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,



Firm devotion



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. 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. 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 For us it is not natural, it is a matter of choice. Freewill has its disadvantages too.

The home position


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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Romancing the impossible / The ultimate pragmatist

Do not

Wish for it ever, it might come true

To be immortal and die the perfect death

To be the perfect master and the perfect slave

Wish for perfect madness and perfect sanity

Meet the perfect partner, commit the perfect crime

Lose your voice and find it in its pristine clarity

Meet the fire in those eyes haunting you for ages

Hear the mountain brook of your childhood sleepless nights

And the chirping of the crickets deep within the concrete jungle

Do not

Wish for it ever, it might come true

To sing for you while you dream those impossible dreams

Do not

Wish for it ever, it might come true

You live the complete fullness /complete emptiness

Every moment of your seamless flight

And it comes true.