Sunday, 18 October 2015

Are we really 'the' generation of idiots?

Okay, so let's start with a solid premise on this one. This quote by the greatest doyen of science may really be a good reference point to gauge the extent to which things augured it right. Are we really letting ourselves fall prey to the seductive venom of technological explosion, one that has far surpassed anyone's imagination on its extent? Or are we simply succumbing to the waves of change, which any prudent person would do because otherwise they'd perish in obsolescence? Answering it could be tricky. Because if we really are the idiots Einstein predicted us to become, then we will simply get lured by conjectures and fail to answer even a question related to our idiocy. Damn! That will really be an oxymoron of celestial proportions. 

Five decades ago, entertainment would've meant books, theater, cinema, circus, radio and of course sex. Four decades ago, TV started making a place on the list. Three decades ago, computers started showing up, two decades ago, the Internet made its mark, and finally about a decade ago, the world of technology made entertainment mobile. It seemed that at the onset of this new era, we human beings, as gullible as we can get, welcomed the same by getting festooned with devices of all sorts. There were normal cellphones, with new feature phones, with multimedia phones, with communicators and finally, the revolution got consummated with the remarkably out of the world Blackberries and finally the smartphones. Wasn't that a happy time to be in?

Everyone seemed to be ecstatic to finally see the tumbrels of technology rolling in our generation as well. We were all fascinated when our parents shared tales of how agape they were when they saw a freaking TV set for the first time. It seemed as if our moment had finally arrived. We were happy. We were goddamn happy, no doubt. After all, there were so many new ways of beguiling oneself with entertainment. There was so much more that you could do on the move. It seemed as if entertainment, one of the most basic human needs, was now only an arm's length away(literally, actually!). But what we confused to the most eidetic era for entertainment, was actually its annihilation!

Entertainment has to be uninterrupted and relished in isolation. With time, an impending inevitability has marred the world of entertainment. Books never had ads, radio programs didn't have them aplenty, and television humiliated by having more of commercials than you may witness the brutality of in totality. The era of mobile entertainment took it to a whole new level by nearly killing the concept of isolated entertainment as such. 

Entertainment is now more prone to interventions than it was ever before. You watch a movie in a theater, you may get a call and you leave the movie in between. You watch a movie on the TV, the same may happen. The fact that you can pause live television nowadays is a different matter altogether though. And if you watch a movie on your smartphone itself, not only can the calls interrupt your entertainment again, but now there are effing push notifications as well. Wow!

Okay, now let's move on to reading a book and going the old way. That's still pure entertainment, right? Nope. Technology isn't gonna let go of you that easily. You put your smartphone away and start reading, read a whopping 5 pages, look at the device that you previously put on silent mode not to disturb your experience, find a missed call, freak out and then shelve the book for a while. That's what technology has done to entertainment, and yet we imbeciles were lead to believe the prospects of entertainment have only been buttressed. 

In another way, technology has in fact helped our masters stay closer to us, thereby vanquishing the very foundations of entertainment. In the history of mankind, all forms of vacations were based on the pretext of a person moving away from their usual daily quotidian endeavors. In fact a sabbatical was the prime example of such a tenet. People took leaves to get away from everything, go completely secluded and relish life, far away from what it stood for on a daily basis. Technology and mobility demolished all of that. In reality, this happened when your mode of entertainment got seamlessly integrated with your mode of work. And yes, it all happened with our prior approval. 

Nowadays, your entertainment is not all your own. It's shared and it has to be. Your movie time, even on Sundays, is shared with your clients and subordinates. And if you view a video online, you have to pay service to a mandatory ad. Your games share space with companies that will inundate you with links to their apps and sites. Damn, even your photo albums are not yours anymore. You have to set who sees them and who doesn't. And while you search for new content to ponder upon, you find that half of that is sent by companies that think you'd like them. That's what we've done to our entertainment, which was supposed to be secluded, and all the while believing it was a pretty good move. 

In a way, entertainment doesn't exist anymore. It has got integrated in a bamboozling amount of information transmitted in the digital realm. Technology has no doubt done wonders to bring everything within your arm's reach, but that has made matters worse because there is no fine line between anything anymore. A web browser may have a link to Facebook and a business report opened at the same time, severely reducing the efficiency at workplace and also hampering the entertainment at the same time. This much touted self aggrandized integration is the problem. While many things had to be brought together, the domain of work and play had to remain separate. Because otherwise, offices and discotheques would be present in the same complex! 

All the while we've embraced technology and we just keep asking for more. This has bred a revolution because there is demand. It is believed we are moving in the right direction much like we've always believed technology is leading us in the right direction. But not only are we intellectually inferior because we never realize the difference between truth and propaganda, which now flourishes primarily because technology makes it all too easy to do so, we are also deprived of quality unfettered entertainment. Of the kind that could inspire you to change the way you live your life. 

Wondering why I stressed so much on entertainment while driving a different agenda altogether. That's because it was easy to tempt you to get here by using a few 'keywords' astutely, and steering you in a domain of my choice. I've centered the post around entertainment because as long as I use the word, you'd stick around because you think reading is another form of entertainment so why not. It falls in sync, right? But your much cherished technology has allowed me to embed a different idea altogether in this entertainment, and many people out there are exploiting you using this phenomenon every single day! 

In the end, just to in one fine way drive my point home, I'd apprise you that there is no proof the quote everyone believes Einstein said, was actually said by the great man. That's what technology can do. The veil between the truth and the supposed truth has been breached and obliterated, and yet we believe we are the smartest folks ever, when in reality we've the become the biggest fools since man learnt the art of rolling!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Why you shouldn't read!

You'd be thinking this guy has gone crazy. In fact to post such a contradictory proposition on a blog, a medium which encourages reading, might be seen as a felony. But yet I'd affirm what the title says. The more you read, the more trouble you bring to yourself and the more imperfect you keep on becoming. Now if till this juncture you maintain I'm not a complete douchebag, you just have to read what follows.

The world, as we know today, is largely constructed around two fake stories. These stories were propounded many centuries ago, and they formed the bulwark of how the world chose to shape itself later on. It's not that men didn't refute these two fake stories as we progressed. But it's just that as these stories found more and more buyers, such men were ostracized because the stories had suddenly become too incontrovertible to be questioned anymore. And so the world went on. Generations after generations, the stories kept finding more followers, more preachers, more adulators and most importantly, more practitioners who buttressed the worth of these stories because their very future depended on the success these stories were to have. And those two stories, ladies and gentlemen, literally shaped the landscape of not only mankind, but the whole planet. Man reigns supreme over everything today, or at least these stories make him believe that! And now the two stories have become so deeply etched in our minds that someone like me, who at this point of time is making a very meager attempt to rebut them,  may automatically come across as the dunce of the century. But if you still believe I may not be the worst, keep reading for the two stories that are now larger than even the perpetuity of time! 

The first story is that of an all encompassing, superior figure; His prowess, his valor and his deeds, are considered larger than all that nature endows us with! Duly manifested in consecration and piety, this story tells you to enshrine all your faith, and all your allegiance in one entity - the pinnacle of all cosmos and all that there is! This story, ladies and gentlemen, is of a tangible god! In fact so deeply embodied in this universal conscience is the story, that even out timelines are divided into Before one tangible god and after him extricating the planet. And the ingenuity of this story lies in the way the prime character of the story, a god who can be felt and even acquired, is actually an isomer. In fact religious masters and humdingers have full authority to modify this character's presence in their own version of the only constitution their comrades have to follow - the holy text! 

We in today's world glorify and then vilify and then again glorify god, as if he really was the character of a movie. While religious tenets prohibit adjudication of god, it's in the very nature in which god has been ensconced and formed as a result of countless efforts made by countless religious masters to turn god into yet another commodity which can be traded in places of worship. You walk with some god less, you spend time in the place or worship and you exhibit your faith, and you walk out with more god. And if by any chance you become a master of making people get more god with shrewder new ways; ways that not necessarily deem going to a temple Then you become a god man. And why do we slander godmen when our own understanding of god dictates that god has to be treated as human folk either in past or in present as well?

The second story is one that is closely associated with the first one. It's the story of value, duly present in the form of money. In the first footsteps taken by men and women alike, as they started inhabiting on the planet, value was what value was! There was no necessity to associate any other notions to value. The discoverer of fire or the wheel might not have even known what he or she did. But he/she would've died knowing he/she departed the world with something more than the world had before their arrival. Value was not quantified back then. Value was what could be felt and what could be passed on. Utility, intellect, patience, perseverance, and all other basic human qualities made our first understanding of value. And then as human populations exploded and civilizations mushroomed, value had to be taken to a whole new level. And hence the concept of exchange evolved. 

As innocuous as it could get, exchanges in the beginning were primarily subjective in the form of barter. It was left at the two involved parties to decide whether the notions and facets of exchange were apposite or not. If there were no qualms, deals proceeded and the parties benefited by gaining more value. So value was still intact. Then came the era of royal court issued currency. The denominations were scrupulously controlled and while value withered, some of its original charm and element was still intact. Items of more utility had more value and garish and gaudy items had lesser of them. People were still deeply involved in evaluation of effectiveness and value could be gauged nearly perfectly. And then came the era of rapid human progress. And suddenly, money assumed an identity of its own. 

Today, if you go out and sort items by value, you'd end up in a different arrangement than the one which you'd end up with if you were to sort items by their price tag. The most essential food items are the cheapest, and luscious and scrumptious food like items top the charts. The cost of brick and mortar to build a house, is far lower than the cost of land itself. The basic clothing you need to adorn, loses out to the ravissant brands which may give you just another layer of superfluous clothing to put on. And last but not the least, the most valued corporations in the world, are the ones that may not have any assets in the real sense of the world. All in all, money dragged us into the dungeons of a world where value is artificially created and even marketed. Utility and other aspects have gone for a toss. And now value is determined by money ascribed to an entity by a complex network of international exchanges, payment gateways and an entire melange of financial institutions. And real value has taken the last seat on the plane, ready to be jettisoned any time now. 

These two stories have made the world a very fragile place to live on. While our concept of god is a very flexible but frail one, thereby making god both irrefutable by one and questionable by other faiths at the same time. The concept of money further exacerbates the problem because trade too, which is the only other thing we consider other than god, is debased by artifice and subterfuge. In essence while these two stories are considered responsible for all progress we've made till date, maybe the same two concepts are responsible for why we may have progressed only by a percentage of what some people on some distant planet might have, and who would already be on their way to come and take over us because we're now officially the biggest fools on the planet! Now either you walk away believing how big a cretin you and your ancestors have been, or associating the same traits with me. But I don't care. I do know I've been fooled!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The power of a resilient passion.

There is something unique about having a passion for something.  While passion can be often confused with cravings, there is a very marked difference between the two. A craving is something you'd like to do, but not something your inner self deems as something you just ought to do. A craving has an attraction of its own and a craving of course can drag you to its own altar. But a passion is much more. A passion demands much more than a seldom gamboling around it. A passion is that seductress whose charms are so enchanting that once you surrender to her world where only her rules dictate, you know you might've just stepped into perdition. But yet you do that and yet you commit yourself.

The reason why I chose this topic is because after many years I once again bumped into one of the most phenomenal of all quotes to be ever bestowed upon human virtue. "Lovers, lunatics and poets are made of the same stuff". Bhagat Singh, one of the most remarkable of all freedom fighters, and no doubt a dunce in the kaleidoscope of this "sane, civilized and normal world", probably knew his fate pretty well ever since the day he forayed into the sultry sea of his passion - To regain India's long lost glory!

One thing about men who succumb to their passion is that they know how improbable it is for them to accomplish the task they set out for themselves. And despite the vicissitudes of an unforeseen world, and a nebulous future they're about to choose for themselves, they neither scrutinize nor peruse the path they eventually choose. Human conscience shall give you a plethora of examples of men playing it safe. But this coterie of peculiar and awkward men, seems to find sanity a little too scornful. And they merrily plunge into the abyss of an unseen world, knowing they may fail miserably, that they may end in dismay, and that even the last trace of their existence might perish under the drudgery of a world far more structured than these folks' thoughts are. And yet they do it ultimately.

Passion is both beneficial and could also be equally detrimental. The passion to make atoms dance to someone's tunes might result in therapies that can cure ailments for which remedies may not have even been conceived, or could culminate in a nuclear bomb in the hands of a tyrant whose would use it to further his oppression. Hence passion, when present in an individual, has to be guided properly. Passion also has to be nurtured because while passion never really dies out(Many examples of oldies who made it to the centrestage when their brethren were down and out), it certainly can be squandered.
In essence, passion is a tool, and an asset. Very seldom does a human being find what he or she is really passionate about. In fact in the current scenario just like professions are sought mainly on the basis of how lucrative the bounty of benefits is, passions too are chosen with a keen eye on the return. But in reality, passion isn't supposed to be viewed with such paltry considerations. Dedication to the passion is nowhere near an investment in yourself or your future. In fact a passion might very well eat away time in which you could've done much more. But that's what a passion is. Viewing it in the context of how humans normally behave with multiple logical and reasonable analyses will always weight against your passion, and heavily. And yet you may end up philandering with it. That's what a passion is!

And finally, to sum up all I wanted to say. A passion may or may not be resilient. A person changes with time. With time one garners more wealth, more friendships, more rivalries and most importantly -  more experiences. A person is function of all that goes in and all that comes out, with the function been routinely modified to reflect the most updated version one could be. And more often than not in this process, a passion takes the most severest cuts, just like education and health do in country's budgets. We tend to believe that as we assume more important roles in life, it's rational to divert from the passion and it's subversive to have more of it. But this is completely unfounded. Throughout our lives, irrespective of whatever it is that we amass, if there is one thing, and maybe the only one thing, that shall surely stay behind and might sustain the test of time. It is the artifacts arising out of our sheer resilient passion.

This country's freedom was a result of a handful of men's passion who believed freedom might be achieved even if they themselves were not around to witness it. The most successful corporations that have operated very well for generations now, all sprang out of some wise man's passion to change the world. Democracy and constitution have stayed because a small set of philosophers wanted to get over social debauchery and imagined a unique mankind inhabiting the planet 2000 years down the line. And last but not the least, Shakespeare's plays are still the bedrock of theater, primarily because he literally bred himself on his passion to regale the world. And so was the case with Mona Lisa's smile that continues to remain uncontested till date. Such is the power of a resilient passion! So, what's yours?