The lobster debate, Social Hierarchy and Jordan B Peterson


While reading the latest book I picked up, I came across this fascinating and fantastic trivia about lobsters’ behaviors. I assure you that you too will be surprised to learn about it. It is a very cool analogy and the correlation between the Human kingdom and Animal ones. This can be utilized to reason out a few characteristics such as male dominance, the effect of antidepressants and the social hierarchy, including even patriarchy. It goes like this:

  1. Like any animal kingdom species, lobsters get into disputes and fights to register male dominance. As usual, the battle is to determine who is the best suitable mate to carry the gene forward. As decided by binary results, the lobster that won the brawl will flex and get bigger physically, advertising his victory. The looser will shrink physically.
  2. Suppose you inject antidepressant, like serotonin, to the lost lobster. It stretches and gets bigger and ready to fight again. By the way, the same hormone work works on the human as well,
  3. An interesting point to note is that these neurochemical behaviors exist in the animal kingdom for 2.5 million years. i.e., Even before trees became into existence.
  4. A defeated human, such as with PTSD, will have the hippocampus shrink and the amygdala grow. A hippocampus can grow back with the help of anti-depressants. However, amygdala never grows back. Similarly, a defeated lobster will have its brain dissolved, and a new one grows back but not of the same one before.
  5. Basically, the argument is that the animal kingdom, including humans, organizes itself in the inevitably aligned social hierarchy, which is evolutionary and driven by neurologist chemical reactions. Not due to a political system such as capitalism. In other words, the human hierarchical organization in the political system has the evolutionary design to blame, not the other way around.
Photo by Roger Brown on Pexels.com

Apparently, this conclusion is based on a study on lobster, collective behaviors, social hierarchy etc. And the books where I picked up is “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos ” by Jordan B. Peterson. I will not be able to validate the theory as I am not qualified enough to do this. But he is a well-published author, Professor, clinical psychologist and public intellectual. I am gonna have to go with him this time.

Most rules of these books are controversial now, often unnecessarily. Jordan and his book are receiving end of American university students’ anger and social figures leaning left. Most noise comes from those who have not read it, instead of having their knowledge based on 140 characters of Twitter. Understandably the book is not an easy read. The technical terms, psychological reasoning etc., make it a laborious read. Unless you made up your mind to complete it, it is not gonna finish itself.

I recommend this to you if you are still interested, take it as a fresh perspective on the latest sets of social debates.

Yuval Noah Harari – Trilogy


Okay, it’s done. I’ve read all three books of Yuval Noah Harari, a self imposed challenge BTW I highly recommend that you read them, these books are gems of the books.. 

Unfortunately, my views and ratings seem to be in line with many critics on the Internet, have nothing more to add, it will be redundant. Also, I am quite late in the game, and hence mine is probably the millionth post on this topic.

Anyways, I have listed them in the order of my likings :

  1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  2. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
  3. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Summary : 

  1. Highly recommended, you are missing out if you have not read them yet.
  2. You do not need to be an avid reader to pick those yet has profound Thought-provoking concepts. If you want your kid or loved ones to pick up the reading habit, then these are the right ones.
  3. Slightly leftist, but generally liberal.
  4. Straightforward read, and definitely not not laborious reading such as works of Christopher Hitchens 

If you want to turn a few pages before you decide to buy them, here you go :

A case for ‘pure poison’ coconuts


In your opinion, what is the most vilified food item or ingredient that ever is, and does not deserve the hate?

Let’s see. There’s dietary fat, where two whole generations reduced it’s consumption because FDA said so. There is an ongoing phobia of gluten, where an entire section of society avoids consuming it because it’s bad for a tiny fraction of humanity. Ajinomoto (monosodium glutamate) might deserve to be notorious, but Jury is still divided on this one.

There are also sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which were adequately proven to be the reason behind the current obesity pandemic. But these do not attract sufficient regulation to control consumption.

Anyways, I was referring to the Coconut. This has a tragic story. Coconut is called all the names and condemned for a few decades now.

In 90s urban south Indians, with their infinite wisdom, stopped eating coconut products and oils and switched to sunflower. Thanks to a few “scientific” articles of modern food gurus, Indians chose to abandon the natural food ingredients they had been using for centuries if not the millennium. A few south-east Asian countries made a fortune exporting palm oil to India catering newfound coconut phobia of Indians. India is the largest importer of Vegetable oils. India still does meet more than 70% of her cooking oil demand through imports.

Over a couple of decades, there were sporadic epiphanies in the food-science world that Coconut might actually maybe good. Additionally, it’s actually not just ‘good’ it’s a superfood. There was a flood of articles comparing it’s smoking temperature, fat composition etc. with the celebrated Olive Oil. It apparently stands at the same level as olive oil and other Indian products such as ghee and butter.

Even then, a small section of food experts still carried on with their campaign against Coconut. One of the recent examples I can give is a Harvard professor called Coconut is pure poison. I am not paraphrasing; I am actually using her own words “pure poison.”. So, Coconut fearmongering continues for another generation.

I am going to leave you with a rebuttal by Eric Berg. Enjoy.

Saree, Kachra and Rathore


This is a more of research paper for a blog post. I literally had to reside below a bodhi tree for a month to gain this knowledge. You better read it and like it. 🙂

If you recall a post I had Previously written, I had adequately addressed a few of my north Indian friends’ quintessential questions. It was “Why does Karnataka has a flag of its own, while other states don’t“. This is the second one in that series “Why do South-Indians add a letter h to ‘t‘ sound, such as Jayalalitha as against a proper Jayalalita“. Okay, let us get to it.

South-Indians consider four ‘t’ sounds a set of mutually exclusive and distinctive representations in their native languages. For this very reason, when written in a foreign script, such as English, they will get four different spellings.

  1. t for voiceless retroflex,
  2. tt for voiced retroflex,
  3. th for voiceless dental,
  4. and finally, tth or tthh for voiced dental.

North Indians, however, chose to manage it with two even though Devanagari still has the same combinations.

  1. t for both voiceless retroflex and dental
  2. th for both voiced retroflex and dental.

For example, the English spelling of an Atal and Atul for a north Indian will change to Atal and Athul for a south Indian.

Now, who is correct? The answer is neither, nor maybe both.

Please be aware that this cannot be a spelling bee. Indian native languages are exceptionally and perfectly capable of representing all their native sounds in their preferred scripts. The trouble comes only when one needs to write them in a foreign language such as English. In English, however, we simply do not have a one-to-one mapping for all the sounds of Indian origin. Why should they? Understandably this is by design.

If it is of any consolation, the vice versa is true as well. For instance, we can never write the word ‘acid’ in any Indian languages, convincingly. It can be either ‘A-sid’ or ‘aasid’, and that is the best you can get. Hence the verdict is, the argument itself is wrong. Unless we are talking about Unicode or international phonetic symbols as foreign languages of consideration, both representations should and are correct. Stop arguing now.

Now that we have settled that debate let me pose a counter-question on a related topic. Why do all North Indians write few words such as Saree, Rathore and Kachra with two different representations or even pronounce differently? You must be familiar with Saadi, Rathod and Kachda.

Most of the time, it is pronounced as a Sadi and written Saree? This is very annoying for a non-native.

Disclosure. I am not a native Hindi speaker; I did not even have proper formal education on Hindi. I studied Hindi as my fourth language, but my Hindi teacher was in a great hurry and skipped a topic or few, such as alphabet! Obviously, she could not answer may of such questions we had. Why such a level of imperfections

  1. Why does Hindi omit (or swallow) the final vowel, e.g., Kannad for Kannada?
  2. Why does turtle have strange spelling ending with a vowel KachuAA instead of Kachuva?
  3. Why does translation for Yesterday and Tomorrow has the same word leaving it to its verb to decide the fate?
  4. And the most crucial question is, why on earth Hindi does not end a word with a consonant and must be a vowel? I mean, Hindi’s mother Sanskrit does the proper ending of each word. E.g., In Hindi Jal and Jala written the same. At the same time, Sanskrit differentiates even with the same script of Devanagari.

What surprised me the most is my friends with proper education on Hindi could not explain this deviation of Hindi from her mother, (Samskrutam) Sanskrit.

In my quest for knowledge, I had asked many many of my friends on these discrepancies. I quizzed them precisely on the r spelling for d sound. Most of them dint have a clue but a few attempted explaining it to me. Apparently, the language Hindi has a sound/letter that falls somewhere between an ‘r‘ and a ‘d‘. Unfortunately, this consonant does not sit in a scientifically classified and tabulated alphabet of Indian languages. So, it has to be foreign.

It’s called Nuqta. Let me quote Manisha Kulshreshtha, and Ramkumar Mathur on what they wrote in Dialect Accent Features for Establishing Speaker Identity. A few sounds, borrowed from the other languages like Persian and Arabic, are written with a dot (Bindu or nuktā). Many people who speak Hindi as a second language, especially those who come from rural backgrounds and do not speak conventional Hindi (also called Khariboli), or speak in one of its dialects, pronounce these sounds as their nearest equivalents.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of a dot (period). You can bring this confusing sound by merely putting a period, below or on the side, wherever you find some space. It should be done for one and the only purpose – to represent a foreign sound, especially with loan words. By definition, anything and everything can be covered here, including click sound of African languages. Nuqta was introduced in Devanagari to accommodate pronunciation India’s invaders bought in.

This is brilliant stuff; I have full clarity now. Absolutely useless! But still brilliant!

This raises more questions than answers. Why on earth would you consider sadi/saree is a foreign loaned word? Have you seen anyone in central Asia or the middle east wearing it? The Saree, its style, its etymology – they all have origins in India. It existed even before Hindi was even born, let’s not even talk about loans.

Photo by Nivedita Singh on Pexels.com

The answer is very straightforward. This is the side effect of a hangover by Turkik and Persian speaking empires ruling us. We could not even decide if a piece of clothing we wore for a millennium, was foreign or Indian. Finally, we settled, and we decided its foreign. Well done there.

Let me know your thoughts, do write your opinion on the comments section.

Ayurveda, Clinical Trials & Capitalism


Have you ever wondered why Ayurveda, one of the primary branches of Indian medicinal systems does not find many buyers outside India? Any argument related to its potency is generally neglected in the medical community, mostly ignored, frowned upon, and sometimes, even ridiculed. Some categorize it along with chiropractic and homoeopathy for the sole reason that the claims are neither reasoned out or backed-up with adequate testing. Unfortunately, a system that is practiced for thousands of years in the subcontinent has failed to become India’s soft power.

There is meditation, religion, spirituality, yoga, curry Holi, Deepavali and even bloody Bollywood have become soft powers but not revered Ayurveda.

Photo by Patru00edcia Paixao on Pexels.com

Considering a fair amount of modern medicine find its roots and ingredients in the plant-based extract, it is not hard to believe answers to most of our questions may lie Ayurveda. Agreed, we dint prove it conclusively, but what is the problem trying?

I have one answer for this, capitalism, and the patent system. I do not believe myself writing this, but apparently, it’s true. The system created to promote innovation and creativity and to provide credit to the right owners is destroying the chance of survival of Ayurveda. You would not expect this from torchbearers of growth, but unfortunately, it is true. Let me explain.

Capitalism, of which I am genuinely a huge fan, has a notable tendency on betting on the winning horse. Winner takes all is the mantra here, only winners can raise capital. Ayurveda needs a win, a single win to get her the start she is looking for. But the system which is stopping this is patent.

Patents, a sword wilding protector of intellectual property, are designed to provide a head start to reap the benefit of their innovation, which later becomes available to all with a royalty. Let me explain this through an example. We all know Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, a genius inventor of Soviet Union was credited to have invented few of the most famous assault rifle known to humans. Most of his inventions are even named after him, abbreviated. AK versions such as 47, and 56 are the most favorite choice of weapons of militants and terrorists even to this day. However, Kalashnikov was born and invested it being a servant of a socialistic country. By definition‌, these designs automatically become government property. He remained a government employee throughout.

Imagine this scenario in a capitalist country. He would have immediately become an entrepreneur, manufacture it in Taiwan or Bangladesh, and then contract it to the world’s most powerful governments. The billboards and football half-time would run advertisements starring scantily clad women flaunting these products with buy-one get one free offer. Kalashnikov would have slept on a pile of dollar bills like Scrooge McDuck did. This is the difference what a patent brings to the battle.

Let us come back to Ayurveda. Any medical invention needs mandatory and favorable results from large clinical trials. Venture capitalists and angel investors will not even look at your proposal unless you show them the trial’s size and potency results. A simple clinical trial requires millions and millions of dollars, dozens of years of investment from doctors and scientists, and all should come from your pockets. Even after spending these, they are absolutely no particular way you will get a patent. You cannot patent potency of turmeric or a clove of garlic. The question here is, why to spend all that money to test something, the right result of which, immediately becomes public domain. That is the end of it.

In other words, the garlic’s and turmeric may have healing properties no other modern medicine may have. But no one will spend a penny to test it. Only possibilities out for Ayurveda from this situation have a nationalistic government generously create a program to run trials, which itself will be socialistic. Is that an oxymoron?

I will leave you with a couple of research papers to read if you are interested.

  1. STATUS OF CLINICAL TRIALS OF AYURVEDIC MEDICINE
  2. What are the challenges faced during Clinical trials of Ayurvedic and traditional medicines?