Sunday, August 19, 2007

Caste: Experiment in Evolution?

Was Varnashrama Dharma a quest for a super gene? Was it to create our own indie versions of Superman or X-men? What if Varnashrama was a countrywide mega experiment in evolution gone haywire?

The varnas are more about psychological tendencies of man than anything else says Osho in one of his discourses. It is based on broad classification of the elements that man tends to seek satisfaction from: while a Kshatriya seeks power, a Brahman runs behind knowledge, a Vaishya craves wealth, and a Sudra seeks bliss from creation/work. Call it our own Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mind you, this categories are not cast in iron, they had gates in between one another, albeit very narrow and tightly guarded.

Before we go on, let me state whatever little I understand of evolution in my own simplistic way. So, Evolutionary Biologists out there, please keep your complex theories to yourselves. I very well know you are intelligent enough to guess that I am politely asking you to shut your traps. ;)

Imbarrmaeshion is wealth. And much more. Evolution is all about information. It is essentially "our response" to the information we get from the environment. Genes carry the blueprint for our bodies - how tall I should be, how fair my complexion should be or in short, should I like Keanu Reaves or Koundamani. But regarding the intelligence levels being determined by genes, I have my own doubts, because I believe the IQ is more about learning ability, which again I believe is not solely determined by the genes.

Learning brings about a lot of observable psychological changes in a relatively shorter time span, but physiological changes takes eons to come about. That's because the information has to be routed through genes. And basically, genes are dumb things. Probably dumber than your managers. Remember? It took several centuries for our ancestors to tell their own genes that their tails are useless, so shed them and start growing that mushy grey thing inside their skulls.

When we have such dumb things as our bosses, I don't think I have to overemphasize the need for CLARITY in communication. The caste system tries to pass on the signals to our genes with minimum distortion possible. These signals carry information about the environment we are in, the nature of work we do and a lot more, which prods the genes to decide whether we should have webbed feet or bigger lungs. So, the caste system is essentially a high-fidelity communication system.

Inter-caste marriages are against evolution, as they distort the signals to the genes. You said BS? Read on.

To be continued...


Shanky said...

SK... What are you trying to say now?

What's your point??

I think you have not hit the bull's eye still... Or will you ever hit it???

Anonymous said...

You are funny man. First, you ask everyone with some knowledge on evolution to shut their traps about it and then make all wrong assumptions about evolution and genes.

sirpy said...

Hmmmm.. SK.. I am not going to comment until you finish the post. But a clarification.. You are coming to say that the caste system involuntarily knows what our genes are capable of and conveys the same to them with greater clarity... Correct...?

Priya said...

Here is the promise I made. I'll go para by para...

//because I believe the IQ is more about learning ability, which again I believe is not solely determined by the genes.//

Hm.. Are you sure? Then how do you explain savant syndrome? Just google it and find out what it is. Genes are very important to intelligence. To think of this, you have to define intelligence first. IQ is not the only thing, within the broader context of the definition of intelligence. Think about this before you arrive at any conclusions.

//So, Evolutionary Biologists out there, please keep your complex theories to yourselves.//

Frankly speaking, evolution is a simple theory, that can easily be understood by anyone, for at the most 5 minutes, when someone explains it to you clearly. But the research done under evolution gets more and more complicated, as we start looking at individual components and how they have evolved into. For a classic example, is the eye.

//Evolution is all about information. It is ssentially "our response" to the information we get from the environment.//

Hm... You might be only partially right here. Evolution is more of a change in our genes. A mutation. Humans are the result of accumulated mutations throughout millions and even billions of years: both good and bad. So basically, what you said is partially true, because mutations sometimes occur due to environmental factors. But some mutations occur just normally, by mistakes in coding, transcripting, cell division and all that. Our genes have not mastered the art of perfect replication and cell division yet, at that time. So here, we are talking about probabilistic situations, if you know what i mean.

//And basically, genes are dumb things. Probably dumber than your managers. Remember?...growing that mushy grey thing inside their skulls.//

Well, Sk. I know you and so I also know you are just being sarcastic and funny here. But I really am not sure about that, based from your previous paragraphs. Genes are dumb? Haha:) I think genes are intelligent to have evolved into life. What makes you think they are dumb is the time it took for them to learn from their mistakes? Well, DNA is very very very long. Longer than we can possibly imagine. So think of how long it has taken for something this long that codes the hereditary information to develop something as complex as the brain, not to mention a human brain! Do you still think it's dumb? Anyway, this is just my opinion. And you are just being sarcastic here, according to my assumption;)

//When we have such dumb things as our bosses, I don't think I have to overemphasize the need for CLARITY in communication.//

Hm.. Your connection of evolution to the caste system is a pretty weird theory, I think. And I certainly don't find it logical. It's just another heirarchy system that must have some historical understanding, but not so vividan imagination as an effective communication system. And those who came up with the system, might not even have thought of "evolution" or the likes of it. And what has "CLARITY" got to do with our genes being our dumb bosses? Pls explain clearly, Sk. I think I find this theory illogical, because of your not-so-clear explanations.

Hm.. I'm interested to hear why you think inter-caste marriages are against evolution. Haha:) Waiting for that post.

sk said...

Shanky, GF, sirpy n Priya

thanks a lot for your comments!

First things first, this post was never meant to be a serious (read logical) discussion on evolution/Indian caste system. It was just an expansion of a view that i found interesting, despite its apparent stupidity. That said, I think i won't be wrong in saying that caste is based on the effect of heredity and controlled social/learning environment on abilities.