Monday, February 27, 2017

Perceptions

So I am torn. Once again, yes, I know. And scared. Which is new. Why? Well.. it's because people have different perceptions and believe things that they want to and ignore everything else. Let me explain.


It is one of my pet peeves how society decides what is right and what is wrong. While I know and have deduced in a logic earlier how societal rules are needed for a functioning society, I still believe that people should not care about what others are doing as long as it is not harming anybody. So when I say that I advocate for an open society, I am not advocating for a lawless society. Just one where people are more accepting of differences and personal choices.


For eg. - and invoking a sensitive topic here just to be different than what I wrote earlier - LGBT people. Russia and a lot of other countries strictly prohibit people from being LGBT because it may seem to be detrimental to the society. What would the kids think if a man is seen kissing another man. Or a woman is kissing another woman. Or if a man is dressed as a woman. We've already come to terms with women being dressed as a man though. Why? Feminism.

In fact women kissing other women was already ok for men as long as they are watching it in private. But what about men kissing men. That is a taboo. Men are expected to the "right" thing. We still have a lot of rules on men. You can argue that a lot of women are still repressed, but men have a lot of rules imposed on them too. And most of them simply because it is not an approved way of the society.


In one of my previous blogs I had argued how society treats people that challenge their beliefs by being/thinking different. Classical and my favorite examples of Copernicus and Galileo. Add to that Alan Turing who is very suitable as an example in this scenario. Convicted of indecency, he died poisoned and a broken man. Before that, however, he helped the government push back against Germans in World War II. He was one of the heroes and an exceptionally brilliant man whose work is still referenced when it comes to computing. He is the father of modern computers. So, what happened? How did the recognition of brilliance and heroism fade because he had relationship with a man? I can tell you - perception. Everything else fades away when it comes to something that the society dictates is a taboo. And being gay was definitely top of the list then.


More recently holding different political beliefs has become a factor in people distancing themselves from others. Everywhere you look around there are factors where people are becoming divisive instead of accepting of others beliefs. Religion has been another factor. So has been caste, creed, color, gender etc at different points in history and some still are. So, why is it that the society is slow to accept even when we know there is precedence and history repeats itself. In the future there is going to be a day when the society would pretend to be more accepting (sometimes you just can't accept but have to pretend. Even today we pretend to publically ignore caste, color, gender but then talk about the differences in private). And then one day, the inner currents would be so divisive that the society would crumble under it's own pressure.


I dread that day.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

How to frustrate analytical people?

In my last blog I noted that I have been very disillusioned lately. Since, then I've had a running feeling of losing people who I once thought understood me. Given the number of people and amount of piling up evidence it's logical to think that the problem may actually be with me. But I'm still having a hard time figuring out what should I do to fix it. Should I change who I am? But then who will I be if not myself? Anyway, that's not what this blog is about. This is about how to very easily frustrate people like me who think analytically and logically.

Here are some imaginary scenarios. Let me be the person A talking to person B.

Scenario 1 : No, no. You don't know what I know.

B : You know when India was fighting Pakistan in 1971, China also invaded India to get Kashmir for itself but our lads fought bravely and fended them off.
A : No - China supported Pakistan because it didn't want Bangladesh's independence but it didn't attack India on the border.
B : No, no. You don't know because it was a covert operation. Nobody but our politicians knew. But China invaded Kashmir because it wanted to build a road through it to Pakistan just like it's doing now. A new trade route. When that failed, it changed some policies and started exporting cheap goods everywhere anyway to become a global superpower.
A : Ok... I know it's building a road now but I don't think that's a plan from 1971... Also, if they anyways had a backup plan to sell cheap goods, and I don't know about policies much, why would they spend on military action which would cost more than just changing some policies?
B : No - it was easier for them since they were high up.
A : But I thought India had the higher ground.
B : No, no. You don't know.. you weren't there.
A : But neither were you.
B : Yes, but I know things that you don't.
A : Ok.. so tell me what things.
B : I just did.
A : :S

Scenario 2 : You don't see it clearly as I do
B : So, you didn't invite me to your party yesterday
A : It wasn't a party. It was just a couple of friends of my wife that came over.
B : Ya. And you could've called me.
A : Hmm.. I could and I was thinking of calling you. But I didn't know them and when I met them I didn't think you would gel well with them.
B : Please don't insult my intelligence by giving me excuses. The truth is you don't want to hang out with me. It's not the first time.
A(stunned) : I'm not giving excuses. I'm just telling you what happened and I know it's not the first..
B : You are. It was your choice and you didn't want me there.
A (still stunned) : Yes it was, and that 's what I'm trying to tell you why I didn't..
B : Whatever. Please don't. If you wanted me there you would've called.
A (stunned enough to last the rest of conversation so assume) : Yes, because I didn't think you would gel well because even I didn't know them well enough and what I saw made me feel they could hurt you.
B : Whatever makes you feel comfortable. I've made my peace with the fact that you don't like hanging out with me except for a dinner every so often
A : I know that's how it's been and I've not been able to make a few plans but you still get most of my time apart from my wife. We've even been talking about going to a game and a concert this month.
B : Yes. Talk. That's what it all is. We talk and you hang out with other people. But that's ok.
A : But no.. you misunderstand. The only person I hang out more than you is my wife.
B : Whatever makes you feel comfortable. If you can't see it as clearly as I do I can't make you see it.
A : :S

Scenario 3 : No, you're wrong (Fake facts)
B : You know that the sun is the center of universe and earth revolves around it.
A : I know that earth revolves around the sun. But sun isn't the center of the universe.
B : No, you're wrong.
A : No.. I'm right.. (already :S) Didn't you read all about it in school.
B : Yes I did. But scientists have now proven that sun is in center actually.
A : No, they haven't. They know that sun isn't center of universe - probably because nobody knows how big universe is.
B : Yes they have. Correct your facts
A (exasperated and pulling up google search) : See. Google says there hasn't been any such finding.
B : No, it just shows top results those are old.
A : But I just searched specifically if there was any finding that sun was in center of universe.
B : No, that's not how google works. You'll see soon.
A : But I am in IT and that is exactly how google works.
B : You don't know that.
A : I do.
B : Nope, You're wrong.
A : :S

Scenario 4 : You can't think what I feel
B : So, I've been thinking that we should move to Paris.
A : But why?
B : Well, there are a lot of bakeries there and I like to bake. I think I'll feel happier there.
A : Hmm.. But there are a lot of bakeries here.
B : Yes, but I know Paris
A : You've lived there for so many years, so yes you know it. You haven't been here 4 months. Give it time you'll know this place too.
B : Yeah.. But I've already been here more than 3 months and I haven't been baking.
A : True. But you can. Why don't you do it.
B : I don't feel like it.
A : When you start baking and you start visiting different bakeries you'll start knowing this place too. Right now you are just feeling that because all you happy memories about baking have been in Paris.
B : You can't think what I feel. You don't know how it is. I think we should move to Paris so I can bake.
A : :S

Scenario 5 : A classic flip

B : You know we're going for a team outing this Friday
A : Yes. We're going bowling na?
B : No, we're planning to go for a hike and a picnic to Raven Hills.
A : Oh! ok.

Two days later

A : So are we all set for Raven Hills?
B : Raven Hills? Why?
A : The team outing - hiking and picnic..
B : No, no. We're going bowling. Everybody knows that. Why would you think about Raven Hills?
A : Umm.. Because you told me that on Monday.. ?
B : No. I would never say that. I don't even like hiking.
A : :S


So to summarize : The right mix of incorrect facts, stubbornness and a closed mind, and a high degree of self-confidence is key.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Disillusioned..

So, for the past few days I've been feeling very disillusioned. I never was very social and I've already explained in an earlier entry how I find machines to be more trustworthy than humans. But what I'm feeling for the past few days is a new low even for me. Let me bring you up to speed on what's happening around  me and what goes on in my head as a result.

First up, big news, Donald Trump has won the US Presidential Elections. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't happy with either candidate and frankly didn't care about either. Also, it wasn't really a surprise to me that Trump won - my Piscean senses were already tingling the morning of the election day. But the ease with which he won has been one of the major causes for me to lose my faith. My biggest peeve with the internet is the amount of misinformation out there. And Trump won by riding the biggest wave of it. This was one of the ugliest elections I've ever witnessed, where the candidates instead of focusing on policies they would want to draft, focused on each other and the candidate who spoke to the masses' hearts - crude, racist, sexist, bullish language won. Make no mistake - everyone within them harbors a monster. People may be gentle in public but each of them has had a sexist or racist thought sometime and some - nay, most - struggle to hide it, afraid of what the public might think and what they may lose. These things have been a taboo for a long time. And yet, when faced with a candidate that openly talks so, he wins. Why? I've been told it's because of the anger of masses against the government. Maybe. But as FDR once said :

"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country"

And so, if the face of the United States - the leader of free world, is someone who revels in misinformation, personifies vanity, gullibility, immorality, has objectified women and insulted them with crude words - what does it say about the voters. Are we so full of hate that we can justify such a person residing at the top? Slowly and gradually the hate is flowing out in the streets. Once again I'm reminded of what happens in such a state and I'm afraid - I'm actually terrified if such a thing was to happen - but history repeats itself. As Robert Heinlein once observed :

"The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”

I never believed that but I've been led to believe now that I've seen this election. The candidate who created the best circus show and offered bread to the masses won. And the voters simply ignored all the faults of the candidate - for he was offering them the things they want the most. Quoting the candidate Donald J Trump himself :

"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters"

Anyway, enough has been written about Trump and I don't want to continue to harp about him since he's not the sole reason for my disillusionment.

And here steps in the not-so-racist-or-sexist-Donald-Trump-of-India (or NSROSDTOI for short.. :P), Arvind Kejriwal.

Similarities :
They're always right. Don't mind the facts.

Flip flops on various issues : DJT and AK say what gives them political mileage and makes them look better in the eyes of middle and lower class voters and they do not mind changing there positions as needed.

Demonizing the competition : DJT and AK spoke vehemently against the opposition before the elections promising legal actions if they win - Hillary Clinton and Sheila Dixit. As soon as the opposition was vanquished, they do not want to pursue any legal action anymore.

Promising Bread and Circus : AK promised free water, electricity, wifi, security cameras on every road, cheap food, medical aid and what not before the elections. I wonder if he was major landowner would he have promised a free flat to everyone as well?

Anyway, given that AK has had nearly two years stint as CM of Delhi - which is not a state - another huge gripe of his (Wonder if he did not know that when he fought the election?) he has little to show and blames everyone else but himself for that. It's not his fault that he picked fights with the Administrator for Delhi - the LG. I studied that UTs are run by Governors and not governments in 8th grade and still remember that. AK is an IITian and an ex-IRS serviceman. He continues to pick fights with Narendra Modi, the PM, now that BJP is the biggest opposition to his fledgling party. And that makes me wonder again - what does he expect the PM to do. A PM is not supposed to run a state or UT. And if he expects the PM to listen to him - again that's not his job. A CM isn't supposed to advise a PM on any national or international matter unless specifically asked to do so. If it's about your state, yes, sure.

Then there's Brexit. I've earlier written how I envision a world without borders. EU was a POC in my opinion towards a bigger more connected and open border world where everyone was free to move within the member nations. There was an environment of cohabitation and collaboration. But Britain decides that it's superior to others, can't carry them all and decides to exit, thereby bursting that bubble. While I agree that an open border world will be most detrimental to the developed nations but it'll also be the first step towards global equality. Bringing the underdeveloped nations - the third world countries up to the level of developed nations will take some time of course, a lot of it, but the developed nations need to remember that their development has been paid for by those third world nations themselves. So it's morally and ethically the right thing to do when you support the third world nations and help them build and develop. It's a chicken move to leave them to rot and run away and hide within one's own borders.

So that is what brews within me. I've never been a fan of democracy. My stand on it can be summarized by Churchill's words :

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."


And this summarizes my loss of hope and faith, again by Churchill :

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

I've had that conversation. And the last two quotes hence lead me to the hopeless conclusion - Unless the average voter makes sure to get the correct information, is able to correctly choose the person that is better for - whatever is the highest area that's impacted - city, state, country or world and ignores the people who peddle Breads and Circus (liquor and money in India), a democratic state can never succeed for long. Democracy is a compromise and not a perfect solution as Mussolini, a dictator who climbed to power through democracy, observed :

"Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy."

 I leave you with this quote to figure out the future of such a state whose voters think for themselves :

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch."

Oh! And you can feel free to switch lambs and wolves - in every possible scenario someone is going to be hungry or someone is going to be eaten. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tinted Glasses

I've already written a blog about how much it peeves me to hear the phrase "It depends" to a simple Yes/No answer. Let me add to that. I absolutely hate it when people turn a bias into a defense for their thinking.
The bias could take any form. "You haven't lived here long enough so you don't know", "You are a girl/guy so you wouldn't understand", "You've never worked under my manager so you don't know".
This is how it happens.. Two people start talking about something. One explains a particular issue they are having in their life and asks for others' advice. The other starts advising but the advice is soon thrown out of the window coz "No I couldn't do this and you wouldn't understand because you
Why is this a pet peeve now? Coz all my life I've dedicated time to observe people. So much that I don't even like being around most based on my observations. And there's a difference between a quick judgement and forming an opinion based on observations. Amazingly, people do not understand the difference. I digress. So, I love knowledge and I love observing people. Combine that and you get someone with a decent enough understanding of how people work. I've seen friends, family, colleagues come to me to talk about their issues and get advice since they know I weigh everything and provide them a neutral view free from bias. And yet, often I get the "You don't understand coz.." because the other party refuses to comprehend the complex logic behind things.
No clue where I'm going with this but whatever.

Noise. Chaos. Mess.

As I mentioned in the last blog that there are a lot of thought chains running in my head and about 7-8 topics I've wanted to write about. Well, they're just increasing in intensity and strength. So it seems that not all people are able to comprehend the world in the same way that I do. It also seems that people are prone to find another person's life perfect. So much so that they would try to find the worst thing that annoys them and turn it into their tormentor.
I did it once. Funny thing is, I found it annoying how some people close to me loved me while so many others crave for affection. I started distancing myself from them and was successful. But how can someone stop love? Lot of them still love me, I just don't give them a chance to show.
Once I did, I craved for affection. But I couldn't return.

Perfection

There have been around 7 or 8 topics over the past few weeks on which I've wanted to pen down my thoughts. But well, I'm married now and the blog has taken a backseat.. Not that I was churning out blogs by dozens before. But I can finally use marriage as an excuse for once, so just lemme.

The foremost among all topics that have been bugging me is Perfection.What is it? Who defines it? Can anyone achieve it? Has there been anybody who was just perfect in each and every way. I've never worn suits but these ads have always attracted me and egged me on to find perfection. Weird - right? But well.. that's how it has always been.

Of late, I've been told - Nobody is perfect and one shouldn't try to achieve it. It's hopeless/worthless/waste of time - pick one. Instead one should live life to it's fullest. This has caused me to look back on pretty much my whole life in which every action I took was to move forward to be a better person. Better by whose standards, you ask? Mine. I believe perfection like beauty, lies in the eyes of the beholder. For someone begging at a street light, a guy in Mercedes may seem to have a perfect life. Or not. As I said, eyes of the beholder.

Broke the chain of thought.. Rest may follow later..

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Stupid List #1 - Left handed stuff

So I sprained my right thumb/wrist last Friday and as it's in a splint, have to use only one hand for various activities. For some stupid reason I thought about what I can and can't do with just my left hand and wanted to actually list it out.. This may be an evolving list as I discover more:

Things I can do with Left Hand only :

1. Eat
2. Type - Write a blog
3. Attend and make phone calls
4. Use a laptop to watch movies
5. Pour myself juice in a glass and drink
6. Clean the dishes
7. Laundry
8. Vacuum the floors
9. Write (in a crude but discernible way)
10. Play basic arcade games like candy crush and HoC
11. Make my bed
12. Shopping.. :P
13. Use chopsticks!! :D

Things I can't do with Left Hand only:
1. Cook
2. Drive
3. Photography using my current DSLR
4. Sketching (Though to be fair, I haven't tried this yet..)