Category Archives: Culture & Lifestyle

On Freedom of Speech, Shaming, and Suicide

I know I haven’t published a post in a few weeks. Some “real life” contingencies clouded my overall worldview, and have made it difficult for me to piece together cohesive lines of thought on pretty much anything. Yet, here I am, writing about a particular experience with Freedom of Speech, because the implications of this situation warrant careful consideration and debate. The tone of this post is drastically different from my usual academic perspective, but I think this conversation is necessary in this very personal way.

Today, I lost a friend, not to death, dismemberment, incarceration or any forces of nature that are outside of our “control”. I lost a friend to privilege, hypocrisy and the abuse of Freedom of Speech and Expression .  For the sake of confidentiality and privacy, I will call this friend “Amanda”. This is what happened: Continue reading On Freedom of Speech, Shaming, and Suicide

Inclusionism: The Only Viable Diversity Initiative!

Inclusionism [not to be confused with the Christian concept of “universal reconciliation”], is a paradigm of thought, which recognizes that major societal conflicts, imbalances and injustices are not situations that can be resolved by catering just to the “majority”; all ethnic perspectives have to be considered to solve societal problems. Inclusionism, as an academic, sociological theory focuses only on ethnic diversity. In this article however, the scope is broadened beyond ethnic groups to include all “socially labeled” groups and communities in modern society. In this context,  inclusionism acknowledges that societal injustices may affect different people unequally, based on race, age, culture, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education level, and other factors. However, even though the effects of social injustice are unequally dealt out to different segments of society, they are nonetheless felt by all segments of society. Continue reading Inclusionism: The Only Viable Diversity Initiative!

Of Love and Marriage (But no Horse Carriage)

In 1955, Frank Sinatra taught the American people and a broader international audience the idea that love and marriage cannot be thought of separately.  Through his charmingly raw lyrics and melody, we learned that:

… you can’t have one without the other.
…It’s an institute you can’t disparage.
…Ask the local gentry and they will say it’s elementary.

In America today, love is the most important and valid reason to get married, with 88% of American saying that love is very important for marriage. Here’s the problem. Ol’ Blue Eyes is wrong.  The concepts of love and marriage, have only really been entwined together in the last few hundred years; and, not just in America, but around the world.  Scientific and historical analyses show that love and marriage are actually quite disparate concepts throughout human history until relatively recent times. Continue reading Of Love and Marriage (But no Horse Carriage)

What is Love? Really, What Is It?

Welcome to the week of Love! This week, people will be hard pressed to find content on the blogosphere that is not related to some aspect of love – its creation, its maintenance, the problems it creates, and what happens after it ends. We will also see a whole spectrum of articles on tips and tricks for single people on finding that “perfect someone”, not to mention an explosion of commercials and advertisements on match-making sites.  Yet, in all these centuries, through all the advancements of humans, we would be hard pressed to find a single cohesive definition that is universally applicable and satisfying.  Continue reading What is Love? Really, What Is It?

Forced Marriage: An Anti-Hindu, Anti-Choice Travesty

Valentine’s Day is in 9 days. Granted that the history of this day might have very little to do with love, people all over the world still take some time to celebrate love on this day. So, the idea of anyone being forced to get married on such a positive day is probably extremely upsetting, and rightfully so. Forced marriage is exactly what lies in store this year for many young couples in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. This idea of forced marriage is bolstered by distorted, perverted sentiments of “religious truths” that are quite untrue and quite Anti-Hindu. The  surreal horror of this situation actually reflects the meticulously planned, systematic elimination of personal choice in people’s lives, using religious power and fear as effective weapons. In the end, this could happen anywhere, within any religion and any community, given the right conditions. That is exactly why it is imperative to know about and learn from this situation. Here is the back story: Continue reading Forced Marriage: An Anti-Hindu, Anti-Choice Travesty

Pro-Choice: What does it really mean?

There is a common misconception in the public that pro-choice arguments are only, or mostly about repealing anti-abortion laws. The philosophy of what being “pro-choice” even means is rarely brought up. Most people think they know exactly what “pro-choice” means. But, do they? Even those of us who are “pro-choice” think that we are meeting like-minded people when we meet other advocates and activists. But,  are we? Continue reading Pro-Choice: What does it really mean?

Comparison Standards: Arch-Nemesis of Gratitude

Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Salvation Army bell-ringers are starting their rounds, and the commercialization of Christmas through sales seems to have started even earlier, compared to 2013. So obviously, media outlets, the blogosphere and social media have all been inundated with content on gratitude. I almost jumped on this bandwagon myself, to write the usual post on things I am grateful for (not to worry! That’s in development)! But then, I decided to write this post for one simple reason.

Not many people talk about the elements of our life that make it difficult for us to be grateful. Maybe its because we don’t want to acknowledge the baser side of our attitudes, or maybe its because we don’t even realize that it is indeed difficult to feel real, honest gratitude. Whatever our reasons might be, there are several factors which have a negative impact on our ability to experience and express our thanks. The most pervasive and subtle of these factors are comparison standards. Continue reading Comparison Standards: Arch-Nemesis of Gratitude

Marriage: FIVE Questions to Prepare YOU for It.

Am I ready for Marriage? How do I know? How did all the people who got married figure it out?

Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Continue reading Marriage: FIVE Questions to Prepare YOU for It.

Silence: 5 Ways to Improve Relationships

Hello, again! Today, I would like to talk about how adding mindful, contemplative silence into our relationships can help us make our relationships and social interactions with our loved ones and even strangers much more fulfilling, genuine, and,  ultimately beneficial.

Found on google image search: silence relationships
Silence In Relationships

Hope you have enjoyed reading this multi-part blog post so far! If you are here for the first time, in The Power of Silence – An Introduction, I described what I meant by silence, and I introduced some benefits that practicing silence can add to our lives. In SilencING the Self: Religion and Spirituality, I talked about religious and spiritual evidence, which suggests that increasing silence in ourselves and in our lives will make us better people. Then, in my most recent post on the topic, Silence in the Self – Science and Health, I discussed the physical and mental health benefits of silence that could help us live more meaningful, healthy, fulfilling and satisfying lives. Today, we focus on Relationships.

Continue reading Silence: 5 Ways to Improve Relationships

Silence in the Self – Science and Health

Hello again! In my earlier post, SilencING the Self: Religion and Spirituality, I talked about the idea of contemplative or meditative silence as a powerful tool that adds insight and wisdom. It allows us to feel a connection with the Present/Universe/Divine and it protects our Self.  In this post I will give you evidence from science, which shows that adding silence to our lives is beneficial to our physical and mental health. Continue reading Silence in the Self – Science and Health