Just finished reading a short and sweet book by William W. Cohen:  “A computer scientist’s guide to cell biology : a travelogue from a stranger in a strange land”. As a student of applied mathematics, wanting to “belong” to the exciting field of bioinformatics and biological modeling, I can truly appreciate the worth of this 100 page book. As the title explains, it is a brief, absolutely no-nonsense introduction to cell biology for a computer scientist, who might as well be a layman as far as this field is concerned!

I truly enjoyed reading this book, and learnt more from it than I had from hours of web surfing. However, that’s not what this post is about. Reading this book sent me into a sort of philosophical tangent-on the path of appreciation.

As I reflect on the last two years of my life (which I spent in and around Keplinger Hall), I realize that I have begun to appreciate many things.

This world is full of marvelous things like trees and clouds and air and water and rocks, so many great and wonderful people have lived on it, so many things happen, so many things can happen.  Lots of people, driven by unquenchable curiosity, have learnt so much about these things and these people and possibilities. I appreciate them for their curiosity.

I appreciate Kepler and Napier, not for their genius, but for the hard work they put in to record and explain the celestial movements, or to build the logarithmic tables, with no tools but their mind.  What were their reasons? Glory, fame, money, or what Feynman accurately summed up as “pleasure of finding out”? Whatever their reasons might have been, these men were willing to spend every breath for that reason. Where would we be, without people such as these, who are capable of giving themselves so completely to a purpose, no matter how trivial that purpose might seem to others.

I appreciate the professors and the universities who have posted their lectures on internet.  There is a surge of gratitude in me when I read notes of people I have never seen, people I will never know, but whose understanding of something is helping me understand it too.

Some of these learned men realize that even among people who are either not capable of following these paths, or are pursuing some other paths, there is an intense curiosity to know what all the other people are doing. And they write books, which tell in simple, and sometimes even funny, clever ways of these wonderful things and all that has been learnt about them and all that remains to be learnt. I appreciate these books and the people who write them.

I have the deepest respect for the people who tell me long lost stories of heroes and heroines.

I am full of gratitude for people who weave new and charming stories for me and also those who tell me about pain.

I know that there is falsehood and cunningness and treachery out there, but I see these interesting people, these kind and generous people, these competent people and I realize that God has indeed made man in His own image and likeness. And I feel glad to be alive.

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One Response to Appreciation

  1. uzma says:

    Beautiful thoughts ………..Sangeeta !!

    This world is truly full of marvelous things. Cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev on his return, on 12 Aug. ‘ 1962 , says “When I landed on the earth , I felt like kissing it.” He says this because when he was thousands of miles away from our so familiar earth , into a place that is totally cold , unfavorable and strange , he realises and values the beautiful marvels of the earth which are so perfectly made and fashioned flawlessly , for us to live our lives and which hardly any of us ever notice, in our monotonous daily routines.

    In his book , the Quran , God says , ” You can see no faults in the creation of the Most Gracious. Then look again , can you see any rifts ? Then look again and yet again , your sight will return to you in a state of humiliation and worn out.”

    And when something or someone whisks us from our profound slumber , there are a few honest ones amongst us who do enter the path of appreciation and begin to appreciate things as never before.

    To be agreed , no doubt , that Kepler and Napier do deserve utmost appreciation and gratitude too, for their voluntary and diligent efforts to present to the world what it knew not. So “Where would we be, without people such as these”……… ?!!

    Where ?? ………… We would still have been where we are today , because if not them, it would have been someone else , but it would have still been the same , for this was how it was always destined to be…. preplanned………by the greatest ever planner….by our God.

    Yes, they deserve appreciation and gratitude because they chose to be amongst the high , the good , rather than to be amongst the low , the bad ; making good use of their capabilities whatsoever.

    For as God says in Quran “Verily, we created man in the best stature (as the supreme of all creation). Then we reduced him to the lowest of the low (and gave him a choice therein).” So that there are these kind and generous people and also there is cunningness and treachery out there, depending on who chooses what.

    But, on the path of appreciation to the kind and the generous , can we be justified if we raise Man to a platform common with God ? As the Quran says , ” And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him. ” or as the Vedas say, “Of that God, there is no image , no likeness whatsoever.” These verses imply nothing but this : the moment we are able to compare God to anything…………….., He ceases to be a God.

    Just because it is impossible for us to comprehend the greatness of God with our limited intelligence, we cannot assume him to descend to a level which we are able to cognize . We cannot assume him to descend to the level of man.

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