Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Penny for your thoughts? They better be worth it!

As always, it started quite innocently with a conversation with a friend, commentary on a situation and then it moved to a discussion on a trend in modern human demeanor that both the friend and I have noticed to be growing. A clan of dismissive intellectuals has been dominating the social scene, very vocal, very articulate and almost all the time….completely useless! And before anyone draws their rifles at us, useless in the sense that despite the prolific supply of intellectual thoughts exchanged during debates and discussions, the impact on pressing current issues is slim to nil.

So the question was raised…… why are those extremely smart, extremely educated people with enormous potential so petty?

Well, here is what *I* think….

I think its human ego , man is a narcissistic species, most human beings believe that mankind is the pentacle of creation and that they are capable of anything. A colleague of mine told me just this morning: “I find it astonishing that humans think they are the most evolved species on earth”.

My theory is as follows though, the people who refrain from engaging and discussing current pressing problems and rather focus on things that THEY KNOW are already obsolete and can’t be (for the lack of a better term) changed , have an inner struggle in the sense that they want to live up to the title of the “most evolved” , be worthy of the brain they have but they see that this very brain is failing to solve immediate problems (Poverty, Hunger, Disease, Racism, Sexism, Human Rights violations…to name a few) . In order to retain a sense of intellectual superiority the shortage is made up for by acquiring more knowledge (through reading, traveling, debating even meditating!) which is excellent! But then here is the strange part this valuable knowledge is for some reason applied to theorizing on issues that are no longer…well… issues!!
And here is why in my humble opinion this happens ; I think because there is no way to test these theories the possibility that they could have worked remains and then that false sense of achievement is there.

Yesterday, I was with a friend at a meeting and we pitched an idea to the chair, to our surprise she found our very “simple” idea brilliant and was very impressed by it. Now before I proceed with this story, its noteworthy to mention that both the friend and I are unemployed and do not work for this person. Ok back to the story, so the lady is impressed and mentioned that it has never been done before we were both shocked:

Are you serious??? It’s not rocket science; it’s very straightforward, why hasn’t it been done? we thought we’d pitch it to you so you can give us archives on how it was done so we can develop it !!

Her response was: All the solutions that work are never rocket science, it’s just people like to come up with complicated solutions to validate themselves and justify their big salaries, you guys don’t get paid to think, so naturally you will come up with easy solutions.

And she is absolutely spot on, simple solutions, if they work they work, if they don’t, no one can guilt trip you saying “ We don’t pay you to come up with these WikiHow solutions”

And then TADA! It just all linked to my theory which I now have a name for “Thought pricing”.

My good friend who inspired this rant , said “the more you get paid the more entitled you feel and the more "special" you feel but also the more pressure you feel to come up with something that weighs as much as the money you're being paid” , and I add to it that the “payment” need not be in money, for I have observed that praise, social status and even acceptance by fellow “intellectuals” creates the same incentives to always live up to the image or expectation.

I wish this was a profound kind of rant that goes into the specifics of how “Thought Pricing” originated and the pros and cons of it and its real impact (with numbers and charts and stuff) , but it’s not, it’s just my own meandering analysis, and to drive this rant home, I wish everyone would just …you know… CHILL!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

If you rain on my parade I might just spike your beverage.... With poison! (Angry piece)

Alright so yes, everyone goes through a period of their lives where things aren't exactly smooth and hunky dory and don't seem to be looking up. People handle these times differently and while there is an unspoken consensus to accept the "pragmatic" " realistic approach in dealing with these times, you find less tolerance to other mechanisms, such as pessimism or optimism.

First things first, *I* think pragmatism, pessimism and optimism never solve anything! They are coping mechanisms! That is all that they are! It always baffles me that pragmatism is perfectly ok and is deemed the only rational way to handle a tough patch!

A few questions come to mind though, for instance, who decided that optimists are living in fantasy? Why is it that hardly anyone sees that being pragmatic or realistic is a rationalized decision, not a rational one? There's a difference you know!! And the big mother of all questions, why is there this (often unspoken) affinity between the pragmatist and pessimist while the optimist is dismissed as a delusional dreamer and is hardly taken seriously?

You know exactly what I am talking about! When you hear the word optimist, an image of an extremely hyper, chipper , very cheerful person comes to mind, a person you can hardly take seriously with their signature grin tattooed across their face at all times, a toddler high on pixie sticks! On the other hand with the words pessimist or pragmatist, you picture a more centered, *mature* person, someone who is usually quiet and *looks* profound, and the only difference between a pragmatist and a pessimist is that one looks more depressed.

While the tolerance towards the optimist and the pessimist is relatively low in comparison to the pragmatist, I must say there is almost zero tolerance for the “deeply troubled” human being who dares exhibits a combination of all three through a given period of time….. And this brings us to the beginning of my rant (yes I am just starting)!

Dear People who rain on my parade,

I am really astonished at your reactions/reservations/comments on the way I lead my life, in all fairness, reactions and reservations do not at all bother me, but boy do I find it unsettling that people actually dare comment on something that’s absolutely NEVER going to affect their life, and they do it raising a huge banner that says “We care about your well-being”.

Ok I know some of you do (there are those with ulterior motives, I KNOW who you are and YOU know who you are), I really do, and I appreciate it, but do you honestly think you’re helping me by saying stuff like: “You need to bring your head down from the clouds”, “You won’t survive in this world with this attitude”, oh and my favorite one “You don’t know what you want, you’re too unfocused” …….. How exactly is that supposed to help me?

Then come the suggestions and the justifications, and the subtle (not always so subtle) pressure to apt for something just because it worked for someone else and NO! Being older and maybe wiser with more experience than me does not qualify you to say (with such conviction!) how I should handle my life.

I appreciate advice, I ask for it, and sometimes, I even use it…. I also appreciate criticism (I really do when it’s not done condescendingly), but you need to know…

I am not an idiot! I know how the world works, but I don’t conform, I won’t! And for now I can afford it, if you truly believe I will conform one day, then why are you pushing me? If it’s inevitable, I will arrive at it so just let it take its course!

It neither an immediate nor an ultimate goal to make money, yes I’d love to have extra money to cater to all my “dreams”, but if I have enough to sustain me, I am content. And that does not make me an idiot you bigoted capitalists!

I want to do so many things that have nothing to do with each other, and I believe as long as I have the time ( hopefully another 50 years or so) I can do it all!

So please, don’t come at me with your Confucius-ness and wisdom and tell me to see the world for what it is, I see the world for it is, but I don’t want to become it!

Stop raining on my parade! I studied Chemistry and I am not afraid to apply my knowledge =)