The story of our first visit to the western world
is incomplete without a wide banner unfurled
declaring our satisfaction on all transpirations;
Some euphoric, others inimical to aspirations;
Familiarity there was, but contrariety as well
between societies here and in the land we dwell;
Despite being acquainted with its vernacular,
unusual were certain expressions in particular
so were some reactions and responses too,
reflecting local cultural preferences and taboos.
Interactions with native populace, however brief,
seemed to crystallize a nebulous cogitative fief
about what the characteristics of ethnicity was;
Its measure, its method of construct, its cause;
Other than skin color, body contour and design,
what makes an ethnic, towards another, incline?
What is it that defined a distinct social entity,
in very broad terms, keeping to the nitty-gritty?
Involved were environmental ideas to impress
and our discerning, deliberating consciousness.
A robust yet simple presumption as a mooring
was a desideratum, unequivocal and unyielding,
for an attempt such as this, relating fundamentals,
to surely contain vexatious wayfaring incidentals;
The one conscripted for the nominated purpose
was pervasive matter and its unquestionable status
as the basis for understanding and expressing
attributes of all phenomena, the scheme of things;
Superfluous it will be to emphasize at this juncture
that a flawed premise begets an unstable structure.
The antithesis to the arguments stated above is
that a deviation will synthesize a parallel edifice;
However, to rise to the rank of being universal
from any given point of view, frontal or dorsal,
contrasting doctrines will be required to be seen
as possible subsets of the one otherwise keen;
The concept of a spirit independent of matter,
to a committed audience would certainly cater;
unless a contender logically strives with impunity
establishing its claim, instituting total suzerainty.
The impasse as it seemed, begged a resolution,
resulting in the direct and prompt constitution
of a commission of enquiry bearing exigent charge
to analyze how existence managed its work at large;
An imaginary judge presided over the illusory jig,
in an elegant black coat and well-fitting long-wig;
Appointment of customary court officers ensued,
the venue engulfed by a serious, somber mood;
Upon me was vested the responsibility very stiff,
of playing all: deponent, prosecutor and plaintiff.
Proceedings began, calling modern science to stand
and honestly declare, (if it could scrutiny withstand),
whether the mind was a fabrication of the brain alone,
its mechanism steered by corporeal inputs known;
An affirmative answer to this question would imply,
the mind's narrative to be a function that complies
to the genomic variations of its material sustainer,
myriad somatic stimuli scanned with sense-strainers,
and also perhaps by a small not-insignificant set
of unknowns, essentially describable materially, yet.
Considering the persistent propensity of life-forms
to perform acts explicitly countering deviant norms
that either help maintain their current existential state
or advance it profitably conforming to a self-mandate,
the role of the mind is akin to that of any body-organ
that medical science describes with its twisty jargon;
Mind having been born and bred on an illusory turf,
over the rigors of adhering to reality, carelessly surf;
No doubt it is an exotic agent in the body's arsenal;
an erratic armament; also leads to paths catastrophical.
Determining and classifying a friend from a foe
is any tangible entity's standard process flow;
Mind introduces an extra facet to the exercise
adding to the scene, colors and delectable spice;
calls its exertions by the fancy term: subjectivity;
causing loss of direction and objective necessity;
Of course, its utility is surely not always adverse
creativity, for instance, is something that it spurs;
With so much said about the mind, it was evident,
as a lead in the unfolding play, it was indeed meant.
Time it was to grant modern science a little respite,
pleasurably watch, as it made a systematic exit,
and to provide the show an entertaining flection;
Don a plaintiff's role, with a smart attire selection;
Wait for the usher to announce the next deponent:
Evolution; perpetually haggard and incontinent,
in disheveled clothes, sporting unkempt locks,
hurriedly tiptoe her way to the testimony box;
Thorough she was with facts, though seeming a mess,
as inquiry proceedings continued in all earnestness.
The substance of her submission is best synopsized,
imagining a scenario, when emerging life did abide
by the diktats of a molecule that made acquisition
of the ability to replicate, based on its composition.
Went by the name of Ribonucleic acid aka RNA
(being known by initials was quite an ancient way!),
with many molecular activities always a-spate,
its prime rationale for existence was to procreate;
It obliquely suggested that this compulsive activity
was a self-mandate of a nascent, rudimentary mentality.
As she persevered across eras over millions of years
adjusting pace to suit needs, changing mutative gears,
gathered associate units to encourage competition
promoting among progeniture, targeted perfection;
complexity accretion was a hallmark of her occupation;
of a bottom-up approach, an exemplary manifestation;
Interrogated about her emotional leanings, she said,
limited they were to a specific progeny's course-head;
Impassive, the pursuit at her level, anathema no niche;
Even if at cross-purposes, hers was an unbounded pitch.
Nostalgic was her countenance as she fondly recalled,
stressing that at the meted treatment she was appalled,
her predecessor's work and its underlying quintessence
of viewing genesis of matter through a cohesive lens;
Open was she to the definition of life being modified,
a contention abetted by a section of scientific pride;
Compelling one, his perspective in a rationale to vest,
that life was an electron's futile endeavor to find rest;
If intent powered action, it must be inherent to matter,
unless there is a mechanism to infuse it at a stage later.
A commotion in the galleries caught the conclave's eye,
causing the judge's gavel to shed somnolence and fly;
A resounding thud at each of its impacts with the desk
subdued the upheaval, centered about a guy burlesque;
A high-spirited member of a religious sect was he,
his thought-chemistry saw the arguments as a travesty
of the faith, he believed generations of his family
implicitly adhered to, regarding it as the creator's homily.
The judge assured him that his representative too will
be granted opportunity by turn, if demeanors were civil.
A frail old man walked up, battling flawed mobility
heralded he was to represent the credo of divinity;
physical inadequacy hardly ebbed his mental agility,
as he went on to expound an alternative rationality;
A top-down schema it was, an omnipotent at the apex;
Pluripotents, at a level below, networked multiplex;
The inferiors tasked to attain apex-head at the earliest,
fording the material world, all navigating skills on test;
The head conferred the title of god, the minion: spirit,
the latter always hauled a ledger of credits and demerits.
Introduction of a spiritual plane caused sensibly to helm
a segregation of the emotional and material realms,
enabling denizens to conveniently negotiate and seal
what otherwise would be complex existential deals;
Not does everyone, argued the now-animated old man,
understand the rigorous intricacies that scientists can;
The proletariat's need was an objective comprehensible,
providing at least a semblance of being easily achievable;
Faith granted this ambience, further sweetening the bid,
projecting god as a kind and willing ledger-cleaner it did.
Spirits and matter were assigned entirely different beats,
the latter strictly restricted to designated one-way streets;
Spirits could possess or discard matter, and use it at will,
evolution designed and fashioned on a heavenly anvil;
Justification to this schema was: it made the world exist,
and would do so until the last spirit with god had its tryst;
Research here was to live day after ledger-keeping day,
faith leading and lighting up every inch of the way.
Competition was optional, firm allegiance paramount;
On fortuitous divine interventions, one could surely count.
His deposition concluded, the old man hobbled away,
his gait more energetic now, sporting a confident sway;
"Ahem!" hailed the judge, "But, I didn't get your name!",
"Spirituality, what else?", replied the calm, toothless lame.
Science and Evolution had a hard time hiding scowls;
Clearly Spirituality's contentions, with their own was afoul;
However, mindful of the need for decorum, they masked
their disagreements with smiles, to respond when asked.
It was now for the judge to sift and weigh facts provided;
answer the questions put to the commission he presided.
Unpretentiousness, focused thought, and brevity of speech,
were the badges on the judge's lapel; ever ready to outreach;
His experiences with societal problems, perky and serious
earned him the alias "Reality", made him rigidly un-usurious;
Fully assured were the members of the conclave about
a satisfactory and all-encompassing inquest; without doubt;
The responsibility-laden man decided on his first guideline,
the component of truth was matter, thoughts too were fine;
This protocol caused to embrace all contentious arguments
expressed at the hearing by mutually disagreeing deponents.
The second rule was to stringently stick to the brief;
Watched had he many, having exceeded, come to grief;
Not that he lacked particular misgivings and propensities,
which he ascribed to functions of his persona and ethnicity;
This very dilemma, blended with his ground rules, wrought,
a reason-bedecked-answer that the eager conclave sought;
In fact, his thought process, to ponder, never did slow,
points found their appropriate slots all in one smooth flow;
Stated Reality, "Science and Spirituality do surely coexist;
The show of fists, between niches, is just a political twist."
Fascinating it is to see the two viewpoints debate existence;
Besmirch the other's premise, hold inviolability in defense;
Both being a natural consequence in the other's scheme,
an internecine supremacist tussle, best describes the theme;
Desperate to affirm the rival's transactional insignificance,
provide what is being denied as uncorroborated evidence;
Intriguing, its allusion to the opposing scheme's final state
as its own cherished objective; as its desired ultimate;
The seeming illogical logic, the apparent directionless strife,
is what we vaguely realize to be the everlasting story of life.
Ethnicity is the expression of an individual's preferences,
shaped by the body's peculiarities and its experiences;
A combine of basic units and their allied manifest quirks
that also determine how the blend's imagination works;
Broadly dividing traits into two opposing general sets,
tagging them after the most common effects vision begets,
the scheme of ethnicity can be visualized as an imagery,
highlighting welcome parities and drifts to the contrary;
All possible composites equally legitimate, despite
niches at odds proclaiming an antagonist to be a blight.
Analyzing my own ethnicity based on this definition
and arranging its factors as a categorized tabulation;
surprising was its uniqueness, as was everyone else's,
our situational claims seeming transitory impulses,
professed to manage awkward societal transactions,
or pump up a deflated ego with confused justifications;
As a conceivable rational niche, exist it will and must;
utilized by objects real and imaginary, to best or go bust;
This question may have arisen anywhere, found a soothe;
America it was, I am thankful to it, for that is the truth!