Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Thinking Cap

Updated: September 27, 2014 1:24 pm

INDIA THAT IS BHARAT

 

“I THINK, therefore I am.” Satiricus recalls reading this profound pronouncement somewhere. But is Satiricus Satiricus because Satiricus thinks? Satiricus is not sure. For, he is a journalist, and journalism does not require him to think, it requires him to write. About this he has become convinced after reading columns after learned columns daily in the dailies. But the problem for him is, whenever he sits down to write this column he has to think about what he should write about. And every time he wonders….will this column be suitably silly, ideally idiotic, if not stupendously stupid? Has he written what he has written without wearing the figurative thinking cap? And this is where Satiricus has to report a dire development in science and technology. It is that the thinking cap is now no more just a figure of speech. Some scientists in Australia have actually made a thinking cap which, they crassly claim, “stimulates creativity”. They say they have made it by passing low levels of electricity through the brain. In their initial experiments this electrified device “significantly boosted results in a simple arithmetic test”. And how was this done?—“By suppressing the left side of the brain, associated with knowledge, and stimulating the right side, linked to creativity,” the report says.

And what does Satiricus say? He says thank God for small mercies. He is relieved to see that this thinking cap is of no use to journalists in general and columnists (like Satiricus) in particular, not only because thinking is none of their business, but also—and more importantly—because it suppresses the knowledge part of the brain. As knowledge is not a part of this illiterate profession how can knowledge be suppressed when it is not there to be suppressed?

Insuring Ignorance

LIFE insurance is old hat. Very old hat. Long back, it was followed by accident insurance and fire insurance and goods insurance and car insurance. Then it progressed to the point where a friend of Satiricus insured the furniture in his house. But what is progress if it does not progress? And so, as was inevitable, a famous Hollywood female star insured her lovely, long legs, while another (perhaps more) famous star had reportedly insured her million-dollar smile (probably for a million-dollar premium).

Now, does that mean we have reached the ultimate of what can be and is insured? Not by a long chalk, say the Chinese. For insurance companies in China are now reportedly busy scratching their heads and insuring almost everything they can think of. Your child throws a tantrum and smashes something? No problem. Take out “naughty child insurance”. You are worried smog may spoil the holiday you are thinking of? Not to worry. Insure your proposed holiday. Why, you fear you might burn your tongue if and when you happen to eat something too hot? No cause for fear. You can insure your tongue. What can Satiricus say? He is tongue-tied. But he does agree that there could be an Indian extension to this idea. In fact Satiricus can think of many eminent Indians with invaluable insurable assets. For starters, Rahul Gandhi can also insure his tongue, so that he can safely spew fabulous fibs about how ancient India had a history of poverty and how modern India suffers from the terrorism of RSS which is worse than that of SIMI. Every Congress leader (rather, follower) could insure his knee so that he could genuflect without pain before Mom and Baba. Mayawati could insure every pair of her sandals which she sent a plane to Mumbai to buy. Lalu could insure every straw in his fodder for thought to save it from the cows, and Nitish could insure his coat so that he could wear it comfortably for the twists and turns of a turncoat. As for Satiricus himself, he could insure his key to successful column-writing—by insuring his ignorance to guard it from unwanted knowledge.

Of Dopamine & Happiness

SATIRICUS was never good at maths. He did not progress much beyond two plus two is equal to four. Did that make him unhappy? Not at all. He was quite happy with his ignorance as a dropout. And he is still happy with his ignorance as a journalist. But now he finds to his chagrin that there is actually a mathematical formula to measure how happy he is. A recent report from London says a simple mathematical equation can now correctly tell now happy you are. It all depends on a measurable dope called dopamine, and the level of dopamine in the brain at any given moment shows the quantity of happiness you feel from moment to moment. Well, now, does that mean happiness is momentary? Maybe so. For Satiricus is not happy at the moment he must sit down to write this column in time, and he is happy at the moment the postman hands him the envelope with the editor’s cheque.

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