Building Our Ark, Living in Real Time

In the beginning was the word and before the beginning, we lived in real-time.

Most of us live in linear time and some in real-time. Those living in real or relative real time live longer, the blue ocean people. Those living in linear time die early.

Noah, Aaron and Abner are kids around us. We are fascinated as to why we go back to the Old Testament to dig up these names? History and myths chase us when we don’t understand them?

Books can be written only in linear time. So is history. In real time all of past and all of future are NOW. From now we connect to a history of the future.

In linear time, we and the world were born at some distant past. We and the world will die at some far away future.

Wright brothers were right. They gave expression to our collective longing to fly. Buddha, Christ, Mohammad and Gandhi voiced our longing to break free in a different way. We played with technology to break free from the confines of the planet driven by some distant memories of longer flights. In the beginning, was oneness and the longing for oneness took us to transcending the barriors of time and space. With the emergence of the web and the cloud, when we are stuck in the clouds for hours we have a semblance of what it is to live in real-time.

In real time the flood is now, not in some distant past. It calls for all our skills to craft an ark to survive the flood. One such skill is to transcend the linear to dynamic and real time.  The ark is the symbol of the self. Everything of the past is embedded into it, a new synthesis of all that has happened in the past, the sum of all improvements in the evolutionary journey, plants, animals, and a select few from the millions who are ready for the transformational voyage, crafting an accumulator to collect everything with a survival value and stepping into a new future of rainbow promises.

The old fisherman took me to the shore, pointed to the horizon, some distant waves and the shoal. I could not see any fish. I pretended that I could,the coward that I was. Then on I started watching the waves, and to learn to see beyond the waves. Gradually it fell in place how all the waves, together, tangible and intangible, come together to create what we create.

It is against our programming to think in waves. Unlike fishermen, men on land have come to think in straight lines which leads us to booms and busts rather than waves and cycles which are but  natural But we are always taken by surprise. The captains could not see beyond the linear,   waves and cycles.

Dev complains, the dialogue brushes past too many issues and leaves everyone of them unexplained

Dialogue is for ADULTs. They need no advice. You can at best draw their attention or perhaps provoke them to ask questions. Once this is achieved they need be left to make the rest of the connections. (If there are gaps one can always Google it). There has to be enough space for the adult to find itself and mature.

Now that the context is set and the flood is more than a myth, choice is between building your own ark or a community one. The latter happens only in myths and is beyond our scope.

There is no substitute to building a personal one. We need as many arks as possible rather than waiting for another Noah. Each one needs to build an ark for oneself. Without learning to ride the waves, one can not lend a helping hand. That would be catalyzing suicide

The pyramids were built when the valley was fertile and the soil supported the community. The floods used to keep the soil fertile. When we were young we celebrated the floods which were a rare event. It was a time for celebrations, taking out the canoes, go frolicking. Now they have built embankments to the river. When the river swells, the currents are stronger digging the bottom of the river further down. The embankments get washed away but are strengthened continuously, further accelerating the death of the river. The forests were replaced by a wide portfolio of crops which more or less acted like natural forests which gave way to the plantations, fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides. Now the soil is dying. Floods when they come spread the pesticides and weedicides all over, further accelerating the rot.

The other flood is more difficult to see. The most endangered species is the Homo sapiens and not the others in the list. History tells us that the collapse takes more than 100 years for the full cycle to be completed. When our span of attention is less than 15 years, we fail to see the flooding that takes a century or more.

The crisis could be the birth pangs of a new species. Nature is ruthless when it comes to the survival of the fittest.

One of the participants had this dream of the pied piper and the giant wheel. We get into the giant wheel and the driver decides when we need to get out. The music is so enchanting that we merrily join the flow, the flood. We become the frog soup – drowned in the flood

Either we dream of a glorious past or a glorious future. Neither helps, the flood/ crisis is a perennial one , taking place here and now. We pray to our father who art in heaven. Just as we push him up  (push HER underground) out of our lives we dream of a golden past or a future. This is the problem with stimulus selectivity. We would like to listen to our favourite music and shut out the inconvenient and the unpleasant, out of focus.

Are you suggesting that we don’t wait to save the planet but be selfish enough to save our own skin.

That may be the best that one can do., appropriate selfishness – Charles Handy

Nature will see that in spite of floods and plagues there will be enough left for the show to continue. One can choose which fork to take. The crowd will always be behind by at least 20 + years behind the lone walker. Nobody is going to build a Lexus, reading the Toyota Way

We can learn from the people on the edge. The African proverb, a favourite of Al Gore and quoted in The Hot, Flat and Crowded by Fried man, “If you want to go quickly go alone but if you want to go far, go together” may at times turn out to be suicidal.

For Galileo it was much longer. Had he gone with the crowd, we wouldn’t have him in the history books. The crowd and the pyramid dwellers took a long long ime to reconcile with his personal vision. One can not always go with the crowd. One has to learn to hunt with the hound as well as run with the hares.

What about the Gurus, Best sellers, the secret, the law of attraction, the self improvement industry – NAN

There are enough saviours/ pied pipers who promise salvation. The crutches help till you learn to walk. Once you have learnt to walk, it is time to dump the crutches and listen to the guru inside. One cannot see through the other’s eyes. We need new eyes to see a new vision NOW to create a desirable future

What is the visual about ?

The new eye, window to the self/reality’.  We have attempted to map, create a visual of what we have been discussing. Perhaps one could meditate on it for some time. We were talking about a learning engine.

The Ark is the learning engine which continually outperforms, beyond booms and busts, floods, feasts/festivals.

It is about our self and selves.

Dialogues – Maslow revisited

Maslow Revisited

“If you have built your castles in the air your work need not be in vain, for that is where they should be. Now build foundations underneath them.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Root wilt meets bunchy top

M: We have a 26/11, the Indian version of 9/11, and you are still digging?

J: Recessions, terrorism and religious fundamentalism have many things in common. It is very much part of the syndrome that we discuss. We were digging from 1981 to 1990 when the synthesis happened and the FDF fell in place.  Without looking back, digging deeper into oneself and also into our collective past, we cannot go ahead. We can see ahead as much as we can see into our past. Since 1990, more than digging, we have been facilitating the process of digging and integration, one to one, in groups and for organisations.

M: “Root wilt and Bunchy top”?

J: When the soil is dying the flora and fauna come to suffer from these attacks. The malady advances like an invading army, acres and acres of crops surrender to the advance and vanish year by year. Scientists continue to work for solutions but none have been effective. The science that we use is most often is not science because the bits and bytes do not come together to address the complexity of the issue in sufficient measure. It is not only plants that suffer from bunchy tops and root wilts. We find hardly a family which has not been touched by suicide, psychiatric illness, heart attack or cancer – mostly more than one of these. A suicide is very much like root wilt because the individual fails to find his roots and grow up. Psychiatric illness is another kind of root wilt because the person’s effort at making meaning out of existence leads to a crisis. The terrorist is just another version of it. Other illnesses too have a link with the primary distortion in meaning which is at the heart of the issue

Bunchy top is the syndrome that goes with power and hierarchy – the emperor is naked.

M: The monarchy is not dead?

J: Hardly. There is a change in style and fashion, superficial and cosmetic. The monarchy of Indian origin ended with emperor Ashoka. The west took it over beginning with Alexander. He was too young to pass through the identity crisis that Ahsoka had. The west has been celebrating its success since then and success corrupts more than power. When the monarchies started weakening, they got into strategic alliances with the clergy giving rise to the wave of conversion / colonisation. The great learning from this wave was that territorial control is no more critical to stay ahead, that competitive advantage is embedded in the intangibles, concepts, design, technology, standards, market and to be more specific capital markets. The brain mattered more than the brawn. Nations shrunk to give way to MNCs, the corporate multi ‘national’ ‘nations’ often much bigger than nations. The emperors put on different clothes. Attila the Hun, Genkis Khan, Charlemagne, the Vikings were all reinvented to be icons of fashion of the day. There is now a great rush to save the pyramids and not enough time to go digging
When we are in a great rush we fail to see what happens at home. The seniors could help because they are in no great rush. They can go digging and might come up with some treasures. Or you could outsource it to India. They are better at digging because of the greater diversity in terms of the plurality of religions, languages, color, and myriad other differentiators. It is like the Galapagos to Darwin. We might come up with a new theory of human evolution. This is the unique competitive advantage of the country that China and the US should be worried about from an obsolete leadership perspective.

The pyramids continue to attract us. They have stood the test of time and are not out of our collective psyche. We now have other forms of multinational pyramids with the bottom and the top out of alignment. Recessions are the result of the tectonic shifts between the top and the bottom.

The self is to the organisation as the cell is to the body. Our maps of the cell are yet not complete. We are yet to decipher the ‘junk DNA’. If we don’t understand something we junk it. We don’t have a map of the self but we have so many working models of mammoth organisations.

We need to really dig deeper to come out of the crisis. History seldom helps because most of it is about glorified aggression. Moreover it cannot give us solutions since the same logic that created the problem cannot be of relevance to craft solutions to the issue

M: The central issue is a perennial one. You might get a glimpse of it between the logic gates

Tower of Babel vs leaning tower of Pisa

Ashoka vs Alexander

The Flood and the Ark

Pyramids vs Networks/ Communities of continual self –renewal

Change vs Sustained transformational improvements

Affluenza vs Influenza

David vs Goliath

Freemarket vs Bailouts

Creating wealth vs Philanthropy – Behind every great fortune is a crime.”
– Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)

If change is all that we need the President elect has already achieved it. He did connect extremely well with more parts and bottom of the pyramid and won a landslide victory. Now when he moves up the largest pyramid, he will lose sight of the bottom. Take a look at http://www.Change.gov. You cannot write to the President elect unless you are a US citizen or you need to lie that you are one. While he is much more than the President of the US and presides over a larger world, he could fail to connect with the larger human issue. When we are on top of the pyramid we cannot see the bottom. Even at a much lower level, there are very few families with a sustained trajectory of improvements. One generation makes it and the next generation squanders it – is a norm. We are discussing a design problem as to how this trap can be circumvented since the issue is not change but sustained continuous improvements – building the new tower of Babel. This time we need to bring in the spirit/nature to the centre of it which is not likely to happen, going by the history of collapses. The frog will be blissfully unaware that it is turning into frog soup.

J: A recession is nature’s way of bringing you back in touch with the bottom?

M: It is much more than that. We are taken hostage by the pirates occupying the top of the pyramids, much like the Saudi Oil tanker Sirius Star with its $100 million cargo. The pyramid could be an academic discipline, a cult, a religious sect, in short wherever the ADULT and the dialogue is blocked, perhaps unintentionally

J: How do you differentiate, the adult from the dictator

M: Watch the language. If it is one which the man on the road fails to connect to, we have reasons to worry. Leader ship is not about having followers. Christ gave us a model of servant leadership, washing the feet of his disciples. Ashoka turned into a servant of the masses. Gandhi did the same. The church could not hold on to the model for long- it has become the oldest surviving pyramid. Respect for diversity. When we don’t respect the diversity of the flora and fauna nature dies. When we don’t respect the diversity of the human, the species is at risk. When we put all our money in GM we are risking our financial future. It applies to faith too. The NICs showed that they could follow the path taken by the US. China has already proven that they are much better at it at a much larger scale. India will not be able to do it because of its greater complexity, diversity and the unlikelihood of the emergence of a similar leadership.

J: I am reminded of a metaphor on leadership. Mumbai has one of the largest abattoirs in the world. When sheep are unloaded from trucks, they are lead by leader goats whose job it is to go to the trucks and lead the sheep, show them the way, through the maze of barricades. It is a long wait as the lines are very long. When the leader goats reach the butcher, they move ahead and the followers get slaughtered under the butcher’s knife

At times absence of leadership is a blessing in disguise

M: But there has also been an unprecedented improvement in the last 100 years in real terms. We are more connected and we can see in real time much more than any time in the past. There has been a lot of shift from the static to the dynamic, more of openness and transparency, opportunities for the individuals to express her SELF

J: The major aphorisms of the connected world are:

  • The number of transistors that could be built up on the same size piece of silicon would double every eighteen months. (The power of the chip doubles every eighteen months.) Gordon Moore
  • Value of a network rises exponentially relative to the square of the number using it. Robert Metcafe
  • Power of creativity rises exponentially with the diversity and divergence of those connected into a network. John Kao (Chinese American Business Thinker)

The first two are already part of our experience but the last one is the most powerful. Here lies the competitive advantage of India. Globally here is the opportunity to leverage ourselves out of the recession and move into an altogether different phase of sustained continuous improvements as against discrete, random and isolated improvements.

M: So the imperative is to connect at a much larger scale and transform the pyramids to continuous learning engines

J: A learning engine is capable of continuously improving on its previous best performance so that there will be no booms and busts as in the past. Continuous improvement implies continual learning.

M: Why have you come up with an addendum to Abraham Maslow?

J: This is something which the participants came up with. They said the model is more complete if the hierarchy of needs are placed on the foundation of the spirit. For a man who finds suicide to be meaningful, the hierarchy does not matter! It sounded very right. Probably we may have to revisit the great man

M: What else have they come up with in your digging workshop?

J: I have a mail to our dream archives from one of our participants. He had it the night after the process workshop which was about digging deeper into our selves – part of it was to connect with the male and the female in us.

Recovery of Sita: The dream

Huge crater, mouth of the volcano, Sita takes him very close to the bottom of the crater walking down over the soft greyish golden sand to the spewing spurting jets of yellowish molten lava accumulating as fluffy sand They stand together watching  the lava turning into soft sand. Though they are very close to the mouth, it is not hot at all

They walk away from the mouth of the crater through the twilight zone holding each other close, at peace and in harmony with each other. He moves to kiss her on the lips. She too wants to but gently restrains him   leading him across the shadows to light. She stops facing him and plants the gentlest kiss on his lips. He returns the kiss. He feels truly at home and experiences a peace that he has never known before

Sita ends her life requesting mother earth to swallow her: Myth/ History

Rama exiles Sita to the forest   doubting her fidelity on a similar logic as that of Julius Caesar, “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”  Sita was pregnant with Rama’s twins They  grow up in a hermitage in the forest. Rama meanwhile performs the horse sacrifice to enlarge his empire (expanding market share?) sending out a horse accompanied by a huge army. The twins tie up the horse and defeat the army. Rama realises that the two are no ordinary children,  goes to the hermitage and meets his sons for the first time.  When the sons are grown up, Sita ends her life by asking mother earth to open and swallow her. She has had enough of it

M: Why are you digging into dreams, fantasy and fiction once again?

J:  they are more real and we are driven by them more than facts. Because the feminine is more difficult to connect to. We buried her long long ago in our distant past. Since the feminine is buried the male too is a shadow of the real. The result is that the self functions like an engine with half the cylinders not firing. Moreover the Hummer is running in reverse gear with the accelerator stuck to the floor. Somebody had played a prank with the driver’s seat, fixing it in the opposite direction. The driver believes that he is doing wonderful blissfully unaware of heading in the wrong direction. The bystanders applaud and go on watching the feat

Recessions have been the outcome of typical male macho linearity.  More of the same will take us faster to the doom, such as the bail outs. This is the time for the non-linear, waves, cycles and the spiral.  The male would say let us cut down on the head count, on travel, training or let me get out taking my bonus. The female would say let us cut down on our perks and salaries, let us not kill the community,  let us transform the pyramid into a learning engine which improves itself continually, bring in radical improvements in productivity and meanwhile I would take the largest cut.

The US is the typical male. To me, the Japanese are a better blend of the male and the female

M: Why look for another source of energy?

J: We are running out of the dirty fuels. The mixture – dirty fuels + dirty spirituality + mean business + poor governance – form the worst explosive cocktail, threatening the survival of the species and the planet. The recession is a golden opportunity to take stock and reposition ourselves, to focus on the real economy of real improvements, real growth and true community. We understood the atoms and molecules and connected with one source of energy. This was no doubt a huge step in mastering the machine logic. We deciphered the DNA which was an improvement in terms of understanding the bio-logic. We understand distant space better than the deep space within us which is turning into desert. If the desserts on land are to bloom we need to turn the desert in us to bloom, bringing back nature to our centre from which we had moved away, sending Sita underground. The rock logic needs to be balanced with the water logic.  This will be the mother of all revolutions to happen, connecting to the perennial source of clean energy. Please do not confuse this with NAN, new-age nonsense, or another version of feminism. This is about evolving a new language of performance and the Dia-logic, going beyond the clichés and jargon

M:  Another one of your obsessions seems to be about the centre

J:  When you put some weight in one of the pans of the common weighing balance, it tilts and when counterbalanced moves in the opposite direction. But there is no shift at the centre of the beam. When the football is being kicked around the centre is not disturbed though a pin prick can disturb the equilibrium. The earth, other planets and the sun too have centres. There is a relationship between the centre of the earth, other planets and the centre of the sun. There may be tectonic shifts happening on the planet but if the relationship between the two centres is broken, try to imagine the situation. The solar system has a centre which in turn is connected to the centre of the galaxy and so on. We understand this relationship and make use of it to propel our spacecrafts to the outer reaches of space. We are talking about small and big systems of a particular class. The human is much more than such clockwork systems because we are much more than our physical self. The physical self like all other objects has a centre. What about the mind and the spirit?  Do they too have a centre and if so how are they connected together in the self? We need to connect to this centre to keep us in balance. This is what real recession proofing is all about

M: Why bring the spirit into it. We are getting into unfamiliar territory

J: It is very simple. How many sides, has the coin?

M:  Two……….., three………….., many

J: How many sides for time?

M: Three – past, present, future, may be more

J; What about the day?

M: Day, Night, Dusk and Dawn? So what?

J: Body and mind alone are not sufficient to describe the self. It is just like the coin with two sides which cannot exist in physical reality. All the talk about the two sides of the coin will fail to materialise it. How can you describe Gandhi without mention of what he lived and died for? So where you focus your energy is what the spirit is all about, what you find meaning in is an integral dimension of the self. Self is born when this is recognised by the self and it matures when it connects to the community self which brings people together around such people. Obama did it better than Mc Cain. He focused on the unfocused blue ocean space whereas Mc Cain went for the conventional. Obama could connect to more and I wish Mc Cain could be the number two bringing all of ‘US’ together in tackling our common issues.  May be the USA should have two vice presidents so that the loser can be one of them

M: Are you suggesting that the self is seldom born?

J Well let us see this as a process. We may not be far from truth to make such a conclusion going by the degree of community among us and the hyper inflation in our problems. We deny needs to the majority and glorify the wants of a minority. The pyramids tumble down in the tectonic shifts because the foundation and the top are not aligned, a part of the truth about recessions and meltdowns, booms and busts.

M: An extension of the logic would mean that one might find killing someone to be spiritual?

J:  Well many have found it to be so and many continue to believe in such spirituality. Established religions have not gone much farther from this position. It is dangerous to leave spirituality to religions which have become another version of mean business. Spirituality is primarily about transcending work to play which will unleash quantum improvements to human productivity and quality which is a kind of clean energy and energy saved is energy produced without carbon

M: Are you pulling Mr. Freidman’s legs?

J: Flat hot and crowded is a typical linear statement though most of the book is focused on the SW quadrant of the FD framework.

He would do well to dig deeper into his self taking his own prescription for the malady. He touches on the need for non-linearity.  Linearity is short run and very local. Nonlinearity is process thinking, thinking in waves, cycles and the spiral. The waves will have ups and down. We cannot go completely against the cycles of nature.   We need to work with them.

He claims to be an American and sees the issue as an American issue, not human or global though he can legitimately claim only to be a US citizen. We are first humans, then Americans, Chinese or Indians. Freidman seems to be first an ‘American’ and then a human. In Friedman’s reckoning China is worth a chapter, India is worth a few names and the rest of the world does not count at all. The book seems to be timed well with the US elections.

M: I think we will be least affected by the meltdown. We know how to live like royalty with $ 2 a day under the shade of what they call the poverty line

J: Balu wrote from Silicon Valley that I should be discussing Krugman and not Freidman. The scale and size of any of the IT ‘biggies’ from India would not even touch the size of the R&D budget of Microsoft and by US scale even Microsoft is not all that big. Here nobody understands scale and size. So India doesn’t really figure when we discuss the global

It also means that the masses fail to catch up with the process of reckoning. The bottom of the pyramid is out of reckoning against the metrics of markets and money. We would soon be bottling sunshine and brand it Sun spirit. Drinking water from an unpolluted river has no economic value but when you bottle it and sell it, it adds to the GDP, if the sale is in $ still better. If I am in the bottled water business, polluting the river appeals to my shadow self.  If one is a hunter or gatherer he does not count. Taking care of the forests and water bodies, and living lightly on such resources have no economic value since it is beyond current systems of metrics. The more aggressive we are in our   consumption the more developed we are.

M : When we dig deeper we may not like all that comes up

J: The participants in one of the workshops came up with some foot prints   left by subsequent waves of globalization. Here is an excerpt:

“Jews Synagogue – 700 BCE –

The Ashoka Pillar 304 – 232 BCE

The first teak plantation in the world 1842-44

The tropical forests and the tribal eco-system people retreated over the last one century in the march of the “developmental process” – the onward march of teak, tea, sugar cane rubber and other plantations. The original green was replaced by the plantation green which also brought along fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides to the source of the major rivers, killing off flora and fauna.   The natural processes – cycles of renewal – were broken and the soil is dying. The farmers showed us how the death of the soil march ahead year by year   as the markets expand and the crops come to suffer from “rootwilts’ and “bunchy tops’. People too come to suffer from root wilts and bunchy tops, fall ill, as they fail to connect to the roots through their head and heart”

M What is happening now is quite different. The opportunity is directly in proportion to the size and scale of the crisis

J: May be, May be not. This will depend on how we respond to the crisis as individuals and as a community. Digging deeper helps, if it leads to a new synthesis.

M: That was a long break. When is the next post?

J: We will wait till the views touch a certain number. I mailed an early version of this part of the conversation to friends.

San says that recession proofing at a material level is feasible if one is competent to add value continually (implies continual learning) and at a spiritual level if one knows oneself. As I see it, knowing oneself and continual learning is one and the same. He adds that facilitators and trainers are but scavengers

Dev wrote that most of this dialogue is Greek and Latin, pointing to the issue of language and communication in our search for the common ground. He also asks a hard hitting question – When the species is yet to reach its adulthood, where are the adults to have a dialogue?

M: Recessions must be good for many; economists, psychologists, priests, newsmakers of what is wrong with the world and the illness specialists, in general. At times this could lead to a spiritual problem to the practitioner. When you pay attention to entropy you come to suffer from it unless you experience negative entropy of a higher order. If illness is perceived as an opportunity the practice is but glorified scavenging. Waste recycling of any kind, physical, mental, spiritual, could also be equally good investment opportunities. I should review my portfolio and take a position in some of these while I transition to a more stable system.

I do not want to cash in on such opportunities but I am in it just to take care of my responsibilities. If those are taken care of I would just quit the game and just BE what I am. Why should I become anything? I don’t want to be empowered. The very word suggests that we are powerless

J: The tragedy is we don’t see the economic value of BEING one self. The flower out there is being itself. It is not putting up a show that it is improving the world, nor does the Jersey cow which gives many times more milk than what the calf needs. All we say is that being oneself is the best economic proposition too. Let the design express itself and do not stand against it. This is the only way to bring in net improvements. It is when we go against the design that we end up in problems. If the clock gets stuck we would check the design to make it work. It is when we come across problems that we need to understand the design better. So this is the best of times to take stock of what we have done with our SELVES

M: But how do you know what you know about yourself is all there is to know or what we know is knowledge. I could be wallowing in the mud and claiming that all is well with my world

J: We need a compass for map making as in the case of a terrestrial journey to fix the home position and the variant positions of the journey. When we reflect over the home position with the variant positions we should be able to make sure that we are on course, that there are net improvements. Without reference to that centre and anchoring to the centre we will continue to be afflicted by the bipolar syndrome. When the species itself is afflicted, there is only a degree of difference with the normal and the abnormal in their polarities.

M: So what next after principles, people and positions?

J: We are not through with People, Position, Positioning and Positions. We need to clarify our common position, the invariant one, the lighthouse position or the home position, where we really belong, the centre in each one of us where all of us are connected which could lead to the emergence of community. This is something like a foreign body inside the pearl oyster around which the pearl material accumulates

M: You are suggesting that community does not exist now and that we are centre less.

J: When the sheet of rubber is pulled evenly in all directions the centre remains at the centre as far as the sheet remains one. When the sheet becomes a football the centre shifts to the centre of the football. There is no rubber at the centre. It remains as such even when kicked around the field. All it takes is a pin prick to throw the centre out of whack.

We are yet to get rid of the flat earth maps. The popular metaphor is flatter, hotter, crowded and so on.

M: If there is something like a home position that all of us can agree to what would that be?

J: The central issue is what is to be human, the unique differentiator, from other categories of life? Over the years many have come to agree that the differentiator is our Potential to improve and improve continually. Would you agree?

M: There goes one more of your Ps, Potential. You have some kind of fixation with Ps. My psychologist friend of the Freudian school has a different name for it
I agree tentatively so that the dialogue continues as I don’t see continual improvement anywhere around. I see only booms and busts and sporadic improvements. On the whole I am tempted to conclude that net improvements have been negative.

J: It is not wrong to have some fixations, invariance, where people too often preach that change is the only constant. Values and principles are immortal. Another one could be, to be human is to improve and improve continually to realise more and more of the Potential, both personal and collective. Not to improve is sub- animal. This is where we are a class apart from the animal. The root cause of our Problems (another P) is the unrealised potential which drives us to all the substitutes, the bulk of our products and services. One reason why the markets are shrinking is that people eventually come to know that these were substitutes and might choose not to consume more of them as they mature. Recessions can be partly explained by this logic.

From a different perspective, there has been no recession as to our problems, in spite of all the solution providers, total and partial, the common position taken by Priests, Politicians, Pedagogues and Parents. The truth is that we have a hyper inflation in the scale and magnitude of our problems in spite of all the Progress which brings us to the issue of what is true progress, improvement or Performance. When you sum up, net improvements might be negative over centuries. The ecological footprint is a pointer to this.Business takes the position that they have either a product or service or a mix of both as the solution to a problem. The issue is what your business is. If one is in the business of shadows and substitutes, one will not be free from booms and busts whereas if one is in the business of continually creating net improvements continual growth follows. The same holds good at the level of individuals too.

The sub- animal is much worse than the animal. Animals have better community and they don’t kill within the community without rhyme or reason. They are true to their potential whereas though we have the potential we do not realise it. If we are unhappy about our collective behaviour the central reason is we seldom connect to our true potential nor do we have any clues as to our true potential, not that any of of us want not to improve. In the process we turn sub- animal in our behaviour. Animals sense it whether we are human or sub- animal. In extreme cases, they express it too. Somebody I knew was chased by dogs on the beach. His only option was to get into the water. The dogs waited on the beach, howling. He was rescued by the guards on the beach but committed suicide shortly thereafter.

M: So where are we now?

J: We need to go back to the map, the FD framework, which is a grand abstraction of the essentials of sustained high performance, how the flywheel of sustained high performance of the few works against the flywheel of common wisdom.

We are looking at the cardinal directions for the journey, from the centre, and the principles involved. We started with people and positions because what we see depends on where we stand. To fix our positions we need some kind of reference points, the sun, moon, the stars or use a compass or a GPS for a terrestrial journey. Same principles hold good for the other journey that we are discussing. The fixed position is our own centre, the home position, that we have the potential to improve continually. Having done that, we turn our attention to the NW, the potential. The SE is about performance and the gap between potential and performance which sets the direction for the journey of continual improvement, the process of recession proofing

M: What about NE and SW

J: It is the conflict between what we know and we need to know to go ahead with the journey. If NE is the garbage in us SW is about developing a technology to convert it into organic manure.

M: I certainly need another cup of coffee

J: I need one of those injurious to health poison sticks. Let us contribute to the GDP and ward off the recession to some extent

M: I am afraid that I will have to take a break from this dialogue. I have an interesting offer which I am accepting

J: Congrats, for recession proofing for another stretch of the journey. We can continue the dialogue through mails

We need to take a closer look at the architecture at the core.

Some more FAQs

J and M were cafe-hopping in Bangalore for the past many days
J is a retiree after working for 34 years. M is between jobs and waiting for the next call from the head hunter. He had been a country head of an MNC, one of the Fortune 100, till recently. Between coffee, lunch, clouds of smoke, coffee again and beer, the dialogue continues.

M:  How do I make my business, recession proof? Is there a secret? (J had borrowed the CD of The Secret from M, the previous day)

J:  Correction, how do I make myself recession proof? The secret is that there is no secret. It is pretty obvious. For most of us the code is to fail, go up and come down, boom and bust, birth and death, big bang and big crunch. They test the code and confirm that the code holds good and wait for their incentives, stock options and Nobels. The more elaborate and grandiose the project (Hadron?) more is the competitive advantage.   The economics of scale is in your favour (Krugman?)

M. I saw it coming every time on all six jobs spanning a career of nearly two decades. Got out at the nick of time when the down turn hadn’t begun. This is one thing good about the managerial career. In the medical profession or a captain of the ship would be sued for dereliction of your responsibility.

You seem to have done quite the opposite; you were stuck on your last job for 24 years!

J: Your planning horizon was 3 years for your business and 15 years for your career. Mine was 40 + years, since I decided to be a Facilitator. I did not differentiate between my career horizon and my personal one. I think I have enough steam left to go on for more than the remaining 13 years.  I have retired but nor retired from work, that would be another kind of suicide. So if you want to recession proof yourself you need to visualize your career over a longer planning horizon. If you want to recession proof your business, the minimum planning horizon shall be 10 – 14 years, covering a boom and bust, a complete cycle. In addition you need to get rid of all those codes that they planted in you over the years, at home, in the church, at school/ college and by the democrats and republicans, all taken together, over time, at least since the industrial revolution

M: That is indeed a tall order. I don’t have that kind of patience, period.

J: I think we are stuck here. But anyway since you have time on your side, recession proofed yourself for another two years; let us go ahead with the dialogue. It is better than going back to the same channels where they spread more gloom about the future of free markets and governments rushing in to bail out the pyramids. We are turning pro governance overnight!

M: Where do we begin?

J: Let us begin from the beginning, First Things First (Covey?). Where are we now?

M: We have moved down from the heights of irrational exuberance to the depths of depression?   Change is the only constant. It is like a roller coaster, a giant wheel for the grown ups

J:  Mind your language! It shows your code. In that case, changelessness also is a constant. Better debug your code for change and making a difference to, MAKING IMPROVEMENTS AND MAKING CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENTs    if you really want to recession proof yourself and your business.

You are no better than your code, your maps and tools.

M:  So where do we begin, with the clock or the compass?

J:  We go back to principles, always the compass first not the clock. They don’t change like you change into casuals and formals depending on the context.

Making a difference, my foot….. We need better maps for the journey ahead, a language of performance and improvement

M: Yet another model?

J: Not another model, a map of principles, that hold good for all the journeys of improvement, terrestrial, mental and or spiritual, whatever kind of journey that is ahead

M: Tell me more

J: Let us look at the Ps Map

M: The 4 Ps? , 7 Ps?  Product, price, promotion, place, people, process,

J: All those Ps together will not recession proof you or your business. But they will be useful when the missing Ps is taken care of, like the PHYSICIST from PHYSICS. I should be loyal to a good friend who is now one of the co- authors of the bible on marketing

M: You mean the one who copied your Ps map into his book on Organizational Behaviour and claims that he has developed it

J:  You are dead wrong there. This is someone you are yet to come across. He was a student of mine at one time and is now a Professor of Management. He copied a bad copy with the mistakes included. We are digressing; Let us come back to the map and assume that you are the traveller. What will be the first step, before the first step, to any journey? For seventeen years, I have been asking this question to mostly students of business, managers or business men and I am yet to get the right answer within a minute. Probably this was the first time they were confronted with it?

Most of them position products and organisations, yet seldom apply the same logic to their careers/personal lives

So after Principles, the next two Ps are PEOPLE and their POSITIONS. The first step to the journey is to answer the question. Where am I now? Where are we now? Fixing our lighthouse position, the invariant one, and then the variant positions in the direction of the journey and keep reflecting on the course in relation to the lighthouse position

M: Let us take a P break?

J: What is that?

Year 2065

Creating the future now/Remote seeing  !

At times, on certain roads,  we can see to the front as much as we can see behind us if we look back. I am over 60 years and can ‘see’ into my past rather well for 55 + years. Assuming 55 years to be the radius of my mindscape I can see 55 years into the future too.

Due to prevalent mental models I do not see farther than 2024, life expectancy being 74 years in my context.  If I subscribe to this my planning horizon need be just another 14 years which in turn would certainly be influencing my decisions, the prime reason why managers tend to believe in the sprint rather than the marathon.

We believe we can ‘see’ even much farther. If we can see through our DNA  and our collective mind we can see much much farther. Everything about the past is mapped into us in so many different ways and we are as old as the universe. There is something immortal in all of us.

We have been using the following exercise in ‘remote seeing’ mostly with young MBAs in the age group, 22 – 26 years, since 1990 and this gets revised every year.

The mental horizons keep on expanding but what we see hasn’t changed much.

The trends became more pronounced. The majority was taking the exit and the new generation, homo novus, was taking over. The flooding started much earlier but was not recognized by many. The minority could not influence the general flow. They found it more sensible to conserve their energy; certain that time would solve the problem.
The markets were collapsing. Longer life-spans and decline in births changed the very character of demand. The seniors influenced the markets much more. Most products and services could not hold on to market share. People found them not giving any more satisfaction, that many of these were just substitutes, products of survival drive distortions and had no basis in reality. The gold and bullion markets had become part of history. The chemicals and fertilizer industry was putting up a stiff fight to stay afloat. The stock markets too were on the brink of collapse due to the upsurge of loosely held voluntary business associations of real stakeholders. The cities were facing a crisis giving way to communes and virtual communities living a life in communion with nature, part of a loose network of similar ones elsewhere. People often shifted residence from one to the other. People in the communes lived a different life in contrast to the majority who failed to grasp the philosophical backdrop behind such lifestyles.

The shift could, now, no more be ignored.
Marriage and family seemed to be the most affected. With adults freed of the long years of responsibility and investment of their time and effort on child rearing, marriage itself lost most of its relevance. People of similar interests seemed to band together into communities of practice for reasons of professional and personal growth. These networks were more like extended families. Life expectancy had crossed the 100-year mark but people were, surprisingly in much better health for their age than at any time before. The communities were self-sufficient in meeting most of their needs. Products and services were by-products of life rather than ends in themselves. Work, fun, learning and leisure merged to become an indivisible whole and expertise in various aspects of knowledge accumulated in specific communities. Established religions were giving way to a new spirituality focused on conscious evolutionary growth by design.

It appeared that Homo sapiens was being overtaken by Homo novus.

Whether you agree or disagree, future is influenced now.

We can choose the world that we want to be in.

Homo Novus

Is the species of the future?
Gathering the scattered remnants of humanness,  building the Noah’s ark of vestigial human qualities
To salvage Homo sapiens from extinction, the most threatened of all species
Sapiens worshipped the dead, never really buried them fully
Oblivious that they were stuck in the mud
They chanted Buddha and Christ for millenniums
Not wanting to go beyond them
Found immense pleasure in wallowing in the mud
Homo erectus never evolved fully
Never really walked erect, mentally or spiritually
Just another of nature’s game of dice
Now vanishing in the millennium flood
Killing each other in the name of God and Satan
By-products of ignorance, another gate to learning

Homo novus is the human of the future
To be one or not to be is one’s conscious decision
THE CHOICE
Homo novus is androgynous, trisexual
Building islands of sanity in the midst of chaos
Islands of love and connected-ness
Networked beyond borders
Of those who by choice, select the road not travelled,
The Road by Design

Potter at the Wheel

The river of life flows forever – renewing itself.

A drop from the ocean has the ocean in it

The body is a drop from the ocean of nature.

We are much more than our physical self.

The spirit clothes the physical, animating it.

Soul , the unifier , is yet to take birth, the second birth, more real than our first birth.

It is both a personal and COLLECTIVE CHOICE for true community to emerge.

The soul is the unifier that bridges the divides within and without, in us, amongst us.

Beyond time, without before or after and as ‘old or young’ as the universe.

The body, the physical, is just the potter’s clay, soul the potter and ‘time’ the potter’s wheel.

Potter fashions the pot in tune with his internal map

If the map is of death we die and if that of illness we become ill

We have programmed our – SELVES to die, to fall ill (what a fall?)

Life is anti-death and its only purpose is to defeat death

It is not the food or the medicines but the maps that make the difference

–         The biology of our belief

–         What we believe together is the reality we create

If the map is of health, renewal, the river of life, the body regenerates

In the flow of life, wrinkles vanish, skin glows, old cells flow out, new cells flow in.

Re- collecting the body that we had at 25 and improving it further

Perfect health is so natural and our ‘efforts’ make it unnatural

RE – ‘COGNISE’ the possibility allowing nature to express itself

Not standing against the flow of life, continual renewal
Eat just for the fun of it, fact is you don’t need to (see the blue ocean people) Eat what brings joy to you, drink what you feel like

For it is the soul that fashions the body

The unifying principle, the glue of life, that connects and binds everything together,

That which re – NEWS continually

(Context in which grown 50 + Couples)

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen. I want to live on in my apartment.”    Woody Allen

The singularity perspective

The Singularity Drive

The Singularity Drive

What drives the learning engine is the Singularity Drive.

How do we accelerate (CHANGE) continual improvement and align our SELVES to PERFORM?

Over 100 would be warriors wait to be tested in their skills of using the bow and arrow. The teacher asks the same question, what do you see? before they are allowed to let the arrow leave the string of the bow. All of them see different things. Arjuna is the only one who sees the bird’s eye, the target. He is poised to shoot and there is absolute silence.   Arjuna shoots and hits the bird’s eye. He only passes the test.

When we talk about singularity, the singularity is broken. The artist knows it which drives him to the visual medium. The silence is not broken when the painter or the sculptor achieves IT.

The child in the mother’s womb is in singularity. The singularity is broken at birth, oneness to duality. The newborn becomes more and more aware of its self , the process of taking birth of the self and grows into maturity (do we?) when it reconnects with the whole , Trinity, Singularity ‘ (singularity and singularity ’ !  ?  )

Up to the animal level there is a singularity, akin to that of the child in the womb

Freewill   comes with responsibility, informed choice, between the two arrows that branch out from the level of the animal in Q 3.  The animal pulls us down and the human attempts to break out of the ‘gravitational’ pull, to go into orbit something similar to a space vehicle. Once it goes into orbit it strives to break out from the monotony of repetition, being bounded like a clock.  The linear and static is transcended to the dynamic and real time.

BETWEEN THE TWO ARROWS IS THE UNREALISED POTENTIAL, THE WASTE IN THE SYSTEM, THE BLUE OCEAN SPACE.

Real improvements lead to narrowing the gap. Yet there will always be a gap like a road which unfolds as one move forward. The invariant lighthouse position (reference point), the direction of the journey, where we are now and true progress in relation to these three become measurable. The problem of metrics is resolved.    We now have the map for accelerated continual improvement.

If the periodic table is a map of the world of matter, this map is a navigational tool for the journey of life.

The singularity drive makes us leap for the impossible. It drives Bubka and Isinbayeva, to take those leaps again and again.  It drives us to sing, paint, sculpt, and create history

The singularity drive

That which drives the mystic

That which drives us to stories, folklore and myths

That which drives us to outperform, from our previous best

The fusion fuel for the learning engine that drives science, religion, art

That which drives us to take the leap into deep space, science fiction

That which drives us to aspire for community, immortality

That which will drive us out of the recession, from booms and busts, to the road of continual renewal and improvement.

What leadership is all about

What managers/institutions are expected to deliver but consistently fail to achieve. The disappointment comes when we park our trust and money elsewhere, much more than in our own SELF, in stocks, gold, god men/women, the consultant, prophets, the new President, at the top of the pyramid.

The foundation and the top needs to be in alignment for continuous improvement to prevail, the new habit, over the habit of precedence. Such alignment transforms the pyramids to continual learning communities.

The world is flatter but not flat.

A Nano to Immortality

David did a nano to Goliath

The Vietnamese did a nano to the US

Chandrayan did a nano to NASA, perhaps Virgin Galactic too.

Ratan Tata did a nano to automobiles

India did a nano to China in auto exports, by default

Raymond Kurtzweil is the champion of technological singularity who Bill Gates endorses as the smartest futurist around and Intel CTO, Rattner says ultimately machine intelligence could match human intelligence.  I wonder whether it would match the average intelligence of sapiens or the smartest human around, perhaps that of Ray. In both cases I am not very thrilled because the average and the exceptionally intelligent equally fail to trigger my curiosity.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/092109-intel-cto-interview.html?hpg1=bn

Ray predicts this to happen around 2029 when those who are 60 now will be able to live forever with the help of technology available by then. Perhaps nano robots will do the scavenging of your system and continually keep it in shape for ever. I am 60 now and had decided sometime in 1990 that singularity always existed and will continue to exist. Perhaps, ultimately when technological and human singularities are aligned we could design an ideal future and translate this into reality?

What would you choose?

Wait for 2029 or start living now on the assumption that eternity is now and whether you make it to 2029 or not I want to have the most of now?

Even if technological singularity arrives sometime in the future, I could be run over by a BMTC bus on the least walker friendly roads of Bangalore during my daily grind of 9 Kms in 70 minutes and take the exit route. It could be today or tomorrow. Since I believe in human singularity rather than technological singularity I would have lived my days till that inglorious exit with the satisfaction that I lived a full life

I wonder, assuming technological singularity to be a reality in 2029, what would Ray be doing for an eternity to keep boredom at bay. I have never been bored since my shift to human singularity and every one of my decisions since were governed by the eternity time scale rather than my bonus at the end of the quarter.

POSITION, FOCUS and the LEVER: Do you see all the three as ONE?

“Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.”

– Archimedes.

Community Intelligence

Are we intelligent,  as a species?

Yes and no.

We are not intelligent going by many aspects of our performance. We are much more ‘endangered’ than any other species. We are a threat to our SELVES and the other flora and fauna.  We are more ill than the animals, we kill within the species without any reason which no other species does and we are the only threat to life. So we need an UNPROJECT – the new Noah’s ark – to protect and conserve the species.

But how will you identify a pair? What will be the criteria for selection?  If we pull it off the species and the environment will be very safe.

We have been asking (large groups of some very “intelligent people”, what is the unique differentiator between the human and the rest of the species.  We never got the answer right the first time and without some triggering and a process of creating agreement. Unless we agree we cannot achieve community.

If we are not intelligent as a species, how can there be intelligent people around?

We now understand intelligence so ‘much better’ – with different versions of it.  We claim that intelligence can be taught. Another business is in the making. Which parent wouldn’t want it?  Of all the ‘intelligences’ my personal favourites are the Gender and Community versions. Why are we not intelligent?  One reason is the way we understand intelligence, without seeing and relating the connection with the One and the Many, the whole and the parts, intelligence and Intelligences, the different or ‘differentiated versions’  and the undifferentiated. We need to integrate and differentiate simultaneously. We are intelligent, if we go by our potential to be intelligent, by design but not intelligent going by our history and performance.

The emperor has no clothes but claims very loud that he is The Emperor. What we think as great progress, an ascent and evolutionary progress is but a descent, the great fall.

So what makes us human?

The community learning engine

Community Learning Engine. Technology and markets are  levers to bring about improvement. Some communities have achieved remarkable progress is using them. But conventional measures of improvement fail to grasp the cost at which such improvements are achieved. Economic growth needs to be balanced with improvement in community. Some communities have achieved physical quality of life at a much lower cost to community and there are also communities like the eco-system people where in spite of improvements in growth, corresponding improvements in quality of life has not materialised. The focus here is how a particular community responds to the challenges of managing technology and markets along with improvement in communityOne way to assess the quality of community is to monitor the number of suicides, crimes, addictions of various types, mental illness and similar indicators.

The learning engine is capable of continually improving on its past performance against all odds. Focus of metrics need to be improvement on community as reflected in reduction in waste – conflicts, violence, illness, suicides, crime, infant mortality and in realising unrealised potential – quality of life and environment, longer life-spans, improvement in wellness.

It is the core which drives the process of improvement that reflects on its position, direction and corrects itself – ensure that the process is in tune.

Context – global or local but glocal-ness is recognised

Technology and markets need to be used as levers to enhance community

Vision – renewed continually and aligned for sustained high performance

Development is the most complex process that needs catalysts. The catalysts do not burn out in the process but in their absence the process is not initiated and sustained

Storytelling – Walking out of our shadows

Pygmalion coaxes Galatea out of stone and she comes alive. The Pygmalion position is that of the facilitator who catalyses performance, who has audacious expectations of performance, of sustained high performance, moving from peaks to still higher peaks. The expectation is not unfounded because Pygmalion has experienced the magic of sustained high performance. Every stone may not be good enough to be turned into a beautiful statue but every human has the potential to be an outstanding performer

How does Galatea respond to the hard knocks by Pygmalion in his efforts to coax her out of stone? If she can see the results of the hard knocks, she would certainly enjoy the process because she can see that between the caterpillar and the butterfly, the seed and the tree, there is the world of a difference. She knows that this is the moment of truth that she had been waiting for ages. Like what happens in the story of Ahalya and Rama. Ahalya has been waiting for that divine moment of Rama’s coming. The process is certainly complex and miraculous and the catalyst is integral to sustained high performance. Pygmalion and Rama play the role of catalysts, facilitators, in the transformational process.

People are waiting like Ahalya. Nations are waiting. Billions are waiting – like the farmers and fishermen, at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (sic), essentially because the top is unable to connect with the bottom in the exchange and valuation process. It is debatable who is at the bottom and who is at the top. If you change the criteria of measurement, the bottom will become the top and vice versa. For example who leaves a larger ecological footprint? The cathedrals (Taj Mahal – Gurcharan Das) remain to be built.

Sergei Bubka, Isinbayeva. They do it over and over. They take the position – I can and I will do it. I will outperform myself, again and again. Can we take the same position, as individuals, a team and as a community? Nations have taken such positions. Kishore Mahubani asks this question to all Asian countries – Can Asians Think? , like Singapore has been thinking together since 1965

As individuals we don’t have to go on waiting, for miracles to happen or for another prophet to turn up. While billions are waiting we can have islands of sustained high performance around each one of us. The islands will eventually connect together for that defining era of collective transformation. We are in that transition phase of achieving critical mass and gaining take off velocity of the process, of more and more of us transforming our SELVES to catalysts for the tectonic shifts.

So what is your position?  Pygmalion and Galatea got to come together on this, the alchemist’s marriage. Later Galatea will take the Pygmalion position, and the process continues.

Back to Bubka and Isinbayeva, what is the pole that we are talking about, the lever? How long is the lever?  Where is the fulcrum? How does a community of practitioners ALIGN and LEVERAGE themselves for sustained high performance. Longer the lever more is the mechanical advantage.

MetricsThe Community Consciousness Quotient

Less is more. At 61, I am not a gadget geek. Yet I love my mobile and the way it has been shrinking over the few years that I have been using it, accommodating more and more of my requirements. I have accumulated a lot of electronic waste over the years like my compass, VCP, music player of progressively smaller sizes and better quality,  the desktops. . Very soon my notebook too will join the list. We are consuming less of the material and deriving much more. Small is beautiful and smaller is still better.  The tangible is shrinking and the intangibles are scaling up becoming more tangible than the tangibles. Capital too has been shrinking being substituted by intellectual capital, brawn by brains. My wants (not needs) too have shrunken, at least most of those that I considered important in my thirties and forties, like a gas guzzling SUV. Being glued to my LCD screen and not travelling to work I have earned a few carbon credits, not using my car except for the weekend shopping trip. (It would be much better to dispose it off and hire one when I really need it) But all needs do not vanish with age, perhaps they grow with age. The need for community (to be connected), quality and richer experiences, need to learn and express myself.  Sometimes more is less. Intelligence has evolved into intelligences, multiple intelligences, emotional, gender, social and in the process we have become less intelligent in community consciousness. So the metrics need to take into account improvement in community within and without along with conventional measures of improvement in performance.

Community Consciousness Quotient (CCQ) is an imperative for Sustained High Performance. The absence is killing us in many ways which we don’t need to go into. The blasts keep us reminded.

The Path

Abstract to concrete – Imagination, Intent, Manifestation (IIM)

Where are you?

Nishtha asks, “JM, Where are you?  “

Where am I NOW?  I am 20 years into the journey with Nishtha

In Sanskrit, Nishtha means,

Assiduity, great and constant diligence and attention,

Firmness

Steadiness

Firm devotion

Application

Position

Discipline comes very close to it. The question is about my position then, what is your “nishtha”, position,   in space and time, now?

My profile gives the location as Bangalore. So the question is not about my physical location. She must be referring to my growing up as a person, my journey. We need to ask more questions to give an answer to the question, Where am I ?   The first question on any journey- outside, inside, inside out, outside inside.   The second question is where do I want to go – the direction of the journey. The third is how do I make sure that I am on course – am I moving in the direction that I wanted to go and not speeding towards disaster. This is what a GPS or compass facilitates in our regular journeys.

So where am I now? I need to look back – where was I?  1949, physical birth, bullet that left the barrel of the gun – have written about it earlier, a low level system without self regulation. 1981, takes the lighthouse position, the invariant one, the Facilitator. I am my position (Peter M Senge) I have not shifted from this position since.  But I have other variant positions like the ship in relation to the lighthouse. 1981-90, I was busy making a map for the journey, a tool that help me answer the three questions, ‘The Map of Everything’.  From 1990, I am on the journey with that tool and a methodology to make the journey faster.

We are on  course, we believe.

That leaves room for more questions. Where were you before? Where will you be in 2049? – Centenary of the bullet?

Thank you, Nishtha. The universe must have conspired that we meet and you ask me this question.

The journey continues with nishtha – Discipline

The Path

The Path

Nature is perfect, beyond improvement. Nurture follows from history, institutions, assumptions, and habits- the knowledge hole.

Being from and of nature we too are complete and whole. From completeness arises completeness – being and becoming.

Why all the Ps ?

It was nothing but (was it?) synchronicity. It just fell in place. There are volumes  written on each of the Ps but the volumes will not give us the perspective that the visual gives.

Position, Align and Leverage

Sergey Bubka is my mental map for being positioned and ALIGNED for continual improvement.  http://www.sergeybubka.com/ The site has a visual of Sergey standing poised with the pole for the leap. We also have a female version of Sergey Bubka in the making in Yelena Isinbaeva. http://www.yelenaisinbaeva.com/ Sergey is not just another sports person. He continues to do what he did in the field in other realms. The pole vaulter leverages the pole against the threshold to cross over and does it over and over to set new heights of performance. He is positioned and aligned to perform.  Every pole vaulter does the same, but Sergey is the exception. So what goes into positioning and alignment and leveraging is much more than a question of mechanical advantage.We take our cars to check for alignment. One could think of a similar service for people, organisations, communities and community (for the species)..The top left quadrant represents the internal system, where perfect alignment between all the levels is feasible. The levels are that of Compass (Position), map, clock, thermostat, cell, plant, and animal, human, organisational and knowledge

The right down quadrant represents the external system, the world of results and performance – metrics. In an ideal situation levels will mirror each other in both the quadrants. Results will depend on how well the internal and the external are aligned across the different levels. The threshold level of performance is the benchmark against which positioning and alignment are tested and the proof of the pudding is in the eating – better and better results.

We can learn a lot from the animals about positioning and alignment. It is natural to them
http://www.physorg.com/news138902073.html http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061021115811.htm For us it is not natural, it is a matter of choice. Freewill has its disadvantages too.

The home position

Home

What is your home position? 6y4 ii3q qn320w3

I got the above gibberish when I shifted from my home position on the keyboard, F and J where I rest my index fingers.  When I move away from the home position, this is the result that I get. When I am at my home position, I can use appropriate levers- leverage me- to make improvements.  If I am not positioned, I create waste, a lot of hard work, stress and burnout and no improvements

Even if we are homeless we have homes on websites.  When we go off course, we can refer back home and navigate. We understand reality through our tools. It is a long time that I have used a pen or pencil and paper. I spend most of my working time in front of the monitor and the keyboard, PC, is my most used tool. When we were hunting and gathering, we would have used more of our hands and feet and less of these tools. With settled agriculture, we became more attached to a physical location so did our mental maps of the world. The fishermen are quite different since most of them gather and they use tools for gathering.  Their mental maps are different from that of the farmer. They use the compass or GPS since it is much more disastrous if they cannot locate their home position. They could drift off and never find the shore. When we got ‘educated’ we became language and ‘English centric’

Wanderer, see http://wanderer7.gaia.com/blog/2008/6/being_english-centric

The paradigms are changing as text is on the way out to the visual. Technology helps one to see reality as it unfolds. Reading gives way to browsing and if one wants to capture the flea span of attention of the reader, one has to use more of the visual, and you tube it.   Yet the deep structures influence comprehension of reality and to connect across divergences and barriers created by language and tools we need a ‘Babel fish’ which would reduce the noise and help navigate the semantic swamps.

In the last 100 years we have become less earthbound in our internal horizons as well as external. We cover much more distance in a day than ever before and this possibility continues to expand leaving behind a static linear world. Technology leverages these collective leaps of learning. Perspectives change with the position. The visibility is much more from the top of the mountain but the details get blurred.  Products and solutions are designed and positioned to meet the global and local requirements  of the users or a segment of the users.     Personal and organisational positioning precedes and influences the process.  The transformation of communities requires a critical mass of catalytic material – individuals and organisations.  Positioning is about those life changing decisions, the raison d’etre, like choosing a vocation and deciding to be best in that vocation, willing to sacrifice one’s life for it, work against all odds, make great sacrifices for a cause.

The child in the womb is blissfully unaware of its position. The terrorist is firm in his position that the enemy deserves death (you or me) The negotiator takes middle ground (yes and no, you and me) The catalysts take the fourth position, the home position or the lighthouse position. We feel at home and centred. One’s calling or vocation becomes expression of one’s self and work is transformed to fun. Here is the birth of the fully functional self, beginning of conscious evolution, characterised by dynamic mental maps, flow, synchronicity and continual renewal. Now, one can fix the direction for the journey (continual improvement) connect with the home position to the current stage (reflect) and be certain that one is on course. True community is in the making.

We check the design, when we are confronted with problems. If problems have no recession, we need to go back to the design and check our understanding of the design.

Nature has a design, a deep structure, which we have to live with. We continue to pay a price for our ignorance of the basic design. Our designs are but improvisations of bits and bytes of the basic design. Imagine billions of people continuing with a flat earth worldview and the reality we collectively create!

While we have ‘progressed’ a lot we have also ‘regressed’ in our connectedness with nature. Deep down we still hold on to the flat earth static models.  Better maps would facilitate faster and sustained improvements, accelerate the process of co-creating a more desirable present and future by leveraging technology and markets which work in real time and help us to make more intelligent use of these levers with lesser damage.

We have very sophisticated tools for navigation over the planet and beyond ranging from the compass/ GPS to satellites and communication systems and mapped our immediate environs to greater and greater precision.  We have managed to connect machines to communicate with each other across the planet in real- time and for the first time we can see the world as one in real time. Though machines can communicate to each other the man and the machine interface and communication within the human slow down the common journey ahead.  A real time evolutionary model of wholeness is one the requirements to bridge the divides and disconnects.

Slumdog Billions and Leap Frogging the Recession


The miniature ecosystem, see figure, has an eagle, a vulture, a small community of frogs, a tree and a very deep well.  The eagle and the vulture come to perch on the tree.  The frogs always lived within the deep well from which they had never gone out nor can they move out of it on their own, other than dream about it. Every night the granny frog tells bedtime stories to the young ones in the well, most of them passed down over generations with an occasional improvisation here and there. The eagle could hear the stories.

One morning when the thermals had begun rising in the air, the eagle swoops down into the well, grasps one little frog in its claws and rises up with the thermal. The heights and the fear of death grip the little one. The eagle stayed with the thermal circling for some time and when it finds that the little one has calmed down a little, releases it from its claws from above the well.  The vulture waits in the hope that the frog will turn carrion. But the frog lands back into the same well, unhurt, still afraid and probably elated. While circling in the sky with the eagle the frog had opened its eyes for a brief moment to get a glimpse of the world outside the well.

The eagle went back to the tree waiting for the sun to set, to hear the new stories.

The Oscars.

The curious case of Benjamin Button and the Slumdog Millionaire

The Slumdog Millionaire swept the first Oscar since the recession. It is perhaps more than coincidental that we dream up another version of the rags to riches story when billions vanish in the stock market and the market caps reach rock bottom. There is no greater fantasy to beat a recession when the ‘developed world’ reels in its flames. ‘Developed’, stands for the ‘top of the pyramid’ within the context of this post and has no geopolitical connotations.

The kids from Dharavi, the Bombay (Mumbai) slum, flew up to Oscar heights, shedding their slum maps of the world to the eagles view from the top, for a fleeting moment. or was it the vultures view? When they come back to the same old well, the well wouldn’t have changed much. Yet some things will never be the very same again. For fleeting moments the bottom and the top connects and the media goes into overdrive vying with each other to generate our daily dose of adrenaline.   The Slum dogs and the dogs in Beverly Hills (or Malabar Hill) have the same DNA – the same potential. So does the human. Other than the cosmetic, the dog’s potential is not far behind in terms of its performance. It is still a dog’s life. Some might quarrel for morsels while the lucky ones, the adopted ones, don’t have to.

The story of the human is not the same. We could be much better than the dogs, wherever they are. The bottom and the top of the pyramid are connected through fantasy and fiction. The Oscar jury sits in judgement to decide which story is the best.

We need a design to make this leap-frogging to happen on a regular continual basis. The recession is a brief window of time to grab wider attention to mull on it. Mobility accelerates learning. Dreams, celluloid or lucid, connect better to our deep structures and at times can help us to awaken into a better future.

In 2008, 2, 90, 000 candidates appeared for CAT, the common admission test to the IIMs, Indian Institutes of Management. The process is not far different from the Dharavi kid turning into the Slumdog millionaire though the chances are less than 0.6 %. Another 100,000 will join US universities to pursue their dreams of flight. Some of them will join the $ Million league and work towards reaching the top of the pyramid, now capped at $, 500,000 if you have taken the bailout. Others will trail behind and wrack their brains how to beat them in the race.  A few of them would turn entrepreneurial or find other ways to win their millions. Some will completely opt out of the race to move to the bottom of the pyramid. Bose, one who  opted out of the race from one of the IIMs, tells me that the b-school days still bring back memories of street dogs fighting for their morsels, for whom the bell tolls, and Pavlov’s dogs. The CEO of a bank walks away with a lifetime pension of over £ 6.50,000 /annum leaving the ship he was captaining to sink, a  typical role model for the participants of the race. But things have changed overnight. With the slow down, governance is back in fashion, and many of them would join the public sector companies this year. The champions of free market will take a voice rest till things warm up a little. Most of those who fail to make it, along with a larger number, less ambitions or unfortunate than them, would aspire to join the sunshine sector of IT that emerged during the India shining phase of the growth story. Many of them would keep flying between the top and bottom in delivering outsourced solutions to the top of the pyramid. These dreams have turned sour now. Much of the shine has vanished with the recession.

Around 30,000 Indians will return from the US every year to settle down in their home country for various reasons, people who successfully chased similar dreams.  The story is a much better version than Danny Boyle coming down to Dharavi. Within an individual life span, a critical mass of people have flown out of their individual wells, fulfilled their dreams  and return to the same well. The well has not changed much but many of them see new possibilities in leapfrogging at a larger scale, bringing together the best of both the worlds. 27 % of the world’s poor are in India. The bottom suffers from abject poverty and the top from intellectual poverty, the two sides of the same coin.  The challenge is to see the third side, the side/s that connect the two. The farmer who feeds the bottom and the top hope and pray for the monsoons continue to be favourable, that the government will increase the procurement prices, that the loans will be written off ( As in  the case of the bailout billions, the relatively non-performing are more likely to end receiving such relief)  or perhaps in an election year, the procurement price will be higher than the cost (which includes the share of the rats and lions too) at which the government builds up a buffer stock.

Climbing Mount Everest, (Hillary and Tensing), Wright brothers and flight, the moon shot, in short every human achievement has a common thread that connects to the whole. At one end of the continuum is the well, the local and at the other is the very large, the global. To learn is to connect between the two, a bolt of lightning from the blue connecting to the earth.

Once we take the invariant position, that we are here to learn and learn continually, then it is a journey of connecting the small with the large, the local with the global. What we see changes with the variant positions we take during the journey. Something new comes into our perspective improving the old maps.  Development is a process of connecting potential to performance and narrowing the gap between the two. The eagle/frog frames are joined together to produce the movie of our individual lives.  Do we direct it on our own or get directed is what matters most! If we learn the lessons right and shed our preoccupations with the maps of change and quantitative growth over quality, we could leverage it to come out of the recession, out of the booms and busts to a phase of continual improvement in the quality of life, community and sustainability.

Prahlad reinvented the pyramid for our time. There is a fortune at the bottom of the pyramid! It has always been a trend with the top of the pyramid coming down to the bottom in search of the treasures for different reasons. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates connect to connect to the bottom. We hear academics wondering now, a bit too late perhaps – Is business ANTI social that wealth needs to be balanced with charity? What does charity beget? The circle is now complete! Until creation of wealth and business turns pro-community, charity seems to be the dominant paradigm by which we connect to the bottom, the current version of the missionary zeal of the colonial era. Some of them were in for a surprise and those who connected in a spirit of learning to the bottom brought to light many a treasure. Mohammad Yunus showed the way in more recent times – the royal road to beating the recession which the white revolution had demonstrated in an earlier phase of the India growth story.

The moral is more important than the story. Be a frog, be an eagle and keep switching positions continually to connect between the local and the global, the big and the small, the telescope and the microscope, Hubble and the Femtoscope and the myriad connections in between. The devil is in the details, the well and God in the heavens and at times like a bolt from the blue the two connects and there is a leap in learning. With every leap of the frog there is a collapse of an old world and a new world takes birth. Yet we are in the same well, the well – of Nature, which we will never fully comprehend. It might make us a little more humble and help us realize that we cannot reinvent the basic design.  Meanwhile there is a lull. No thermals seem to be in the make to those who reel in the flames of the recession. The eagles wait on the tree and the frogs continue to be in the well.  The recession is raging on and the vultures have a feast.  But the thermals are always in the making, some place or the other.

The original story of ‘The curious case of Benjamin Button’ was published in 1921, the same year that Einstein received the Nobel Prize. We cannot age back like the protagonist of the story and meet Scott Fitzgerald to find out why he wrote the story or he would agree with the film adaptation of the story which begins with a curious clock maker which goes well with the overall theme.  Let us also hope that he wouldn’t find objection to colouring the story to suit our present context. The extreme geriatric, the process of his aging back and the curious clock that goes back in time triggers one to reflect on our present reality.  The clock is a simple machine without self-regulation. The technology that we have developed remains mostly at this level of maturity. While we are no doubt scaling up the ladder to higher levels of technology with increasing self – regulation, as a culture we are no better than a non-self regulating, self-destructing clock work system, a product of the Newtonian world-view. (1642-1727) Extreme geriatry has come to be our collective illness. Benjamin Button is turned out of Yale because he ran out of his cosmetics to hide his age. The gates of knowledge is closed to him though later on when he grows younger, he makes a second attempt to make it to Harvard but fails to graduate as he loses his learn-ability to the pace of his growing young.  The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life was first published in 1859.

We have three different sets of maps but we fail to connect these maps together and evolve a common one, unable to grow out of the Newtonian maps. Darwin was in a way ahead of Newton and Einstein to deal with emergent qualities between classes of life. Even to the untrained eye, these qualities are discernible that no machines come anywhere near a cell, that from the unicellular to the multi-cellular is a giant leap and within the multi-cellular, plants, animals, human and community have higher levels of complexity and potential that the lower levels do not possess. Still our collective reality has not moved ahead from the level of the clock.  We are caught up in what is fashionable, the world of machines.

Even after 150 years of the origin of species, the essential learning remains outside our collective understanding of reality and makes us a less favoured species in the struggle for survival. The curious case of BB captures all the limitations of the Newtonian paradigm. While humanity moves ahead on the path of decay and ageing to self-destruct itself, the hero goes against the flow, but the ultimate destiny is not altered.

Cosmetic solutions will not gain us admittance to understanding but they contribute significantly to the bubbles  and busts.   Real learning would help us design real solutions. Between the positive and negative flows of time, is emergence, the bolt from the blue that negates entropy and decay. Accumulating real learning helps us to beat the fate of the tragic hero. The curious case of Benjamin Button proved predictive, prophetic, of our current reality.

Conflict is part of the story of evolution. We have reached the apex of the pyramid of conflicts. Yet another emergence is in the offing.

Designer Lives (3)

Perfection and Psychodynamics

After Xmas and New Year we wait for the next feast /festival, Easter?

We need to celebrate them on the same day, reinventing time. Every moment, day, is a birth, death and resurrection.  Celebrating the new decade makes better sense. We would like to wish you a new decade of real progress and sustained continuous improvement. Given the pace at which we improve, a decade makes a better time horizon to put all the improvements and disappointments in perspective.  When we make the shift to REAL from linear time, time does not run out, it stretches out.

You have always been a champion of laziness and you have invented another jugglery to substantiate it.  So wish you a still slower decade to laze around. Hope you cross the decade setting a new record of doing NO thing and continue to haunt us.

I am not lazy. I work very hard to remain a contrarian. I work very hard to improve my Jowar count and am very pleased with my progress, improvements.

Jowar?

It is a specially designed exercise for seniors, a combination of jogging, walking and running. I hope to join the veteran’s Olympics, post 2020. I also work very hard not to make any money, not to leave any foot prints including the carbon one, to consume less and stretch myself at the physical, mental and the spiritual planes.  I fight very hard not to go in for a new car. I give more than what I take; live more with less and make sure that my output is always more than the inputs.  I work on the fusion mode. I had to work very hard to make that shift from the fission mode. There is always a tendency to slip back and I have always to be on guard.

Let us continue from where we digressed. It is time to look at the other two wheels, quadrants.

You always talk in pairs, at least two balls at a time.

That is true of everything. A photon is a particle and wave. Black makes no sense without white. So here is the counter pair to Potential and Performance. We have Perfection and Psychodynamics to juggle with.

Psycho – dynamics, why the jargon after using the language of the shop floor so far?

Just to impress you!

We started with the assumption that if it takes an Einstein to understand reality, we don’t want any part of that. We have been accused of being too thin, un-academic, unsubtle etc. etc.  Google it, if you want a definition.  We don’t attempt definitions and we don’t have any institutional memory other than our personal ones. I have freed my memory banks of all data available by a simple search so that there is no clutter within.  In the post Google age, forty hours or even less of learning is all it takes to pick up the essentials to be really successful in life. We have been testing the hypothesis for two decades now.

How do you define success?

We don’t know.

I wish I hear this more often.

Each one will have to do that according to his/her standards. For us, if you haven’t got into accidents of any kind, on the road or off the road (relationships), not been ill but improving in heath, making as much money as you have decided to make, your family and friends are also doing equally well, we would say that one is successful.

What about perfection?

Perfection is embedded in us but we don’t want to accept it. Most businesses would go out of business if we accept it including the business of education. Guardians of knowledge, custodians of the keys, the gate keepers would not relish it.  Take a look at the list of gate keepers (the four classes of programmers) in the top right quadrant.

You would be thrown out at the gates itself!

There is this alignment problem between the two wheels of the learning engine. Paying attention to this will be worth the effort. This defines the learning requirements for the journey. Once we recognise the issue, the system, over time, will move towards a dynamic steady state.  It is good to be confused   because ultimately there will be a resolution. We will not have butter without churning the cream. It is said ask and ye shall be given.

Make it clearer. I have a low tolerance for ambiguity.

There is the ideal and our understanding of the ideal, perfection and our understanding of perfection. It is like god created us in his image and we recreate him in our image. Our image is that of the God who art in heaven, a master slave relationship which forms the master template for all our relationships. No dialogue is possible from these positions.  The adult will never be born.

Should we bring in god here?

If for most people god stands for the ideal, perfection, quality, love, order, life, negentropy why not bring in God? I am yet to come across a non-believer. The atheist too is a believer since he believes that there is no god. I am yet to find an Indian who does not believe in his astrologer! For him his astrologer is god. The astrologer works on the premise that there is order and predictability not only in the case of clockwork systems, but similar order and predictability exists in the case of higher level systems too and in the very long run perfection will prevail.

In the short run all of us will be dead!

If god stands for life and we stand for death, this pair certainly needs our attention.

More juggling?

Not yet, we are getting ready for the real juggling.

What do you mean by lighthouses?

Newton (1643- 1727) continues to be our lighthouse since we are, collectively,  yet to move from the clockwork paradigm. Einstein (1879-1955) ought to have stood on Darwin’s (1809- 1955) shoulders.

But the lighthouse industry is extinct. R L Stevenson (1850 – 1894, Jekyll & Hyde) foresaw the demise of the industry and left his tradition in time. His   fiction was brought under the lens by Jung  (1875- 1961). The artist always SEEs ahead of the scientist.

We don’t need lighthouses anymore. The new technologies mimic the metaframework of nature, much better.  The second coming is that of the common Buddha, who will SEE directly without intermediation by the gate keepers.  Visual literacy, not language, helps us SEE together as a community.

The basic divide is between clocks and living systems, chaos and order, Life and death, default and design?

The map shows that there is no divide but we still believe that there is a divide or unity still remains beyond our collective experience.  Reality is what we belive to be true. We are co-creators of death, not life. We see inheritance in place of emergence because of the positrons we take. To co-create life we need to shift our positions for good.

There is more Ps, to be explained.

Problems. From our position, they are opportunities; the more complex they are, the more challenging. It is fun.

Prophets. Take the vision bury the dead.

Peters.  The guardians of lighthouses sans the vision of the prophets drive us away from climbing up the lighthouses to take a peek. That too is in the fitness of things.

Programmers.  We come preloaded with a programme to fail. The winner stakes all which includes all the past programming.

Parrots.   A copy can never be better than the original but copies do come in handy. Why reinvent the wheel?

Power. There is power which makes one free and also power that leads to the making of slaves.  The path to spirituality is through the thick forest of sex. Most get lost here. Narcissus to Pygmalion and Galatea set  the direction of the path and we are yet to go beyond Narcissus. Sex drives the economy and the markets.  Sex and power come packaged in the same container.

What about the bird and the semi dark circle in the bottom left quadrant?

This is what happens when we learn. There is a bolt of lightning that connects the small with the big, local with the global, micro with the macro, like the proverbial apple that fell on Newton, sparking the connect with that very local event with the grand design of the physical world.

What about the Red book?

The book is a pointer to the solution not the solution itself.

Why so?

All the reason, logic and analysis which have given us the technology/ Google, will not help us, if we are primarily driven by the unconscious.  The unconscious will drag us down and we will never achieve take off velocity.  Myths, fantasy, fiction, and hyper reality will rule us rather than reality.  Artificial intelligence will continue to be more fashionable than intelligence and intuition. Magicians and pipers will continue to fool us with substitutes in place of real magic and real miracles. We need to bring back magic and miracles to our daily routine.

Real magic and miracles!

A miracle is something which is unexplainable by the known laws of nature. When we admit that there will always be unknowables but they are not our enemies, the complete system will be working with us.  When the entire nature is working for us the true potential is unlocked. There is nothing hiding in the dark to pounce on us. This is freedom from the unknown. The drag is killed.  There is nothing super-natural when we understand the nature of nature. We need better keys to align with the unknown and that is how we got into designing dreams.

Can we really design dreams?

Yes, if we can get rid of all the accumulated garbage. Look up Shalini here. She has been doing it for the last two years. She had very little garbage to get rid of.

When we align our SELVES / SELF, with the unconscious, we have the best ally and we are no more driven by the unknown which is a huge step to mastery of the self.  We are not driven but we are on the hot seat in charge of driving the learning engine.  We become the magicians, moving to the centrestage from the spectators. We are responsible to ourselves and the journey is about continual learning and improvement.We are here to learn.

There is two more Ps

Peace. If we find it within we will find it outside us too

Process.  Nature is in process. We too are. Let the process go on… There are no full stops, a destination, the journey continues. The direction is fixed, the true north .

Go with the process?

Which process are you talking about, process of inheritance or emergence?

We need to see both together and the outcome , net improvements, progress ( one more P) towards true north.

It is much more complex than a Rubik’s Cube.

It is. But, there is a solution and always a still better one. and then the perfect one .We are on the path to perfection.We may never reach the perfect solution.

Are we through with the wheels? What about the engine and the driver?

We are through with the rough design. We will need to get into the detailed design of the engine and the driver.  That is for another time.

We have covered the generics, not the specifics which are personal and situational.It takes some time to become comfortable with the rough design.

P.S. To our Wordsmith. If the word is your sword what is your battle?

Between the Haiti earthquake and the day of the max eclipse, it is a journey of > 1000 years to the next one of a similar kind. See you there ?   ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 🙂

Sustained High Performance By Design

Designer Lives (2)

Potential and Performance

The dog is in attendance and we continue.

“The world is chaotic, disorganized and vexing. Medicine is no exception “says one of my dialogue partners and friend, the surgeon. He advises government on health policy issues in addition to his hectic and often punishing routine.  The only issue on which we come together is our morning routine and on all the rest we take the polar opposite positions.

This is why inner ecology is important. If we don’t find order in our own self, what we see in the world outside is chaos, disorder and when you advise the world, you could be contributing to more of the  chaos and disorder. The intentions are always good but the effect is disastrous.

Since you come at the end of the assembly line in the health system where surgery is the only option, most of what you see influences your world view.

That is ridiculous.

The more you see the conflicts, violence, absence of harmony outside, you are more likely to be caught up in it. You become what you pay attention to and come to believe that this is the nature of reality. The opposite also is true, the more you look for order and organization, one becomes more ordered in one’s own SELF. You will then be contributing more to order than chaos. The choice is yours. What you see depends on where you stand, your position.

What are you driving at, change my career/ position at this stage?

I am not suggesting anything.  I say that this should not be your invariant position which would emerge from a larger perspective of the true potential, a better understanding of the design, so that when the system goes out of order, one can restore order without resorting to extreme measures. These extreme measures are contingent on taking such a position and nothing but belated inferior solutions.

When our car or the net book does not perform, we go back to the design to put it right. Our system doesn’t come with a User Manual which helps us diagnose and bring back the system to order.  Without understanding the design we cannot decide whether the system is true to the design. Most of our expectations are based on ill- informed assumptions about the design and we pay a heavy price for it.

To repeat, our most well meaning intentions create the most disastrous results.

You are getting ready for more jugglery.

Simplicity is a noble goal but it should not be at the cost of truth. What I suggest is that we go up together and get the lunar perspective. Perhaps we might come to share the dog’s perspective.

Shoot.

We will first take a look at the potential quadrant, the left front wheel of the learning engine. Though when we drive the four wheels move together the car is  now at rest and we are looking at each of the wheel assemblies in isolation. In juggling all the balls should be in the air but we are just studying the ball which is  at rest. The eye at ground zero stands for the compass perspective.  The compass is hidden here. To use the compass one has to climb up the 10 storey lighthouse.  Or we assume that within the potential ball there are 9 more balls and we start from the small to the large. If we  miss any one ball or storey, potential is zilch.  These are the 10 heads of the Asura King, Ravana in the epic journey of Rama, the Ramayana. (In spite of the ten heads Ravana fails and in spite of defeating Ravana, Rama fails to win the heart of Sita. Men better take a cue from the feminists. The other epic Mahabharata is all about our inabilithy to SEE in which the leader is blind, both in terms of light and the light that enlightens the blind)

Start climbing?  We step in to the ground level.

1. The compass is buried in the foundation of the lighthouse.

2. The ground level is the repository of all existing maps, results from all previous climbs what other climbers have left for us which might make the climb a lot easier.

A map could be on almost anything, not just a map of the terrain. It could be  a story  a myth, music, dance, art, science, technology, religion, from any discipline or aspect of knowledge. The periodic table is a good example.

These maps might as well create a bias. We will look at them on our way back.  Let us move up the stairs to the next level.

3. We come to the world of simple machines. Clocks, compasses, guns. All of those machines which have no ‘mind’ of their own. The bullet does not come back to the gun nor does the clock change its pace to suit our whims.or haste.They dont do any regulation on their own. They are on the path of entropy.

4. We have all the advanced machines with a ‘machine mind’ here.  The compressor in the fridge works only till the desired temperature is reached.

5. The world of the unicellular. A cell in our body, a diatom, an amoeba, bacteria, virus. No machines come anywhere near in terms of its degree of self regulation.

6. All the plants

7. The animal

8. The human, individual.The cell is to the body what the individual is to the organisation.

9. Groups, organisations, communities, community

10. Perfect knowledge

We are on top. We SEE from horizon to horizon, the past and the future. The view is complete. We stand on a 10 layered sandwich. No single layer stands on its own. If any step of the ladder is amiss we don’t reach the top. All the levels are indispensable for the emergence of true potential which is infinite. No limits here, in time or in space.

This is why we need all the ten heads / avatars to realise the fully human, the ideal, perfect, conceptual human.  Here everything is perfect, heaven.

We climb down. We check our new map with the old maps. All of them are correct in some ways but not complete as the one which is fresh in our memory. We start checking our new map against the physical world (hell?) represented by the rear right wheel of the learning engine.

We are in for the surprise of our life! NONE OF US HAVE  EVOLVED BEYOND THE LEVEL OF THE CLOCK ! and we claim outselves to be civilized and cultured ! We need to revisit Newton, Einstein and Darwin at the same time. Have a webcon !

All the levels match one to one in terms of their potential and performance till the level of the animal. The gap begins at the level of the human. It widens as we move up the level of groups, organisations, communities and community. The waste, unrealised potential becomes visible. We SEE and we can SHOW. This is the first step to the first step of the journey of the learning engine, the shift in direction to TRUE NORTH.  Before we take the first step in that journey of a 1000 x miles we need to make certain that we place that step in the right direction.

The design and delivery do not match. The system is not in order. There is no alignment between the two wheels. ( forget the other two for now) We could run the diagnostics to set right the alignment between the two wheels at various levels. .

When we set right the alignment, all the four wheels need to be corrected at the same time, because any small change in any one affects all.  To do that we need to understand the design of the other two wheels also.

What about the metrics?

The process involved in  metrics comes first. It is about reflecting over performance with the design in mind and that the system is designed to continually improving on its previous best performance, in terms of quantity, quality and time. All metrics are approximations and is not an exact science. The actual indicators, criteria of performance, could be quite simple which shows us the progress to true north and reduction in   WASTE. We will come back to the issue of metrics after an overview of all the sub- assemblies.

It is becoming dense. Let us take a break.

You claim to be a virtual Perma – Culturist?

My father was the original. He believed that doing nothing is Doing Everything. It took me a lifetime to understand what he stood for. By the time all the land was gone and I could  only be a virtual Perma ‘culturist’ !

Perma culture is about understanding the design of nature and allowing the design to express itself, not to stand in the way of nature. The templates of nature are perfect and beyond improvement. Our best efforts to improve them most often fail. We need to live with them.

Learning has no cost. It always fetches the best ROI. The metrics need to take  into account the future savings of costs associated with not learning.(eg: savings from avoiding a cardiac arrest)

We need to start with culture before we get into Perma – Culture.

What is common to the Amazon forest dweller and the Wall Street investment banker is the basic template? One stakes his claim to be civilized and from  the first world while . the other does not make any such claims. One is blissfully unaware of the design whereas the other claims to have all the keys to unlock the potential.  We need to strike the miiddle path between the two.

When Vasco Da Gama reached Malabar, he was shocked to find the women going topless. Now when the tourists come to the very same beaches and bare themselves,  they are ogled at. The wheel has come back full circle in just around five centurires!It is not even two centuries since we abolished slave labour. We abolished it when we found better ways to achieve the very same purpose ‘in style’. Same goes for dictatorships.

Why does the emperor shout that he is the emperor?

The emperror is not certain that he is the real one !

You have a Freudian fixation with the Ps

My professor (Ramaswamy) was much better at it. He would juggle with 100s of Ps and make them dance in the air while my professor of maketing was juggling with just 4 Ps. I am told that he has gone up to 7 now. I am just using around 40 Ps, the very minimum to show you what I want you to see. This is a minor fixation, synchronicity at work.

Why do you always take recourse to myths?.

Beware of  myths because they will survive all the mass wipe outs. It is better to understand them so that we go beyond them. The myth is the key to our unconscious, the silent sub-surface driver of the engine, a source of mis-alignment. We will get to this much later.

Where do we go on from here?

We take a look at the other two wheels, the engine and the driver of the learning engine.

It is getting complex.

Complexity is the best challenge to stretch your self. It is a headache but I peddle a ‘one minute cure’ for headache. Complexity feeds me.

Continued

Designer Lives ! Greening Our Selves

I did a search on Google India when I started this post and abandoned it when I saw

Designer lifestyle – 26,400.000

Designer life coaching – 14.400,000

Designer Sarees – 8,69,000

Designer Sarees pic – 22,80,000

I also spent some time finding a coach to air  these ideas. I was not successful because I had modelled my theory on my understanding of two of my role models who could be life coaches. One was over 100 years when he died (he ran out ot work) and the other is 113 years and still going strong. So all that search amounted to nothing?

Not really because now I know that Indians are slightly more interested in  design than designer sarees and designer jewllery. The last time they were looking for somebody to head the national centre for design they approached one of my neighbours who dabble in jewellery design

I turned my attention to the Times of India and the interview with Malcolm Gladwell. He says we are information rich and theory poor.  If the dogs can ‘see’, what they ‘see’ will be worth a look.

My search had to be abandoned because most theories, in the long run have not  even helped the proponents other than getting some flea span of attention.

Many gods die very young! At my age, I cannot afford to be taken for many more rides.

Why don’t you stop theorising and get to the issue? Do you have a set of principles? Where do we begin?

Get ready for some mental jugglery.

  1. We need to make a SHIFT
  2. We need to approach Potential ,Performance, the WHY and How  of  the potential performance gap, simultaneously
  3. We need to take an informed position and be our SELF
  4. We need some simple metrics to be certain that we are on the PATH

Well that is juggling with too many balls at the same time?

It is now established that juggling improves your intelligence. More the balls, bettter it is. Most of us can manage just one or two at the same time.

Moreover, we have the four wheels, the engine (self) and the driver in place to begin the journey.

Wow. It is a DIY Manual !

Yes, it is.

It is another day.

Which dog are you talking about?  There are 162 dogs, the slum dog type, in our gated community and another 36 luckier (?) ones  owned by dog lovers who have taken permission from the management committee of the community headed by an animal rights activist.The dialogue happens after our morning walk. There is this one dog which seeks us out and joins our company  on a regular basis.

Of the 162 dogs why is it that this one finds it worthwhile to join us?

It knows that you are a recruitment manager who knows the difference between dog-ness and human-ness! It sniffs the difference between the rest of us and the one who knows what it is to be human!

Wow. That’s an idea. Dogs could be used in recruitment. It would be more effective than most of our metrics. Perhaps I could patent the idea and leave my job to the dogs!

Well it is coming to that very soon. There are agencies that teach us to mimic animals or the rest of nature as if they hold the key to human-ness?

Why mimic?

  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
  • It is such a headache to think, know, understand

But mimicry is a kind of pathetic humour that comes out of help – less – ness. When we don’t have the original we make do with copies.

When we hear the next guru talking of inner ecology, take it that the inner desertification (or interior decoration?) is complete!

What does this dog, the other dogs and the pet dogs see?

Well dogs, as a community, seem to believe in the steady state theory since at the last count too we had around 160 dogs. They know what dog-ness is all about.With every one out of three of us likely to get cancer, one in ten to get  a heart attack and with all the other odds taken together shows that dogs are healthier than humans. We live a dog’s life !

Somebody  I knew was chased by a pack of dogs on a beach. He had no option but to get into the water. The dogs stood howling on the shore and were chased away by his friends. He lived for another six months and took the exit route on his own.The dogs knew, it seems.

Well what does this ‘special dog’ in the visual see?

This dog sees the two paths. It sees that most of what we see as progress is a fall and together we are heading in the wrong direction. It also sees the path that we should take, the path of human-ness, continuous improvement, real progress.

It would probably not join us  if we start imitating the other 161 dogs!

This dog knows. Most facts are stranger than fiction.

The Pipers of Hamlin, Wall street.

We are back at it again with the special dog in company.

The master said, be the child. Where on earth are the children? They have vanished with the Pipers from Wall Street!

The children are so ‘well informed’ these days that I feel myself an ignoramus. They know what is in and what is out and I am certainly out by those standards.

How do you take an ‘informed position’ and be my SELF?  How can I be my SELF when there is such a well- intentioned, charity driven,  messianic attack on our collective SELF, the most threatened and endangered entity in our current context.

I am not complete in my SELF without a fan following (my twitter count of followers is zilch) or following somebody in sincere flattery.

Is there a gold standard certification in these things? I see that every guru of the day, self – certifies his /her claims ! Most of them are younger than me, never been married, never raised any children.Another set of pipers ?

I am afraid I would prefer not to follow anybody and drive away potential disciplies who would rob me of my silence.

Well in that case you can not be a GURU.

How long will gold be the standard?  When everything else is of no value can gold have any value? If everybody does a Gandhi or Thoreau what happens to the economy?

You have’nt cotributed much to the economy. You are taking more than what you give to it. You have not been ill for a long long time which means you are contributing to the recession. You dont use any cosmetics. How will the economy recover ?

Are we getting to the age of The Descent of Money ?

The ‘piped music’ is so enchanting that i don’t want to unplug and listen to my SELF which is under attack from all the four directions, from the bottom and the top. 24x7x 720. Perhaps what we consider music is noise which has silenced the silence, the real music from a dog’s perspective.

We wonder where all the children have disappeared. They have lost their innocence and with it the wise men too have vanished.  The Pipers have been doing a very good.

Look at all the exercise freaks. They are all plugged in, connected, wired to their i-pods, i-phones, i-touch, i-book, i-spouses. It is a connected world ! There is very little else to be connected and be taken over by the machines. Sci-fi has become the reality.

In spite of all the stretching many of my one time friends vanished in their forties.

The problem can be abstracted as:  i > I  or self> SELF

We cannot solve the puzzle without a decision compass which would help us to find the directions and fix our position.  The four directions are the four P balls that we juggle around – Potential, Performance/metrics, Perfection and Psychodynamics (Continual renewal/ Continual Learning/ Continuous Improvement, Kaizen,  whatever you choose to call this wheel of the car / the learning engine)

What is a learning engine?

A learning engines improves on its pervious performance. II feeds itself on waste. If is a fusion engine. There is no cost for learning. The ROI is always positive.

I hope you will stop with the four balls!

I was about to pull out more smaller balls from each of the four big balls

That is enough for the day. Time for a break.

(B…s to you. I could almost hear it)

The next day:

What is the gap between self and SELF?

This is the space between the two paths, what we call the blue ocean space, the solution space or the problem space depending on which position one takes. This represents the unrealised potential, the gap between best of individual realisation of potential to the  best of the collective potential of the human.

KISS !

Example: PCD lived for > 100 years while the life expectancy for males in this context was 72, the normality of the time. The potential / performance gap is 28 years if we just take this one dimension. To make it simple we adon’t take into account the quality of life of the masses against the quality of life that PCD enjoyed or any of his other achievements.

If we consider the case of SRC, 113, who is still working and hopes to work for more years, we get an idea of what potential is and where the masses are! We cannot really fix an upper limit to potential but we can chart out the broad contours of the direction of the path.

I get a rough idea of the direction that we are talking about.

As we move forward we will be able to see what is beyond the next bend on the road.

The visual also suggests that a good part of our behaviour is sub-animal!

This is our shadow side, the porn that greases the web engine, the medicines, drugs, cosmetics, the years wasted in asylums, prisons, lives lost in conflicts, suicides, terrorism, so on and so forth. Unrealised potential is  the root cause of all our problems.

When we say be myself, what we mean is be my true SELF as distinct from what we have come to believe as dictated by the noise around us.

WHY this gap exists and HOW to bridge it or narrow it  are the other two balls.

It is in relation to these four directions that one can fix the position  just as a compass or GPS would deliver what they are designed to.

There are two kinds of positions as in the case of the lighthouse and the sailing vessel, the invariant and the variant.  The ship has to change course in relation to the lighthouse.

Be more specific?

As a surgeon I take the position that I am a professional which means I have a set of competencies which I practice in a specific domain which I continue to perfect over a life-time.  I am also bound by a code of behaviour which expects me to hold my client’s well-being as my overriding principle which provides the context in which my performance becomes measurable. The standards are the most challenging. In case of non-delivery, the surgeon will not be able to go scot-free as the Pipers of Hamlin, Wall Street.

I hope you see the invariant postion and the variant postions in the journey of the professional. The invariant is, come what may, even at the cost of my life,I would remain a professional. it is a do or die postion. The variant is as I move ahead on the journey I continue to improve my competencise and scale higher and higher levels of perfection.

It is time we pull out the balls within balls. The journey from our animal self (i)  to the human (I) begins here.

You are a pain. Enough for the day

I believe in the PIA theory of motivation.

Good day, JM

My Inglish style sheet says, “break the container and get the content”.   What Sanskrit is to Prakrit, Inglish is to English.

Hope you too see what the dog sees or ‘god’ sees the big picture. The headwind is strong. It is better for a take off than sailing.

Continued