Thursday, May 17, 2018

Alternatives for Human Societies?

In theory, human society cannot be peaceful.
The reason for which resides in our society itself. It is a serious issue, primarily I think, it is dependent on the constitution of human society. Not much could I see written or discussed, in the vast collection of books or other articles I went through.
Life is like a keleidoscope, in which events appear in no particular order. Those among us who have their priorities set, perhaps by a strong bond with something else, tend to be capable of making sense out of such images. Where, the bond could be with another one, or a few others, or something else real or imaginary.
This is nothing special. One tends to overlook a few images, and having forgotten about what one did, registers a feeling that the images follow a pattern, one fully in tune with one’s priorities.
If so, can there be something like independent thinking? Is such a thing possible?
Well, if there is such a thing, it should have to be a style of thinking, where one is thinking effectively against one’s priorities itself. Because, as we saw above, one happens to form priorities by becoming effectively blind to certain images. If one has to have such images made visible, one needs to become effectively blind to one’s priority, that is, suppress all that one believes in, at for that specific duration.
How is this possible, if at all?
Another thought comes to me. All beings negotiate, whether in the distribution of spoils, or in claiming ownership of possessions, and certain kind of understanding exist between members of any species. Wherever negotiation fail, it immediately comes to our notice by its severely militant ambiance.
We humans being altruistic animals, our transactions in the philosophical sphere should be the prominent one. As I have shown above, one’s transactions being always under the influence of one’s priority, reaching a settlement satisfactory to both the sides is an impossibility. But we continue to hold ourselves as capable of free, independent choices, forcing all those who take part in such transaction to feel like participants of an unrequited exchange. Which gives rise to certain pent up feelings, feelings that are waiting for a suitable spark to ignite.
No wonder, human societies everywhere are in a state of boil. Naturally, with it churns the local non-uniformities present in the society. The eruption of which continue to occur, each and every society showing its signature color. A myriad of curious people of each society continue to get enamored by the neighbor’s signature, one being used to one’s own. That shows the neighbor’s as a society on boil, prompting one to ignore the wailing of one’s own.
Shouldn’t we question, why should we continue with the present nature of our society. Why shouldn’t we think of alternatives? Especially when it is clear that many, rather all the failure stories of humans pertain to natural calamities or instances of intolerance. It should also be clear as daylight, in any such disaster, the loss would have been much less and easily containable, had not the victims been living as a settlement, well connected to each other and with close interactions.
Time to think

Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review: The 80/20 Principle

The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

The 80/20 Principle tells us that in any population, some things are likely to be much more important than others. Or, the universe is predictably unbalanced. Few things really matter, and  some other few, never.  
The book then introduces the 80/20 principle as a stipulation that a minority of causes, inputs or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs or rewards. It then goen on to its invention by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, and goes on to examine the resons behind the 80/20 principle. Next chapter discuss how the 80/20 Principle works in practice and what it can do. How it can meet the needs of both fuzzy thinking and accurate analysis.  
The next many parts of the book is about corporate success, where successful application of this principle in areas like statistical quality control is discussed. Also, the role of such principles in information processing related fields, inventory control, and other facets of an industry. The book then examine the role of time, while discussing certain snappy issues, like: a) 80 per cent of achievement is attained in 20 per cent of the time taken; conversely, 80 per cent of time spent leads to only 20 per cent of output value. and b)80 per cent of happiness is experienced in 20 per cent of life; and 80 per cent of time contributes only 20 per cent of happiness. It then introduce a quite different and, to those suffering from the conventional view, startlingly liberating, idea of time. "The 80/20 Principle says that we should act less. Action drives out thought. It is because we have so much time that we squander it. The most productive time on a project is usually the last 20 per cent, simply because the work has to be completed before a deadline. Productivity on most projects could be doubled simply by halving the amount of time for their 
completion. This is not evidence that time is in short supply." And to bring the benefits of these principles into our life, there is no need to wait for everyone else, the book says. "You can identify the mass of irrelevant and low-value activity and begin to shed this worthless skin. You can isolate the parts of your character, workstyle, lifestyle and relationships that, measured against the time or energy involved, give you value many times greater than the daily grind; and, having isolated them, you can, with no little courage and determination, multiply them. You can become a better, more useful and happier human being. And you can help others to do the same.
This book has discussed a modern management tool in a rather wide ambit. Though I could not find any explicit mention of the practical aspects of implementing it, it gives me new ideas, about how to assess or control, efficiency at workplace.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Book Review: 'Why Men and Women Can't Be Friends'

 'Why Men and Women Can't Be Friends' by Oliver Markus Malloy
"Men and women often fundamentally misunderstand each other, as some of the studies I quoted in this book have shown. For example, women tend to misinterpret a man's sexual interest as "just being friendly" while men misinterpret a woman's friendliness as sexual interest." 'Why Men and Women Can't Be Friends' will change the way we think about men and will never misinterpret their actions again.
Telling that men are pigs and the romance novels are the last places, a real one can be found, the author goes on to examine the meaning of life. And finds the answer disappointingly simple, mating. Followed by the treaures of raising a family. 
Author then finds that an unnatural custom lies with humans - monogamy. Not only that it is a rarity among mammals, but also the ones who "practice any form of monogamy" are not truly monogamous. Quoting instances of violent suppression of the defeated side, author mentions that the desire of the winning side was to rape as many as possible. While examining other facets of male famale interation, like romantic relationships, the only interest, the male have, is of the sexual vein.
Men and women can't think of mere friendship, the author finds.
Though I agree that sex plays an important part in the male famale imbroglio, I differ with the author. It is not sexual gratification that the males seek, but escape from the implied responsibility of the male. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

One more Proof

The Guardian 16 Apr
"Trainee barristers are being told they will be docked points in their exams if they wear short skirts, colourful socks or “kinky boots”.
This is one more example, of the many signs that appear these days, pointing to the hard times ahead, as far as women go. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Missing the Forest for the Trees

I can see it more and more clearly nowadays, human beings like to to indulge with the irrational, that too without any worry about the repercussions. When it is about the abstract elements of life, we celebrate it as unique elements of human race, calling it dogma, superstition, tradition, culture, etc. When it is about things like aadhaar, income tax returns, PAN cards, or linking all of those, we overlook the irrational in it, calling it hegemony of the ruling, or forward looking vision, as appropriate. When it is about things like rape, or something that can be given a color, we again overlook the irrational in it, calling it a dastardly deed. Why is it like that?
I think, the irrational in our society happens to be helpful to us. Sometimes appealing to all, or generally beautiful, and may be a few times, not so. When it is the former, we see providence, luck, or hard work; and we venerate, celebrate, or reward appropriately. But when it is the latter, and when we can't close our eyes to it, we might make some noise, and object.
Because, we are always enamored by the irrational.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Book Review: 'Weapons of math destruction'

'Weapons of math destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy'. This book, by Cathy O’Neil is about the dark side of Big Data. How it can end up punishing the poor and the oppressed in our society, while making the rich richer. This book is intended to focus sharply on the damage inflicted by such companies (WMDs) and the injustice they perpetuate.
Appropriately titled Bomb Parts, the beginning chapter of the book explain the three elements of a WMD: Opacity, Scale, and Damage, with an example of how data can be used to augment or destroy the fun we enjoy with our favorite sport. Next few chapters present various methods of manipulating such data to meet the ends of powerful players in this field. How, as technology advances, we are all being subjected to a digital form of stop and frisk, our faces matched against databases of interest. Or, how automatic systems judge us when we seek jobs and evaluate us based on certain data. How this affects recruiting, and laying off, policies.
Further chapters examine the impact WMD is making on the lives of common people. How the free expression of one's choice is affected, as far as the process of elections go. How public policy imitiatives are costantly hijacked in favour of powerful lobbies. How it can be made cause extensive shake up in important areas, like the industrial sphere, health management, etc.
Author highlights the distortion, WMDs are causing in our midst. Influencing higher education, drive up debt, spur mass incarceration, pummel the poor at nearly every juncture, and undermine democracy, are only some of the ills. 'It might seem like the logical response is to disarm these weapons, one by one', and I tend to agree with the author. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I am sure internet can let imagination run riot, as it is happening these days. For example, look at this. ".. gas chambers were for fumigating the used clothes of inmates.." Did people get in to get cleaned with clothes on?

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