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By Gaurav Sharma
An assemblage of more than 25 lots of memorabilia and documents of renowned Physicist Albert Einstein are all set to be auctioned in the US, projected to fetch anywhere between $ 15000 and $ 40,000.
Apart from the personally handwritten autograph letters addressed to his family, the memorabilia includes a set of rare and intimate letters, including two that voice his views on religion and God.
Einstein’s views on the Atomic Bomb and the Relativity Theory are quite well known, but how exactly does the German-born Nobel laureate visualize the concept of religion and God?
Born to secular Jewish parents, Einstein was a free-thinking man who, after reading various scientific books, came to realize that the state was intentionally deceiving the youth.
With this realisation, Einstein’s disposition towards every kind of social conviction became deeply skeptical.
“It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which was thus lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the ‘merely personal,’ from an existence dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings”, says Einstein in his autobiographical notes.
At the same time, he found that an insight into the causal connections of the world presented an opportunity to, at least, partially access the great, eternal riddle of the universe.
A fierce ‘Personal God’ critic
Einstein, unequivocally, rubbished and derided the thought of a Supreme God. The concept of a personal God as propounded by the Church seemed “naive” and “childlike” to the father of the photoelectric effect.
“It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I feel also not able to imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere”, he is known to have stated.
Einstein bluntly demolished the concepts of a Supreme Being, proposed by philosophers and theosophists, as mere myths.
After reading Eric Gutkind’s book, Choose Life: The Biblical Call To Revolt, Einstein lettered a reply which said that the word God for him was nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends.
Such sentiments are also expressed in his book The World As I See It. Questioning that very morality of a personal God, Einstein says, “I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves.”
He lambasted the believers of such a God as “fearful and absurdly egoistic” feeble souls.
An Agnostic Spiritualist
Even though Einstein, outrightly denounced the concept of God as a personal being, he did not consider him as an atheist either.
“You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being”, the genius freethinker is known to have said.
Einstein’s views on the Universe were more on the lines of Pantheism, a doctrine which identifies God with nature.
While contemplating the universe Einstein compared himself to a child who notes a ‘mystical order’ in the arrangement of books, which it does not comprehend but dimly suspects.
A believer in cosmic religion
While recognising the “miraculous order which manifests itself in all of nature as well as in the world of ideas”, Einstein dubbed himself as “devoutly religious”.
After segregating himself from the religious beliefs of fear and social morality, Einstein formulated a brand new category of religion called “cosmic religion”, and cast himself within its bounds. He classified this specific religious category as one of deep awe and mystery.
However, Einstein’s conjecture, “the sublimity and marvelous order which reveals itself in nature, makes the individual want to experience the universe as a single significant whole”, suggests a close similarity with the concept of Brahman as expounded by the Vedanta philosophy.
Also, Spinoza’s philosophy of the unity between the soul and the body, which has significant parallels with the Vedanta philosophy, deeply fascinated Einstein.
Both philosophies start with concept of the indeterminable being and admit the relative reality of particular things. And both schools of thought rule out existence of an external creator at the very outset.
Moreover, both philosophies posit the idea of a self-dependant and unconditioned being, albeit in different forms. In case of Spinoza, that being is the Universe, whereas for the Vedantist, it is an underlying principle.
Further, the hypothesis of modification by Spinoza is analagous to the Vedantic theory of Maya or illusion
Hence, it can be reasonably argued that Einstein’s view on nature, reality and Universe were close on the heels of Advaita Vedanta, although he never could fathom the concept of a transcendental reality.
Facebook must pay a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million in back pay to eligible victims who say the company discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreign ones, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
The discrimination took place from at least January 1, 2018, until at least September 18, 2019.
The Justice Department said Facebook "routinely refused" to recruit or consider U.S. workers, including U.S. citizens and nationals, asylees, refugees and lawful permanent residents, in favor of temporary visa holders. Facebook also helped the visa holders get their green cards, which allowed them to work permanently
In a separate settlement, the company also agreed to train its employees in anti-discrimination rules and conduct wider searches to fill jobs.
The fines and back pay are the largest civil awards ever given by the DOJ's civil rights division in its 35-year history.
"Facebook is not above the law and must comply with our nation's civil rights laws," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke told reporters in a telephone conference.
"While we strongly believe we met the federal government's standards in our permanent labor certification [PERM] practices, we've reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward with our PERM program, which is an important part of our overall immigration program," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world and supporting our internal community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Facebook, Employment, Justice Dept., Recruitment
Tomatoes are a staple in the Indian diet, be it a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian dish. It has to be a part of each meal in some form. As puree, paste, flavour, or diced into the dal. This tangy, sweet, and juicy ingredient was not always Indian. In fact, it did not even grow in India until the British sanctioned it. It is a product of colonization and has come a long way to become part of our everyday meals.
Originally, the tomato was considered poison. Its actual native is debatable. Some say it is European while others argue that is came from indigenous parts of Spain and Portugal. Either way, it is a plant species that is associated with the legendary Nightshade. It looks very similar to this poisonous plant that tomatoes were not even harvested for a long time, for fear of picking Nightshade instead. It was believed that Nightshade caused the blood to turn to acid and that tomatoes had the same property. Later research proved that the plant itself may be poisonous but the fruit is not.
The fruit if the woody nightshade plant Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Tomato is considered a fruit instead of a vegetable because it is cooked. But this theory has an interesting tale behind it. in the United States, in 1887, a tax was levied on the transport of vegetables, but not on fruits. By then, tomatoes had become a huge part of the American diet and traders could not afford to pay the ten percent duty. So, they began to call the large loads they transported fruits, just to avoid the tax due. In time, this is how the tomato came to be regarded. Some scientists went even further and stated that it is a berry. Botanists claim that since it is a part that grows from the flower's ovary and contains seeds, it is a fruit and not a vegetable. But this is a debate that will never end.
Incorporating tomatoes into the Indian diet must have happened so long ago that people do not remember a time without tomatoes, considering how it is the fundamental ingredient of most cuisines. The tomato has a name in every language as well, so the trading between nations, the voyages that brought them to India, and the decoding of the fruit-vegetable must have taken place far earlier than our ancestors remember. Or, perhaps we liked it so much that we decided to use it everywhere and make it our own. Nonetheless, it has been a delightful addition.
Keywords: Tomato, Fruit, Vegetable, Nightshade, Voyage, Staple
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television