Life and Adventures of YES!+ Youth

Posts tagged ‘Right Livelihood Award’

Importance of organic farming

We had a gracious presence of Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish from Kairo, Egypt, in Vishalakshi Mandap yesterday. Dr. Abouleish is winner of the Right Livelihood Award, often called as alternative nobel prize, for his 21st century business model which combines commercial success with social and cultural development.

In a documentary on the project, he explained how, in from the dessert a green township can be established. Looking at dessert, he says, it is not just  a pile of sand, it has organisms in it, it can be cultivated for generating crops and trees. 

Using compost fertilizers, organic farming and water from deep wells, he and his team on the SEKEM project created a green township out of a dessert place. He says, we need to give the land in the better form to our next generation, by cultivating it. It has given employment to over 2000 local people.

Sekem has integrated lots of environment friendly, culture preserving values. Every creature in the nature is given importance and revered, as it plays its own role in the ecology of the system.  They have 50% female employees, unlike other organizations in that area. Their meetings start with a musical instrumental piece. They have side projects based on garments exports. In a way to cultivate holistic education of children, they have the tradition of shaking hand with each child as he/she enters the classroom, facilitating looking into the eyes of the child, and breaking any inhibitions between the child and the teacher. Starting from a barren land, Dr. Abouleish has developed the Sekem project with an excellent spirit of entrepreneurship.


We experience more than what we can grasp

It was our honor to have with us in the Vishalakshi Mandap, Prof. Hans Peter Durr from Munich, Germany. Winner of the Right Livelihood Award, often called as alternative nobel prize, Prof. Hans Peter Durr has studied the physics of matter for 50 years. A brief about him can be found here. A Physicist and an Environmentalist, he has also contributed a lot for World Peace.

World vs. Reality

His talk was an interesting tour in various aspects of Physics, Mind, Logic and existential reality. He said that in science, objectivity is given more importance, leaving aside the subject, or the seer who is perceiving the object. This disconnection causes one to get an incomplete picture of the world. He quoted an equation

world = wirklichseit = Potentiality 

from potentiality the matter, energy manifest. 

He gave a simple example:- how does a mobile phone work? We say, our phone sends a signal, and it goes everywhere, including my friend in Paris. however, how does a signal travel? There is no such medium as ether, and its the nothingness in the form of fields that wiggles.

In a similar analogy, when one studies minute details inside of atom, and then inside of nucleus, and then inside of protons and neutrons, one finds that its just energy that is wiggling in the space, and no such solid matter thing existing there!

You see what you want to see

His talk was filled with diagrams and pictorial descriptions, some of which is popular ones presented here:-

What do you see in this picture?


Is it a young girl or a old woman?

Actually both, it depends on the way you look at it!

Similarly, if two friends go for a nature walk, they would notice and remember different things. From this we can infer that we see what we already know or recognize in mind. Our vision is not only limited by only a fraction of electromagnetic spectrum that we see, but also a bias of the mind that perceives the same object. In fact, a part of the biology of eye causes a blind spot in the image, still, the brain interprets the signals in such a way that the  blind spot is not seen. So in a way our mind sees more than what eyes show us also.

The boundary between living and non-living

There is a natural direction for non-living objects to function, it is from order to disorder. E.g. more and more disordered situations are more likely, than an ordered structure, in the non-living material world. A cup of coffee can naturally get broken, but broken pieces of such a cup don’t naturally re-join to form the cup. Considering this, he asked, how, from a chemical soup of materials 3.5 billion years ago on the earth, did the human civilization manifest to its current form? It is a highly ordered and complex system. He pointed out that this is where, when we start to understand the living beings, that science finds its limitation, since it has disconnected the objects in world from the seer of these objects. 

Infinite  existence

Coming back to the study of atom, he said that first atom was thought to be indivisible smallest part of matter. Then it was recognized that it is in fact consisting of nucleus and electrons revolving around it. Further, it was found out, that the electrons cannot travel around the nucleus like the planets travel round the Sun, as it would all collapse in the nucleus if they do so. So the Quantum Physics was discovered, which tells only the probability of finding an electron in a certain region of space, not a localized pin-pointed position. The maximum probability surfaces within which an electron can be found, are shown in variety of shapes:-



These surfaces are only indicative of maximum occupation, but there is also a probability that it may not be within these surfaces. The probability curve extends throughout the space:-

fig3-5It attains maximum in the most probable region, but then it has a tail, though small in magnitude, nevertheless non-zero, extending till infinity…! Implying that these probabilities of different matter particles extend till infinity, have presence till infinity, and overlap on each other, giving non-separable co-existence, and interdependence.

From Science to Spirituality

Thus the creator and its creation are inseparable. 

How can fluttering of a butterfly in one place cause a tornado in some other place? Its possible that like in rain, where most of water vapor condenses when a small part of it starts condensing, it just needs a trigger to get an entire cloud to get transformed into rain. To illustrate this, he showed an example of a pen hanging downwards, would just rotate around its mean position, if slightly disturbed. However, if the same pen was standing upside down, it would fall on a slightest disturbance- and such forces exist- even the gravitational pull of the person next to the pen. So such a situation, which is unstable cannot be sustained for long. Unless, it can be dynamically balanced by another unstable situation :- like a person balancing on both feet in a walk, even though any one feet is not enough for good balance. 

The dynamical stability is the key, and in social context it means cooperation of different individuals, who are unique in their own way. 

Related Articles:-

Vinod’s blog Part 1 and Part 2 

Manish’s blog here

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