Who am I? 

Hi, I’m Harsh Shukla, a Information Technology graduate from Rutgers University living in New Jersey, USA. I like to consider myself a kid in mid-20s with many questions and interests that span many fields — namely Technology, Philosophy, Physics & other sciences, Education, etc.

I minored in Anthropology as well because I wanted to learn more about what makes us human from a cultural perspective. I also began Philosophy minor since I wanted to study more about the big questions that we often ask ourselves – who are we? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? I hope to look at some of these issues in future blog entries.

More here: About Me

Why do I blog?

My goal of this website is to inspire people and to express my thoughts on the many wonders of life through blogging to hopefully make people think about the big questions/issues/etc that we face as humanity. The things I wish to explore are those that help define character, to grow intellectually as an individual, to dream, and to ask questions about the world through the eyes of a child searching for answers. These are often life-long journeys of inspiration that I wish to explore. 

How did I end up starting this blog?

I believe the most important & fundamental thing any human-being does is think. I like to consider myself a ‘thinker’ as I spend lots of time thinking. I will blog more on this in the future, but I process information best over time (and when my mind is least occupied). For example, if I have a conversation with somebody, I reflect on that later in the day long after the conversation is over. On any given day, I spend approximately ~3 hours thinking. I might be reflecting upon everything I did during the day at night-time or I may be thinking about some philosophical issue (or any other issue) while reading some article.

I spend lots of time lost in thought, and I often write down these thoughts that I have. By now, I have a several word documents filled with many thoughts (many of them get lost because I can’t write them down in middle of the night). I used to post some of them on Facebook, but I realized there is more to gain by blogging about it. There is only so much I can put into 300+ characters. This is a short answer as to why I blog – more on it in a future blog entry.

Why use ‘harshmode’ as name of blog?

While playing online games, I used the alias ‘BEASTMODE’ few times, and it is based on a football player, Marshawn Lynch, whose nickname is ‘beastmode.’ He was given that nickname due to his ability to break through strong defenses and tackles. I have seen 3-4 opposing players jump on top of him to bring him down, but he would lift them all up & push through the defensive line for extra yards against all odds. I found that truly awesome, and I would yell “BEASTMODE” after seeing plays like that.

From that, I decided to personalize that with my name to ‘harshmode.’ I look at Beastmode pushing through the defensive line as me pushing through the hardships of life & finding ways to overcome anything and everything. I am confined to a wheelchair, but it will not stop me from pushing myself to my extremes. I believe life is all about inspiring others and yourself to be more. BEASTMODEEEEEEEEEE! HARSHMODEEEEEEEEEEE!

What will I blog about?

The conventional wisdom for blogs is to keep the topic within a small niche. I realize though that in order to ask big questions about the world and the things that impact humanity, many different topics would have to be looked at. I believe there are times in life when you have to do things that go against conventional thinking and so I will focus not on one single topic but a plethora of topics.

I decided I will start off with general topics — Science, Technology, Philosophy & General depending on what is running through my mind that week. Within general, I will occasionally do a few blogs about character, knowledge, sports, some movie/book reviews, and mix it up. It is my personal goal to focus on things that inspire & think and perhaps over time I will end up making “inspire people” my central target for the overall blog.

Also, I think it is important to state the philosophical style I will be using for these blog entries. The focus will be on questioning things at the core. Almost nothing would be off the table from being questioned (or ‘to doubt’ as philosopher Rene Descartes would say). I believe the most powerful beliefs/ideas/concepts are those that can withstand not only the test of time but also withstand rigorous questions and practical/theoretical knowledge that could very well unravel those ideas. Every entry will be thorough – I do not like to cut my ideas short and divide them just to get stuff out there quickly because I feel it would be incomplete and low quality. My focus is on quality of few posts rather than quantity of many posts.

What will I not blog about?

I am very open when it comes to topics I discuss or think about, but on the other hand, I also realize there are some topics to stay away from. Those topics mainly include religion & politics. I realize both broad topics can fall under the umbrella topic of philosophy, and I could blog about many sub-topics that I have spent a lot of time thinking/writing about over the years. In the past, I used to freely discuss my political/religious views with no regard for what people said or thought, but it also got me into trouble a few times as I tend to not take sides without a thorough discussion, and I openly question things. I may be comfortable with that, but most people out there are not comfortable having a serious religious/political discussion for whatever reason. I believe it has to do with emotions clouding their judgment (in my journey, I noticed every single religion/political system of belief exploits emotions of people – you learn in psychology that when emotions are involved in any kind of belief, it can have major influence on a person’s thought process).

Even if I stay completely neutral in my own stance, topics within religion & political spectrum could alienate people. I feel uncomfortable alienating people by questioning what may be their deepest beliefs. As I mentioned above, arguments/beliefs of any kind have to be able to withstand rigorous questions. I cannot talk about an argument without questioning the intricacies that make up that argument. Unless if I talk about these ideas in very broad terms, I have no way of breaking down these questions/issues/etc. Occasionally, I will have to mention broad things if I ever do a blog entry about economics or technology or philosophy, but do note I will not dwell deeply into it & it will always be from neutral distant perspective.

As far as politics is concerned, that follows a similar line of thought. People often believe very strongly about their own political views and when strong emotions are mixed into that, people tend to become alienated among each-other. Politics tends to become difficult to discuss once people, who have already taken sides strongly, come together (at extreme levels, it is polarized to the point where there are only two sides and lots of anger – i.e. US politics in current state). Unfortunately, it seems almost everything is politicized nowadays so I will just have to dance around without getting too specific whenever something is a topic that is highly politicized. It is best to not enter religious and political spectrum of discussion.

How often will I blog?

My goal is to blog once a week (every Wednesday I will post). There will sometimes be weeks with no blog entry because I don’t like to release incomplete blog entries. They will either be complete or not released at all. I am trying hard to keep them at or under 2,000 words apiece and so it does take time to get my ideas down & research together. I spend only 2 days per week on blog writing so I will sometimes push things back, especially if it is a topic that requires lots of thinking. Some weeks, I simply lack inspiration to write. It does sometimes happen where I go weeks without writing because I’m simply busy with something else or simply lack inspiration.

What is my most important message to take away?

1) At the end of the day, the most important thing I wish to emphasize is to believe in what is important to you, but do be open & willing to challenge your own beliefs from time to time. The most dangerous belief is one that is not open to any kind of change even if the knowledge, evidence, and analysis all point to an entirely different conclusion.

Lets say you are a detective investigating a murder. You can have your beliefs, suspicions, biases, etc going in to solving that mystery. You are expected to have those as a human-being, but you are also expected to consider every piece of evidence you collect along the way down to a drop of blood to even a piece of hair. You are expected to be thorough so you end up putting right criminal behind bars. Even if a couple eyewitnesses tell you they saw Billy Bob run up a dark alley chasing after the victim with a knife near the location of the crime scene, it is your duty to do your due diligence before reaching a conclusion. The justice system’s job does not end there as it goes through the courts next where new questions might arise.

This is also how I see life itself – the quest of finding answers never ends even if you think you already have the answers. This is also one of the central crux to science.  Science in itself is nothing more than a methodological technique to investigate something observed in nature (or questioned about). The basis of science, in the most basic terms, comes down to asking questions and finding answers with evidence to explain a phenomenon. The job is never finished because for every conclusion you reach, there are ten more questions waiting to be asked.

2) One of the main goals of this blog is to get people to think. Socrates used to say “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” Thoughts alone may not change the world, but they do count for something. Never stop thinking about things that are important to you & the world at large. Remember one important thing before everything else – YOU are the master of YOUR destiny. You have control and choices over the life that you lead. The things I value may not be what you value so if you disagree or have something to say, never be reluctant to do so for if we stay completely silent about things that matter to us, the things we value slowly stop mattering.

3) Live and enjoy life, my friend, for it is today that you live & die for. Hope, Inspire, Dream, Live.

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