A Lesson in Strategy

Contd from: Of Peanuts and Monkeys

The algorithm on strategy flashed through his mind

  • fight
  • flee
  • play
  • context
  • select
  • flip….

“You will win as long as you have ‘n+1’ alternatives and your opponant/s has/ve only ‘n’alternatives.”

He knew he had infinite alternatives in comparison to the crowd, for them the only solution was the Hammer.

“ I may be an elder and vote to the Council of Elders. That is no proof that I am adult. The only legacy that I want to leave behind is you, an adult in the true sense of the term. It is time for me to go but I will always be with you”

The little one listened in rapt attention. The mention of her leaving him kept his monkey mind in check.

“You are young but you are more adult than most of our elders. The adult knows what is information/misinformation. With your natural curiosity which no other species has in such abundant measure, you will almost be invincible”
“Almost, that ‘almost’ can cost me my life ? “

“This one is more important than all the previous ones. The highest intelligence is your ability to mask it. If you are certain of your intelligence, make yourself appear to be a fool, allow them to take you for ganted. My certificate of your intellgence should not fool you. As a Mom, I can be very biased ”

“Is that all? “

“There is one more and I am done”

“Why are you here ? “

“ We are here to live, isn’t that pretty obvious?”

“ In that case why do all the elders pass on ?”

“I dont know”

Good, admit it when you dont know. If the elders used this three words more often instead of using their different hammers, this would have been a more livable place”

“ Tell me then, what is the purpose of life?’

“ The only purpose of life is to defeat death and that is the ulitmate game”

“How do you make sure that one is living and not dying?”

“Ask yourself

  • Where am I now ?

  • Where do I want to go ?

  • Am I getting closer to or moving away from where I want to go.

This is the last lesson. We wont be meeting again.“

The noise from the crowd arrested his reflections. The noise level was approaching the maximum permissible limits of the Republic. He decided to live.

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

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 ?

To the First Monkey

What is the project ?
Asked my daughter on Skype
I told her.
Not convinced, she kept on and on
What is the capacity of the capacity builder?
Who will transform the transformer?
What are you building?
Who are you building for?
You will be judged by us, the women, poor, the next gen, the feminine
On what kind of spaces you created for us
Physical and virtual
Virtual first and then the physical
You are all terrorists, either soft or hard
The macho one is easier to spot, the Arnab type
You see them and hear them on the channels
The softer version is hard to spot
Needs a trained eye
She wished me luck and sent me a Tee
It said. ” BANANA REPUBLIC : Reg. No. 1949 ”

Contd: Pay peanuts, get Monkeys 

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”

cc2

“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? “

What is your half-life?

” What do you mean by HL?”

“HL is your current age. I work in a team with a HL of 60, the range is 45 to 72″

“Going nuclear?”

“I am working on my planning horizon and a yardstick to measure the footprints I leave..”

“Are you suggesting that one’ s footprints must be as vicious as Plutonium? “

“It is the opposite”
“?”
“I was confronted 35 years back. It still haunts me. I want to exorcise it before I pass on.
He was 65, my age now. He worked for 35 more years. His footprints live on. He never left anything of the plutonium version.”

“What was your answer?”

“I had no clues to what he had in mind. He said his half life was 50 and he had decided to go on till 100. He lived six months and 15 days more.”

“Didn’t you try to change his HL?”
“I didn’t, I thought it very preposterous then to live to be 100 and working when the rest of us planned to retire in 20 more years and pass on in another 15 at around 70, life expectancy at that time. “

“What do you think now? ”
“Hmmmm. I keep it floating, unlike my Guru. I will soon be making it 66. They say you can see into the future as much as you can see into your past. The event horizon continues to grow if I continue to learn but I see more than somebody with half my HL”
“What about the team?”
“I am not sure. I bounced it off on one of them who is at 72”
“He countered me with a question. What do you think, what makes me work at 72?  Money?”
“I don’t know sir. If you could…”
“I am a professional. I am proficient in what I do and I become more proficient as I practice. I am what I repeatedly do.  My work defines me. How can I desist work. You are probably work averse and that is why you are asking. If you know your Epigenetics, you should know that work influences the behaviour of your DNA just as exercise does.”

” I did not pursue the question. I returned to my work googling for Epigenetics waiting for a more opportune time”

” I have been asking – what makes you a professional? – to fresh graduates who have gone through professional courses of 4-6 years, as part of an employability survey.”

” What were the replies ?”

“Less than 1 percent matched my expectations.”
” What did you expect ?”
” Some reference to competencies, a domain for long years of practice and a code of conduct.”
” No wonder, employability is an issue. Is it any better when you ask the same question to those with ‘experience’, for example their professors”
” What do you mean by experience, number of years?

Not any better, our standards are falling. What is the team working on?”

“Capacity building and professionalism in service delivery.”
“The team looks like a living example !”

“So what is your HL? “

Working………. 24×7?

“If it is not money, what makes you work?”

“Heard of Maslow’s Hammer?  If the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail”

“No Sir”

“Then what are your basic needs? “

“Food, Shelter, clothing, then the higher needs ”

“Maslow is the hammer here, as media and technology at times become the massage. The purpose of life is living, the goal of any viable system. Some Beer ”

“No. Thanks”

“LOL, it is not that beer. This refers to Stafford”

“Confronted by purposelessness people commit suicide, I don’t think the Hemingways had a problem with basic needs. So purpose is even more basic to your basic needs. There is an addendum to the law of the instrument. .If you have a screw-driver as the only tool ….?

Your capacity building is the new hammer. Go ahead, do it, kill capacity or whatever is left of it. “

I fell silent, afraid to face the fire in his belly.

“I work 24×7 or live 24×7. To work is to live and to live is to work/play. I have no other pastimes. Some go off grid, in the name of environment, some delete their FB accounts freeing them from digital handcuffs. I have gone off Linked in as I have no divide between my personal and professional work.”

“Work 24 hours a day?”

The secret is there is no secret ( smiles ). . I also work in my sleep. I remember my dreams in the four hours of my sleep, mostly related to what I work on. So sleep is  one of my best allies as important as my remote assistants, my sounding boards, drums as I call them who polish my rough cuts “

“But you are billing for …” I killed it before take off

The old man guessed it. He could see the garbage

“Money is not the end of everything, community is. He continued.   Why do “the Rosettos” live longer? .

“Community, Gladwell says’”. Glad that I had read at least my Gladwell.

“You can take on from there. Even when people do not add real value, they enjoy the sense of (fake) community in a parasitic relationship with the environment.   The challenge   is to shift to symbiosis, creating an internal community that contributes to net improvement of the whole”

“Sir. I have a call” (Enough for the day, lot of googling to do)

………………………….

Further questions:

How old are you ?

How old is the oldest cell in your body?

How old is the universe?

How old is the material you?

How old are you going by your real birth (not the physical one) ?

Are you a viable system?

Do we Think?

What is on your mind?  – FB

Whether to put out my Narcissus or Procrustus best

Can Asians Think? Asks Kishore Mahbubani since 1998

Is there an Indian Way of Thinking? Asked AK Ramanujan in 1990

Do we – humans- think?

We think we think

We don’t – as a species ! There is no ‘ us ‘ thinking. There may be U.S / American thinking !

The question is important since we are what we think we are!

I am tempted to provoke you.  Most of us do not know how to think

And the Powers that be do not want us to think!

What is to think?

That we think is beyond dispute. The quality of our thinking needs to be judged on the outcome of our thinking

If one thinks and thinks and reaches the conclusion that kicking the bucket is the best option that too is thinking. On the other hand, one thinks, connects and improves her and the tribe’s wellness we have thinking as it ought to be.

Asians do not think as one as the Chinese think that they are one, or the Singaporeans do. Indians do not think as one nation. In fact we are the most confused as to what is to be an Indian or even what is to be a Hindu, perhaps because of our heightened levels of complexity !

To be an Indian and to think in the deeper sense of the term has significant strategic implications.   If we subscribe to the view of “vasudhaiva kudumbakam”  we need to indianise the global community –  Indianisation is globalization as against the current paradigm of Westernization as globalization

When we understand the Indian way of Thinking we have a strategic advantage which enhances global community and offers us opportunities as a Global Solution Provider.

The Indian way of thinking vs the western

Read them as, more and less rather than either or

a little crude way of putting it for the more sophisticated

Fusion vs Fission

Analytic vs Integral

Wholeness vs Divisiveness

Process vs event oriented

Unification vs Fragmentation

Moderation vs Extremist

Tolerance vs Aggression

Realisation vs Actualisation

Renunciation vs Achievement

Inclusive vs Exclusionary

Neg-entropic- Entropic

Organic – Mechanistic

We can go on ad infinitum. One need not be an expert to see the obvious unless one prefers to pretend blindness.

Sanskrit, processed, India was the only culture which had a language for process and dialogue, the hallmark of culture. .We are not argumentative as some would say. We would pretend that we don’t know rather than pick up an argument which is counterproductive. This is not to say that Sanskrit is the way out but to reiterate that the product is in the process. Thinking is a process and the process need to be judged against the outcomes. If our outcomes are less than what we expected at start, we need to go back and improve the process.

Asia has been the source of all religions, the failed science of the past. As the Asian begins to think and the levelling happens we will be compelled to rethink  the science we thought scientific.

To conclude:

Most of our problems have roots in the way we think, which also includes our personal health. If we think we are machines, that machine has to break down however sophisticated it is.

“Nothing can be more important than being able to choose the way we think.”- Eknath Eswaran (1910–1999)

The Ladder of Understanding

“A great storyteller — whether a journalist or editor or filmmaker or curator — helps people figure out not only what matters in the world, but also why it matters. A great storyteller dances up the ladder of understanding, from information to knowledge to wisdom. Through symbol, metaphor, and association, the storyteller helps us interpret information, integrate it with our existing knowledge, and transmute that into wisdom.”   Brain Pickings. Maria Popova

His parents had moved to the family farm in the hills away from the place Raj was born. The school was a long way off and he had to walk miles to and from school. Other than a boy who met him halfway to the school and returned with him, he had little time for friends. Though forced to be alone during most of his free time, he never felt lonely. The seclusion ended when they moved back to their urban ancestral home five years later. Decades later, when he was recollecting his childhood dreams, he would remember his flying dreams of zipping down the valleys and zooming up over the mountain tops. The other was something very similar to Jacob’s dream of the ladder to the heaven. Born in a Hindu family it was quite unlikely that he had heard or read the story of Jacob’s dream in the Old Testament. What he saw was different too, a very long ladder that stretched and stretched into the vast expanse connecting a blue green earth with a colorful golden sky.

The day he came across Kenneth Boulding’s article on General Systems Theory , he could not sleep. This was the ladder in the dream connecting everything with everything else.

The ladder of understanding was the beginning of the next phase of a search that went on for nine years, juggling the kaleidoscope with collections of pieces of the puzzle hoping for an acceptable pattern to emerge. The day, rather the night, it surfaced was another sleepless one. There was no denying that this was what he was looking for. The validation would come much later.

Facilitation with the framework began in 1990 and the first validation to come across was The Fifth discipline by Peter Senge. All the disciplines were embedded in the framework into a coherent whole.

Facilitation was another challenge. An appropriate methodology had to evolve through practice which involved taking the framework to different contexts, young and old, one to one and in groups, on/offline, schools to industry, nonprofits, religious/secular institutions. The process continues.

This is the story of our storytelling, the dance up and down the levels of the ladder on  the wheel of understanding that takes us on our common journey.

Thank you, Maria. We understand, appreciate. Watch her here in conversation with Rachel Sussman, pointing us to the rationale of the ladder transforming into the wheel of understanding.

Contd: 

Who am I ?

Who am I ?
” I am Christ, the Son of the living God”
It was time to return to Taxila. The two of them shared the same vision  on what would happen once they left. Both were builders par excellence of structures, physical and virtual. They conspired to test them on how they would respond to the one question that held the key to all questions,”Who Am I? “.
A building built to last needs a foundation. As  rock is for physical structures, understanding of the self is the foundation to all buildings that last, the one key to all the other keys.
“But who do you say that I am?”
“You are Christ, the Son of the living God.”
 “Blessed are you, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. ”  it is not something that  is taught, but a realisation that you come into, it is revealed to you.
Thomas, as usual, doubted.
” Peter, Who do you think you are?”
” I too am the son of the living God”.
Thomas was surprised, but he was not. The fisherman needs no lessons in anchoring though this  test was on anchoring one-self.
” And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then he strictly charged them to tell no one (!!!) that he was the Christ.
He knew that the promise would be broken, Procrustus would take over and it would sabotage the work of transforming self to Christ / the world transformed to living God. The  caterpillar is to butterfly and water is to wine as the average human is to the true human.
The true human leaves no footprints.
Others left. He could  read Thomas. “It is the experience, not the story that matters. The parable is the container. One has to break the container and get to the content to be transformed to Christ. This is the work that kills work and lightens the burden on our shoulders.
A spark inside and the  lightning outside were synchronous. Thomas remembered the day when he had said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Writing about “the stages of life” Jung argued that we need schools to prepare people in their middle years for something approximating true maturity (adulthood). He concluded,  “we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life’s morning: for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.”
There were two adults in the hangout of thirteen. We are lucky if we meet  one in our times.
” The unprohibition in God’s own Kerala marks the complete conversion of the state to the colonial version of Christianity.  The salvation of the state requires the revival of the Thomas version of Christianity which successfully retained its identity against successive waves of Jain , Buddhist and Hindu revivalist influences. The doubter that he was, respected reason over sentiments, adult to the infant, dialogue to sermons. Horses would fly if such wishful thinking were to work. What would be more realistic to expect will be more sheep leave the flock and the shepherds herd together to restrain the birth of The ADULT. Diplomats that we are, this will be more of a silent revolt than an open rebellion.”
What is it to be human, adult, the son / daughter of the LIVING God?
“To be an  adult is to believe in dialogue, leave space for the adult in the other to manifest, to be human is to continually improve, killing death itself from one’s self.  Nature is the living god and the son / daughter of the living god is free from all fears including the fear of death.  There is no death in life and such a one does not live in death.  Perfection is and death too is perfect.
Nobody prohibits anybody from anything. We know and trust. I am that. Thou art that.
One has to find one’s own rock, harder than diamond, invariant and changeless as no building lasts on fissures and fault-lines.

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.