The Teacherskool…….connect

The Teacherskool…….Concept



New Literacy > Teacherskool > Renewal
Input > process….platform > outcome…

The Lions’ Conclave…………Motion……..a Skool………..for hunting……. …recover one’s true nature…SWA…bhava ……lest we keep the preys in check ……….unfit to survive……….hunters and hunted…..when the lions wake up…….Impossibility is ..a/the…..possibility…= intelligence…..gates…gatekeepers…….windows…… …..gatekeepers’ doom…poppers..popping pills…waiting…………..for…..singularity day….in their cryogenic morgues…..others for ……………..judgement …….gates <.                             >….always
Teachers = lighthouses…..non controversial reference points….

<………>.open schools…..closed schools…><

Gates wide open ……….teachers …..parents ….go to school…….students teach………teachers learn ….teachers teach …….students learn………..grannies come visiting…….tell stories ….technology ……..tool for transformation……not dominion….ADULTS…the outcome…….process ……the product


Parody of the Commons

History…Her….. story…. < 10000 years …….hunting gathering to settlements….may the Tribe…s….community………..commons….flourish

Science is dead… more scientific  Engineering……Technology…….tools…..we are the tools we use…..pace …..exponential

Predators feeding on natural intelligence………….

Integral development
Radical renewal
Super nature
Super multiple ……artificial intelligence…s
Good Country Index……where are the good men….adults… ….spooky

Culture…..India is from Venus…… the significant others from Mars….One gives……others take

Context …local…Impenetrable ….for the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea…..Kerala …..GOC……..perfectly situated to have its own unique culture……….a Silicon Valley of yester years……home to the Kerala school of mathematics …….ahead of Europeans by centuries < 1600……..Christianity and Islam reached here almost at the same time of their inception in their countries of origin….Jews were settled here.even before…….known for literacy…….external remittances…….physical quality of life comparable to developed economies at far lower levels of income…..Garbage…physical…virtual…major concern…

The fisher and tribal Kerala ……….old ….> new


Architecture of the ark…>the pairs<….binary……ask……….quality of questions….search…quality of answers…collect….connect…..aggregate…condense…..exposition…catalyse….attention to improvements……reflect……process is the product….the chariot of fire….flightskool…..IOS…>POS<…the personal operating system…return to the centre….journey of a thousand miles…first step is not the first step…..potential and performance…..Dasavatar….ladder of understanding…….room for improvement…. ..largest room…..waste as fuel…..metrics…iterate…..literate….prakrit..> Sanskrit….culture………community………renewal

Semiotics……Echoes of Fucho

The greatest story/lie ever told……HIS..story

There is no magic…..for the magician
Mysticism for the mystic
Miracles for …..

We make water from wine
He makes wine from water…….the…Transformer

Fiction is more factual
History is created when history is history

When hunter turns historian story of the hunted HER story is born………story of Hunting Town

The civilised do not clash….silence of the guns…

Poets and prophets follow
They SEE
Return < Sita > to Nature

Iqbal saw…….the lions wake up

Librarian remembers…the anti…librarian forgets

Books die when reading surrenders to seeing …….text to rich text….layers of meaning

Constants and variants went to battle

Who won?

Constant variants….process rules…dialogue > feasible

Constantine continues to rule……innocents and infants perish ….on an Easter Day

You have another fifty years to go…don’t you worry………… – Prof. Dr. Shajahan Shajahan

You are a Straightegist…..flat lander…..nothing straight about nature…………..your scale is rusted……thought is faster than light… full stops

The pendulum swings
Centre is unmoved

Return to the Centre – Bede Griffiths

Once a neighbour
Love thy neighbour as…….

Return of the story teller

Timelessness….time….less ness ….is Time…

>. 1,86,000 mps….
<. speed of thought…

Eternity ……timelessness…..eins…….one..stain

We remember Zion…….. . .

Babble………the Virgins return…..Ahalya

Lions wake up……

Build….bridge…wiki….new commons

No writing is the best writing

NotBuilding………best building

Silence is…..

Less is more

The gunshot turns into a fireball …….takes off on its own

New Literacy

10000 hrs on FB…no miracles yet….Sadwell must be wrong – Narcy

He was right…….you are on our Deans list for the highest number of profile changes…..pleased to confer our highest honour of the FB University………
Narcissus …….Procrustes

The teacher is the mid-wife to the Adult…..> expert…… 10000 hrs………a 10% monkey

What are you thinking?

Be the Dean of the FB university 💓

Regrets ………not enough followers…..even Mark is not followed ……..repeated prompts ….


You speak English ?

We speak Inglish…..a meta language…………,for Process (Re?) Programming…………PRP…..a language for the transition

Like Sanskrit was ……once upon a time ……….English never was….will be….post transition

What English did to my location…..ThiruAnanthaPuram……..thiru means holy….Anantha= unending …notice the similarity…..Puram= city….the city of eternity

English > Trivandrum ……no meaning..our children prefer Trivandrum to Thiruananthapuram……they are educated…

The container is not the content…….map ….not the territory

Inglish is to English … what……..Fortran ..COBOL ……… ………to ……Java .. Python

Something like that……not exactly tho…

Why SWAbodha and SWAbhava?

Remember the Cowardly Lion …….Wizard of Oz………………..stripped off its…….lion….ness……..fiction

Fact is………we are more endangered than …….lions…..animal kingdom….planet ………we have lost our swabodha…….swabhava…….long lost our human….ness…..shadows

The source code is missing…..for over millennia….since we began parking our faith in fiction than facts…….the great progress that we are very proud of is a regress……Darwin was right….perverse……unfit to survive…..

This is where we are now

The position …..from where we take that first step Lao tsu talked about….journey of a 1000…………first step is not about stepping out………it is about finding out where we are now……… wonder that we were lost in the desert for over 10000 years……with or without the best compass….GPS

We took this as our invariant position in 1990 when our Dean said……….GO…..he was right…………now we know…….he lent us his shoulders……..26 years for the straights……we are not straight….egists

Hmmm……..lets say variant invariant…..better

The year of the Virgin……singularity……end of history

The rest of the journey……..process………Rama….Sita….yours or mine…….1000/100000/~ ……..sum…two more steps……..direction + reflection

Shankara…yana started here..👣

Wiki…….Vamana….Thrivikrama…….master of physics

now > …….NOW…….

ETERNITY….RENEWAL…VIRGIN GROUND…..walking in …with…GOD…..s…good orderly direction…..


The energy that flows through a system acts to organize that system – Harold Joseph Morowitz

If not mucked up by us humans 🎄


Miracle……unexplainable by the known laws of nature

Known …< ……unknown …….explainable…


A Xian ?

A…..Thomist ….Dawkins of the day

In search of the Gold standard

Living Proof

” Full of energy, 92-year-old Shimon Peres was interviewed by the paper Le Figaro in which he said:

We are witnessing the transition from an old world to a new world—the era of territoriality and conquest is coming to an end. We now have a global economy, but there is no global government yet

In the new world it is impossible to rule, you should serve

At the end of the interview Peres said: “People often ask me how I manage to stay so young. The answer is simple: count how many things you have managed to do and how much is left unrealized.

If you have more plans than memories, you are young.”   ……    – Laitman …..

List of living (working) centenarians ……wiki….> ..the false normal….true normal


Of Peanuts and Monkeys

Who are you calling a Monkey? Your dad? “

I called you the First Monkey, I thought I was flattering you

Google for the First Monkey Effect or ask your mentor

Rupert Sheldrake was living in your own city”

She cut me off !

I looked at the Mac, not wanting to face those fiery eyes.

It was stuck for the first time in its life dealing with the aftershocks of my fiddling with it to use the air drop to share something with Shastri. Wondering whether to go to him or not, I raised my head to stare into the same eyes that I wanted to avoid. Is this what they mean by manifesting ?

Still stuck with your I/OS ? “

Not I/OS, my iphone six is fine

I meant your Operating System not that of your phone. I was testing you on your very own O/S. It seems you dont understand both”

Peeved. I tried a prank. I must be becoming that what I thought my daughter was calling me.

Are you the First Monkey ?

The face lit up for the first time. I smiled at my own smartness, thanks to her

No that was a long long time ago, not any more. I watched his eyes. I could sense his going back reflecting.

You know the story ?

My smartness was not built to last. This time I played straight. I dont know Sir.

There was this Banana Island which the monkeys, the sole inhabitants of the Island, had declared the ‘Banana Republic’ far away from any other land mass where Bananas and Peanuts were available in plenty and the monkeys lived a happy life. There was also another nut with no name for it that the monkeys never ate. Mothers frowned at the little ones if they even dared to look at it. They could’nt use them like scarce pebbles on the beach to send them touch flying over the waves. Their folklore had it that long long ago, the mother judge of the tribe had hammered her little one to death for eating the nut with the very Hammer that she used to call the court to order.

Then it happened. One in a pair of twins, away from their mothers’ eyes did it again. It danced and jumped around with a wanton glee on its face. The other went rushing to pass on the news to the elders. The first one wanted to have more of the good thing. He rushed to the shore with a few more and sent them flying over the water. The last one that he had decided to eat fell into the water. He picked it up and ate it.

It was even sweeter, a double whammy, history went into the storybook

The noise from the on coming crowd could be heard in the distance. He thought of his next move.

The Potato chips came much later…

Next : Who owns your body ? What is your O/S ?

The Community College: Ride IT

“What are you building capacity for, the Taj, the Temple or Community?  Gurcharan Das’s ‘Cathedral building’ talks of building the Taj. ‘Ride IT’ fits the bill for real community building, building for the next generation, creating a footprint of their own by scavenging waste. “

“But carpooling has always been there, not been very successful.”

“Do you really want it to be successful? The government, employers and employees can come together, exempt road tax for corporate fleets and make such investments eligible for CSR benefits. It is more than free like all good things in life when four in five cars go off the roads, cars idling in parking lots carry employees from the graveyard shift, leverage shared journeys to promote internal and external community, reduce the carbon footprint, eliminate the need for a few flyovers……….. Don’t you see what they are trying to do?  If you can see it you can certainly do it. Gone are the days when your car created your identity. It is your sense of community that creates your identity”

“Should we build capacity or create an environment for expression of capacity?”

“We can build to break; we can also break and build. It depends”

“Check with the visual whether Ride IT fits the bill on all dimensions for   bringing community centre-stage through convergence “. Less is certainly more.

The Community Learning Engine

community college

“What do you mean, the learning engine? “

“The learning engine continually improves on its previous best performance. It feeds on waste like all good consultants do.”

“Let us look at our municipal corporation as a learning engine. It would look something like the next visual”


“GIGO, Garbage in garbage out?”

“Solid waste is very visible and tangible, the more vicious waste goes unseen, intangible. If you can see the waste behind an IMR of 40+, visualize all the wasted years, it might make one shirk off a little bit of complacency. If you want to solve the problem at source, see the garbage inside and treat it there. Intellectual poverty is more vicious than the other poverty”

“Why do you stress the visual so much?”

“Search for Sabrina Bresciani on Knowledge Visualisation. If you can see it you can do it. Text is no substitute for the visual in certain contexts- think of a map or the design of a machine. We are building a vision to be shared, the first step to building community.The issue is ‘New Literacy’ “

“New Literacy? What is that? “

Contextual Literacy

A desiccated self
Appropriated by priests and pedagogues
The elite vs the chaiwallahs 
A freedom struggle
Why do we call it the rush hour when nothing moves – Robbin Williams 
We thought, for him it moved
Standing up for 63 years
Did he? Do we? 
68 years of movement
All the moving, yet no movement
Development  or Re-development? 
Revenge of the underdog, Aam aadmi
A modified nation? 
Cannibals ?  
I go visiting my friend, the Amazonian headhunter
Shown the trophies – half a dozen heads.
I notice his sad face
“what is the problem, this is such a great collection?”
” No problem, but my brother has a dozen! ” – Jchaque Fresco
Have we graduated from our hunting gathering days? 
What trophies do we collect?
Head hunting new style ! 
Turning us into humanoids
A robotic future
Piper of Hamlin –  a few more generations and there will be just one piper and one music 
Are we cannibals?
Parents feeding on children and now children feeding on parents.
Priests feeding on the laity
Pedagogues feeding on their students
Politicians on citizens 
Contextual literacy. 
The dog barks, tree doesn’t though all trees have barks. Stripped of the context, bark can not stand alone, the problem with literacy.  It cannot stand alone for long. Kerala is 100% literate or almost so. But which literacy are we talking about?  If it is about the new literacy, the state might get classified as neo-illiterate!  
Nothing to worry, there will be even Nobel laureates depending on how we define new literacy. 
So what is New Literacy? 
The learning outcome of New Literacy is adulthood in the true sense of the term. 

Re-emergence of Asian Management

First Discipline

Discipline of disciplines


The Re-emergence of Asian Management 

Ancient Roots, Global Reach 

Analytics, integration, the three imperatives and six perfections 

Category: Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Business, Development, Governance and Management 

Contents:  Foreword, Dialogue Development and CommunityNew LiteracyFirst Discipline FrameworkProcessMetaphoriaReflectionsFutureFAQs


First Discipline (FD) is the discipline of disciplines, the base from which other disciplines are derived. Disciplines, art, science or religion, are but collections of maps of physical or virtual spaces. Literate or illiterate, we cannot survive without maps. We start with models and when results meet our expectations consistently, we elevate them to the level of maps. An example is the periodic table. At the highest level maps  connect meta-disciplines unifying them into knowledge and wisdom. The silos get connected. The self is the agent of learning and transformation of data to information creating sense, meaning and structure. It follows that FD is also the study of the self in relation to the whole, from the level of the personal to family, groups, organizations, and society.

Technological bandwidth increases at a frenetic pace. We also find instances of human bandwidth shrinking even faster. The paradox necessitates that we develop a framework, lens, that facilitates analytics and integration,  seeing and showing the deep structures to achieve much higher levels of integration

Growth is a process of resolving issues of identity, moving from dependence to independence and to interdependence. Individuals, teams, organisations and communities need to go through the process. Copying from less complex contexts will not suffice to stay ahead. It is essential to go far beyond imitation to create competitive advantages. FD offers an analytic and integration tool and methodology to address these challenges and disconnects. Through visual semiotics, it incorporates eco-literacy, the new spirituality of work, system thinking, cultural archetypes, continual renewal, mental maps, personal mastery and other unifiers to work together like an operating system of the self at different levels.  Transfer of learning and mastery of  competences are acquired at a faster pace in comparison to any other approach. If the world has turned out to be imperfect, it has more to do with these models of the world than the world outside. The visual semiotic tool, the new eyes,  show us a coherent whole giving us the new vision an essential prerequisite to creating a more desirable future. As in the case of a terrestrial journey, the approach incorporates positioning, measurement, feedback and reflection, functions that are carried out by the compass, clock and the feedback system that enables the traveler to be on course.

How and what we learn as individuals, communities and community will decide our common future. Targeted learning is context and problem specific and seeks to connect, reflect and catalyze- better, faster and deeper. The pace of learning is the differentiator in the race for market share. Technology and the internet have changed the paradigms of learning. The full impact is not felt since habits linger on. It is feasible now to leave rote learning to the memory devices freeing time and effort to more productive. Learning on a need to learn basis at the time it is required is feasible. Self mediates in the process of transformation of data to information and knowledge creating sense, meaning and structure in turn leading to learning and improvement. Mastery of this process, at the level of individuals, organisations, community and society at large is critical the developmental process.

Icons and symbols, like road signs and traffic signals, can function like a compass. The Graphic User interface accelerated the emergence of a connected world. Within the networks is silicon which has the innate quality of connecting and forming very long chains. Digital and other deeper disconnects of multiple dimensions slow down the journey toward the higher evolutionary potential in us, individual or collective, creating serious threats to the very survival of the species. Marshall Goldsmith tells us ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get You There‘. If we go by history and precedence we wouldn’t have made the moon shots. History is created when we make it history.

The nature of the common journey is that we move towards our completeness and to greater completeness. A parallel can be drawn for this journey too, similar to out other journeys. Let us say that the journey begins now. I am in Bangalore and the time is 10 AM, 31 May 2008. We need a compass/map and the clock to do this. I would like to go to Mumbai. The direction too is fixed. As I take every step on my journey to Mumbai, I need to make sure that I am moving in the right direction and not away from it. This is reflecting looking back and forth to make sure that the process is in control. The three keywords are Position, Direction and Reflection the basic essentials to take on the physical world. Given the other requisites one is certain to reach Mumbai. Without the first three all the rest will not take us to Mumbai.

Mapping the physical world has become very precise in our times. Between Galileo’s telescope   the Hubble and the Femtoscope, are the very large and the very small – farther and deeper. The observer connects the two attempting to comprehend the whole. Yet we will never comprehend the whole in its totality. At best it will always remain an approximation and there will always be unknowables. What we can comprehend of the physical world is so vast that a system is required to navigate. The journey of life is much more than a journey through external space since we are much more than our physical selves. How does one position oneself for this journey? It is the self which fixes the position, direction and reflect on itself as to the progress of the process. The observer and the observed are parts of the same system. Mapping the whole system, physical, nonphysical, external and internal and evolving a navigational tool is one of the basic requisites for the journey on that less travelled road. From 1981 to 1990, we worked towards evolving the FDF, the road map. Eco-literacy, the new spirituality, system thinking, cultural archetypes, continual renewal, mental maps, personal mastery, and many more unifiers are embedded in the tool.  Since then we have been using tool for dialogue in diverse contexts though dialogue is not in our habit. Politicians and priests preach, professionals prescribe, teachers lecture, parents advise. Dialogue needs adults, not leaders and followers or shepherds and sheep. The approach is process and dialogue based, in real time, stretching without burnout and improves alignment at deeper levels of the self for sustained high performance.  Dream work, re-framing of mental maps through storytelling/writing, envisioning, action learning in a simulated work environment are some aspects of the methodology. The context and details vary but the principles remain the same. Since going online from May 2008, the dialogue continues globally and in real- time.

This living document is the outcome of this continual dialogue. It gets written on its own. In the past, several thousands, bulk of them from the edges, have participated in the process.  I/we in the document represent any one or the community which includes me. Among others, I remain one of the facilitators to the process and I alone am responsible for the biases, errors, omissions and jargon that would have crept in, un-noticed.

Many dots remain to be connected.  Welcome to the dialogue and to connect more of them.

Joseph Manuel

Real-time community learning

In the early nineties. we struggled hard to get people together in sufficient numbers to present our tentative views, the framework and methodology for accelerated community learning. We wanted these to be real-time experiential workshops that lasted for three to four days for over eight hours a day. At best in a month we could do one such event. .With social media we can do this 24×7 without  moving out of our homes and in case we need to get them together for closer encounters it is  a breeze..

How is this impacting our lives and notions of leadership?

Beyond the Jasmine revolution, Occupy Wall street, and similar seemingly leader less upheavals, where is this taking us?

How do we leverage this possibility for non-stop community learning transcending convectional barriers of time space and scale for the common good ?

Finally, are we moving to an age of maturity at a scale unimaginable a few decades ago?

Here is an excerpt from one of the social net working sites over  a few hours.

“Amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.”

ARN and 2 others like this.

“Amateurs built the ark with divine professional help and instructions. The architect of the Titanic did not have that benefit. The result was obvious”

“Building up a case for leadership by default. Leaderless is not rudderless”

“Look at India if you want to, the best example of leaderless development. The future is Indian and Indian = global”

“There is  a method in the madness. We just need to find the method”

“A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory”. Steven Wright”

“Which is more important, memory or forgetting?”

“Social entrepreneurs solve problems by disrupting existing systems, as microfinance has, or through breakthrough product design, like the solar powered lights from d.light design,”

‎”Cultural entrepreneurs solve problems by disrupting belief systems, sometimes using mass media such as soap operas or social media to deepen the involvement.” – Social Edge

“Paraprosdokian = a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part – Eg: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else.” —Winston Churchill, Wiki.

“Chew the cud. Our system 1 is like the first stomach of the cow. Rote is for mastication leading to learning > clarity> clear consciousness>Intelligence> Intuition>Synthesis. Now we can forget the rote, no harm and what is wiki and Google for if not to free our own memory space”

” Russian saying: A clear conscience is the softest pillow.”

Aswini calls: “Who is a professional?”

“Et tu Aswini. Some one who is 60 + (like me !) in good health, has a tool box of competencies perfected over 15 + years which he continues to practice in a particular domain and most important with a code of ethics which he is willing to die for”

God himself supervised the first one…and Devil the second …well perhaps !!!!

“God and the Devil – Singularity vs duality? Design vs default,leader vs follower, man vs woman. Intelligence is seeing through Intelligences – IQ, EQ, Qualitative,naturalistic, Intra, Inter, gender, community……”

“We need to move from either or to the holy conjunction AND. Good and bad, God and Devil. We are moving to the domain of professionals and solutions now.”

See the connections ?


“Academics, where illegibility is a virtue
can a discipline founded on scarcity take us to abundance,
or on death take us to life?”


Reflections: Deciphering the literacy code, the life hackers

 Infographic Thinking

Continued from, The new literacy

Lifehacking was not coined in those days. The process and the outcomes are summed up in the visual

Nazki the poet, Rob the painter and Professor PC Devassia, Indian Sanskrit scholar and poet were our touch stones for deciphering the literacy code. I met PCD in 1981, 75 at the time. He passed away in 2006 at over 100 years fulfilling all his goals that he had declared himself when he was 60.

He could see for forty years.

Passing the lie detector is no proof of truth and truth detectors are not yet in the market.  Time will prove whether all the noise has any substance.

Has literacy, the real stuff, got anything to do with longevity or sustained high performance? Wiki has a list of lists of centenarians which comes close to our population of literate people. There are 19 categories in this list of lists. Here is the one that relates to literacy.

There is no exclusive list for economists, physicists or physicians. Their theories do not help themselves. Poets, painters, musicians, mathematicians and business men appear to be more literate.   

The man, and his work: 

The literacy matrix

Smoking causes cancer? Most of the cases around me are people who have never smoked from families with no history of smoking. Smoking can at best be just one of the many factors that would have gone into the making of cancer. But this one statement turns us myopic to more obvious reasons other than smoking and the cocktail effect of all those unrecognised factors. For the same reasons, we need to approach literacy from multiple perspectives and with the outcomes  in mind rather than the input or intervening variables. The one outcome that we desired was literacy should take us to adulthood, enable us to self-manage and enhance community which involves

Reading and viewing to seeing

Positioning oneself

Directioning, where am I / are we going?

Reflecting, to be human is to self-reflect ?

Seek, asking questions, digital literacy, going beyond the tools

Bridging the conscious unconscious divide, aligning with the unconscious and the unknowable

Sustainability Less is more. Living without stealing from the future and not leaving any  footprints. Poorrich. Community, Commons

Shifting from sprint to marathon, from shooting stars to light houses

Learning from doing

Time literacy

Science literacy

One thing we learnt in B-School from all those case studies was not to look at anything with a single lens. Use as many as possible and if there is agreement between most of them we are more likely to fare better than most.

If the lens itself is broken, we see everything as fragmented.

” How much time does it take to repair the lens?”

“24 working hours or even less”

” IF so why do we have schools?”

” Your parents have to go to work, come home from work and in between they have to pretend that they work . They also do not know what to do with you if you are not sent to school.”


Reflections: The New Literacy

The Trouble with Physics

Image via Wikipedia

“You may be a PhD but you are illiterate!”

In 1981, Rob my painter friend, shocked me with the opening statement. I would have come across to him as one of those arrogant MBA types. He tested me with a few simple questions and proved to me that I am visually illiterate. Later on I came to know that I am illiterate in many other modes too.

Post Wall Street, he would have framed the question differently.

“You may be a Wharton (or some such) MBA, but you are illiterate”

“What were those questions?”
“Making them public would destroy the mystique that I have created around my IP, intellectual property/poverty, depending on the positions we take. I have sent a whisper note. If you don’t grasp it you may be illiterate on some other scale.

I have learnt the hard way that people should not be unsettled from their comfort zones. It might do them good but spoil my reputation. So I play the diplomat but diplomacy came after many hard knocks, over three decades.

“But I am a PhD”

I met Dr. Nazki in 1976. We reconnected on FB some years back.

He is a black swan, a retired professor of veterinary science; but not tired, yes a PhD but better and more widely known for his literary pursuits. I believe poets and painters are literate in a far different way. In an earlier era they would prefer to be in Paris than in the company of the likes of me. Dr. Nazki was the first multimodal person I met. Thanks to him I was already prepared in some way to learn from the shocker from Rob.

Thanks to social media, I can continue in my well (need not go to Paris where I would be even more illiterate) and yet remain  in touch at a distance without being a victim of the porcupine logic.

Most learning happens at the edges.

Farmers and fishermen are insulated from each other by different versions of literacy. There is a perception of stability on land but very little on the high seas. Fisherwomen are not that insulated as men. When the mobile phones came on the scene the illiterate fishermen were ahead of their literate agent in getting them.  Vasco da Gama was more literate than Columbus. He reached where he wanted to go.

Literacy has to be judged against the outcomes.

Edges go beyond the geographic. There exist a divide between the biologist and the physicist as with the farmer and the fisherman, poets and painters and the fictional average goose. Newton continues to influence the metaphors and paradigms of the literate (read, my doc) much more than Einstein or Darwin. The Trouble with Physics (Lee Smolin) or Cosmology is that the proponents are illiterate about BiologyPhysics is more in fashion than Biology. Both perhaps are illiterate about the lens with which we see the world. We are not talking about seer scientists like Einstein who come closer to poets and painters who see differently and are more in alignment with their deeper selves.

Literacy in a traditional sense is the ability to manipulate symbols and make sense, in other words, read, write and think critically.  I wish it had been read , write and reflect.  Literacy is often equated with modernity and culture. In the beginning was the word and now that we are nearing the end of the word as we knew it, will we turn out to be more literate in the non-traditional sense of the term.  The printing press and the East India Company,  are often perceived as landmarks to beginning of the ‘modern age’. The oral traditions which relied on memory gave in to technology and to those who could leverage technology. The digital frees up much more memory and opens up space for creative endeavor which could also lead to a void open to be filled up by digital noise in no time.

Closed is even better than open at times !

What is the literacy that we are talking about?  I was delighted to see the issues discussed in a classic academic sense by Carey Jewett of the London Knowledge Lab, in Multimodality and Literacy in School Classrooms. I shared the link with the tribe but there were no takers. Contagiousness is king, rather than content. I would have learnt something if I had some feedback and my experiment in community learning and participatory writing would have paid off or else this too would vanish in the cloud. For my  tired senior eyes the article was not multimodal. I played Hitler for a while and forced my children and a few members of the tribe to take a serious note of the article.  They appreciated it but I had to face questions as to why academic writing cannot be simpler sans the mystique. But for my tryst with illiteracy about livelihood security among the top of the pyramid I would not have played Hitler.

Meanwhile Carey writes to us. So kind of her. Participatory is working. Sankar mails and examines some related issues in his post, The slow life. . Aby and Sarah comment. This version of the post owes a lot to them

What we already know is the blinder to further knowledge? The belief that we are conscious is the worst barrier to our consciousness.

What if there are faster more efficient and effective ways of direct knowing addressing multiple triggers simultaneously?

In a world that visually unfolds in real time, how long can plain linear static text compete with much higher bandwidths?

“If you are a champion of the text, you would do well to migrate to Indian Universities where they lament about employability where the very same people who create the problem are entrusted with the responsibility of solving the issue. The digital divide results in no small measure from the preference to viewing than manipulating text. If both sides appear to be morons to each other, do not be surprised.”

There is more to the argument that the more literate we are in the traditional sense, the less literate we are from a developmental perspective.

The new literacy is about making sense and meaning of the world around us, physical or virtual; reduce the complexity of cues, symbols and noise which facilitates navigation rather than wandering around without purpose or speeding up without knowing where we are heading.

Sankar sends me the link on slowing down, The joy of quiet Pico Iyer. Amitabh shares the same on FB. We have a conversation as to why we should or not slow down. As if by synchronicity I receive a mail from aphoristic cocktail.

Nature never hurries, yet all is accomplished.”Lau Tzu 

Nature is over designed to be perfect.

We work (?)  by default, not by design. Rahul asks what is your default setting? We are the only species which comes with the default setting to fail, self-destruct. To be literate is to realize this.

When the pace is too fast one fails to see what happens around us. it is all a blur. Slowng down has no intrinsic value unless the slow down helps us to see what happens around us.

The farmer is slow but the fishermen cannot afford to be slow.Not all farmers see and not all fishermen are fast enough.

There are craftsmen writers and scientists for whom writing/science is a career and seer scientists like Einstein who thought about relativity for 10 years and special theory of relativity for another 10 years. The attention span of the career scientist could be limited by the next paper to be pushed out if he has to stay in circulation.

Read The Trouble with Physics for more and better.

We have mastered navigating the physical world. The maps are near perfect though the means could be improved. The virtual remains to be mastered where noise and the ability to make noise rules.   Captain Sparrow with the broken compass is an apt metaphor of our times.Even Pirates have their code. “The code wins arguments”. Silence is restored. Managers are yet to develop one.

Adult education is a mockery of education and proof that the long years of ‘educating ourselves’ in schools and universities don’t turn us into ADULTs, teach us to self-manage instead of mass produce a new version of slavery which certainly appeals to reincarnate Hitlers !

Next: Deciphering the literacy code.

Related articles

The Burden of Normality

The Burden of Normality

What is the First Discipline?

The first discipline is about map making. Disciplines are but collections of maps of physical or virtual spaces. Art, Science or Religion cannot do without maps. Child or grown up, literate or illiterate, we cannot survive without maps.

What is the process of making maps?

The self mediates in the process. We start with models and when the results meet our expectations we elevate them to the level of maps.

What are Meta Maps?

Meta maps connect disciplines. The FDF is an attempt in this direction.

Is there a hierarchy for Meta Maps?

Yes, at the highest level, they connect meta-disciplines, science, religion and art, unifying them into knowledge. The silos get connected.

Explain. .

On 12 October 1492 Columbus arrived in America. The day is celebrated as Discovery Day in the Bahamas. Vasco da Gama reached Calicut, Kerala, in South India on 20 May 1498. It was a happy coincidence that Columbus reached America. It took six more years of effort for the map to be completed and the mission accomplished.

Ancient Chinese sea farers probably had better maps but history was shaped elsewhere. Galileo was struck by the bolt from the blue but complete acceptance came centuries later.

We need a new set of maps for the next phase of the journey. Most maps waste our time and effort. If we have a unified map, it would point us to the solution space. The ship is ready but the captain is waiting for the map.

Maps are many and they multiply exponentially. Aggregation and synthesis within domains and disciplines do happen but less so between disciplines.

Meta maps reduce the search effort to choose the appropriate map/s for one’s journey as individuals, as members of particular communities and for the collective journey of human progress

Environment, development and sustainability are critical and complex concerns that call for concerted community action across the planet. Simple solutions and quick fixes aggravate the problems.

Every scientist faces the problem of communicating his work within the shortest span of time to the widest audience which points to the complexity of communicating science to the masses in contexts where there is no substitute for reason and collective action.

The GUI, essentially a map and a pointer to possible virtual journeys, took   computers to the living rooms across the planet. The web and the cloud open up vast libraries of information and knowledge. The visual framework discussed here was evolved in the process of addressing the environmental, developmental and sustainability challenges in the state of Kerala while working with livelihood and food security issues in primary production (livestock and fisheries) to evolve institutional systems to address them.

The framework was later put to use in addressing similar issues in one of the largest information technology infrastructure projects to connect local communities for development and governance and   in schools, industry and academia as a tool for facilitation of accelerated organizational / community learning. 

Beyond the Burden of ‘Normality’

December 26, 2004

We were rushing to Cape Comorin, the southern tip of peninsular India, two families on a holiday.

Fishermen on the high seas were casting their nets.

People in other parts of the world were asleep, dreaming good and bad dreams

The Tsunami was wreaking havoc on the Cape Comorin shore, on other shores

We knew when we were blocked on the road by the police.

Most fishermen on the high seas knew when they returned to the shore.

Many never knew

When we ride much bigger waves spanning centuries, we are most likely to take them for granted.  It is Procrustean to catch a giant wave into the bell curve in the time span of a snapshot sans the ripples that the wave creates. So is writing a book about it, the damage is permanent. The trees are already dead.

A blog post is better because I can come back and correct this when I know better and if I am alive. Time is a better judge of our power trips.

Copy CATs do not catch mice

Black or white, intelligent or idiots, they should catch mice. They do, in China, it seems.

This happened here in India, the Biggest Bazaar, apologies to KB

Why do we have to clone cats when we make the best mousetraps?

Let us clone the very best cats, go for a bio-tech solution rather than a manufacturing one. It was decided that we will have the Indian solution and the CAT came to be. The first centre was so successful that beating the CAT became the ultimate dream of the slum dog billions. Every panchayat wanted to have one such center. A task force was constituted to decide the exact number of centers to be set up.

There was this farmer from pre territorial independent days who had four sons and 4 + daughters. The female numbers do not really count. One from the + side had only daughters and Nuthan was the youngest of them.  Of the four idiots, three went to the IITs and one took a short cut to one of the CAT centers. He wanted to prove that he was a better idiot than the rest.

One cool January morning Nuthan calls.

Hi, I cleared the CAT and am called to all the centers

Congratulations, you will soon be the newsmaker 2011

Why ?

You are one among 206,000, almost a Black Swan.  We need to wait before concluding that we are getting mature going by the 15% drop in numbers from the previous year.

You deserve the Miss India talent crown. To the best of my knowledge you never went to school or college but spent most of those years in indoor stadia all over the country, having a ball. You never picked up any quant other than balancing the financial statements in your B. Com finals. Yet you did better than the best in School and College.

What was your percentile?


Nuthan, you are the cutest of all the cats. All the top cats with a perfect 100 belong to the male of the species, went to IITs, went to school every single day, did their coaching circus and most of them took more than one shot to make it. You don’t figure anywhere here and you have a work ex of three years playing for the oil company which you claim to have been working for and getting paid for it.

Thank you.  I am scared whether I will convert the calls or not.  Will you give me some tips to make it to the finals, clearing the GDPI (for the uninitiated this expands to, Group Discussion and Personal Interview)

If you can bell the CAT without going to the circus you can as well do this without me. You should be scared that they will make you conform.

I know you have helped some to beat the CAT

Ok. Let me run a small test for you

What is the scope for more CAT cloning centers in the country?

13 more


We already have 13, and there are only 26 letters in the ‘Inglish’ alphabet. Taking the UID route will kill the unique value proposition of the brand. One should not kill the golden goose.

Good, you are already half way there to half the centers

What is Indian about the Indian Institute of CATs

I don’t know

Very good, that is why you are going there. You are almost there for 75 % of the centers

Next one, if they ask what if you don’t make it this year?

I will show them my GRE score which is even better than my CATS and tell them that you will have to face me next year with a still better CATS

Congratulations Nuthan, you will convert all the calls

Here is the last one. Suggest a few titles to the passage above

  • Normalization and the True Normal
  • Copy cats Do not Catch Mice
  • The Bell Curve in Indian Life
  • The Fourth Idiot
  • Talent Mania and The War For Talent
  • What is Indian about the Indian Institutes of Management?
  • MCPs and the Revenge of the Underdogs.

Great, don’t go back to school. They will make you conform to the other idiots, crucify = normalize you on the Procrustean bed. Gates and Zuckerman and the other natives of the connected world graduated from the market, nothing but a different version of the same. Copy cats do not catch mice.

Nuthan:  What is Indian about the IIMs?

I don’t know dear

Thanks. (Thank God, I didn’t go to school)

Similitude to living and dead CATs is intentional

Thou shall not Judge…but

The procrustean is the bedrock of modernity (mediocrity), the generator of pyramids and the hierarchical.   Procrustes is a monomaniac, a Narcissus who sees that he fits his frame perfectly and uses the same to sit in judgment. I am intelligent and the other is less intelligent. I am normal and the other is fit for the madhouse.  I am civilized and the other is primitive. I am a native and you are an immigrant. Mine is the only faith that guarantees salvation. He is the economist who says the American is 35 times more ‘developed’, since the Indian has an average income of 1000 dollars against 35000 for the American. Has anybody met the average Indian or the average American?    The happiness index is outside his frame of reference.

Our Mr Talent does not take to fools easily. He thinks the mainstream media is trash. To reply to the fools who read his books is not worth his time, the real resource, according to his own frame. He finds his dollar worth pocketing since that is the price he fixes himself for his intellectual accomplishments. He declares himself a flaneur, a Black Swan, Prophet in the making.

Prophets ‘normally’ come from the east.  Lao tsu, Buddha, Christ, Mohammad, Sankara (from Kerala) Our Mr. Talent could be a candidate for the elite corps of Black Swans. The rest of us are white swans. That sums up the HIStory of 2500 years.

Prophets can be understood only against their contexts. Christ and the society which created him are so interdependent, that to strip them and to judge them in isolation is procrustean. So is Lao Tzu, Buddha, Prophet Mohammad and Shankara. Black makes sense only against the white.

Mr Talent the immigrant rides the American wave better than the natives beating the natives in their own game and nearly transforms himself to a bridge figure.   Uprooted by the Procrustean and forced to flee, let us hope that he will not sacrifice himself on the bed of Procrustes. Gladwell starts on a very promising note highlighting how community contributes to the health of the Rosettto but very soon succumbs to the compulsions of conforming to the recipe to make it to the best-seller list and goes after what constitutes the success cocktail.

All of them are male?

This is part of the reason why we have the silent unseen wars between,  the female against the male,  the unconscious against the conscious, the revenge of the underdogs,  and why the Built to Last fall apart no sooner than they are built.

Black Swans to Black Sheep?

Throughout these posts we refer to people, not books. The books take us to the people since work defines the person. In the same spirit we look at the living rather than those long dead and still not buried.  What we see depends on where we stand, our positions. One could take the Wall Street perspective or the Bangalore Perspective. The Black swan from the New York perspective turns out to be a Black Sheep from the Bangalore position.

Some books, people and books yet to be written J

  • The Fifth Discipline, 1990, Peter M. Senge
  • If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him, 1974, Sheldon Kopp
  • The Bell Curve, Intelligence and Class structure in American Life,1994, Richard  Herrnstein, Charles Murray
  • Outliers, 2008, Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Black Swan, 2007, The Bed of Procrustes, 2010, Nicholas Nassim Taleb
  • Can Asians Think?,1999,Kishore Mahubani
  • Three Idiots,2009, Movie from India
  • Tunnel Vision, TV. Yet to be published
  • The WFT and the Future History of the Modern Pyramids, 2111. Yet to be published – it takes a gap of around 100 years to normalize our achievements and  to put them in perspective.

The above passage was circulated to the tribe. The comments:

  • Does normal exist?  Yes, when we are true to the design, we are truly normal. It has nothing to do with the fleeting ‘normality of the time’.  The compulsion  to conform to this stupid normality is the burden of normality
  • Based on the ‘normal’ perspective Nuthan would not have been able to get a CAT call since she did not tread the beaten path. She had meaningful answers for the sort of absurd questions that are asked at GDPI, questions tailored to fit the standard profile of those who clear CAT. Despite not being on the conventional bell curve Nuthan was able to crack everything designed to fit the standard CAT profile.
  • Exceptions point to the truly normal and only the truly normal can aspire to be super normal.

Thou shall judge… but keeping in mind the other 51 posts in the series.

P.S. 19 April 2011. Nuthan calls again. She did make it to the one she wanted.

What the Dog Saw…Did not See

Visualizing Knowledge

From the lowly perspective of a dog’s eyes, everyone looks short – Chinese proverb

From knowing to SEE ing

All dogs do not see the same

Stray dogs see better  than domesticated dogs

The latter become less intelligent in the process.  Leveling?

They may not be very ‘lowly’ as the Chinese say

We haven’t fared any better than them

On Community Intelligence !

Even the dog sees that we have gone astray !