The Ladder/Wheel of Understanding and the 10 % Monkey

Now that you are a Now-ist ! , you know what a compass is for.  That doesn’t mean that you are disconnected from the past and the future. It is your now that creates your and the other’s future

The Now-ist uses his embedded GPS, compass, if you want to call it that. S/He is one with all the past and the future

LOU

The monkey ran into the cave farther than his previous best. He came across a flight of ten steps. He slowed down. There was no need to hurry. He had all the time in the world.

He climbed each of the steps in awareness,slow and steady, reflecting over each one as to what they stood for. He felt as if he had ten heads, one for each level. He realised what it is to be a monkey. I am that and all the heads understood each other perfectly.  The babble in his monkey brain ceased to be. 

He woke up relieved that he had just one head. It would have been very unwieldly to have ten

He looked at the world outside. He could see all the abstractions in concrete.

He said to himself. ” I am but a 10 % monkey ! 

Holy …..he rushed back to the cave. Went a little further searching for the next etching on the wall . He stood looking at the wall for a long long Now.

L&D

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More 

The cave effect

The Transformer

A body at rest continues to rust, thought the Monkey. I should get up and go. Food was no problem. His curiosity was beckoning him. He knew that he could go out only to the extent that he could go into the cave. He wanted to explore both the worlds.

He decided to go in

The Gallery was a complete work of art. He couldn’t imagine whose work it was and how long it would have taken them to complete it. They should have been working on it for ages. He wondered whether the humans would have done it prior to their exodus from the Planet. It could not be because had it been done by them, they wouldn’t have been compelled to take the exit route. How could one ever imagine to leave such a beautiful planet ?

He was brought back from his reflections by a shaft of light from far above which fell on an etching on the rock face.

He stood gazing at it for a long time and exclaimed: Hammer of Hammers!

TRFD

More than enough for a few days, thought the monkey.

It took much more than a few days. He found that he could go out into the external world far more than he had ever been. He stretched himself for weeks to find how far he could extend the boundaries of his sojourns

It was the day after the big thunderstorm. He had woken up many times during the night by the lightning and thunder. He was feeling called to go into the cave to fulfill his responsibility to the community to remain a monkey. The weeks of deliberations had led to flashes of intermittent lightnings inside his monkey brain. He knew what he had to do with the map that had taken him weeks to make sense of.

He had his etching tools. He went to work, doing his bit in the scheme of things.

He added a traffic signal to the two roads in the map.

TRFD2

He knew which of the roads, the humans had taken. He had made his own personal decision to take the road not travelled. As for the others he was not really concerned. He knew that Nature is much more ruthless than gravity and it would take care of itself. I too am that. He remembered a verse from his mom’s teachings, Thattwam Asi

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 ?

New Literacy: In search of the adult

“Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.” – Erich Fromm

What is it to be fully born?

Raj was 15 and Herman, 35. They were walking home from the exhibition grounds, a very long walk to the Ashram where they stayed.  Herman was a priest. The boy frequented the Ashram whenever he could.  The boy was tired, falling into sleep and forcing himself to remain awake.  They entered the gates and lied down on the grounds, both of them gazing at the star lit sky.

Raj heard him asking “what is the meaning of all this”?

The boy had no answers. Silence prevailed, something sparked in the boy’s mind. “Someday, I will know”.  He never knew what was in store for the wish to come true. It was much later and getting himself burnt many times over that he knew that there is a price to knowing, the price that Oedipus had to pay for his insistence on knowing the truth at all costs.

Herman did not last long in the Ashram. He broke his vows and walked out. Raj came to know of it much later. His efforts to locate him were not successful.  Meanwhile many gods died very young for him. He had to pass through his personal omega point before he could come to a reasonable resolution of what he had hoped for on that starlit night, a journey of twenty six years.

I had fallen into a reverie of our conversation the previous evening while Raj was preparing the ground for one of his workshops, talking to the group about the ‘The Thomas theorem’- “It is not important whether or not the interpretation is correct. If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”, a theory of sociology formulated in 1928 by two Thomases. He was going a step further proposing what he termed the Thomas Principle.

The ADULT is the sacrificial goat, when

Master and disciple,

Teacher and student

Coach and the coachee,

Consultant and client,

Counselor and counselee,

Shepherd and the sheep,

Pope and the faithful,

are stuck in their respective positions; cannibalism and slavery are the outcome.

Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. – Mathew 7.19

The disciple has to fail the guru but Thomas never failed, the  other adult in the ring of 13. The other Judas fell to greed and the rest failed to realize their adults much like the unhappy younger brother. When the prodigal son finds the adult, he returns to his father. In recovering the adult he had to let go of a father and the father recovers his very self. The church that Thomas went on to establish was built on the rock of reason unlike the other churches built on the rock of faith. Both work  but whereas one thrives on dialogue, creates adults and community the other relies more on fear, manipulation and aggression, creating a setting that  makes crusades feasible.

Dialogue is possible only among adults, where reason prevails.

Raj was stirring up a hornet’s nest. There was visible uneasiness among the group. I was thrilled to see that the group was approaching its omega point, which I define as the point of maximum sustainable confusion any group can withstand. The group will either break up or come to a reasonable resolution of the issues to form a community of practice for the rest of the programme. A few of them would form new alliances and bonds that would last a lifetime. I was here after two decades of our first meeting in one of my workshops.

Raj appeared to be relishing the confusion. We want to create an environment of community here for the duration of the programme, he continued.  Organizations are not for adults, community is. It is natural/imperative that the disciple fails the Guru – do a Judas- the mentee the mentor, student the coach, counselee the counselor. Peter fails repeatedly.  Thomas, the rationalist, is perhaps the only adult in the dozen and his bible, the only adult version of the story of transformation.  The church that followed him stood its ground   in the cradle of all religions against successive waves of Buddhist, Jain and the Hindu revival.  Disciples go on reinventing the master, do a Procrustus, and cut the cloth to suit their own different sizes.

A stage will come in every learning relationship – including marriages – when the travelers reach the fork on the road. when master and disciple turn adults or one has to let go of the other on grounds of greater love, if that is the only way the other faces the reality of the dynamics. Resolutions might/not happen. When the prodigal daughter returns she finds that there is no father or daughter.  In my father’s abode there are no husbands and wives, fathers or daughters/sons. The cheating wife is a product of this dynamics. She doesn’t want to cheat but has to cheat, destroy herself to rebuild herself. The other has to let her go even at the risk of her own death/suicide. Death is a normal risk to the human, but to die even before one is born is a greater calamity. Life will go on.

Hands were being raised. Raj paused giving in to the questions. He waited for all the questions before getting to continue with the conversation

The fifty year study of myocardial infraction is a recent example of the progressive decline in community among the Roseto. Probably we had better community prior to the beginning of settled agriculture among the hunter gatherer. So in one sense what we call progress was no progress but a decline and decay of community.

Perhaps the universe is perfect, says the digital philosopher, Rudy Rucker.  For the mystic the world is perfect beyond any uncertainty, he lives the connection with the whole and has repeated experiences of this connection which spills into his art, making it immortal.  For him nothing happens by chance, everything is a participative outcome of the grand design. Tolkien believed mythology to be the divine echo of truth. We don’t allow them to die. For them to die, we need to draw the principles they embed and realise them in our daily lives. In those days art deserts the museum walls, the opera and the cinema halls and occupy the Wall Street, virtual walls waiting to be painted.  Art is routine.

If myth is the measure of wealth, India is the wealthiest of nations. Weighed down by the burden of myths they labour more, asking more questions on Quora than others in the world. The wealth of their myths lies hidden like the Temple Treasure of Trivandrum. Unearthing hidden treasures could be opening the Pandora’s Box as the state in Kerala has come to realise the proof of the Matthew effect, (Matthew effect – Robert K. Merton) – the poor in spirit becomes poorer in health and wealth.

So what ?

Ask more questions !

More of fantasy is not the solution to the burden of our myths

To continue

The journey so far

Maturity Metrics,Stages of Growth and Levels of Awareness

“If 50 is the new 30 when do you turn into an adult?

“Adulthood is yet to be defined. We have different numbers for different purposes, contexts and cultures pegged at 13, 16, 18, 21 “

“You may be 100, but that is no guarantee that you are an adult”

“Most metrics are quite arbitrary and we give undue weightage to numbers”.

“Dealing with the demographic imperative necessitates bringing quantity; quality and time to be reckoned with at one go. Erikson’s eight is too inadequate.”

Most of us may never pass through the gate to adulthood if we define adulthood as maturity to self-regulate, take informed decisions that leads to continuous improvement. Adulthood in the information age is about discerning information from data, the competence to ask the right questions or search. Information is data that kill misinformation that takes us to more order than decay.

Collectively we do not even manifest the wisdom of a single cell in its ability to take care of itself. We are yet to graduate from the level of the clock/ simple machines. Perhaps our institutions partially exhibit some of the characteristics of advanced machines with limited self-regulation.

The cell is to the body as an individual is to the community. Let us look at the issue at this level before proceeding to higher levels of complexity.

Event Process Metric/s

Stage /  Event Process Metric/s
1 Conception One-ness, Ignorant bliss Dreamers
2 Birth/death Duality, Separation, Pain, paradise lost Conflicts, noise
3 Positioned Purpose Clarity, Work to fun Silence, voice
4 Map Directional Clarity Improvements
5 Clock Mechanical awareness Rituals, Measurement,Breakdowns
6 Thermostat Self-regulation Decisions
7 Cell Organic life Increasing order
8 Plant Rooted Glocal
9 Animal Perfection Design awareness
10 Human Identity, Independence, Freedom Gender intelligence
11 Community Interdependence Happiness Index, Community Intelligence
12 Meta maps Accumulated learning Expertise, Practice
13  Aligning with the unknown Balance Humility, sustained improvements
14 Graduate/Warrior Catalyst Adulthood, Continual Renewal, Servant leadership, Reflective

We are still struggling with improving this tentative proposition. The dialogue is on.

Why blue?

20 April

“So what is the new 21”

“60 and in perfect health”

” then the new 74 will be 222+”

“Yes, computationally speaking, otherwise no such limits. You are not your 58 kilos”

” oops”

“Then what are you?”

” You are your work”

“Hmm”

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”  -Buddha

Directioning: Where we should be going ?

Blue Ocean People at the Top of the Pyramid, BOP @ TOP

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we need to do is keep on walking.”—Buddhist proverb

Potentially, anyone of us could aspire to be one of them. Please see the wiki list of lists of centenarians to get a feel of what I have in mind. Most of these people would qualify to be there in the BOP@ TOP list that I am compiling.

Having worked for over three decades at the bottom of the pyramid and branded myself a low impact lifer, aka poor, much before the jargon was in vogue I am more fascinated with people at the top of the pyramid. It is for the TOP to make it lighter for those at the bottom. We have enough of them to show us that it is indeed possible. These people have taken the road less or not travelled. They show us the direction for the journey, milestones that point to further stretches of the road not taken, of the unrealised, unexplored territories, the blue ocean space of strategic directions for self-management or HRM, Human Resources Management, to use a B-School jargon. They give much more than they take. They are Low impact on inputs and very high impact on output. They bridge us with the past and point to us, the future

For me HRM is Hira Ratan Manek. Born in 1937, a graduate in mechanical engineering  who carried on with the family business, of shipping and spice trading till he retired in 1992. After working for 3 years, he re-discovered the secrets of sun gazing.   Since June 18th, 1995, HRM lives only on sun energy and water. Occasionally he drinks tea, coffee and buttermilk.  He had three strict fastings, during which he had just sun energy and only water and was under the control and observation of various science and medical teams. The first of these fasting lasted for 211 days which was followed by a 411 day fast from 2000-2001 in Ahmadabad. Indeed it is written “Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone “

Another one is, Pandit Sudhakar Krishna Rao Chaturvedi, a vedic scholar, teacher, writer, translator and journalist was born in 1897. At 113 years he says in the Vedas it is said that a person of pure character can live for 300 years. He hopes to live that long. He has planned his work for another ten years.

PC Devassia, whom I knew from very close for over two decades, who is in one  of the wiki lists, lived for 100 years 6 months and 15 days. This by itself is not a feat but how those years were spent is. On the day he retired from  nearly four decades of work,  he talked on how he planned to spend his remaining 40 years. His magnum opus, Kristubhagavatam, a meeting point of two cultures was written in his seventies. All those forty years were exceptionally productive, even more productive than the first forty years of work. The decision to live for a 100 years was a conscious one taken very early in life which he had made known to his son when he was in school. The position was taken very early in life, the direction was set and reflection was a continuous process. His work was his spirituality and he was religious about it. Making work meaningful and fun is the best medicine to live long. Instead we wait for a day when nano-robots will make it possible for us to become immortal.

Dominic Chacko Kizhkemuri, DC,was born in 1914 .He worked as a teacher for over a decade, was involved in the freedom struggle and imprisoned, promoted SPCS, the writers’ cooperative which created history.   He retired   at the age of 60 and started his own publishing firm, the DC Books with a capital of less than $ 200 which became a market leader in the business by the time he died in 1999

I am grateful to my B-School education for introducing to me many in the following lighthouse people. Some of them continue to beacon us and would qualify to be included the list of immortals if there were one.  The immortality quotient, my fascination for the long term, was triggered by them

W Edwards Deming 1900-1993

Ludwig Vn Bertalanffy 1901-1972

William Ross Ashby 1903—1972

Peter F Drucker 1909-2005

Kenneth E Boulding 1910-1993

Russel L Ackoff  1919-2009

Anthony Stafford Beer   1926 – 2002

Ronald Coase, 1910-

Emanuel Revici, M.D, 1898-1998

Obviously living a long life is not the only qualifier to be in the list of BOP @ TOP. Warren Buffet or Bill Gates will not qualify in spite of the combined weight of their charities.

The Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Rene’e Mauborgne, is about uncontested market space, how market leaders continue to stay far ahead of competition without wasting their energy and effort on market wars. I draw my lessons from people not corporates having lost my faith in B-Schools and business with my four years of education in two Of them. Imagine the vast unexplored space that is available to move on and the spin offs if more of us decide to adopt a blue ocean strategy in our lives. That would set one of the coordinates for strategic HRM, the blue ocean space that each individual discovers around oneself is the major driver for growth and improvement, true of all of history and the drive behind all those in the Guinness book of records. Future is in the making when we see this collective blue ocean space that remains unexplored.

The seniors shall inherit the earth

Can one grow old and young at the same time?

Some people, a small minority, do it. They mature like old whisky and still remain young, challenging common wisdom that old dogs cannot pick up new tricks. New findings suggest the opposite. For some seniors growing old and growing young are parallel processes.  They challenge their brain with continual learning. The result, plasticity of the brain improves. Intelligence too has the same character.  It improves if one keeps challenging it against problems. When the brain remains young and one is driven by work that is motivating on its own merit, the body grows young renewing itself continually like a river which is not blocked from renewal by our ecological footprints. One grows old and young at the same time.

Olive Riley, the world’s oldest blogger, passed away at 108. She must have picked up blogging when quite old by our usual standards. I also know some very smart, much younger people who boast of not using the internet or the computer claiming that they are against too much of technology. I am afraid it is a camouflage to cover up the resistance to embrace the new.  In my search for the old and young I met Joseph Smith. He weathered many a storm on the high seas and on land for 82 years and graduated from the school of hard knocks. He is old and young, more active and concerned than most of us about the way the system works or does not. The ‘old and young’ need closer attention because they are travelling a different road which is likely to be a mega trend, gathering momentum.

Elsewhere there is a conversation going on the future of social enterprise. I am convinced that the future of business is in the enhancement of community, global and local.   I spent four years as a student in two B-schools. Both claimed to be teaching management but proved to be just business schools. Some of them have an identity crisis like many of their clients. I would prefer to  believe that every business, including the business of religion and non- profits, is about creating community within to connect to the community outside and business performance ought to be measured by the enhancement of community or net value addition to the community capital. Many of them very successful by conventional norms could be destroying community. They survive and grow by reinforcing the business of shadows and substitutes. Growth does not differentiate between real goods and services and shadows and substitutes.

Established religions have stood the test of time, but have a shadow side to their existence. They appear to be more successful than most business organizations in promising the most intangible with the lowest cost of production, manipulating masses on the fear of death and retribution in next life. Priests and politicians play god and peddle dependence. Many of them love to be worshipped and are on a drive to fulfil their own power drive distortions. Did somebody say that the earth will be revealed to us when heaven is destroyed ?

Will insurance companies   have any business if   people have no fear of death or the future? If people are anchored to their true SELVES how would the fashion and cosmetics business respond which often assumes that the cosmetic is more important than the content?

Would there be a fall in demand for big screen heroes if we reframe our notions of the hero to the real meaning of the term, conquering one’s own fear?

If people redefine work as self-expression, will they continue to suffer from boredom and consequently will the market shrink for entertainment products and services? The entertainment industry stretches itself to keep boredom at bay. The demand is a derived one from the inability to find a purpose in life and work that is motivating by itself.

How would lotteries and the stock market fare if more people put an end to the wait for a better day game and start living in the present?

More than economics distorted human drives drive the economy. Which business is not a social enterprise though most of them implicitly admit that they are antisocial.  What would be the role of charity, other than as a measure of guilt associated with wealth when every business redefines its mission as enhancing global community?

These are landscapes   that one might come across on the two roads, one by design and the other by default.

One can go on ad nauseum about the shadow side of every business, profit or non profit. I believe more than the religions, business will take the road to spirituality. I have experienced better community in business than in religious organizations. Business will be more pressed to reinvent itself as enhancing community within to connect better to the external community locally and globally in a   borderless world.

It is neither easy for business or for individuals to walk out of the shadows, because we will have to turn against our own vested interests, the shadow side.

The ‘young and old’ show the way. The most successful of them have no learning plateaus as they take their positions very early in life. They quit only when their mission is fulfilled. The others have successfully negotiated the learning plateaus at different stages of their life. They live a life of their own design and they are their own heroes.  They earn credibility with their life and walk the talk. They are not looking for a secure tenure   or driven by the need to perform in the marketplace where your future is as volatile as the stock market, where in the first 15 years of your career your fate is almost sealed whether you belong to the ‘top of the pyramid’ material or not. Demography favors the seniors. Thanks to the web more of them are finding their voice and we have enough of them in the public domain to listen and learn how to live a life by design.

‘The elephant rock declaration’

In one of our workouts, we, twelve 60 + couples, got together to discuss the trend, climbed the elephant rock and shouted out the elephant rock declaration – “The seniors shall inherit the earth”

Building Our Own  Ark, Living in Real-time

Positioning: Where are we?

Visualizing Knowledge

What the dog sees and we don’t. Who has gone aSTRAY?

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

IF  

Just as we forget phone numbers and multiplication tables with cell phone memories and calculators we have forgotten to check our positions and some whiz-kid has hacked into all the GPSs to show the wrong position

THEN  

We will all be rushing madly to where no one really wants to go

WHAT IF

This is the truth with or without GPS?  

The corruption in our thinking is at the very source itself!

So how do we debug the source code? 

For us the dog’s is a lowly perspective. But we can prove that the dog’s position is above us and ours is the lowly perspective. All dogs do not see the same. Stray dogs see even better than their domesticated fellows. The latter become less intelligent in the process of socialization with the humans who cut them to size to suit their unfulfilled needs and wants of relationships and community. We are far inferior to them on Community Intelligence and I have reasons to conclude that the stray dogs see that we have gone astray! This is what the visual above shows. The top left quadrant shows the increasing potential of simple to complex systems. The bottom right quadrant shows the corresponding performance at each level of systems. We don’t see a gap between potential and performance till the level of animals, the level which also includes the dogs. From the level of animals we see a fall, which we take it as great progress. What we see depends on where we stand.  In the case of the human and still higher systems, performance is below that of animals. The fall is so steep that it is just on par with simple systems similar to a clock. What we see as great progress is a myth and we are firing on all cylinders heading towards disaster without even realising it.

Where are we ? The Chandrasekhar Limit

This has nothing to do with the famous scientist and the phenomenon that goes by his name. This is about another limit more closer home and this Chandrasekhar is a friend of mine. One morning too early in the day for most of us, I found him in front of his regular bar frantic and searching for a familiar face. He wanted to go home but he didn’t know where he was. Imagine his relief to meet me. He could not hold on and it just popped out of him “Where am I?”  He was greatly relieved. I was not. It continues to haunt me that we know far better about the unreachable stretches of space than what is closest to us and we go around creating a world outside to fit the garbage inside us. That also includes the cosmologist who attributes his fear of death to the universe seeing it breaking down like a clock.

The Position and Positions

Without answering where we are as a species, we cannot have an answer to where I am as an individual.

The first step to a common journey, to go home or elsewhere, virtual or otherwise, is to know where we are now .The GPS or the compass eases the complexity of the task in our regular journeys. Progress is a different kind of a journey and we are yet to agree on this first step. Each of us has a different position on this and the proverbial babble of Babel is the corollary. When we have different positions it is imperative that our perspectives do not converge. Unless we agree on a non-controversial reference to the starting point there will be no common journey

When our basic assumptions about the home position, the reference point,  are wrong it is certain that we will reach some place where we never wanted to go. Any process of improvement calls for fixing a starting position, deciding on the direction and reflecting/review with reference to the starting position.

For over two decades we have been asking people what our basic needs are. The first response is invariably the text book answer, “food, shelter, clothing”. For someone who has decided that life itself is meaningless and suicide is a better option, none of these matter. When we ask “How many sides the coin has?” the answer is always the same,two.  With a little bit of prodding around they will shift their positions and see better.

  1. For a moment let us take position where the four lines meet and take in the common perspective that collectively we are no better than a clock in terms of our performance against our collective potential to perform.
  2. Now it becomes possible to fix a direction for improvement and on this journey of improvement there will be variant positions as we move forward
  3. Now it is also possible to position myself (example: a professional or a facilitator to the journey) and see the variant positions, milestones in that long journey