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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The cave effect

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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

MOS. The Monkey Operating System

Continued from A Lesson in Strategy

He dove for cover and ran for his life, tracing the path left by potaotoes rolling down to the beach. This was taboo country. The noise from the crowd was faint; no monkey in his ‘right’ senses would go up the taboo mountain. His second ‘first act’ of the day will not go into the story books of the old world. It was hot. He walked leisurely exploring the virgin territory on a path not traveled by any monkey. There were bananas aplenty in all stages of growth and the new nut, the game changer. There were many others, big and small of all sizes, shapes and colours. Perhaps it might become a little too lonely once he was through with this explorations. Will think of that when it comes to that. Towards the middle of the mountain he saw a ledge of a rock, jutting out. Would be a nice place for a nap. He walked up to it seeking shelter from the hot sun and found himself staring at the entrance of a cave, big enough for him to walk through. He was blinded for some time but as his eyes adjusted to the darkness inside he realised that the cave was much bigger than he thought. He looked up to the ceiling. It appeared as if the roof rose to the top of the mountain. There was a lot more to explore on both inside and outside the cave.

He found a place to lie down and he fell into a deep sleep. In the dream he was floating in the gentle breeze that came in through the entrance and the cave was illumined in a bright golden yellow. He passed through a series of high arches and on the wall facing him he saw a gallery of maps painted in bright shades. He made a note to himself. I would remember them when I wake up. He found himself sailing down to the spot where he had left his body and took possession of it . No sooner had he done it he woke up to find that the cave indeed was as he had seen in the dream with the setting sun making the place a lot more brighter than when he went in.He remembered his Mom’s lesson, make a note to yourself the first thing in the morning of your dreams of the previous lest they fade out with the flow of the day. He looked for some shrapnel to etch the image in his mind. He didn’t have to search much as .there were plenty all around. It seemed as if some mysterious creatures had occupied the cave and they had vanished from sight ages back. He knew what he had to do and went ahead in wild abandon. When he was done, he moved away to admire his own monkey art of the day.

Pic2

With nobody to talk to, he broke into a monologue

“Good enough. As a kick off, this will do. I will improve it as I explore further, in and out”

“What do I call it, MyOS or MOS, the Monkey Operating System?”

“MOS will do, it could stand for both, shorter too”

He could feel his tummy crying for food. He walked out into the bright sun.

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 ?

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: 

The Chariot of Fire

The indigo flight was on schedule. He was the last to board and was heading straight in my direction, with a beaming face. 

What a way to meet, twenty years and the very same date when we last met. I am Raj, he said, offering his hand.

It is indeed a small world.  I couldn’t believe my eyes. He almost looked boyish or at the most a 25 year old. Raj of my memory was in his fifties, one of those who had challenged everything one believed to be true.  1990. The workshop was coming to an end. Participants were visualizing their future. Raj, a onetime scientist with NASA stood up to share his personal vision of the future.

“I have worked for over two decades on space travel and somewhere on the way I came to have this vision of translating the logic to my physical self, convert my Self to a space vehicle and explore the universe. Do you think it feasible or is it my personal madness?”

Raj walked down the aisle to his seat.

This was the immediate trigger. Earlier the mother when they met had set off the first one. “Death is not the only way out. There is another one far more exciting. Death is a normality of our present time. In another time death will be abnormal or accidental.  But accidents are not all that accidental when we get to understand how the design works.  Only the normal can aspire to be supernormal.”

“The first step to walking with the gods is to be a true normal.   What we consider normal is a false normal.

To the true normal

Renewal

@ is much more than the symbol of our digital identity. It is the symbol of return to the tribal to create the new tribal and re-establishing our identity in the second age of real-time”

“When was the first age? “ – Ann

“Over 10, 000 years, in the original age of affluence, we lived in real time, gathering and hunting.  With settled agriculture, ownership, waiting for the harvest, hoarding and barter, linear time came to be. We lost our innocence, grew up in shame and then came the philosophers and the modern!  “

“Be like children? “

“Detox, empty, all the accumulated crap of over 10,000 years”

“You, a communist? “

“ It is a long journey. We can see the future only to the extent that we can see the past.  To create the new tribe and community we need to craft a rough cut of the prototype. Nothing is available in the recent past that gives us even a rudimentary idea of what we seek to achieve.”

One dimensional man?” – Marcuse

“May be four dimensional, we are talking about the four fold path, the view that prevailed some 2500 years back in linear time. We need to see progress, decay and emergence across time, four aspects of the process that we call progress. Most often, progress has been mistaken for decay.  Schopenhauer was 25 when he wrote “ On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. One or four is not the issue. Seeing is the issue. Both saw”.

“The return of the noble savage? “

“Not really, may be a re-cognition of our roots. If you were lucky enough to have grown up on the banks of an unpolluted river, you would know how much time it takes to catch enough fish for the day, with bare hands. The original affluent society enjoyed full employment, had very little need for sophisticated tools and lived in non- time. Everything was in the commons, the equivalent of wiki in our times.  In spite of all the progress we are once again reduced to gatherers and hunters of a different kind, for safe food, water and information that reinforces our fitness to survive. We are hooked not connected.  @ signifies our birth in real time where wiki is the benchmark for not writing something that is already there or can be accessed through a simple search. It also signifies the death of the philosopher’s world that we created with a few lighthouse people as the paradigm and the birth of the new age of affluence. “

“Do we have any remnants of the original affluent society”?

“May be in some far corners of the world where the modern is yet to encroach. Not all societies moved to settled agriculture at the same pace. The Malabar Coast, present day Kerala, was one such region where the gathering/ hunting culture prevailed till the arrival of the Portuguese.  Pushing the tribal and the fisher to the edges is as old as the spicy seduction of the Queen of Sheba by Solomon with spices from Malai.  Malabar was the first El Dorado for the trader and the seeker, companions on the road and the sea. They came from all parts of the world. It did not take much time from the arrival of the Portuguese for reverse- migration to begin which continues unabated. The Constantine church met with the Thomas Church here. The faith that survived on its own merit for a millennium and half against waves set off by Mahaveera, Buddha, Asoka and Sankara gave in to the Constantine wave. The hunter turns hunted in no time”

“You are compressing a lot of history into a few lines.”  – Shan

“History is story, even science is. When facts are stranger than fiction, fiction sells no more. Story telling becomes story killing. His story is complete when read with her story.  Hyper – text is layered and each reader has the option to branch off any time with his explorations on the pointers in different directions.  We can now gainfully compress data as against loss-less compression of data.

Philosophy is a product of affluence, rather an affliction of modernity. Mahaveera and the Buddha were princes who renounced material affluence to the spiritual. Spinoza worked hard to earn a living to philosophize. Our modern versions feed on the commons but talk in tongues alien to the commons in their journey to be crowned. They will in time be reduced to a wiki-page and when the number of hits   falls below some prefixed number will vanish into digital oblivion.

When space and time come together history gives in to the new, R, the net value between the two opposing flows. It might appear to be insignificant now but the tectonic plates have begun to shift and the process will gather force as we become free from being hooked to being connected.

“We are no longer talking about philosophy. We are talking about organised religion.” – M

” We are exploring the larger context. The priest used to be the philosopher for    the masses. The role has been usurped by the scientist for many and the philosopher for some.”

Think outside the Planet

anchor

Think outside the box is a cliché that we hear too often. There must be a deeper reason for the persistence of the phrase

At some level it stands for thinking beyond the planet

As virtual space expands we are less stuck with the material. I don’t have to move my physical mass to go to the bank or to buy and sell my shares or to be in real-time touch with my friend in the valley.  Gravity is less of a constraint and achieving take off velocity demands less of an effort – in virtual space.

We are stuck with the material – physical, positioned in the physical world. The perfect sheet of rubber transformed into a foot-ball has no rubber at its centre.

What appears to be normal from this position, is the false normal

“Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.”  Archimedes saw the problem with our position. In nearly 2500 years we are still stuck with the problem. .  

To move the earth, we need to re-position ourselves outside the earth, to a position external to the physical. We are much more than our physical selves.

We see the true normal from this position, similar to the astronauts looking at the planet from space.  True progress involves a return to the center. @ is the symbol of this return and the new journey.

Taking Position

PP'

We understand reality through the tools we use. The compass is replaced by the GPS. We may not care how it works but we take it for granted that it shows us our position and whether we are on course or not. If we were to develop a GPS for the journey to our true normal- potential- the first step would be to fix our position as the GPS does in our journeys in space.

What we see depends on where we stand, the position. P’ is the position arrived at by the GPS and P is the position external to the physical realm.  P shows us the true normal and P’ the perceived normal. P is in real-time, P’ in linear time.  P is invariant and P’ is variant in time and space.  The directions cover virtual and physical space.  P’ has a time horizon of around 75 years, current life expectancy in Kerala and most developed countries, whereas P has eternity as the time scale.

What is it to be human?

“I think the light house people have always liked to use language not understood by the commons. It’s just that now there are many more claimants to the crown spouting Guru sounding stuff which ties in with the term I have co-opted “veneration of the personality”. – Shan

“Your stuff doesn’t make any sense to me’ – Dreamcatcher

“We still worship the dead. The veneration of the living and the dead are two sides of the same coin. The adult of the species is yet to be born. Our lighthouse people speak to the commons not the academics. As for making sense, this is a long term project which might make sense eventually. They say that tolerance to ambiguity is essential to making sense. ” – JM

Since 1990 we have been confronting people with the question, what is to be human, in our work towards arriving at a common position in the contexts of  teams and organizations.  A Google search throws up not one but 29 answers in the first link that comes up on top of about 1,530,000,000 results (0.40 seconds).   Simple questions are the most difficult to answer. None of the answers reduce our uncertainty. They only add to it.

Does more information really help?

Among those 29 answers, this one is central to this dialogue.

“The symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animal, inventor of the negative (or moralized by the negative), separated from his natural condition by instruments of his own making, goaded by the spirit of hierarchy (or moved by the sense of order), and rotten with perfection” – Kenneth Burke.

He lived to be 96, for us a measure of his personal intelligence grid.

Burke’s terministic screen’ is “a set of symbols that becomes a kind of screen or grid of intelligibility through which the world makes sense to us.”   We named it ‘the matrix’ in our v.1 discussions.  For Burke, reality is a clutter of symbols (1966). Things remain the same or even worse in the post-internet age.  The clutter has only amplified. We hope you have looked up the wiki link. If we are separated from the natural by instruments of our own making, we could as well make instruments that bring us back to the natural too.

“Have we have been evolving in our human-ness in the last 10,000 years, since our gathering – hunting days? “

“In some aspects, most times we regressed. We need to put this in perspective as we go along. Taking a common invariant position is the first step”

“Cut the crap, what is THE answer?” – Ann

“We are the only species which can continually improve. We are learning engines with the potential to continually improve on our previous best performance”