Perils of Institutionalisation...

INSTITUTIONALISATION - There are things that are taken for granted & these have pernicious influence on our life and what is far worse, on our thinking. Yes most of us are and remain blissfully unaware of the extent to which our environs manipulate/design/affect us. Well there is hardware stuff to that and a software part of it. Let me write on the later. Most of the institutionalized thinking is based on some unfounded assumption or lack of seeing alternatives in a real world. It creates a simulation & at other times it is based on the Kafkaesque curtain of fear that is pulled over our eyes.

Bas beta, ye paas kar lo…fir aish hai…life ban jaayegi !!! – this statement ought to ring a bell for all of us. The only difference perhaps would lie in, who struck this bell? For some it may be father or mother, an uncle or an aunt, a teacher or a role model or simply a guy who has been labeled a ‘success’ by society. The fear has been hardwired onto us to the extent that all through our life, we have ran for safety havens may be through JEE exams, GRE, GMAT or our very own CAT? How many of us wanted a career in I banking prior to coming to Bschools? A(n) (un)precious few, I guess. And lo and behold, things suddenly changed in a course of 2-3 months. What happened between June 07 and Oct 07 that changed our perceptions of our strengths, our weaknesses, our thinking, our life, our dreams? And what is happening now? Those cookie cutter answers to ‘Tell me about yourself’ and ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’, got so hardwired onto us that we started believing them. There’s where, I guess, we lost our originality or lost touch with our true self. And mind you, its darn easy to blame the system for all this but when we get exhausted from all our cribs, let it be known that it is we who did not have guts to listen to ourselves? It is we who when needed most shunned ourselves. Bottomline is we lacked the guts to chart our own course - own course is not just entrepreneurship per se, it entails YOU making YOUR decisions, pursuing that which YOU know would give happiness to YOU, that which would give a sense of purpose to YOU or to put very simply pursuing that which YOU ‘like’.

At a personal meeting at Eklavya, Sunil Handa in his characteristic tone of disdain cum disgust lamented “Why the hell do students think that it is only campus placements that they should crave for? Why no one tries beyond? Why make world so pathetically small than it is?” This entailed a paradigm shift in my thinking and I don’t know if it does the same for the reader but I wish it does. I know most of us would reply that it is not about lack of opportunities outside, it is about leveraging the same inside the campus. Well all I gotta say or rather ask is since when did the so called leveraging (the existing opportunities) become a function of your true happiness or even define your purpose, your will, your likings? I thought the same honor went to Dreams. Pardon me if the thought comes across as a romantic caricature lacking substantially in either objectivity or practicality. But, I guess it is the same romantic thought(misnomered at that time as ‘lunacy’) that made Googles, Infosys, Apples, Microsofts of the world. It is the same lunacy that drove Mohd. Yunus, Robert Rodriguez, Tom Peters, Ricardo Semler, Richard Branson, Howard Hughes, Dhirubhai and likes.

I don’t boast of any noble intentions of fostering either entrepreneurship or even proposing the logic that present bad times in job market are good opportunities to venture out our own stuff. All I wanted to share was some thoughts on how the system robotizes us and in the process leaves us isolated from ourselves and ditch us into a quagmire of eventual gloom and emptiness. As Yates rightly pointed out way back in 60s in the novel Revolutionary Road – “Hopeless Emptiness- most will eventually see the emptiness of the lives that they are leading, but it is the precious few who have guts to see the hopelessness of it all !!!

Sincere apologies if the tone has a semblance to that of a preacher. That was not and can never be the intention, not for the lack of audacity but for the fact that me too is travelling in the same boat.
Let the truer sense prevail………………………………………………………………Signing out on Faith & Hope !!!


Gearing it up all at once !!! Let's enjoy the fall !!!

Libs & Labs

Crew & book
Campus +
MV talks
Op-ed magzy..SanSom physics...mathematics...symmetricity...biologist...lack of integration & Something...Genome...Naturalist...politics...change & entertainment


A passing thought on analogies...

I have always failed to appreciate the importance of analogies while explaining any concepts be it an engineering one or a management jargon or any damn thing. The apparent lack of appreciation comes from the simple fact that when one proposes and analogy B for a real event/topic A, a thorough and just problem solving would warrant a perfect similarity of B with A i.e. in terms of degree of freedoms, constraints, influences etc. However of all the analogies that I have been subjected to I rarely find, in fact have never found a mirror event for the one that is being analysed. And this fact would definitely entail a bias on basic problem solving step thus rendering the correlation essentially a futile exercise...The case is more severe in non engineering usages of analogies...Its funny that we actually love an orator or a teacher who explains a theory and then further diverts into the phrase "for instance" or "like"...this maybe because perhaps it aids the understanding process. I can fairly understand the need of analogy if mere "understanding" is the goal and "creativity" or "reimagination" is shelved as too utopian a perspective. But then that is what the goal of education is, if there ever is any goal...i.e. you understand the structures and try and reimagine them to make them better or in the language of computers..upgrade them.

To my mind however the reliance on analogy does not seem to be a thorough futile pursuit, but I think an apreciation of its limitation i.e. sum of parts might not add upto the whole; should always be kept in mind and the consequence of which is failure to appreciate the analogical reasoning as an unbiased problem solving method.