Posts Tagged ‘tradition’

Krishnamurti, whom we featured earlier on this blog, shares his timeless message in this short biographical clip:

From his wikipedia entry:

Jiddu Krishnamurti, (May 12, 1895–February 17, 1986) was a well known writer and speaker on philosophical and spiritual subjects. His subject matter included: the purpose of meditation, human relationships, the nature of the mind, and how to enact positive change in global society.

Krishnamurti was born into a Telugu Brahmin family in what was then colonial India. In early adolescence, he had a chance encounter with prominent occultist and high-ranking theosophist C.W. Leadbeater in the grounds of the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar in Madras (now Chennai). He was subsequently raised under the tutelage of Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, leaders of the Society at the time, who believed him to be a “vehicle” for an expected World Teacher. As a young man, he disavowed this idea and dissolved the worldwide organization (the Order of the Star) established to support it. He claimed allegiance to no nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, and spent the rest of his life traveling the world as an individual speaker, speaking to large and small groups, as well as with interested individuals.

Here’s a clip about his thoughts on society, excerpted in Zeitgeist Addendum:

The crisis is a crisis in consciousness, a crisis that cannot anymore accept the old norms, the old patterns, the ancient traditions.

And considering what the world is now with all their misery conflict, destructive brutality, aggression, and so on, man is still as he was: is still brutal, violent, aggressive, acquisitive, competitive, and he has built a society along these lines.

In our last post about Krishnamurti, we learned about how and why he dissolved his own spiritual order–because he believes that the pursuit of truth should be an individual endeavour. This sentiment is echoed once again in this clip, also excerpted from Zeitgeist Addendum:

What we are trying to, in all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind. Not accept things as they are, no the world does not explain it, but to understand it, to go into it, to examine it, give your heart and your mind and everything that you have to find out a way of living differently.

But that depends on you and not somebody else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil, there is no leader, there is no guru there is no master no saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil, you are the master, you are the guru, you are the leader.

You are everything.

And to understand, is to transform what is.

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Touch-screen smartphones are now the rage these days. To get a taste, just check out this round-up from PCMag featuring the new iPhone and its competitors.

It’s a touch (pun intended) of deja vu reading this present day rage against a talk I saw on TED a year ago, a presentation by Jeff Han on the possibilities of a multi-touch interface which is as far from the present day point and click as the mouse was from a keyboard.

Check out Han’s talk here for reinspiration.

This evolution of interface brings me back to the classic question on the QWERTY keyboard which we have come to accept as a foundation of our present lives. Most people using computers now are no longer familiar with the history of QWERTY–which has its roots in a mechanical limitation of typewriters which necessitated the unique and bizarre arrangement of letters.

A short history of QWERTY:

In 1714 Henry Mill took out the first patent (number 385) for a typewriter in England. Most of the 100+ early attempts at typewriters were in ABC order, and some to enable the blind to write. Then Christopher Latham Sholes of Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA, invented a typewriter in September 1867. As with previous attempts the keys were in an ABCDEFG layout, and the typists soon got too fast and jammed the keys. The key levers hit the platen from underneath and then fell back down under gravity. He didn’t think to put return springs on to fix the problem.

Instead he solved this by asking his brother in law to devise a different layout of the keys. Publicly he said it was to put the most commonly used letters far apart on the keyboard to reduce the chances of the levers jamming. The result was Qwerty (the Qwerty layout).

Unfortunately, the utility of the arrangement has long since been rendered obsolete since keyboards have not been mechanical for decades. And glaringly, this is one area of technology where tradition supercedes innovation.

Which is why I am happy about touchscreen–finally an INNOVATION that fundamentally changes everything we know, in addition to making our lives more convenient and efficient which is what technology is all about. What the trackball and mouse failed to do, touchscreen and multi-point might.

Or not. As the article above says:

Qwerty’s history is about big money, mass production, a weapons company, monopoly, vested interests, poor design and a total disregard for the best interests of beginners. Qwerty was not designed to improve typing, but to slow typists down for a primitive typewriter that didn’t have return springs.

Like paper tape readers and card punches, Qwerty was created by older technology and is being replaced by better technology. Qwerty’s decline began with the humble mouse, and new technologies will make it obsolete in the short term. Millions now use voice and pen input systems. New technologies such as text messaging, touch-screen systems and PDA’s have prepared for the future with alphabetic layouts now.

If you already use Qwerty, that industry has already taken your time and money learning their layout. There is no point spending more and you should stick with it for the duration, which hopefully won’t be long.

Star Trek Voice recognition is still far away, but meantime, I’ll be poking screens fervently!

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One of blogs I’ve recommended in the past for frequent visits is Instik Siomai’s blog. Written with a very unique point-of-view: an honest look at traditional Chinese practices, and with a feminine twist (arguably the disparaged gender especially in Chinese practice).

Her latest post includes a comment about parenthood, and comparison and contrasts between Filipino and Chinese (at least Philippine Chinese) approaches.

An excerpt:

Most people love to cuddle babies, probably because humans have insatiable appetite for affection. Adults “learn” to be embarrassed with showing and demonstrating affection. This is even worse among Chinese. Chinese are more uptight and stuck up. My parents are making it a big deal whenever they see couples hold hands in the mall. All Chinese parties I go to are so superficially staged. I would rather get a genuine hug and affection than a superficial “Angpao” from them.

Intsik Siomai’s honesty and in-your-face humor is a refreshing take on otherwise taboo topics, and her words have elicited more than passing replies (mostly of shock, sarcasm, some of outrage) from her mostly male(?) audience.

Check out her blog here.

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