2009-11-11 The arrow of knowledge

The colloquium today was about how our Galaxy is actually rotating over 10% faster than what was thought earlier. The speaker, Mark Reid, walked us through the history of parallax in the first part. It is always fascinating to see how there are visionaries in different ages who thing far ahead of their time. Often their guesses are wrong in terms of the magnitude, but the spirit is right. Time bears them out. Slowly but steadily our knowledge increases.

Elsewhere have been fighting a battle against astrology. It is equally intriguing to see how some (many) people pull this veil over their beings. Often it is due to some bad thing happening when their mind is weak and some such pseudostuff seemed to have helped them. I am often told that it is rather futile to fight this. To an extent I understand that. But at the same time it is mesmerizing to look at history where kingdoms have been raised and erased following the followership of different Gods, and faiths, and clans. These facets expose an ancient part of our very being, a window into our living past.

Things change and yet they are the same. The ruckus over Marathi in Maharshtra is an example. There was a time when there was Patliputra, the Golden smoke etc. Then some external rulers, the democracy. What exactly is that democracy? To be pushed away by force when some people think they are above the law? In that sense things have not changed. And perhaps they never will. But we keep accumulating new knowledge and revising our knowledge base. It is not an issue of if this is beneficial or not, and neither does the question arise if the new knowledge will be used for just the good or not. The picture that I seem to take away from these different fragments is akin to a spiral galaxy with jets. The junta forms the multitude of stars rotating in the disk. Each going a long way, but collectively not going anywhere. On the other hand the jet represents the abstract knowledge that we are gaining which a small percentage of people near the center are able to appreciate and propagate. It is this brightness that will be visible from far away. For everybody else the plane is truth.