Information is not Experience

There’s a good chance this post won’t make sense. Fair warning, you will agree? OK. Proceed. [Or, Exit, Now]

They say the world has become a smaller place. Especially because of the communication tools we have. Right at our desk we can discover and participate in the ongoings of this world.

I disagree.

See, desk is key. Information is not experience. We are consuming information and allowing ourselves to believe that it is akin to experience. The smarter lot of us are choosing what information we consume. We are choosing the sources of information. Oftentimes we are celebrating the sources (even if indirectly) more than the information. And we are belligerently standing on the edges. Farther that we stand, louder we are shouting. Noise. Din. And every consumer of information is standing on the extreme left or the extreme right of the dial, and just shouting. Screaming. With no regard to the context of the screams.

10.53.08: Dandelions

I should be the last person to say this, given my knowledge of Maths, but I first heard of the term, irrationality in Mathematics. The purest of disciplines — introduced, perhaps, the nature of who we are. Yet we shout-out beliefs and battle with the other extremes, as if a victory is around the corner. It is an exercise in futility. Because neither of us will budge from our extreme positions and all we can do is hurl long-distance rhetorical missives.

Some of us know it as the zero-sum game.

Apart from a very personal sense of achievement, these battles are the most useless of all.

Sparrow: #Anthem 14

Some of us find shelter. Some of us find it easily, for the rest it is difficult. For the rest, why it is difficult, varies. Some of us just can never find shelter.

Who will love a little Sparrow?
Who’s traveled far and cries for rest?
“Not I,” said the Oak Tree,
“I won’t share my branches with
no sparrow’s nest,
And my blanket of leaves won’t warm
her cold breast.”

We’ve heard of the excuses. Go away, I have nothing to offer and what I may have to offer, will not work for you. A predetermined manner of avoidance.

Who will love a little Sparrow
And who will speak a kindly word?
“Not I,” said the Swan,
“The entire idea is utterly absurd,
I’d be laughed at and scorned if the
other Swans heard.”

The haughty ones. The snobs. The less said, the better.

Who will take pity in his heart,
And who will feed a starving sparrow?
“Not I,” said the Golden Wheat,
“I would if I could but I cannot I know,
I need all my grain to prosper and grow.”

The apologists. Aren’t they the worst ones?

Who will love a little Sparrow?
Will no one write her eulogy?
“I will,” said the Earth,
“For all I’ve created returns unto me,
From dust were ye made and dust ye shall be.”

The last truth. It is not the end, however. Our knowledge of a potential end guides us. But unless we knock on the doors that reject us, we will never find the place where we belong.

*

I’ve known this song for a long time. I’ve always loved it. In recent times, it has started making sense. I hope you enjoy it, as much as I have.

[Text that is right-aligned in italics, is © of one of the greatest song-writers, ever. If you would like to read about a philosophical take on this song, read this.]

Never Say Never

Our prejudice of people and places puts us in precarious positions. And they are precarious because they potentially inhibit a forward movement (or backward, as the case may be). When whoever coined Never Say Never, I wonder if they were being contradictory on purpose. The last word contradicts the first two or the first word contradicts the last two. Your choice. Some crafty person thought about it I am sure, perhaps waiting for others to see the contradiction.

6904: Never Say Never

In a no – there is an automatic decline of an experience, which is why, recently, I started saying yes. When I look back on my life experiences, I am glad I said yes. For the ones, which I declined, I will never know. Also, it’s easy to step back to a no after you have said yes; it’s seldom possible, vice versa. Then, there are sacrifices that come along with the yes. And it is impossible to weigh known sacrifices with unknown gains that the yes has the potential to bring, at a later unknown date. Then, your yes is a leap—less, of faith—more, of an abstract calculation. With the knowledge that you always can draw out the no card at a later date, when the yes isn’t worth the effort.

No yes, however, should be blind, or, for the sake of it. Our intuition (as against our prejudice) plays an important role in this yes and no of life. It requires a down-calibration of our prejudice and an up-calibration of our intuition. And while the results of a yes or a no may feed our prejudice in some way, it enhances our experience, which, in a very subtle yet sophisticated manner—feeds our intuition.

This little life of ours is capable of experiencing more than we believe it can.

Dear God, Grant me the Serenity…To Stay Away

Dear God grant me the courage to ignore the intellectuals, the serenity to ignore the idiots, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Wait.

Scratch that last part. I’ll use the wisdom part somewhere else. Same difference, I think. (I don’t want to use up my chances, here)

*

Having met some really smart people, I’ve always lamented why I was not as smart as them. And, having met some really stupid people, I’ve always been grateful that I am not as stupid as them. Irrespective of what others think of me, that puts me somewhere in the middle. And if academic achievement was any measure, I have documentary proof. I’ve discovered that most intelligent beings can be quite stupid, and vice versa. Which does beget the question — how do I know people are intelligent, if I do not have the intelligence to discern intelligence in other people. A person of average intelligence may discern stupidity, if at all, but not higher intelligence. Let’s go with seemingly intelligent. Just to help this post chug along.

So, this seemingly intelligent person made — what a below-average intelligent person, would recognise — to be a stupid statement about another, relatively intelligent person. But I am not below-average. I am perfect average. So I did make the connection. The seemingly intelligent person and the relatively intelligent person – both – are my friends. Undoubtedly, I have respect for them both. Because, undoubtedly, both are above-average intelligent people, and I am just perfect-average. I do have a theory. Most intelligent people don’t understand humour. I apply that to myself. When I don’t understand a joke, I realise, I suffer from overintelligensia. Yes. I coined that word. I should, however, tell you, that more often than not, I do get the joke. Almost 99%. Further proof of my average intelligence.

12.09.32: Wood Block & Bottle

While the two intelligent people were duelling (one refused, almost to come and play), I was the one getting all the cuts of the intellectually wielded sabres. I wasn’t there really, it was all happening in my head. I didn’t die; in those cross cuts. I survived. And here’s the moral of the story of dealing with intelligent folks:

Stay away.

Keep Giving Up

The temptation to give up, is high.

Well, you’ve stated the primary idea. Why write more? If people want to know more about your idea, they’ll Google it, or they’ll ask questions. My writing is suffering. I still love starting to write, but after the key note has been written, I lose interest. Who cares? I’ve just finished a post on my History blog. (as of when I am writing this post, it hasn’t been published). I can sense the gaps. It is staccato. I asked a few friends to check it. They end up telling me the things I know.

Even when I know how I should write, I don’t.

One of two things have happened: Blogging has changed and I haven’t, or, I have changed and Blogging hasn’t. When this mystery is solved, I’ll know what I should do.

Or, perhaps, there’s too much of a big deal with giving up and keeping at it. Why is giving up looked down upon? When you think hard about it, giving up actually opens up new avenues. If you give up there’s so many other things that you can do. If you, however, keep at it there’s only one thing you are doing, and chances are, you are doing it for some (potentially) foolhardy reason that you committed yourself to. Or perhaps, there’s merit in keeping at it.

So I should either give up at keeping at it, or keep at it at giving up.

Something tells me, they are the same, but, now I’ve lost interest. I give up.

Being Friends

“I have a few ideas about how we can respond,” he said.

“Come home,” I said.

“Or, we could speak on the phone,” he said.

Eventually he came home. There is no way any of you are interested in the why we wanted to get together. If you really are, ask me, in the comments.There’s much more to his coming home.

*

When I was young, friends didn’t need to ask if they could come home. They just came over. We were young, so my mother and father took care of other things: called the parents of this friend who was over and fed this friend with whatever lunch or dinner we ate. At times they slept over. Some friends are on the other side of the world. They don’t sleep over. Some of them. The others, stay back. They care less about the comfort. For them, nothing has changed.

If we ever measure our friends by their achievements, we should know that we aren’t friends. We can be proud of the achievements of our friends but that should never be the barometer of why we are friends. We are friends because we are friends and nothing should ever determine, the reason why.

The moment we ask why, something dies.

Cutting Time: Heaviness of Being

Time is a treacherous terrorist.

That sentence above could have been the entire content of this post. But it would have been so wrong.

*

My Grandmother freely embedded proverbs in her dialogue. Even when they did not rhyme, they always had a lyrical quality to it. As kids we used to be amused by it, more because of the way she delivered the dialogue, and I know now that the adults used to be intrigued. There’s one that she often used:

दात आहेत तेंव्हा चणे नाहीत, चणे आहेत तेंव्हा दात नाहीत.

Literally: When you have teeth (i.e. when you are young), you don’t have chickpeas (a nutty snack), and when you have the chickpeas, you don’t have teeth (i.e. when you grow old). The mood of the proverb seems defeatist, yet the moral is that you should do things at the time when you can do it. The moral is usually lost; the mood wins.

Cut, to many years later. Tezaab (1988). Girl is getting fresh with boy. Asks him to help her with studies. Boy says yes. Girl asks, “But, will you have the time?” Boy answers, ” Time isn’t there; it has to be taken out.” New cult dialogue takes birth. I belong to that generation. That’s my proverb.

Cut, to a few years later. I said:

Something that comes free to us has no value and therefore no respect. What if time wasn’t available to us as freely as it is available? Imagine if you had to ‘purchase’ time? Imagine if it had tangible value – and therefore a transaction – would we treat time differently? A friend once spoke casually of time as a commodity – traded on the stock market – does that send shivers down your spine? It did for me – for that ‘one moment’ in time. (It’s About Time: November 2006)

One more Cut. Then, in 2011, In Time (2011) gets released. Full circle.

095354: Old Plaster

I know, I have been cutting a lot. Now, cut, to July 6th, this year and I see this:

“Time, the currency that we can’t buy, is precious. But if we use those empty spaces well, maybe, just maybe, we won’t need to buy it. Right?” : Via Unbearable Heaviness of Being – Life in the New Web | A Fine Imbalance

You should read the full post. Please do.

Final cut. Cut, to today. The blogger above, another friend, and I, were having a banter on Twitter, today morning — we were talking about going on long drives. And I say:

Yup. Drives are expensive. The currency we deal in, is not money, it is time! :)

*

There’s so much back and forth we can do with time. We can cut to the past, we can cut to the present. Only through words. But that time has passed and ne’er shall it be ours again. All we can do for now, is seize this time that we have now and do something about it.

Later, we’ll have the chickpeas, but we wont have the teeth to chew them.