The Gospel of Grandpa: part 1 | part 15 | part 16 | part 17 | part 18 | part 19 | part 20 | Life & Astrology
The Gospel of Grandpa [part 20]
Diction – Pre, Post
Ram Ramakrishnan, our astrological wizard in Hyderabad, has sent us another episode of the Gospel of Grandpa, for more of the children's learning curve on the nature of the world, the universe and everything... This time Ram argues that that the word "diction" refers to a choice and use of words to describe a situation. 'Pre-diction' would then mean such a use of words that describe in advance a situation that is yet to happen. In the same context, the term 'post-diction' would mean the description of a situation that has already happened. A portrayal of 'what is', is based on our understanding of 'what was', which we project into the future to describe 'what will be'. Our projections for the future are limited by our understanding of the past and, our ability to express it in the present.
The familiar trio of grandpa and his two grand children were standing at the reception desk of the office of their internet service provider. Grandpa had to pay the month's bill and the security man at the desk asked him whether his was a post-paid or pre-paid connection. Grandpa looked at him blankly. He was used to and knew only of one kind of service that is provided continuously and where payments are made on a monthly basis. He had never thought it necessary to get acquainted with the different modes of services and the jargon that went with modern communication gadgets, immersed as he was in his own world of astrological correlations. Seeing him in a quandary the children smiled knowingly at the security man and said that it was a post-paid service. The smartly dressed security man winked at them in return and directed the threesome to the appropriate payment counter.
On their walk back home after having accomplished this task, the children began explaining to grandpa about the various service plans offered by cell phone and internet service providers. Grandpa listened to them, marveling at the extent of information that they had gathered. The crescent moon began gathering brilliance with the advancing dusk as it too proceeded on its journey with the stars towards the western horizon.
All of a sudden Chotu asked grandpa: “The term 'pre-diction' is used in astrology. Is there also something like a 'post-diction'?” Munni found the question funny but grandpa thought about it seriously for a few minutes and then began expressing his thoughts to the children. He said that the word diction refers to a choice and use of words to describe a situation. 'Pre-diction' would then mean such a use of words that describe in advance a situation that is yet to happen. In the same context, the term 'post-diction' would mean the description of a situation that has already happened. A portrayal of 'what is', is based on our understanding of 'what was', which we project into the future to describe 'what will be'. Our projections for the future are limited by our understanding of the past and, our ability to express it in the present.
There was a brief silence while the children mulled over this idea. Then it was Munni's turn to articulate her rumination. She said “My teacher says that every science has a predictive value which is what makes it useful to humanity. If it did not then science will be of no use at all.” Grandpa sifted through his beard with his fingers which was generally an indication that he was contemplating on the proper diction to convey his thoughts. After a few moments he said that though what the teacher said was correct within a limited perspective, his conviction was that science was more a tool to understand nature and existence than anything else. Such a view would include within itself the analysis and understanding of the cause and effect of all such limited perspectives as well. From the expression on their faces grandpa realized that the children did not fully comprehend his explanation and decided to be elaborate on this notion. The crescent moon inspired a ready analogical example.
Tides, began grandpa, are a direct consequence of the interplay of gravitational forces of the Earth, Moon and Sun. It is also influenced by the earth's rotation and the placement of the landmasses forming continents. Since all celestial and terrestrial parameters involved are precisely computable, one can employ diction to specify conditions that cause high and low tides.
Pre-diction can be thought of as an attempt to answer two questions – why and when. Correlating celestial and terrestrial movements and the occurrence of tides can answer both. It may be argued that since it is possible to answer these two questions, humans can profitably use this information to further their interests. This argument said grandpa, conforms to the perspective subscribed to by the children's school teacher. But one can extend this correlation to another level. Before doing so, one should be clear about a few basic ideas. The first is that celestial and terrestrial forces involved cause periodic alterations to the material composition and energy levels of any environment in focus. The second is that such alterations at the macro level are represented by tides, air currents, weather conditions, etc and at the micro level by changes in physiological systems of all life forms. The third is that thoughts are essentially triggered by chemical reactions that have themselves been initiated by a multitude of external stimuli.
Based on these ideas it is possible to think of a scenario where actions of an individual life form can be correlated with celestial and terrestrial movements. If this were to be possible, then it would point to a situation where not only are the questions of why and when answerable at the macro level, they will be answerable at the micro level as well. If this were to be so, then the notion that humans can make use of the results of correlations at the macro level to their advantage, would appear to be unfounded.
How far is the concept of correlating human activities to celestial and terrestrial movements dependable asked the children? Grandpa stroked his beard again. Conceptually it is a valid idea and therefore worth pursuing said he and briefly recounted the various correlations that he had made and also those of other researcher friends of his. He also listed the pitfalls in such research, chief among which was the fact that when considering the larger canvas of a score or more of celestial points, no particular arrangement involving them all ever repeats itself at least across a few millennia. Correlation involves ascertaining whether two parallel happenings associated with two separate systems of activity recur simultaneously and repeatedly. With happenings in one system - that of celestial movements, recurring once in many hundred human life times, correspondences can at best be approximations. But even with such pitfalls, discernable relationships certainly appear to exist.
Distance lost its measure as their legs propelled them down the road while their mind was lost in thought.
As the trio neared home, a cool breeze drifted down from the rivulet close by. Withering leaves from the peepal tree rained down upon them. Serenity pervaded their beings. So did the thought that this state was perhaps induced by some specific combination of celestial and terrestrial movements at that moment.