Being an Indian, we never get the chance to call anyone, even a senior just by hierarchy, by their first names, traditionally. It is always ‘sir’ ‘Mr. Last Name’ ‘sirji’ ‘seth’ ‘malik’ ‘sahab’ and so on. We, Indians, pride ourselves with this tradition that should be called ‘honor name calling’ in my opinion. I call it ‘honor name calling’ because at most cases, it is ‘name calling’, but with a ‘superficial honor’. The people walking away from calling others by their first names, or endearing nicknames, are considered uncouth, or rowdy at most instances. It works in our traditional setting as we have been taught to respect elders very profusely. I think we do it more than required. Indians, going by this tradition, seem to believe that respect is earned by age, position and power, and not entirely by knowledge. Knowledge and its value is thereby degraded in this setting. We do not call our father or mother, or any family relation by their first names because for them, we have inherent respect of them bearing us until we grew old enough to bear with ourselves at last. I understand that anyone elder in the house has spent more time living and might possess more knowledge than a younger person. However, this does not mean that calling by first name in a Professional setting would bring down the respect towards this person’s knowledge or stature. In fact, it will create a sense of higher accessibility to his knowledge, and vice versa. A nervous young intern with some knowledge that can be very useful, but sounds confusing at first, is most probably going to get lost in translation of this “honor name calling”. This also kind-of binds us not to reason or argument too much with the senior at hand, as we have already submitted to the honor of his/ her name. To further clarify my opinion, assume that we are in an office setting, and when we give respect to a senior colleague, out of tradition (read: not out of actual respect), we tend to force ourselves to do that, causing visible or invisible emotional imbalance to our mind. This is a big hindrance to how the conversation would go from there. We, sub-consciously, have admitted to a certain authority standing in front of us when we have not even made the point. It is a tool for any Authoritarian to avoid negative feedback. But with the passage of time, this traditional seasoning has led to a lot of sycophancy, or ass-licking or buttering-up as we call it. The original intention of this tradition seems to be keeping an authoritarian happy with respect to his/her superficial honor. At the first look, this tradition is particularly not bad, IF the authoritarians are not egotistically affected if someone calls them by their first name. Jodi Glickman, writing for Harvard Business Review in 2011, noted that calling even the VIPs by first name creates accessibility for both sides. It breezes away the nervous tension that a newbie professional would definitely have while discussing a professional issue with the higher-ups. So, let us break away of these superficial power moves, and be in a more honest professional environment, until we have not done our work on time, then its ‘sir’ ‘Mr. Last Name’ ‘sirji’ ‘seth’ ‘malik’ ‘sahab’ or whatever whets their superficial honor. ☺
Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr. was an American aerospace engineer who worked on safety-critical systems. He once said “If there’s more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in a disaster, then somebody will do it that way” working at Wright-Patterson Air-force base in late 1940’s, which later was popularized as Murphy’s law. He spent his life working to increase reliability and safety to prevent human error. Overall, it is statement of caution, to prepare yourself for the worst, when the best is expected.
Strangely enough, I noticed that people from both lazy-pessimistic and active-optimistic lifestyles use this quote in their own way. “What has to go wrong will go wrong anyways! Why care about it?” and “If there is something that will go wrong, we need to account for it and at least understand it!” are the most extreme thought examples to support my theory. To the core of its strangeness, human society has remained tolerant of some weird thoughts, but more importantly extremely silent about them as well. The society reveals what it shows, but believes what it does not. So, Murphy’s law might be unknown to some of you, because it is just a saying with no proof, but since the bigger chunk of population is stuck with the 9-5 grind, so Murphy’s law is synonymous with unknown glitches with any kind of work. Ultimately, quoting Murphy’s Law becomes the verbal hunter of all the nervous feelings of unknown failure to shove them deep inside and never to reveal. It makes us believe that the universe a.k.a. nature is out there to get us, so we should not fuss over something that was out of our control and try to learn from it. When I stumbled upon a cool proof recently, I had to write about it.
The most common story capturing Murphy’s subtle rant is of the tumbling of a toast with butter on one side that tumbles down to the floor. It is believed that it always falls butter side down. The toast when tumbles, somehow always falls in the worst condition possible. Robert A J Matthews, who was a visiting professor at Aston University in Birmingham U.K., in 1995, wrote a paper on the proof that the tumbling toast does fall butter down every time. He did this by proving that the dynamics of the toast with butter on one side while it is falling from the table always make it fall butter down. Robert Matthews now works as a consultant in Science and Media across the whole world.
Interestingly, he further goes on to prove in this paper that nature’s or universe’s fundamental constants (like height of an average table from where the toast can tumble which is dependent of average human height) are somehow helping the toast to fall butter down and proving the ‘innate cussedness of the universe’. But the important take away is that as humans, we are supposed to be intelligent enough to not to keep cursing the Universe and find a solution to the problem.
This is for everyone who thinks that the world out there is to get you. This paper, if extrapolated to other human situations, might prove that the world is really out there to get you! But, as humans, we like to stay on top of our life. Ultimately this tussle with the fundamental universe’s constants becomes life! or one may preach ‘ignorance is bliss’ and let the toast fall butter down with not a care! To each his own!
P.S. Nietzsche, a German Philosopher, believed that Struggle is the essence of life. If you are not struggling with something, then you are either on a break, or doing something wrong.
Millennials quote on the social media today like unicorns in an acid dream. Everyone loves to quote the quotes and hit ‘likes’ like a newborn unknown to the human kind. I hesitate frequently to vibrate on the social media in-sync with the borrowed quotes owing to their linear nature of distribution. By linear nature, I mean no contextual tagging of where, why and how the quote came about. Nagging about the quotes on the internet, I have made it inevitable for myself to not delve into one. I first heard “History Repeats Itself” when I was 12, maybe. However, I remember the teacher sarcastically grinning and blabbering this quote to a student who was failing at that young-age and had remained stationed in the same class for two years in a row already. I understood the concept with respect to this dude’s life, but I was too young to think about anything else for a long time to come. In the process, I did a lot of self-reflection – Do I repeat certain activities unknowingly? Does this habit last the rest of my life? Maybe repeating my own historic emotional, mental or physical activities and their outcomes in different scenarios is helpful, but how do I measure it? How are people repeating their mistakes, or success? What makes humans indulge so much in the history that they repeat it?
Well, the answer is simple; quotes get thrown around frequently these days without acknowledging the philosophical and worldly context and set up behind it. The original quote in our case is just not “History repeats itself”, it rather is “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Penned by George Santayana (1863-1952) (https://www.iep.utm.edu/santayan/ ), an American Writer born in Madrid, Spain in Dec 1863, in a book called “The life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress”, this was not his only quotable text. Along with the philosophy of ‘not remembering the history condemns one to repeat it’, he also notably asserted, “happiness is the only sanction in life, and where happiness fails, existence remains a sad and lamentable experience” and “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness.” (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Santayana). Combine just these three thoughts – Progress requires retentiveness, Happiness is the only real reason of life, and not remembering history condemns one to repeat it. Pondering reveals a life pattern and a certain vision of it. These three statements, collectively, state that life is all about happiness (in whatever you can find and make meaning for yourself). Life where happiness does not exist for you makes one stress and overthink, and a push to try to find a meaning in life. Progress happens, in general, when the next level is reached, however small or large it may be. The jump to the next level, nevertheless, requires the knowledge or rather the remembrance of the history. History of all people who have tried to achieve this level, and history of the one who is now trying to achieve it. I rather started reading history as lessons learnt. History prepares us like nothing else! The best example is that I remember passing many courses based on previous year’s question papers and frequently asked questions and knowing numerous people who excelled at this art. We cannot quantify its meaning because we are not keeping detailed logs of our own or someone else’s history, and not evaluating every moment in life with respect to what has happened in the past and how it affects our jump to the next step. So, as clearly as the mirror shows you your own reflection processed through your own eyes and brain, the dialectic needed for history is limited for teaching and debating purpose, mostly. But, how do we use history on a personal level to enhance our present? Personally, I think it comes down to Emotional Intelligence (EI). Why EI? Because EI is the power to understand other people’s emotions and then regulate your own to gauge their emotional and mental frequency. (http://ei.yale.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/pub184_Brackett_Rivers_Salovey_2011_Compass-1.pdf ). It is the skill to understand anyone’s behavior and more interestingly, the probable reason behind any yelling, love, pleonasm, one-word answers, storytelling, silent treatment and other inarticulate gestures. So, remembering history and using EI together helps understand the plight of others through a much broader perspective and prepares one to act accordingly. Normally, humans like to judge each other with respect to their own experiences in past and their own ability to cope with them. Hence, the next time your parents are lecturing you about the dearth of opportunities in their own time, and the sea in front of you, you just need to understand that they judge you with respect to their own ability or dis-ability. Reasoning is when one looks beyond his/ her own life and takes fact-based examples to understand someone else’s plight. Discussions are healthy when one keeps their own perception of the whole-world at the base level of understanding, and add the facts gathered as layers to the base level, to come to a decision or judgement. Otherwise, the history will just keep repeating itself owing to your judgement of yourself being the barometer of judgement for everyone else. So, do not give a chance to history to ruin your present.
Or, just indulge in your character and purely bi*ch about people being unfair a**holes because that works on a larger level of current-human-understanding perfectly!
Murphy’s Law “Things will go wrong at any situation, if you give them a chance”
A good-read is the book “History repeating itself” by Gregory M. Pfitzer that incinerates the idea of twentieth century social studies tampering the history ideologically to make it ‘appropriate’ for the future generation. http://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/history-repeating-itself
Image Acknowledgement – http://axtschmiede.com/history-repeats-itself/
In the rearview mirror is the silhoutte of hazy clouds of the evening
Lazy hues of red and blue blending the hallucination of calm
Let’s look ahead instead ….. the storm has been waiting for long now!
Nature was God until Humans thought they could take control.
Calmness was free until ego set out the chaos.
Acceptance was viral until selflessness read about “being yourself”.
The dynamics of it all, we will never find a balance.
But, are we really looking for it ?
Knowledge is earned,
Or otherwise it is just a superficial diaspora
Where your mind finds happiness in comfort
And is driven away from the homeland of struggle
Ilm kamaya jaata hai
Nai to woh ek mamooli panah ki talaash ban jaati hai
Jahan ilham aaraam main khush hai
Aur junoon se bahut door ja chuka hai
The confusion was as bewildered as the mid life crisis
The fear was as scary as a mother with menopause
The sorrow was as gloomy as every Sunday evening
The light was as bright as the pre death hallucination,
The violence was as bloody as the first period in a girl’s life,
The darkness was as blinding as the sun directly glaring into the eyes,
The chaos was as organized as Nature or God’s work !
About two years back in history, I saw the live stand up of my favorite comic then – Louie CK, when he came to Detroit. I was furious that he was wearing a suit, which was contrary to his philosophy of life and stand-up image (I was and am not sure if those two co-exist or not). He was funny with his life anecdotes and tragic but humorous sexual miscarriages, and he did explain, to my satisfaction, as to why he was wearing as suit. But, this dissatisfaction and its removal was just the tip of the iceberg! He was and I think still is, ignoring the recent reveal which is very hard to ignore and relate to his stand up stories, one of the best comic writers and performers in Hollywood. His glory came with his earlier stand-up and the wild rant about masturbating. His T.V. show ‘Louie’ was my favorite among everything funny I have ever watched in life. He used many philosophical layers in his humor and I absolutely loved it, but only until last year before his comic dominance over my humor frequency fizzled out when the stories of his ‘masturbating in front of some women (The count is five until now)’ came out. Therefore, my theory that Power (which in his life was being the top comedy writer and performer, and MONEY, of course) corrupts everyone. He was one of the few humans whom I thought was disconnected with the use of his name and image, but turns out he was not!
Therefore, a lot of us have these dark urges, which we either ignore completely or keep in check. The reason that we can accept for keeping a check on these DOMINANT urges is to be a good human being. Nevertheless, as soon as even a small amount of any category of Power (Money, Image, Acceptance, Love etc.) is realized, humans, these days, tend to exploit it. They become dominant and assume that no one is ever going to tell on their torn and dark conscious. However, Karma is a bitch! But, how does a human being go from normal to weird to dominantly abusive?
My theory is that we keep flexing our conscious every now and then to achieve some goal, personal or professional. We justify it in our own head and never speak of it. This keeps happening until one day some of it is abhorrently exposed or confronted. We live in a very complicated world now and everyone wants to get rich instantly. This makes us very vulnerable to becoming dominant because the common misconception is that if you ask dominantly, a large percentage of human beings are assumed to not to fight back and just submit to your demand. I find it much more comforting when someone does something out of Love or Respect. It creates the kind of Peace that makes me sleep at night. Dominance in knowledge is very healthy in a moment of making a decision, but no one is ready to live with the fuzzy logic of ‘Using only when necessary.’ The brain is trained to work in routines and hence once the feeling of being dominant is born, it stays and sometimes finishes one’s career in a momentary glitch.
So, my question still stands, is there anyone who did not compromise his or her conscious to become Powerful and DOMINANT? If not, then we really live in ‘Kali-yug’ – the age of downfall, as mentioned in the Hindu mythology.
Randomly, to quote the band Pearl Jam’s song ‘I am mine’ –
“And the feeling, it gets left behind, all the innocence lost at one time, significant behind the eyes, there is no need to hide!”
Because it explains that if you have lost your innocence, then be yourself and tell the world who you are, so that they can treat you accordingly. Do not just hide away and torture people at the expense of their trust, love, and helplessness or simply respect!
Always remember, you are not DOMINANT, it is just that people are loving, kind, tolerant and sometimes helpless. Start sewing your conscious now! Or maybe it is too late!