Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Division for Dummies

Sunday Morning Sermon - Feb 9 2014

Division is one of the four basic math functions that we started learning when Ms Dissanaike in 3C at RPS took us through the basics of Elementary Arithmetic. What we have come to understand, since then, is that division (÷) is basically an arithmetic operation where,
a ÷ b = c
a/b = c
b is not

where, a is the  numerator, b is the denominator and c is the quotient, and where if c has a fractional value attached to it, that is called the remainder.

Conceptually, division describes two distinct but related settings. Partitioning involves taking a set of size a and forming b groups that are equal in size. The size of each group formed, c, is the quotient of a and b

Then there are all sorts of other divisions that take place involving people, homes, businesses, towns, cities, and even nations.
The Bible Thumpers usually quote, 1 Corinthians 12:21-26 which states,
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

The Qur'an has its own share of verses dealing with creation and division, a significant one of which is 49:13 that states, when translated,
'O humankind! Surely, We Have Created you from a single male and female, and made you into tribes and families so that you know one another'

The Baghvad Gita 3:10, when translated states,

'In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Vishnu, and blessed them by saying, "Be thou happy by this 
because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation'

In the five fold path preached by Buddhism the first two refer to,

'I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing.'
'I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given.'

On top of all that spiritual stuff basic common sense also teaches us that the good of the whole will improve the good of the individual, and vice versa. In other words working as a single unit for the betterment of self and community should be the primary goal of every single creature on our planet.

So, even with all this religio-common sense brain washing that every single human receives from conception to grave, from where did this concept of division enter into the human mind? Why did they start establishing groups and sects that emphasized on differences and separation which has subsequently resulted into hatred and violence?

The world is a large place and humanity has spread far and wide, choosing to live in various different cultures and societies, nurtured by beliefs, rituals, and laws. The intent of most of these edicts must have certainly been to establish some form of disciplinary structure within the populations if these groups in order to maintain peace, comfort, and justice.

At the end of the day, after having sojourned for hundreds of thousands of years man has now arrived at the crossroads where he seeks to divide rather than come together. All the factors of his environment, culture, society, religion and worship, have only persuaded him to destruction and chaos rather than construction and unity. Even in highly developed societies of the first world there still are the red necks, rightists, and fanatics, who seek this hatred and enmity over love an cordiality.

When one looks back through history it is crystal clear that division of people and nations, even based on the protection, safety, and rights of a people, has only reaped more hatred, enmity, death, and destruction, across the globe. Yet, we see some folks opting to divide and separate rather than reconcile and survive within a mixed group, irrespective of wjether they are a majority or a minority.

Pakistan and Bangla Desh are prime examples of how people have been subjected to a totally worthless state purely because their so called "wise" leaders led them into partitioning from India. he unification of East and West Germany has seen the emancipation of both nations as one people in recent times.

So, seeking more division and partition within the established structures at the present point  of time does not appear 

to bring us any additional value at all. One way of finding out, democratically, whether a nation must divide or stay as a 

single on, is to ask all of its people in a referendum.

Imagine going to the polls in Chennai, Kerala, Gujarat, Punjab, or Hyderabad, in India seeking this mandate. What do you think the people of these states will vote for? Divide and fall or stay as they are and survive?


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