Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Q: How do I help a poor person effectively?
MR: Help him/her by helping himself or herself. Then they will learn the value of money. Although you can assist the person by giving him/her some money, I have seen misuse of money by even poor people. One of my cousins used to give money to an old beggar near her home daily only to find out that he was using this money to buy beedies to smoke all the day! Since then she has been giving only food to him and he started complaining!
We used to give money to Orphanages but they are using the money not to feed and educate children but to buy costly furniture/TVs and other entertainment equipment. Now we are providing meals, books and clothes directly to the children.
Educate the poor or provide training free of cost. That will really help them and make them responsible citizens.
Q: What are some good responses to people who are mistreating you?
MR: Just ignore them. Move away from them. Don't give them more chances to bully you. They don't deserve to be in your life. You have better things to do in life than worrying about them.
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent!
Don't get upset with people or situations, both are powerless without your reaction!
Q: Is isolation good for people ( after reading one of your articles on the topic, I am asking you this Q)?
Krishna: Yes, if people around don't understand you and start harassing and bullying you.
Q: Do you think people's behaviour towards a person X is influenced by the way other people treat him/her? If so, doesn't that defeat the whole point of getting to know people?
MR: Yes, majority of the people get influenced by their peers' opinions. But that behaviour, I think, shows human immaturity. People who cannot think on their own or have weak minds do that. One of my uncles who was in love with a dark woman said this when all his family members asked him why he fell in love with an ugly woman: 'If you see with my eyes- not yours- you will notice her beauty. ' Then he went ahead- despite opposition from all his family members - and married her and stayed with her till her death. That is what I call maturity.
But then how many people can do this? In this age of internet very few- so few that you can count them on your fingers.
When one person starts bullying a friend, I noticed, all the others in the group too start doing it totally isolating the person. Bad behaviour spreads like wild fire and engulfs the whole communities. That is why we need people who can say, 'Wait a minute. I am going to oppose this and stop this nonsense'.
Q: What does an introvert lose out on in his/her life?
MR: Nothing! The meaning of 'enjoying life' differs from person to person. Introverts have a different opinion about life and their parameters are different. You need not measure yourself from others' parameters and cry in self pity. I am an introvert myself but enjoy my life in my own way. I get a thrill in finding/discovering new things in my lab. Going somewhere where nobody has gone before all alone gives me a high. Helping people to understand the most difficult subjects gives me excitement. Creatively connecting various subjects and doing new experiments inspires me more. Now who cares about silly talks and jokes? I get more intoxicated with all these things than several others and I love each moment of my life! People respect me for the help they receive from me. They come to me more and more when they can't find a way themselves. If they see the smile on my face and that twinkle in my eye, extravorts will definitely feel jealous!
Q: Question That Contains Assumptions: Why are some Indian girls rude to guys who try to approach them?
MR: Because the guys don't know we are pursuing our dreams right now and don't have time for them! ' Stalkers, Keep off! I want to deal only with my goals right now' is the message the smart girls are sending. :)
Q: What kind of career can a man have that immediately impresses you?
MR: A scientist with lots of knowledge, creativity, innovation, intellectual pursuits, curiosity and a person who really wants to help the world with this powerful combination.
I also like soldiers!
Q: Skills: The Italian Artist Giotto, when asked to demonstrate his brilliance, drew a perfect circle free-hand. What seemingly simple thing could you do to demonstrate your brilliance?
MR: I can write a poem as well as create an art work on a science theme. Brilliance? Don’t know! But very few people can connect all the three fields.
An unfortunate side effect of the biological revolution of psychiatry is in perceiving emotional discomfort as undesirable or bad, something we shouldn’t feel, something that can be medicated away. And while medications can be life-saving and necessary with severely disabling conditions such as psychosis, mania, depression, and debilitating anxiety, to name a few, perhaps we’ve taken a troublesome short-cut along the way. Mental health may now be seen as the absence of mental pain, flat-lining on happy, or no emotions at all, rather than the ability to live a bumpy, personally meaningful life, despite the pain that goes with it.
How much of our mental suffering is created from our attempts to avoid discomfort, rather than realizing that we can actually allow, tolerate and overcome our difficult experiences?
Often we focus on the probability of the threat, problem-solving to prevent it or telling ourselves that it’s really not that likely, as a way to manage our anxiety. But when there are real threats in life, and real painful emotions that feel threatening in themselves, the solution is in how we actually can cope when things go wrong. Deal them in a realistic way.
Vulnerability, struggle and adversity do actually develop your personality in a strong way if you deal with it correctly. Life's lessons are something learnt from struggle. Not only learning to live wholeheartedly despite adversity, but living wholeheartedly because of coping with adversity. If we don’t experience anything threatening, we can’t learn that we actually can cope. “Without the mud, you cannot grow the lotus flower.”
Rather than trying to reduce the threats of painful events from happening, people should try to manage coping when pain inevitably does happen. Because that is the reality of life. Pain and sorrow along with a few happy moments - a good mixture for a fuller life .
Once we feel better inside after realizing reality as it is, we get more motivated to cope with it, or upbeat to face it, we will go for a run. Or once we feel more confident, we even try to help others in similar situations.
Call this working from the inside-out. However we can also work from the outside in. That is, even if we don’t feel like it and we push ourselves to go for a run, we can feel better and more energetic because we ran despite all the odds!
In our more primitive limbic system of our brains, our emotions are hard-wired not only to communicate to ourselves and others, but to propel action, and fast. In most situations, these emotionally-driven behaviors are extremely helpful for us (e.g. if you see a tiger, fear tells you to flee; if you lose a loved one, sadness guides you to stay home from work and seek support). But sometimes, our emotions get short-circuited in patterns that no longer serve us. So fear pushes us to flee from everything, sadness to withdraw from the activities that would help us feel better, and shame to hide so we never get a chance to connect and recover.
These urges to avoid at all costs can make our lives very small: when we avoid undesirable emotions, we end up losing out on all the enlivening ones too. That’s when we need to invite the higher level of our brain, the prefrontal cortex, in to reflect: are these emotions pushing us in a helpful direction? Are they allowing us to live the full life we would like to live? If the answer is no, Opposite Action has our prefrontal cortex (the high road of the brain) override our limbic system (the low road), pushing us to act the opposite of how we feel, even if means actually feeling the uncomfortable emotion in the moment. This all boils down to gently acknowledging and allowing the difficult emotion, while continuing to move in a helpful long-term direction (e.g. gradually approaching fears or continuing to engage with others and activities despite sadness or shame).
Our natural reaction to difficult feelings is to push them away, and fast. Or we cling to them, ruminating, convinced that we will be able to problem-solve our way out of them, fueling the fire.
Think of our pain and suffering as being hit by two arrows. The first arrow, the inevitable pain of life, whether a difficult event, thought or feeling, is shot at us; we have little control over this. But then we shoot a second arrow at ourselves with our own reaction to the pain, amplifying and prolonging it. The suffering from the refusal or pushing away of this pain, the "it shouldn’t be here," the "I can’t stand this," but also the blaming, the ruminating, the "why me?" the "it’s always been this way and always going to be this way" stories: these are the parts we add. To put it simply: pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
You are a living being. Life is a mixture of both sorrows as well as happiness. You cannot expect only happiness in your life. You should also develop courage to face the adversities. Life will not come again and again to you. Just once is your chance. Make use of it as completely as possible. Don't let it go waste. Do everything you like. Listen to your favourite music. Paint that picture that defies beauty. Write a poem. Learn something new. Help that young beggar girl that comes everyday in search of food. Become extremely busy in doing these things.
MR: Yes, I think so, because they don’t look up at sky for some help or advise! They don’t fear about punishment from higher authority to keep away from unethical things and do good things.
They don’t depend on ‘our group of religious beliefs’ for emotional support. They use their own reasoning power to come to conclusions - and don’t depend on any rules set in stone or written in books.
They take full responsibility for all their actions and treat all human beings, irrespective of their beliefs, as equal.
Can a stalker answer this Q?
Yes, some men who stalked me told me they feel like doing it over and over again and can’t control themselves despite my negative reactions. They told me they feel like seeing me, talking to me, touching me over and over again.
I asked them - don’t they care about my emotions like irritation, anger and displeasure?
To my shock they asked me to why I couldn’t control those emotions and try to understand them…
That really changed my thought process. I try to understand their emotions. Hormonal causes, pleasure and rewarding centers in their brains and other biological processes that might be responsible for their actions too cross my mind. I realize their brains are differently wired. I try to reduce my anger. But can’t fully forgive the stalkers … if somebody is not interested in you, don’t approve your actions, if your actions are causing disturbance to others, you should try to use your mind, analyze the situation and stop doing what you are doing if you are a good person.
If you think when a hero in a movie can succeed in winning a girl’s heart by stalking her, you too can succeed, you are highly mistaken. Because in real life when a girl says ‘no’, she really means ‘no’. Period.
Q: I feel I am not well informed like some of my friends. That is why I don't talk much fearing that they would find out about my ignorance. In case they find out about me what should I do?
Krishna: It is better to accept your ignorance and learn things than pretending to be otherwise.
I will tell an interesting story. Recently one of my friends told us a good joke.
An Indian Lady visited a Bar for the First Time, She Sat on the Table in Front of the Bar Tender..
A Guy on her Left side ordered: "Jack Daniels, Single"
A Guy on her Right Side ordered: "Johnny Walker, Single"
The Bar Tender Looked at the Lady & said: And You..??
Lady replied: "Savitri Deshpande, Married."
Everybody started laughing. Then I said...
*Even I would have said the same the lady said. Because I too don’t know anything about drinks! :)*
All my friends clapped. One of them said ... Nice to see someone admitting their ignorance, very rare these days, you know; hats off :)
I was thrilled! There is nothing wrong in being who you are and letting the world know about it.
Q: When there are severely malnourished children in our country, why do we waste milk by pouring them on statues? When i ask this Q, one of my friends says..
I don't pour anything on any God but this question doesn't make any sense…by same logic why don't you go and ask those malnourished kids parents that if they don't have money to pay for the kids food why did they produce children?
Will you go and ask others for money because you want to start a family?
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against helping people but I am against the arrogant assumption that I need to spend my hard earned money on something righteously Acceptable like helping poor.
I will waste it on a deity or myself or really on poor kids, it's my choice and nobody has right to judge me for it.
Krishna: Glad you realized that. Now try to educate people that feeding children is more important than cleansing statues - actually it is spoiling them - with milk.
I don’t agree with your friend. By her logic, don’t poor people have the right to produce children? The very essence of life is to reproduce and propagate. She herself is judging the poor and saying that people who don’t earn enough cannot have children! And who is responsible for these disparities in incomes? The poor too work like you and I do but don’t get enough to spend on even basic necessities! One of my professor friends told me he earns one and half lakhs per month just by teaching for one hour per day in a university class room! A construction worker who works whole day in the sun might not even get a hundred rupees per day. According to your friend's argument, the construction worker cannot have children because he is not earning enough even though he works harder than you and me! And what is wrong in asking to share some of our money with people who are working as hard as we do but not earning enough - because of societal injustices? Sharing our money is doing justice to the poor.
Nobody can do anything if your friend refuses to share her money but want to waste it on other things but as social beings we share a responsibility towards well being of our societies. If people refuse to accept it, social injustices will cause friction and crime rates increase and societies will collapse.
Q: As a South Indian, what advice would you give to North Indians?
Krishna: Your Q made me very distressed.
Why should we think in terms of regions in the first place? Or races or countries or continents? We are all human beings first and citizens of this universe! Forget about other things.
Q: Why do people dispute?
Krishna: Disputes often occur because people look at the same situation differently. And when they refuse to see and understand things from other's point of view too.
Q: Your reply to one of the Qs above made me ask this Q: Is success only point in life? Do you think a person is a genius and great only when when he succeeds in earning lots of money?
Krishna: Unfortunately majority of the people think so. They think earning lots of money and succeeding in accumulating wealth denotes intelligence. And success is the only mark of a genius.
But true intellectuals think in different ways. For them success is going from failure to failure without losing interest or enthusiasm because not many people can achieve success in one or two attempts. It takes lots of time and effort, especially in scientific research.
Money is not important but helping people around find their way is more vital for intellectuals.
Facing life in a realistic way - neither positive nor negative is a mark of a true genius. If you are not prepared for dealing with adversities in life in a right and realistic manner, you become depressed and impotent and can never win battles of life and achieve anything in life.
Q: Can you define life in two words?
Krishna: So beautiful!
Q: What is something about being an atheist that most people don't understand?
Krishna: An atheist’s courage to swim across the tide and take full responsibility for whatever happens!
An atheist’s way of critical thinking.
Q: If God isn't real, then why do a lot of people still believe in religion after thousands of years? Do atheists think about this? If God is just fictional and imaginary then why can’t you convince & change the minds of the people that religion is BS? They still believe up to this day (and maybe another thousand more years) and you’re still a minority and your belief is still not widely spread or accepted. Why is that?
Krishna: Theists still think with their religiously, culturally and emotionally conditioned minds. Not everybody is strong enough to come out of these states of mind and overcome the fear of the unknown. Not everybody can think critically and have the courage to discard things that don’t have any evidence.
Why isn’t atheism widely spread? Because atheists are not interested in trying to keep people in their grip by conditioning people’s minds. They are not afraid of losing power, position and are not after pay and prosperity brought by followers.
Above all atheists can understand that most people need some ‘emotional support’ from their ‘religious groups’ and ‘God’ and cannot stand on their own. If you try to remove that support, these people will collapse mentally. Atheists know how hard it is to take full responsibility for everything they do without any ‘external assistance’.
Q: If God exists, what would he be like?
Krishna: Undoubtedly, he would be a great scientist because he created this universe based on great scientific principles!
Q: What single word sums up your life?
Q: When nothing seems to work out (in life), what is the one thing you look up to? ( Don't tell me it's God)
Krishna: :) My critical thinking capabilities. To reason out why things are not working and how I can improve myself.
Q: If you were given $ 1 Trillion, what would you do with the amount?
Krishna: I will spend half of it for scientific research and donate the other half to charity.
$1 trillion is too much to handle. I cannot keep it with me.
Q: Is respect to be given or earned?
Krishna: Respect has to be earned.
If you do all silly and unimaginable dirty things in your life, just because you have added lots of years to your life, I will not give you respect.
Similarly just because you gave birth to them, your children will not salute you everyday if you fail to do your duty towards them.
Just because a person has grey hair, wear saffron or white clothes and stand at the podium of a ‘holy place’ people will not respect him if he doesn’t share unbiased love with them.
If you are an idiot holding a very high position, people might pretend that they respect you for courtesy ‘s sake but in their heart of hearts, they still despise you.
In other words, true respect has to be earned, it will never be given wholeheartedly.
Q: What is life and where do we go after death?
According to science, we all belong to one universe. We were born here as a result of coming together of a few atoms and some energy and the resultant consciousness. In the end we will return to the place where we came from. The bits and energy our bodies are made of will be returned to the universe for the recycling process to continue.
After death you just cease to exist as a conscious being and the atoms your body is made up of is recycled.
We all came from star dust and energy. And go to it again. In never ending cycles, each atom of our bodies goes to other forms, including the living ones both while we are still living and after our deaths. Atoms from other bodies come to us. There will be atoms that have been inside a living cell that started 3.5 billion years ago on our planet and are still in living cells today.
After our deaths and destruction we too return back to the universe as individual atoms and energy, to the one body that recycles them and we all belong to whether we lived with our conscious bodies or existed as inanimate forms.
Inspiration and growth only come from adversity and from challenge — from stepping away from what's comfortable and familiar and stepping out into the unknown."