have something analogous to human situations. A reasonably tolerant person can become intolerant in the blink of an eye. It is fallacious to think that in human situations there is all the time in the world to 'fix' a bad situation. The un-premeditated real-time crimes that take place between individuals and groups everyday everywhere are no
different than similar situations that RT and DiRTs have to handle in the C&I world. In both cases, solutions have to be achieved in a nano-second environment.
In Nuclear, the situations get still worse: with some truant reactivity addition, power rise can take over faster than you can control perhaps even with a well-designed real-time system. It looks like a war of electrons: one the one hand, in RT (distributed included) computer control systems, the electrons in the system have to work fast enough to be tolerant of the speed of the process it is trying to manage; without which situation will be intolerant and the reactions will be to shutdown the process (sorry for my
clumsy lingo. I am not a C&I kind of person). In a nuclear reactor situation, electrons in the RT system have to compete with the neutrons in a reactor. It must have been a challenge to Shri Chandra in developing his book particularly dealing with reactor systems. I agree with Malhotra Saab's observation that both tolerance and intolerance are complementary and have their time and place. My problem is how we can operationalize this view in a world where a nuclear war or any other human folly can be triggered in a fraction of a second and the situation can degenerate faster than anyone can control. Don't we have the sword of damocles hanging on mankind ready to fall? So far we survived the Cuban missile crises, the Cold War, and perhaps some more situations with no more than a 'dent'. How can we be sure that the next crisis will not be a write-off?
Ashok Malhotra
   Extending the DPHS systems or their further extended versions to managing the human affairs is a fascinating idea.
      But definite trends towards this are visible n imminent.
     With the development of Quantum   computing, Robots programmed to act like the Humans and Humans, by n large, trained to act in predictable ways, the merging point doesn't seem to be too distant.
      But of course that will be the "Brave New World" of Aldus Huxley and George Orwell's "1984" combined.
   A lot of us may then be lamenting about the "Good Old Days of 2020", the natural n human beauty, the flora n fauna, the enigma of God n faith, the joys of childhood, the joys of journeys, of meetings, n separations, n relationships, of literature n poetry, not the least of group activities (npcil included) n many more.
    There is so much joy in the "Unknown n Nature", though some pains as well.
   How would you like to Relive this life?
Ashok Malhotra
   Extending the DPHS systems or their further extended versions to managing the human affairs is a fascinating idea.
      But definite trends towards this are already  visible n imminent.
K.Natarajan :
"The un-premeditated real-time crimes that take place between individuals and groups everyday everywhere are no different than similar situations that RT and DiRTs have to handle in the C&I world. In both cases, solutions have to be achieved in a nano-second
environment. "

This is  true in the case of a nuclear bomb, where no control is possible and we just have to say 'Jane dho' With the gift of delayed neutrons by Nature,  in a nuclear reactor, the control systems have enough time to assess and act, ie, to respond.
as is the case in real time human situations.
That is why I  put the response control function  as  the  unique privilege of the  human brain . The transition from react function of lesser animals to response function of man  is what is accomplished by 'enriching ' the brain,  by knowledge, intellect, information etc etc.which again ,  is the unique privilege of man.
Problem comes when man perceives every action by others as a bomb situation and try to REACT quickly,  ie  Intolerance.
The right move should be to absorb, think and act, ie. RESPOND,    meaning Tolerance,  as in a well designed control system!

Mohan Rao
Malhotra Saab: It appears to me that intolerance and infinite tolerance are synonyms. In today’s world, without this synonymity, future would be unthinkable. On the top of this if I take your earlier advice that tolerance and intolerance are both necessary for the world to function, the whole range of emotivity, tolerance, infinite tolerance and intolerance, all seem ‘symbiotic and synergetic’.
Ashok Malhotra
Really, Mohanraoji, if you say so, it must be true. We are dealing with the vicissitudes of human mind- the most enigmatic of God's creations.
    Liked your expressions "he whole range of emotivity, tolerance, infinite tolerance and intolerance, all seem ‘symbiotic and synergetic’."  

Yet another form of Intolerance:
Some big named have been taken who perhaps have total GYAN of of our grate Maha Kavaya THE RAMAYANA.and its विवेचना। There is nothing with me to do analyses as I am not the authority blessed by All Mighty to do any such sort of analyses.The very first page of Ramayan very clearly indicates that RAMAYANA HAS BEEN WRITTEN BY GOSWAMI TULASI DAS WITH THE BLESSINGS OF LORD RAMA AND WITH THE PERMISSION OF LORD SHIVA.
The person doing the analyses if not blessed by God is totally not authorized to do any sort of analyses. Ramayana also clearly say in big words that many such PANDITS will erupt to mislead public in this ERA  कलयुग॰
Me being a very small do not know much about analyses. But religiously read RAMAYAN daily past almost 50 years and daily found new meanings as I further read.

Anand Ghare
Dear Agarwalji is permitted to find a new meaning every time he reads, but nobody else should do that. Really घोर कलजुग!
S Dayal
Jaakee Rahee Bhavanaa Jaisee
Prabhu Moorat Dekhee Tin Taisee
        -  From RAM Charit Manas
anand ghare <>

Sorry Agarwalji for my 'intolerance'. However, I do not still subscribe to a view that NONE has any right to say anything about certain scriptures and thought it is intolerable.In my openion. ALL books are meant to be read and understood. Not to be just worshiped. If the language is not currently in use, you have to interpret the meanings of some words as per your ability.

Shah Nawaz Ahmad
I wouldn't agree more Ghare Bandhu The fear of being wrong dulls all creativity. I think that's why all scriptures dwell on seeking forgiveness And inculcating kindness, which is another form of forgiveness
So let us discuss But discuss with sensitivity ABG thus did great ho!
Ashok Malhotra
    Now I know what Einstein meant by "Time Warp", also revealed is "Infinite Tolerance" .
    Dear All, I Pray: Let this topic be never Ending n last till Eternity, so, every day a new meaning is revealed".
    Also why Salman Rushdie, the author of "Satanic Verses" wrote this book n is suffering the ignomity for life, from his sect at least.
   "हम को मन की शक्ति देना, मन विजय करें,
    दूसरों की जय से पहले, खुद को जय करें।"
Shah Nawaz Ahmad
We are all small children in front of Tulsidas
I wonder whether Tulsidas would have liked to put many injunctions to our interpretation, and understanding
Poetry is not to be understood it needs to be revelled IN!
and i, Tulsidas is outstanding poetry!! lets revel in the various hues of his poetry beautiful
From: Rustagi

Silence and Revelation are different techniques from Argument and Doubting. Swami Vivekanada travelled places till he met his master Ram Krishna, and gained para-vidya. In fact, history is on record that no one gained truth, except by Silence/Revelation/Guru Grace.
Thank you Ahmad bhai.

Ravi Rustagi
May I present the following bits of my mind.

1. The debate on intolerance can be summed up in two parts-
i). Everyone has a right to speak his mind, even if the voice is shaky, because it is his mind, and it is his tongue.
ii). No one, however has a right to speak other’s mind, like Tulsidassji’s mind in our ongoing debate, except a right to express his own shortcomings or ignorance with a desire to know better or remove personal ignorance. Take the example of Arjuna questioning Krishna left or right, because it was Arjuna’s right to ask question and dispel his ignorance pertaining to yoga. But Arjuna never ever expressed disbelief in Krishna’s preachings. This is called Shraddha, absence of all disbeliefs or misbeliefs. Shraddha is a virtue, Shansaya is a vice.
श्रद्धावाॅंल्लभते ज्ञानम्. संशयात्मा विनश्यति [BG 4.39, 4.40]. This is a fine line of demarkation between Shraddha and Sanshay. What is important is our motive Bhav, the purity of mind.

2. Let us be clear! we are very ordinary folks, compared to Tulsidass ji the rishi of his era. I fully support what sh VC Agarwalji asserts that the debate should not lose focus. Our purpose is to gain knowledge through interpersonal exchanges, rather than to show off one-up-manship or cause disrepute to any chaupai in Ramayana. I also agree that no one has a right to doubt any chaupai, in scriptures unless one can rise to that lofty level. The ‘misunderstood' freedom of speech is mostly in terms of political issues of today, and day to day living style in society, but not for religious scriptures.

3. There is no other lofty example of tolerance in the world, as India. Why? Because India’s ancient religious values are not frozen in time and continues to assimilate not only other religions, but also science, democracy and modern trends, without losing its identity for promoting the spiritual quest over outer forms and dogmas. The British tried to eradicate pride in india’s past through condescending and inaccurate interpretations of the Vedas, but failed. Therefore, the distinguished members of our Group must take pride in our ancient cultural heritage and religious past, if we are to remain tolerant.

4. Let us remind ourselves how lovingly we pay homage to the departed friends, regardless of Hindu, Muslim, or Christian etc, inspite of many shortcomings the departed soul may have. It is because it is human nature to think the good a friend has done. Paying eulogy is an opportunity to regain our tolerance or dispel the ugly intolerance from our minds and hearts. But why reserve kind and loving words only for the dead? Wisdom requires that we constantly nourish the power of Love, at least after retirement. I do feel that more sweet words and Love has become a part of me, after joining the Group.

"The un-premeditated real-time crimes that take place between individuals and groups everyday everywhere are no different than similar situations that RT and DiRTs have to handle in the C&I world. In both cases, solutions have to be achieved in a nano-second
environment. "
This is  true in the case of a nuclear bomb, where no control is possible and we just have to say 'Jane dho' With the gift of delayed neutrons by Nature,  in a nuclear reactor, the control systems have enough time to assess and act, ie, to respond. as is the case in real time human situations.
Problem comes when man perceives every action by others as a bomb situation and try to REACT quickly,  ie  Intolerance.
The right move should be to absorb, think and act, ie. RESPOND, meaning Tolerance,  as in a well designed control system!  

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Evolution of Engineering and Serendipity

16/08/2016: A new addition on the latest example of Serendipity is added at the end.

13/04/2016: Some additional paragraphs added to include 'nuclear engineering' and take the journey up to present age .  
The first early man who wielded a club in his hands got a 'leverage' over others. The first man who used a sharp edged flat stone as a tool or a weapon used the mechanical advantage of 'inclined plane' and another man who noticed that a bent branch of a tree springs back when released, used it to throw a stone or a stick with this 'spring'. Perhaps some time later, another early man realized that rolling a round shaped log or stone is easier than pushing, pulling or lifting and carrying it. He can be said to have discovered 'the wheel'. All of these events had occurred in prehistoric days, but the lever, the inclined plane, the spring and the wheel are used in some form or other ever since and in most of the machines or mechanical gadgets even today. It may be a coincidence that वामन , परशुराम, श्रीराम and श्रीकृष्णअवतार of दशावतार of श्रीविष्णु भगवान  used no weapon, परशु , धनुष्य  and सुदर्शन चक्र in the same order. Discovery of fire, another epoch making discovery was perhaps made in parallel and independent of search of getting mechanical advantage. All of them would fall under 'serendipity'

Mechanical engineering was primarily put to use to develop effective weapons to fight wild animals, tame domestic animals and also to conquer and lord over other people. जिसकी लाठी उसकी भैंस !  has been the law of jungle. The weapons were also suitably modified to make useful tools to cut, dig, shove etc. in initial period and then for more sophisticated uses such as transportation and even production of goods after the 'civilization' of mankind. Once the fire was brought under control it was also used to extract and shape metals to desired forms to make better weapons, implements and tools. Thus evolution of mechanical engineering and also metallurgy has no known beginning and is going on for millions of years. However, it got a major breakthrough when steam engines were invented to convert heat energy into mechanical energy.

when the early man, who was initially a hunter, stopped wandering and started cultivation and farming, he built houses to live and roads to take his cattle and carts. Humans beings social animals, they formed villages and lived in groups. It was the start of 'civilization'. The activities of building houses, other structures, roads, bunds, canals, drainage etc came under 'Civil' engineering. This branch is also as old as ancient civilizations.

Man was fascinated by the natural chemical reactions and went on making experiments with various metals, nonmetals, salts, minerals and chemicals. When he was successful in getting useful outputs in a predictable way, he worked on optimization of the processes and 'Chemical engineering' was born. Main motivations for this branch were to make explosive weapons and useful medicines, paints, ink etc. and also the hunt for a magic formula of converting copper or iron it to gold.

For some reason, Electrical engineering was born much later, less than a couple of centuries ago. This branch further developed into electronics, computer, communications, Internet etc. in leaps and bounds and its rate of growth is much faster than any other branch. But, why did it make such a late entry? That too through 'Serendipity' in Michael Faraday's experiment! Some technological as well as metaphysical aspects are discussed in this interesting blog.

Simple Definition of serendipity for refreshing memory:
: Luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for

The long gap in the evolution of engineering knowledge,  with the first revolution as late as 1700, and the second with Electricity after a still further  200 years, followed  by leaps and bounds development of other engineering branches, was reminiscent of my erratic KNOWLEDGE CURVE  proposition mail, a few months ago!

I revisited the thread to find a reference to the Indo-Lanka  bridge of Ramayana  built by  'monkeys'. (VANARAS would have been a more  dignified  word,  Mohan Rao ji), which reminded me of our ancient engineering  as depicted in our epics.
Vishwakarma was the architect of  the illusory palace in Mahabharata, where the  pandavas  stayed.
His son Nala is mentioned as the architect, the task given on the advice of the sea god along with an assurance to Rama that he would support it from below, of the  bridge  over the sea to  Lanka.(quoted by  Mohan Rao  as Hanuman,  who was  more of a devotional, emotional  type than an engineer )
The Ramayana  story goes that Rama prayed to the sea god for three days for help in crossing the ocean. With no response, he got angry and aimed his formidable weapon, Brahmastra, at the sea. Thereupon, the sea god appeared before him and said 'I cannot help you by  going against my Dharma, which is my Depth, as much as the Fire god cannot  be cool, against its Dharma of being hot, to oblige anybody!'
However, the sea god obliged Rama within its Dharma by making the above suggestion and offer.
The story goes  that the vanaras had to cut every tree within  sight and break the rocks (what would our environmental protagonists say now?) to build the bridge, not reaching the unfathomable Depth, but supported at the bottom by the obliging sea. (by some augmentation of the force of buoyancy ?)
My reference to this version is an English  Srimad Ramayana by D S Sarma. (which also refers to Jabali persuading Rama to abandon the exile mission, in addition to numerous net references, I found on my curiosity)
My emphasis is on the proclaimed  Depth Dharma and the consequent floating bridge built, supported by the sea god , which according to the epic, must have disappeared or dissolved in the depth, once the purpose was over, not being built on Terra Firma.
Unmindful of this, we hear stories that the mountain bridge could still be seen in the ocean ( even claiming that some NASA pictures support this, without any  official  denial or confirmation), and it is of mythological significance and could not be destroyed, thus standing in the way of a proposed project for sea route , SETHUSAMUDRAM SHIPPING CANAL  project,  issue suddenly becoming sensitive because of religious overtones.
Politics and religion crossing swords, with no solution, Factual engineering assessment kept at a distance.
Another incidental information is that, while detailed engineering information is provided on the  CIVIL eng aspects of the bridge construction in Ramayana, other  engineering aspects  like flying by Hanuman and  Rakshasas, Aviation,  missile weapons used, Asthras,  etc are not covered to that detail and simply attributed to  boons given by gods, to chosen individuals,   sought after  painstaking penance  ( tapas)., not taught in gurukulas also, (where other martial arts, in addition to intricacies of vedas, were taught),  as one can read in epics. This  may be significant with some claims made about our knowledge on aviation and missile technology in  Idhihasa  period.
It is also pertinent that  apart from  conventional weapons like bows and arrows, swords, spears, daggers, tree trunks, stones maces etc on one side and the god given astras on the other extreme, no hint was made about explosive devices, chemical or nuclear, not even as a conjecture of imagination.
this brand was to evolve later.
  Such gifts of Tapas  as boons from gods, the ultimate weapons used in the epic battles to bring them to a final close,  could well have been  the poet's privilege, like our modern Harry Potter's imagery projections.
Just some stray thoughts on engineering knowledge as revealed  from Epics
As an after -thought , to make the story on Evolution of engineering    complete, I am adding a piece of an old mail on Knowledge curve, dated mid june,15 (hoping  on the short life of our Memory!)

"Sometimes a simple but epoch making discovery may elude mankind for centuries, even millenniums!
as happened with Electrical Engineering putting its origin very much  later to  that of other engineering branches.
All the branches of engineering, starting from the oldest, Civil,  had an imperceptible beginning in history , at some conducive period, and steady growth,  acquiring the name itself at a later stage of  Consolidation(!), including the latest Nuclear,
- Nuclear Engineering, the latest ,as an example, could not have happened earlier, as it needed the growth of other supportive technologies, till the right time-

Civil has its origin in oldest Harappa civilization days, with houses and drainage systems  built,
Mechanical , to as old as invention of wheels,
Chemical to the ancient Alchemist who tried to make gold etc;
After the discovery of FIRE and WHEELS, probably in the beginning of Common Era ,  the technological growth was in rapid strides, spurred by NEED and GREED , starting from experiments to make gold and tools, even without  the yet to evolve  Electrical Engineering.

As against the above, in my perception, Electrical Engineering has a  defined date of birth, if the discovery of electricity could be taken as the origin, which  came  very much later,  less than 200 years ago, from now  ( civil, mechanical and chemical  being thousands of years old ), a  discovery which may fall under Serendipity?

Lightening, static charges, rudimentary chemical batteries, all ingredients for Electrical, were known to mankind thousands of years ago.
The materials needed like magnets, metal wire, supporting technology in other areas, were  all there for the asking, ready for deployment, all these times.

Still it took ages, before Mich Faraday could accidentally rotate a wire coil in between the magnetic poles, to sense and DISCOVER  ELECTRICITY,   actually  as late as 1830CE, for this Engineering to get established, as we know it today.

a BRANCH, which became pivotal for the growth of other branches , which was epoch making by its own right ,too.,
a branch which paved the way for other much sophisticated   branches to follow like electronic and computer engineering ,
a branch that suddenly jerked up the KNOWLEDGE CURVE to a steep positive slope!

What a tremendous change it would have made to History of  Civilisation (Technology?) if, a big IF, the serendipity of the discovery of Electricity had happened at a logically much earlier timeframe!
Why was Nature  holding this from mankind for that long!
Puzzle to ponder!"

Anand Ghare (Myself):

We have not been taught advances in science and technology in a chronological manner. So I am not exactly aware which instruments or gadgets were available to detect electric current at what point of time. Perhaps Michael Faraday's coil might have just produced a spark. Was there any galvanometer at that time? I have read a story that The PM of England at that time asked Faraday, "What is use of your discovery?" A confident Faraday humorously replied, "Sir, You may be able to tax the electricity some day."

What I feel that The wheel was giving mechanical advantage that anybody could understand and hence it led to several other series of inventions. Similarly effects of fire (heat and light) were easily sensible, so a lot of work was done to control it by choice fuels, explosives etc.

However, the lightning was a momentary phenomenon (still uncontrollable) that produced more fear than curiosity. Rudimentary batteries also would not have produced more than just sparks. As I remember Michael Faraday also found the connection between electricity and chemical reaction (rather dissociation) as he thought of connection between electricity and magnetism. Further spurt of advances in electrical engineering were made possible as the measuring instruments were developed. That was in turn possible because of advances in Metallurgy and Chemical and Mechanical engineering, Glass technology etc.

These are just my thoughts and are open to correction.

K.Natarajan :
History of electricity
I would put in a small note in response to the materialistic portion of Ghare ji's comments, the metaphysical heights of the thread being much beyond me.

The difference lies  in distinction between static and commercial electricity. The static sparks and other manifestations were known around 2000 BCE! Benjamin Franklin's experiments  in 17th century with kites and lightening only established electricity as static electricity and whatever Ghareji said are true.
Volta made some progress  in introducing dynamism to electricity, a little bit later, with  chemical means of producing sustained  electricity,origin of voltaic cells, but nowhere near large scale application.
 It is  only after the discovery of electric motor, by Farady in mid 1800, that the dynamic evolution started, followed by electric bulbs and lighting, Edison, small scale generation and transportation to light a street(first time in Newyork) and very rapidly followed by large scale generation, transportation and application, wireless electricity, with Markoni discovering radio and more and more sophisticated branches coming, like computer, digital and  net, in increasingly compressed time-scale!
The non availability of  measuring instruments does not appear to had been a serious handicap.
The philosophical surmise was, while  in other branches,the development was gradual but making progress, there was a large delay  between pre CE awareness  and productive  application  in as late as 1800 CE., for Electrical Engineering.,
and on Nature's peculiar Hyde and Seek game,not amenable to any Karma theory!
Only a curious thought, no great topic for discussion!

Anand Ghare (Myself):
Thanks Natarajanji for recounting the brief history of static and dynamic electricity.  I had tried to explain that other forms of energy such as heat, light, sound and flow of water or air can be directly sensed by our sense organs and hence they were better understood and used by mankind earlier. An electric shock can also be sensed, but it is rather frightful and in a different category.
Electricity was popularized by inventions of Edison who offered a complete package from generation to utilization. It grew by leaps and bounds thereafter because of advantages over engines.

Some additional thoughts:

K.Natarajan :-
We all know:
The time scale evolved by historians for the history of civilization, consisting of the Preneolithic age, Neolithic,  followed by the Paleolithic Period, or age of chipped-stone tools, commonly classified as Stone Age, and followed by the Bronze Age, Iron Age, or early period of metal tools before the advent of Modern Era, all based on Tools and Metals.

Possibly a further subdivision of Modern Era could emerge, based on Energy Utilisation like
Natural Energy Era-  utilising the naturally available resources  like water pumps, windmills, sail boats etc,
Electrical  Energy Era -ushered in by the discovery of electricity and fostered by feed of fossil fuel,
to be followed by
Nuclear  Energy Era.

The last mentioned comes last  since  it could not have been there  earlier as a controlled energy source, as distinct from uncontrolled fission-fusion energy in the sun from time immemorial, requiring  as it does, a fundamental need for some form of enrichment of naturally occurring materials,  like enriched uranium, or heavy water, or nuclear grade graphite,  which  would be possible only after a certain level of industrial revolution.

That is what I thought, until I came across this very illuminating article  on the Mysteries of Nature,  about nuclear reactors being active naturally, even  before the dawn of civilization!,
without any human Design  or Control !

which I would like to share with the readers, for reading pleasure at leisure!

Click here for the article.

K.Natarajan :
While some branches of engineering, got gradually evolved even without a name, electrical falls under accidental discovery, serendipity,  where as Nuclear Engineering is special in that, at a certain point in evolution, man saw a possibility of this new engineering, moved ahead in search of it and CONSCIOUSLY DEVELOPED that from scratch!

Anand Ghare (myself)
 Historians might have given some names to different periods of history based on the archeological finds and their carbon dating. However, it may not mean that the tools made of stone or bronze or iron were being used in certain time bound specific periods by homosepians all over the world, especially when the means of communication were so poor.

The living habits have changed so fast in the last few decades that I have seen use of firewood in a चूल्हा, kerocene in a stove and liquefied petroleum gas in burners and also electrical coils and hot plates for daily cooking. I have also seen the grinding stones as well as the food processors and know some people who have both in their kitchens. I read a post today written by a NRI in UK stating that he took a stainless steel खलबत्ता to pound and crush groundnuts to make chutney, because he does not enjoy the taste of powdered groundnut chutney made in a food processer. All this in the short span of my life. What would have happened over time periods of centuries and millenium? The point I want to make is that the so called ages were overlapping.

If we use the 'use of energy source' as a criteria to redifine ages, I would say
1. Animal power- mainly for agriculture, (including drawing water from wells) and transportation apart from dairy.
2. Natural resources like wind for sailed boats, wind mills, flow of water for water wheel and barges to transport to downstream
3. Heat engines (burning coal, firewood, petroleum products, natural gas) for directly driving machines (converting heat in to mechanical energy)- Begining of the modern era of Industrial revolution and still continuing in case of vehicles.
4. Electrical power: conversion of heat or water pressure first in to electrical energy and then its use to drive machines through motors - Started about a century ago and continuing.
5. Nuclear power: It appeared on the horizon in mid sixties but did not actually arrive with a bang. It is coexisting with conventional types, hydro and thermal and may thrive perhaps after exhausting all relatively inexpensive fossil fuels. Thereafter it will co exist with natural resources like Solar and wind power, as they are on come back trail.

It is true that nuclear power was 'CONSCIOUSLY DEVELOPED that from scratch!', but the underlying basic principle was perhaps a sort of 'serendipity'. Discovery of radioactivity, that of fission reaction and detection of neutron itself were not planned actions to my knowledge. I think they were noticed when the scientists were reseaching for something else. Enrico Fermi and his colleagues successfully developed the original 'pile' to create sustained and controlled chain reaction in a safe manner. They could achieve that with great amount of determination and dedicated efforts after many attempts had failed and the pile was rearranged again and again after studying the earlier results.  Rest of the journey of nuclear power has been at the initiative of 'those magnificent men' who developed engineering of core, shielding, process systems and the most important of all fail-safe control systems.

The natural reactor described in the link just produced heat and cooled down. That heat was not purposefully utilized. It may remain as a 'wonder' of the nature and a subject for study by the nuclear scientists.


A new addition to Serendipity:

UC Irvine Accidentally Invents a Battery that Lasts Forever
Joins Play-Doh and champagne as the world’s best unintended innovations.


What do Viagra, popsicles, Corn Flakes, Ivory soap, the kitchen microwave, and champagne have in common? They were all discovered by accident. Add ultra-long-lasting nanowire batteries to that list, thanks to a team of researchers at the University of California Irvine. The average laptop battery is rated anywhere from 300 to 500 charge cycles – completely full to completely empty to completely full again – longer if you don’t use it all up before recharging. The UCI nanobattery endured 200,000 charge cycles over three months “with 94–96% average Coulombic efficiency.” It was effectively still brand new at the end of the experiment.

Let’s go conservative and say the average laptop battery lasts for 1,000 charge cycles, its capacity noticeably diminished after about two years. If that laptop had UCI's nanobattery it would easily last for 400 years (if 1,000 cycles = two years, 200,000 cycles = 400 years). That’s long enough for that laptop to share a name with, but be far less useful than, an actual brick. If UCI can apply its findings to commercial uses, there’s a revolution coming throughout the electronic landscape.

The advance happened when UCI doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai “was playing around” in the lab and coated a set of gold nanowires in manganese dioxide, then applied a “Plexiglas-like” electrolyte gel. Under normal circumstances, nanowires – highly conductive but thousands of times thinner than a human hair – are useless after no more than 8,000 charge cycles because their fragility causes them to crack during charge and discharge loads. At the end of three months, however, the researchers found the nanowires in Thai’s gel-coated battery still intact. They suspect that the gel “plasticizes the metal oxide in the battery,” imbuing the nanowires with flexibility, which equals longevity. Thai said, "The coated electrode holds its shape much better.” The school published its findings in the American Chemical Society journal Energy Letters.

We’re a long way from an immortal, practical battery, though. In 2007 scientists at Stanford came up with a nanowire configuration that got a nanobattery through 40,000 charge cycles. The lead researcher said at the time that manufacturing needed “one or two different steps, but… it’s a well understood process.” Nine years later we’re still carrying charging bricks and fighting over public USB ports.
-- ---------------------------

University of California, Irvine researchers have invented nanowire-based battery material that can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times, moving us closer to a battery that would never require replacement. The breakthrough work could lead to commercial batteries with greatly lengthened lifespans for computers, smartphones, appliances, cars and spacecraft.

Scientists have long sought to use nanowires in batteries. Thousands of times thinner than a human hair, they’re highly conductive and feature a large surface area for the storage and transfer of electrons. However, these filaments are extremely fragile and don’t hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, or cycling. In a typical lithium-ion battery, they expand and grow brittle, which leads to cracking.

UCI researchers have solved this problem by coating a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell and encasing the assembly in an electrolyte made of a Plexiglas-like gel. The combination is reliable and resistant to failure.

The study leader, UCI doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai, cycled the testing electrode up to 200,000 times over three months without detecting any loss of capacity or power and without fracturing any nanowires. The findings were published today in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters.

Hard work combined with serendipity paid off in this case, according to senior author Reginald Penner.

“Mya was playing around, and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it,” said Penner, chair of UCI’s chemistry department. “She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity.”

“That was crazy,” he added, “because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.”