Friday, October 17, 2008

Skepticism! Not Any More

That’s why they say it’s a circle.

Believer, skeptic and a believer again.

When you come into this world, you are a believer.

You ask a thousand questions. The perplexed parents exercise their imaginative skills like never before to give you answers. But you believe them.

“What about the stars? “
“They are people. All people become stars after dying”.

The angels and fairies, mischievous elves, a crocodile that turned to a stone for being a bad boy, a frog that turned to a prince after the princess kissed him, Santa Claus who brings gifts for Christmas, Cinderella’s magic shoes and her carriage, Rapunzel’s long hair that she let down the tower for the handsome prince to climb up, the faraway magic tree, witches on broomsticks…
Everything is possible! Everything.

And as you grow up, you study numerous text books and amass a wealth of knowledge only to become a skeptic.

Everything suddenly seems to need a scientific reason or explanation. ‘Why’ and ‘How’ become the most important questions.

I questioned the superstitions and the traditions.
I questioned the very existence of God.
I questioned the conventions of the society.

I spared no opportunity to scoff at the blind believers.

Today as I write this, I am a believer again. A believer so complete, that what once was mythology is History to me today. Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Perhaps people do become stars after they die.

The only thing I am skeptical about today is science. Science and its custodians - confidently presenting a theory/discovery today (before a press conference) and admitting tomorrow that it was a mistake (without too much embarrassment and without the press conference either).

In Hindu legend there is a mention of a certain king who visited Brahmaloka for a day and returned to earth. When he returned he found that his kingdom was no longer there. He knew none of the people who inhabited the place at that time and he could not believe that so much had changed in just a day. He learnt later that one day in Brahmaloka was equivalent to several thousand years on earth. When the king returned after a one day visit to Brahmaloka, several years had passed and the face of earth had changed.

It was in my final year B.Sc. that I studied the Theory of Relativity. The subject of space and time was amazing and beyond perspective. A theory I recall as I write this is ‘The Twin Paradox’. If there be twins and one of the twins be sent on a space ship that travels at speed of light, when the twin returns to earth, he will actually be much younger than the one who stayed on earth. The reason is when objects travel at speed of light, time expands or passes slowly. Is this not exactly what is meant by “One day in Brahmaloka is equivalent to several thousand years on earth”?


I visited the Himalayas recently. 3 kilometers from Badrinath is the Saraswati River on which is the Bhim Pul. The Pul or bridge is a monolith, the size of a four story building. The guides there will show you “finger impressions” of Bhim on the walls of the monolith. These are multiple elongated concave surfaces on the monolith each 10 to 15 feet high. Trust me, they do look like finger impressions of a giant. I did not scoff.

In Mahabharat, Bhima, the second among the Pandava brothers is described to be a giant. There are mentions of several giants, some 10 feet tall, some 25 feet tall etc.

Now, gravity can be considered as one of the factors inhibiting our growth, specifically, our height. If there were “life” on another planet, it’s gravitational force being half as that of earth, the “beings” would be twice as tall. Right?

Eric Von Daniken, author of ‘Chariots of Gods’ argues that our ancestors did receive visits from extra terrestrials who copulated with beings on earth and bred with the species of earth. Consider, for the moment that a giant from a planet in the outer space were to breed with a homosapien on earth. In all probability the resultant progeny would inherit some of the extra terrestrial’s ‘giantness’ and grow up to be bigger than the ‘pure’ homosapiens. Right?


To the more observant among you, the notion that my ‘belief’ is reinforced by the support of a limited science (the very science about which I am skeptical), as in the examples above, may seem ironical. Actually it is not so.

I have only used the two examples to illustrate that what seemed impossible until recently seem somewhat possible today when subject to a scientific test. If we remind ourselves of the fact that science is still in it’s nascent stage, and incapable of explaining soooo many things in this world, then our belief will no longer be needy of scientific evidences.


Lastly I would say, “Only the fantastic has a chance of being real in the cosmos”.


Satish said...

I saw a billboard few days back which said "Impossible is nothing". Everything is possible, the only ingredients are belief and ability(predominantly belief).

Another example to support the story of BHIM is superman. In his planet, due to immense gravitional power, people had strength of steel. Imgaine if he were to have children on Earth.

There is also assupmtion in most of the indian laws that children donot have mental faculities to understand the laws, hence concessions are given to them. Imgaine if children from outer space, much smarter than our planet were to make use of this loop hole.

Well as long the as Creativity lasts, we need to let our Imagination loose and believe "Impossible is nothing"

Nitish said...

Nice post. I was reminded of Hagrid when I read about the 'giant' thing.

Sowmya said...


You should start blogging. :-) You have so much to say...


Thanks for not being angry, for a change.
BTW, what is Hagrid?

Nitish said...

Angry? When was I ever angry, girl?! Oh, the barrage of words you use on me.. it is but just a difference of opinion! Hagrid is a half-giant from Harry Potter novels. Strong, huge but extremely affectionate!