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By Gaurav Sharma
Throughout the annals of history, a wide array of inquisitive people–from dreaming children to logical mathematicians and explorative scientists–have been captivated by 0 and 1 as symbols of existence.
The utility and vitality of the magical numbers encompass variegated fields of workings, ranging from binary code in computer languages to theology and metaphysical precepts of existence or reality.
Intriguingly though, the binary numbers combine a mystical yet practical personage, thereby presenting a paradoxical conundrum permeating the diverse gamut of life.
The binary system (modern) which comprises the binary digits 0 and 1, is believed to have been devised by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a German polymath and philosopher in 1679. However, the binary system finds a mention in ancient civilizations such as India, China and Egypt as well.
In Egypt, two different systems were used for fractions; the Egyptian fractions (not related to binary system) and the Horus eye fractions. The latter system enabled the expression of fractions into a sum of binary numbers which in turn helped to translate fractional quantities of food-grains and liquids into binary digits. (1200-2500 BCE)
In the 9th Century BC, the I Ching which was a divination text based on the dual forces of yin and yang delineated a binary system comprising of eight trigrams and sixty-four hexagrams. In the lexicographical order, yin represents 0 whereas yan refers to 1.
It would be pertinent to point out that Leibniz was himself deeply inspired by the text when he came in touch with it through his friend Joachim Bouvet.
Around 200 BC, Pingala– an Indian scholar devised a binary system involving the use of short and long syllables–which is strikingly reminiscent of the Morse Code. (Morse Code involves transmission of textual information into a string of lights, clicks and on-off tones, thereby helping differently-abled with an assistive technology in communication)
Pingala revolutionized the mathematical field of permutations and combinations known as Combinatorics. He answered the fundamental question of how many patterns can be formed from a given number of syllables by enumerating a plausible poetic meter of the syllables. ( Something which we now popularly know as the Pascal Triangle).
Pingala’s work included Fibonacci series ( a series in which each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two, such as 0,1,2,3,5, 8, 13,21….) and his discussion of combinatorics defined what is now the binomial theorem.
In the 19th Century, Boolean algebra, an algebraic system of logic was introduced by George Boole. The Boolean system also consisted of a binary operation involving a yes-no or an on-off approach. The system was however never put to use.
Highlighting that objects were capable of a twofold difference only, in 1906, Francis Bacon discussed a system of binary coding whereby the letter of the alphabet were reduced to subtle variations in font in the text.
In 1937( almost 100 years since Boolean was introduced), Claude E. Shannon brought to light the use of Boolean algebra in simplifying arrangement of relays, the basic constituents of the electromagnetic automatic telephone exchanges in those days. Shannon was instrumental in proving the efficacy of the binary code in practical applications such as computers, circuits among many others.
To put it succinctly, binary properties of electric switches is the underlying factor for development of electronic digital computer designs. (Telecommunication and computing use binary codes for encoding data)
The concept of 0 and 1 as the unchanging and underlying reality behind the dynamic life process can best be understood through the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang.
As per the Daoist way of thinking, Yin and Yang are contrary or dualistic forces which are actually interconnected, complementary and interdependent. This essentially means the lightness and darkness, fire and water, birth and death are complementary phenomena which work in unison to produce a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the constituent parts.
This can be best understood through the analogy of the seed which grows from the earth towards the sky (yang) and after reaching its pinnacle falls (yin). This illustrates the concept of dependent origination, a penetrating insight which Buddha lucidly described through emptiness or shunyata.
Dependent origination essentially means that existence is neither real nor unreal but merely a reflection of moon in water or the self in the mirror. A reflection cannot be real because if it were real, transformation could not take place. But since it manifests in the real world, it cannot be outrightly rubbished as unreal also.
Existence, therefore, is not a void or a nothingness but a middle way between eternalism and nihilism.
Buddha’s peerless insight is shared by the Kashmiri Shaivites in the theory of nondual monism, as per which shunya is said to ashunya. In line with the Buddhist thought, the Kashmiri Shaivites do not view shunya as a void but as inherently possessing multiplicity within. ( Zero in Kashmiri Shaivism refers to Shiva or supreme consciousness)
0 and 1 (like the Yin and Yang), can be visualized as a polarity without poles, wherein activity and stillness alternate and are basis of each other. To distinguish and elaborate between the movement of life, dualistic words such as yin and yang, 0 and 1 have been framed but they are essentially part of complete whole which cannot be segregated, just as one cannot point where the neck ends and the head begins.
Yet, the combination of the two forces is the building block of the eclectic forms that we see through the naked eye. This principle of ‘bipolarity without polarity’ is referred to as the cosmic principle or the fundamental order principle.
In summation, life is not an intricate melodrama where everything has a separate, individual existence but rather it is a play of apparently dualistic forces, a dance of cosmic energy and in computing parlance, a combination of 0 and 1 bits.
The festive season is around the corner and with sugar-laden sweets, snacks and luncheons, festive eating tends to tip towards an indulgence. The pandemic, along with the holiday season, provides us with a double incentive to take care of our health, especially if you have a chronic health condition like diabetes.People with diabetes need to find ways to manage their health smartly and effectively to mitigate risks that come with the disease such as kidney problems, heart diseases, nerve issues, foot problems, and so on. Controlling glucose levels, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular medical consultations are key to managing this disease effectively.
Dr Jothydev Kesavadev, Diabetologist and MD of Jothydev's Diabetes Research Centres said, "It is imperative for one to always make sure diabetes is being well-managed, but, during the festive season, it is important than usual. Uncontrolled diabetes can heighten the risk of developing severe diseases or complications. Regularly monitoring glucose levels helps you catch spikes or trends that suggest your diabetes may be getting out of control. This also helps you to take timely measures," he explains.
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Here are a few tips for better diabetes management during the pandemic:
Scheduling is key: Diabetic patients need to continue medications without interruption. Apart from continuous monitoring of glucose levels, do plan regular consultations with the doctor. It is also imperative that patients do not ignore high blood glucose levels, HbA1C >10%, or positive urine ketone status.
No pain, no gain!: Diet & exercise play a major role in preventing and managing diabetes. Attention to nutrition and adequate protein intake along with exercise helps control weight and lower blood pressure. It also lowers harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raises healthy HDL cholesterol, strengthens muscles and bones, reduces anxiety, and improves general well-being. Patients with diabetes are encouraged to take up 45 minutes of moderate activity every day.
Wearable devices for the win!: Technology advances have led wearable devices, to allow patients to keep a close tab on glucose levels. One such wearable is the Freestyle Libre that go a long way in helping people with diabetes (both type 1 and 2) manage the disease well. Continuous glucose monitoring, through these devices, offers the highest levels of accuracy and performance standards.
Patients with diabetes need to practice utmost caution to healthy food
Also read; People with diabeties likely to observe
Say no to stress: Stress can be a major barrier to effective glucose control. This has become worse during the pandemic, as health anxieties and long lockdowns have given rise to emotional responses like anxiety, frustration and disappointment. One can opt for healthier life choices such as exercise, yoga and meditation to avoid stress.
Stay safe: The pandemic is still with us. Patients with diabetes need to practice utmost caution to reduce the risk of catching an infection. Along with vaccinations, patients with diabetes need to ensure safe choices such as social distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent hand washing.
This festive season, even those with diabetes can enjoy life to the fullest, provided these simple measures are followed to keep the glucose levels under check. (IANS/PR)
Keywords: Diabeties, continuous monitoring, weight, lower blood pressure, no stress, stay safe
As the country slowly steps towards some form of normalcy amidst the pandemic, this Diwali, non-governmental organization HelpAge India working for disadvantaged elders, celebrates the festival of lights with a message of hope and togetherness through its campaign and film, 'Andhero Se Roshini Tak.
In a marathon celebration, HelpAge marks the festival across 100 old age homes across the country, bringing happiness, hope and joy to senior citizens, many of who were suffering from isolation, loneliness and a sense of abandonment during the pandemic. The campaign aims to bring them back into the fold and give them a ray of hope and support them.
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The campaign highlights the impact of the pandemic on India's elders vis a vis their health, livelihood and the pervading sense of loneliness and feeling of being forgotten by their own, as social distancing, led to social isolation for many of our elders who were left to fend for themselves.
According to a survey done by HelpAge earlier this year, 36 percent elders at home in India 'were just waiting for the phone to ring'. During the first lockdown, 65 percent of elders lost their only source of livelihood, leaving them with no resources for medicines and no one to reach out to.
The core campaign message urges the younger generation and society at large, to bring hope, light and 'Roshini' back into the lives of elders. It encourages bringing elders back into the family fold and pushes for elder inclusion. A time to give back and spread the love, and reach out to those elders who have no one to call their own and support them.
campaign #AndheroSeRoshiniTak Unsplash
Also read: This charity helps homeless
"Diwali is a time synonymous with hope, positivity and togetherness. The pandemic took a heavy toll on the lives of our elderly, particularly on the disadvantaged. Identified as the most vulnerable, many faced challenges at multiple levels, from loss of livelihood to having no money, no support and were left with a deep sense of isolation and constant anxiety. For those living alone, it was even worse. We hope through this campaign #AndheroSeRoshiniTak we can sensitize people to urgently come forward and celebrate this festival in its truest sense, by sharing the light and love with those who need it most. It is our responsibility to bring light into their lives, it's time to give back." said Rohit Prasad, Chief Executive Officer, HelpAge India. (IANS/PR)
Keywords: Oldage home, homeless people, HelpAge India, Covid-19, lockdown, pandemic, Diwali
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
The spiritual element of wellness can be the most personal piece of the puzzle when trying to place all dimensions of wellness together. Generally, people like to live a life with meaning and purpose. When these goals are met, It brings harmony into one's own life as well as the lives of people around them.
So, what can you do to connect with your spiritual self? It's best to figure out what techniques work for you. Since connecting with the spiritual self involves one's values, beliefs, and purpose, it can be achieved in several ways-both physically and mentally.
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Surbhi Bansal Co-founder Nirmalaya shares 5 tips to connect with your spiritual self:
Set your intention: Your intention can be as simple as saying to yourself, "I want to learn more about spirituality in general," or it could be as formal as sharing your intention with friends in order to celebrate your start on this lifelong journey. Consciously acknowledging your yearning and curiosity, even if only to yourself, is like opening a door and setting out on the path of the seeker.
Be still every day: Our connection to spirit, the universe, or whatever you prefer to call it, is primarily a felt experience. Therefore, a great way to establish a strong spiritual practice is to set aside time to intentionally quiet your thinking mind using meditation, chanting, or mindfulness. All it takes is 15 minutes a day.
Find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably and undisturbed, set your timer, and observe your mind. If that seems daunting, start with a guided meditation. There are tons of free apps and recordings available online. Find one you like, and commit to following it once a day.
Don't neglect your body: The mind, body, and spirit are all connected, so don't forget to employ your physical body in your pursuit of the mystical. Dancing, drumming, practising yoga, singing, even playing sports are all deeply intuitive ways to express our spiritual selves using our bodies. See if you can get out of your head and simply allow your body to tell you what it wants.
Think positively: Once you start viewing things in your life in a positive manner, you will find yourself thinking differently and refocusing your mind on a happy, healthy place. When you eliminate negativity and re-frame how you think of certain things and situations, you'll notice yourself being more relaxed.
Travel allows you to weed out stressorsUnsplash
Also read: The signs which revel that you are disconnected
Travel. It's true! Taking time for yourself to travel to a comforting place or somewhere new can do wonders for your mind. When you are at a place where your mind can keep out distractions and help you reflect and rest, you will have a better connection with yourself. This allows you to weed out stressors and set your mind on the right path for overall wellness. Some activities to take part in when on a trip can be exercising, speaking with a counsellor or advisor, meditation, or taking a temporary vow of silence. (IANS/PR)
Keywords: Self connection, Spirituality, Travel, spirit, meditation