Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘scientific’

Unschakles the Mind

Review: The Last Conception by Gabriel Constans
Reviewed by Monica Arora. 23 September 2014
KITAAB (“Book” in Hindi) Singapore

LastConception-CoverThe oft-debated dichotomy between modern scientific research and wisdom of traditional values, religious beliefs and spiritual propensities have formed the basis of several discussions, debates, deliberations and continues to dog the human sensibility, constantly torn between the two. This conflict between science and spiritualism forms the basis of the engaging novel by Gabriel Constans, entitled ‘The Last Conception’.

The plot revolves around the young female protagonist Savarna Sikand, who is an embryologist engaged in working with fertility treatments in a high-tech laboratory in San Francisco, US. Meanwhile, her parents, hailing from the south-eastern part of India, but settled in the United States, and deeply rooted in some ancient religious cult, express their desire for their daughter to conceive and thereby continue their rare lineage. What follows is a gripping saga of the dilemma faced by the young scientist Savarna who fights very hard to tread the fine line between her parents’ spiritual beliefs and her own scientific wisdom.

Gabriel has come up with a taut narrative that is extremely simple and yet keeps the reader engaged with its fast pace and myriad topics conjuring doubts, dogmas and apprehensions in minds of young people all over the globe. Right from exploring alternate sexuality and its ramifications on the immediate family to the delicate issue of childlessness, all are dwelt upon with much thought and deliberation and ‘The Last Conception’ offers a rare insight into lives of seemingly ordinary men and women dealing with such quandaries on a day-to-day basis.

Moreover, there is this keen sense of urgency and uncertainty running throughout the narrative pertaining to Savarna’s attempts at conception and the traumas, both mental and physical, which have to be endured for accomplishing the same. The high point of the novel comes in the form of adoption of an Indian-origin baby by Savarna’s sister Chitra owing to her infertility and the feelings of joy, pleasure and pride experienced by the entire family thereafter. Such sensitive subjects are dealt with much bravado and wisdom by the author and offer a lot of information to readers regarding these subjects, thereby clearing several dogmas and misconceptions plaguing childless couples and misled elders, who succumb to mindless religious dictates and notions without studying their cause and effect in detail.

What really touched me was how the parents of the two girls, Mira and Mr Sikand, handle their daughters’ dilemmas as well as their old mother’s beliefs continuing from unwavering faith in a dwindling sect of ancient India. The maturity of their feelings and their ability to keep their family together under all circumstances stands as a pinnacle of hope in contemporary times mired under the garb of modern values or lack of them and hence, offering no emotional solace to lonely, weary souls in a confused society.

‘The Last Conception’ is indeed a very noble attempt by the author to choose such unusual and uncommon themes and write a piece of prose that unshackles the mind and offers rare insight into the much spoken and widely discussed matter of science vs spirituality. With immense care and caution, Gabriel has gently treaded around prickly territory and offered a well-researched and well-structured story which deserves to be read and preserved not just as a treasure-trove of information but also juxtaposing human emotions.

Read entire review and more at KITAAB.

Science of Indigenous Wisdom

Scientific Discoveries Play Catch-Up To Indigenous Wisdom
October 11th, 2012 By Alan Pierce
The Pachamama Alliance

Indigenous knowledge predates the scientific method by countless generations. Perhaps it’s unfair then to fault science for still being in catch-up mode when it comes to understanding Nature as an emotionally intelligent, deeply interconnected organism.

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Curiosity Prevails Over Scientific Dogma

An alive and aware natural world is and has been an ancestral truth amongst the world’s indigenous knowledge systems for centuries.

In its necessity for a structured, empirical approach to describing Nature, it is understandable that science has dismissed ideas like plants whispering to each other, animals grieving for their dead, or the illusion of separateness as merely quaint fables, metaphors rather than reality.

However, recent studies and theoretical models suggest such dismissal might be unjustified and, quite frankly, unscientific.

Ideas such as human-like consciousness in animals, extended awareness and communication in plants, or the emotional toll of death on other non-human species are now being given serious scientific thought. Thankfully, the only thing ultimately stronger than human arrogance is human curiosity.

The Science of Indigenous Wisdom

Here is a list of scientific breakthroughs which demonstrate the profound substance of indigenous wisdom, which understands Nature to be more alive and interdependent than science has given it credit for.

In a very formal affair, scientists recently convened to declare that both animal and human consciousness are alike.

Apparently, a grieving process is not unique to humans either. Death rituals have been observed in species ranging from dolphins, to elephants, to scrub jays, and more.

In this informative video, an ecologist provides thoughtful insight into the amazing way in which trees communicate in a deeply interconnected system, which sustains each individual tree and the forest as a whole.

Researchers in Australia have found a way to document a fascinating communication system between plants, one in which the human ear can actually hear the conversation underground.

Perhaps the most universal indigenous perspective is the idea of a world inextricably interconnected, on all levels, and across time. Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson speaks from a scientific viewpoint as he offers very similar sentiments.

Read rest of article and more at Pachamama Alliance.

Who Are You?

This may sound philosophical, spiritual or religious and perhaps it is, but “it” is as much science as insight and is an ever present reality that “I” am often blind too.

Lately, “I’ve” been seeing, thinking, feeling and observing how everything is connected and interconnected. It’s not the first time “I’ve” become aware of this, but it seems more prominent in my consciousness of late. The person or being that “I” and/or others identify as Gabriel, is both unique and important, as well as insignificant and a small part of the whole.

People, plants, animals, air, trees, water, earth, the planet, the solar system, the universe, the smallest particles and atoms all effect one another and are interdependent in millions of micro and macroscopic ways. Nothing and no one is immune or left untouched by this ever-changing existence of matter, sub-matter, energy and what is seen and not seen.

There are times when “I” am nowhere to be found. When “my” ego or attachment to “my” drama, personality, circumstances, family, friends and community is absent. Such times, moments or nows, are liberating and freeing.

Since “I” am also apart of it all and “my” thoughts, feelings, desires and actions also have effects, “I” am also of equal importance and responsible for co-creating with everything else. Thus, “I” practice taking personal responsibility in an impersonal way with compassion and intention of doing no harm.

So, what am “I” saying? “I”, who am named Gabriel Constans, whose body resides in Santa Cruz California, is known as married to Audrey Blumeneau and “has” 5 children and 2 grandchildren; is filled with gratitude for having the qualities of consciousness and awareness that make it possible for “me” to be and to “live” this experience we call life. Everything depends on everything. “Independence” and separation are a myth and only appear to exist when “we” forget to remember and be.

I Am by Tom Shadyac

Went and saw I Am, a documentary by Tom Shadyac, with a friend yesterday. Very important, insightful and challenging film. The theater was packed when we got there, as the film is becoming more well known. The movie and director were both featured on Oprah last week.

In some respects, I Am is similar to What the Bleep Do We Know?. It takes different scientific studies and scientists, to explain how connected all life on the planet is (not just theoretically, but actually). He also interviews various philosophers, spiritual leaders and thinkers to get their views on “What is wrong with the world and what can we do to make it better?”

I Am is different from What the…, because it is much more personal, well photographed and edited (he had more money to do so) and it also looks closely at the cancer of consumption and wanting “more” as symptoms of the human race which may be our demise, if we do not wake up and take another path.

Mr. Shadyac doesn’t preach, but shares the insights he had after accumulating a great deal of wealth (from making movies like Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams, etc.), having an accident and re-evaluating his life purpose. He also explores how other biological systems interact, cooperate and communicate. Most people leave this movie with a good feeling and a desire to do good.

The following words from the films website provides an accurate summary.

“Shadyac’s enthusiasm and optimism are contagious. Whether conducting an interview with an intellectual giant, or offering himself as a flawed character in the narrative of the film, Shadyac is an engaging and persuasive guide as we experience the remarkable journey that is I AM. With great wit, warmth, curiosity, and masterful storytelling skills, he reveals what science now tells us is one of the principal truths of the universe, a message that is as simple as it is significant: We are all connected – connected to each other and to everything around us.”

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