A Hypothesis on Homeopathy, Part 3

With this post, I return to the title subject after a long hiatus (almost a year).

Recently, I had a bit of an exchange at Dr. Diana Hsieh’s blog; see the comments section here [^]. What I said there could qualify as a blog post in its own right, in this series of mine on Homeopathy. Yet, looking at how the things turned out there, I decided to pursue a brief digression from my planned sequence for this series, and instead to first touch upon a simple point that so many people seem so easily to miss. BTW, I have cached my comments at that blog, and will be using those points later on in this series too.

Anyway, to return to the point of this post: It is perhaps best approached via a simple exercise, to be performed by you. For best results, I urge you to actually perform it. The exercise concerns simply putting on a piece of paper, in the form of diagrams/sketches, what we mean by a solid, a liquid, and a gas.

Anyone who has studied high-school physics knows that all matter is composed of atoms (or molecules), and hence, sketches or diagrams for the three states of matter can be made in reference to atoms.

Assumptions: To make this exercise accessible to even those who have never studied science beyond high-school, it is perfectly OK if you assume the so called “hard-spheres” model for atoms. Thus, for the purposes of this exercise, feel free to keep aside the more complicating considerations such as the fact that matter often actually exists only in the form of ions and molecules and not as atoms, or that there actually exist those quantum mechanical orbitals (or electron-gas or whatever) whose physical effects are real, or that atoms and molecules really are not spherical in shape, etc. For the time being, let’s keep aside all advanced considerations such as these. (Indeed, the exercise is interesting precisely because it is so simple!)

Now, the actual exercise is this: With the hard-spheres assumption in mind, and relying on the integrated state of all of your knowledge, draw three representative sketches/diagrams of: (i) a solid, (ii) a liquid, and (iii) a gas. The hard-spheres model assumption means that you should draw atoms as spheres (or as circles, in 2D drawings). The sketches should be as accurate, representative, realistic, etc., as possible, though you need not use compass, ruler, etc. to draw atoms—it can be a simple free-hand sketch.

Do not read further until you actually have completed this exercise.

Or (I knew you would be here without doing the exercise!), better still, to enforce the idea, let me end this blog post right here! (LOL!) I will come back with the point I wanted to make, right within a few days’ time. That’s an honest promise. On your part, you, too, please do actually draw those three sketches in the meanwhile…

It’s quite easily possible that you will “get” the point I was trying to make here. If so, your sketches will show it. If so, I will be only too happy. However, I am afraid, if my past experience is anything to go by, many (even most!) people are simply going to miss it. …Verifying if you actually got the intended point or not, can be such a fun! So, there. Just go ahead, grab a piece of paper right now, and proceed to show how the three states of matter look like. And, keep it aside (in a safe place; away from strong heat, light, having controlled humidity; away from children’s reach; etc.) We will come back to your sketches right in the next blog post. Real soon. (Within a few days. Right this week. That’s an honest promise.)

Links to my earlier posts on this topic:

A comment on homeopathy [^]
A Hypothesis on Homeopathy, Part 1 [^]
A Hypothesis on Homeopathy, Part 2 [^]

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A Song I Like:

(Hindi) “bas, ek chup see lagee hai… nahin udaas nahin…”
Lyrics: Gulzar
Music: Hemant Kumar
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
[PS: All these years, what I heard was only Lata’s version. Per Google, there seems to be a version sung by Hemant Kumar, too! Looking forward to listening to it soon!]

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An Update to This Post (done within 3 hours):

Since this post was short, and since I usually write very long ones, and since I so particularly love this song, and since there is that “eespeshal” Gulzar-“eeshtyle” “kahaani mein ‘twist'” gradually building up about this song, I decided to include both the song in Hindi, and its (poorly done up) translation into English (by me (who else?))… Hope you enjoy (!!)

First, the original Hindi lyrics of this song. (Picked up from the ‘net.)

“bas, ek chup si lagi hai
nahi, udaas nahi
kahin pe saans ruki hai
nahi, udaas nahi
bas, ek chup si lagi hai.

koi anokhi nahi
aisi zindagi, lekin,
khoob na ho…
koi anokhi nahi
aisi zindagi, lekin,
khoob na ho…
mili jo…
<<distinct pause>>
khoob mili hai;
nahi, udaas nahi
bas, ek chup si lagi hai.

sehar bhi ye raat bhi,
dopaher bhi mili, lekin…
sehar bhi ye raat bhi,
dopaher bhi mili, lekin…
hami ne…
<<distinct pause>>
shaam chuni hai;
nahi, udaas nahi
bas, ek chup si lagi hai.

wo daastaan jo
hamne kahi bhi,
hamne likhi…
wo daastaan jo
hamne kahi bhi,
hamne likhi…
aaj wo…
<<distinct pause>>
khud se suni hai;
nahi, udaas nahi
bas, ek chup si lagi hai.

Now, a note before my (great) English translation. I have tried to keep the translation as literal as possible, keeping the interpolations down to the basic minimum. I have tried to see that the extra words given in the square brackets ([]) are not interpolations but only those that (i) serve to bridge the grammatical structures of the two languages, or (ii) suggest a possible alternative meaning, or (iii) in general serve to specify the exact shade of the meaning. Hopefully. I have also kept the repeating lines from the song, into the English translation. (They do serve a purpose, for this song.) People who know English but not Hindi may perhaps glean some sort of an idea as to why so many people find so many old Hindi songs so wonderful. Including, of course, the subtle poetry of Gulzar.

An English translation of this song:

[it’s] just [that] one [closed-lips] sort of quietness has set in.
no, not [a] gloomy [or a sad one].
somewhere [in the soul, or, as if] the breath [itself] has stopped.
no, not [a] gloomy [or a sad thing].
[it’s] just [that] one [closed-lips] sort of quietness has set in.

some stranger, it isn’t—
this sort of a life [which I have got], but,
[doubtful, if it] may not be beautiful…
some stranger, it isn’t—
this sort of a life [which I have got], but,
[doubtful, if it] may not be beautiful…
that [life] which [I] have got…
<<distinct pause>>
[I] have got a beautiful one…
no, not [a] gloomy [or a sad one],
[it’s] just [that] one [closed-lips] sort of quietness has set in.

the fresh early morning [breeze], too, [and] this [or the] night, too,
the afternoon, too, [I] have got, but…
the fresh early morning [breeze], too, [and] this [or the] night, too,
the afternoon, too, [I] have got, but…
I myself…
<<distinct pause>>
have chosen the evening…
no, not [a] gloomy [or a sad one],
[it’s] just [that] one [closed-lips] sort of quietness has set in.

that [sincere, or heartfelt, or] soulful tale which
I told, too, [and]
[I even] wrote [about]…
that [sincere, or heartfelt, or] soulful tale which
I told, too, [and]
[I even] wrote [about]…
today, that [tale]…
<<distinct pause>>
[I] have heard from my own self…
no, not [a] gloomy [or a sad one],
[it’s] just [that] one [closed-lips] sort of quietness has set in.

Finally, one more note on the difficulty in translating this kind of a song—a song that right in its original version itself is so atrocious!

The Hindi “chup” literally means: “with mouth shut up.” However, immediately after, Gulzaar adds the softening modifier (Hindi) “see” (literal meaning: “of that sort”, or, “something like”). All that the (Hindi) “see” makes clear is that the shutting up of the mouth is not meant in a hard sense, say, as in “just shut your ugly mouth up,” or even in the sense of: “tight-lips-ness.” The intended usage is soft. But one still doesn’t immediately know: soft, in which sense? happy, or sad?

Asking to keep the mouth shut up can be a mock order to a bright, lively and mischievous kid, as in, say, “now, wouldn’t you better keep your mouth shut up.” Yet, with (Hindi) “chup see” alone, one cannot certainly tell if it can’t actually be a sad context coming up, e.g., as in: “he is so sad/weak/in a pessimistic mood, that he obviously wouldn’t talk about it!” Etc. Thus, the same word can equally connote (i) an innocently mischievous, or a sparklingly happy, or a beautifully ironical kind of a context, or, (ii) a delicately sad sort of a situation. And then, the suggestion for the sad or delicately sorrowful meanings gets reinforced when you go over those denials the first time you read it: “no, it’s not about sadness, something else….”

And, thus, even with the original Hindi version, you really have to get to the last stanza before you can fully realize (or confirm) the exact sense in which the poet expects his (Hindi) “chup see” to be taken.

For any further interpretation etc.: Go, figure! [And, don’t forget to keep those sketches ready!]

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[E&OE]

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  1. Pingback: A Hypothesis on Homeopathy, Part 4 | Ajit Jadhav's Weblog

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