Who am I? 

My name is Harsh Shukla. I like to think of myself as a kid with many questions and interests that span many fields – namely technology, philosophy, physics & other sciences, education, history, humanity, etc. I am a Rutgers University alumni and from New Jersey, USA.

I majored in Information Technology and minored in Anthropology to learn more about what makes us human. I began (but never finished) philosophy minor 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?

I enjoy writing because I feel free when I write. It opens up infinite possibilities beyond the constraints of life, and imagination takes me on a journey through infinity. To infinity and beyond!

There is also always a story waiting to be told if one simply tries. It never ends as long as one is alive. I believe every individual has something to contribute. It doesn’t need to be groundbreaking or never thought of before in history. If there is an idea, chances are someone has already thought of it somewhere at some point in time. All stories have already been told throughout human history, but not by you & not in your voice. An idea, no matter how simple or complex, has the power to inspire a generation.

My goal is to inspire people on life’s many wonders to make people think about the big questions/issues that we face as humanity. I wish to explore things that help define character, grow intellectually as an individual, dream, and ask questions about the world in search of answers. These are often lifelong journeys that I wish to explore.

How did I end up starting this blog?

The most fundamental thing a human being does is think. I consider myself a ‘thinker.’ I process information best over time (and when the mind is least occupied). If I have a conversation with somebody, I reflect on it much later, long after the conversation is over. I spend lots of time thinking, perhaps too much for my own good. It’s a never-ending endeavor. I might reflect upon everything I did that day, or I may be thinking about some philosophical issue (or any other issue) while reading some article.

I am always lost in thought, and I often write down my thoughts. I have several Word documents filled with random thoughts (many thoughts get lost in the 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. Blogging is the answer.

Why use ‘harshmode’ as the name of blog?

Many years ago, there was an American football player named Marshawn Lynch, and his nickname was ‘Beastmode.’ He was given that because of his ability (and personality) to break through stacked 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 on his shoulders & pummel through the defensive line for extra yards against all odds. I found that truly remarkable, and I would yell “BEASTMODE” after seeing plays like that.

That’s when I decided to personalize that with my name to end up with ‘harshmode,’ which I used as an alias in online videogames. I look up to Beastmode pushing through the defensive line as me pushing through the hardships of life and finding ways to overcome anything and everything. Bring it on and pile on the obstacles, the pain, anything! Nothing will ever stop me. The fight must never stop. As long as there is life, there will be obstacles. 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 many issues would have to be looked at in asking the big questions about the world and the things that impact humanity. I believe there are times in life when you have to do things that go against conventional thinking. So I will focus not on one topic but on a plethora of topics.

I started with general topics – Science, Technology, Philosophy & General topics depending on what is running through my mind. I will occasionally do blog entries about character, knowledge, sports, stories, etc to mix it up a bit. I want to also occasionally post reviews on books, movies, and tv shows. I want to focus on anything that inspires.

Also, I think it is essential to state the philosophical style I will be using for these blog entries. I want to question things at the core. Almost nothing would be off the table from consideration (or ‘to doubt’, as philosopher Rene Descartes would say). I believe the most powerful beliefs/ideas/concepts can withstand not only the test of time but also rigorous questions that could very well unravel those ideas. Every entry will be thorough – I don’t like to cut my thoughts short to get stuff out there quickly because I feel it would be incomplete and of low quality. I prefer the quality of a few posts over the 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, there are some topics to stay away from. Those topics mainly include religion & politics. Both topics fall under the umbrella topic of philosophy, and there is much I could blog about related sub-topics. In the past, I used to freely discuss my political/religious views with no regard for anything, but it got me into trouble a few times. I tend to not take sides without a thorough discussion, and I openly question/argue things. I may be okay with that, but most people out there are not comfortable having a serious religious/political discussion. I believe it has to do with emotions clouding their judgment. Every political system/religion (and religious texts across the board) exploits people’s emotions. When emotions are involved, they influence a person’s thought process.

Politics becomes challenging to discuss once people who have already taken sides come together. At extreme levels, it is polarized to where there is lots of anger – i.e., US politics in the current state. Unfortunately, almost everything seems to be politicized nowadays, so I will just dance around without getting too detailed on highly politicized topics.

Even if I stay neutral in my stance, such topics 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 withstand rigorous questions. I cannot talk about a view without questioning the intricacies that make up that argument. Unless I talk about these ideas in broad terms, I have no way of breaking down these questions/issues/etc. Occasionally, I will mention general things if I ever do a blog entry about science, climate change, or philosophy. Still, note I will not dwell deep into it. It will always be from a neutral, distant perspective.

How often will I blog?

I have no set schedule. There will be stretches 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, so it takes time to get my ideas down & research together. I spend 2 days per week on blog writing, so I will sometimes push things back, especially if it is a topic that requires lots of thought. Many weeks, I lack the inspiration to write. I often go weeks without writing because I’m busy with something else or lack motivation.

What is my most important message to take away?

1) The most important thing I wish to emphasize is to believe in what is important to you, but be open and willing to challenge your own beliefs. 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.

Let’s say you are a detective investigating a murder. You can have your beliefs, suspicions, biases going into solving that mystery. You are expected to have those as a human being. Still, you should consider every piece of evidence you collect along the way, from a drop of blood to a strand of hair. You should be thorough in putting the right criminal behind bars. Eyewitnesses may tell you they saw person X run up a dark alley chasing after the victim with a knife near the location of the crime scene. Still, you must do your due diligence before reaching a conclusion. The justice system’s job does not end there as it goes through the courts where new questions arise.

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

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 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 never be reluctant to say you disagree or have something to say. If we stay silent about things that matter, the things we value slowly stop counting.

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