Why There Is No Such Thing As A Soul Mate


The writer explores the popular romantic concept of soul mate philosophically.

Imagine the following scene. Lovers are locked in an embrace and the Greek god Hephaestus stands over them with his mending tools, asking ‘What is it that you human beings really want from each other?’ The lovers are puzzled and he asks them a further question: ‘Is this your heart’s desire, for the two of you to become parts of the same whole and never to separate day or night? If that is your desire, I’d like to weld you together and join you into something whole, so that the two of you are made into one. Look at your love and see if this is what you desire: wouldn’t this be all that you want?’ We are invited to suppose that the copulating lovers would welcome Hephaestus’ offer and think they had found what they wanted: to fuse with their beloved so that two become one. According to this story, this is because we used to be complete wholes but were torn apart by the gods; love is the name for this pursuit of an original state of wholeness and unity.

The complete article

Dr. Frisbee Sheffield — The Critique

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Robot or ‘Electronic Person’?

T-800, Wall-E and c3PO might look great on-screen but they are still a distant reality for us. AI (Artificial Intelligence) devices, however smart or advance they are touted to be, are yet to take over human jobs or lives.

But the world has already started to think about their legal status. As per a new draft report, The European Union is considering to regard robots (of the future) as ‘electronic persons‘. Currently, this legal definition is a way to hold companies accountable for things their robots might do but sooner or later, it will stir the beginning of the debatable question of treating robots as self-aware beings, increasingly at par with humans.

If a machine can think, decide and act on its own volition, if it can be harmed or held responsible for its actions, should we stop treating it like property and start treating it more like a person with rights? What if a robot achieves true self-awareness? Should it have equal rights with us and the same protection under the law?

Today’s Needull touches this very subject as the author, a renowned lawyer and academician, discusses the legal and philosophical implications of this landmark move. I sincerely wish Asimov was here to see this.

Full Article Here

Kyle Bowyer – The Conversation

Official EU Draft Report Here

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The Pied Piper from India

Around two decades ago, when I was growing up in a boarding school run by monks of Ramakrishna Mission, January was the best month of the year. The days were no more frigid, the yellow marigold and calendulas dotted the massive school campus and there were a lot of festivals lined up; Makar Sankranti, Saraswati Puja, Netaji’s birthday and my favourite Swamiji’s Tithi Puja (oh… how I miss those mishtis).

Swamiji, or Swami Vivekananda, is more than just a Hindu monk or another ochre-robed Guru from the East. If you read his works, you will realize that he understood the true essence of Hinduism (specifically, the Advaita Vedanta stream of it) and the true potential of India (as a national as well as a spiritual entity) more than anyone else and it was no surprise that when he went to the West, he shattered myths and inspired visionaries unlike ever before. With his charismatic persona, deep knowledge & ability to influence, if there was a rockstar of religion, Swamiji would have to be it.

If 19th century was a scientific revolution, I believe that 20th century was a philosophical revolution, as the world rid itself of ‘narrow walls’ of imperialism, slavery and segregation.  Most of the leaders of these revolutions, from Gandhi to Tesla to Che, have acknowledged the influence of Swami Vivekananda even though he had already died a premature death at the wake of the century. Today’s Needull, a 2012 article from The WSJ, looks at the continued global influence of this great soul, even in this century.

Vivekananda’s genius was to simplify Vedantic thought to a few accessible teachings that Westerners found irresistible. God was not the capricious tyrant in the heavens avowed by Bible-thumpers, but rather a power that resided in the human heart.

Full Article Here

Ann Louise Bardach – The Wall Street Journal

Bonus Read: Full Speech of Swami Vivekananda at Parliament of the World Religions, Chicago, 1893

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Steven Pinker on Language, Reason, and the Future of Violence

steven pinker

This needull is a very detailed interview of Steven Pinker. Includes the audio as well.

I think language is central to everything else that’s human. I think that it has very much figured in our evolution by making social cooperation that much easier — namely, with language, for example, you can make an agreement to do a favor for someone now in exchange for a very different payback or a payback very far in the future, something you can’t do when you’re just bartering physical goods.

I think that since our species lives on information, information is the ultimate trade good because it is a nonrivaled good. You can share it with someone else without being deprived of it yourself. It can be multiplied, and that makes it the ideal medium of reciprocity, conferring a large benefit to someone else at a small cost to oneself.

The complete interview

Conversations with Tyler

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Is Wealthy the Only Rich?

What does it mean to be rich? Is it just having a lot of wealth amassed or is there more to it? Does a rich life have to be wealthy as well? In today’s needull, many a new wealth heroes answer these questions. All these perspectives move me to take the plunge towards a 4-hour work week.

‘‘Time is money’ is a weird saying – and a stupid one too. Time is freedom. Time is the only thing that matters and the experiences that you pack into it are the only true measure of your wealth.

‘Before the children were born I was the creative director for Red Bull in the US and my wife Chrissie was a project manager there. We worked 24/7, always in the air from one place to another. It was insane and exciting, and we were earning a lot of money.

‘But when Chrissie discovered she was pregnant six years ago, we decided to pull the parachute on that lifestyle and slow our whole world right down.

‘We planned our exit carefully and I opened a small design studio in Hamburg located just a few minutes from a great kindergarten and from our home.

The complete article

The Future Laboratory

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A Perishable Commodity


So they did. The media is a flesh-eating zombie, and the minting of celebrity, like the making of sausage and violin strings, is not an act of grace. What feeds the multitude gathered at the checkout counters is the agony of the grotesque body “that fecundates and is fecundated…drinks, defecates, is sick and dying”: the entrails of Diana’s bulimia, Lindsay Lohan’s bouts with alcohol and drugs, buttocks by Kim Kardashian, the seepings from Charlie Sheen’s voracious penis or from Donald Trump’s gloriously defecating mouth.

The complete article

Lewis H. Lapham — Lapham’s Quarterly

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A Wall of Frost

Today’s needull is the first poem recommendation. Very beautiful.

A Wall of Frost

The Mumbai weather at its sultry worst –

Warm and humid (at 79%),

Even past midnight,

And yet our tears

Instead of rolling down our cheeks,

Freeze to formed a wall of frost between us.

One word,

One word from either one of us,

And it would have shattered the ice

But we did not say anything.

We left,

And I carried the rime home with me,

That now melts and drips

On me, Within me –

Drop-by-drop –

And does not let me sleep.

The blog — Abhishek’s (sub)Conscious