Thank you, Readers, for supporting my blog!
When I published my book or when I began the blog, I remember thinking I would be lucky if I could persuade a handful of my friends to read some philosophical thoughts. Seriously, who reads Philosophy?
Now I know that the articles in English and Marathi languages on this blog have been viewed more than 1100 times from viewers of twenty different countries. Besides the blog views, there are hundreds of views on academic websites, such as researchgate, academia.org. The TV interview on the Princeton community TV – thanks to Joan Goldstein for inviting me to her show, received the second rank in the ‘Top Ten Views’ of August 2019. An op-ed each in the two newspapers in India, Indian Express and Loksatta, thanks to the Editor of Loksatta Mr. Girish Kuber, received much positive feedback. When my book ‘Sapiens and Sthitaprajna’ was published last year in 2019, the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute invited me to deliver the Bapat Memorial lecture, which was well attended. I am most grateful to the Bhandarkar Institute and the Secretary of the Institute, Prof. Shrikant Bahulkar for this honor. The talk at the Bhandarkar was also covered in the local Indian Express, thanks to Anuradha Mascarenhas, a senior Editor in Pune and her team. I must admit that this kind of response is most unusual.
The inspiration for this blog and for the philosophical articles has come mostly from my social work over a period and from studying Philosophy over a lifetime. In the College days, sometimes I would visit the detention facilities in Pune India to teach the kids (of prisoners) stories from ancient Indian texts, or volunteer in the slums of Pune to teach them values of hygiene. In the last few years, I offered some time as a server at the soup kitchen, or as a (trainee) ambulance driver of the Emergency Medical Service in New Jersey, USA. Last few years, I also got an opportunity to observe the work of an Institute ‘Hope Project’ in New Delhi, India, that provided education to the street children. These situations used to weigh on my mind and make me wonder how to help these people solve their problems in life, how to give them perspective on life, so they can support their own lives better. I don’t have the financial means to lift the lives of all the people I would like to help, but I do have some solutions to offer them based on my intellectual work in the field of Philosophy. I decided to do just that. It was only a short span of time that I have spent on my social work, compared to the time I have spent on my family, my career or my research. Yet the influence that these short and intense moments have had on my life is tremendous. It has given me a chance to look at social issues from all angles and figure out what kinds of solutions are possible to any given problem.
If we look at the population of the world in the bell curve statistics, the 15% on the extreme left of the line are unable to handle their lives, as they are too perturbed to function. The 15% on the other extreme can thrive in their lives, thanks to their wisdom, perseverance and available means. The middle population – roughly 70%, have figured out some tricks of how to keep their lives balanced, but not all of them and not always. I have seen many middle-class families suddenly lose most of what they had during the recession years, or due to crisis in their family. They need help too, not just the 15% on the left side of the curve. When we are in a crisis, it becomes too tough to realize whom to trust, whom to turn to and to gather the means to seek solutions. Therefore, it is always important to support our lives and develop the strength to deal with these issues.
Wisdom, perspective and a good understanding of life will help us survive and thrive. It will create more opportunities, more Happiness and less diseases. This was the background for the project of the book and the blog, with the goal of connecting philosophical wisdom to modern issues to help resolve them. Thank you again!
By Ashwini Mokashi