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Observer, Observation and


Ashish Rana

Dedicated to the feelings of love and curiosity.

Love, that is beyond reasons
yet, capable of making you understand everything.
Curiosity, that is ignorant of all advice
yet, aware to care for every drop of knowledge.



This moment

Your life and human existence

Observer, Observation and Observed




Last words


Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is
because Fiction is obliged to stick to
possibilities; Truth isn't.
Mark Twain
I was born in Kashmir, India. Thanks to the government job of my father, I
was raised in different part of the country. All of my schooling was done in
Kendriya Vidyalaya schools. These are government funded schools for kids
of government employees from all over India. I studied Computer
Engineering in an NIT, which again had students from all over India. I had
the full experience of contrast and variety in every aspect of life in India.
At the same time, I could never feel the total connection with any one
particular belief or identity. This variety in experience raised conflicts within
While I was trained to be an Engineer, learning about the latest
achievements on fronts of science and technology, I was also expected to
believe, respect and follow the old traditions. How could a rational
scientifically trained mind may simply believe in mythological stories? Well,
one answer is when you are praying for something like good marks or
attention of the pretty girl across the colony. Who wants to screw his
chances with The God for newton's equations.
Most parents in India educate their kids for jobs they would get. Its a
security towards maintaining a socio-economic status of the family. This is
one of the reason why easily accepted western ideas. For me, there was
downward spiral in world economy (year 2009). So, I was living at home.
For the first time in my life, I had nothing to study for marks. Had some

problem in relationships, given up alcohol and not interested in television.

Had a lot of time to kill. I couldn't read books just for the sake of reading.
One day, I opened wikipedia, and typed the first word that came to my
mind. One link to another, I was reading stuff that was real and appealed
me. While in college, Wikipedia is just for assignments. This was something
different. I read history, mythology, economies, countries, people, sciences
etc. It was like traveling across the world while sitting at home. For next 1
years, I read on an average 6 hours a day. I also watched a lot of
documentaries and American TV series. Now I could laugh with guys in Big
Bang Theory. And it felt good.
The beauty of youth is that everything is for fun. When we are young, we
don't take things very seriously. There is a flow in life, and a feeling that this
will last forever.
Getting a job and living on your own is nice feeling. One feels accomplished.
You have money of your own and can spend it the way you like. Probably
the best time ever. But, gradually, things slow down. In India, one has to get
married before they reach 30. That's the deadline. So, one by one all your
party mates get 'settled'. From a 5 guys gang sharing one apartment, you
come down to one guy one room. From party anytime, its occasional
formalish meetings. The fun was gone, life was settled but stagnant.
One day, we heard a news of a girl being brutally raped in a bus. They got
into that bus just two streets across my place. Girl was a medical student
and was going home after watching a movie. She was just like one of us. It
could have been anyone. This connection swept the entire nation. The
nation where sex was taboo, was now fighting for justice for an unknown
girl. The continuous mention of inhumanity of the crime on T.V. both scared
and angered everyone of us. But the way government system dealt with the
issue, was shocking. We realized how vulnerable were in shells of our own
selfish lives.

Our generation grew up fast. Discussions of politics and social issues was
common. Change was necessary. The socio-political system of India allows
space for any ideology. One could choose anything that suits him. But
staying inert was not an option anymore.
There were conflicts and clear difference of opinion. This is normal in a
democracy. And there were frustrations and skepticism too. What really is a
the power of one vote? Though we believe strongly in these ideologies,
choose symbolic candidates, who in the end act as per their own will, then
what is the point of these discussions? Does it resolve anything? Am I going
to make laws for all these problems? Why am I thinking so much?
Things were changed. Thoughts were divided. I was full of clever opinions.
Right and wrong. Good and bad. The world looked different. It was not
colorful anymore. Everything was black or white, or among the uncountable
shades of gray. White was impractical. Black was unacceptable. Only option
was gray. How gray, was your choice as well as an identity for who you.
It was the time when I was confused of who I was. When these beliefs fight
in your mind,you have to either choose ignorance or make your own
attempt towards resolving them. The red pill or the blue pill.
Once again, I started to read. Searching for answers in the eternal quest of
mankind. There were beautiful Ideas. The ideas and their influence changes
from time to time. Its an irony that while every promises happiness and
peace for everyone, it needs war to propagate. Maybe that's why color of
peace is white. The impractical color.
But, the conflict within my own mind gave a hint on how the beauty of ideas
turned into deadly wars. Is it natural? I started studying anything anytime.
We are in the age of revolution. Revolution of information sharing. With my
generation, I have witnessed change from one T.V. in a village to smart
phones in every hand. We had sudden exposure to and curious passion for

every new breakthrough in information revolution. I think google, wikipedia

and youtube are among the best things ever happened to humanity. The
knowledge for which one had to travel distant lands in search for
experiences or teachers or books is there, right in front of us. We could
learn on whim. Its like a time portal that very few had access to. So, the
battling beliefs in my mind were given all the resources they could ever
had. But I could only find differences. Only conflicting beliefs. While
mythological or philosophical ideals gave inspiration for a life beyond
evident mundane human limits, scientific skepticism kept me from falling
off into blind faith and superstitions. And while science restricts belief
without measuring, testing and analyzing any new experience, how come
incidents are still beyond our universally conformable rational
But even if we don't agree on explanation of events, we can agree that
there is disagreement. We can agree that we have different view points. We
have curiosity and urge to seek explanations. Even if the beliefs don't
match, existence of our need for a belief matches.
So, question arises, what is belief? What is truth and why is it necessary?
Why do we need to keep on digging for deeper and deeper understanding
of our world? Clearly, its not just modern human, this love for knowledge is
the original sin of humanity.

What is truth?
This is a question that we (humans) all ask ourselves at some if not many
points in our life. Its a question that may follow strange mind blowing
adventure or a trail of failed attempts towards making things as per our
desire and satisfaction. Its a question that even if hidden in the core, fuels
all restless expeditions of inner or outer worlds as well as the selfless
artistic expression of findings.

We created languages so as to share our experiences. We tried to preserve

our truth in words for those after us, so as to begin with, continue on or
build upon, for those after us. Our 'Personal Truth' is the concrete
constituent of thoughts that define us to ourselves and through our
expressions, defines us to the world. This definition is our identity. Our truth
is so inherent in our being that we would die or kill for what we considered
to be true.

Need of truth.
Most of living beings we are aware of are serving the needs of their biology.
In their lives, survival and growth are two prime objectives. Survival means
not getting killed individually and continuing existence of species through
reproduction & adaptation. Growth means growing to full physical ability as
an individual and in number as a species.
For humans, the needs are biological as well as psychological. We all have
awareness of self. We think and feel. While biological needs of survival and
growth still exist, we have developed a social structure of mutual
interdependence which, assures survival and growth within society. Social
system saves individual human from nature's law of survival of the fittest.
Together we have proved to be the fittest and fiercest species on earth.
Today, our biological needs are easier to meet in comparison to cave
dwelling humans of prehistoric times (or many tribes in today's world).
For humans, Language and curiosity are primary natural instincts. As a
infant grows, he (or she. Being a male, I find it easy and natural to use
masculine adverbs. Please adjust a little.) start to learn about things and
people around him. Curiosity is served by language and language fuels
more curiosity. As the exploration circle grows (from infant in one room, to
toddler in house, to kid in a street and onward), child learns more and
develop understanding about the world. He develops a mental model of

world. Anything that is sensed is either understood through this mental

model, or adds to this mental model. New concepts and ways of thinking
are developed with time. For example, infants don't have idea of object
permanence and if you hide something (like their favorite toy) they can be
convinced it ceased to exist. Everyone of us learnt object permanence at
some point in our life. So is the case with every other concept.
So, to fulfill our needs, the only way is to know more. Whether it is
interacting with natural environment or man made environment, knowing
always gives us the edge. Unlike animals where a good strong body means
access to good food, good mate(s) etc. In humans, its not enough.
Everything man-made is from our understanding of world. Be it material
things or human relationships. We use our understanding to serve our
needs. In the darkness of uncertainty, this understanding is way to our
needs. This hints importance of understanding and truth (will discuss this in
detail later).

Why this book?

This book is not to answer the question 'what is truth?' Its not about what
should one believe. Its about what is truth in itself. If your truth is a bowl of
glass, filled in with liquid of your beliefs, then this book is not about the
enticing liquid. Its but about the bowl itself (and the owner of the bowl). Its
about structure of our belief and why do we believe what we believe. Its an
attempt to discover the connection between one individual's point of view
and points of view which shaped cultures across time.
In this book, when we say truth, we mean the closest understanding of
reality. The reality is what 'is'. Our truth (of individual or group) is what we
think reality is, that is our truth. In best case, our truth corresponds to
reality or what we know is what really 'is'. I hope you got the difference.

Though I have tried my best to base this text in reason and logic, I can't
claim any professional or scientific position on these views. Science
originates a way of thinking. This book is about thinking. This book has my
point of view. No matter how much have I tried to stay true to things,
please check before believing. At times I am standing on the human tower,
trying to look further. Another times, I am sitting beneath the tree where
yogis saw within. The theme of book is dialectical and views are personal.
Purpose is sharing experiences of what is it like to live in our times and
discover what do others think and feel.